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MilitaryEminentDomainHat @Popehat
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Inasmuch as someone mistook me for the actual pope, I feel it is Catholic Upbringing Storytime.

Today: the tale of the Mislocated Stigmata.

.1
.2 Perhaps 1980, 'twas, and I was being raised Catholic by a Catholic mother at the expectations of a Catholic grandmother. Raised 3/4 Catholic, by which I mean my mother, rest her, was compulsively late and I didn't see the first 15 minutes of a mass until I was 18.
.3 (My father did not attend; he stayed home and kept his mouth politely, tolerantly, but unswervingly shut on ecclesiastical matters, which was in the long run an excellent example.)
.4 Anyway, its 1980, and I am being educated by the church on Catholic matters, in the expectation that I will be confirmed. I have a weekly class, and sometimes this class goes to different churches in the region for mass.
.5 So one time we went to a rustic church on the mountain. It had hard, stern pews and stinting kneelers. Somehow, in the press of the youthful crowd, I was herded into the first row. It was not a measure of Godliness, I assure you.
.6 The mass proceeded, and there came one of the many moments in the liturgy where the congregation was to kneel.

Except there were no kneelers at the front row. There was but the pew and a cold floor of rough-hewn stone slates, like the pathway to an unpromising shed.
.7 I should mention, at this point, that my knees were scabbed over, as they often were. This was not a reflection of constant activity; to the contrary. I was so clumsy that on the infrequent occasions I did exert myself I could be counted upon to tumble and scour away flesh.
.8 This time, if memory serves, I had fallen down the far side of a hillock whilst clad in a wetsuit wrapped in leather scraps and wielding a broom handle tipped with a tennis ball, engaged in what would now be called LARPing. (Ironically, as a cleric.)
.9 Anyway, the floor was painful, and I perched the edge of my arse upon the edge of the seat rather than kneel. Or I did so until the room mother in charge of the class hissed, in a very Jesus-cherishing way, "NOW is the TIME to KNEEEEEELLLLLLLLL" at me.
.10 I knelt. Since this was a Catholic mass, I knelt a number of times in succession. Kneel, stand, sit, kneel, sit, stand. This was too much for the scabs on my knees, which ripped open, somewhat but not really like the veil of the temple in Matthew 27:51.
.11 The mass ended. I lined up, and filed with the other mawkish 11-year-olds past the room mother. But the sundered scabs had yielded blood, which stood out in two silver-dollar-sized rust-colored red dots on my pant knees and dripped down the shins.
.12 The room mother recoiled. She looked first in horror, then in amazement, then in recognition, then horror again, then in suspicion. It was not an entirely unfamiliar sequence to me in 1980. BLOOD! Wait. STIGMATA? No. Knees. oh SHIT I made him bleed. Or he did it on purpose?
.13 The room mother took me by the arm and led me to the rectory, seeking band-aids, her face furrowed in an expression I would grow to recognize: the expression of an adult formulating a reason that this was my fault and not theirs.
.14 And lo, my knees were bandaged, and I bleedeth no more. I did not receive an apology. I received an admonition to "be more careful." Amen.

/end
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