Meditations in a Catholic church

A few months back I went to the wedding of one of my wife Dani's friends.  This time it was a Protestant marrying a Catholic in the latter's church.  Dani had to shush me the whole time because I kept saying "fucking bullshit" about everything.  We are (or I should say Dani is) friends with one of the groomsmen and his wife.

After the ceremony was over, we were all standing around while the photographer was snapping the portraits.  I had brought my own camera and showed the groomsman a picture I had just taken of a sign posted on the organ at the back of the church that read "Please do not touch organ."  I said they should put that on the altar boys.  He didn't get it for a second before it dawned on him.  "That's wrong," he muttered, and tried to pretend he hadn't heard it.

If you think about it, his reaction pretty much encapsulates the pattern that keeps 1.1 billion other members of the Church in denial while the nightly news endlessly details how their supposed moral leaders raped children for decades and then continued to cover up for one another for decades beyond that.  Those "leaders" are now paying indulgences like they once sold to their pre-Reformation flock.  Of course, today it's still the flock that's paying... on the order of millions of dollars.  These are offerings from their congregations who are complicit in the crimes they're bankrolling and ought to be tried as accessories after the fact.

You would think that a scandal of that order of magnitude would serve as a wake-up call to parishioners that the people and policies of their religion are not only grounded in less-than-heavenly desires, but that they're inane beyond belief... literally.  Let's ignore the dark not-so-secret(-anymore) underbelly of the Church though and think for a second about some of the glaringly insane disconnects that seem to go unnoticed by the unquestioning faithful.

For example, for the duration of the ceremony, I kept trying to figure out how warning bells don't go off when you're being counseled on an impending marriage by a man who has willingly taken a vow never to be married.  To say the very least, this goes against everything I've ever read about marketing strategies.  Honestly, when have you ever seen a situation in which the spokesperson publicly takes an oath never to try the product?  What kind of an endorsement would that make for?  I keep trying to figure out the message here.  Is it that marriage is some how beneath priests and nuns?  Coupled to the never-ending wave of scandals, one can't help but think that the example the Church puts forward for its members to emulate is to eschew women of any legal age and instead pursue little boys.  But here again we have a huge disconnect.

How are we to reconcile this example with the Church's insane opposition to homosexuality?  Then again, there would have to be much self-loathing at the core of a group that prides itself on guilt and even physical mortification.  The parallels with the S&M scene are striking (if you'll pardon the pun).  Here's a group that espouses confession as a sacrament and yet they avoid confessing their sins and owning up to their guilt when have so very much to be guilty for... even if the statute of limitations has expired during all those years Church officials held potential prosecutions of their number at bay through their usual game of denial and obfuscation.

Of course, pedophilia may be the base reason (in more than one sense) why the Church is so vehemently opposed to birth control: To keep a fresh supply coming through the ranks.  Seriously, why else should the Church's leadership care when they shouldn't (at least theoretically) ever have need of anything down that aisle at the pharmacy?  And don't even get them started on the subject of abortion.

Dani’s friends, the groomsman mentioned above and his wife, were only too happy to crank out babies for the Lord, but wait.  What's this?  Well, the Church gets a little schizo here as well.  And why not?  After all, they're abundantly skilled in the practice of compartmentalization.  It seems that they want to put constraints on how it must be done and, guess what?  Dani's holier than thou friends didn't read the fine print.  Apparently the Pope regards making babies via in vitro methods as "morally unacceptable."  No kidding; those were his words.*

*The text straight from the horse's ass can be found on the Vatican's site:

To this day, I'm not sure if Dani's friends realize what the Pope thinks of them or that they're going to hell for getting a doctor to intervene on behalf of the groom’s sperm and its poor motility.  Odds are they don't have any clue.  If they actually read any of the Church's tripe, they would be compelled to abandon their religion in favor of reality.

Alternatively, maybe they're keenly aware of even the obscure ramblings of this ideological dinosaur and they just get by on the unacknowledged sacrament that lets priests glide through their own lives on: Hypocrisy.

Copyright 2007 Alexplorer.  Minor edits 2008.
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