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(photo explained below)

No es muy Católico (it’s not very Catholic) is what you say in Chile (or what they say, I haven’t quite gotten my brain around this one), when you’re talking about something that’s not quite right. The last time I heard it, a friend had prepared a dish that didn’t exactly zig where it was supposed to, and ended up somewhat unconventional (but still delicious). It was a dessert made of cherimoya and a whole bunch of sugar and cream and probably gelatin, and it was more liquidy than he had planned, and well, you know, “not very Catholic.”

Because I spend a lot of time asking people about language, some of my friends have now taken it upon themselves to wonder about their language themselves. And so, untriggered by me, three of my friends recently had a conversation about what it meant for something to be “not very Catholic.” They settled on “unexpected, nontraditional, not quite right,” and then asked me if we had a similar expression in English. And all I could some up with was a similar use of the word “kosher” or “not kosher” (but strangely, not “traif” which is the word that means “not kosher.”) where a situation seems not to be exactly on the up and up, where we would say something like “that doesn’t sound very kosher to me.”

And of course, I’m living in a majority Catholic and definitely majority Catholic-controlled country, and so certainly I don’t expect anyone to start talking about whether or not something is kosher.

But re: Catholicism, I wasn’t really expecting this either (explanation follows):





(From the Cuasimodo celebration at the Maipú Temple in 2010. This event comes from times when bandits would attack priests on their rounds to give communion to shut-ins after Easter. A citizen militia joined in to accompany them on their rounds, and this is what remains of the tradition. The most old-timey one is in Colina, but the logistics didn’t work out, so here are some photos from Maipú. Margaret has put hers up as well (Go look! But then come back).