Vicar of Scorched Earth: Ratzinger Coming to U.S. to Preach Homophobia
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I used to be a Catholic. Until surprisingly recently, I guess, I retained a residual affection for the bells and whistles of the religion I was born into, and in which I spent many, many years. If you're an aesthete, for example, the Quakers and the Baptists and the Methodists don't really have too much to offer (well, I guess the Baptists have music....)--nothing that matches the colored light pouring in through stained glass, the interwoven narratives in the paintings, the surge of organ music, the heady smell of incense, the tang of cheap wine on the tongue. Catholics realized long ago that if you want to fill the seats, you have to put on a good show, and that show is deeply interwoven into my consciousness, regardless of any epistemological implications. It's like the taste of Mallomars.
Of course, it doesn't take much reflection to realize that Mallomars are filled with corn syrup and horses' hooves, and while you can bracket off that information temporarily, you probably will have to face it eventually.
And so Catholicism and I had a horses' hooves moment, almost exactly three years ago now. Pope Benedict was the breaker for me. Catholics had a chance to turn away from hatred, to rediscover their moral compass (and by moral I mean worrying more about whether someone is fed than who they're fucking), to make a real difference. They could have cast aside William Donohue in favor of Dorothy Day, but they didn't.
My late mother hated Cardinal Ratzinger, who headed an enforcer's office we used to call The Inquisition, hated him with all the passion of someone who spent their life obeying their church only to see the church betray them when they actually went to put their beliefs into practice.