Saturday, May 27, 2006

How to be Catholic in the DaVinci Code era

When my cowsin D came to visit from the Philippines, he asked me "Oh did you read that DaVinci Code?" as he shook his head, and had that 'it blew my mind' look on his face. "Really makes you think, huh?"

Not really. Actually, my answer was "hmph."

First of all, it's fiction.

Second, I'm a Catholic who works in a Catholic context. We talked about the possibility Jesus being married to Mary Magdaline a long time ago, way before the book. Maybe he was. It's not really central to my faith. The Good News was that God loves everyone (e.g., poor people, women, children, lepers, Jews, Greeks, Samaritans, Romans, tax collectors, prostitutes... homosexuals, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, death row inmates, even Catholics); salvation is open to everyone, not just the pious who can afford big Temple sacrifices.

So maybe the misogynistic church hierarchy conspired to supress the truth about Mary Magdaline. What's new? I don't care. My faith doesn't come from them.

The Church itself tests my faith far more than the DaVinci Code, or Dogma, or anything that Hollywood markets to Protestant America. If you really want to test somebody's faith, if you really want to see some cages rattled, you wait until an angry, practicing Catholic makes a movie.

A couple other notes about life as a Catholic:

  • Mel Gibson's Passion was shocking to Americans because they had lost touch with the violence of the crucifixion. It wasn't a shock to us Filipinos, though, because in some ways, violence and suffering is our favorite part of the Gospel. (insert pictures of Kapangpangans crucifying themselves).
  • Why do people blame the Jews for the crucifixion, when EVERYBODY KNOWS it was the Romans? The Romans weren't working for the Jews! Every Sunday, we say "He was cruxified under Pontius Pilate. Pilate washed his hands.... because THEY WERE DIRTY. We are Roman Catholics, practicing the Roman Rite, in the Roman tradtion. Our headquarters is in Rome. We are what is left of the Roman Empire. We are the Romans. We cruxified Jesus, think about how that works. Jesus "died for us" because we killed him. So leave the Jews alone.
  • The picture above is of Madonna singing Like a Virgin. You conservatives are not gonna fall for it are you? You know it's what she does, and you know it's more about YOU and your conservative sensibilities than it is about Jesus Christ. Come on, are you kidding? Do you not EXPECT this from Madonna yet? This all started when you freaked out about the "Like a Prayer" video... rather that actually watching it.
  • Here's why I can be a pro-choice American and a consistent-ethic-of-life Catholic. It's not that hard.
  • RB once asked me how I can disagree with the Vatican and still call myself a Catholic. "Isn't religion all-or-nothing?" he asked. Answer: that is a protestant attitude toward religion; I am not a protestant; no, religion doesn't have to be all-or-nothing, what an odd assumption. I guess that would explain why you'd have to leave and start your own church!
  • Best Catholic moment of recent memory: when Cardinal Mahoney of LA called us to oppose the Sensenbrenner Bill. Sorry, Conclave, try again soon.


myrna said...

My great-great grandfather was a Roman Catholic priest. On his first mass as an ordained priest, a beautiful woman came to receive the Holy Communion. He fell in love with the beautiful woman and gave up his priesthood and married the beautiful woman.

My mother said, my great-great grandfather had a tiny book, (part of the Bible, maybe) that he never shared with anyone. On his deathbed, he told my mother that the book contained some secret information about the Bible. He would have to destroy it before he passed on. He ate the tiny book(!) (How gross! comment.)

your co-worker's sis said...

I'm with you on the best recent proud to be a Catholic moment. I work for Cardinal Mahony in L.A. and say what you will, but this is what Catholicism is about. Catholic means Universal. That means everyone...not the white anglos who came to this country 150 years ago. Jesus was all about the marginalized...and that means the immigrants.