Roman Catholicism - the Big Mac of religion

OK, for you non-churchies, I will school you on some of the basics of what it's like going to a Catholic church. Hopefully the institution will go the way of the DoDo, facial hair on men, and disco and what I'm writing here will be THE definitive/wikipedia description of what church is like. Cause of course what I'm writing here is all true (yeah right).

For the Roman Catholic, church is 1 hour (should be, no more no less). You forgive if they go over a LITTLE because hey, you're a forgiving Christian, why not. Ok, you forgive 10 minutes but anything beyond that cuts into productive cartoon viewing time.

To accommodate the teaming Catholic masses in Los Angeles, churches hold mass on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Of course depending on the church, there are 5 or so scheduled masses per Sunday and if you are a polyglot city like Los Angeles, you have dedicated services in Espanol, Korean, Cantonese etc. (I remember 10 am at St. Anne's was Spanish. We don't do 10 am, we do 11.30 in English).

When I say mass is like a Big Mac, it really is. No matter where you go, Paris, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, you go order a Big Mac and it looks like a Big Mac, smells like a Big Mac. Hey, this burger tastes just like the Big Mac I had in Timbuktu last week. It's because it is the very same one. All McDonald's use the same fryers, the same ingredients. Alright, the meat might taste a smidgen different because we use USDA beef but in Brazil they use Brazilian beef. The Catholic mass is no different. You go to St. Elizabeth's up the street, St. John's in New York, St. Ignatius in South Africa, it's the SAME THING. Smells like mass, looks like mass, tastes like mass. Comfort food.

The church has this thing called the misalette that is printed on a quarterly basis. The misalette is mass mailed to all the churches like one quarter in advance. The misalette stays in the pew, you never have to bring it home (and what masochist would). The day's Bible readings are contained in the misalette. Yes, new ones are mass printed every quarter to each and every Catholic church so we're talking craploads of trees, people. It's a heavily scripted affair brought direct to you from the Vatican with lots of kneeling, rote reciting of memorized prayers, hymning (singing hymnals I made that verb up), sitting, reading, listening. About 96% of it is scripted and the 4% is off-script when the priest talks about the day's New Testament reading. yeah, you non-churchies are thinking, sign me up baby, sounds so heartfelt and genuine. So, now you know what the Kennedys do every Sunday.

Anyway, this was my life. Some things I miss, I liked the singing and the music. In South Central Los Angeles they have these huge African American churches where I hear the musicianship is out of this world, but I haven't ventured there yet. If I go to listen to the music it comes with too much baggage. Then you have to get all dolled up which will be another blog entry.

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Tags: church

Comment by Frink on January 7, 2009 at 4:09pm
Not facial hair on men and disco! *protects soul patch*

Hey, nice description of the Catholic experience. I've been to one midnight mass around Christmas time, but never to an actual Sunday service. Keep it coming!

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