So I’m a few days behind, but a friend sent me Maureen Dowd’s Sunday NY Times column about the Catholic Church’s treatment of nuns. No matter what sort of mood you’re in, it won’t make you feel better.

Anyone who went to Catholic elementary and high school (ok, I went to a Catholic college, too, but there were no sisters there, just Jesuits. Jesuits live the good life while sisters are just supposed to be good.) has a slew of nun stories. Time for just one:

Sr. Jovanna, C.S.C. was  beloved by thousands of girls who were lucky enough to see her smiling face in the drab hallways of our all-girls high school. By the time my friends and I knew her, she was everyone’s in-school grandmother, though much funnier than mine,  always ready to prop up a lost freshman or listen to an overwhelmed junior, but also more than willing to roll her eyes along with us students at the overbearing administration. She was a smart, kind, beautiful person–no ifs, ands or buts.

Two weeks after she died out at the nunnery’s headquarters several years ago, I went to her Memorial Mass in Maryland. Her family sat in the front rows, and the priest started the eulogy by talking about himself, a sign of bad things to come.  I was fidgeting in the pew, thinking she deserved better when it got worse.

He looked at the family and said something to the effect of  “I’ve heard the family saying she’s in heaven now, and that bothers me because we don’t know that and we shouldn’t say it. We don’t know the things she might have done in her life, her sins–there might have been venial sins–and it’s very important that we pray for the souls of the departed and have Masses said to help them get into heaven….” 

Jesus Christ! I wanted to shout. Perhaps he was projecting, but are you kidding me? If Sr. Jovanna doesn’t get into heaven straight off the bat, who the hell does? And it’s been two weeks, buddy! Not that I put any stock in any of that, but I was clenching and unclenching my fists, craning my neck, shaking my head, rolling my eyes,  looking around the church to see if an uprising was brewing. No, sadly people in church are too sheepish. I suppose for my mother’s sake I restrained myself from jumping out of my seat and telling this guy to go to hell.  That’s one of the many reasons I can’t go to church anymore–it makes me want to incite sense and/or violence, neither of which will work. 

Thank goodness, once the thing was over I saw some of the other sisters, meek and mild to a t, and they all agreed he was nuts. But he gets the pulpit and too many people listen.