Soldiers of God (Chapter 6, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 6

"If you don't mind my cigar, sit down and join me, por favor."

The man smiled, reached across the table, offering a calloused hand.

A day laborer, perhaps, but not a farmer. Probably early thirties, but this land ages everyone prematurely. "Soy Pedro Mejia, padre."

"Padre Quintero." He shook the offered hand. "You're not from my parish."

"No, I have become Pentecostal. I was born Catholic, though, and there is my dilemma."

"It sounds more like it should be mine, not yours," said Quintero with a tired sigh. "As a Catholic priest, I might be inclined to think that I haven't done my job but, like I said, you're not from my parish. Still, we must conclude that the Church didn't do its job, and I am part of the Church."

The young man didn't seem amused by his attempt at polite banter.

"The problem is that I have fallen in love with a Catholic girl. Can I marry her and stay Pentecostal?"

"Can she marry you and stay Catholic?"

"What do you mean? Would she have to give up her religion?"

"She must be married in the Church for the Church to recognize the marriage. And if you want to be married in the Church, you would have to agree to raise any of your children in the Catholic tradition. That's all relative to my Church. You can also get married in yours which has basically the same requirements. These are not contradictory requirements, especially here so close to the border. So my answer is, get married in both churches. Padre Valderrama and I have even performed the ceremony together on neutral ground."

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