On Good Friday JC asked me to do this quiz
. He'd taken it and discovered that there's a reason why he's so disillusioned with Anglicanism - apparently he's supposed to be a Quaker. And as he said himself, the Internet told him, so it must be true.
I duly took the quiz, complaining constantly, as is my wont, that none of the multiple choice options covered what I believe, or that more than one of them did. When I eventually found my way to the end, the quiz told me that I was 100% compatible with two Christian faiths. One was Eastern Orthodox. The other was Roman Catholicism.
Not to doubt the veracity of a quiz contained on a website that celebrates the spiritual yearnings of Antonio Banderas
, but Catholic? Me? Hello? Is this reality on (tap tap feedback whine)?
Let's just run through a few tenets here. Transubstantiation? No. Deification of Mary? No. Intercession from a priest? No. Getting excited about the Pope? No. Insisting on celibate priests, eschewing birth control, and partaking of a proscribed Mass? No, no, and many further instalments of no. I may think that Catholicism has certain elements from which the Protestant church could learn, including their sense of holy mysticism, but that's a long way from muttering Hail Marys, counting a rosary or asking for forgiveness from a man in a dress.
I am 93% compatible with my chosen Conservative Protestantism, so there's no need to sic the church elders on me just yet. And no, I don't know where I'm going 7% wrong... although possibly it has something to do with my refusal to drive a Toyota and/or buy Michael W Smith albums.
My lowest score was for Secular Humanism (9%), which is a relief. It means that if I get caught in a conversation with at a party with a secular humanist, I'm entitled to spend 91% of the time just glaring at them.
Oddly enough, the quiz also told me that I'm 60% compatible with Islam.
Me: No way am I 60% Moslem.
JC: Well you'd probably agree with all but two of the Five Pillars of Islam. That'd be 60%.
Me: Which two?
JC: Making the pilgrimage to Mecca, and revering Mohammed.
Me: So what are the three I'd agree with?
JC: Let's see... prayer, doing good works, and... um... what was the other one...
Me: Blowing up busloads of Israeli schoolchildren?
JC: Er, no.
Me: 'Cause I'm totally up for that. Not that I have anything against the Jews. I just really hate kids.
I got to test drive my newfound compatibility with Catholicism an hour or so later, as we went to the historic St Joseph's church in Wembly for a special Good Friday performance of Mozart's Requiem. The choir and the orchestra were both wonderful, as were the church's acoustics. It was a fairly standard interpretation, with just a few subtle flourishes to give a little extra tone to its beauty. Perhaps the most transcendent moment came, ironically enough, just before the performance started, in a lull during the orchestra's tuning. One of the horns started practicing the first few bars of the Tub Mirum
, without voices or any other instruments. It was low and sweet and wistful, and so pure in its solitude, drifting around the dome of the church like a melancholy ghost.
I looked out across the church, at the soaring architecture, the stained glass windows, the old Mediterranean ladies with improbably coloured hair, and the painted statues of major saints, and I wondered if I could give up Protestantism for Catholicism. True, life-sized painted statues are sort of creepy, but then again, they're nowhere near as wretched as the poetry of Helen Steiner Rice
Perhaps I really could change to Catholicism. All I'd ask in return is that Catholicism make a few tiny changes for me.
Me: I've got one word for these statues.
JC: And what's that?
JC: I see.
Me: Don't tell me it's not a great idea.
JC: Okay, as long as you don't tell them I'm with you when they set you on fire.