Our little family had a nice day trip yesterday to the Buffalo Zoo. Sarah, a good friend, came with us, and we all shared some animal sightings. Among Jedd’s favorites were the pigs, giraffes, and elephants. Oddly, when confronted with a horse that he’s much more familiar with, he shook his head and said “like him,” which means “I don’t like this one.” We also saw reindeer and polar bears and lizards and lions and tigers and leopards and fish and a picture of a lorikeet (exhibit closed) and sea lions and zebras and macaques (look it up) and others, but no otters (again, exhibit closed). The Buffalo Zoo is not the Philadelphia or Washington or San Diego or even Omaha, but for its location, it does pretty well. What a nice midday at the zoo!
On the way home, we spotted a Chinese buffet and stopped near West Seneca for a late lunch. Nearby in the shopping center was a store called “Catholic Shop.” I suppose I understand why such a thing exists–people will buy anything–but its presence gave me pause. If hawking wares is even possible within a religious system, that system deserves critique, and the hawking deserves censure. Now, I admit one could call into question the existence of Christian bookstores in general, and I would contribute to that discussion with some censure. But the Catholic system continues to chap me, and my Chapstick is to write about it.
A little farther down the road, there was a Catholic Church building. The sign (near a statue, of course) said “Saint Mary–Queen of the Holy Rosary.” Really? Are they serious?
Karly quipped, “I wonder what Mary would say if we could ask her what she thought about being Queen.”
My guess is that Mary would be unequivocally appalled. Despite all the ill-informed, dark reiterations of “Ave Maria, gratia plena” (Hail, Mary, full of grace) through the centuries, she probably wouldn’t be as gracious toward this perverse religious error as Jesus would. But both of them would want it stopped.
Buffalo is a large city–with a quarter-million technically within its city boundaries, but with more than a million in the entire urban/suburban region. It currently “boasts” more than 40 private schools (most are Roman Catholic schools) and has significant Polish and Italian citizenry. While this city once thrived along with industrial age, and while it has significant opportunities and history, the sights these days tell a mixed, and somewhat abandoned, story.
While in a grocery store in the shopping center yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that the people seemed bedraggled, by and large. They appeared weathered and generally less than happy, despite the sunny day yesterday. Maybe that’s the result of Buffalo’s long winters.