Unfortunately, what the goth writer fails to apprehend is kind of crucial to this whole saving grace thing.
ONE, she seems not to understand that graces flow from the Almighty, not a parish community. Two, Ms. Brite -- repeating an omission common to moderns who can't understand why Adam and Eve got in such deep s*** for noshing on that damned apple -- doesn't quite get that grace requires a response. She makes this manifestly plain in her blog:
And to be honest, by Catholic standards, there are some legitimate criticisms in those "mean comments." All I can say is that I have never claimed to be a good Catholic. I find succor in the celebration of the Mass and the sharing of the Eucharist, not in dogma. I am a cafeteria Catholic of the exact kind that drives strict Catholics up the wall. I'm pro-choice, which automatically excludes me from some definitions of Catholicism. I'm unapologetically queer. I think the current Pope is an asshole. Hell, I even love Life of Brian. My pastor and my parish family are Christian enough to accept me anyway. I find it sad that so many so-called "Christians" are not. I'm sorry if my becoming Catholic hurts them in some way. I didn't do it to hurt anybody. We are all flawed people at OLGC. I wish these wonderful anonymous Catholics would send me the names of their churches full of perfect people so I could go and bask in their perfection.NEWS FLASH: We're all pretty bad Catholics. Many of us hope someday to be mediocre -- kind of like Louisiana's perpetual quest to reach the elusive "Southern average" in various education benchmarks.
However, while I know I am deeply flawed, I cannot believe that trying to help protect my church and my Church from bad leadership is wrong.
I'm not a good Catholic, but I am a seeking one, and if I hadn't had this particular church to turn to when I did, I might well be dead now. Very likely some of these types would consider that preferable to my filthy self sullying "their" precious Church, but they can put it on their T.S. list and send it to the archbishop.
Likewise, many of us are just about as likely to reach that holy grail.
And when we have breathed our last and find our immortal souls standing before the Judgment Seat, we will throw ourselves on the mercy of the divine court -- "Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Call that a D-minus response to grace. But at least a D-minus is better than the Big Flunk.
The Big Flunk would be something like . . .
I am a cafeteria Catholic of the exact kind that drives strict Catholics up the wall. I'm pro-choice, which automatically excludes me from some definitions of Catholicism. I'm unapologetically queer. I think the current Pope is an asshole. Hell, I even love Life of Brian. My pastor and my parish family are Christian enough to accept me anyway. I find it sad that so many so-called "Christians" are not.I USED TO BE a copy editor. I think I can tighten this up some:
"Hey, God! I think you should be Christian enough to endorse my flouting all your retrograde, bigoted and medieval bulls***. I ate that apple . . . and I liked it! I'm manifestly OK the way I am, and you ought to be damned glad to have me in Heaven."OR . . . HOW ABOUT THIS, to steal a line or two from Groundhog Day?
Phil: I'm a god.AND THAT SUMS UP the whole problem of Poppy Z. Brite, Bad Catholic. Her and all those other "cafeteria Catholics" who seem to think Jesus Christ, the pope and the whole friggin' church need kiss dissenters' asses just because they're too attached to their sins to embark on a spiritual 12-step program.
Rita: You're a god?
Phil: I'm a god, not the God . . . I don't think.
Come to think of it, Bill Murray as Phil the Weatherman exhibited somewhat more humility. He didn't think he was the God.
Jesus accepted all. That is not the same as affirming everybody's basic OK-ness.
22GRACE, AND ACCEPTANCE, was when Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah to the Samaritan woman in John, Chapter 4. It was scandalous enough that Jesus was talking to a woman not related to Him. Worse yet, He was a good Jew hobnobbing with a Samaritan woman.
You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen, I say to you, you will not finish the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.
It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
"Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.'
"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
"Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
And even more horrific that all of that, this woman got around. A lot.
But what was more important than some powerful grace was the Samaritan woman's powerful response to that grace. That response was not "So what if I've had five husbands and now I'm shacking up with somebody? Bless my sexuality, Lord."
THE SAMARITAN WOMAN'S response was to become the early church's greatest evangelist after the apostle Paul. In the Orthodox faith and in Eastern Catholic churches, she is known as St. Photini.