No matter how hard we try, my family is always late to church.
My brother’s in New Hampshire with my mother; he’s getting dropped off at summer camp tomorrow. My sister’s out having a social life. My dog is my dog. My father and I are the only ones who go to church tonight.
(Saturday five o’clock Mass is always better than Sunday morning Mass for one reason: It’s not on Sunday morning.)
When we arrive at the church, we have to stand in the vestibule for a few minutes and scan the pews for an empty spot. There’s a space about five rows from the back, and we make our way through the aisle as the organist plays some hymn and a chick sings about Jesus being her rock or whatever.
I hate High Masses. I hate the singing. It makes the Mass take forever. What could be done in totally monotonous speech in five seconds takes about four times longer when you’re singing it. For example, “Alleluia” becomes “aaaAAAAA - llllleeeeeeEEEEEeeee - luuuuUUUUUuuuuu-iaaAAAAAAaaa.” It’s awful.
We’ve already missed the first reading. Doesn’t matter. I’m willing to bet money I don’t have that it was someletter from Saint Paul to the Corinthians and started out with the words “brothers and sisters…”
Besides, we miss the first reading every week. Sometimes we even miss the second one. I’m pretty sure we’re not missing much.
I scan through the first reading anyways. It’s about some prophet being all “I’m too young!” or whatever.
(I know how you feel, amigo.)
I stop paying attention and start thinking about school. All I think is about school. I hate that. I can’t help it. Ten minutes somehow pass, and Father What’s-His-Name moves onto his homily.
(Or maybe it’s supposed to be a Homily, not a homily. Whatever.)
Ok, so first things first. I like punk music because punk music is political without being in-your-face political. If I disagree with the message in a particular song, then I can just listen to the music instead, and everything’s fine. But when a Catholic priest starts getting political, it’s not as if I can just zone out and listen to the raspy voice of an old man and still enjoy it.
He starts talking about abortion. Sick. Great. I remember being in eighth grade CCD class, when McCain was running against Obama. Our teachers had one of the priests come in to give us pro-McCain/pro-life pamphlets they wanted us to show our parents. I’m pretty sure I used mine to blow my nose.
Then the priest starts going off about how religious liberties are being threatened. Coming from the Catholic church, that’s
… absolutely ridiculous.
When I see posts on tumblr of photographs of Bibles being burned with the caption “COOL STORY BRO,” that pisses me off, because I find it to be completely offensive. Yeah, the Catholic church can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can post shit like that. No one on this website would even dare post a picture of someone burning the Qur’an, so what the fuck makes you think it’s okay to do that to the Bible? And I hate when I see pictures of the Pope on tumblr with comments making statements that the Pope should fucking sell everything he has and give it to the poor instead of sitting on his ass on a golden throne. The Pope doesn’t receive a fucking salary, you morons, and furthermore, the Catholic Church is the largest charity in the world. Oh, and the worst is when people say that if the Church REALLY wanted to do good, they would just sell the Vatican and give the money to the starving people of the world.
The Vatican is a COUNTRY. YOU JUST CAN’T FUCKING SELL THE VATICAN.
ok I completely forgot where I was going with this, but yeah, out of all the religions expressed on tumblr, Catholicism definitely takes a serious beating.
Oh, right, I remember where I was going. Despite the fact that a ton of tumblr users give the Church a lot of shit, it’s absolutely ridiculous that the Church is concerned about its religious liberties being threatened.
The priest starts talking about something called the Fortnight for Freedom. He says that the Catholic Church is being threatened by the American government, so the Archdiocese has launched a campaign lasting from this past Thursday to the Fourth of July. (According to one of the information cards I took from the back of the church, the Fortnight for Freedom is “a special time of prayer, fasting, education, and witness for a new birth of religious freedom in our beloved country.”)
The priest continues on to explain that the Fortnight is necessary because of Obama’s statement that insurance plans should cover birth control. He starts going off on how abortion and birth control are SINS, and in promoting birth control, the government is threatening the Catholic religion.
I start to regret going to Mass tonight.
As he continues to talk, my head starts swarming with all the (largely useless) information I know about abortion and birth control. Father What’s-His-Name mentions that the government is somehow violating First Amendment rights of Catholics by doing something that goes against their religion. Roe v. Wade pops into my head. I’m pretty sure banning abortion contradicts the Bill of Rights- there’s some amendment in there that can be applied to the situation and would support the fact that a woman’s body is her own property or whatever, and therefore she has the right to do what she wants with it.
I’m getting sick of this guy’s spiel. I hate this priest and I hate what he’s saying and I want him to shut up.
I wonder why I’m even here. Here in this church, I mean. Religion freaks me out. I’m just another member in one giant cult, worshipping some guy I never met who got crucified that one time. It’s kind of sick, and it’s kind of pathetic.
I don’t know why I’m here.
No, I do know. I’m here because I hate the thought of the dead people I know rotting under six feet of earth in a coffin. I’d much rather envision them sitting on a cloud in Heaven, doing crossword puzzles with Jesus or something. I don’t go to church because I’ve found God; I go because I’m desperately searching for Him. I don’t have anything to believe in anymore, and I need something.
Then, Father What’s-His-Name starts talking about gay marriage.
In therapy, they teach you to be able to notice physiological responses to emotion. As the priest talks about how homosexuality is a SIN and that gay marriage is a SIN, I can feel every single muscle in my body tense up. Heat rises in my cheeks as blood rushes to my head. I start twisting my rings around on my fingers.
He calls Catholics who support gay marriage and birth control hypocrites. He tells us we are denying God. “You can’t just ignore that entire aspect of Catholicism,” he says.
Actually, I think “sneers” is more accurate. He practically spits the words at us.
Basically, the rest of his Homily is pretty much along the lines of GOD HATES FAGS AND THERE ARE FAGS EVERYWHERE AND IF GAY MARRIAGE BECOMES LEGAL IN ANOTHER STATE THEN THAT’S A THREAT TO OUR RELIGION. OH AND ABORTION IS ALSO BAD AND IF YOU USE BIRTH CONTROL YOU WILL GO TO HELL.
I want to leave. I don’t give a shit about God anymore; the only thing I give a shit about is getting out of this fucking church. But I’m stuck and can’t go anywhere. I can’t make a scene. That would humiliate my father and bring dishonor to my family or some other weird Asian shit like that. So I stay put.
When the homily - oh, sorry, the Homily - is over, the organ starts playing again, and we all have to line up and eat the Jesus Cookie - I mean, the symbolic flesh of the Messiah. (Fuck, I am definitely going to Hell.)
When I get to the front of the line, Father What’s-His-Face holds up the Eucharist (oh right, that’s what it’s called) in front of my face and says, “The Body of Christ.”
I try very very hard to resist smacking him.
“Amen,” I say. He places the Jesus Cookie in my hands, and I eat it.
I want to spit it out. I hate that it’s in my mouth. I never hated the Catholic Church quite so much. I used to be a pretty liberal Catholic - you know, interpreting the religion in my own way so that it fit with my personal beliefs as well. But according to the priest, that makes me a raging hypocrite and an insult to my own religion. So I guess maybe I’m not a Catholic, then. There’s got to be some type of other Church out there for us hypocrites, because I can’t deal with this shit anymore.
I swallow the Jesus Cookie. I hate that now it’s stuck inside my stomach.
I am infuriated that the Church is using freedom of a religion as a method of discrimination. It’s backwards, and it’s sick. The religious liberties of the Church aren’t being threatened. It’s the Church itself who’s doing the threatening of liberties, and that pisses me off. Yeah, we have freedom of religion, and that’s great and all, but freedom of religion doesn’t give a religion the freedom to fucking shove its beliefs down other people’s throats and deny civil liberties to those whose beliefs or lifestyles don’t agree with that religion’s. Religion should not justify being a total dick to people.
I start walking to the back of the church. When I get to my pew, an old woman steps aside to let me enter it, but I continue walking all the way to the very back of the church. Out of habit, I dip my fingers into the bowl of Holy Water and make the Sign of the Cross. I immediately hate myself for doing that.
I walk out of the church.
I probably won’t be going back there for a while.