Death in a building where I know some people. A devoutly Catholic man. The family arranged a funeral mass at home. Two priests preside over a gathering of friends and family. Quiet words, some tears and hugs. Then, nearing the end of the mass, the priests ask those gathered to come forward to accept communion.
Two voices ring out from the back, almost in chorus. "Only Catholics! Communion only for Catholics!"
And I think, not for the first time, give me my agnosticism.
Some time later, another death in the same building. A Hindu lady, affectionate sort who always had time for the kids. She lies in her flat for most of a morning, then when the priest arrives, she is carried downstairs to wait for the vehicle that will take her to the crematorium. Large group of family and friends, again quiet words, some tears and hugs.
The vehicle arrives. The priest directs four or five men to pick up the lady on her stretcher. Among them is someone with a Catholic name, also resident in the building and fond of the lady, clearly the youngest and fittest of the little group.
Another building resident waves him, and only him, away. "Don't pick it up," he says brusquely. "Let the others do it."
And I think again, give me my agnosticism.