Top-Ten Reasons why Catholicism is So Goth.
1.) We speak an arcane tongue.
Latin is one of the most mysteriously beautiful and ancient languages.
Its sound, rhythm and flow are almost magical, timeless and can be quite creepy in the dark. Our millennia-old Latin may seem cold as stone, foreboding as death, angry as fire or ecstatic as the throes of passion.
2.) We pray and worship over tombs.
Yep, at least our predecessors did. A prime place for early Christian worship was deep in the catacombs, right over a martyr’s tomb. In this dark place, we lit candles, sang psalms and celebrated Mass. For centuries, tombs reminded us of our hope for eternal life, the shortness of mortality and our fear, pretty much, of nothing.
3.) Ash Wednesday.
Where can you go, have black ashes smeared on your forehead and get told “Remember man, thou are dust and to dust, you shall return.”? At any Catholic church on Ash Wednesday of course! Is there anything more grim, harrowing and true than this classic, Catholic one-liner?
4.) The Exorcist.
Evil demons possessing a little girl, making her neck spin around and emit green vomit. What unholy thing is this! Well, we are pretty informed about it. Catholic priests actually receive training specifically to deal with crises such as these. They have been doing it since Jesus himself drove out the first demon in 33 AD. Some Christians don’t believe in exorcism, some trivialize or explain away the powers of darkness but we stand strong, ready to kick some demonic-ass.
5.) The stigmata.
Holes suddenly appear on your hands and feet, bleeding profusely, causing excruciating pain. Might be a scene from the latest horror-flick… or maybe you have a case of old-fashioned stigmata. Yeah, we actually believe in this. No one has been really able to explain this supernatural phenomenon, which has happened to a rare, few people. Creepy ain’t it?
6.) Candlelight and Gregorian chant.
Until you’ve been in a pitch-black room, watching light grow gradually as numerous candles are lit, one-by-one, whilst midlevel chant echoes overhead, you haven’t lived!
7.) The Requiem Mass.
Yes, we have Masses specifically for someone who has just died. The Requiem Mass is so gothic that the priests wear black vestments, often with dancing skeletons on them, burn incense and recite prayers for the departed one’s soul.
8.) We actually drink the blood of Christ.
Legends of vampires may actually have their origin from Catholicism. In the ancient, Roman Empire, Catholics were accused of cannibalism. This is because we believe that when consecrated, the chalice of wine becomes the literal blood of Jesus Christ. Morbid as such a belief sounds, it appears in Scripture where Jesus says, “My flesh is true meat and my blood is true drink.”
…yeah, we love our Lord so much, we have no qualms about sipping his most-precious blood!
9.) Gothic cathedrals.
Artistically speaking, the term “gothic” means “barbaric, crude, grotesque”. Many of Europe’s old, Catholic cathedrals proudly bare this name. It’s hard to believe that the most beautiful churches in human history were once denounced as “gothic”. Yet, those pointed arches, gargoyles, dark niches and stained-glass eventually found way into our hearts. Kind of like the subculture right?
10.) We have no fear of death.
Catholics can walk fearlessly into the darkest graveyard, stroll besides nameless tombs, solemnly lift a skull in their hands and laugh. Our God became flesh and conquered the hellish powers of death long ago and promised that we would also. “O death, where is thy sting? Silly skull, are you amused yet?”