Yesterday the world watched Notre Dame Cathedral burn. News agencies used terms such as “world tragedy” and “one of the darkest days in French history” to describe the destruction occurring to the cathedral that was being renovated during Holy Week.
But what if we didn’t see the burning as a tragedy?
What if the burning of the cathedral represented so many tears spent after torture at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church? What if the burning represented the anger at an organization responsible for systematic oppression, genocide, and global molestation of children?
As the building caught fire the Pope responded in a mere matter of minutes to call for a time of global prayer at the loss, and vowed that the French would rebuild their “mother” church. Minutes, to call for action on behalf of a building. Yet, it was not until almost seven years into his time as Pope that he finally made any statement on the sexual abuse scandal that has become a global epidemic for his church!
Worse yet, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote this week that the abuse scandal is the fault of LGBTQ people, and the “sexual revolution” era. Together Francis and Benedict over the last decade have a history of blaming the worlds problems on LGBTQ people, and those that do not subscribe to Roman Catholic stances on sex and gender. Yet yesterday I was called on to “mourn” the loss of one of their buildings? Yet what has the Church done for me? Nothing but attack, vilify, and give propaganda to the stripping of rights to people across the globe.
For me watching the building burn brought up a range of emotions, from vindication, to anger. I will not mourn the loss of a building used to collect funds to take away my rights, and decry my basic humanity. No, I can not say one ounce of me is at all sorry for the loss the church is experiencing. Maybe, they will take this time to experience loss like so many of the people they condemn have felt. The Roman Catholic church has stolen childhood from many, it has stolen family from trans and gay people, and it has stolen whole ethnic groups from the world because of it’s imperialism.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is 856 years old. Going back to 1163 when the church was built it was a symbol of Roman Catholic power, built in the midst of the crusaders as Pope were power hungry for land, and to wipe out Muslims. In 1209 just twenty years after the cathedral was consecrated there was the slaughter in southwestern France at Beziers. A whole city waylaid because they didn’t hold to “traditional” Catholic thought. By 1212 the Roman Catholic church was sending children to fight the Crusades, applying “ a child shall lead them” from the Bible to a means to raise more money to ransack Muslims across Europe and the Middle East. Fast forward two hundred years and we have the murder of Joan of Arc in France because she didn’t dress or act like a woman, though she was used for her military power, and then discarded when no longer needed (like many women and children have been used and discarded by the church). And yet today we still have a church that denies women authority, fights against contraception, attacks LGBTQ people at every turn, and is still a system that hides rapists in it’s highest ranks.
No I will not mourn, if you have lived what I have yesterday was nothing short of cathartic.
All I could think of is the day the organized church is buried, that their castles of power fall, and that all people are made equal.
All I could sing yesterday were not words of mourning, no they were the words penned by Hayley Williams a rallying cry almost that sings,
Go get your shovel and we’ll dig a deep hole, to bury the castle, bury the castle.