My friend and former prom date Fishie became a publicist when he grew up, and so threw me a party at his place in North York on Saturday night. The pavements were slick with ice, and the invitations were the PR equivalent of last minute, so we were happy that a dozen or more people turned up, some of them with rather impressive Canadian Catholic lay jobs: editor of a Catholic paper, communications worker for a diocese, attaché to a pro-life think tank, director of an organization that trains pro-life leaders of the future... And these were younger-than-us women and, I discovered, your fellow Seraphic Singles readers! How awesome! So many of you have such neat jobs. It makes me wonder why I don't have a neat job! (Maybe it is the being my own boss thing. Oh, and moving to Scotland. Well, mustn't grumble: I have B.A.)
One non-reader was a lovely nutritionist, who took a searching look at me when I said I had drastically reduced sugar in my diet, and pronounced me "estromorphic." I didn't know what that meant, but it sounded good. Apparently it means I am rounded instead of angular. And now I am going to drastically reduce wheat, too. (Actually, I have stopped eating bread, so I already have.) Note I'm saying "reduce". Birthday cake is still okay, especially when made by my mum.
Anyway, I read the party the description of the Mass with the Krishna-inspired liturgical dance, which led to an interesting talk with two Indian Catholic women I met. As I suspected, Roman Catholics in India by and large give sacred pagan temple dancing a miss, although some dance-enthusiasts do attempt to baptize it and dance it for Our Lord Jesus Christ. At present I am not sure that any dance is suitable for Christian worship, but I will have to think about this for a few decades more, I think. Like Praise and Worship music, some forms might be okay, but I think they should be part of devotions performed OUTSIDE Mass. One of the sad things that happened in the wake of Vatican II is that many devotions fell into disuse, and people just use Mass for everything, sometimes including house blessings, if the poor tired priest is bullied into Mass-around-the-coffee-table.
At this point Canadian readers are aghast and saying "You read that part in front of two Indian ladies?" And I respond, "Yeah. Because that was the part I planned to read, and it would have been insulting not to read it just because they walked in. Nobody, no matter where they come from, is made of glass that will shatter because I have an unsympathetic character from their ethnic group. Meanwhile, a great conversation came out of it."
The amusing thing, however, is that I decided I was way too chicken to read it at today's book launch at Wycliffe at the Toronto School of Theology because some of my (white) friends and professors there love interreligious dialogue and liturgical shenanigans, and they would be sad. They might even wonder if I had deliberately planned to provoke them. So I decided to read the Mass bit at the party, and something else today.
There were questions, and there was a great one about the central point of the novel. I put so much stuff in the novel--including a kitchen sink--that I had to think about it. But I decided that the central theme of the novel, the real conflict, the point to take away, is the importance of having a sense of sin. One of the things my controversial heroine Catriona has going for her is her sense of sin. Other than her blind spots about 1. Dennis and 2. her age, Catriona is most definitely rooted in reality. Still, she's a lot more cynical than I am, as I was quick to assure Deacon Pedro at Salt + Light. And for the record, when I was in Germany, I was not living in sin with a Cardinal's great-nephew. I was chastely tucked up in a single bed in the guest floor of a seminary, and when a naughty seminarian said at 1 AM, "Come and see my room!" I said "Nein, danke."
P.S. Happy birthday to Quadrophonic!