Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Service with the in-laws

My wife and I switch off spending Christmas Eve with our families. This year was at her house and church.

I'm not Catholic and thus find a lot of humor attending my wife's family's church. All in fun of course. At my level of understanding, the differences between Catholicism and Lutheranism are small.

This year's service was the usual hour and twenty minutes - about thirty minutes too long in my opinion. However, it had a nice twist. Controversy.

I can't remember how it started, but the preacher (or is it priest?) told the congregation we all needed to be "more open." Knowing this had to be good, I stopped daydreaming and started to listen intently.

Apparently the good Catholic Church didn't believe Galileo's absurd hypothesis that the earth circled the sun - other wise known as helocentrism. In the words of Cardinal Bellarmine, the church "delivered him an order not to 'hold or defend' the idea that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still at the center." It took until 1835 when the church finally accepted heliocentrism. It look 219 years. Sounds about right.

My understanding of the pastor's opinion was that the church needs to be more open and accepting of new ideas. I can only assume he's thinking of today's stem cell research or god forbid, birth control. Maybe in another 219 years, the church will accept these technologies as well?

The second part of this speech was about the United Nations decriminalization of homosexuality. He said we all need to be more open and respectful to homosexuals. I'm assuming he was calling for the church to change their stance as well. Here is a direct quote from, "The Catholic Church teaches that such acts [homosexual behavior] are always violations of divine and natural law."

As he was talking I took a look around to gather expressions. Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone walk out or sneer in disgust. That means, either the church we attend is liberal - when compared to other Catholic churches - or most everyone practicing Catholicism believes in technologies, like birth control, and accepting homosexuality. What ever the reason is, I enjoyed the service and look forward to hearing the priest talk about more controversial subjects in the future.

1 comment:

t-snide said...

I'm with ya on finding (many) things Catholic humorous. I think most Catholics just go through the motions ceremoniously, and are closet liberals (liberal not in the political sense, but in the "having joined the 21st century" sense).

Having been raised Catholic, I thought I knew Catholics pretty well. That is, I didn't think my family was any different. But my family must have been a little more liberal (politically, too). I was quite surprised to learn in my early adult years what the "official" Catholic stance was on many issues, and where Catholic officials stood on political issues.