Year of Sundays

Year of Sundays


St. Mary’s Cathedral Gives Good Church

posted by Amanda P. Westmont

It’s not going to come as a shock to anyone that the likelihood of me ever ending up a Catholic is slim (See also: never). I have no intention of becoming a Scientologist, either, but wild horses couldn’t keep me from attending a Dianetics lecture over the course of this project. Some Sundays, I see myself as a shopper and I’m genuinely looking for a church that fits well enough for me to take it home. Others weeks, I’m just a spectator looking for a good performance.

One of our favorite commenters, the lovely Jules, understood this when she invited us to join her for Ash Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral. She knew we’d be attending as observers and she welcomed us anyway, bless her heart. I tried not to feel bad, because, as the woman sitting next to me who asked if we wanted to become Catholics said, “Don’t worry, it’s not like we get any extra heaven points for recruiting.”

So what did I observe? A whole lotta pomp and circumstance in a bright beautiful church.

Is it me or is that totally a MAN-baby?

I’m pretty sure all those pointy hats and velvet robes make the guilt taste better when you swallow it, but I found myself with a lot of questions like,

“Why does the priest SING all the prayers? Is it so he doesn’t forget them?”

“Why do altar boys always look so tortured and punished?”

“And gay?”

“Why is that baby screaming so loud?”

“No seriously? Is that BABY DAMIEN?”

“I wonder what THAT chick’s sin was this week?”

“And ooh! What about THAT guy’s?”

CURIOUS MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

But then Jules’ lovely choir would stand up and haunt the air with the most spectacular harmonies I’ve ever heard and I would TOTALLY get it. Catholicism is ancient and beautiful. It reminds you that being human is ancient and beautiful. It’s strange and ritualistic, too, but that’s part of the appeal. Although, to be honest, the choir director had plenty of appeal herself. I know this is Catholic church and all, but she had these magnificently expressive hands and then she’d start singing along with the choir and I dunno, leave it to me to think of something better to do with those lips. And hands. Clearly I’m too queer to ever be Catholic.

“Be merciful o lord,” said the banner on the stage behind the choir, “for I have sinned.” If thinking dirty thoughts in church is a sin, then SIGN ME UP. Joel and I can think of some fun things to do in those confessional booths!

[Sorry, Jules!] [But you knew that already.]

I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help but think about sex in Catholic church. I once had a lover named John who was a staunch Catholic and I remember asking him once to share his faith with me, to take me to church with him so I could experience it as a way of bringing us closer together. His answer? “I can’t go because I can’t take communion until I’ve been to confession.” Apparently that thing we did Sunday morning before the church bells tolled was a huge sin.

Really? Because I just thought it was a beautiful expression of human affection.

In all seriousness, I thought the church was lovely. I thought the Archbishop delivered a warm, gentle sermon, in spite of the focus on all of us being sinning pieces of human waste. He was approachable and kind about it, which as far as I’m concerned is as much as you could care to ask for in a Catholic church. The Catholic church will always lose this erotica-writing pervert with its “sex for procreation only” stance, but it will never cease to get my respect. Especially if it continues to produce beautiful souls like John and Jules.



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Mrs Marcos

posted March 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm


Amanda P. Westmont wrote: “Especially since my lesbian sister can’t marry her girlfriend. Does that mean she should be celibate?”

Technically (according to the Church), yes, she should be celibate. The whole sex outside of marriage thing is really going to throw the Church off when same sex marriage becomes law because they will have to rewrite some official doctrine to account for same sex marriages. In my humble opinion, anyone that wants to get married should be able to get married. Marriage is a CIVIL right and has nothing to do with religion.

Oh, and just so you know, I’m all for the unmarried sex. Not trying to change your mind or anything! Promise :)



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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm


LIKE.



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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm


Jennifer,

I have no plans to ever marry again and I think we both know that doesn’t mean I’ll stop having sex any time soon. So the sex for MARRIED people thing will always be a hitch in my getalong. Especially since my lesbian sister can’t marry her girlfriend. Does that mean she should be celibate? Given my stance on the human necessity for SKIN, I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy.



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Amanda P. Westmont

posted March 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm


I’ve been meaning to respond for days, Jules! Such is life.

It’s funny, I have definitely noticed that male or female, I’m attracted to passion. Your choir director has that in spades so it’s really no wonder…

I adore John. We’re still friends. But the Catholic thing was a bit of a deal-breaker for us. I wanted to respect it, but that makes it VERY hard for a girl like me.

It was so great to meet you! We’ll have to do it again soon!



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Jules

posted March 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm


Oh Amanda! Love you too! You did not disappoint with this post-yes, I totally knew what I was getting in for. Though really-in those get-ups, what do you expect an adolescent boy to look like?

And of course-who do you think was the only person I managed to tell about your visit prior to Mass? And promised a link of your review? yep. Thank goodness she has a great sense of humor and isn’t a homophobe. She thinks you’re very direct and quite entertaining. Direct is certainly one way to describe you!

And no need for apologies-I’m the one that planted the idea about the confessionals.

Glad you liked the choir-singing is another form of prayer and it truly soothes my soul and lifts my spirits.

And that crying baby! I KNOW! It sounded like she/he was being tortured with Holy Water. Poor thing-it couldn’t have been more than a week old . . . Were there any natural disasters in the week before Ash Wednesday-cuz then I could totally buy your Damien argument.

The recruiting comment? love it.

As for your ex, John-that’s a pretty hard stance to take. I certainly don’t go to confession every week, but still take communion. I don’t know many who do. I try to do “official” confessions before Christmas and before Easter-but it doesn’t always happen. I actually hate confessionals and prefer to do a face-to-face confession (yes, I’m weird), but I have no problem (and I don’t think God does either)-if I simply pray and confess my sins directly to God. Obviously, I not a “staunch” Catholic, but I do my best. ;)



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LizP

posted March 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm


In Judiasm sex is a mitzvah (good deed). Just sayin’ … ;-)



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Mrs Marcos

posted March 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm


Amanda P. Westmont wrote:

“The catholic church will always lose this erotica-writing pervert with its “sex for procreation only” stance,”

I’m not a die hard Catholic but I can tell you that isn’t the official stance of the Catholic Church. The Church believes sex is something to be shared between a married couple as an expression of love. And the way birth control works its way in is because there shouldn’t be any barriers during this expression of love.

And the whole “giving up something for lent” isn’t because it pleases God or Jesus, it is to serve as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for our sins. Example – you give up coffee for lent but every morning you get to work and head to the coffee pot, you see the pots of coffee and imagine how wonderful it will be to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and then you remember “Crap, I gave up coffee for lent.” You’re making a personal sacrifice as a reminder to yourself what Jesus did for us. Personally, I don’t think Jesus gives two hoots about our individual sacrifices.

Like I said, I’m not a die hard Catholic. I love the Church because I was raised in the Church and attended Catholic school through 8th grade. The 2,000+ years of tradition move me. Did you know that at every single Catholic Church had the same readings and Gospel the day you were there? It is called the liturgical calendar and every Catholic Church follows the liturgical calendar. I also love the “pomp and circumstance” of a typical church season Also, did you know the ashes that were smeared upon your forehead are made from the left over palms from the prior year’s Palm Sunday. The word “Catholic” actually means “universal.” I’ve always loved knowing that.

Now, having said that, I actually fit in quite well in a church similar to “The Bridge.” I refuse to think of God.and or Jesus as evil dictators, but I do enjoy a nice sermon now and then. Minnesota is a bit out of your map circle but on the off chance you’re ever in the area try to catch at visit to our church, “Open Circle .”.



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