Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Sometime back I “came out” as a Jolly American (you can read about it here, here, and here) and graciously instructed the temperanormative bigots of the Catholic Church on their obligation to affirm me in my okayness or face merciless and draconian punishments to teach them tolerance. So-called “loving” Catholics—living by the “orthodox” ethics of guilt and shame which keep people like me from being able to indulge my appetite for whatever I want, whenever I want it, in whatever quantities I want—have long denied Jolly Americans their dignity. But no more! We’re Out and We’re Stout and you can’t keep us in the Pantry any more!
Naturally, my courageous stand against the hierarchy and the lackeys who talk about “moderation” and indulge in extremist, scary, and frankly un-American rhetoric about the need for Lenten fasting (instead of affirming our glorious God-given appetites) are eager to try to find a way to silence and discredit me. So when word got out the other day that I have lost 65 pounds, forces in the Obesophobic media jumped on it like white on delicious, buttered, lightly salted rice.
One reader, with predictable glee, remarked:
What does the Jolly Movement say about this? Aren’t they convinced that once you are born this way then you can’t change? Do they say that you are just internalizing Jollyphobia?
My reader, clearly unfamiliar with the wonderful diversity within the Lardo/Giganto/Brickhouse/Trans-Fatty community, simply has no understanding of how things work.
It’s like this: When I am fat I am, to quote the Prophet Gaga, “born this way” and simply living out my nature. You are required to celebrate this natural urge to fork what I want, as often as I want, with whom I want—and your Church should be compelled to pay for my meals since food is clearly necessary to human health. Asking me to curb my appetites is like asking me to change my sex. It’s absolutely impossible. Nature made me the way I am.
However, when I become, as I have chosen to do, a “trans-fatty”, you need to realize that I am a thin person who was born into a fat person’s body. So I have the right to eat as much as I want, to practice safe snacks by making sure to purge after each meal, and to alter myself by surgery and amputation because there is no such thing as “nature”. It’s all a construct of dead white males when all that really matters is My Sacred Feelings. This too is something that the State has the right to compel your bigoted Church to pay for—because it’s none of your business what I do in the privacy of my own kitchen. And you cannot just “tolerate” what I do. You. MUST. Approve!—because I can’t be healthy unless my feelings are affirmed, whether freely or under threat of fines and jail for you Christian bigots who talk about the “sin of gluttony” and the “virtue of temperance”. What is this? The Dark Ages?
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Whatever pleasurable sensation I want is the most important thing in the world and a truly tolerant society would recognize that and smash anybody who dares to question it—for the sake of diversity. Such a tolerant society would also force the Catholic Church to pay so that I don’t have to face any unpleasant consequences of indulging my appetites. Because if you Catholics don’t pay for it, then you are denying my right to health and imposing your values on me.