Now when I was growing up I was a public school kid so I didn’t understand the concept of pagan babies. I was probably one of the only kids in my school who never had to go to church on Sunday’s even so religion was a bit of a foreign concept to me. I understood that there was this God thing that was bigger than us and loved us, but at the same time was smiting us more than giving us candy bars.
A friend who likes to get into debates with me even though I agree with him asked me the other day how many people did Satan kill in the bible. The answer is 2. God killed millions. I digress a bit, but at times religion is a funny thing to me. When a group of the old Sunset District crew started to bring up pagan babies it jarred loose a memory from my youth. My Mom always used to tell in a ironic fashion about how when she was attending Saint Bridgette’s that she used to bring in pennies to donate to the pagan babies.
What is a pagan baby exactly? Well, from what I can remember and research has given me they were African, Asian and/or Hispanic non-Christian kids that were forcibly converted over to Catholicism by missionaries that were finances by shaking down kids in Catholic schools for their pennies and/or lunch money. My Mother was one of them and so apparently were all the other Catholic school kids in the Sunset.
We aren’t talking about hippy wiccans here we’re just talking about poor, third world children that the Catholic church said, you’re hungry? here’s some food if you believe in our God and become civilized and accept the names we give you. In my search I found a guy who was remembering buying his first pagan baby at 9 years old for $5 [sounding a bit like slavery yet?]. The pagan baby he purchased was named Daniel James and his $5 gave him a Certificate of Adoption as a Souvenir of the Ransom and Baptism of an Adopted Pagan baby named Daniel James.
DUDE! Ransom and Baptism? I think the Catholic church needed better PR people back then. You’re teaching a 9 year old about slavery and ransom. That makes the nun’s steel ruler seem a bit tame don’t it?
The best part of this is that the pagan babies fought back. This individual received one of those Nigeria bank swindle schemes in the mail wherein the pagan baby he purchased offered him $4 million dollars in exchange for $100,000 paid into a Nigerian bank. The pagan baby even mentioned his purchase by him and offered to meet with him in Nigeria to talk about the old time religion that had helped him so much that he wanted to pay him back for it.
It seems that the pagan babies have learned how to turn the scheme around. I’m wondering now if there’s a linkback to the Vatican’s records of pagan babies from Nigeria. A salam aleikum.
Today we stopped by St. Mary’s Cathedral, or more properly known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption. The main thing I would like to assume is that the architect had a few vision problems.
This is not your average cathedral. It’s very modern in design and this was it’s third incarnation. Here’s what I could find on the architecture of the site via Wikipedia:
“The cathedral is located in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption replaced two previous churches of the same name successively. The first original cathedral was built in 1854 and still stands today and is now known as Old Saint Mary’s Church. In 1891, a second cathedral was constructed but was destroyed by arson in 1962. The present-day cathedral was commissioned just as Vatican II was convening in Rome. Prescriptions of the historic church council allowed the Archdiocese of San Francisco to plan boldly in the building of its new cathedral. That resulted in the modern design of the present structure. The cornerstone was laid on December 13, 1967, and the cathedral was completed three years later. On May 5, 1971, the cathedral was blessed and on October 5, 1996, was formally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the name of Saint Mary of the Assumption. The first papal mass was celebrated by Pope John Paul II in the cathedral in 1987.
It ran the private all-female Cathedral High School, in a building adjoined to the present-day cathedral itself. CHS merged with nearby all-male private Sacred Heart High School in 1987. St. Mary’s Cathedral still has close ties to the resulting Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, which uses the cathedral as its principal church for masses and other special events, such as graduation.”
[mappress mapid=”2″]That’s pretty much all of what is there to see on Cathedral Hill. Other than that it’s pretty much just apartment buildings and down a block there used to be the old Jack Tar Cathedral Hill Hotel. Which will be torn down to make way for a new CPMC medical building. The insides of the cathedral are rather interesting as they adhere to the modernist design of the times. I will say one thing is that you have more of a feeling of warm inside with all the wood instead of the coldness of the stone of a place like say, Grace Cathedral. Didn’t get too much time to take pictures, but I got what I thought were some of the best expressions of what the inside feels like. You don’t get as loud an echo as you do in other cathedrals probably because of the wood. Another interesting note is that it has been called by locals as, “Our Lady of Maytag” due to the fact that the building looks a bit like the agitator of a washing machine. The worst part is you don’t have too think to hard to see that.
Update: A couple of my friends on Facebook posted to me that I left out the “Two o’clock titty” as Herb Caen referred to it. If you look at the picture you can see the shadow forming a breast on the Cathedral. Thanks to Libby and Harry!
I had a bit of pleasant surprise today. My boss asked me to get some color copying done for him and I started to take a walk down 7th street to Harrison. Now this is normally something in my mind that you wouldn’t want to do, but it had been a long time since I had been down in the that neck of the woods walking so I guess things change.
As I start to come close to 7th and Harrison I notice new condos and the building start to look nicer. There were still a few crazy people around, but not same type as you see at 7th and Market. There sandwiched between a set of condos and Carmichael Elementary school [I didn’t even know there was a nice looking school like that down there] I find this Russian Orthodox church. At least that’s what google identified it as even though the crosses are wrong.
Note the lack of feces on the street in front of the church, but the gates are still locked shut. Apparently people respect this place and it was good to see that one of the seedier parts of town has started to make a comeback. Now if I could just get lunch for under $10 at 8th and Mission I’ll be happy.