Posted on Monday, August 24, 2009
in Something to think about
We were at a Christening in a small village somewhere near the middle of Ireland yesterday. Now… I don’t attend mass much, I should do, for the sake of Puppychild and her ability to make an educated decision for herself, but by the time Sunday mornings come around, I tend to forget.
The church experience yesterday was entirely weird, as though we’d fallen into the future, into a desolate world where things had started to degrade somewhat. A sore thumb in the village – a bizarre bright blue with dark blue edging back in the day when those colours must have been fashionable, the paint now peeled sadly and cried tears of rust from every window. Stained glass windows were indeed stained, but not with pretty colours any more, these had long faded. A dusty vent in the roof far above was shrouded with black cobwebs which spanned right along to the end of the support beams, and long cracks buckled the concrete, threatening to bring the whole lot down upon us at any moment.
I seriously considered breaking into the place the next day with a stepladder and a sponge, it was that pathetic.
Then the priest appeared.
To say that we all stared at him throughout the service was not to say we were enthralled with his words, rather because we were amazed at his depressive mumbling monotony. An alien from another planet, should one have stepped over the threshold and listened to this fella preach, certainly would not have guessed that he was addressing a Supreme Being. Instead, the priest opened a book, and began to read without inserting so much as a comma or a lift of his head until he was finished. The whole mass consisted of one entire mumbled sentence and must have ruined the experience for the parents of these tiny new lambish children somewhat.
A bloke beside me at one point leaned over to whisper into my ear;
“Somebody give that man a red bull!”
Now I know that priests are a dying breed in Ireland today, but are things really that bad? Even if I personally believe that God and the Church are separate things, I still believe in the power of tradition and community spirit, that it takes a catalyst such as a priest or a Post Office to bring this sort of thing to fruit… where’s the harm in that?
Even if people don’t want to be priests anymore, could we at least start to employ lay-folk to do a bit of spiritual pep-talking? Some sort of Minister for the people to spread parables and stories about fishes and candles and pretty white birds to Church goers every Sunday morning? Somebody who has genuine enthusiasm for the subject?!?!? Truly enthusiastic priests and vicars seem to be rarer than red squirrels these days.
See, if they don’t do something soon, I fear the Church (in its communal sense) is well and truly fucked, and that would be a crying shame.