A woman from Guatemala (she came here 15 years ago and became a U.S. citizen 10 years ago) told me on Saturday how amazed she was that Americans were going about their daily business while the Pope was on his death bed. “In Guatemala the country has come to a near standstill,” she said. She had talked to her mother, who still lives in Guatemala, that morning and she said, “No one in this country is doing anything other than praying and mourning.”
I told her that, as she knows, there are a lot of different religions and beliefs in America. She acknowledged that, but added, from her perspective, even Catholics were acting as if “this were just another day.” She was genuinely disappointed.
She also added an interesting tidbit about Guatemala. She said that, because the country is predominantly Catholic, the 40 days of Lent are taken so seriously that you can leave your doors unlocked, walk the streets at any time of day or night, and not worry about crime or violence.
She said, “The women there really appreciate Lent because their husbands are kind, honest and civil during these 40 days. They don’t want to commit any sins. But as soon as Lent is over…well, they all become bastards again – right up to the minute Lent starts and as soon as it ends.”