I had to go in on an ex parte matter last Friday, only to find opposing party had retained co-counsel. The attorney, Lisa Meyer, I learned after the fact is a Big name on the Westside and has represented Hollywood celebrities. Good for her - I doubt I could stand my life if I had a clientele of some of the most dysfunctional people in the world.
But she said a strange thing to me and I first thought, how ignorant and stupid is that?, and then realized sadly, it is us Catholics who are to blame.
Last Friday, the conversation between counsel became heated at times and Ms. Meyer said to me, "How can you say that? Aren't you a woman of the cloth?" I looked at her oddly and she turned to her co-counsel and asked, "Didn't you tell me she's a reverend or something?" The other opposing counsel seemed embarrassed, because she and I had talked to each other on a friendlier and more eprsonal level previously in this case, when I had discussed that I was a Eucharistic Minister at my parish. She mumbled something to that effect. Ms. Meyer breezily waved her arm, saying, "Okay, see, so you're a minister at your church . . ." and went on.
As I said, I thought that was incredibly ignorant because this attorney is no slouch and has been around for several millennia - and she doesn't know something like that? But then it occurred to me - chances are the Catholics with whom she has come into contact likely do not know the difference themselves. In fact, I venture to say she has likely never met a practicing Catholic who can speak competently to topics like changes brought by Vatican II (whether you agree with them or not), Marian doctrine, or tenets of the faith such as Transubstantiation.
This is not to suggest Lisa Meyer is an ignoramus, but this is more about, well, CINOs - Catholics in Name Only - who present to the world a very shallow and stereotyped view of the Faith. You can see it in stupid t-shirts like "I Survived Catholic School" or jokes about "penguins" and Catholic school girls. So, to someone like this attorney, a term "Eucharistic Minister" means I am up there on Sunday, a-preachin' hellfire and brimstone.
So, I retract my earlier thought and hope that in a subtle way one less person will be ignorant about the Catholic faith after this case is finished. No, no proselytizing - I leave that to the Witnesses who stand outside of courthouses and those nice young men on bicycles. After all, that's not the Catholic way, now, is it?
 The "Westside" to anyone living in what liberals call those "flyover" states means the westside of Los Angeles where liberalism, agnosticism, and money abounds. Big shots. Movie stars. Places to be seen. Horrible traffic but no dearth of valet parking. Versus the Eastside where, according to the Westside, cholos run rampant, you can't find a decent latte, and housekeepers and nannies live. As compared to the Inland Empire where everyone are toothless hillbillies on meth. And the OC is, of course, just too cool to be considered anything but, well, "the O.C."
 I told the story to my priest and did offer to take the English Masses for him this weekend, to give him and Fr. Michael a break. Maybe he'll let me concelebrate the Easter Vigil.
 Though now at work I am getting teased and greeted with, "Ah, it's Mother Stephanie . . ." or "the Reverend Richer" which has that fun alliteration. In turn, I joked that I will sign all correspondence to this attorney with, "Yours in Christ . . ."