Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rabid Dogma

So you know what pisses me off?

Fat Priests.

Let me back up.

This morning I had to go to a funeral. It was awful. It was awful because the person that died was only 25 and had committed suicide. This was a cousin of mine (my father’s brother’s wife’s brother’s son) and he had always been a quiet guy, but apparently he had gotten so depressed recently that on Saturday, he killed himself. Such a waste… I didn’t really know him that well, but the few conversations we had were always pleasant. (I think the last extended conversation we had was about Junk Yard Wars. He was amazed that I enjoyed that show.) He has a younger brother, and a sister, and his girlfriend gave birth to their son 6 months ago. Oh man... His life had always been a bit of a drama, and that drama unfortunately ended in the worst way possible.

Now- I couldn’t attend the memorial, but I did decide to drive up to Jersey this morning and go to the church service and the cemetery.

NOW- please realize that all of what I’m about to say has NO bearing on what I think about this poor guy. I liked him and feel very sorry for his immediate family. However- I DO have a number of questions, and these relate to the stupidity of the CHURCH and not the circumstances of his demise, or the quality of his character.


We were in a Ukrainian Catholic Orthodox Church. The dogma of the church says that suicide is a sin. Those that commit suicide NOT ONLY aren’t allowed to have a church service, they’re supposed to go STRAIGHT TO HELL. Do you think this was brought up by the priest?

Well fuck no- and of course it SHOULDN’T HAVE- however… are there RULES or is this all just make it up as you go along? The priest that was performing the service (let’s call him Father Kishka) knew the family and agreed to perform the service. This was sort of being done AS A FAVOR.

What in high holy fuck is THAT about.

What kind of organization could POSSIBLY come to a family in it’s most depressingly DARKEST hour and say

“…uhhh.. well… we’re not SUPPOSED to do this but… ok.
I liked the kid. I’ll perform a service.”

Are they throwing in snow tires with a car purchase? Are they agreeing to ignore the water damage on the porch so that the condo can pass inspection? Is this like throwing in some Laker’s tickets with a boat purchase? Argh. Considering the tragic circumstances, these fuckers should be THRILLED that the family would want to have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with the church, let alone the GAWD, and not be seen as doing a FAVOR to the bereaved.

During Father Kishka’s sermon, he talked about how everyone of us is like STARS. Some are bright, some are close, some are farther away, some shimmer, and some are solid light. I guess in the Bible, Paul writes about this in one of his Letters to the Goosawhasihoos. It was a nice sentiment I guess, but Father Kishka started talking about science and how every day, scientists are discovering how ENORMOUS the universe is, and how many stars it contains, and how expansive it is and…

I gotta tell ya- I was ready for a fight.

"Oh yeah- PLEASE talk about science… PRETTY PLEASE- give me some good material… "

but he never really went past that point. I thought MAYBE he was going to say that the Universe is so freakin’ huge, and isn’t it amazing that we’re here, and that god loves us (although MY philosophy believes the COMPLETE opposite in that it is PURE EGOCENTRISM to think that if there IS a god running the BILLIONS of BILLIONS of galaxies in the universe he could POSSIBLY give a SHIT about individual humans…) but no such luck. He sort of just petered out about the stars and about the universe. He DID talk about how his OWN brother had died earlier that year, and that he understands the pain of losing a sibling. What triggered the initial thought of this post was at this point Father Kishka said that his brother was in much better shape than he was, and that if ANYONE should have suddenly died- it should have been the good father himself. [self depricating chuckle...]

SO- The priest is fat. No bones about it. Now…


How can you POSSIBLY have a fat priest? That’s like having a priest that publicly shows off his cock ring.

“…you like it? It’s from ITALY. It’s called the BALLS-ILICA… classy!
It’s not as nice as THE HOLY C, but those are just WAY to expensive…”

Anyway- before Father Kishka went into his sermon, he performed a regular full Ukrainian Catholic Service. NOW- This is done (duh) in Ukrainian, and I GREW UP listening to this and know much of it forwards and backwards. I don’t really know what any of it MEANS- but I can talk along with it like the mindless baa machines that make up the rest of the congregation. What I’ve started doing recently though, whenever I’m FORCED to be in a church (baptism, weddings, funerals, choir boy conventions) is I like to read the ENGLISH side of the liturgy, and NEWLY DISCOVER what I, and everyone have been saying all these years.


My favorite bit of the day was a section (that gets repeated THREE TIMES throughout the entire service, along with EVERY OTHER PRAYER by the way) where the faithful pray for the Pope, the Cardinals, the Archbishops, the Bishops, the Priests, and EVERYONE ELSE. Yup. It says (and I just love this) “FIRST let us pray for our holy Father Pope Benedict…”

YEAH – let’s pray for him FIRST. Fuck y’all. Numero Uno Papa gets the FIRST SERVING. Screw the poor and the hungry and the terminally ill. They gots to know their PLACE. Then we wade through the rest of the church hierarchy, and finally get down to EVERYONE ELSE.

Grrr, argh, and humph.

Father Kishka did the Gospel Reading in English (maybe to drive his point home... his point being COMPLETELY unknown to me) and as usual, he read from the book of John. I‘ll spare you the majority of the reading, but he did get to this GREAT bit:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:54]

As he finished saying this I looked over at my sister and whispered “that is BAT SHIT insane.”

Imagine that someone knocks on your door and as you open it he says-

“If you eat my flesh and drink my blood- you’ll live forever!”


Imagine you get an e-mail from an old college friend that you haven’t talked to in YEARS and after primary pleasantries he types-

BTW- If you eat my flesh and drink my blood- you’ll live forever :)


Substitute the word HAIR for FLESH and the word URINE for BLOOD.

“Whoever eats my hair and drinks my urine has eternal life,
and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:54]

How have they gotten away with this shit for so long?

Marketing and real estate.

Oh yeah... that's how.

The service ended, and then we had to drive to the cemetery which was a bit of a ways away from the church. As we arrived at the plot, it got really COLD and WINDY. VERY nasty. Now- the priest was preparing to do a graveside ceremony, that I seem to remember usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Well- APPARENTLY despite his corpulent insulation, Father Kishka was as cold as the rest of us, and this whole thing was wrapped up in less than FIVE minutes.

What. The. Fuck.

How IMPORTANT is this FINAL graveside ceremony if the DURATION of said ceremony is FLEXIBLE by 15 to 20 minutes. Are the priests taught a COLD VERSION of the graveside liturgy? Maybe a RAIN VERSION and maybe a HOT and SUNNY VERSION too? Yeah- I could see that- Father Kishka probably has to turn to whatever page of the FINAL GRAVESIDE CEREMONY HANDBOOK that corresponds to the current climatic situation.

"Looks like we'll be doin' the high in the mid to low 50s with a chance of
evening Thunderstorms
version... page 65... 11 minutes."


Now I mentioned that we had to drive a bit to get to the cemetery.

Why did we have to drive a bit, and not just a few miles to the regular Ukrainian Cemetery NEAR the Church where the rest of his family will most likely be buried?

Because I found out the this poor kid WASN’T ALLOWED TO BE BURIED in the Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery.

And they say that god forgives.


Karen from Kalifornia said...

Hypocrisy does not belong to the Ukrainian Catholic Church alone. We all need to at least recognize and acknowledge our lack of moral correctness. How sad is it that I rail against the political stance of the Red Chinese Government, yet buy their goods? However, I see your point, and agree. Honesty should be our goal, without hurting those around us.
Your relative chose his ending, and the church chose their answer to his pain. Now I remember why I go to church at the beach.

Philip said...

I don't know aboutthe vow of poverty. I recall that Roman Catholic parish priests do not take a vow of poverty.

Mind you my information is quite old. And I no longer keep up onthese things (lapsed catholic - and MAN, does that cause arguments with my mother).

However, like most things religious, they tend not to change much.


George Hrab said...


I'm not sure if they OFFICIALLY take a vow of poverty... so you're probably right. It's just you'd think the whole "cast away all your possessions" stuff that Jebus talks about would tend to be INFLUENTIAL, so that any collar monkey might be tempted to remain at OBESE, and not cross over the chart-line into MORBIDLY OBESE.


Philip said...

Don't et me wrong, the hyprocracy is there. It's why I'm a lapsed (or recovering) Catholic.

I'm fat, too. So maybe that's why I'm leaping to a defense i shouldn't be leaping to.

I'm just kind of glad I didn't know that I didn't need to take a vow of poverty. Otherwise I'd probably be a priest now. Bt I wanted to own a computer more.

Funny how things work out.


Jim Van Verth said...

As I understand it, effectively all the vow of poverty means is that the individual has few possessions. However, that doesn't stop the institution from providing them with a ton of communal food and drink.

It's stuff like this that led to the Reformation, which always leads me to give a cynical chuckle whenever I see the decadence of some evangelical churches. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

MICHAEL said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You

j_says said...

i know this is extremely late but i read this and had to say something;

have fun burning in hell while i'm rolling around in the clouds with jesus.