Parting Glances: I’ll be mooning you eternally

By |2018-01-16T03:02:01-05:00June 11th, 2009|Opinions|

Sr. Serena Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary, cajoled me into seeing “Angels and Demons” with her. “My child, a little box office cinematic penance is good for the soul.”
“It’s a marvelous way to celebrate Ascension Sunday,” she enthuses over lunch at her favorite restaurant, Bishop Fishbones, located in Michigan’s citadel of Recovering Catholicism, downtown Hamtramck.
“Why not ? A little penance can’t hurt,” I agree, as Sister generously picks up our tab for Eggs Benedictus XVI (kosher Lox Ratzinger), telling me sweetly that I’m looking fit as a padre’s fiddle, if, as usual, off key. (See photo above.)
Ever the fashion conscious RC nun, Sister wants to check out costume authenticity – especially the Swiss Guardsmen – and see how close the digitally generated Vatican sets capture the city’s hurly burly. “The burlier, the better,” I say, hopefully.
Ah, yes. St. Peter’s square. Sistine Chapel. The Spanish Steps, with its centuries old tradition of climbing up and going down (presumably in a hotel nearby).
“Director Ron Howard was denied Vatican site access for supposedly demeaning the faith by filming Dan Brown’s genuflect-while-you-chase-em ‘DaVinci Code’,” explains Sister. “None of that huge billion-dollars profit went to Opus Dei (or the papparazi) that we know of.”
Charitable me: I thought it was Tom Hanks’ one-star, nod-off performance, that irked Mother Church. “Judge not that ye be not judged,” chides Sister, doing 80 in her Marian Blue Jaguar MMVII, while texting ahead for movie reservations.
Sister and I arrive on time. She makes a dramatic show biz entrance. Gestures like Queen Elizabeth ll. (“She may dress dowdy, but honey I love her!”) Sits down regally. Thoughtfully removes her trademark DKNY wash-and-wear wimple. Reverently nibbles buttered popcorn. Daintily sips her Diet Pepsi. I slump in my seat.
“The American Family Association Pepsi boycott be damned,” she whispers, as the first of 15 coming attractions trailers lights up the giant screen. “AFA’s no help to America’s economic slump. Unpatriotic, harebrained coots. As Marie Antoinette said, Let them drink Coke. Or, better still, castor oil.”
After three hours of statue-to-statue chasing, church-to-church invading, one plucked out archbishop’s eyeball, four Illuminati brandings, unending noisy crowd tussles, an improbable last-reel parachuting, a priestly self immolation by fire, I’m penitently whipped. Not Sister.
“High marks for costumes. Sets, super. Swiss guards, hunky. Over all, disappointing. No romance. No kissing. No confession box sex. No Mother Superior bully blasting. Not very Catholic, if you ask me.”
As we’re leaving Sister signs autographs (mostly gay men). Suddenly she pecks me neatly on both cheeks. “Here, Mary. It’s a New York Times Bestseller. No Southern Baptist Escapee like you should miss reading it. Fasten your seat belt! Time to spin rubber on I-94!”
Her surprise: “The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican” (Benjamin Blech, Roy Doliner; Harper One 2008). It’s a revealing art analysis, especially “The Middle Path” chapter, with a candid reproduction (p. 185) highlighting Michelangelo’s “cosmic put down” of patron Pope Julius ll.
Michelangelo, who’d much rather sculpt, was called by Julius ll from quite gay Florence to paint in mostly closeted Rome. It took Michelangelo four years (1508 to 1512) on a scaffold to panorama the Sistine Chapel. Contrary to legend, he didn’t paint the ceiling on his back – I mean, while reclining on his back.
Pope Julius ll proved a nagging pain in the toches. But Michelangelo got his revenge. 497 years worth…
The recently completed 12-year Sistine Chapel color restoration clearly shows the Almighty creating the sun – backside to viewers – tight robe revealing biblical buns – cleverly positioned to moon Pope Julius ll’s pontifical chair. How cheeky!

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.