The highlight of our city of New Orleans tour was St. Louis Cemetery No. 3. Since New Orleans is below sea level, the dead are buried in an above ground tomb. Many of the tombs are family tombs and some date back over one hundred years. Space is limited, so one tomb can hold as many as one hundred and eighty bodies. Our tour guide gave us a detailed account as to how the bodies were disposed. After a year, the bones were broken in small pieces and put into a bag and dropped into the very bottom of the tomb into what as known as “dead space”, and there they will rest until the resurrection.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history, architecture, customs, and people that make up this city of New Orleans, but throughout the tour I felt a slight anti-Catholic bias from him. I didn’t know there was such a thing as anti-Catholicism until I read Rome Sweet Home. The author was an anti-Catholic clergyman and converted to the Catholic faith. While I was reading that book, I discovered that I too had been raised anti-Catholic.
Where does an anti-Catholic attitude come? Who knows? Perhaps families and culture have passed it down through the centuries without even knowing that it was happening. In my own case, I had been taught about things that Catholics believed that was incorrect or a complete misunderstanding of the Catholic faith.
People in the Catholic Church have hurt many people throughout the centuries, and that is because the Church is made up of both saints and sinners. Our tour guide did express hope that Pope Francis could help heal the divisions that we have throughout the world. That healing could come through the true purpose of the Catholic Church, which is to proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s my hope that we can overcome our differences and love one another with the love of Jesus. After all, in our ultimate end here on earth, we will be all together occupying that “dead space”.