A Mass, A Bully, and the Spirit of God

A Mass, A Bully, and the Spirit of God May 30, 2023

The long weekend was an interesting one, from a blogging standpoint.

I almost decided I could go back to Mass in spite of my panic attacks, and now I’m back to not knowing.

My last post circulated as widely as the old post did, and I got a lot of positive feedback, and also a lot of anonymous trolls calling me a “sodomite.”  I made liberal use of the block button. I’ll never understand why traditionalist Catholics are so obsessed with other people’s bottoms.

It was interesting how many people told me that the Church would love me as long as I repented of my sins. They must not have read my work and assumed I was living in a queer relationship. I am actually married to a man, I don’t use birth control, we’re raising our daughter Catholic; I’m obeying all the rules. I could be the control subject in an experiment testing whether those Catholics hate all LGBTQ people or only the ones who break Catholic rules. They hate us all, whether we’re “chaste” or not.  I already knew that, but it still hurts.

On Sunday night, I saw a flier for a Mass in a diocese near me, in the month of June, specifically to welcome LGBTQ people and tell them they’re loved. This is what I think Jesus would do. Jesus wanted everyone to know they were loved. I think that, even if the Catholic Church were absolutely right about what a disgusting degenerate I am for being attracted to women but still following the rules, Jesus would still want me to know I was welcome and loved. I think Jesus would do the same for the whole LGBTQ community, no matter what. I think Jesus offered Himself for every single sinner there ever was, and that include me. I think He offered Himself for murderers, rapists, blasphemers, and me. We should all be welcome at a Mass.

I thought that, if we can get Serendipity up and running by then, I might make that my re-entry into regular Mass attendance. Maybe it would help with these agonizing panic attacks which have made it impossible to receive the sacraments for months. Maybe a Mass that was all about welcome might be just the ticket.

Of course, right after that, the usual bloviating social media Catholics started clamoring to get the Mass canceled, because a Mass welcoming the wrong people is blasphemy.

One Catholic in particular, a prissy convert who calls people degenerates and enjoys boasting about her theology degree, was up in arms. Ironically, she is also attracted to women but following all the Catholic rules just like me; she wants to make sure all LGBTQ Catholics feel as miserable as she does. I heard she was bragging about getting the Mass canceled today. I don’t know if that’s true because she is carefully blocked.

I admit right up front that I am a shrew. But at least I’m not claiming to be a shrew for the sake of the Gospel. That’s a level of hubris I can’t imagine.

Unlike her, I’m not going to claim to know the mind of God. I don’t.

I’m actually not even 100% sure there is a God anymore, but I’m hopeful. I’m nearly sure. Every time I think I could throw in the towel and be an atheist, I see evidence of God, and I believe.

What I say now, I say for myself and not for God: if you think you’re going to waltz into Heaven and be congratulated by Jesus because you bullied a venue into canceling a Mass that was meant to make people feel that God loved them… well, that Jesus isn’t one I want to know.

If that Jesus exists, He is a tyrant, and the most just response would be to go to hell for defying the old grouch.  I think another Jesus exists. Again, I’m not certain, but I am nearly sure. Every time I think I’ve given up on a Jesus Who is Love and Kindness, I find myself communing with Him again. That bully of a Jesus, however, is below me. I refuse to worship a god more petty than I am. Hell would be a far more ethical choice.

If the fruit of your conversion to Christianity is being a nasty old prig who calls people degenerates and brags about your theology degree, well, I don’t think the Christianity you converted to has anything worth asking for. That Christianity is a cancer on the earth. I think another Christianity exists, and I am willing to spend the rest of my life fighting to conform myself to that Christianity. But I want nothing to do with abusive Christianity.

The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If the fruit of the spirit you worship is bullying, that’s not a spirit I want anything to do with.

I am sad to be reminded, for the hundredth time, that there is no place for me in the Catholic Church. It stings every time and the sting has not gotten less. But knowing this makes it better.

Again, I realize: you can’t behave your way out of spiritual abuse. If people are determined that you don’t belong, you can’t conform your behavior to please them. You might as well do what you think is right. And that’s what I’m going to do.

I hope I’m right about Jesus.

We’ll just have to see where we go from here.



Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy

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