Driving back from Charlottesville, I spent part of the time on the phone with Justin, my West Coast blogger friend, who chides me at times for intellectualizing too much and not telling readers what I feel in my heart. Perhaps he's right in some ways, but I guess after 30+ years as an attorney the logic/intellectual approach to things is just very ingrained. So, now I am going to tell you some thoughts and feelings from last night and this morning when I made the sacrifice and went to mass with my mother.
A couple of things struck me as I sat in the church. The contrast between the club the night before and the atmosphere and demeanor of those in the church could not be more striking. At the club there was an over all mood of fun and happiness and people seemed to really be enjoying themselves and enjoying just being alive. It was vibrant and energizing. A celebration of life, if you will. A case in point was one of the frat boy couples who were clearly having fun dancing with each other, smiling a lot, and seemed to be really in love with each other. In terms of my feelings, I felt comfortable in my own skin and surroundings and obviously could just be me - a gay guy who loves to dance. It felt good. Ok, perhaps I felt a little lust too since there were some gorgeous guys on the dance floor.
This morning at mass, the atmosphere was sullen -which was not helped by the truly horrific music selections, causing me to wonder why with so many nice hymns Catholic services usually have terrible music. No one seemed to be enjoying themselves, including the young Dominican priests - I seriously wonder what possessed them to join the priesthood. An effort to atone for being gay perhaps or some similar imagined transgression?? The basic message was that we humans are vile, dirty, nasty, fallen, pieces of garbage all of whom are destined for Hell if we fail to follow the minutia of rules and regulations promulgated by the Church hierarchy. In terms of feelings, I felt anger, perhaps even rage, that the Church continues to do its utmost to make people feel bad about themselves. I could not help but look at the young high school/college age guys in the congregation and wonder how many of them were having their minds f*cked up as mine had been growing up in the Church. I had to use some extreme self-control at one point during the part of the mass where members of the congregation can offer up prayers. One woman seat fairly close by offered up a prayer for persecuted Christians around the world, after which all the people in church responded "Lord hear our prayer." My immediate thought was to offer up a prayer: let us pray for all those being persecuted by Christians around the world. As I said, I used self-control and held my tongue rather than cause an incident.
I felt anger and rage at one other point - when I saw a stack of booklets put out by the Knights of Columbus - the religious fraternal order that kept sex abuse victim intimidator and bully, Bishop Timothy Daily, as Supreme Chaplain for several years even AFTER Daily's roll in the Boston scandal became known. Nothing like "supporting" families by threatening them to remain silent after their children have been sexual molested by priests. Suffice it to say as one severely plagued by "same sex attraction," I figured I needed ALL of those booklets. Be assured that I have distributed them to a proper receptacle. :) You can say one thing for the Roman Catholic Church: it has made hypocrisy a high art form.