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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What Would Richard Simmons Do?

Sister St. Aloysius got an unusual greeting card today. It was a picture of a handsome young man in his football uniform. His mother was proudly telling Sister about how well he's doing, his football achievements at Notre Dame High School somewhere out there in America, his lovely girlfriend and every one's plans for the future. Isn't that nice?

I mentioned it was unusual, didn't I? I guess it wasn't. The reason she knew the young man was the unusual part. When he was three, she had made a Halloween costume for his four year old sister, a Dorothy dress (as in, Dorothy Gale, the little girl who got sucked up by a tornado and dropped in Oz with her scraggly little dog). Although his sister did wear the Dorothy dress for Halloween that year, this little boy loved it. After Halloween he wore it all the time. He looked pretty funny. No one made a fuss. His mother didn't see the harm in it. She thought it might seem even more important if she didn't let him wear it.

He grew out of it. The rest is history on a Halloween card. Sister St. Aloysius was very proud of the boy and the Dorothy dress.

We still have a lot to discuss about nun's habits it seems, but in the meantime we must address this question of the day:

I have a question for you, Sister, unrelated to nuns or habits.

What a relief!

It's about sin.

My favorite topic.

I'll try to be brief.

Me, too.

A non-Catholic friend of mine is having a crisis about it. She's got that gluttony is a sin (one of the seven deadly!) and so is homosexuality (acting on it, that is).
So... her question, which I told her I'd ask you, is: what's the difference between going to a fat preacher's home for dinner and going to a gay couple's home for dinner? Obviously, the fat preacher overeats and is thus a glutton.
It just occurred to me about an unmarried couple living in sin. How would that be any different from either of the above?

Thanks for your time, Sister.

Holy Dorothy dress!

So your friend believes her response should be something like:

"I can't come to dinner at your house, Reverend Lardpants, because you are such a big sinner. I can meet you in a neutral place, say, the pancake house. Or we could go for a stroll."

Seriously? This is an issue for someone? How does she know that Reverend Lardpants isn't struggling with a diet? Maybe his pituitary gland blew out. Perhaps he is on some drug that causes him to blow up like a balloon. I knew a guy like that once. He was so fat his eyes swelled shut. It was some drug he was taking.

Alright, let's say Reverend Lardpants eats like a pig. We've all seen him at the church supper, inhaling the pork and beans, flinging chicken bones over his shoulder, beating Japanese men out at hot dog eating contests. Better stay away from him, don't talk to him until he passes muster on The Biggest Loser.


Jesus had some advice: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

So, tell her to go over to the Reverend's house for dinner, but be sure and take a big pile of rocks, because as far as I can tell, she's going to need them.

Jesus really didn't have a problem hanging around with sinners and felons, you may recall. I can't recall Him saying, "you're a big sinner, I can't come over."

Is she worried about it being a near occasion of sin? I didn't think non-Catholics cared about near occasions of sins. Well, you learn something new every day. Perhaps she is worried she will be compelled to gluttony, homosexuality or run off to Rio with her lover, after dinner. Ole!

We do want to avoid people and places that tempt us to sin. But by her logic, avoiding people because they are sinners, we'd pretty much have to stay home. We might have to lock ourselves in the broom closet to boot. There are big fat people all over the airport and the mall, last time I checked. We couldn't do any ministry on skid row or in prisons. The Salvation Army would have to be very careful where they set up those bell ringers with their red pots.

I might just have to pack my bags and get out of here. You should see the size of my cat.


Tallulah Morehead said...

What a relief, especially with that picture of the fat doggie.

I have two cats. One is svelte and fit. The other is so enormous, people think she's pregnant, which would be a good trick, since her kitten-making works were removed years ago.

I put out the cat food, but they choose how much to eat of it. One stays fit, and the other is a sinful glutton. I was just wondering if I should stop associating with her, but now I know it's okay to keep my fat cat.

Now if I can just convince all my gay friends to stop complaining about her "Having no abs."


Maria said...

As far as I see, the seven death sins are worse than other sins, say homosexual behavior. Am I right?

Because if I'm right I don't see why christians are demonstrating against homosexuals but not against McDonalds, for example. I could of course be wrong, maybe christians in the states demonstrate against McD-stores all the time, but I have no way og checking, seeing as I live in Norway.

Anyways, back to the question; If gluttony is a bigger sin than homosexual behavior, then why are people so much more angry at the gays?

(Pardon my bad English, it's not my first language)

antonina said...

Maria...homosexual behavior and its ramifications would get categorized under Lust, a deadly sin. It would also break the 6th commandment. The Bible speaks against sodomy adamantly on many ocassions (see the aptly named Sodom and Gomorrah...). McDonalds makes people fat by offering unhealthy food, homosexuality affects more than just one person, it leads others to sin and erodes the pillars of society, the domestic church, the sacredness of "family."

Sister, you're absolutely right about the poor preacher. It reminds of our dear friend St Anthony. He suffered from dropsy later in his 36-yr life. That is a condition wherein immense quantities of water accumulates in the tissues, and all of you swells up like a ballon. Many people thought he was no saint, but a fat glutton...when in fact, he was very ill and suffered terribly.

peace and all good!

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures, Sr. MM!! LOL!!

Great explanation, Antonina!

I love Catholic blogs. They inspire me!


ann nonymous said...


Thanks for this wonderful post!

I'd like to add, for those of you who are disparaging McDonalds, while their menu is not chock full of extremely healthy choices, they are no better or no worse than many, if not most, fast food restaurants or lots of not so fast food restaurants. Let's try to remember that we each have a choice about whether or not to eat at McDonald's, whether we eat there once a month, once a week, once a day or once an hour as well as what and how much we choose to eat if and when we eat there. I don't think it's fair to blame our gluttony on McDonald's, do you? I mean, I can behave like a glutton with a bag of carrots just as easily as with a super size box of fries.

Don't get me wrong please, I'm not attempting to extoll the virtues of McDonald's food; I just think we need to be reasonable about the limits of their corporate responsibility on our individual and/or collective weight problems. Besides, where else would I run if I discovered too late that I didn't have any tuna or Mrs. Paul's in the house on a Friday?

Anonymous said...

As a child of the ccd programs of the 1980's there is an awful lot I'm still learning about the Church and my faith. Would you be able to explain indulgences and if and how they are still relevant today?

Thanks and many blessings!

momwithbrownies said...

Hello sister,

You've stated: "The Bible speaks against sodomy adamantly on many ocassions (see the aptly named Sodom and Gomorrah...). McDonalds makes people fat by offering unhealthy food, homosexuality affects more than just one person, it leads others to sin and erodes the pillars of society, the domestic church, the sacredness of "family."

That is true. Homosexuality is a deadly sin.

Gluttony is, however, it's equal.

Gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins. God said that gluttons are debauchees or wasters of their own body. Gluttony is punishable by death...even stoning...in order to remove the evil from our midst.

Gluttons are even teaching their children by example to harm their temple, to act on that sin and to live in that sin. They are affecting the fabric of the family by dying before they should and leaving children without parents, forcing them to endure step-parents and endure sorrow which could lead to excessive sadness whitch is another deadly sin.

So the question still remains.

"Why are people so much more angry at the gays?"

Should we be angry at the gluttons too for doing this to their families? They are living in their sin, obviously not turning form that sin or they would lose weight.

Here's what is worse.

When gluttons do try to change their sinful life, most of them are trying to change to get healthy and/or sexy.

When Homosexuals try to change they are trying to turn from their sin so they can go to Heaven and be accepted by other Christians.

Who is at greater fault?

(footnotes to Bible quotes:Glutton: (Deuteronomy 21:20), Heb. zolel, from a word meaning "to shake out," "to squander;" and hence one who is prodigal, who wastes his means by indulgence. In Proverbs 23:21, the word means debauchees or wasters of their own body. In 28:7, the word (pl.) is rendered Authorized Version "riotous men;" Revised Version, "gluttonous." Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34, Greek phagos, given to eating, gluttonous.

ann nonymous said...


I'd like to point out that, first of all, Sister did say that for many people who would appear to be gluttons to those of us who choose to jump to conclusions about their behavior/choices/weight, there is sometimes another explanation for their size.

Second, people who are "angry" at the "homosexuals" or "angry" at the gluttons need to think about the teaching "hate the SIN, love the SINNER."

It's dangerous business to sit around ranking the sins of others, don't you think? You know, plank:splinter and all that.

Kirsten said...

Little girls get the cutest costumes. It's no wonder that the littlest boys, especially toddlers, want to wear the fun girl clothes. Their main alternative are sports costumes or scary costumes. To a toddler (boy or girl), the girlie costumes are much more appealing.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Anger is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It's not the Catholics that are out there pestering homosexuals and screaming at the funerals of soldiers. It's Christian Fundamentalists.

Andrea Merida said...

And admonishment of the sinner is one of the seven corporal works of mercy. But Sister, I have a lot of trouble with this one. How do I admonish while adhering to what the Catechism says:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

It's so easy for us to accumulate our own sins when we start focusing on the sinner instead of the sin, like anger or hatred or bigotry or impatience and the like. What would you think would be the best application of admonishment in this case?

There seems to be a calling to balance between a compassionate admonishment while loving the person who has to bear this trial.

I appreciate your comment about the "near occasion of sin." Since I don't think that I will catch "gay cooties" (if you will forgive the expression) too easily, I don't have too much problem being around gay people. This was a really important point you made.

However, if you visit some of the Catholic forums (like forums.catholic.com), you will read plenty of vitriol and advice to pester homosexuals. There is also a lot of splitting of hairs about just wars, etc. I got to where I couldn't even stand reading it anymore...the hatred from my Catholic brothers and sisters just flat-out made me cry. It's depressing.

I'm going back in as soon as I'm able, though.

Pax tecum, Sister.

Anonymous said...

My 12 year old nephew (my sister's kid - and my sister is non practicing Catholic/divorce) has gender identity disorder - ever since he was two years old or so, he "wanted to be a girl". He loves Dorothy from the wiz of oz... even still... I worry about him. He's in California too -- and it seems to be "okay" with everyone ---- I don't know what to think...
I think the parents are thinking they'll "okay" a sex change operation in the future if it comes to that ----

Lord have Mercy.

momwithbrownies said...

Sister Mary Martha

I would like to point out that the people you call Christian fundamentalists who are picketing funerals are not at all affiliated with any Christian headquarters, are not affiliated with the Baptists or backed by any evangelical group whatsoever. The people picketing the funerals are one man and his family who call themselves a church.

Your statement clears the question from the air, however...

I think I'm understanding that the Catholic church welcomes both the Homosexuals living in their sin and the Glutton living in their sin. We are to accept them where they are and pray that God shows them their sin and has mercy on them as we pray that God reveals sin in our own lives also so that we may clear that as well? Correct?

From your statement that anger is a deadly sin, coupled with the truth that the fundamentalists are not the only people struggling with whether or not to invite gay families to church, I'm assuming that you are welcoming of gay people in the church.

Of course the priests will teach against gluttony and homosexuality and anger hoping that the sinners will turn from their sin, but if they don't it's not our place to judge them ...

Am I understanding you correctly?

Anonymous said...

There are homosexuals who do not engage in homosexual sex but there are non-homosexuals who engage in homosexual sex. The homosexual act is the sin. Those who promote the homosexual sin are guilty too. Most Christians don't want the promotion of the sin taught to their children. Society is pushing homosexual sex as acceptable. It isn't, but neither is any sex act not between a man and a woman married to each other.
Society also encourages gluttony. Indulging in any thing to a degree of harm is gluttony. People with excessive debt or storage sheds full of things they don't want or need are also gluttons.
Excess weight is not always gluttony. We eat cool whip, crisco, margarine, and a host of other things that are not actually food. No wonder we have health problems.

Jane said...

Ha! Great answer! I must admit I once smirked a bit when a non-catholic gal was spouting judgment on smokers as she was simultaneously shoveling truffle cake in her mouth.

Anonymous said...

"gender identity disorder"

I read a lot of inane insanity in the comments on Sister's blog, but that idiocy is a new high.

La Bibliotecaria Laura said...

Sister, I had a good friend who was a gay man... When he had big gay parties, I would not attend. But he was a good friend I am would hang out with him otherwise.

Reading this post sparked another question about Jubilee and the Holy Door I entered during the last Jubilee year (can't recall the specific year--not because of hard livin' but rather because I have 3 young children). Was it 2000?

Anyway, I was in a state of Grace, entered the Door, attended Mass, and then exited the same Holy Door (at the Shrine of St. Francis in San Francisco, CA).

But that was seven years ago, and well, I fall in and out of Grace.

Have I lost my Jubilee Indulgence because of this? Or, as long as I die in having made a good confession (and I don't manage to mess that up before I kick the bucket) am I still worthy of this promise?

Thank you for reading this.

In our Good Lord and Most Gracious Lady,
La Bibliotecaria Laura

Sylvia said...

In response to "the story of us," I think your comment is mainly correct as far as your understanding of mercy and compassion, except for one key thing: if you are in the state of mortal sin you are cut off from God's grace, you are "dead" in sin, and therefore cannot be called a member of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. This applies to everyone, homosexual or not, gluttonous or not, whatever sin it may be, if it is mortal you are in a very real sense not part of the Church--and this is not because the Church (the Body of Christ) does not "welcome" you but because it would be a contradiction for you to be dead and alive at the same time. If you choose the life of Christ, repent of your sin, and are shriven, then you may again take part fully in the sacramental life of the Church. As far as behaving as an individual Catholic goes, though, what everyone has written about not casting the first stone or looking to judge anyone else (or even to point out another's sin, which is itself a sin--detraction) is sound. God bless!

coley boley said...

Sister, I have a question not related to the particular topis being discussed here. I would like to inquire about women wearing veils at mass. I have seen some women wear them and I have recieved mixed messages about why. I know you have a million questions to be answered but this one seems nice a chort so I hope you'll answer it!

In Christ,
North Carolina

momwithbrownies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm still snickering over the title of this blog. :)

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that we should not be so quick to judge homosexuals because we truly don't know what's going on in their bedrooms.

Many men and women participate in the same "disordered" actions that get homosexuals in trouble, but somehow no one thinks it's a big deal.

As to the question of "why so much anger towards homosexuality?" I think because it's an easy sin to sit in judgement of if you're not homosexual. If I focus on other sin, I may have to look at myself closer, but since homosexuality isn't *my* sin, I can denounce it without having to worry about living up to my words.

Greg said...

I am a Christian, and I am gay. I follow God's teachings and I try not to go against what Jesus said was right and wrong. I am not promiscuous, I am not a rapist, I am not a pedophile, etc. I am just gay. There are those who sleep around and are guilty of the sin of Lust, but this is not me. I am still waiting to find Love. I try to lead a good life, I do penance for my misdeeds. But sins are sins when they affect others negatively. And no matter what you say, homosexual love is still love. And how can love be a sin?