Everybody knows at least one. That elderly woman who scowls at your toddler for eating Kix during the Gospel reading. Or the grumpy deacon who furrows his eyebrows every time you show up for Mass in sneakers.
Church folk are not always the cheeriest people. And Mitch Finley is taking names - that is, if they happen to be prominent cranky Catholics.
“There are a lot of grim believers running around out there,” says Finley, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theology. “Being grim is sort of incompatible with authentic Christian faith.”
The Spokane author, devout Catholic and five-time winner of Catholic Press Association journalism awards, plans to bestow the first-ever Grim Catholic of the Year Award this fall.
Harried church secretaries need not fear. Finley isn’t looking to crucify overworked staff who occasionally lose their tempers. Instead he’s looking for someone with national influence, presenting the wrong picture of Catholicism to the public.
“Obviously I’m lobbying for the opposite perspective,” Finley says. “The Jesus that I find in the Gospels is not grim. His teachings are characterized by joy.”
All those dour believers running around with pursed lips and white knuckles wrapped around their Bibles need to lighten up, Finley says.
“They are people who worship their religious institutions instead of God,” he says.
“They’re just confused about what it’s all about.”
The grim winner will be announced Oct. 25, the anniversary of the birth of the Rev. Charles Coughlin, an anti-Semitic, Red-baiting “Radio Priest” of the 1930s and 1940s.
Press releases will be sent out to the national media, with specific attention paid to the press in the winner’s hometown.
Nominations can be mailed to the Grim Catholic Institute of America, 1657 E. Gordon, Spokane 99207, or phoned in to (509) 484-4668.