Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My First Holy Communion!

I was having one of those "Religion" Vs. "Reason" discussions on line the other day. When, this Frustrated, Sacrosanct "Theist" finally ran out of Rational Defenses for his Superstitious Beliefs, he came up with the following...

"You know what? - The only reason you're an Atheist, is because you're a Gay."

Needless to say, not all gays are Atheists. In fact there's a multitude of Gay Religious Groups, Churches, Synagogues, Temples even Mosques, (on the DL of course) but his statement did get me to thinking.

Even though I was raised in the Catholic Church, Parochial Schools and all, was it easier for me to resist Indoctrination because I was Gay? You see I always knew I was gay from my earliest recollections (about age 3). I always thought boys were cuter and more interesting than girls. Except, of course, when girls were talking about boys, that - I must admit, could be pretty interesting too. I didn't like sports much as a kid, but Barbie's Dream House always fascinated me a bit. Now granted, at age three I didn't know what it was called, but let's just say I knew I was different.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was a big Swish or anything. I knew how to "Pass". Growing up in The Bronx, going to Catholic School, and dealing with Nuns, Brothers and Priests everyday, I kind of had to. After all, we all know how Straight the Clergy is. Right? Well at least so I thought at the time.

I not only had to "Pass" as Straight growing up, but I had to "Pass" as a Catholic as well. You know, pretend like I actually Believed all this crap they were teaching me. Trust me, it wasn't always easy. You see, I was a skeptic and a bit of a cynic, pretty much from the start.

Granted, when I was very young I did sort of reluctantly embrace the Jesus Story, but I kind of believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, as well! (although, I still believe in fairies - just not the same kind.) But, When I found out the Truth about the Santa Dude and the Bunny Guy, I just naturally figured the whole Jesus thing was Bullshit too.

I remember in second grade we were preparing for our "First Holy Communion", Sister Mary Whatshername told us we must never, ever bite into the "Host".

(For those of you unfamiliar with Catholic Absurdity, The Host, The Holy Eucharist, is an unleavened wafer that Catholics Believe is the body of Christ. Not that represents the body of Christ, like many other Christians believe, but actually is The Body of Christ. They even have a word for it, it's called the "Transubstantiation". Don't believe me? Look it up on the Vatican Website or any Catholic Encyclopedia for that matter. It's there, it really is!)

Anyway, when Sister told us we must never bite the Host, but rather, let it dissolve slowly in our mouth, and then swallow, I raised my hand and asked, why? Innocent enough question, I thought. I wasn't trying to be a smart ass, really. I was only seven, after-all. Well, She looked at me sternly, with her eyes ablaze and shouted...

"Because It Will Bleed In Your Mouth and You Will Burn In The Fires of Hell For All Eternity. That, Young Man, Is What Happens When You Violate The Body of Christ!" Ah, come on Sister I said, "You don't really believe that, do you?" With that, Sister raced down the aisle to where I was and vigorously slapped me across the face several times. (no easy feat for a 200 lb, 4 ft. 11 in. Nun)

     Typical Second Grade Class at Sacred Heart - Bronx, New York

Latter that month, when we made our "First Holy Communion" the first thing I did was Bite into the Host, as Hard as I could. You Know What? No Blood, Not a Drop! So I just kind of Grinned! I grinned as I solemnly walked back to my pew with my hands clasped in prayer. I did just as Sister taught me and just as we had been rehearsing for weeks. And that grin on my face. Believe it or not? No one saw it as sarcasm. In fact, Sister latter commented, "I could tell by the look on your face Edward, that you were finally filled with the Sanctifying Grace of the Holy Spirit". She kissed me on the forehead as she gleefully exclaimed how proud she was. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, but I didn't.

You see, even at the age of seven, I was learning how to "Pass". How to survive, in this spiritually strange, and superstitious alien environment. I was learning how to be what Sister called, "A Perfect Little Angel". I was indeed, the Perfect Little "Straight Boy" and the Perfect Little "Catholic"!

     Just Thinking

Please feel free to comment below. Anyone can comment. You can even do so anonymously, if you like. If the comment panel is not visible below, just click on the word comments (In Blue). Thanks for reading!


  1. You're off to a good start. I enjoyed this post very much. lol

  2. A fresh voice of reason hits the blogosphere, thanks for the great read.
    I was not raised Catholic but have still made it a practice to never bite the host, many are not apt to invite you back. I stick to the old adage; "lips together, teeth apart." It has served me well.
    Billy Buns

  3. Re: Anon 1. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Re: Anon 2. "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" - ROFL! Billy You Bad! So, You really NEVER bit your host? :)

  4. lol Catholicism is crazy...
    And what an interesting point about resisting indoctrination... Someone should do some research on that.

    Hopefully you'll post some more! Can't wait to read it!

  5. Thank you Callif, encouragement from you is particularly heartening.

    Leave it to you to pick up on the resisting indoctrination part, an issue I've pondered for years and will probably address again in future blogs.

  6. essie mae says: this was a story i hadn't heard before, and i thought i'd heard them all. i love the way you write and,although i don't entirely agree with you, i love the way you think. your skills and your integrity make for a nice, provocative mix. and you can really CRACK ME UP, which,i believe, is old school for "lol"

  7. I always wondered what those wafers tasted like? Would they be good with bean dip?

  8. Hey Essie-Mae - You see, you just think you know everything there is to know about me. Actually, I'm surprised you hadn't heard that story before. Anyway, it's all completely true although some names were changed to protect the Guilty:)

    Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and thanks too for the words of encouragement.

  9. Hey Liz, I can't believe you never tasted one. You mean, just out of curiosity, you never went to Mass with some Catholic friends as a kid?

    Actually, I guess South Florida is different. When I was a kid in New York we went to one another's services all the time. I was in every kind of Church, Chapel, Cathedral, Synagogue, Temple and even Store Front facility you can imagine.

    Anyway, it's pretty tasteless. I don't think it goes with bean dip or much of anything else for that matter. Although it does go pretty well with wine, or should I say "Blood". :)

  10. Adrian said...

    I have a good friend who was raised Catholic. He also became an Atheist. I think now I understand why. lol

  11. Did they really tell you it would bleed???
    I'm Catholic, but I never heard that before.
    ROFL ;D

  12. Hey Eddie, it is Liz ; to answer the question u asked a month ago, nope I never did, and none of my friends ever went to synagogue w/ me..it just didnt come up in conversation ever..lol... we were too busy trying to figure out boys lol!

  13. hi! i finally got back into my email, but i don't quite know how...stop laughing at me! i really loved your piece on edward kennedy and i get nervous and appalled by those morons and their "great white hopes". what could they possibly be nostalgic for? seperate but equal? whites only public facilities? lynchings?

  14. When a group of people (Catholics, Mormons, Hassids) express the same belief together, it creates a sense of tribalness or community. The sillier the belief is, the more it binds those people who profess it. I'd say that it's as least as common for people to express beliefs out of desire to belong to the tribe... as out of really thinking they're true.

    Binding to a community has its value, of course. But it can be damn unpleasant for those who think or act differently than the tribe... even if the divergence neutral or positive.

    I think technology makes us less dependent on the tribe (though evolution is slow, so we may have deep emotions more appropriate to our ancestors millenia ago). Less dependent on the tribe means more freedom and independence, more of a tendency to express one's own specific life experience, rather than following the crowd.


  15. Hey Stuart, damn you're good writer! I really appreciate your comments and insightful observations. Needless to say, I pretty much agree with you completely. The need and desire people have for tribal acceptance is indeed a compelling one. I think that's what I was hinting at when I posed the question...

    "Was it easier for me to Resist Indoctrination because I was Gay?"

    Knowing that I would never be embraced or even tolerated by the mores and traditions of Catholicism, independent thought and critical thinking obviously came easier to me.

    I further agree with your observation that technology is helping us to become more independent of the tribal mentality. A recent poll indicated that about 15% of Americans consider themselves to be nonbelievers who question the existence of a personal God in their lives. While by no means a majority, this number represents a significant improvement over the pre-Al Gore Internet days when only about 3% considered themselves to be nonbelievers. Does this mean we're entering a new age of enlightenment? One can only hope!

    Once again, thank you for your astute and articulate comment. Readers like you are a rare breed, indeed!