When my cousin decided to marry a Catholic, my family was horrified. Her parents tried to talk her out of it, to no avail. The wedding was in a Catholic church, of course, and on the appointed day, family and friends made the trek from my hometown to Fargo for the ceremony.

We gathered in small, uncomfortable groups in front of the wood framed building. Most of us had never been in a Catholic church before. We didn’t know what to expect. We conversed gloomily, making small talk, boring each other to death as Lutherans will.

I recalled the stories I heard when I was a child about the arsenal of weapons that the Catholics had hidden away in the basement of their churches, preparing against an attack, perhaps, or possibly a coup d’etat. Even then I doubted that there was any truth to the rumor, but growing up, I was as wary of Catholics as the rest of my Scandinavian brethren.

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