A word of advice to future Oscar winners: Don't begin Oscar day by going to church.
That is where I found myself this past Sunday morning, at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Santa Monica Boulevard, at Mass with my sister and my dad. My problem with the Catholic Mass is that sometimes I find my mind wandering after I hear something the priest says, and I start thinking all these crazy thoughts like how it is wrong to kill people and that you are not allowed to use violence upon another human being unless it is in true self-defense.
The pope even came right out and said it: This war in Iraq is not a just war and, thus, it is a sin.
Those thoughts were with me the rest of the day, from the moment I left the church and passed by the homeless begging for change (one in six American children living in poverty is another form of violence), to the streets around the Kodak Theater where antiwar protesters were being arrested as I drove by in my studio-sponsored limo.
What a Church. Michael Moore, Michael Novak, Pat Buchanan, Mel Gibson, Martin Sheen, Andrew Sullivan..you and me. It probably pisses some of you off, but something about it pleases me.
A long time ago, I was living in a very small town in Tennessee. Our very small Catholic church located in a prefab building off the bypass was running a vacation Bible school in concert with the First Presbyterian Church located on the town square. I was new in town, and hardly knew anyone. I went to the planning meeting in the Presbyterian church basement, hesitated at the door, but then walked right in. Without even asking, I could tell which side the Catholics were sitting on and which the Presbyterians. Delicately put, the Presbyterian ladies were all in their crisp oxford shirts and chinos. The Catholics were...diverse...and they looked it, including the lady wearing a pantsuit with the names of world cities embroidered all over it (she turned out to be the nun, naturally).
Somehow, that experience has been symbolic of this Church for me ever since.