Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Some other Pride Masses

First of all, thanks to all who offered kind words (and dinner recipes!) yesterday. I am doing much better today, and am grateful to be able to resume my normal activities.

Second, I had time to think about how to blog about this, and I've decided that humor would be the best approach. We've had plenty of serious stuff about this issue lately, and I think that the absurdity of what was done this weekend at St. Cecilia’s is best illustrated by highlighting it in a humorous way.

So, since I seldom do this, and since I want to make sure that easily-offended people know that the following news article is totally fake and that its resemblance to current events is completely coincidental, I would like to emphasize that this is merely humor, and not worth getting riled about:


In wake of successful Gay Pride Mass, pastor plans to celebrate "pride" in other sins

BOSTON--The phone keeps ringing in Father Sububi's office.

"No, no," the pastor of St. Cici's says with a frown. "The Fornicator's Pride Mass is next month, the Sunday after the Cohabitator's Pride Mass. Yes, I do realize that some people will want to come to both. That's fine. That's fine. See you then!"

In the wake of the recent and overwhelmingly successful Gay Pride Mass held at his parish, Father Sububi had a revelation.

"Seven hundred people," he says reflectively. "Do you know what a crowd of seven hundred can do for your collection basket? Especially when they're happy because you're affirming them, accepting them, and not bothering them with any petty reminders of, you know, the fact that their chosen lifestyle involves mortal sins and that they're possibly risking their souls?"

Father Sububi is not willing to go on the record as saying that sin doesn't exist, that Hell doesn't exist, or that the Church is wrong to say that both are very real. But his actions these days may be speaking louder than his words.

"We're doing the rest of the sexual sin pride Masses first," he says. "It seems logical. And straight people want to be affirmed in their fornication, in their adultery, in their porn habits, just as much as gays and lesbians do."

He admits that the Adultery Pride Mass posed a problem--not with his archbishop, who has made it clear that he won't interfere with the themed Masses at St. Cici's, but with the possibility of divorce attorneys or private investigators showing up to see who is there to admit to cheating on their marriages. "But we've solved that problem by making it a Masquerade Mass," Father Sububi says with a smile. "Our parish's chief liturgist suggested it, and everybody seems to like the idea of showing up in costume for that one."

Other "pride-in-our-sins" Masses will soon follow the sexual sin pride Masses, though some of them may be scheduled later than others.

"We really want to do a Dishonoring Our Parents Pride Mass, because we think it will be very popular with the youth of our parish," Father Sububi says. "But I want to schedule it for the next time we have the Prodigal Son reading on the liturgical calendar. The homily would work so well, as I teach the kids that they, too, can hate, diss, and rob their parents and their parents still have to take them back anyway, which is what the story of the Prodigal Son is all about."

In the meantime, Father Sububi has already contacted a local group to see about scheduling a Gluttony Pride Mass. "The story that week is about Lazarus and the rich man, and if I ignore the ending I can focus on all the great banqueting imagery," he says. "I'm really looking forward to the Gluttony Pride Mass, because if there's one thing gluttons know how to do, it's cook--so the potluck supper afterward should be amazing."

The phone rings again, and Father Sububi answers. "That date won't work for you either? Well, I'll have to get back to you," he says. "Sloth Pride," he comments, hanging up the phone. "It's hard to find an open Sunday evening that doesn't have a major sports event scheduled. Getting the slothful to take pride in their sloth isn't hard, but getting them to show up for anything is."

The Sloth Pride Mass isn't Father Sububi's biggest problem; nor, surprisingly enough, is the Anger Pride Mass--though Father Sububi admits that they will hire extra parking lot attendants and church ushers for that one. It's the Blasphemy Pride Mass that is causing the most trouble--mainly because the prideful blasphemers refuse to attend a Mass in an actual church building, and the archdiocese has yet to approve that the Blasphemy Pride Mass be held at the group's preferred location, the roof of an abandoned waste treatment facility. Again, Father Sububi refuses to go on record as saying that the archdiocese's stonewalling about the location is petty, but it is clear what he thinks.

"We have to do this," he says, tapping his fingers on his desk. "The Church used to be all about sin and salvation. They really pushed the notion that we could offend God by our actions. Now, of course, we know better. We have to learn to love ourselves in all our brokenness, and that means embracing our sins and being as proud of them as we are of our talents and our stock portfolios and everything else that's good about us. We don't offend God by our sins, and it's time we stopped being ashamed of them."

Does anything offend God?

"Maybe," Father Sububi admits. "I think He's pretty mad when we don't recycle. I mean, I'm not going to schedule a Trashing the Environment Pride Mass anytime soon. I have my limits."



Marty Q said...

"Fr. Sububi" - that's great!

Siarlys Jenkins said...

The Masque of the Red Letter?

That would be the costume for the Adultery Pride Mass.

And I see something along the lines of the "Seven Deadly Virtues" being added to the catechism.

Now, trying to be just a bit whimsically serious... after all, most Protestant, Jewish and Muslim religious institutions and teachings found something fundamentally wrong with homosexuality until a few decades ago, so its not strictly a Catholic thing...

Erin's humor neatly highlights why it is silly, as well as dangerous, to demand that a church's teaching on sin and salvation conform to a civil law.

Shall we forbid the Seventh Day Adventists to teach non-participation in the military, on the grounds that this is offensive to our brave soldiers in Afghanistan?

Shall we send police squadrons into "dry" churches to pour genuine communion WINE down the mouths of teetotalers?

Most of us know the story about the priest asking the rabbi, when are you going to try some ham, to be told, quite rightly, "At your wedding."

The First Amendment protects the right of any person to advocate issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and any legislator to vote for it, whether this or that church approves or not.

It also preserves the right of any church to teach that any given act is sinful, and why.

What does God think about it all? God knows, but if YOU accept that God doesn't approve, no matter how desirable it feels, it would be wise to refrain. If you don't accept it, and you are wrong, it would still be wise, but how would you know?

The First Amendment is about protecting diversity of belief, not demanding conformity to a state-dictated standard.

Red Cardigan said...

Siarlys, I have to give English lit major props to anybody who can combine Poe and Hawthorne so effortlessly. :) Nice!

Liz said...

One quick correction, so far as I know the Seventh Day Adventists don't object to serving the military (that would be the Quakers and the JW's), but they do object to working on Saturday...

I have been trying to come up with charitable reasons why Cardinal O'Malley would go along with this. I'll admit, I'm having a hard time, especially since it seemed to be about gays, not just about people with same sex attraction. My understanding is that people only identify with the term gay if they actually act on those inclinations. There's a very big difference between not rejecting someone who is attempting to live chastely even when they have serious temptations to sin and someone who is celebrating a lifestyle that the Christian Church has always seen as immoral. I thought Cardinal O'Malley was clear about that, but the local priest seemed to be pretty muddy on it. It appears that perhaps the good Cardinal might have been a little more explicit about what was acceptable and what wasn't. But perhaps it's just the spin of a secular paper?

Geoff G. said...

Liz wrote:

"My understanding is that people only identify with the term gay if they actually act on those inclinations."

Not true. To give one rather high-profile example, Eve Tushnet identifies as lesbian, but lives chastely as part of her Catholic faith.

This is actually a fairly common confusion among many straight people. Being "gay" or "lesbian" refers to who you are, not what you do. Many gay men are sexually active. Some are quite promiscuous. But some are not sexually active at all, either by choice or circumstance. Being gay says nothing whatsoever about how sexually active you are any more than being straight does.

The best way to look at this is to consider the following: Pick an unmarried Catholic. If he is true to his faith, he will not have sex with a woman until he marries her. But is he still sexually attracted to her? Is his orientation "straight?" Yes, on both counts.

In the same way, someone who is attracted to members of the same gender will still be gay or lesbian (or homosexual, or whatever...the label doesn't matter) regardless of whether he or she acts on those feelings or not.

In short, my reading of the Catechism leads me to believe that Catholics are called to reject a lifestyle that involves sexual activity (either homo- or heterosexual) outside of sacramental marriage, but should not reject a person on the basis of their orientation.

As I understand it, that was the distinction the Cardinal was making: by not allowing this Mass to proceed during a gay pride celebration, he expressed disapproval for the lifestyle as commonly practiced in the gay and lesbian community. But he endorsed reaching out to gay and lesbian people who either already are or who might (presumably) be convinced to lead a lifestyle in accordance with Catholic faith.

Geoff G. said...

Another example, this time of a man who identifies as being gay, but seems to be doing his best to live within the teachings of Catholicism.

This post seems particularly apropos of the question of orientation as a part of who you are (albeit in the context of not allowing any one aspect of your identity to dominate your life).

Anonymous said...

Nicely succinct!

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Thanks Erin.

Liz, you are right about the objection to working on Saturday, but the most famous example is a Seventh Day Adventist man who conscientiously objected to participation in war, agreed to serve as a medic, but for a time ALSO gave his chain of command headaches about serving on Sundays.

In any event, substitute JW or Q, the point is the same.

After going back to the reporting on the service approved by the Archdiocese, I wondered also whether any archdiocese would have approved a celebration of homosexual acts. Geoff has neatly summarized what I thought must have been the church's position.

By contrast, adulterous is not something you ARE, unless you have DONE the act.