Cheez whiz! Can’t get away from columnist Michael Coren. Doesn’t seem to matter what time of day or night, he’s out there proclaiming, like he did in the Sun last month, that it’s “open season on Catholics!”
Is there? I almost feel obligated to condemn the papists to lend credence to his claims, but slagging one religion would be slighting all the others by the sin of omission. And what about Scientologists, Freemasons, the Knights of Malta? I’m not a publicist.
I always wondered about the phrase “practising Catholic.” It makes me think being Catholic is something like playing the violin. Stop practising and you lose it. I went to Catholic school, but the only music we made was the singing of war songs.
“You’re so Catholic,” I was told repeatedly by the idiot savant who used to live with me. I don’t think it was intended as a compliment, or an insult – I have no wish to steal Mr. Coren’s gig.
It was an astute assessment of my attitudes and reactions. “Offer it up,” my mother used to say of any childhood scrape. Learning that suffering is food for God, that God requires suffering, that life is one long penance has given me the dubious and dolorous strength to withstand the perversities of fate.
Without turbans or yarmulkes to identify them, Catholic men are at a disadvantage. Like those who convert to Buddhism, Coren is forever announcing his religion. My Catholic relatives are a little more circumspect. It’s taken 50 years for my aunt, a nun, to ask me whether I believe in God.
I was somewhat taken aback and tried to steer the conversation back to something more suited to a tea party. “I believe in Good.”
But she was not to be deflected. When she joined the convent, my aunt was cut off from her close family and not even allowed to attend funerals. The Catholic Church has been her life, but she does not pontificate.
“Quaint” is the word that comes to mind when I’m faced with yet another instance of Coren’s insistence that Catholics are under siege. His argument harkens back to old Protestant Toronto, when Catholics really were the Other. Who has time to hate Catholics any more when there is such an influx of potential enemies?
I’ve been gay-bashed – attacked by both fags and dykes, and also for being one or the other – and sustained a litany of abuse for being too uncrushable. It would almost be refreshing to get smitten for wearing the scapular I was issued in kindergarten.
Dangling from a green string, preserved in thin plastic, it’s a pinking-sheared square of green felt with an image of the Virgin Mary printed in green on a bit of white paper on one side and on the other a flaming green heart with a long dagger through it. Green blood drips over the words squeezed in: “Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
Blood, death, gore: where do most kids get that nowadays? From video games, which lack the all-important contrition factor.
For all the talking he does, Mr. Coren should be first in line for a blessing February 6, Ash Wednesday. The celebration offers the the opportunity to get a marked forehead, but these days it might be mistaken for just another bindi spot in multicultural Toronto.