Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Church of Misfits & Rejects

Fr Finigan has pointed out before now that Catholic Churches are one of the few places one finds people with Down's Syndrome (everywhere else they tend to get aborted). But if you look around a Catholic parish there is a set of people you would not find in other places. Certainly not the dinner parties doctors get invited to in the suburbs.

There is the chap with a congenital condition which has lead to a developmental abnormality who wears his baseball cap the wrong way round and looks to have some sort of degenerative skin disorder. He is always enthusiastic at the kiss of peace. He's what my father would have called 'simple'. I glimpsed him when I walking to my seat after Communion last week. The intensity of his postcommunion devotions was striking and put my own limp efforts to shame.

In the past there was Tall Chris, now long dead, I suspect. Mercilessly bullied by kids in the street and called 'Frankenstein' - always at 7am Mass with his Mam and Dad (now long dead). There was the strange lady who always wore brown and wore a mantilla long after every other lady in the parish had stopped and had a pectoral cross the size of a bishop's. She was always muttering to herself. And the poor old Irish fella who had no family to speak of and was always at 8am Mass in front of us, the Macassar oil keeping his hair in place dripping down the back of his oversized stiff collars. And there's the working man who volunteers for everything and always has a rosary to hand and lives a blameless life but looks as though this might not always have been the case.

To the outside world, the cool kids, we are a freakshow. The people I mention above are how the world sees us, even the outwardly respectable doctors and accountants with our weird beliefs and inconvenient habits.

The people I mention above will be at higher places than me in the banquet of eternal life. I am, I suspect, not worthy to wipe their feet in the Kingdom.


Blogger Patricius said...

"The people I mention above will be at higher places than me in the banquet of eternal life. I am, I suspect, not worthy to wipe their feet in the Kingdom."

Perhaps...but perhaps if we stick close to them we might be able to sneak in unnoticed where others mightr be denied entry!

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on with the post. Though I live in a fairly middle class( if there is such a thing in Scotland)Parish, there is a fair peppering of "off beat" people. They are very much part of the Parish, and we are all so much the poorer when one of them (as happened recently) goes before us.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Paul McSweeney said...

A lovely post and so true. Thanks. The church is indeed a refuge for those who have committed the secular cardinal "sins" of being unattractive, unloved, poor or just a bit odd. We're richer for their presence.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Sandy Grounder said...

Spot on. "They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill." (Mt 9 v 12)

9:41 PM  
Blogger Embajador en el Infierno said...

Yes, spot on. And it happens all around the world.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Rusticus said...

It's one of the reasons I'm so grateful for my Catholic faith.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Thanks, Paulinus, good post, and close to home.

11:22 PM  

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