The Priest and me
I had a very nice time in Kansas. The group of gentlemen I usually spend my time with while in that fair state are lots and lots of laughs (and when it comes down to it, what else do you need to have a good time).
The wedding itself was on par with my past Catholic Wedding experiences (save one very traumatic wedding where the beer served was deceptively nonalcoholic-eeeeek!). A big thanks to Floyd and Dan for the fun times.
So, one of my wedding highlights was peaked during the priests speech about the meaning of the word "love" in Greek. There are several versions and I have certainly heard this bit before. But, I recalled reading the Gnostic Gospels which includes the book of Mary, and I wondered when it was translated into Greek, which word was used to describe the love between Mary Magdalene and Jesus ( topic that fascinated me throughout undergrad).
So during the reception, the Priest was there, and I went up to him (and yes, I was a bit drunk) and talked a little shop. In college, I was close to two of the Jesuit priests. In fact, I believe that if I were Catholic, certain about God and male, I would have been a Jesuit because they are some of the best people I have ever known.
Anyway, this priest was not a Jesuit, but he was very nice and didn’t seem to mind my rambling at all. I first asked my initial question, but he wasn’t familiar with the Gnostic Gospels. I will try to compose some of the more interesting bits of the conversation I remember:
Priest: What faith are you?
V: Christian Church, I mean protestant, but I went to a Jesuit college so I think a lot of Priests.
P: Well, you’ll be a Catholic before too long.
V: I doubt it. I don’t like the direction the Church is going in.
P: No, what do you mean?
V: Well, I am a little frustrated that you all spend so much time talking about abortion.
P: You don’t value life? Don’t you value you mother’s decision to keep you through her pregnancy?
V: Sure, but I mean more politically. I think you are a shill for the Republican agenda.
P: That’s interesting, even with our social justice stances?
V: I like those stances, but nobody listens to you on those anymore. They just take your anti-abortion and run with it. I think it’s crazy you all let them use that the way you do.
P: We have many other issues and give considerably to Catholic charities and orphanages.
V: I know, I like a lot of what you all stand for. But look at what you have leading the parade. In front of your own church where the ceremony was today you have a “Life if Sacred” billboard. It’s not about the poor or forgiveness or anything like that. There are neighborhoods in Wichita that have living children and people that need more help than unborn children.
P: But we can work for all these issues.
V: I guess you can, but you don’t. Republicans get you all riled up here in the red states and you elect idiots who agree with you on ONE issue when there are democrats who agree with you on every other position. And why wouldn’t Republicans do this, you all have a lot of power in these communities.
P: That’s interesting.
V: I mean I was at your church a couple months ago and there was a table outside the sanctuary or whatever with several brochures on the evils of abortion and an actual plastic fetus doll thing. There was no information on helping the poor in Wichita or anything. I just find it frustrating as someone who believes in many of the teaching of Jesus and many of the positions of the church. I know this church is one of the most important in this community. And, think of all the good you could be doing if you used the anti-abortion energies on something that would actually help those in poverty.
P: I understand your frustration and you have given me some things to think about.
A little more of the same and it was time for me to go. The Priest and I talked for about 45 minutes. I really respect people who are able to talk openly about something they hold so close and in fact, dedicate their life to. Of course I thought I was right, and he also did, but it was good to talk openly about something that can make people feel uncomfortable.
I was taught that you cannot believe in anything unless someone has challenged you on it and challenged you again.