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

Author Recorded Saturday April 15th, 2017

There are 31 episodes in the Versus:Protestant series.


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


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

Author Recorded August 14th, 2016

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