Catholic vs. Protestant – 2017-04-15 – Keith Ross


This is my father, whom I love very much. I recorded this interview while visiting my parents in Kingston, Ontario, during Easter weekend, 2017.

Transcript

Please excuse any errors as these captions were automatically generated by YouTube.

0:00 I’m Keith Ross and you are listening to
0:03 Catholic vs promise tell the listeners a
0:10 little bit if you would about who you
0:11 are what you believe and how you came to
0:13 believe it well Who I am is one thing
0:17 that’s what I believe this that’s a
0:20 toughy half I am Keith Ross raised in
0:26 Carlton County southeast of Ottawa and
0:31 we were raised on a sort of isolated
0:35 farm hundred acres we had no electricity
0:39 we did everything by hand or by horse we
0:44 all learn to work we were church-going
0:48 people we went to st. paul’s united
0:50 church in kenmore does United Church of
0:54 Canada what is it uniting together it
0:56 was uniting the Presbyterians the
0:59 Congregationalists and Methodists did
1:03 both parents belong to the United Church
1:05 of Canada before they got married or my
1:08 dad did I don’t know if my mother was
1:11 part of the United Church when I came in
1:14 I believe they may have been Methodists
1:17 but I’m not sure of that so as a child
1:20 you would pray at night before meals and
1:22 stuff like I can go to church and
1:23 sunday-school is that the case oh yeah
1:25 would everyone be on the same page in
1:27 terms of enthusiasm for church or
1:29 something I don’t want to go in the
1:31 family ya know we generally all went as
1:34 a group as kids we would walk up to the
1:39 church before the parents would come
1:42 along and they would they would Johnny
1:43 drive to church oh and was an old drive
1:47 shit out behind the church where some of
1:49 the neighbors would come in on a horse
1:52 and buggy and park the horse in their
1:54 sheds out back yeah it was an
1:58 interesting time I loved it was sort of
2:01 the typical Sunday service it moves are
2:03 a lot of singing or preaching or how
2:05 does it work well uh yeah there’d be
2:07 readings we would
2:11 Singla doxology and there was an organ
2:15 in the church that had to be pumped at
2:20 one point as I grew older I was the
2:23 pumper oh yeah is that a foot pump or no
2:27 as a it was a lever on the thing and we
2:30 pumped that and after I did that I
2:35 actually sang in the choir for a bit did
2:38 you have some sort of communion like the
2:40 bread and wine sort of say oh yeah oh
2:42 yeah every Sunday or once a month oh no
2:44 no just dumb special occasions I don’t
2:47 know I don’t know what prompted them but
2:48 yeah we had communion which reminds me
2:53 when I butchered my neighbors rooster
2:59 for him I spoke to them and he settled
3:02 down and we went through the process and
3:05 we saw had communion together you know
3:09 we’d it reminds me of Abraham and Isaac
3:12 how docile Isaac was with his own
3:14 sacrifice he was ready to go yeah I it’s
3:18 one of the things I think with the firm
3:21 up bringing your get a different bent on
3:26 life and it seemed most most of the city
3:30 kids or even village kids anyway ah yeah
3:34 back to the church I must say I enjoyed
3:38 my church up until I got chronic fatigue
3:42 and had to retire from teaching were
3:46 here was a that was but 289 yeah and I
3:52 got that I couldn’t stand being in a
3:54 group of people I you know like it’s all
3:57 right one on one talking to some
3:59 somebody but yeah yeah I could not take
4:03 in all the activity of a group but yeah
4:10 I enjoyed my church I I especially
4:12 enjoyed singing in church I really did I
4:15 miss that because I don’t go to church
4:18 more and because I get sort of
4:20 claustrophobic or agri phobic I guess
4:24 anxious and I started getting blurry
4:29 eyed my vision go a little bit and her
4:35 rate goes up mmm can you talk a little
4:38 bit about when you’re very young sort of
4:40 the first inkling you had that there’s a
4:43 god and what that meant to you is a very
4:45 very young child it never came to me as
4:48 such it’s sort of like language as part
4:52 of your being as part of the family
4:54 situation you know we weren’t a very
4:56 religious family but we had our grace
5:02 before meals and what was the typical
5:06 grace that you’re taking you just
5:07 recited that we had damn yeah is it the
5:11 same that you said during my childhood
5:13 it may have been I was the one that you
5:16 used to cigarettes god bless eid mercy
5:20 set before us let’s enjoy use master
5:22 their service in Christ’s name we pray
5:24 on him I remember that yeah where did
5:27 you get that particular formulation i’m
5:29 not sure i’m really not sure that as a
5:31 sale it as my religion was it was part
5:36 of our being or a culture you know and
5:38 there we are a very clannish family
5:42 because we were isolated and yeah we
5:45 depended a lot on each other what was it
5:48 like in bed at night were you many
5:50 people in the same room the girls had a
5:54 room and the boys had a room how many
5:57 girls how many boys in total five girls
6:01 nine boys now we’re never all there at
6:04 once no oh how people think we’re not
6:07 all like shit but I know I remember we
6:16 had 2 beds2 full size beds in the boys
6:18 room and the big boys had one bed
6:22 and the little boys had the other bed
6:26 and we was sleep maybe four or five of
6:30 us crosswise on a big bed okay why
6:33 crosswise well so we’d all fit the
6:41 reason i ask what the sleeping
6:42 arrangement is because one of my
6:44 memories of religion as a child is
6:45 praying at night alone in my bed and i
6:47 don’t think you had that luxury because
6:49 you were your brothers i don’t recall
6:51 ever sort of have bedtime prayers
6:53 because of the chaos or because he just
6:55 never gotten a habit just wasn’t that
6:57 one of the things we did we r we had her
6:59 grace before and after me it is to say
7:02 but to your mom didn’t make it a point
7:05 because I remember among training me to
7:07 pray before bed I think that’s true yeah
7:10 yeah I remember remember hood science to
7:12 lat but you didn’t have that from your
7:14 mom or no okay no I don’t recall that at
7:18 all who would you say was more religious
7:20 your mom read I just offhand I never got
7:22 the impression that either one was more
7:24 I think they’re both vested I mean in
7:27 the Lord sort of thing you know I
7:30 listened to two families now the old
7:36 time when I run across them and I’m
7:37 always impressed with the amount of
7:40 swearing and disrespect and the likes
7:42 that goes on in a rather I never heard
7:45 my mother swear yeah and I never heard
7:48 my mother and dad fight now I I remember
7:54 when things would be a little tense at
7:57 the table and I knew they weren’t
8:00 speaking other than the you know Muriel
8:04 it was my mother’s name dad would say
8:06 Muriel would you pass the butter please
8:08 and it would be handed down along the
8:11 table to him and but to never never
8:15 heard them with a cross word to each
8:17 other were they both Scottish version uh
8:20 my mother was they always said Irish
8:24 they were a family that went to Ireland
8:27 with Cromwell
8:30 drama went over to put the Irish in
8:32 their place so they were always stated
8:37 as being Irish and my dad was Scottish
8:41 okay what about your siblings in general
8:44 did some of them over time become
8:46 hardcore atheist while others became
8:47 fanatically religious can you talk a
8:49 little bit about the spread in the
8:50 spectrum there well I I have siblings
8:54 who are very you would never discuss
8:56 religion with because they were very
8:59 strict in their view of what it is
9:03 should be and all that sort of thing
9:05 okay did anyone go to the other extreme
9:08 though with just renouncing garden I
9:10 don’t think so no I never got the
9:12 impression that anybody had gone that
9:14 route the rest of you are just gonna
9:16 normal it was just normal Ramallah no
9:19 Christian third court you know it’s yeah
9:24 it’s interesting because when I left why
9:27 I left home when I was 17 to go to
9:29 university in Kingston and I’ve never
9:32 been away from home before so I lived to
9:35 the half a block from Princess Street
9:38 United Church and kicks him and I joined
9:41 the youth group layer and I looked on
9:45 the church as sort of my home base
9:48 that’s that was my refuge you know from
9:52 being out in the world and I really
9:57 thought it got me through that part of
10:01 my life when I was at queens you know we
10:05 had all sorts of religions in the
10:08 populace there and I remember I had one
10:12 friend who was Anglican and I had
10:15 another friend who was Muslim and I
10:19 remember this Anglican guy really being
10:22 on his case really giving him a hard
10:24 time about his religion he had to change
10:26 to Christian and I said you know who I
10:32 attack him and his religion I said it
10:34 it’s a solace to him it’s helping get
10:38 through
10:39 this part of his life I said why would
10:42 you want him to throw that all away and
10:46 take your religion on just because you
10:48 say so here I said why don’t you show
10:51 him how you live and lead them to your
10:53 religion if you want to but don’t you
10:55 know I I think the old business were in
10:58 yeah they went to America from Europe
11:01 and they converted people to Catholicism
11:04 and if they didn’t convert they come
11:06 with the sword serving and so yeah Oh is
11:12 I always had a feeling that man is a
11:15 religious animal here and I still feel
11:20 like I’m a religious animal even though
11:22 I don’t attend church i did search I’ve
11:24 mr. Church immensely here but oh when I
11:29 Quinn to a church for whatever reason
11:32 I’m very uncomfortable okay i miss even
11:36 if it’s empty no no no with a
11:38 congregation with people there and would
11:42 that be the same in a shopping mall full
11:44 of people no no it’s something about the
11:47 worship or the last time i went to my
11:50 church here they openly prayed for me
11:52 because your illness or because of my
11:55 illness and then we went and we always
11:59 had a social sort of thing after church
12:02 you know I didn’t just have church and
12:04 go home we always you know you talk to
12:06 people and seen for a week or so and and
12:10 then people would ask what what’s what’s
12:12 wrong with you look all right to me okay
12:14 but you know and I’d be questioned about
12:17 why is minister praying for you here and
12:21 I was always a fairly private guy in
12:24 terms of my own personal being I like
12:28 people but there I was very
12:31 uncomfortable in that so you you sort of
12:34 got a taste for the ugliness of humanity
12:36 but was is there an example on the other
12:38 side of someone that you look up to as a
12:40 hero like that you think of anything
12:43 that’s a Christian for me I I think of a
12:46 teacher I had when I was in secondary
12:49 school in kenmore
12:51 said you know Keith if you want to go to
12:53 university you’d be smart to have Latin
12:56 I’m willing to teach you Latin at noon
13:01 during lunch time during her lunch time
13:04 and we did and I did well in Latin so
13:10 well that I didn’t write the final exam
13:13 I was exempted because of my progress in
13:17 that did that actually help to get into
13:19 queens it might have yeah and it gives
13:22 you a facility in language and
13:24 understanding now I think she was a
13:27 Baptist ah I don’t think she ever went
13:30 to our church but I think of her every
13:33 Thanksgiving because she did her
13:37 Christian duty and her beyond its say
13:41 we’re a poor family were dirt poor but
13:44 we had a great reputation in the area
13:47 because the sort of integrity and our
13:52 word was good hmm I remember my dad was
13:58 we didn’t have a council as such in the
14:00 village but he served on a young giving
14:03 advice as to what should be done in the
14:06 village even though we didn’t live in
14:08 the village and I remember people
14:11 talking to me later about him and saying
14:14 what a great fellow he was in terms of
14:17 advice for what should go on like an
14:20 older yeah he’s respect for elders
14:23 something that you had more back in the
14:24 day I think so it’s I don’t think our
14:30 present people our decision makers have
14:34 the integrity that I thought we had in
14:39 in those days a lot of people seem to
14:42 see a connection between religious
14:45 fervor and a conservative way of
14:47 thinking do you have any insight into
14:49 that at all I think for the most part
14:51 when you think of conservatives you
14:53 think of people who are narrow they’ve
14:56 got their ideas and as I say my ideas
15:00 were formed in childhood largely by
15:03 osmosis the only we lived our life and
15:07 lived at much as our neighbors may be
15:10 limited anybody who broke away from that
15:14 was a liberal you know I mean from that
15:17 perspective yeah so you’ve got things
15:21 like the game movements things like that
15:23 it’s a that was frowned upon in each
15:26 other yeah Catholics were frowned upon
15:31 yeah they were you know anything that’s
15:35 different and you know did you ever get
15:40 deep into philosophy or pursuing the
15:44 truth for its own sake in a sort of
15:46 Socratic way not really I guess I had
15:50 more of a childlike approach okay you
15:53 know yeah I always think of that I
15:56 believe help my help thou my unbelief no
16:00 do you trust in God you have a sort of
16:03 my trust in God that you can oh yeah yes
16:06 huh okay like I’ll I out here in the
16:08 pool like this morning eyes out there
16:10 just after three o’clock in your hot tub
16:12 yeah and I like it there and I take in
16:18 the universe and I’m see how great that
16:20 word you know I’ll sing away here would
16:25 really sing oh yeah oh yeah no I I take
16:31 it in it comes naturally to you to
16:33 commune like that yeah very much so I
16:36 wonder what I didn’t get that I got a
16:38 sort of dissociation where I’m in my
16:40 head and I’m trying to connect it what
16:43 did you think when you’re watching me
16:45 enter the Catholic Church did you get to
16:48 see a development or did it was it just
16:49 one day I came and told you that I’m
16:51 Catholic
16:51 how did that happen from your
16:52 perspective well I knew you had been
16:55 flailing around looking at since well
16:59 since what age well I think of you on
17:02 the esplanade in Shanklin remember the
17:07 guy was up preaching on a little stool
17:09 and nobody was there we were walking
17:13 along and he’s preaching away there and
17:16 you went over and engaged them you know
17:19 and I thought that was great might even
17:22 18 you were searching mmm that’s why I
17:26 saw it and you know one of the big toys
17:32 in my life was right there during my
17:35 actual confirmation of being confirmed
17:37 yeah I thought it was just super and
17:41 there was so much love expressed in that
17:44 congregation and a little dinner after
17:47 and I’m glad you could make it yeah I
17:51 was too yeah I think I think it’s super
17:58 like we won we went to share you know I
18:01 enjoyed that and I enjoyed the fat what
18:04 was Sharon just for the audience whoo
18:05 that was a religious camp in the Toronto
18:09 area the run by the I’m of the Catholic
18:13 Church was associated with large friends
18:17 I think to some extent it was very open
18:20 you felt welcomed their very very
18:23 welcome by the the Catholic Church there
18:26 in fact today were having a service on
18:29 the sunday and they’re going to have
18:31 communion so I went to the priest and I
18:34 said do I take communion with with you
18:38 you’re having communion he said well you
18:40 believe I said yes and yeah take
18:45 communion in my own church you know
18:47 united church he said well you’re
18:50 welcome to take communion with us and he
18:55 was very receptive but my sister-in-law
18:59 would come
19:00 from united church to Catholicism was
19:03 very offended that I was taking in her
19:07 church at it I don’t understand that
19:10 because we were recognizing and
19:14 worshiping the same God yeah I
19:18 understand her perspective because the
19:21 difference between the United Church of
19:23 Canada Communion and the Catholic
19:24 community is that we believe in
19:25 transubstantiation it’s actually
19:27 literally the body blood soul and
19:30 divinity of Jesus Christ if a muslim
19:32 were a jew or an atheist came in and
19:35 said i eat bread and wine can i partake
19:37 and the priest said yes he’s diluting
19:40 the doctrine of the real presence the
19:42 other side yeah yeah I understand that
19:45 but we have the same belief is the blood
19:49 the body you know I don’t think you
19:53 intended sacrilege and I would like to
19:55 thank the priests didn’t intend
19:57 sacrilege either no no I right there’s a
20:00 delicate issue now with so-called
20:02 divorced and remarried Catholics get in
20:04 communion all if you heard about this
20:05 with Pope Francis it’s another one of
20:07 these situations where people can get
20:08 angry and then more division and more
20:12 hatred in the church and we don’t need
20:13 that but you know each one of these
20:15 challenges that we face with politics
20:17 religion family or whatever it is on the
20:20 one extreme you can just be a doormat
20:21 and just let everyone do what they want
20:23 you and on the other hand you could be
20:25 complete fanatic and piss everyone off
20:26 and somewhere in the middle is that way
20:29 where you’re you’re suffering and you’re
20:30 dealing with the reality of the other
20:32 person and you’re dealing with the
20:33 context and you’re struggling with it
20:35 and you get through it right so I don’t
20:37 think there’s an easy answer the easy
20:39 answers on either extreme my are not
20:41 good what do you think of Pope Francis
20:43 if you compare them with some of the
20:45 other popes that you lived through does
20:48 he seem significantly different in his
20:49 style as pastoral style I think so the
20:53 most modern poor things at what I think
20:56 of him having lyst the people in the
20:58 Vatican make the cars available for
21:01 homeless people to spend the cold night
21:04 in their cars you know the practical
21:06 move yeah there’s that aspect of
21:09 religion that I think transcends all
21:12 this you know
21:14 there’s the humanity aspect that I think
21:18 tends to be lost in a lot of the
21:20 conflict that goes on the respect for
21:24 the different paths people try to take
21:27 to the Lord I when I work from hell most
21:31 of the guys worked with her probably
21:32 Catholic and we go out you know we’d be
21:36 working down in Brock or something like
21:38 that and you’re living in a motel down
21:39 there in good for dinner and they’re on
21:44 officially fridays her her yeah we
21:48 bought for a meal and they couldn’t have
21:52 the steak because they’re Catholic and I
21:56 could but I didn’t hey I wouldn’t yeah
22:01 there’s no way i would do business you
22:05 know just you’re in that community I
22:08 think community is one of the things we
22:12 are losing and I think you have to
22:16 respect the human side of things do and
22:20 I never could see these Orangemen spur
22:23 aids marching through the Catholic areas
22:25 in the in Ireland you know and the
22:28 stirring of securing it up more than a
22:32 bit you know yeah when I went from
22:37 atheists to Catholic suddenly I was seen
22:41 by a lot of my friends is very very much
22:44 on the right but I can also meet people
22:48 that are further right than I am and
22:49 they see me very much on the left the
22:51 danger of having a worldview having a
22:54 point of view is that to those further
22:57 right you look left into those for the
22:58 left you look right and you just you
23:00 can’t please everyone yeah does everyone
23:02 go through that oh I think to a certain
23:04 extent we’re all judged by our fellow
23:07 man but to whether you take it
23:11 personally or not depends on how
23:13 grounded you are in whatever beliefs you
23:17 carry I never felt particularly
23:21 challenged by any
23:23 on any of these things I don’t know if
23:26 you’re if you’re aware of the fact that
23:28 atheism sort of got a fresh vitality
23:30 today and I feel like science is getting
23:34 denigrated by these atheists and that
23:37 they don’t have a sort of there’s no
23:38 room for something beyond science your
23:42 science teacher how do you see that well
23:44 I we are out there looking at those
23:47 thorns on the tree locust tree now why
23:51 are they on there at today I serve a
23:55 purpose I find hard to believe they
23:58 don’t hey you know here and who put them
24:03 there you know it wasn’t scientists to
24:06 put them there hey the book of nature is
24:09 speaking pretty loudly yeah I think so
24:12 on and I think it if you reset of it
24:16 speak like they say I I live here in the
24:20 hot tub in the night and I’m blown away
24:25 by the universe and N and the fact that
24:30 it’s put together and it works say you
24:35 know yeah if you eat FIGS the fig fruit
24:41 develops only if there’s a particular
24:44 app that gets involved in in its
24:48 production and if that ant doesn’t get
24:51 into the blossom before the fruit grows
24:53 fruit doesn’t grow this cicadas that we
24:58 hear saying you know whether it early
25:01 summer they live in the ground they’re
25:04 buried in the ground they hatch 18 years
25:07 later they climb up into the tree and
25:10 sing and mate and die it’s wondrous why
25:21 are we here you know yeah you pick up a
25:26 Bible and read it from time to time any
25:28 of your favorite verses or one of the
25:30 Psalms that I really like and I like
25:34 when I was at University was not the
25:38 23rd song but i think it says 27th ok i
25:43 will lift up mine eyes unto the lord
25:46 from whence cometh my help from the
25:49 wicked even mine enemies and my foes
25:52 came upon me to eat up my flesh they
25:54 stumbled and fell so on host should
25:57 encamp against me my heart shall not
25:59 fear the war should rise against me in
26:02 this will I be confident one thing have
26:05 I desired of the Lord that will I seek
26:08 after that I may dwell in the house of
26:11 the Lord all the days of my life to
26:14 behold the beauty of the lord and to
26:16 inquire in his temple for in the time of
26:19 trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion
26:22 in the secret of his tabernacle shall he
26:24 hide me he should set me up on a rock
26:27 and now shall minehead be lifted up
26:30 above mine enemies round about me
26:33 therefore what I offering his tabernacle
26:36 sacrifices of joy I will sing yeah I
26:39 will sing praises unto the Lord hear O
26:42 Lord when I cry with my voice have mercy
26:44 also upon me and answer me when now said
26:47 seiki my faith my heart said unto thee
26:50 thy face Lord will I seek hide not thy
26:54 face far from me but not thy servant
26:56 away in anger thou hast been my help
26:59 leave me not neither forsake me oh god
27:02 my salvation when my mother and father’s
27:05 forsake me then the Lord will take me up
27:08 teach me thy way O Lord and lead me in a
27:11 plain pass because of mine enemies
27:13 deliver me not over unto the will of
27:16 mine enemies for false witnesses are
27:18 risen up against him and such as breathe
27:21 out cruelty I had fainted unless I had
27:25 believed to see the goodness of the Lord
27:27 in the land of the living wait on the
27:29 Lord be of good courage and he shall
27:31 strengthen thine heart wait I say on the
27:34 Lord that touches me and you know I
27:39 think from the time I moved to Kingston
27:42 went to my church later that has been my
27:45 rock yeah I like that to a book singing
27:50 praises unto the Lord and I miss it i
27:53 miss my church for that i miss my
27:55 congregation know so I singer yeah right
28:02 now I’m reading I know if you’ve heard
28:03 of st. John of the Cross the dark night
28:05 of the soul it’s it’s a mystical work
28:08 Spanish mystic yeah but he’s talking
28:11 about the sort of purgatory that you can
28:13 go through here instead of waiting and
28:16 going through it there the sort of
28:18 dryness like you talk about your longing
28:20 for church st. John of the Cross would I
28:23 think see that as a purification like
28:27 you know what you want you can’t get it
28:28 and it’s a purification got to bring you
28:30 closer through through a lack you know
28:32 just like my fasting that I’m doing it’s
28:34 sort of like the point is to get closer
28:36 to God and to cleanse yourself yeah and
28:38 I think if you if you have betrayal
28:40 among friends family whatever it is or a
28:42 neighbor that too removes you from the
28:46 pleasures of life and the things that
28:48 were made for really ultimately and by
28:50 being removed from that you have no
28:52 choice but to turn to God what else are
28:53 you going to do kill yourself those are
28:55 the two options you know you can go to
28:57 life or you can go to death so I think
28:59 the troubles of life in the events
29:02 illness and aging and sickness and death
29:03 they’re all part of this purification
29:06 and part of that communion that comes so
29:08 naturally to you now turning to God
29:10 right and this is what I’m working on
29:12 daily is sort of trying to see
29:15 everything as an opportunity everything
29:17 the good the bad and the ugly because
29:19 normally it’s just like when’s my next
29:21 meal and then when I’m done that meal
29:23 it’s like one of the next meal pure
29:25 selfishness this reminded me to of going
29:31 to the doctor when I was in the midst of
29:34 my chronic fatigue he said ever consider
29:37 suicide I said never suicide often
29:41 homicide
29:48 have you ever considered suicide
29:50 seriously no I have a great respect for
29:52 life and what it brings and I don’t I’ve
29:55 never had the rules of you that life has
29:57 to be all rosy you get what you get and
30:01 you deal with it or you go on and forget
30:07 about that just to wrap up a final
30:11 thought what would you say to anyone
30:12 that’s listening I’m not much of a
30:14 preacher but I could say as Shakespeare
30:20 said this above all to thine own self be
30:26 true and it must follow as the night the
30:29 day thou canst not then be false to any
30:33 man pull mrs. Vyse two-layer diesel be
30:40 yourself yeah I know yourself and trust
30:50 in the Lord if you like it will do if
30:57 you think it’s well you’ve got some
30:59 questions piano tell all you got to do
31:02 is s all you got to do is

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