(Is it me, or does that look like Walter Cuenin under that disguise?)
By day, Vincent Capretta ministers to parishioners as Father Anthony, rector of the Community of Charity Church, an Independent Old Catholic community in Columbus, Ohio.
By night, he’s “Big Mama,” an out and proud drag queen whose latest dance club singles include “Big Mama’s House” and a remix of “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Q: There has been a lot of confusion about your label’s promotion of you as an “out and proud” Catholic priest. It turns out you’re an Old Catholic. How is that different?
A: I was raised Roman Catholic, but I decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church when I was a senior in high school, after speaking to a group of seminarians who were kind of disgruntled with the church over several issues. The Old Catholic Church accepts gays and lesbians. Divorce and birth control are not an issue. We discourage abortion but would not withhold the sacrament from anyone. We allow female clergy and priests to get married. It’s close to the Anglican Church, but more socially progressive.
"Old Catholic Church" accepts gays and lesbians
I've heard a lot of hooey in my life but it comes as a surprise there are people out there convinced there's a Catholic Church older than the one Christ and the Apostles started, but that's a topic for another day.
"Old Catholic Church" accepts gays and lesbians
I was raised Roman Catholic, but I decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church when I was a senior in high school, after speaking to a group of seminarians who were kind of disgruntled with the church over several issues.
We've all come across priests and seminarians disgruntled by the teachings of the Church. In fact, here in Boston, there's only a couple handfuls of priests left practicing the authentic faith. Whatever faith they are practicing, it isn't Catholic and their dissent has driven many different kinds of people away from the Catholic Church.
Poor "Vincent" represents one small category, i.e., people wanting to believe their sins are virtues and the Church rejects their virtues and therefore rejects them.
Priests who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church go through a Catholic seminary and scandalize from the moment they enter the seminary to their conversions or their graves, whichever comes first. They get out of the seminary and they set up a shtick somewhere and their homilies convey that although Christ's Church rejects us - "he" was sent to embrace that which Christ and His Church rejects.
The whole "celibate men who sacrifice their lives to witness to the obedience unto the point of death", the parable of good shepherd who brings the lambs to obedience and therefore Christ and His Salvation, the revelation that Christ would tear down the Temple and in three days rebuild a new one -where priests would follow his witness and be rejected and persecuted because the people want to believe their sins are virtues--where there would be a Deposit of Faith to guide them so that they in turn could guide the people ---the entire purpose of Christ's Life, Sacrifice, Death and Church, escapes them.
When Christ said a Paraclete would be sent to guide us, these dissenting priests believe Christ was talking about them.
Let's think about the lifecycle of a soul.
In a perfect set of circumstances, we're taught right from wrong, sin from virtue, rebellion from repentance and firm purpose of amendment. At various points in our lives, we're tempted by something or someone. Our formation causes our conscience to wave the red flag. You take a better look at the teachings of the Church. In a desperate attempt to find a hole and an excuse, you start looking around for people who'll wave you in across home plate.
What's the harm in sexuality between two people who truly care about each other?
Pregnant and broke, stop by the Pine Street Inn with a can of soup or a war protest on your way to Caritas Christi to get the numbers, instructions, and a taxi to Archdiocescan abortion subcontractors. Abortion is just one forgivable sin among many in the seamless garment.
Diocescan coffers are hurting, what's the harm of abortion business so long as we recruit deeply-rooted sinners & killers whose salvation is already lost?
As the temperature in the temptations starts to rise, there's a split in the spiritual road. We either follow the coaches waiving us in to home plate -- or dig out the teachings of the Church, examine them, examine the logic of dissent and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit with your heart, soul and desire to know the truth and follow it. Most of us travel down the road with the coaches and cheerleaders of dissent at some point in our lives. When some priest's homily, an encyclical or a friend pings our conscience to remind us that the Church thinks we're the bad people, we walk away in one way or another.
One set of people scandalized finds another religion or we stop going to Church all together. What's the sense, we think - the Vatican is off the rocker.
Another set sits in the pews of Father Dissent, we listen to Father confirm our less than solid conviction that the Vatican has derailed from Christ's Church but he is there to heal those wounds. We sing the Lord of the Dance. We walk by the dark and unused Confessional. We tap our feet to the rhythm of tambourines and drums. We serve Thanksgivings dinners in shelters. We're finally home, we think.
But, nobody rejects all the teachings of the Church and gradually, the chatter about abortion, teaching promiscuity and condoms to children or whatever it finally is that stirs your conscience, you begin to realize the logic you're basing your own tiny little objection to contraception - or whatever it is - is flawed. You're in a side circus. A false church. Even though it's a priest in good standing in a Catholic diocese leading it - you've been duped.
Then, you join the other subset of people scandalized & driven out of the pews by dissenting priests. Parents who won't sit their children in the pews to be misled by the circus.
In your naivete, you think if you get involved in this or that ministry and bear witness in the parish to the truth - uproot dissent, you can get momentum going in the right direction. On a rare occasion, this strategy works. Most of the time, your own children get misled as a result. You've sacrificed the formation of your own children - perhaps their children and their children's children. But you feel good about YOURSELF - that is the main fruit of that exercise. If that is your goal - go for it. I always tell other Catholic parents seeking advice about "what do to" about "Father" - it was the biggest mistake I made in my life as a parent. Give a little room, speak the truth and if he rejects it and all it's principles, pack your family up and find a parish that will lead your children and support the teachings of the Church - and you.
Which leads us to another subset of of people that dissenting priests drive out of the pews. The chickens that come home to roost. It was never the Vatican that was off the rocker. We met the enemy and it was us.
Some of us travel around and when we can't do so, we turn on EWTN and make spiritual communion. Others have gravitated to the Latin Rite. If I were a parent starting over, that is definitely where I would bring my family. The homilies and support, the Sacrament of Confession and the Holy Sacrifice are flawless. I prefer English, I've had a hard time making the move and my children were to0 scandalized by the time I realized there was really nothing left of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Priests who dissent may be Transubstantiating, they may not be. It's anyone's guess. Nobody can convince me that priests who dissent on a multitude of issues are believers and therefore convect a valid Eucharist. That logic falls short in my book.
A valid Eucharist requires three things:
Fidelity to the Words in the Canon that convect.
Well-meaning priests and others will try to get out in front of a dissenting priest and tell you that these well-known dissenters are Transubstantiating but there is no human alive that could possibly say that with conviction. Those are matters in the silence of the hearts of the dissenting priests. They may "say the words" but neither have the belief and therefore don't have the "intention". If they are proven non-believers, why on earth would they ever pay attention to ensuring they are purchasing hosts made with valid matter? There are many, many companies out there that sell "hosts" made with matter that makes the Sacrifice of the Holy Catholic Church, invalid.
Dissenting priests don't believe they and the Deposit of Faith are one, holy, indivisible and faithful unit. There is no tether. There is no subservience. They are as schismatic from the Church of Rome as poor Vincent or the false church in China. We've been holding on and kidding ourselves for a long time but there are victims of this malpractice, misfeasance and malfeasance by physicians of the soul and we are giving it credbility, coddling it with our presence. All these years of refusing to dust our sandals and walk away has had a devastating effect. It has misled a multitude.
Q: How do your parishioners feel about “Big Mama?”
A: The public has a misconception that I’m out dressed in drag every night on the streets, but I only dress up when it’s time to do a theatrical performance. My parishioners are very supportive; several have been to my shows. I had one parishioner say, “You know, Father, whatever it takes to raise the money to feed the homeless. If you need to put those ChaCha heels on, go right ahead and do it!”