More Than a Building

Our Lady of the Nativity Church in Louisiana, where I usually go to church.

I thought I’d blog about how the Covid19 virus, aka the Corona virus, has affected my life so far and address the people who are criticizing the bishops for cancelling Mass (hopefully, it will come back for Palm Sunday, but I doubt it).

The week before the Quarantine was enacted, our priest told us the Mass would only serve the Host, and only the priest would be allowed to drink the Precious Blood (since everyone drinks from the same chalice. He also told us not to shake hands during the Sign of Peace and/or hold hands during the Our Father. We were not permitted to receive the Host on the tongue, but it was insisted that we receive it in the hand. (Our priest reminded us that Vatican II permits this practice.) I usually take the Host by hand anyway, so that wasn’t different.

Now with the quarantine, churches are closed. Many priests and Bishops (including my favorite, Bishop Robert Barron) are now live-streaming Mass on YouTube or Facebook instead of at the actual church. My local library branch was doing curbside pickup, but they suspended that now, at least until April 4. (As far as I know. That may change. Probably not. I hope) You have to call ahead, and then they come out and give you the books or whatever you requested. People are panicking and selfishly hoarding toilet paper and other items.

Many people are criticizing the actions of the bishops, but I believe these arguments are wrong. I’ll go through each one.

1. “We should still receive the Host on the tongue.” As I stated, Vatican II says that is permitted . Do you want the person who is giving you the Eucharist to get sick by touching your tongue?

2. “The churches shouldn’t be closed. We need to show that we are braver than the virus.” There is bravery, and there is public safety. You might not even know you have the virus and then you might unknowingly pass it on to those who cannot protect themselves. Loving our neighbors included being mindful of their health as well as our own. And by the way, during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague, churches were closed.

3. “The Host and Precious Blood will protect us because Jesus is present. We need to be fed.” Although Christ is indeed present in both, the properties (or “accidents”, to use a more canonical term) of both are still present. If you are celiac, you cannot eat bread, including the Host. In fact, some churches actually do serve gluten-free or low-gluten Hosts. If you drink enough of the Precious Blood, you will still get drunk. If someone poisons either one, the poison is not removed. It will still kill you. This argument reduces the Bread and Wine to magical items.

We are more fortunate than we realize. During the Middle Ages, Christianity wasn’t as widespread as it is today. People couldn’t go as often as we do. Today, we can make a spiritual communion by watching Mass. We don’t even have to be in church!

Our Catholic faith is more than the concrete and bricks in the churches. Jesus is present in the Host and the wine, but He is also present in our hearts. We should be taking this opportunity to unite ourselves in prayer. That can also show our solidarity as the family of God.

We are in the season of Lent. During this time, Jesus is calling us out to the desert. Let us meet him there. We can still connect with him spiritually. Our technology is much more advanced than it was in the days of plagues, and we might have a cure sooner than we think. Let’s all be obedient disciples and obey the wishes of our bishops and priests. They know what is best for us. God will get us through this.

The Fictional Spectrum: Entrapta

Up until now, my Fictional Spectrum series has been focused on heroes. This time, I’ve chosen someone who isn’t a hero. At least, not yet.

Netflix has been airing a reboot of the 80’s toy-driven cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power that is being created by Noelle Stephenson. I was interested because I grew up with the original series (and its distaff counterpart), and I wanted to see what new possibilities she could bring. 

When Entrapta was introduced, I suspected right away that she was on the autism spectrum. (And now thanks to leaked character designs, it’s been confirmed by Stephenson herself) The Princesses try their best to sway her allegiance, but she really doesn’t seem interested. She only joins out of curiosity.

If you isolate the caption, you see the phrase “as an autistic”

Entrapta has difficulty making friends. In fact, when we meet her, the only true friend she has is her robot Emily. A few episodes later, the Rebellion accidentally leaves her behind in The Fright Zone, the headquarters of the Evil Horde. Even though she helps the Horde, she does not truly believe in their cause. All she’s interested in is all the ancient technology they’ve acquired. She’s only interested in science for science’s sake, not for good or evil.

 It’s only at the end of season 3 that she starts to realize the consequences of her actions. When she sees the damage the portals can do, she tries to stop the Horde. She realizes the portal will rewrite the fabric of reality itself, and wants no part in that. But it’s too late, and Catra exiles her to Beast Island. It is here that she is reunited with the Rebellion. She learns that Adora never gave up on her. Not that that is what convinces her to change sides. Nope, in true autistic fashion, they have to play to her interests and entice her with their own ancient technology.

I think it’s cool that She-Ra has introduced an autistic character in this way. I definitely want to see how she evolves further. This is how you represent a disability, not by checking off a box, but by fully realizing how multifaceted a character can be.