Monday, December 04, 2006

Excommunicate me, please!

Say your parents enrolled you in a group when you were a small child, far too young to make your own decisions. Many people your age were signed up, too -- as though for little league baseball or midget hockey -- and whole groups of you went through the little rites that came when you were seven years of age, nine years of age, thirteen. Then one day when you were old enough to make your own decisions, you leared that the group in which your parents enrolled you was Hitler Youth.

What would you do?

Shrug and say, "Well, that's how I was brought up"? Or would you do what your right mind told you and get yourself the hell out of it?

For more than a decade I have actively sought formal, written excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

In the late 1990's, I wrote a long acerbic letter to my parish denouncing the pedophile priesthood, saying the Catholic Church should be brought before the World Court and the U.N. on charges of being a terrorist organization. I finished off the letter asking that the record of my baptism be stricken from the parish records.

Weeks later I received a tepid note accompanied by my original letter. The wane, dot matrix letter consisted of one line informing me that my baptism had been stricken from the record.

(As the deities would have it, many months later, I inadvertently learned that a friend of my family -- the wife of a famous writer, no less -- worked in that parish office and very likely was the person who responded to my letter. No one but myself made this connection (no one else knowing about my letter), but this may account why her famous author husband acted like I owed him money when I later called him asking for aid locating an agent for my writing.)

Petty, unintentional affronts aside, that pissy, white-tea parish missive wasn't enough for me. I wanted a gold sealed velum denunciation in Gothic script formally excommunicating me from the Church.

So I wrote to the bishop who had confirmed me in the Church when I was thirteen years old. This bishop has a well-documented record of shifting known pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than taking them out of circulation. So I rolled up this knowledge like an old newspaper and whacked the bishop over his funny hat with it. Then, in an attempt to leave no stone unturned, I asked the bish, "What the hell does a guy have to do to get excommunicated from this lousy church? Perform an abortion on the steps of a cathedral on Good Friday while wearing a mask of the pope's face?"

To which the bishop actually emailed a response to me -- proving that the clergy can type with one hand -- that read, "You're a sad, pathetic, angry man. I feel sorry for you!"

And still no Gothic script declaration.

Maybe the bishop can only excommunicate an insane person, and my asking to be excommunicated is the act of a sane man. Therefore...


RossK said...

Which would be some Catch......

Jeff said...

I don't think it's so easy to get excommunicated in this age-- they'd have to work at it night and day, after all. I say, escalate matters.

Or maybe you should shoot for an exorcism? That'd probably be a funner experience anyway.