During the conversation my plans for IVF came up. That's not unusual. In fact, we talk about it a lot. There's only so much I can say about Warren, and my mom isn't so interested in Perl or Warcraft, so that leaves my infertility as the major topic of conversation.
I don't remember exactly how it came up, I think I was discussing with my mom the odds of the IVF, and my increased risk etc. Mom jokingly said, "Maybe I'll ask your Aunt Mary to say a (some prayer starting with N that I can't spell) for you." I was startled, laughed, and shot right back, "Only if you tell her why." I then made some comment about how Aunt Mary already believes I am going to hell, which caused Mom to ask a question that revealed that she hadn't know that IVF was against Catholic teaching. That's what shocked me.
At this point I think a bit of background is in order. My Aunt Mary is my mother's half sister. She is 14 years older that Mom, and they are so different its hard to believe that they are related at all. Religion is one of those areas where the difference is most apparent. Aunt Mary is one of those super-devout Catholics who goes to church every day and protests outside of abortion clinics. Mom, on the other hand, left the Catholic church when she was pregnant with me, is pro-choice, and is a strong advocate of birth control. Mom is a very tolerant and open-minded person. Aunt Mary, upon learning that I was pagan, began calling my mother regularly and lecturing her about how I was going to hell.
I must say that there are plenty of Catholics that I would be more than happy to have praying for me. My Aunt Mary is not one of them. I'm just not so happy about the idea of someone praying for me who is not only truly convinced of my impending eternal damnation but also feels the need to lecture my mother about it. On the other hand, it would be terribly ironic if she were asked to pray for the success my IVF in light of the church's position on such things, hence my joking caveat: "Only if you tell her why." I was shocked when Mom didn't get my joke, partly because it meant she may not have been entirely joking in her initial suggestion. Of course Mom left the church before I was born, so that was years before the first successful IVF, but even so I found it weird that the woman who spent 13 years in Catholic school knew less about the Catholic Church's position on IVF than her heathen daughter.
A sad footnote to all this is that Aunt Mary's own daughter, my cousin Laura, also has infertility caused by endometriosis. Laura is one of those really super nice people. By anyone's standard she totally didn't deserve for something so icky to happen to her. She has two lovely adopted daughters now. At least the extended family can rule out the wrath of a vengeful deity as the cause of infertility.