In February, 2012, the archbishop of the Diocese of New York was promoted to Cardinal, and the church’s public relations people lobbied the Empire State Building to honor the occasion by displaying “Cardinal Red” lights over the top of the great edifice. Their suggestions were not well received, which led the usual suspects to once again claim anti-Catholic bias.
Bill Donohue added a few media appearances to his already extensive resume. He is the Imperial Grand Wizard or something of the Catholic Anti Defamation League or something. Let me repeat for the record: neither Mr. Donohue nor the church speak for me.
I was raised in the Catholic Church. No, maybe that’s not a fair statement, nobody in my family ever took an active roll in my religious training. My family were all nominal Catholics, but they were a hands-off bunch. Rather, my education was entrusted to the Catholic Church, kindergarten through high school, that much is true. Along the line I received five of the seven sacraments (I’ve been lucky enough to avoid Extreme Unction so far, and Holy Orders is out of the question). So it’s safe to say that at one point, and perhaps to this day, my name contributes to the total whenever someone mentions the however-many-million American Catholics.
Religion never took root in my soul, and in the fullness of time I put the entire experience of religion behind me. I was always annoyed, though, to come across references in the news of this great number of American Catholics. What bullshit, I thought, how many of them are Catholics in number only, like I am? At one point I actually went to the rectory to speak to a priest about it. What must I do, I asked him, to get excommunicated? How to I quit this outfit? Can you get the ball rolling? Do you need doctrinal grounds? I can give you, I told him, a list of church doctrines that I think are foolish and that I do not in any way believe in. I wanted out of the number.
The priest didn’t quite know what to make of it all, and he opined that I was out already as near as he could tell and that there was nothing further that could be done about it. I took this non-answer for what it was worth, which wasn’t much, but at least I’d gotten it off my chest.
I still feel a twinge whenever Mr. Donohue spouts his nonsense on TV. His introduction always includes that mention of the number of Catholics, and they may still be counting me in their number. But I’m not with these guys.