As someone who grew up in a religious household, the word “grace” reminds me of my days as a faithful, devout, Catholic. Keep in mind that this was before I was 18 and I had about as much freedom over my personal choices as Steadman. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem too bad at that time, I just felt very conflicted. I remember serving mass as an altar boy and praying to God to please just let me have just one fantasy about a tit (at the time, the fantasies were pretty exclusively centered around Ralph Machio). It used to make me feel really guilty to pray for such a thing, although as I got older, I realized I was probably praying for the same thing as the priest. For a little background, Father Rick once said mass where he taught us about God’s love by playing Karen Carpenter’s Top of the World.
When I came out to my Mom, her biggest issue with it was because of her religion. She just kept walking around saying, “We’re Catholic and it says in the Bible that man shall not lay with man as he does with women.” I remember thinking that I wasn’t in violation of that because I had no plans of laying with women, let alone the same way I did with a man. I’m not even sure there are many ways in which you could lay with women the same way you do with man. And really, if the Catholic Church and my parents didn’t want me to be gay, then they shouldn’t have sculptures of a half-naked, hot Israeli guy, with a perfect abs and loincloth hanging up all over the place.
Now the Catholic Church is experiencing its own fall from grace. It’s recently been revealed that there were many more cases of sexual abuse than previously reported and the pope may have played a part it covering it all up. The Church’s response to these allegations has been flippant and inflamed people’s furor. When the story first broke, they claimed that it was a modern-day witch-hunt (to be fair, the Catholic Church does know a lot about witch-hunts). The Church then went on to say the recent attention to these cases was similar to the anti-Semitism that plagued Germany. Again, a shameful comparison, unless, of course, they are burning Catholic literature in the streets and sending priests off to “labor camps”. Lastly, a spokesperson for the Church said this week that they are going to address the sexual abuse issue and that they are working to get it to a “manageable level.”
What is a manageable level of sexual abuse? It’s as if the Catholic Church thinks they’re a deli in New York City and the health department will allow them to have “manageable” number of cockroaches. Are they going to define “manageable” with some quotas? I can just picture a closed-door meeting at the Vatican where the pope starts out his power point presentation by saying, “As you can see in our first slide, we’ve already had 32 rectory reach arounds and 12 oral copulations, if we get anymore we are above our manageable level.” Their defense of these priests is obviously shameful and now the very institution that has taught me about grace must work diligently to re-establish it.
Photo Credit: ell brown