Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Outing oneself

The following conversation took place on one of the wards the other day:

Junior Doctor: I'm really interested in your specialty Dr P.

Me: That's good to hear

Junior Doctor: My only problem is that it seems to be very religious people who do it. I did a placement in a hospice and Dr H was a very committed Christian. Does that explain why you are all opposed to euthanasia?

Me: Well in that hospice Dr H is indeed a very committed Christian and the Matron Sr M is also a very committed Catholic. Of interest most of the higher trainees in the specialty, to my knowledge are not religious, but they all seem uniformly opposed to euthanasia.

Junior Doctor: Well (*sniggers*) I'm a recovering Roman Catholic.

Me: Well, I may not be the most unbiased observer then, in that I tend to be of the view that the Holy Father is a bit on the liberal side of things, you know, a bit too accomodating. But that's his job I suppose.

Junior Doctor: *Stops sniggering* *Looks nervous* Oh.

I suspect I'm now to have the reputation as a bit of a Catholic nutter. I hope I have at least challenged his lazy view that has in some way been harmed by a Catholic upbringing. I suspect he's about 22-23 so born 1988-9. He's Irish - Free State from his accent. My recollection of the time (and I was there a lot in those years) is that Catholicism there and then was pretty easy-going in a JP2-Hug-a-Dalai-Lama-Our-God-Reigns-Wave-Ya-Hands-In-The-Air kinda way. Maybe that's what he meant, but I doubt it.

Recovering Roman Catholic, indeed.

Pray for the poor boy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting post ... I share similar views and am in the medical profession in the US ... but as I'm still a resident I hesitate to share my views at all in any way. Quite difficult when your specialty is psychiatry.

I'll be following your blog more closely, thank you for writing what you do

5:48 PM  
Blogger diff said...

Alas most of my compatriots in the Irish Republic are thus inclined. Our generation has been very poorly catechised (if at all! ) and this is the result. Prayers offered

6:22 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Anonymous - every blessing for your career. I imagine psychiatry is a veru different thing.

Diff - sad to say I saw Wogan's programme about Ireland at the weekend. He professed to no religious faith despite having had his schooling in the 50s from Jesuits in Limerick and at Belvedere in Dublin.

Now, I can't believe he wasn't well catechesed in such an environment.

I think there is something deeper going on in ireland.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Fr PF said...

"Catholicism there and then was pretty easy-going in a JP2-Hug-a-Dalai-Lama-Our-God-Reigns-Wave-Ya-Hands-In-The-Air kinda way."
I suspect the young man is too young even to remember that much.
Don't forget St Francis de Sales on the spoonful of honey and the barrel of vinegar: which one attracts more flies?

10:55 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Indeed Father. Just so sad that there's a generation lost to the beauty joy and hope of faith and friendship with Christ.

I hope my 'vinegar' didn't put the poor boy off.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Dilly said...

There are several smart answers that can be used in different situations to his crass remark - such as:
"Oh good - I suppose you mean "recovering" as a "recovering alcoholic would use the term in AA - with the implication that you are a Catholic and will always be a Catholic, and might lapse back into Catholicism at any time if you don't work the atheist program?"

"How nice for you. How does the first step work in Recovery from Catholicism then - "I realised I was powerless over Catholicism and made a decision to turn my life over to God....?" That sounds pretty Catholic to me?


Do you do your 5th step in the confessional?

10:48 PM  
Blogger The Cellarer said...

Have seen both sides of the coin in Eire, had spiritual direction from a great orthodox Jesuit priest and been to reverently celebrated Masses, but also heard heretical preaching and seen full on liturgical abuse.

More than one person I know attributes the abuse scandal for people either rejecting the authority of the Church, or alternatively using it as an easy excuse to not practice.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

P, your colleague sounds like a pain in the pogue; you have my sympathies.

My own impression of Ireland is that it's a southern European country that some strange force of history has bolted on the west. This makes its people prone to the southern European curses of corruption and anti-clericalism, some of the latter often quite insane. It might be best to think of your colleague as a rather malevolent parrot, spouting out what they've been taught to repeat without much thought going into the process. When exposed to Irish anti-clericalism, something that sadly happens much more often that I am comfortable with, I find the parrot analogy a useful aid to gauging the intellectual depth of my bould anti-clericalist interlocutors; and just as one does when hearing a talking parrot, one can marvel not at what is said, but that it is said at all.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not take Wogan as a rule of thumb. His only God is himself.
I worked in Ireland in the 80 s and 90 s in various hospitals. The medical staff were abut 50-50 then when it came to observence. The nurses were much more faithful. Probably 90%. All that has changed for a wide range of reasons. Not least the Bishops!

7:17 AM  

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