I LEAVE FOR THREE DAYS AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENS.
As you probably know, yesterday my Cathedral was vandalized with a confusing combination of graffiti. I saw the video that Fr Dany, one of my many bosses, sent to one of my many priest group chats, and it definitely hurt to see. This is a holy place, a place where I’ve worked for more than a dozen years, where good things happen, where God lives.
We’re not sure who’s responsible yet, though literally everyone is happy to reveal their inner prejudices by guessing or assuming it was one group or another. It was either Antifa BLM Marxists attacking us for being innocent-as-a-lamb Christians, who covered their tracks by adding swastikas after they proclaimed “BIDEN 2020,” or it was neo-nazi klansmen who hate us for being darker than the acceptable American color, but ran out of swastika and “WHITE POWER” paint and discovered all they had left was some extra BLM. Or it was some bored losers who don’t like Chaldeans. Or some other scenario.
The whole thing is certainly evocative of the Arabic letter “nun” spray painted on Christian homes in Mosul by ISIS a few years back, but beyond a kind of poetic similarity, comparing the two is something of an insult to the tens of thousands of people who lost their homes and are still seeking refuge wherever they can find it, and the entire dioceses that have been emptied. This isn’t in the same world as what happened in Iraq, and has been happening for centuries.
On the other hand, even if this isn’t the same, it is a step in that direction. Outright persecution doesn’t pop out of thin air, and this, as well as similar attacks on Catholic churches this year, is reasonably a cause for alarm.
Anyway, it’s all cleaned up now, so what did we learn in the meantime?
- The Church on earth is on earth, which means bad stuff happens to it sometimes. KIND OF LIKE YOUR SOUL. But we cleaned up the Church with some help, and you can clean up your soul, with Christ’s help.
- This took way less time to clean up and resolve than the typical disagreement among clergy or parish council members. The things that hurt us from the outside are smaller than the things we do to ourselves on the inside, even if they’re more dramatic and get more attention.
- Even though I was in Michigan at the time for a wedding (and am writing this post on my phone on the flight back), I got a ton of texts and calls asking if everything was okay and whether we needed help cleaning it all up. You have more people supporting you than you think.
- Paint goes away. All flesh is grass. Take care of the world around you and your life in this world, but remember it’s all temporary. Empires fall. Even the ones you like. The Word of the Lord endures forever.
Anyway, one last word to the talentless graffiti punks who did this:
If your goal was to slightly inconvenience the parish council and give us a few hundred thousand hits on social media: mission accomplished. If your goal was to hurt God or the spirit of the Chaldean people: lol.
Also I’ll pray for you. Like once.