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Aug 24

The Sham of God

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.

Bring on the comments

  1. GrowUp says:

    Sounds fairly bad alright. There are still a few bright sparks kicking around I think, sounds like that chap has lost whatever motivated him in the outset and is now trundling along the rails to the inevitable release of death, not giving a damn about the quality of his work, bit like a former SU worker.

  2. unstranger says:

    You’re probably right but if God wants his Church to continue They’ll sort it.
    No worries I reckon.

    p.s. the Gospel of Thomas said do not put Me inside a building, My place is in your hearts! So……..

  3. I read today that 36 are starting their study this year.

    36 is not a lot.

  4. Granny says:

    It is a career option in the times that are init! Clothes food all in, a career for life, in fact Tat has the necessary charisma. a few pointers from rev.Ian Poulton would’nt go amiss.

  5. Baino says:

    Care factor zero. It’s about time organised religion met it’s demise. No good has ever come of it. I sent both of mine to Catholic schools and produced two perfect little athiests. Worked like a charm. Srsly though it’s a shame he couldn’t put on a brave face for such a happy occasion. Then I know two Church of Ireland Ministers who are quite the opposite.

  6. K8 says:

    Grow Up; Being a priest wanting to die, in those shoes I’d be tempted to bugger off to Africa to see if I could help out… go out of this world with a bang, y’know? Depressing small babies just doesn’t seem right somehow.

    Unstranger; God has a sense of humour, it was probably He who put the Red Bull words in yer man’s mouth. Still though, God has little to do with these traditions, it’s up to the people to keep things lively.

    Xbox; For the whole of cynical Ireland? That’s quite a lot! I’m surprised!

    Granny; You wouldn’t make a bad vicar yourself, missus!!

    Baino; Religion schmerligion, it’s really about giving people in a community an excuse to be in the same building together, all thinking about the same things… I really believe that’s a very healthy thing! Sure where else would you meet good lookin’ fellas? I know of one or two extremely excellent Catholic priests that have people on the edges of their seats with enthusiasm… it seems a sense of humour should probably be a pre-requisite for priesthood.

  7. Nick says:

    Sounds as if the poor guy lost his faith years ago. He should resign and find an occupation he believes in. And the decrepit church should be pulled down and replaced by something smaller and more welcoming. No wonder people are turned off religion if they run into someone so uninspired. Well, that and all the child abuse of course….

  8. warrior says:

    Actually I tried it for a while…..ahem.

    Church got fucked when it didn’t admit it had fucked all the kiddies. Lots and lots of very good men have been shattered to bits by an institution that couldn’t scrape shit off it’s own arse and has been over taken by Spanish Nazis.

  9. Grannymar says:

    K8, the RC Churches were like that over 30 years ago. I don’t go very often, but when I do, usually because I am a guest in somebody’s house the scenario is the same. No reverence by the priest OR congregation with prayers muttered at a gallop that could be an alien language.

    The mad scrum for Communion is an insult to whatever God the people are supposed to follow. Then the talking afterwards instead of a time of reflection makes me wonder why people get out of their beds at all.

  10. K8 says:

    Nick; I’d be miserable if they pulled the churches down. Most of them are amazing, those high vaulted roofs are so awe inspiring, especially acoustically speaking. Maybe they should remain as musical worship halls.

    Warrior; That’s a coincidence! The priest compared Naziism to marriage during our wedding ceremony!! He really does know how to preach though, a sound young ‘fla who still believes in what he’s talking about. I’d attend more of his masses if I wasn’t so damned lazy.

    Grannymar; High fivez! That’s exactly what I was trying to say. There’s a reason they say ‘Thanks be to God’ at the end. It’s the only heartfelt sentence spoken.

  11. holemaster says:

    Good post K8. I do wonder what will replace the community function served by churches. I hope it’s not the Wii.

    Back in the day, a village would hang on after mass and discuss the latest issues like the washed out bridge or out of control youths. Now they just sit at home watching crap on telly and phoning Joe Duffy.

  12. K8 says:

    Church Mass on the Wii… hmmm… you might be on to something.

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