Monday, March 04, 2013

"Sex, Chips and the Holy Ghost": a prophetic play


Just over a year ago, I was on stage in Oran Mor, Glasgow, saying these lines:

"Its just cause they can’t have sex, poor loves, they wont let themselves have sex and they suffer from it.  And all they can do is make everyone else suffer for it too."

The play was SEX CHIPS AND THE HOLY GHOST, and my character was a nun expelled from her order for being transsexual, and she was talking about Cardinals. Cardinal O’Brian’s admission yesterday that he had indulged “in inappropriate sexual behaviour” makes the play seem weirdly prescient. 

His admission makes it clear that all the appalling, hurtful and damaging things he said against homosexuals and equal marriage rights came from self hatred.

He’s apologised for his sexual behaviour; but the apology really needs to come for his intellectual crimes: in those statements which caused so much hurt and distress and helped bolster up a system of belief that has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with hateful prejudice. 

And this is no time  for him to withdraw from public life; this is precisely the time when he should be most prominently out there with the rest of us, trying to dismantle transphobic and homophobic prejudice, and joining in the fight for a more enlightened and humane world.

After all, it doesn’t take very much compassion and common sense to see that he, too, was a victim of abuse, and that the Catholic places intolerable strain on its gay priests.

It would be nice to think that compassion and good sense would prevail in the Catholic hierarchy and enable them to change their culture. To create a culture that is truly loving: and truly Christian.

But perhaps that is still beyond them.

Later in the play, the other character, a priest expelled for being gay, goes onto say:

"Because all they can do is torture people. With guilt and shame and unhappiness."

David Walshe, the fabulous actor who portrayed knew only too well what he was talking about.

My character replied:

"Yeah. Its got to happen. It’s got to change. It’s like the 16th century when everyone knew the whole thing was corrupt and had to change. And where’s  the Luther to nail his thesis to the cathedral wall. To bring the whole rotten structure down into the dust. "

I expect the play will be prophetic in that also.


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