Happy Thoughts

In the wise words of Chance the Rapper, “don’t forget the happy thoughts.” After a few posts that make Catholicism seem like a big sad sack of judgy old people (don’t get me wrong, that’s pretty spot-on most of the time), I decided to create a post celebrating the things that I love about Catholicism. Because although we’re pretty fucked up, I think most Bad Catholics can agree on these happy Catholic things.

  1. Funerals. Gotcha! You thought this was a happy list, but we’re Catholic, so this is what you get. On a serious note though, we’re actually really good at funerals. They’re a solid hour long and take place during a celebration of the normal mass, which is comforting because even though mass is boring, you know exactly what is going to happen. Also, Catholic funerals are like mandatory social gatherings. Everyone comes to funerals, even if you literally never met the person who died. If you know the cousin of the wife of the brother of the dude who died, you go to the funeral. If you don’t, people will totally talk shit about you until your funeral. This is actually really nice, because the church is never empty, and nobody ever goes unremembered. When you’re Catholic, funerals are lit.
  2. Gossip. Half the fun of being Catholic is talking shit about other Catholics. Example: My grandma routinely questions whether or not Mr. O’Brien actually has Alzheimer’s or if he just uses that as an excuse to put a few measly dimes in the collection basket. Like, Grandma, that’s so fucked up, he totally has Alzheimer’s. But I get it — I live for Catholic gossip. Is that altar girl wearing flip flops?! Sister Dominic would never allow that kind of sacrilege! Who in God’s name does this fifth grader think she is? Anyway, you get the idea. Nobody beats a Catholic when it comes to shit talking.
  3. Nuns. Nuns have a terrible reputation. My non-Catholic cousin has a legit phobia of nuns, probably because she watched too many horror movies as a kid. And honestly, that reputation is probably accurate for a lot of the older nuns. But a lot of the sisters I know are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. They’re mostly kind, humble, compassionate women who genuinely want to make a difference in the world. They have to put up with a lot of shit from arrogant priests, and I feel that. Some nuns are even really progressive social justice warriors. So even though they have a bad rep, I’m definitely putting nuns on my list of good Catholic things.
  4. Kids Movies. Okay maybe this is niche, but there are some really good Christian kid movies out there. Davey and Goliath. Veggie Tales. Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors. These are classics, folks.
  5. Compassion. Okay, I realize this one is a little ironic because the Catholic Church totally lacks compassion for a lot of people (my queer self included). However, they do instill a sense of compassion for the poor and disadvantaged that I think can be expanded to a broader scope. I remember singing a song in school that went, “Please break my heart, oh God, with what breaks Your heart,” and I think that’s such a compassionate message. Today, my heart is broken by all kinds of social injustice, and I think that sense of compassion was instilled by my Catholicism.
  6. Global Community. Possibly the single coolest thing about Catholicism is the fact that we are SO global. ‘Catholic’ literally means ‘universal.’ And every Sunday across the entire planet, every Catholic church is reading the same part of the Bible. I can go to mass anywhere in the world and know what’s going on. It’s pretty amazing to share tradition with so many people of different cultures. Regardless of color or class or country, running into somebody wearing a Jesus bracelet or rocking a smudge on Ash Wednesday will always create an immediate bond.

Writing this list was pretty funny, to be honest. Even though I have a LOT of issues with the church, it’s important for me to remember the good parts. Like the animated talking vegetables. And funerals.

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