Well, another Easter has come and gone. And what a wonderful Easter it was.
I helped my parish with the music for our Easter Vigil service. The service was beautiful, moving, and helped me recharge my spiritual battery. I expected nothing less.
After the vigil mass ended, I piled in the car with my fiance and his roommate so we could celebrate Easter Sunday with my family. It was great to sleep in my childhood bed again...simply being in the house I grew up in brings me a sweet peacefulness that nothing else quite can.
We played pool, baked ham, hid Easter eggs for my tiny cousins, and generally just chilled.
Also, I found myself commandeering my 4 month old cousin's plush dinosaur and singing "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" to him through it.
We returned that evening, refreshed and rested.
I returned to work feeling renewed and cheerful.
Until I opened up the news and saw this.
|That is a statue of the Virgin Mother holding Jesus. Image found here:http://loku.com/content/seattles-st-james-cathedral-vandalized|
The picture doesn't show it, but Mary had a big red pitchfork spray painted on her. Along with that, there were hateful (albeit quite strange and nonsensical) messages left all over the outer walls of the cathedral.
How horrid is that??? WHO DOES THAT? My first gut reaction was to go into Hulk Smash Mode, demanding that whoever is responsible be caught, publicly shamed, and made to clean up every drop of paint...I was angry, SO ANGRY! But then, I actually took the time to read what it was the vandals wrote:
|*blink* A what what? Image found here: http://loku.com/content/vandals-hit-st-james-cathedral-on-easter-morning|
"The Catholic Church was not born in the U.S.A."
No it was not "born in the U.S.A."
You are correct.
Catholicism dates back to the first century, and has long outlived the good ol' stars and stripes, many, MANY years over...the fact that this person honestly thought that pointing out that Catholicism is not an American institution would sway people away or intimidate them away...just shows that they probably don't know their rear end from their elbow.
Immediately after reading that, I went from "Hulk Smash Mode" to "Holy Crap that is So Pitiful that I'm Laughing At Computer Screen And My Coworkers are Looking At Me As If I'd Lost My Mind Mode".
After actually reading the...what should I call it..."non-sequitur" that the vandal left, my anger just evaporated, and turned to pity for this poor, anonymous soul. Obviously, the unfortunate individual responsible for the vandalism has the brain capacity of a bowl of Froot Loops.
How does one react to this? I know that there are QUITE a few parishioners foaming at the mouth regarding this (I can't honestly blame them, though), some even going as far as declaring this a "hate crime". But come on, you guys...this poor sap probably couldn't help that he/she wasn't blessed with an IQ greater than that of a small insect. While I'm okay with finding the person and charging them with vandalism, can the law honestly charge a person with being dumb?
Sigh. Some people.
I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident, but sadly, this is the second time this month that the church has been vandalized in this manner. The cathedral is vandalized ALL THE TIME. Part of it is just a reality of being in a densely populated urban environment...another part of it is that Catholics tend to be an "easy target" for tom-foolery. Long story short, people can be dumb, and people can be dicks.
The message boards and comment sections of the Times and other news publications have been going nuts. A few Catholics are playing the "I'M BEING PERSECUTED!" card, which honestly, Readers, makes me raise an eyebrow.
Generally speaking, Readers, I don't believe that Catholics are "Persecuted" in the U.S. Nearly every Catholic I have ever met has NEVER been "Persecuted". What we are looking at in the above photos is NOT "Persecution". It's a simple case of stupidity that was probably fueled with one too many cans of PBR.
As a practicing Catholic, I occasionally get nasty remarks, weird looks, and the occasional dollop of downright ignorant horse-crap ("You OBVIOUSLY are worshiping false idols! BECAUSE THERE'S A STATUE OF MARY IN YOUR ROOM!" is one example I get QUITE frequently,) but I have never, EVER been in fear of my personal safety as a result of being a Catholic. There is a big difference between a person being a jerk to you and a person persecuting you.
I have always believed that religious persecution begins when a person's safety is compromised as a result of that person practicing their own spirituality.
Jews being mass-murdered was persecution. A person being rude to you because you worship differently than they do is not.
I just...can't be too angry with this individual. I'm going to hazard a guess that it's not entirely their fault...perhaps they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Were they raised by Klansmen? Or were they simply very disturbed, and wanted something, ANYTHING to take the blame for the problems of the world?
Do I want the vandals found? Yes. Do I think that it's worth it to drag them out, shame them, and make a huge spectacle? Not really. In a way, the vandalism really brought about Easter's true meaning: forgiveness of sin.
Christ died to forgive everyone's sins. Even those of the vandals.
Plus, as of Monday, nearly all of the graffiti had been removed by volunteers.
I was happy to read that Archbishop Sartain publicly forgave the vandals, and is keeping them in his prayers. Northwest Cable News ran a good story about the whole shanda, you can find it here:
It's tough, Readers, when something like this happens to something that you hold so dear. It really is.
But all in all, there are more important things than statues and cathedral walls.