Thursday, March 31, 2016

The 'Bitterness of Loneliness'

"This culture of wellbeing … convinced us it's better not to have children. It's better! That way you can see the world, go on holidays; you can have a house in the country and be carefree," he said. "Maybe it is better, more convenient, to have a little dog, two cats; and the love goes to the two cats and the little dog," - Pope Francis

Uh oh... I typically avoid "religion, politics, and sexuality" but I just can't resist. Please note that I will say many things in context as how they happened. I have a twisted sense of humor so please take some of the outrageous things I say "with a grain of salt" or better yet, in the context of my sarcastic sense of humor. With that in mind, the following is all true:

In November of 2013, my elderly mother, that was my dependent and lived with me, fell and broke her pelvis. She passed away less than a week later at 91 on the Hospice floor of the hospital. She was born in Sicily and was Roman Catholic.

Now that she's gone I can speak openly of her private life: She became a nun when she was 13. When she was 33, her elderly father fell ill and she had an audience with Pope Pius XII. She received papal dispensation from her vows on the basis her earthly father's needs would prevent her from her from fulfilling her commitment to her religious life. This was the "cover story" for the public. The real reasons were my mother was weary of the "hypocrisy, sins, and "advances" upon her by nuns & priests. She left the convent and my elderly grandfather arranged her marriage, shortly before he passed away, as he didn't want her to be alone in this life.

While she was there on the hospice floor, a friendly little RC priest named George, that routinely visits the floor, introduced himself and gave my mother her last rites.

He then became very curious about me and I told him I was a waste of his time. Undeterred, he continued to ask me questions and became very excited when he learned I never married (I'm in my 50s) and fathered no children.

He proclaimed: "God is calling you!"
I told him: "You think the church has scandals now? If I became a priest I'd make the Thorn Birds look like bunch of Cub Scouts."
How? (he asked) and I said "Picture kegs and strippers in the rectory and if I run out of beer I have the key to the wine locker next door."
"YOU WOULDN'T" he gasped to which I replied "My heresy and alcoholism knows no bounds!"

George continued to visit each day despite my teasing and tormenting him. For example, I wanted to know why I don't get to drink wine at communion (in RC tradition the last time I went) when it clearly says "do this in memory..." I wanted to know why the selective memory on that one; why the bread and not the wine?!

I then suggested that the RC church could greatly boost membership and attendance by advertising the type of sacramental wine each week with continued "wine tasting" in the basement after the mass. I told George that I sent my suggestions to the Vatican and asked if he had any pull with that Pope guy. The only response from the Vatican was from one of the pope's lackeys, not even a bishop mind you, that asked me to stop writing them. The nerve!

George then decided perhaps the monastery would be better for me until I started asking about orders that make their own wine and was interested as long as I didn't need to shave the back of my head. I mean I have very thick hair and it would be such a shame to shave it off considering the vast amounts of money men spend on things like Rogaine and hair transplants. 

I also wanted to be the "wine quality assurance tester", be allowed to wear motorcycle apparel in lieu of those hideous brown robes, and have the phone numbers of pretty nuns or the deal was off.

Eventually George and I started talking about the bible and philosophy and he quickly realized he was "in way over his head". He suggested I become a theologian. Now this was something I was VERY interested in and shared even more. George then decided the church was not ready for that type of reform and would not take well to my "conspiracy theories" about just who wrote all those letters and why are those letters the predominant topic for sermons and not the words of the "founder".

George and I are now friends and I take him to dinner now-and-then since I am convinced they don't feed him enough at that Rectory, gauging on how many servings he wolfed down at my mother's post funeral reception.

Recently, he resorted to the last hope to bring me back to the flock - marriage. I rolled my eyes, took a deep breath and told him what I tell everyone.

You see, my father was a 50-year old virgin and the deacon of his RC church. He had movie star good looks, striking blue eyes, and looked half his age. He was a devout Catholic that broke up with his college sweetheart because she refused to convert to Catholicism (she was Protestant). He never touched her, before or after, and didn't date another until he met my mother (chaperoned of course - think the first Godfather movie).

One day, my aunt that married an Italian man and moved to Sicily, asked him "You're 50 now. When will you marry?"
My father gave her a list of the qualities he sought, seemingly an insurmountable task, and told my aunt that if she could find that woman, he'd marry her.
What he didn't know was back in Sicily my maternal grandfather was receiving potential suitors for my mother's hand in marriage.

So, I gave George my insurmountable list that begins with "Intelligence" and told him that if he could find that woman, I'd marry her. Then George told me I left out the most important thing, and the first thing on my parents' lists: Religious compatibility. To which I said "Right! Add heretic to the list!"
George said "So you want a woman that doesn't believe in God?" and I quickly corrected him. You see, the dictionary defines a heretic as:
"A professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church." I reminded him that the Savior was called a heretic and a blasphemer by his religion.

I had high hopes for this Pope Francis. I have gay/lesbian/transgender/Martian/whatever friends and don't believe in mortal sin and many other doctrines. I don't believe that Genesis contradicts the Big Bang theory (for what was a day before God created the Sun, the moon, and the stars on the fourth?). I  smiled when Pope Francis said "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" as I don't believe judgement is the purview of humanity.

I also believe that if you are able to still your mind to hear the still small voice within, then you shall never be lonely or alone. If you walk-the-walk on this path other things will naturally happen such as animals coming to you sensing that presence within.
This is why my friends tease me and call me "St. Ceij" because birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and other "critters" follow me around my back yard. I even hand feed a Northern Cardinal, I named Kahless, peanuts.

It is why I will never be alone or lonely even if I never marry or have children.

In many ways George may be on to something. I may be well suited for celibacy (going forward because unlike my father that ship sailed many times years ago).
The only problem is that whole heretic thing and now I suppose my heresy is compounded by my barrenness, big boy toys, and guardianship of seven cats.

But wait! There's still hope for this Pope Francis. He can start by initiating a TNR program for the homeless cats around the Vatican and then letting them in and feeding them. Oh come on now, who'd notice some litter boxes in the back of the Sistine Chapel?

Yes, this is it. It's time this "childless pope" sees the light and adopts cats! Time to stop "talking the talk" and start walking the path of St. Francis of Assisi.
Time for this pope to adopt a stray cat, preferably one nobody wants.

I wonder if George has his phone number...

For my parents that I miss every day:


Vanessa said...
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Carmelo J. Aresco (Ceij) said...
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