Music: A This place was pretty off the chain musically. It’s almost possible to review the whole service just based on the music. Basically, most of the service was sung, like 90% ish was, almost no normal talking, i guess these guys redefine normal talking. So i think i’ll just describe the tonalities and the setup here because i’ll get more into the meat of it in “the real story” further along in the review. Basically there was a priest who sang a bunch in very drone-like, very old-school, almost medieval style, at least someone who knows almost nothing about medieval music such as me might think so. Other than that, a dude with an acoustic guitar at the mic doing some songs here and there. Very inoffensive, lyrically oblique and vague songs, Jaymie really loved the one that he sang twice, once at the beginning and once during communion.
people who will die in the next 20 years: Somewhere between 40% and 60%.
pastor charisma: B+ This guy talked some good stuff and even though since they’re catholics i’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean shit. but i liked his approach, at least in the context of a church service.
décor iconography: this place ruled. the building looks rad from the outside, all modern looking but not in a horrible commercial-establishment way. The inside was way full of art. i probably took as many notes about that than anything else. there’s a stained glass window thing in the ceiling with a human, a cow, a bird, and an ambiguous bear-dog-anything-really, they’re all holding a book. weird. awesome. Behind the stage, as a part of the very mosaic-heavy theme, is a piece about 15 by 20 feet large of a jesus coming out of what can be conceived as a huge blue vulva. he’s flanked by some people and it looks pretty kvlt cuz there’s tarot seeming references like keys just floating about. On another wall is jesus holding a couple blocks, one with alpha, the other with omega. awesome. So much mosaic art, tons of it gold. The whole inside walls are exposed brick, very 70’s in a good way. Nothing bland about this place. Just cuz i could go on and on and i shouldn’t, let me finish with something amazing and move on: there’s a small but quite visible replica of the church on the stage. and the priest just stands there facing it for a good portion of the service. Whaaaat? Cool.
food/drink: none that i saw
scare quotient: C catholics be losin it. No satan talk, no sin talk.
number of people: about 100 maybe
THE REAL STORY
Meagan was very excited to go to this one cuz she’s been before and wanted to show us some shit. And by shit i mean there’s a stainless steel coffin with a dead saint in it, in that church. Fuckin catholics just do the weirdest things, no? There was a museum there too, and this church lady gave us the tour and it was hilarious and cute and awesome cuz here’s what happened: she offered the tour, she was all “i don’t do this very often so sorry but i’m gonna read the notes” and she literally didn’t care which object was what that she was reading the description of. She’d just point to the most immediately possible correlative object and tell us about it and we’d all be looking at eachother knowing that she had pointed at the wrong thing. She went out of her way though, and was very respectfully not assuming we were catholic or gave a shit about trying to become one. Cool! Hey springs church! lol.
She also gave us these little pamphlets, some of which had little pieces of cloth that had allegedly touched the dead saint’s body. When i told cam about going there he said he’d gotten one of those too when he went there, which makes me wonder about the process of touching dead dudes with cloth so as to supply even the most unenthusiastic visitor with a piece, for forever, or whatever. Funny images running through my head. Like haha was the cloth literally running through his head? heh.
This was the first ethnically specific church i have gone to, ever. So i guess the fact that there were only white people isn’t all that surprising, but still it’s a thing, i just don’t know exactly what kind of thing it is, anyway i won’t try and figure it right now. Oh and by the way, full disclosure, i’m hung over and it’s been almost a week since i went there, and i’m in montreal and there was free beer last night, and i didn’t take very specific notes about the spoken (sung) content at this church so bear with me as i complete what threatens to be a rather spacey and thin entry in a long run of surgically-precise and astoundingly astute reviews. fuck.
Some things: They had kid helpers. What’s the word for that? They had long kvlt robes and looked not grim at all cuz they had that sorta “i’m doing something important and valued by the grown-up class” thing going on, which includes smiles and cuteness. They carried cool long candle-staff things. So gnar. People in the congregation crossed themselves excessively, like so often. The priest’s mic gave him an endearingly lo-fi, tinny, quiet voice.
The service began after a song and the priest just had his back turned to the audience, and sang this back and forth thing with them – call and response style. It was all in a book which people followed along in, word for word. Our pew neighbours helped us figure out how to follow along which was very kind. The priest seemed to know it by heart, NO SMALL FEAT. It just sounded so cool, this amazing back and forth sung ritual, no musicality to the words, they were sung despite this. It lasted about ten minutes before the priest even turned around to face the audience. Wow! This is the sort of wacky kvlt shit that I want out of a barely-changed ritual dating back hundreds of years. It is kind of like stepping back in musical time. Anyway, i don’t have too much to add to this element of the service cuz i don’t want to get bogged down in the details and if it intrigues you just go and check it out cuz i loved it and think it’s worth seeing once. Also i didn’t take notes about what they were singing about except this one line: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil word against you falsely because of me”. Which reminds me of the fact that their church bulletin had an ad for the 40 days for life campaign and that kind of encapsulates my approach to them when i ride my bike past those fucking fools. lol.
Anyway, the sermon was interesting. He gave a brief history lesson in attitudes towards god in western european catholicism, getting into the debate of whether JC is a friend and lover or a king. He talked about how JC was never in the palaces of the rich unless he was being arrested or brought to trial. He said “Who or what has kingship over us?” and “there are empires today competing for our allegiance”. And he quoted the new pope saying that capitalism doesn’t serve “life” which is all “what does it mean” obvz. And finally, the supreme argument for a pope who prides himself on having lived a life of relative asceticism before become CEO of the vatican: “JC was a king who willingly wore a crown of thorns for his people”. Humble royalty, we need more of that, like not Kanye, but the IKEA CEO dude who drives a shitty car or whatever. Fuck that shit forever. Anyway, i guess i’m not comparing JC to a ceo, but if anyone wants to tell me about current leaders being wearing crowns of thorns i’m all “fuck you i’ll kill you” lol.
Anyway, no one who talks like that and then advertises for the 40 days for life campaign really has too too much credibility for me. OH AND YOU KNOW, THAT’S THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH THE CHURCH LOL. Sorry, sometimes i get too caught up in taking their word for stuff, when there’s historically little reason for anyone not to burn their beautiful buildings to the ground. Hello CSIS, glad to have you with us, hi uncle michael.
I wanted to note the fact of the priest doing close to half the service with his back to the crowd. I thought that maybe it meant that he was talking to g-d and not the crowd, which is cool, and also that he is less of a teacher or preacher than an intermediary or a vessel, which, while it poses questions relating to representation and so on, i still think is an interesting difference compared to the fake, spectacular, individualized democracy of contemporary evangelical christianity that posits a direct relationship with g-d. ANYWAY i thought it was a nice change of pace, at least.
To finish off, let me describe a few funny things. A couple older women asked my friend where she got her tights while church was actually happening. Then they left before it was over with the exclamation that “this is boring” or something along those lines. Also, and I totally relate to this next thing in the most hilarious i-haven’t-thought-about-this-dynamic-in-almost-10-years way: fucking teenager dudes trying to look cool while walking by me on their way back to their bench from communion. To you, dear teenagers: it is patently impossible to look cool while at church with your parents taking communion. And their awkward attempts to conceal their shame, i relate to that, and it’s so awesome to be on the other end of that. Good luck guys! Run away!
Lots of the people at this church had leather jackets.