How High Is Your Mass?

A reader writes:

Thanks so much for the slide show of Benedict on the runway. My favorite is the velvet toque trimmed in white fur. When I was a young gay boy in the 50's I told myself I loved going to mass because I was good, but I was really just entranced by all the fabulous appurtenances: stained glass, a cornucopia of unheard-of saints, lace surplices, candles, incense, flower-banked altars, the gold ciborium, crosiers, colorful vestments. LOVED the little Infant of Prague doll which changed costume throughout the liturgical year. Great theater!!

Viva the Prada pope!

I've often wondered how many straight Catholics fully appreciate how gay their church has always been. Especially in the old days. High Mass was, in its heyday, more elaborate and choreographed than a very melodramatic Broadway musical. Do people really believe that gay priests and religious had nothing to do with it? They had everything to do with it.

The first time I walked into a gay disco, with all those lights, music, ritual and smoke, my immediate thought was: church! Madonna gets this, whatever Jonah says. Because she's a born-and-bred Catholic, which Jonah isn't. It's theater, sweetie, theater. And the Church once understood that - which was part of its beautiful Catholicity. Gone, now, alas. But Benedict is helping nudge it back. And although I tease him about it, it's a wonderful thing. More incense, please. And lace.