Friday, July 12, 2013

Big Mama's Got a Brand New Church

Back in 2009, inspired by headlines screaming about this drag queen/Old Catholic priest, we brought you the colorful story of Rev. Anthony Capretta, aka Vincent Capretta, aka "Big Mama" whose video "Big Mama's House" went viral. Capretta followed it with a less successful video in the same genre, "Candy Medicine." In an interview he gave at the time, Fr. Capretta said the video is "all about having safe sex and using condoms--the condoms are candy medicine." He opined that the Roman Catholic Church was "wrong and selfish to discourage the use of condoms," adding that "condoms cannot cure HIV/AIDS, but neither will naïve appeals for sexual abstinence."

Four years later, we're happy to report that, while he hasn't been making any new music videos, Rev. Capretta's clerical career is flourishing. His Community of Charity Old Catholic congregation in Columbus, Ohio, has purchased a "real" church building (below) and started a second community in Crestline. The new community is called Holy Redeemer Old Catholic Church and Fr. Capretta plans to celebrate its first Mass there in September.

The priest says that future plans for the new facility will also include an arts conservatory as well as worship space. At the moment, Holy Redeemer is advertising and soliciting new members on its web site with a video that trumpets the church's openness and tolerance, and its emphasis on charity and service. “We are very inclu­sive,” Rev. Capretta says. “There is no one we would turn away from the sacra­ments."

Old Catholic churches have the same seven sacraments as the traditional Roman Catholic Church. However, the Eucharist is open to all baptized Christians regardless of denomination and, in this case, the sacrament of Marriage is extended to same-sex couples. The priesthood and diaconate in the Old Catholic tradition is open to both men and women, married and single, and there is no celibacy requirement.

Meanwhile, for those who miss Rev. Capretta in his previous (even pre-"drag queen") incarnation as singer Vincent Capretta, someone has helpfully uploaded a 1988 video of Vince singing "Nightstalker." A reminder that it's never too late to reinvent yourself...

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