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The Monitor and Marriage

This story took place quite a while ago. I am not sure of the dates but since I mentioned the Monitor in my last post, I will tell you about it now. Several years ago, one of my cousins posted a photo of nondescript animal on the Internet, wondering what it was. I emailed her, and asked if she was sure this was not the Monitor. She wrote back that she did not know what a Monitor was. I told her that I was referring to the Monitor at the Belfast farm, an imaginary creature the adults made up to keep the young children from wandering off into the woods. She told me she had never been to the farm. I found this hard to believe. None of us had been to the farm for many years. I tried to recall if her family had been there any time my family was there. I couldn’t say for sure.

The rest of the story has nothing to do with the Monitor. In subsequent communication, I learned that cousin’s mother married a non-Catholic, not well accepted at the time with the powers that be in the Catholic Church. My great uncle, a Monsiegnor in the Catholic Church and a rather pompous person in my estimation, announced that because of this marriage my aunt all of her family were prohibited to enter my grandparents’ house or visit the family farm in Belfast. I don’t know where he got the authority to ban anyone from their own parents’ house.

My father’s brother was a wise priest and always has been. He suggested a solution. My aunt and her husband should first divorce. Then they should apply to the church for a “dispensation” to marry a non-Catholic. They followed my uncle’s advice and were finally granted permission to marry and return to visiting her parents and siblings at the family home. I assume that this permission also applied to the farm, but I never knew for sure. My guess is that they did not want to go anywhere where my great uncle was likely to be.

The events in this story took place long ago and I had heard nothing of them until my recent correspondence with my cousin. I have never heard of this happening to anyone else. But then, this is not the sort of thing people are likely to discuss with others. I certainly never heard a word about it from any of my relatives. If I had known about this, it might have changed the course of my life. Stay tuned.

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