I’m Irish Catholic. Even though my ancestors came to America in the 1800s because they were too thick to survive without potatoes, I’m “Irish.” My dad was Catholic so I’m Catholic, except that for some reason it is always, “Irish Catholic.” I’m not really sure why. I don’t hear people say, “I’m French Catholic” or any of nonsense. Regardless, I’m Irish Catholic.
I know all the rules and traditions of the faith (and other faiths too – I’m smart). The most known one is that during the season of Lent, Catholics aren’t to eat meat on Fridays. Now, we can eat fish (it’s ok, they don’t have feelings) and if you’re Latin American, you can eat chicken because apparently fish is too expensive in Mexico. Really, it’s just to save cows, always considered the most holy of creatures.
I’m not gonna get into whether this is all silly and stupid and arbitrary because I’ve yet to be elected Pope and don’t want to ruin my chances. What I am here to say is that you either obey or you don’t, and the Catholics in Chicago are idiots who should all be shot, dragged over salt encrusted glass, and beaten in the town’s square.
Sometimes, the Lenten obligations of a Catholic come up against the real world and so The Church gives a dispensation. Basically, The Church isn’t irrationally rigid (stop your laughter), and will grant people permission to not follow all the rules for special occasions. This makes sense, because if you have a wedding planned or something, it would suck to only have a choice between fish and kale. Fine. You get an excused absence for weddings and bar mitzvhas.
This Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is the dude credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland. I think he may have also played a flute and lead all the snakes onto a boat setting sail for Canada. St. Patrick’s Day is a big holiday in America. It’s a lesser holiday in Ireland but I think the Irish are coming around and embracing it because it makes them money and gives them another excuse to drink to the point of blacking out and smacking their wives. Stupid mics.
Chicago dyes her river from a shade of green to another shade of green to celebrate Public Intoxication Day. Chicagoans love Irish shit and St. Patrick’s Day in particular.
In 2017, I heard on the radio that the Cardinal for Chicago had given all Catholics a dispensation to eat meat on Friday – so as to get an early start on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I’m guessing someone will try that again this year.
Fuck. That. Shit.
First off, you’re American, not Irish. Stop celebrating a culture that sucked bad enough that you were actually better off coming to a country that regarded your “race” as on par with slaves and dogs. You probably simultaneously lament all the Mexicans waving their flag around while you wear a “KISS ME, I’M IRISH” button.
Setting aside the weird Irish Obsession we have here in the States, the Cardinal done fucked up by giving people a Get Out of Hell Free card all so they could eat fucking corned beef. YOU NEVER EAT THAT FUCKING MONSTROSITY ANY OF TIME OF THE YEAR BECAUSE IT FUCKING SUCKS.
Guess what? You can still drink until your heart’s content, and your liver isn’t, on Friday. You can still smash a window and then a girl. You can piss on the street and keep The Gays off your float if you want. You just have to, ya know, be FUCKING IRISH CATHOLIC FOR A DAY. You don’t get to eat meat because if you don’t it might harsh the buzz of your stupid party.
IF you believe that you shouldn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent then you do so because you believe that abstention will help focus your attention on Jebus and all that. (To all the non-believers: I don’t give a fuck what you think right now. Not eating meat on Fridays is just as sensible as any other aspect of a religion. That is to say it isn’t.) If you’re so weak that you need – NEED – to eat meat as part of your drunken revelry then maybe your faith isn’t that strong to begin with and you’re just putting on airs. Jesus was pretty clear that you shouldn’t do that.
And that’s fine! OK, putting on airs isn’t cool but deciding that you can be close to God and still eat meat on Fridays is fine. Plenty of Catholics eat meat on Fridays, finding the endeavor silly. Go on with your bad selves.
Faith need not be rational from the outside. The very nature and concept of God is one that defies our understanding. However, there is nothing that says it cannot be internally consistent. Getting a Freebie to eat meat on a day when you’re not even really worshiping but are instead just partying into the wee hours of the morning isn’t kosher.
Abstaining from meat isn’t supposed to be convenient. Faith isn’t convenient. Loving God and devoting yourself and all that stuff that good people do more than I do isn’t convenient. If it was, more of us would do it. You give up the meat to be closer to God, in some little way. When your mouth waters for a burger but you resist, that act reminds you of God and all the love and devotion you feel, yada yada. A Cardinal, Bishop, priest, etc… doesn’t change that. I don’t want to get all Martin Luther here but the Cardinal does NOT have a secret phone line to The Big Guy.
What I’m saying is if you eat meat this St. Patrick’s Day, you’re gonna go to hell. No Cardinal can say otherwise.
(Originally written in 2017 when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday but much of this rant still applies. Sorta. I really like recycling content on specific days once a year, ok?)