Slurred lines, or: Catholics, we gotta do better than this

Warning: This post contains offensive language; I’m leaving it in because I need to make a point about the language, and it’s harder to do so with euphemisms.

For whatever reason, an organist I know was posting to Facebook whatever he was playing (right after he was playing it, which means it was during Mass, which is probably not a good idea, but stay with me because that’s not the story here).

He would post something. I enjoyed some of the selections and acknowledged as much on his posts. But another organist, who’s very, very traditionalist, apparently disliked anything post-Vatican II, consistently referring to such songs as “shit.” How anyone can refer to “I Received the Living God” and “This Day Was Made by the Lord” (on my good list) as manure, I haven’t a clue. But, hey, all are entitled to their tastes. OK, I can live with that, although I think it’s inadvisable for an organist to consistently use expletives.

But a little while later, on another post by the first organist, the second organist referred to a piece’s composer as a “fag.”

Helpful hint: if you’re Catholic, the correct reaction better be one of disdain and disgust. Yes, the Catholic Church speaks out against gay marriage and gay sex. But at the same time, it repeatedly insists on the dignity of those who identify as gay. Calling them “fags” is a pretty clear violation of that.

I politely called out the second organist on this on Facebook. I’ve worked with him before, and I consider him a generally decent person, but he was clearly wrong here. I made the point that not only was the use of the word immoral, but it’s a bad idea on a practical level, too. (You won’t convince someone of the holiness of the Church or the rightness of its stances by using slurs.)

In a perfect world, he would have apologized for his words, acknowledged his wrong, and vowed to do better. Instead, he said nothing.

And a few posts later, he referred to another piece by the composer as “homoriffic.”

Sigh.

I’m not going to rat him out. I’ve said my piece, and now it’s between him, God, and his pastor if his pastor figures it out, though I won’t report him.  I can only hope that for his sake, he changes his ways, and soon. He doesn’t have to change his beliefs, but he has no (moral) right to slur others any way he feels.

And as for the rest of us, Catholics, we have to do better than that. (Most of us, mercifully, do, but it’s helpful to have a  reminder every so often.) We are compelled to love those we disagree with, even sharply. We are compelled to love those whom we believe are in a sinful state. Any use of slurs is a failure on those points. We can, we must be better than that.

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