John Paul II
So, I go to work this morning ... and one of my courteous, helpful co-workers makes a bee line for my office. Oddly enough, it was the same ray of sunshine that I mentioned here. Go figure. The hits just keep on coming.
So she waltzes into my office and blurts out, "Hey, you're a Catholic, aren't you?" Aw, hell. It's Monday morning, I'm 10 minutes late getting to work, and now this. It's obviously a loaded question. I can't lie ... I've worked with her for almost fifteen years. She's seen me eating fish on certain Fridays ... we've discussed what I've given up for Lent ... and, most damning, she's seen me in my Catholic schoolgirl uniform after I wore it as a costume one Halloween. I'm pretty much screwed.
So, I admit it ... I'm a Catholic. To which she says, "You know, a lot of people think he didn't do crap." I look at her like a monkey staring at a math problem. "Who?" She sighs deeply as though I'm a complete idiot and says, "The pope!" I am now starting to repeat phrases ... and I do sound like a complete idiot. "The Pope didn't do crap?" She nods ... and then strides off as though she's just imparted me with the wisdom of the gods.
Why ... in the name of GOD ... would you go up to someone on a Monday morning and make that kind of announcement? Was she trying to be funny or clever? Did she think she was making a well-informed, politically-charged statement? I mean ... "You know, a lot of people think he didn't do crap" ... hell, that's not even grammatically correct ... let alone kind or considerate. Was I suppose to agree? Laugh? Beat the shit out of her?
I suppose I should just be thankful that she's wearing her hate and ignorance on her sleeve instead of cloaking it in faux sorrow like some people. I've seen all sorts of people ... some from the religious right ... who are on the news singing the praises of John Paul. They all pronounce him a holy man ... and a few go as far as to say that he ended the cold war single-handedly. But some of these same people privately declare that all Catholics are going to hell. Cup of irony anyone? Large slice of hypocrisy to go, please.
For what it's worth, I believe the Catholic church has miles to go. I'm no ostrich and I see the faults just as clearly as any fundamentalist.
I believe women have to be given more responsibility and priviledge within the church. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world ... and in order for us to steer our children in the way of Catholicism, we're going to have to be allowed to participate in our religion more than just showing up for communion and driving the kids to CYO meetings.
I believe that priests should be allowed to marry and have children. We're creating an unhealthy atmosphere that breeds the type of situations where child molesters thrive. There's a serious shortage of priests in the U.S. and I believe we'd see a massive return to the church if the Holy See allowed their clerics to have families.
I believe it's time to allow birth control. Everyone laughs at Monty Python's song "Every Sperm Is Sacred" ... but that's exactly what our leaders believe. Our culture and economy make it impossible to support a family of thirteen children ... so why force church members to lie and take birth control "on the sly." It makes no sense!
I could go on forever ... and bore the crap right out of you. I know, my mom would say that if you believe a part ... you must believe the whole. And therein lies the reason why I haven't taken communion for years. I don't believe the whole.
But I'm hoping the next Pope will take a small step towards moving us forward ... and the one after that will take another step ... and maybe in my lifetime I'll be able to take communion with a clear conscience. Where there's life ... there's hope.
Hope of deliverance
Hope of deliverance
From the darkness that surrounds us
Paul McCartney - Hope of Deliverance