R.L. SAUNDERS

writer attempting real life in the middle of everybody else's vacation

White smoke up the asses of the masses

on March 14, 2013

Pope Schmope. I’m sick of it. Probably because the Catholic Church sickens me. I know it’s not good for business to talk much about politics or religion (same-same), but this isn’t about theism for me as much as it’s about giving a disgusting amount of positive media attention to an organization that doesn’t recognize humans born with vaginas as fit for significant official leadership roles.

Vagina, vagina, vagina. If that makes you want to cover your ears and run away (and I know some of you who feel that way), evaluate why that’s the case. Really.

I was raised Catholic. School and all. I had my first child, a son, baptized Catholic. He made his First Communion, too. Then I had a daughter. I was young and felt bound by tradition and respect for my parents’ beliefs, so I had her baptized Catholic also.

But by First Communion time I couldn’t do it any more. I couldn’t, in good conscience, put my little girl in a white dress and marry her off to a Church that doesn’t even practice the most basic gender equity. Doing so would have been a huge parenting failure, from my perspective. We know better now and it’s our responsibility to have the balls–excuse me, vaginas–to break the cycle of insanity for our children. It’s the right thing to do, despite the guilt we’ve been raised to have about that.

There are a zillion paths to Goodness. But, Catholic women friends, if you can’t bring yourselves to break from the traditions you’re comfortable with, for Christ’s sake, would you at least work harder within your church to demand the same opportunities as your penis-wielding counterparts?

It’s bullshit. Tell your priest it’s bullshit. Open up conversation after conversation about it. Talk about it right during goddamn coffee and donuts. Ask your priest if he believes women should have equal opportunity in the Church. If he thinks so, ask him what he’s actively doing toward that end. How much does it mean to him? What is he willing to risk for what’s right? What about you?

If you must stay, do what you can to bring change. Stop giving them money, for starters. Change of this nature is not too much for you to ask. In fact, I think it’s pathetic that you’re not doing more to demand change while continuing to raise your children in the Church.

Stop acting like you enjoy getting that white smoke blown up your ass. The Church, as it stands, depends on your helplessness. Stop acting so fucking helpless. You’re not.

In my opinion.

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22 responses to “White smoke up the asses of the masses

  1. Non Follower from Key West says:

    Thank you R.L. for being brave enough to state your mind (obviously testosterone overdose is not a prerequisite for bravery.) As a non-Catholic this entire Pope thing absolutely amazes me. It seems that the Church has perfected mind control and power grab through a convoluted set of ritualistic , mumbo-jumbo activities which so far have worked well for them. Since power is an ultimate aphrodesiac it is no wonder they hold on to it so dearly at the expense of many of their subjects, especially helpless children and women. I keep wondering how many impoverished souls could be fed, clothed and housed with money spent on edifices, garments and precious metals ?

  2. Steve W says:

    You and I grew up in quite similar circumstances and share in the same jaded view of the church. As I tell people, “I grew up Catholic, but I feel much better now.” The only thing I will say that looks to be positive is this dude’s bent on being humble and focus on helping the poor. I hope that he can get the church to take a break from their issues with condoms and their gay bashing for a bit to focus on helping people who need help. Maybe if they can spend their efforts ending world hunger, or eradicating diseases, and helping people help themselves maybe they can make the world a bit better. They could even sell some of the crap pilling up in the back rooms of the Vatican and pay for some of these things. Novel idea, eh? That is my hope.
    Of course, even if they did do this (which they won’t) it still wouldn’t make me believe is some old guy wearing a white beard sitting on a cloud.

    • R.L. Saunders says:

      I feel much better now, too!Yeah, I’m with you–there are a lot of problems there. I was trying to stay focused (short blog post style).

  3. Greatest blog header ever!

    I am a Catholic, albeit a non-traditional one. I’m so non-traditional that my worship takes place in a joint community with Lutherans (and there are Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Methodists in our ranks too.) We are progressive (our Lutheran pastor is a woman) and we are a member of the Community of Welcoming Congregations, which specifically welcomes LGBTQ people. We have extended our hands in solidarity with local Muslims and Jews. We preach a Gospel of solidarity with the oppressed. Our God is not an old guy with a white beard, but the Source of All Life and Blessing.

    I pray for the Pope, although I do not pay him much heed. I hope to live my life as called by Jesus, not through the dogmas and doctrines of the Church. I do not leave because I believe in working for change from within.

    Thus ends the sermon.

    Here’s the info about our band of brigands who worship the rebel Jesus: http://www.motaspirit.org/

  4. Marie says:

    I’m married to Mike (above), and I was raised Lutheran. When Mike and I had three boys, I pretty much insisted that they be baptized Lutheran for exactly the reasons you wrote about. Also, I remember Mike talking about wanting to be a priest (or a nun!) when he was younger, and he could not have pursued a spiritual calling and still be married and have children (unless he did it the other way around and then became celibate, which I think is the weirdest thing ever). I love so many Catholics, but I am with you on not being able to understand how they put up with all the sexist crap.

    • R.L. Saunders says:

      Hi, Marie! Thanks! I love so many Catholics, too. That’s probably why I care to write about it. Nice to meet you!

  5. Emily says:

    Damn girl. You are such a great writer. You always make me think. Laugh too, of course, and sometimes cry. But mostly think.

  6. Born and raised a Catholic.. Have practiced Lutheran for the last 10 years… Interesting article.

  7. Oh Rhonda, I hear ya loud & clear. Greg & I struggle so much with this. We were happy, non-practicing Catholics for years, and then… we had kids. We live in a terrible school district & looked high & low for a good, affordable school… and ended up at an incredible Catholic school. There are moments (like Natalie’s 1st Confession last month — UGH) where I wanted to run, but the fact is, the school is the best fit for my kids at this moment in time. Beautiful art & music program, latest technology, down-to-earth teachers & families… and the religion BS isn’t forced down their throats. A big focus at our school is about giving back to the community, which is another thing I love — and yet, don’t remember learning much about at the Catholic school I attended way back when. I don’t know if we alone have the power to change the attitude toward woman throughout the Catholic church, but I do look for opportunities to discuss these issues with the clergy; working on changing the things we can. For example, I managed to get a certain Grandmother you know to use the $$ she was sending to Right To Life each month toward the girls’ education instead. Tiny victory, but I’ll take it.

    Thanks for writing such a raw & honest post.

    • R.L. Saunders says:

      Go you! That’s no tiny victory!

      I hear the school dilemma a lot and went to school with non-Catholics whose parents felt it was better than the alternatives, despite the religion. We have one Catholic school here but it doesn’t seem to stand out, so no dilemma there. I think honest, age-appropriate discussions about women (and so many other issues) in the Church are important to have and I don’t think your girls will ever be afraid to to ask good, direct questions! They have great role models.

  8. Suzie says:

    God – in the Bible – is actually ‘the ONE’ who dictates that the leadership roles in the church are to held by males. It’s not a ‘Catholic’ rule… it is one of Gods. Just thought you should know that.

    • R.L. Saunders says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing your interpretation.

    • Marie says:

      Nowhere does the bible (or Jesus) say that only men can be church leaders. Nowhere. Jesus treated women as equal to men. If you are going to believe that God made such a rule, I hope you follow everything else the bible says…to the letter. Eat any shrimp or pork? Do you believe in slavery or incest? Polygamy? How about spousal abuse?

  9. Susie says:

    Fortunately, we live in a society that provides us with freedom of religion. If Catholicism is no longer your cup of tea, you have the freedom to move on and make another selection. (I am also a no-longer practicing Catholic.) However, it is unfair for you to assume that every woman who is a part of the Catholic Church follows the beliefs that you’ve outlined in this article, and it is wrong of you to demand that THEY take actions (your last paragraph) according to YOUR beliefs. Shouldn’t we all be *accepting* of one another’s beliefs, and allowing everyone to have their own lives, morals, and values without intrusion from others? Isn’t this called TOLERANCE? You don’t have to agree, you just have to accept. (And move on/go do your thing elsewhere.)

    • R.L. Saunders says:

      We live in freedom to choose because people continue to work for change. I’m intolerant of oppression of human beings by other human beings, especially on the basis of things like gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. I’m comfortable calling people to action in my own way, and signing my name to it. We’re unlikely to agree on much, but thank you for reading and for your continued interest.

    • Marie says:

      Nowhere does she say that every Catholic woman agrees with her. That’s not the point. Yes, she does encourage women to speak up and demand gender equality in the church instead of staying silent. It’s about “giving a disgusting amount of positive media attention to an organization that doesn’t recognize humans born with vaginas as fit for significant official leadership roles.”

      Do you really believe that if Jesus were amongst us today, he would have banned women in leadership? He the one who ate with tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and the homeless? He found grace and beauty in the most neglected ones…the ones who were denied their rights. Jesus would have fought for women to have just the same rights as men.

      But more important, this is HER blog, so she has the right to express any opinions she damn well pleases. That’s the purpose of a blog. Just as she does not have to be a Catholic any more (and I’m guessing you must have moved onto another conservative Christian denomination that also does not allow clergywomen), you do not have to read her blog. To say that she is being unfair or wrong by expressing her own opinions on her personal blog is ridiculous.

  10. Key West Liberal says:

    Religious belief should be held in the highest respect and tolerance. However mind control and abuse in the guise of religious beliefs is a sin against God, humanity and should not be tolerated.

  11. Angie says:

    It’s not the gender equality issues that bother me so much as the hypocritical nature of the church. There is too much judging other people for their “sins” and not nearly enough mirrors for those judging to look at themselves and their choices. I’m having all of my kids confirmed because if they want to be a part of the church when they get older they will have the option and because my mom would loose her mind if I don’t. She really doesn’t ask for much.

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