This post began this morning when I saw a news account that President Obama would host a Seder at the White House this evening. I was thinking, what a wonderful religious experience for his own daughters, Malia and Sasha. Then the story indicates his daughters would be there. It would be a family gathering. President Hosts His Fifth Seder in the White House Tonight Back many years into Vatican II history, as a rural pastor, we would hold a Seder as part of our Holy Thursday service. I probably continued this event because my predecessor did it; and I read a few articles in a liberal catholic liturgical magazine suggesting ways for a catholic parish to hold a Seder. Those were the days. The parishioners always appreciated this event. For the main meal we would serve turkey. My predecessor served goat because he said the scriptures said to take from either the sheep or the goats. I always loved this night in the parish and our celebration of Holy Thursday. To the temple police, I took a few liberties with the RC liturgy. I would consider the Seder as the whole first part of the Mass with the Jewish ritual prayers, blessings, and scripture readings as well as the Seder meal. We always had the Jewish ritual foods along with questions and answers. Why is this night different? Then we would clear the tables and celebrate the Roman Catholic Mass for Holy Thursday. At the end of Mass we would reserve the Sacrament for adoration in the church. I think I was respectful as I prayed the blessings over the ritual foods and wine. It was a wonderful educational event for Catholics and me as we tried to gain some sense of our Jewish heritage. President Obama talks about what Passover means to him. Even today with a new pope the message of Passover resonates. Catholics like our Jewish brothers and sisters still look for deliverance from all forms of slavery as we acknowledge God’s continuing presence with us. I thought that President Obama celebrating a Seder in the White House would be so educational for his own family. One of the reasons he does this is for his daughters. It is the fifth time President Obama has hosted a Seder. This is the communist, heathen, socialist, anti religious, anti God, president holding a sacred Jewish religious ritual in the White House. They would say in the bible belt that we had a good fellowship at the meal. Eventually I stopped doing this because I wanted to be sensitive to the fact I was not really Jewish. It would be like folks trying to simulate a Mass. Yet, during those years when the parish celebrated a Seder, I learned much and hoped the parishioners did from this celebration each Holy Thursday. That news story this morning brought back the memories. I tried to allay concerns about trivializing the Seder and Passover. I recall, now after a few years, that I invited to the parish Seder a Jewish family that I had come to know in the town where I was a pastor. They came and were welcome and seemed appreciative of our efforts. I would try to offer a few reflections, a homily after the meal and before we brought forth our own bread and wine. It always seemed to me that it was easy to preach after a few glasses of wine. Actually, it was a blessing, the words in that context of Holy Thursday and the Christian memorial of the Last Supper seemed to flow so easily. So on this Passover as Catholics wonder where Francis will take the church, I want to be one with my Jewish brothers and sisters who have their own hopes and struggles on this Sacred Night that is so different than all other nights.
I have my candidate for pope, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Why my vote is for the queen. The queen supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians. If that is not enough, hear what she has to say if Kate's expected child is a girl. "The Queen will tomorrow back an historic pledge to promote gay rights and ‘gender equality’ in one of the most controversial acts of her reign." The charter, dubbed a ‘21st Century Commonwealth Magna Carta’ declares: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’ The ‘other grounds’ is intended to refer to sexuality – but specific reference to ‘gays and lesbians’ was omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws. The Vatican under the last two popes have not spoken out very forcefully on these draconian laws. Well, the Vatican probably ranks right up there with those countries with draconian anti-gay laws, at least with their rhetoric and thinking on queer matters. I forgot, only a baptized male can become pope. That rule should change. I’m sure Jesus would pardon the cardinals if they chose to amend that little man made law. Her Majesty is older, and probably wiser, than all those octogenarian men in red who are going into conclave in the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to select a new man-in-red to wear the white and red, Dorothy, slippers. The queen's Red Hat is actually more wonderful than all those old men's red beanies. The Queen's Red Hat is, well, fabulous. I'm sure the Queen could best the new man in attire, even Ex Pope Benedict who has been described as the best dressed pope. Benedict, the Best Dressed Pope More than best dressed, Her Majesty has poise and charm. No need to worry cardinals! She probably could fix the Vatican Bank. The big difference is that the Queen has been free to think, not so the ancient men in red, until they prove it. This would also be a wonderful ecumenical gesture, Roman Catholics reaching out in a real effort of unity with the Church of England in a joint undertaking for justice and freedom, not some kind of bizarre unity based on repression as engineered by Ex pope Benedict. I mean, Benedict, welcoming as Roman Catholic priests Anglican clerics who could not support the equality of women on the issue of ordination or for that matter an openly gay bishop. Poor Cardinal O'Brien. So, if I, a real Roman Catholic, had a vote in the conclave on Tuesday, I’d vote for experience and a proven winner, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Viva La Papessa!
This is from Bill in Portland Maine, one of the resident satirists at Daily Kos in his diary Cheers and Jeers from yesterday...
This is a test of the Sistine Chapel pope-selection smokestack. This is only a test:
If this had been an actual pope selection, the media would have had an orgasm (within the context of marital fidelity, of course) and you would have been subjected to non-stop coverage until you puked. This concludes this test of the Sistine Chapel pope-selection smokestack. Now back to Cheers and Jeers…