The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, October 22, 2007

My Secret Catholic Life

My maternal Grandmother suffered from Dementia. One of the common symptoms of this disease is the sufferer sometimes reacts as if they are living in different eras of their life from one moment to the next. This was especially poignant when she would ask me, “Who are you?” when I visited her after she suffered a heart attack. How could I explain to her that I was her son Tom’s son when she thought she was living in a reality where she hadn’t even gotten married, much less had my father; the fourth kid out of seven.

One of the unexpected byproducts of her mental state was the unearthing of a secret from when I was born: while she baby-sat me, she had me baptized in the Catholic church without my parent’s permission. My parents had resisted my relatives attempts to indoctrinate me to religion, with Bible comic books and babysitting gigs filled with stories from scripture. But we didn't find out about this until I was almost 30.

It wasn’t at all like when I found out I had ADHD, where the separate clues in my life suddenly bound together as one reality. There was no, “Ah, HA!” moment with Catholicism, I spent many a Catholic Mass or ceremony lost in the choreography of the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Marys.
“And also with you.” Missed that one too! That came out of nowhere, why couldn’t I remember to say that when the priest said, “Peace be with you?” I was always the last person to stand up and sit down. I looked around and everyone else is lock step like they had rehearsed it, and I guess they did, every Sunday.

That’s the problem that I have with the Catholic Church- the Church, not Catholics personally- they’re so caught up in ceremony and seeming virtuous that they’ve lost sight of the fact that they have lost their moral authority. You could site examples of the questionable behavior that the Catholic Church was both active in(the Inquisition) and more passive (the Holocaust). Even discounting those historical examples, the Priest sex abuse scandals and the network of denial that kept them going as long as they could is more than enough to lose the needle on the moral compass. From my own perspective, the only people surprised by the Catholic priest scandal were non-Catholics and Catholics in blinding denial. But now there is no denying what had been going on; if my grandmother hadn’t died, this surely would have killed her.

I think that child abuse is one of the most dangerous and damaging things ever. It’s almost like the Amway of crimes; Robbery victims don’t typically start robbing people afterward, but children that are sexually abused often go on to abuse many other children, and so on.

I think the sin of the Catholic Church is pride; I guess that’s to be expected when Jesus starts your church. Dogma allows the Catholic Church to change and update sins and getting rid of Limbo altogether. They can always hold the afterlife over us because they’re much better at the great unknown than the great known. They only have us by our faith, and that is often more than enough.

Of course I can say all of this, I am Catholic after all. That’s the benefit of my Grandmom’s clandestine water-splashing, which I’ve never held it against her, by the way. Because of this one ritual, according to Catholic Dogma I’ll eventually land in Heaven; after a long detour in Purgatory, I’m sure.

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