Friday, April 22, 2005

la chiesa

so everyone's bored with the catholic church by now. well, i guess there are some people who aren't (i.e. my crazy conservative catholic older brother, he's still pretty damn interested), but whatever.

the ny times's magazine this weekend included a sweet little article from colm toibin, which managed to be a hug with a too hard slap on the back about La Chiesa. my favorite parts, like the choice morsels of animal flesh at a banquet, are laid out for you...

on the ever-so-common "i'm a catholic but... (insert here: i'm gay, i'm a feminist, i support a woman's right to choose abortion, i think condoms should be handed out en masse in high schools, etc), toibin says,

What has happened among Catholics in developed and overdeveloped societies is that they have chosen the parts of the faith that matter to them and rejected the others. They have followed Jesus and the Catholic hierarchy on the primacy of love: they take care to love their spouses and partners, their children, their families, their neighbors as they love God. They worship with this as their primary motive.

They may also, with no bad conscience, use artificial contraception, vote for abortion rights candidates in elections, fall in love a second time and, should they be gay, refuse to deny their sexuality. They do not see these matters as central to their spirituality. Thus the church remains central to them; it is not just a place for baptisms, weddings and funerals. They will listen to it when it preaches about love, but not when it dictates on matters that they believe to be marginal to the message of Jesus.

the italics are mine, of course.

i love mass. i particularly love midnight mass on christmas morning, when the streets are still except for the lines of cars heading to the church. i love the crowds at that odd hour, i love the strength of the choir. the church feels so warm and intimate and massive, all at the same time. it's a marvel to me that in france, in belize, in uganda, in japan, wherever there are catholics, there is midnight mass on christmas full of bells and songs and hope. that's gorgeous.

i also hate the church's policy that because i'm queer as the day is long, female, feminist, and happy with myself, i'm essentially persona non grata to them. the church, frankly, hates my existence. it's so weird to me that jp2 said that we shouldn't hate gay people, per se, but we should hate the sin. so, the church says, "i don't mind that you're gay... but would you cut out all the "gay stuff" that you do?" um, guys, that's totally psychotic.

and thinking about jesus and whatnot, i'm a biblical scholar. well, i'll officially be a biblical scholar in the fall. so right now i guess one could say the church history is a hobby of mine. and i believe that there was a scrappy little guy from the boondocks of galilee who pissed off the right wing and (heh), rose a little hell in the process. do i believe that his mom just woke up preggers with him one morning? no. that's just silly. do i believe that he turned over the money changers tables at the temple? yeah, that'd piss off those in charge right quick.

i do believe that he was special, that he was charismatic and smart and a grrrreat PR man. i believe that he inspired people to make social and spiritual change. that's no small feat. and i believe that the existence of a person like that in history can give a small little queer lady like me hope. that there's hope for change. that there's hope for us all.

but this is far too heavy. here's a funny picture of our new boy ratzinger.

so funny, i snorted when i saw it.

the manolo, he is indeed the super fabulous.

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