Friday, April 17, 2009


Can going to a Catholic Church kill you?


Okay, before you write me an ugly comment or plot my death, please continue reading! Then, you can write me whatever you like!

So, this past Sunday was Easter. Like the good, little, Catholics we are, we went to church. As we walked into our local Catholic church, the place was packed, and it reeked of incense. I could see the smoke rising out of a golden incense holder, similar to the one pictured above. I thought nothing of it. However, as mass progressed, the smell got stronger and stronger, as did the thickness of the smoke in the air.

As you know, I have asthma and allergies. I am very sensitive to certain triggers-one being smoke. So, I coughed, gagged and tried not to make a scene as I sat next to Husband in the pew. I occasionally took a deep breath, but that only made it worse. The more I breathed in, the more the smoke filled my bunk, ass, asthmatic lungs. I didn't start to wheeze, but I did have a slight shortness or tightness in my chest. In my mind I thought, shit, Jesus is trying to kill me. I thought about the week's events, trying to think about what I had done to cause the Lord to try to kill me on Easter freaking Sunday, of all days! Nothing came to mind. Shit, I'm going to die of a stupid, fucking asthma attack right here in church in front of God and everyone, I thought. After about 30 minutes of smelling the fragrant, smoke, filled air, thankfully someone opened the windows. Praise Jesus in all his glory, I'm not going to die today after all, I thought as I watched a woman carefully open every window in the church. The fresh, cool air smelled sweet and tasted clean. It was pure and somewhat unpolluted- keep in mind, I live in Tokyo, Japan, where the air is usually pretty crappy. I took a few deep breaths and was relieved. As I breathed in the clean, fresh air, my lungs opened up and the tightness let go. I was no longer trying to breathe through swollen bronchial tubes. Aaaah! Happiness!

So, in the modern day in which we live, why is it still necessary to burn incense in church? With people having allergies and asthma, like myself, why does the Catholic church still feel the need to burn things indoors? I know it's a tradition and blah, blah, blah. I know it has been done for hundreds of years and blah, blah, blah. Who gives a shit? Seriously, if there were no incense on Easter Sunday, I doubt anyone would have even noticed! So, why does the Catholic church feel the need to keep this silly custom alive? By doing so, they could possibly be risking the lives of those with breathing problems like myself!


Anonymous said...

Just feel lucky you don't have to learn Latin !!

New and Improved 216.4 pound ( a NEW low ) D

AndyS said...

Baptist don't burn stuff. Just stale crackers and watered down grape juice. Priceless!!! See you in a few weeks, Andy

Anonymous said...

The purpose of incensing and the symbolic value of the smoke is that of purification and sanctification. The smoke symbolizes the prayers of the faithful drifting up to heaven: the Psalmist prays, "Let my prayer come like incense before you; the lifting up of my hands, like the evening sacrifice" (Psalm 141). Incense also creates the ambiance of heaven: The Book of Revelation describes the heavenly worship as follows: "Another angel came in holding a censer of gold. He took his place at the altar of incense and was given large amounts of incense to deposit on the altar of gold in front of the throne, together with the prayers of all God's holy ones. From the angel's hand, the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God's people."

You asked, I found!!!

Weenie said...

Thanks Big M for that information. However, I know the symbolism. But, that still doesn't answer my question. Why is it still necessary for the Catholic church to burn incense during mass? I know incense are an important symbol for the church. But, with people having asthma and allergies, isn't it better to just stop the silly tradition and make mass a more welcoming environment for people like me?? I don't care if incense creates an ambiance of heaven. I just want to freaking breath while I'm at church! Is that too much to ask of the Catholic church??