Blasphemy at Mexico City Cathedral
MEXICO CITY, Mexico- For nearly 250 years Spaniards in Mexico have been directing the building of what has come to be known as the Metropolitan Cathedral, which sits on the north side of the zocalo in the historic center of the city. This cathedral also sits directly on top of what was once the most prominent temple of the Aztecs, and construction began right after the Spanish laid claim to the city. What they built is still the oldest and largest cathedral in the Americas.
This cathedral is seriously huge — bell towers, a huge dome, carvings, spires. The Spanish Gothic style lead the creative impetus. I walked into this cathedral with my wife and daughter, and strolled through the various parts and sections, then took a seat on the east side on a step leading up to a fenced in alter. I looked over the building with awe: the stones used in the construction of the arches and ceiling were truly massive.
It is said that cathedrals and other religious buildings throughout the world are build as pious monuments to God, but as I took in the gargantuan dimensions and the total and complete ornateness of this building I could only think that it proved a better testament to the power of Man.
How could my species, at any time, build such an amazing structure?
Then my daughter Petra began yelling:
“Allah, Allah, Allah!”
Over and over again.
Not thinking that this is probably the best thing for her to be yelling amongst Christian company in one of the most holy of sites of Mexico, I balked at hushing her up, but doubled over in laughter instead.
“Allah, Allah, Allah!” Petra continued chanting.
She was not actually praying to God in the Muslim name, but was actually saying the Spanish word, “Ala,” which means “wing” and happens to be the name of her newest stuffed animal — a bird. Something obviously provoked a memory of this toy, and she ran through the cathedral in search of it. She was searching for something she would not find in a Christian cathedral.
“Ala, Ala, Ala!”
A crowd of piously praying Mexicans and bewildered tourists starred at her. A man dressed in a sharp black suit with slicked back hair and a head piece scurried across the cathedral to scold us. A quick exit was in order.
Though Petra’s blasphemy was not finished yet, and proved to be religiously indiscriminate. Outside of the cathedral there are windows upon the the ground surface that allow visitors to peer down into some of the Aztec ruins that had been excavated beneath. My daughter proved equally impervious to respecting the Aztec faith as she did the Christian as she jumped upon the window, pointed down into the abyss, and began shouting, “Jugetes! Jugetes!” Apparently, she thought the ancient Aztecs may have provisioned their now ruined and buried temple with toys.
The crowd laughed — this time they laughed with us proud parents. Our little daughter was born punk.