Our world is inundated with extremes, isn’t it? Liberal and conservative; rich and poor; technology and simplicity; machismoism and hyper-feminism; absolutely no birth control, then pills and barriers up the wazoo; comfortable computer desks and hard-core, back-breaking mine grime; no end in sight. However, the big contrast of our modern day is clearly the supreme poles of our current culture: liberal and conservative. These two extremes permeate our whole contemporary existence, and they leave us with the impression that they are our only options.
But what does the Catholic Church say? Well, as with most things, she is in the middle. And how so? Well, let us look at it. Really, the main difference between liberal and conservative is whether one emphasizes the corporal over the spiritual, or vice versa. More to the point, with regards to religion, liberals are mainly interested In the corporal works of mercy to the detriment of the spiritual, and the conservatives vice versa. What this means is, liberal Christians tend to have little to no concern for things like dogma, doctrine, morals, sin, culpability and the like; rather, they really only care about making this world a better place physically, as In helping poor people, providing medical care, taking care of the environment, fighting class and racial injustices, and the like. These latter things are just fine in and of themselves. In fact, they are an entire legitimate dimension of the Catholic Church’s ministry, seeing as, per the Catechism itself, citing the perennial parable of the sheep and the goats, “Christ shall recognize His own by what they have done for the poor.” That is, if a Catholic says his daily rosary, goes to Mass, doesn’t fornicate or get drunk, tells people about Jesus on the bus, and so forth, but does not help the poor in ways appropriate for his vocation and ability, can he really think he will go to heaven in the end?
On the other hand, the liberals are rejecting the whole other dimension, the upper dimension of the Church, that the conservative Christians, in some sense, get right. And what do we mean? We mean the realm of the soul, the realm of the intellect and will, the realm of truth, morals, and grace. Indeed, Catholics are also called to care about what the truth is, which is what the Church teaches, and what is sinful, so as to avoid sins and do right, with grace. The Catholic Church, therefore, embraces both realities, and not just one to the neglect of the other, as with the extremes.
Consequently, the nature of liberal Christianity is one of community: caring, sharing, kindness, hugs, and tolerance—and again, let me emphasize, sharing. Sharing is important. Well, and hugs, hugs are almost as important as sharing. Yes, they believe in soup kitchens, and blood drives, and habitat for humanity, and clean-up of dirty and polluted rivers, and volunteer dentist stations on Saturday mornings, and all sorts of other physically helpful things like that.
But every now and then, some hard-core conservative Protestants come in and protest with their sandwich banners, telling them they are all going to hell because they don’t belong to their church, because of things like they are Muslim, Jewish, or Mormon, because they don’t believe the world is 6,000 years old, because there are people there who have same-sex desires, because everyone there believes you can lose your salvation, and other abominable crimes.
And this is really the conservative extreme, isn’t it? For, just as the liberals turn toward this world and follow its needs, so the conservative Christians, the farther to the right they get, the more they care only for truth and morals and not helping those In need. Indeed, the conservative Protestants are persistently and forever arguing about Bible doctrine, an unavoidable reality that flows from their corporate rejection of the Catholic Church, who alone can fully discern the truths of God by Tradition and the Episcopate. But so then, again, the conservative Protestants are hyper concerned with doctrine, and sometimes they mutually excommunicate each other. Too, they worry about sin, what is right and wrong. And boy do they judge. Yes, many times, they don’t only judge sins but sinners,
And where, now, have seen this theology? That is right, in the alabaster jar scenes:
The Scene of Simon, the Pharisee:
And one of the Pharisees desired him to eat with him. And he went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that he sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; And standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet, with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it.
A certain creditor had two debtors, the one who owed five hundred days’ wages, and the other fifty.  And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most?  Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly.  And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them.  Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
 My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet.  Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less.  And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee.  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also?  And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.
The Scene of Simon the Leper, Some Disciples and Judas:
And when he was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, and was at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard: and breaking the alabaster box, she poured it out upon his head.  Now there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said: Why was this waste of the ointment made?  For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her.  But Jesus said: Let her alone, why do you molest her? She hath wrought a good work upon me.  For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.
Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver.
Application of the Alabaster Scenes
The scenes here perfectly image our poles, don’t they, as if Our Divine Savior, by predestination, might foresee these opposites in human civilization?
Toward that end, we clearly see that in the first scene, that of Simon the Pharisee, Jesus is rebuking exaggerated and self-righteous “knowledge” and the acts of judging a person who sins as unworthy of mercy. This, as above, is the lot of the fully-conservative Christians. In contrast, the next scene, Jesus rebukes the disciples for placing so much emphasis on the poor that they fail to grant a recognition of the lavish anointing of Jesus’ head. And here, we can see a beautiful symbolism: the head is really the upper dimension of the human body and so is an appropriate symbol of the upper dimension of the Church, the spiritual. Indeed, the liberals critique the spiritual literally, and, in this parable, the disciples critique the head.
Similarly, this also works for the other parable, the one concerning compassion and mercy on the downtrodden. Yes, the woman is a spiritual outcast and forgotten one, and she is anointing the Christ’s feet, so that if the head symbolizes the upper dimension of the Church, the feet naturally symbolize the lower dimension. Consequently, as she anoints those feet, Jesus is showing the same type of liberal compassion on the lowly one, so that the Pharisee’s complaint is appropriately toward the lower dimension of the Church, the feet, the corporal.
Toward these ends, a certain sacramental theology emerges: more specifically, seeing as the liberals consider the faith to be almost explicitly temporally oriented, so as to, again, shirk the spiritual, it is really the case by common sense that they cannot see the Church as anything more than a community, a loving society of good works. For this reason, the liberals will hyper-emphasize the sacraments of community, or initiation, to the detriment of the other four sacraments, which really cannot be seen in any more primary context than truth, authority, morals, suffering, and the afterlife. The following satire now seeks to build on this precarious situation.
The Voice of a Liberal Feminist "Catholic" **
So thank you so much for coming to this talk, where I will share my experience of entering the Catholic Church three years ago. Let me tell you, it was a wonderful experience, the Easter Vigil! O, boy. And let me just start off by saying this: what was most powerful about this incredible event was the sense of community, that is right, community. Yes. Because, you know what, that is the most important aspect of Catholicism: community! After all, that is what we were taught in RCIA, and it is why I entered the Church. And by this I mean, there is no greater reason to enter the Church than to bring your family together. I liken it to that cool Greek Fat Wedding movie. I mean, that guy already had his life together, but he sacrificed a more sane existence to marry that girl. He went into a weird religion and threw away a more enlightened secular vision of the cosmos so he could get married. He gave up a more refined and sound worldview to acquire the girl of his dreams. And that took principles and courage. And that is why, when my husband and daughter were already Catholic, and I was nothing, I decided that It would be good if we were all on the same page, or at least at family gatherings and on Sunday and stuff. So about this community, once again, it meant that we are in love with love, and faith, and sharing, and we help the poor, and environment, and all those wonderful earthly things. The Easter Vigil completely vindicated that. So let me tell about, first, my Baptism.
Baptism? Baptism, yes, to be made anew! The water, beautiful! The only problem was, we had to get through that negative stuff, the stuff that RCIA said was a necessary evil. You know, like when they said, do you reject sin, evil, the devil, and, then those dogma things. All those elements of the “Creed.” This was really annoying because, first, sin is such a Fundie term. Kind of reminds me of people like Oral Roberts or that wacked-out Westboro Baptist stuff. I mean, hasn’t the Catholic Church gotten over this judgmentalism. Well anyway, there was also this: do you reject the devil? What is up with that? I mean, my RCIA teacher said that the devil doesn’t exist, that he is just a symbol of evil. Same for demons. So how can we reject something that doesn’t exist? Later, my fellow parishioner said it is just an archaic retention of Liturgical rites, and is not meant to be taken literally. And again, all that Creed stuff. Do you believe this and this and this. Our RCIA gal said we could expect this. She just emphasized, nevertheless, that it is not necessary to believe “everything” that the Catholic Church teaches—after all, one would have to be really gullible, naive, and uneducated to believe absolutely everything the Church teaches—but just have a sense of accepting the community, of belonging, and that was reassuring. Then we moved on with Confirmation.
Confirmation?: Confirmation was better, as you didn’t have too much of the sin and dogma stuff, just gifts. And I liked the idea of gifts. Gifts are about caring, sharing, and hugs. And hugs rock. Definitely good stuff. And then, the apex of sharing, Eucharist!
Eucharist? Yes. What I loved about our parish was that it was modern and comfy. It wasn’t in a menacing cross, like those old churches in the rough downtown. No, it was a circle, a wonderfully beautiful circle, and what that told us was, once again, the Catholic Church is first and foremost a community. Community! Too, our RCIA reassured us that contrary to the outdated opinion of those frustrated, angry men up there—and don’t worry, we will have plenty of sharing about those men later in the talk—the Eucharist is not about the Body and Blood of God to help us do right and get to heaven! No! Leave morals, dogma, and hardship out. Rather, it is about thanksgiving! Remember, you grouchy dogmatists. Eucharist means thanksgiving! And so we give thanks for helping poor people. We give thanks for our community. We break bread to share.
And, ok, this was another thing: those grumpy old men say that Eucharist implies unity of belief and living. Well, at our modern church, we don't all believe the same things and all have the same moral code. We don't want to be Pharisees about things, caring about what is true and right. For, the woman’s sin we cared not for. It is a foregone conclusion that the woman bathing the Christ with that oil was forgiven. No, we are all forgiven. Everyone! Why? Because all are welcome! Rather, what is far more important than believing in unity the same rigid and stony dogmas and moral doctrines issued by those mean and hurtful men in that big , ornate palace built for the rich [which those wicked and corrupt Roman Senators echoed in unison “[Screw] the poor!”], is that we would be caring and sharing, to be one in our hearts, loving and serving poor people, and the environment. And did I mention the environment, because that is all that Pope Francis wants us to care about! And that is all I have to say about that!
So now, I was asked to share about the other non-community sacraments. Ok, well, luckily, or parish doesn’t get hyped about these, cuz, like it or not, they are just too, I don’t know, like about sin, and sacrifice, and patriarchy, and suffering. Not good. But I have to deal with them, so here goes:
The 4 Non-Initiation Sacraments
Confession: At our church, we have no Confession lines. Confession is from 3 to 3:15 PM, on the third Saturday of every month, and no one comes that I can tell, because there is no sin, just caring and sharing; for, why visit for healing when you are not sick?
Marriage: We don’t like marriage. Well, getting matched is ok [along with hatched, snatched and detached, to borrow that phrase from our grumpy Latin freak neighbors] , but no more than 1.2 kids. I mean children are cute and everything, yeah, but let’s face it. In the end, children are far more burdens than blessings. Like old people. I am just being honest and objective, right? And also, we don't want to hurt the environment; all these ragamuffin tykes running around like parasites depleting our trees and water and stuff. Yes, I will repeat it again, Pope Francis loves the environment! I mean, I just read the first page of his encyclical after all these years, and God spoke to me in my heart implicitly, and He said explicitly to my intellect: that this was clearly everything that he had ever said or written that is pertinent to our time here on earth, and that therefore, any other purported writings or sermons of his [unless they are ooey and gooey about the poor or the environment (the environment! :) ) are not applicable to our faith.
And speaking of faith, where were we? Oh yeah, we get back to what we were talking about: marriage. Well, those men up there, THOSE men, with their arrogant garments and snide know-it-all-ism [and I will give you a piece of my mind on that in a minute], they say that we can only use the natural way for babies. Ok, so uh, like, who can actually abstain for a week every month anyway? I mean, it is not like we have the Sacraments, especially God Himself to come into our very being in all senses, the beauty of Scripture and an ocean of other unbelievably profound religious writings, prayer, adoration, the rosary, and not to mention the abundant mutual love and grace from the sacrament of marriage itself. No, the Vatican is unbelievably out of touch with reality here, folks. And as for our kids, they simply cannot control themselves, they cannot! After all, I and my husband lived together before we were married, and all our other Catholic friends did, too, and the sky didn’t fall with hellfire and brimstone. And we couldn’t control ourselves either, cuz three months after we started dating, an invisible tractor beam just pulled is into the Love Star, and we couldn’t resist if we wanted to, kind of like irresistible grace, but the opposite. My Christian Reformed friend told me about irresistible grace, and that almost everybody will go to heaven. Whoever came up with irresistible grace must have been such a nice, kind, caring and sharing man. I want to look up that origin some day.
Anyway, if my husband and I were not capable of resisting that Han Solo thing, then how much more impossible will it be for our kids. Not even with the Eucharist and rosaries and their Confirmation can they keep their clothes on. Or at least keep the private parts fastened. So I say just give them the “protection” from their mature affections, like even the Catholic high schools do, and if all else fails, there is always the clinic, since hey, most Catholic politicians are for reproductive services, too, aren't they? And those Catholic rulers care about the poor, the immigrants, and the environment, [the environment, remember Pope Francis? :) ] so they cannot be all bad, can they? Similarly, gay persons can not only not help it that they are gay, but it would be heartless that they should have to live celibate, just as our children cannot live celibate. It just isn’t possible. Never mind that Jesus said all things are possible with God.. We don’t take that literally, do we? After all, we don’t take the Creation stories literally, so why should we take any of the Bible literally? We are not fundies, remember?.Except when Jesus don’t judge. THAT is literal in all senses!
Holy Orders: Holy Orders?! Oooh boy! Don’t get me started on this one. Here I go. Wait a minute, where is my blasted microphone?! Where is it?! Where IS it!!!!? Here? Ok, good! Cuz I want everybody in this room to hear what I have to say, and I mean EVERYBODY! And what about? About those men, yes, those men. And I am sure that everybody in this room knows precisely what I mean by THOSE men! And I, ….. ok, um, I am sorry, I have to compose myself. Ok, so, ok, umm , all I can say is, about those men is, … no words, no words. All I can think of is, monsters, yes, monsters! Nazis even. Yes, Nazis! And I am NOT being hyperbolic! And how? Well, let us just start with that wonderful D word, or rather D wordS: dogmas, doctrines. All that those men on high want to do is define the D things: dogmas and doctrines! You must believe THIS but not THAT. You must DO this, but NOT that. And do you know what all that does? It just divides us. That’s right, it divides us. And why? Because once you start going around telling people what they can and cannot believe or do, even respectfully, you are setting up rules and walls, and Pope Francis said NO WALLS, and he meant it!
Cuz when you talk about religion and other useless fodder, there may be people who do not agree with you, and they will be offended. That is right, offended! And you know what? If you offend people, you hurt them. And hurting people’s feelings is the worst sin of human history. The worst! Worse than the Holocaust! Worse than the Gulags!, Worse than the tens of millions slaughtered in the Mao regime! Cuz at least those peoples’ feelings weren’t hurt! That is why, the truly compassionate thing to do is to just let people be people. Let them believe what they want to believe and don’t question it, even respectfully. And then, in our beautiful, ooey gooey oneness of love and peace, we will have unity, and tranquility on earth. Like Jesus prayed! For peace. Cuz Jesus never wanted anything but peace, ever! He never talked about confrontation! Ever! Don’t believe me? You go ahead and try to find it in the Bible! You won’t! And don’t even dialogue, cuz that could just lead to uncovering differences; and then you would hurt one another. And there is nothing worse in this life than arguing about religion.. Nothing!*
Toward that end, you know, when I was a teenager, I was told by my CCD teacher, who was somewhat liberal on some things, so that I could relate to her in some ways, that
--wait, let me just say this first; I think she was secretly not a Catholic, cuz the men up top, you know, those men, are completely conservative, they have no liberality whatsoever. I mean, with the exception of Pope Francis—and Pope Francis is ok, (he is the one nice man in the Church)--not one of those men, cares about poor people, or about immigrants, or about the environment. None! All they care about is telling people what they can’t do in their bedroom. Yes, the “formal” Catholic Church is completely on the right; yes, they are all fat pigs, Republicans, like those Roger Waters songs. That formal Church doesn’t have an ounce of liberality to it, and that is why I secretly think that my catechism teacher had infiltrated the Church to help inject some heart into it. And it actually seems to be working: because for the first time in 1950 years, the Church is getting some sense of compassion that it never had. Imagine that. But anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, what she told me
—she told me that God says, judge actions but not persons. Judge beliefs but not the believer. I told her then, NO, don’t judge at ALL, cuz Jesus said don’t judge! And that is why I never question what anyone believes and I never question what they do. I judge in no way. But those, those men up there, those mean, nasty, hyper-machismo jerks, they are saying judge beliefs and actions, and it’s just wrong, it is wrong.
And that is why I propose a movement already starting in our wonderful Catholic Church: to eradicate holy orders! We have to just get rid of those, again, mean, hurtful, angry, bitter, frustrated masculine clump of cells and just build a community of love, a community where everybody is welcome, no matter what they believe or what they do [except those men]. And that reminds me of another thing. Remember the Eucharist, and how it is not about God saving us but about sharing?. Well, then, in our new Catholic Church, everyone will be invited to share because sharing is the ultimate essence of the Gospel. Well, and the environment, we don’t want to forget that..[the ENVIRONMENT, IMPORTANT!]
Anointing: Ok, anointing. So the Church says that we can unite our sufferings to Jesus, and He will give graces to souls on our behalf, so that we can help save people by our sufferings. Ok, well the problem I have with this is, why should anyone have to suffer? There is called compassionately relieving suffering. It is called pills and IVs. Let them fade away with a pill. That way there is no suffering whatsoever. I mean, why should anyone suffer at all, even if bearably or in comfort with palliative care? Besides, the system cannot afford old people. They just drain resources. If I was old and couldn’t care of myself, I wouldn’t want to waste somebody’s time and effort, when I cannot do anything useful for the world, like famous musicians, actors, athletes, construction workers, computer workers, and so forth. I mean, if a person gets old and needs to be fed, and have their diaper changed, etc, it is just a waste. Just send them home, compassionately. They are not cost effective. Suffering is to be eliminated at all costs, since suffering never serves any good purpose.
And toward that end, one day, through kindness, caring, and sharing—and loving politicians who help the poor and immigrants, [and the ENVIRONMENT!!!]--all suffering will be eliminated, and there will be a beautiful ooey gooey utopia where all are fed, all are welcome, without exception. Because when Jesus said there will always be the poor, He was just exaggerating. We can beat Jesus with love and peace. And caring and sharing. And did I mention kindness, too. And hugs! Hugs hope all things; hugs bear all things; hugs endure all things; hugs conquer all things. Hugs fulfill the law. And again, don’t forget about sharing!! We are called to share, like the Eucharist. (However, note, because of the governor’s recommendations, our sharing will be limited and spaced. Consult your local parish for their diversity of sharing guidelines.)
Now, I wanted to say this: the reason that there will be love, peace, caring, sharing, tolerance, and kindness [and a beautiful environment], and ooey gooey hugs [hugs! :) ] is because everybody will have what they need: good food, comfortable and durable clothing, affordable, decent shelter and medical care. Because it has been absolutely proven through countless scientific studies, that nearly all persons who have these things grow up to be wonderful, responsible, kind, caring, sharing and tolerant people.
The only exceptions in some cases, were about .000001%, of the sample. These people grew up in middle- to upper middle- class suburban areas, had all delicious food in abundance, easily prepared; a plethora of fashionable clothes; wonderful modern houses with automatic heat and air conditioning; state of the art refridgerators with ice outlet; comfortable beds; unlimited supply of video games; their own cable tv in their bedroom, complete with sports, uncountable movies of all genres; and the like. Yet, for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, they completely mouthed off to their parents and didn’t do their homework because the TV had pulled them in like that Han Solo thing.
And when they went off to college, mom and dad payed for everything, gave them a brand new car to get around campus [because no one should have to take the bus, that is for poor students] and bought them a comfortable dorm complete with full meal package of delicious food and service, no dishes to do, and the like. But, again, for some crazy reason, when they went to the cafeteria, they took a whole plate of food, just picked at it and bitched, then threw it in the garbage, and took mom and dad’s unlimited credit card to McDonalds or a pizza parlor. And if that were not enough, beginning on Thursday night, on through Saturday night, they went to parties and had sex with a different person each night that they wouldn’t remember, and got drunk.
The analytical researchers were completely puzzled by this phenomenon. At one of the conference meetings, one weird-looking person in the back suggested that the stats were completely reversed and also started talking about some crazy stuff like minor apostasy, sexual revolution, and Original Sin, but nobody knew what he was talking about, so we said we will revisit this later to shut him up.
Anyway, all this dialogue is just tiring me, I need a Latte. But I will digress. Oh, yeah so, what I was going to say was, this wonderful democratic socialist utopia will finally be able to leave all those mean, rigid, bigoted dogmas and doctrines buried away from sight, so that consequently, we will be able to send gifts to one another, celebrating that those patriarchical clump of cells—who had tortured us all those decades with their witness of sack cloth and ashes—are now dead and gone. With this magnificent and grand purification behind us, our beautiful age of peace will most certainly persist until Jesus comes again. For surely, God came to save the world, not to condemn it, right? Hence, how can Jesus return to any world other than one with beautiful flowers and bambi and pink fences. Hence, when Jesus comes back, He will say, “Hi, I’m back! Come give me a big hug! [hugs! ]”
I say this because every time I talk to them Latin Freak neighbors about this [remember them, the ones that use that hatch, snatch and detach phrase, and that call themselves Essex or something like that], they say I am wrong and that when Jesus comes back, there will be an unfathomable horror with the Great Apostasy, the incomprehensible persecution of the Church [the cup of the blood of the martyrs will overflow], and the unreal pouring out of the bowls of wrath in the final tribulation. But I think they don’t know what they are talking about, since, firstly, they are like radically right wing, and besides, none of my other Catholic friends—you know, the ones that lived together before marriage like me and my husband did---know anything about that. I have yet to find anywhere in my old CCD books where that is, so I will not worry about it. After all, what do right wing people know? They get everything wrong because we get everything right. Remember, Jesus said you are either hot or cold, no middle ground. Everything is black or white. Either right or left.
* Here, we are not implying to go out and preach to persons in Pharisaical self-righteousness, to thump the Bible, nor to not have regard for sensitivity toward the other person when sharing, since one should seek to share only what the person is prepared for. Indeed, no one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care. The point is, rather, the hyper-liberal mindset wants to stuff any consideration of the religious or moral order and just leave respectful discourse on beliefs and morals out. We should always be on the lookout to share our faith with others, in charity, yes, but knowing that God puts persons in our lives for a reason. Be sensitive, yes, but bold as much as you can.
** The satire that follows from this point is inspired by the material of Kevin O’Brien within his series on the fictitious liberal character Stanford Nutting, the primary brunt of whose videos can be found here: