This is Buzzy's Country Store blog designed to keep you apprised of what's going on at the Store. Buzzy's is a general store located in St. Mary's County, Southern Maryland near Pt. Lookout State Park. Buzzy and Jean Ridgell purchased the Store from Jean's father Harry Raley in 1953. Buzzy operated it until his passing in 2009. His son J. Scott Ridgell is the current owner.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Happy Anniversary/Excommunication!

Today being Sunday and also Pam's and my wedding anniversary, I thought that I would talk about something that's always sorta torqued me off and that is being booted out of the Catholic Club as soon as I married Pam.  That may sound a little strong but that's ultimately the bottom line.  Whereas I used to be a full member of the Club in good standing, once I said I do to Pam, the Club was done with me.    

You see, according to Catholic Church rules, Pam and I, once hitched, were now in what they dub an "unsanctioned" or a "non-sacramental" marriage.  Both of us were previously married and neither of us have had those first marriages annulled.  Pam, being Jewish, didn't even have to mess with worrying about silly annulment rules because Jews don't care if you were previously married or not.  Since Catholics pretty much copied everything from their Jewish ancestors, it does make you wonder how JC and His boys managed to crap the bed on this re-marrying business as they did.   Like most things, I suspect that it had to with money.  Even King Henry himself, after buying his way out of 7 or 8 of his marriages, woke up one day, smelt  the coffee and said "To hell with this, I'm starting my own gig."

So up front, I will freely admit that all of this is a little on me because the Church indeed does have a process that I could have followed had I really wanted to do so and have had my first marriage annulled.  It's an involved effort, but with time, patience and money, it could have been done.   

But then again, it is something that I could never bring myself to do because of the following.  I always tell folks that I was happily married to the first wife for 21 years.  Unfortunately, we were married for 23 and those last 2 years were just no fun at all.  Still, if 1% of an endeavor was simply awful while the other 99% of it was not so bad, can you really say that the whole thing was just one big bad ass, f'ed up  mistake?  Thus, since the bottom line is that I can't make that conclusion, annulment was never something that I felt justified nor in favor of pursuing.   

Meanwhile, post-divorce and pre-Pam  I did feel like I was where I needed to be on all things faith and future-wise.  In my dodgy singlehood,  I was still a full fledged, card carrying member of the Church.  I logged no felonies, i.e. mortal sins, to speak of, had no false gods before me other than sports gods, and having long ago reconciled what few morals I did possess with regards to what the Church mandated about sex, I regarded myself as a semi-exemplary, half-assed Catholic.  

So bounce ahead to the 2006 timeframe and life finds me as being a stand up Catholic dude.   I went to Church every Sunday and even dropped in for a daily visit whenever I could.  (The Base had a noon day Mass that I would try to attend when I could do so.)   I received Communion as often as I could and tickled the collection basket to help defray the cost of the meal.  I even hit all of the special Holy days including some that weren't mandatory such as St Joseph's on March 19th.  (I still wonder why his hasn't been made a Holy Day of Obligation?  Mary's got like 3 Holy Days and Joe the Rodney Dangerfield of Saints has zero.  Not right!) 

In addition to all of the required Catholic servitude such as fasting during Lent, I even went along with all the other crazy stuff that Catholics do involving ashes, palms, rosaries, petitions and bingo.  In short, I was as good a practicing Catholic as I could be.  ("And I intend to keep practicing til I get it right" is the oft quoted joke.)

Even when so mired in my Catholicness however, I never thought of myself as a made man who was heaven bound.  I figured out long ago that my best bet was going to be to slip and slide my way along this path of life as best I could do so and eventually hope to end up in purgatory, where I would do a century or two there and then back door my way into the Big House when no one was looking.  Still, I did feel like I had kinda thought and sorted out this whole eternity/heaven thing.  It was simple really, just do the right thing, go to Church and everything would work out.

But then along came Pam and after a year of getting to know each other we then decided to tie the knot the first of 2007.  It was one of my better life decisions and I'm forever grateful that we hooked up like we did.  

However, it also officially put me out of the Club.  Thanks to my Cousin Joe's wife Pat, the exact moment I was cut loose by the Church was documented here:

Joe Marrying Us at The Exact Moment I Got Excommunicated - 1/2/07 12:04 

And honestly, I still haven't quite figured how it was that as long as I was shacking up with Pam and "living in sin" with her,  I was ok in the eyes of the Church.  (Granted, maybe there was a venial-shacking-up-sin for being frisky and not being hitched, but overall everything was still cool as for being in the Club.) 

However, once I slipped that ring on Pam's finger and Jo Jo pronounced us a lawful couple, Bam! I'm now outta the Club and a persona-non-dirt-bag.  Even now I still have a tough time figuring out how stupid it all is. 

Admittedly, I didn't actually get served papers telling me to get lost.  The Church may be a bit rigid in some matters, but they aren't that efficient or heavy handed when it comes to other things.  In fact, I can recall my Cousin Father John once telling me that they had long had a "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding second marriages in that if folks chose to ignore the no-receiving sacraments rule then the priests chose to look the other way and not really enforce it.  

Thus, if I really really wanted to do so, I could certainly chose to simply ignore their silly rules and remain a Church-going, Communion receiving member.  Full confession (and that's one sacrament I don't miss a bit) I always was what is called a "Cafeteria Catholic" in that I chose what to and what not to strictly adhere to.  So granted, I could simply ignore this whole divorce malarkey and continue on as before I tied the knot with Pam; but yet, for reasons I am unable to explain, I really can't do so.  Messing around with a scarament like receiving Communion when I shouldn't do so officially, just seems like a bad move even for a Ridge boy who has been known not to worry much about decision-making consequences.  

Bottom line, despite my cavalier attitude about other Church dogma, I always did believe and took seriously that Holy Communion was well, holy.  You know, all that "body of Christ business" does tend to put the fear of God in you.   (That or indigestion if you partake of HIm and you aren't supposed to do so.)   So it seemed a little chancy to me and with 12 years of Catholic schooling under my belt, I couldn't and still can't rise above it.  

So today, Sunday mornings are my own.  I listen to Miles, fix some breakfast and watch the show Sunday Morning before heading down to the Store.  It is only when I pass Holy Face Church with its parking lot full that I get a little twinge, shake my head and say to myself "The Mass has ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord."   

Speaking of the Sunday Morning T-V show on CBS, check out this nice little story they ran last week about the tune Country Roads.

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