The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Elvis Costello: “Nuns taught me to read…”

Elvis-Costello.gif The musician weighs in on religion and his Catholic upbringing in an interview with the Globe and Mail:

There are a number of songs addressing religion on the album, but they don’t seem anti-religious so much as opposed to the abuse of religion.


I’m suspicious of people who think they know what God knows. Myself, I actually think that’s blasphemy.

I once sat on the steps of a church with an Orthodox Ethiopian boy. And he said, ‘Are you Orthodox?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And I thought that was very beautiful, that he thought it was more a sorrowful thing, than he hated me because I wasn’t what he was, you know?

You were brought up Catholic?

Yes, I was. I don’t go to church, or have the beliefs I was brought up in. But I grew up just after the scare-you-out-of-your-wits era, and didn’t encounter any of the unfortunate people for whom, perhaps, the demands of the prohibitions were too great for their nature, and hence these horrendous abuses of the power that they had over children. I had friends who did experience it. But I won’t just fall in with the demonization of the clergy, because I have in my life kind experiences [with priests and nuns]. I mean, nuns taught me to read, That was my fortune, and somebody else will have a totally different experience. And that’s the danger of making these broad statements, that ‘all those people over there, they’re all this thing.’

You can read more here.

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