Friday, February 6, 2015

Stubbornly Hanging On To The Past

In my memoir, I spend a good number of pages telling about my difficulty in being a good Catholic boy.

At moments since writing "Did You Ever See A Horse Go By?" I've thought that my story is old, outdated and irrelevant.

But I keep reading articles that make me think that the difficulties I experienced as a young gay kid are just as relevant now; and with some of the religious backlash that's been going on, more relevant than ever.

I think the Catholic Church in the 1950s and 1960s, despite its old school traditional thinking, was a lot more subtle in its admonitions than it is today, Pope Francis notwithstanding.

Things were not always spelled out then, and when they were, it was with what may well have been, to a young child or adolescent, code words - words like self abuse, adultery, heavy petting, impure thoughts, and the like.

But somehow, some of us, if not most of us, got the message. But our transgressions, however, were only discussed in the privacy of the confessional.
The list of possible and morally suspect transgressions are now being spelled out in no uncertain terms: “public support of or publicly living together outside marriage, public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock, public support of or homosexual lifestyle,” as well as support or use of abortion, surrogacy, artificial insemination..."

Funny, no specific mention is made of supporting corporations that hoard money and make their executives wealthy off the backs of the poor, or supporting the death penalty, or violence against sexual or ethnic or racial minorities or abuse of children, women, and others, or trading in human lives or injustice in the legal system, overcrowded prisons, poverty, raping the envioronment, etc, etc.

Instead, bishops and archbishops like Cordileone in San Francisco are devising moral litmus tests for school teachers and school employees  (and HERE) that require professed adherence to these cleric's rigid and often misguided interpretations of Catholic dogma and tradition.

In addition, they are now calling their teachers and I assume the janitor and the secretaries "ministers"  - legal rather than religious language that will permit them to discriminate against/terminate any employee who does not pass or fails to maintain passing the litmus test of orthodoxy, and without cause - or recourse to legal action by the fired employee.

So, yeah, things change and things remain the same. And, yeah, perhaps my little memoir still has some relevance in 2015.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, some things I couldn't even confess even back then. I looked at it this way, the priest was only a man. As such I did not trust the priest with a confession. And I correctly had a fear of admitting to my teenage transgressions wasn't in my best interest.

    So I went through the motions. Probably because this was about the time I'd figured out it was all bovine effluent and not much else.

    It's funny - everyone thought I was a saint. Friends called me a prude. I can now assure them that I was no such thing. I realized image was everything.

    I have this odd notion that the things I do are MY business and my business alone.



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