Saturday, August 23, 2008

Satanists welcome at Los Angeles Cathedral

After reeling in horror at Cardinal Mahoney's Religious Education Video, I thought you might be interested in this visit by someone to his Cathedral. Wasn't there that song, "All are welcome?"

.... His customer service couldn't have been better. His shiny jewelry and over-the-top attitude was a bit off-putting, but it was California, after all. My friend was looking for a rosary for his girlfriend, and the store worker started asking him about her favorite colors, what kind of clothes she wore, what sort of textures she liked, etc., in order to help him pick a rosary that best agreed with her fashion sense. So far, very Californian, but not a big problem. Kind of HGTV: Rosary Edition.

Then he asked what I did for a living and I told him that I teach architecture and theology, and he said with a casual smile: "oh, that's great, my partner would love that. He was a monk for 4 years." Again, this was California, and maybe even the cathedral shop has legal issues about who it can hire and who it can't. Then I started talking to my friend about one of the architects who was a finalist for the cathedral design a few years back, whose architectural philosophy is radically anti-Incarnational and anti-Catholic, and the salesman said "well, everyone is welcome in this cathedral." Being cheeky, I said "how about Satanists?" He responded: "Satanists aren't devil worshipers, you know. I know some Satanists and they aren't devil worshipers." So, following up, I said: "OK, then what about devil worshipers? Are they welcome here at the cathedral?" He replied: "Well, devil worshipers are actually Christians, because God made the devil." Another woman in line chimed in with a smile: "that's right, God made the devil." I decided it was best to leave at that point.

Honestly, I couldn't have made this up. A staff member of the cathedral gift shop might be the first and only person a visitor might talk to who represents the cathedral, as it was in my case. And what do we get? A person who gladly flaunts his open defiance of the Church's moral teaching and has a positive view of devil worship.

Who's asleep at the wheel here?

It couldn't happen in an English Cathedral, could it?


alban said...

Come on now, Fr. Ray. The (supposedly true) comments by the assistant in the gift shop are indeed totally wacky even for Los Angeles, but the worker hardly constitutes an official spokesperson for the cathedral or the archdiocese. So, I don't think the heading "Satanists welcome at Los Angeles Cathedral" (which may even imply at worship) is appropriate and it certainly isn't accurate. Also, the photograph under the heading is completely misleading; it is not even the cathedral and implies that those in the photograph are satanists. I'm very disappointed in this post.

As I mentioned, the gift shop worker's comments are off the wall; indeed quite unacceptable. I've taken the liberty of sending a link to your blog to a former student of mine who is now on the staff of the LA cathedral. I am hoping that he will follow up on this story and get back to me. I'll let you know when I hear back from him.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The picture was trying to make a link with inclusivity of Cardinal Mahoney's liturgy and the style of the Cathedral, which this story epitomises.

PJA said...

<< shudder! >>

Fact is stranger than fiction!

Let us hope that it is within the plan of the Dean/Archpriest/Pastor/Rector or whatever they are called in the States, for this guy to be properly catechised and taught something of JP2's Theology of the Body. That would open up a whole new "partnership" - one, with the LORD.

Adulio said...

Which supposedly "Great" pope consecrated the fruit-loop who runs the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and allows this sort of perfidy to happen?

gemoftheocean said...

Believe me, Pope Benedict would have scored "Big time" if on his trip to the US he'd have pointed at a few Cardinals and said "you, you, and you [etc.] ARE FIRED."

Terry Nelson said...

Sounds like dialog from a "Christopher Guest" film.

Monica said...

As someone who has had the misfortune to have attended Mass in the LA diocese and has relatives enduring ecclesial (I hesitate it say Catholic) life there, I am not the least surprised by the attitude of the shop assistant. She may not be an official spokesman (spokesperson in LA-speak) for the archdiocese, but she seems to reflect what I saw as typical.

As for Mahony, you only need to read his so-called pastoral letter on the Mass ('Gathered Faithfully Together' is, I believe, its oxymoronic title) to see how much he supports the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation, rather than the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. When it was (rightly) criticised by Mother Angelica, she was somewhat castigated in the 'Universe' by one of our (English) retired bishops. I thought his reaction was a bit odd for a bishop whose episcopal conference is apparently so faithful to Rome, but I suppose one has to do something in one's retirement, and writing to the press is as good an occupation as other things. Helps postpone any degeneration of the brain, I guess.

Gladiolus said...

Several points.
1. The Cathedral Gift Shop worker is obviously, theologically speaking, uneducated. That should not bar him from working there; however, some sort of basic training for assistants would be helpful.
2. The prose is doing its best, without being explicit, to describe him as being camp/effeminate and, at least by implication, gay/homosexual, which, of course, he may well have been.
3. The fact that he mentions a "partner", an ex-monk, does not necessarily mean he's sleeping with him, though this is implied because of #2. If he is, that's a matter for him and his confessor, not for us, at least, except for our prayers.
4. Instead of walking away from the situation, the author would have been better advised to have engaged the guy in conversation and challenged him on some of his "off the wall" opinions. Given the situation there, I wonder if the poor man had ever been challenged or given any real catechesis. This seems to have been an opportunity missed!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I thought the whole point of this piece by Diogenies was to point out the lack of even basic catechesis on the part of the Cathedral authorities.

As there was a "line", this might indicate a lack of opportunity for even a brief moment of catachesis.

Anonymous said...

This is consistent with Virginia where diocesan employees procured, drove and paid for an abortion of an under-age ward - claiming they had no idea that what they were doing was in violation of Catholic teaching.

While orthodoxy should not necessarily be a condition of employment, one would think that proximity with such holy people should give ample opportunity for catechesis.

Apparently not. The Cardinal's formation was spotty at best. The seminary he attended has not only produced most of California's bishops, but accounts for over 70% of the child-abuse settlements for the entire state.

Gives you a taste of what it's like to be Catholic in California; doesn't it?

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Sounds like it happened at the Cathedral...

As an LA resident there are places of refuge like St. Thérèse in Alhambra

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