Calling all Catholics, lapsed Catholics and ex Catholics. I'd call forth the Methodists, Baptists and Episcopalians too, but right now I'm focusing on my lineage. Cutting right to the chase here, why in the year of our Lord 2013, is this travesty called the election of a new pope going on in the manner in which it is going on. And why, pray tell, is that Cardinal Mahoney tweeting like a teenager (oops) that everything is going well over there at the Vatican this week? Why is he there and not behind another walled-in pad called a prison? And what oh what in Jesus' holy name has it all got to do with Jesus, in the first place? That's the biggest question of them all, really.
Forgive me Father for I am about to sin but not a damned thing.
For centuries Catholics have put up with this man made manufactured crap. It can't even be called "out dated" because it never reflected the life nor the teachings of the man called Jesus. Whether one believes that the man Jesus was or is the son of God made flesh, really isn't the point. He was indeed a man whose sole mission was to teach love, forgiveness, peace and kindness to all mankind. (And women-kind.) That was his mission, vocation and life. He was a simple man, born poor and died poor. A man without artifice or pomp. He wore plain robes and sandals. No fancy silk gowns, ruby encrusted hats or red leather slippers for Him. He hung with the common people, living, working and walking beside them. Not above and apart from them in a walled world of his own. Yes, and let me think, have I ever in all of my years growing up in a Catholic household or attending Catholic schools, come across a picture of a bejeweled Jesus? I would have noticed believe me. I could rattle off descriptions of rings, bracelets, earrings worn by my mother and my aunts from the time I got my first pair of eyeglasses at 10 and could see them clearly! I've always been an observer of beautiful things. To this day my husband will say in astonishment, "How did you notice that?" when I say "Did you see that ring" referring to a particular piece worn by an actress on TV. Talent or flaw, I'm still saying show me a picture of Jesus wearing a 10 kt ruby on his finger and I'll eat my engagement ring.
Sadly much of what has gone on at the Vatican for years, for centuries, has little to nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. We have been duped. We are a flock of sheep all right. A flock of good little sheep that have been fed astro turf by the selfish Sheppards passing it off as organic grass. Over the years, these Sheppards have taken the words and teachings of Jesus and fashioned them into a huge life style for themselves and their cohorts. To be fair, they are, after all, only men still steeped in that original sin, greed. Also, as most men are, these guys are tempted by the sins of the flesh. Some, as we know, commit sins of the flesh.
Getting back to Jesus, can we stop for a moment and imagine Him arriving at the Vatican today. Seriously think about it. You don't have to be a Catholic or even a Christian to do this exercise. I have done it. I've closed my eyes and imagined Him walking into the conclave of Cardinals in their finery and fancy jewels. Imagined Him walking into the Vatican dining room, watching them being served the finest cuisine on that special Vatican china, watching the wine being poured into those spotless crystal goblets and in my minds eye I see Him getting mad as hell. Madder than he was when he threw the money lenders out of the temple. Furious and betrayed by these posers. The way we should be.
Do we rise up and start a movement; the Take Back Jesus movement to get Him away from the charlatans who have used and abused His name and made a mockery of everything He spent his life teaching, preaching and living by? Maybe. If that's what it takes. Can we start with that famous line from the movie, "Network," "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"? Because we all should be. Covering up sexual abuse and paying huge settlements to make them go away, living the high life of princes and kings while people all over the world go hungry, flashing the bling while ordinary people die of diseases that need funding for research in order to be eradicated. Has no one told these fine fathers the going price of gold these days? Couple of those fancy gold chalices could bring badly needed clean drinking water to parts of Africa.
Again, I say, calling all Catholics, past or present: If you have a sense of Jesus, of His teachings, of his message of love and kindness, speak up and out. When so much about the Catholic Church seems both antiquated and sick at this moment, like a building whose foundation is crumbling, maybe it needs to come down and be rebuilt differently.
To be stripped of all artifice and left to stand on what it is suppose to be. The vessel of Jesus' teaching with teachers who are examples of Jesus here on earth.
Listening to friends who are Bill Maher wanna-bes and converts, who say we don't need churches, I remember the passage "Whenever three or more are gathered in My name," from the Bible. To me this is about coming together to lift each other up and to create energy. You know, form a crowd, raise a ruckus and create energy for good. It's really all about creating a community that will look after each other and keep the ideals of doing good while helping, teaching and loving each other, alive and thriving. If that could be done without all of the trimmings and trappings, meddling and peddling, the idea of church might not repulse so many.
Ah, if it all didn't wind its way into greed and corruption. But there you have it, that old original sin and the question it brings up; is man capable of rising above greed? I, for one, would love to see us try.
Over the weekend I had brunch with a good friend, a successful comedy writer who was eager to try out a couple of new jokes on me. One joke was funnier than the next and of course each joke was about the "conclave." The one about if you see black smoke the voting is over, if you see pink smoke a cute alter boy walked by, would have cracked me up if it weren't just so damn painful. Comedy is one way of dealing with tragedy. It is relief to a degree. It doesn't change the situation, just our response in handling it. To me the Catholic Church is a tragedy, and that is no laughing matter. It brings to mind what my mother used to say when my sisters and I were acting wildly, laughing hysterically; "you're laughing now but you'll be crying in a minute." She was always right.
Personally, I think Catholics have been crying for years and maybe now is the time to stop the joking, stop the crying and start emulating Jesus. Remember, that humble Dude the Catholic Church is supposedly all about.