Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Catholic High Mass - Beautiful and Inherently Gay?

Although Andrew Sullivan’s politics suck (he supports the so-called “War on Terror”, and considers Michael Moore anti-American and Noam Chomsky a “liar”), he can occasionally offer humorous, though not entirely convincing, insights into the state of the Catholic Church.

Here’s an excerpt from Sullivan’s
latest offering:

I've often wondered how many straight Catholics fully appreciate how gay their church has always been. Especially in the old days. High Mass was, in its heyday, more elaborate and choreographed than a very melodramatic Broadway musical. Do people really believe that gay priests and religious had nothing to do with it? They had everything to do with it.

The first time I walked into a gay disco, with all those lights, music, ritual and smoke, my immediate thought was: church! . . . It's theater, sweetie, theater. And the Church once understood that – which was part of its beautiful Catholicity. Gone, now, alas. But Benedict is helping nudge it back. And although I tease him about it, it's a wonderful thing. More incense, please. And lace.

Hmm . . . I can't say that my first experience of a gay disco (the Saloon in downtown Minneapolis in February 1994!) brought to mind for me a Catholic liturgy - High Mass or otherwise. Then again, I'm a bit of a failure in terms of embracing those supposedly typical gay things like Broadway musicals, Madonna, and, er, lace.

That being said, I do think that gay people, like many others who have undergone long and difficult struggles to find and embody what is most true and beautiful within themselves, are often attuned to seeking and revealing beauty around them. I think that's why a lot of gay men, for instance, do indeed excel at bringing beauty to church liturgies - whether via contributions to ritual, music, and/or the actual physical space of a given place of worship.

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