Monday, August 08, 2011

The Catholic Church as British Rail ca 1974. Discuss.

In many ways I feel ashamed of this blog post. I live in a country where it is not illegal to practice the Faith, where I do not face persecution or even disapproval if I talk about the Faith in polite company. There are churches in abundance in the deanery and four Masses to cover my duty to attend within 400 yards of our house. I should be grateful but I'm fed up with it.

I'm fed up with bishops who didn't deal properly with paedophiles and others who invite dissenters against the teaching of the Church to speak in their cathedrals. I'm fed up with bishops who won't stand up for essentials of the Faith like the seal of the confessional.

I'm fed up with tawdry polyester vestments when there is no doubt a cupboard full of perfectly adequate or even beautiful preconcilar vestments somewhere about. I'm fed up with priests making it up as they go along when I know perfectly well what's written in the Missal. This is the worship of Almighty God, here, not a self-help seminar for neurotics.

I'm fed up with the fat choir mistress with her warbly voice singing at EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY MASS. I went to what I thought would be the nice quiet 8.30am and my heart sank when I saw her seated alone at her Yamaha piano, microphone poised at the ready. I'm fed up with the crappy sub-protestant cheesey 'worship-songs' she imposes on us. This was this morning's heap of horse manure:

And I, I'm desperate for you

Desperate. Yes, I know how you feel, matey. I'm Desperate Dan, me. Every Sunday morning.

All the aesthetic appeal of the music accompanying made for TV films that they show on Channel 5 in the afternoon.

I'm fed up with constant changing of the words of scripture so it fits with her psalm settings which are pitched so high and trilled so ornamentally that I can't join in, even if I wanted to. Actuosa participatio, eh? Not a chance.

I'm fed up with the crappy hymn books and their bowdlerised words. I searched through one and found about three that weren't written by Marty Haugen and his imitators. It was Faith Of Our Fathers. One verse went

Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
Mankind shall prosper and be free

As though Jean de Brebeuf died so that we could have a healthy GDP.

Even my 10 year old, who knows his Lady GaGa from his Beyonce came out disgusted when they had a group of spotty herberts in their teens banging drums and strumming guitars and crooning. "That was so cheesey" he said "I don't want to hear that at Church". Alienating 10-year olds. Nice one.

Sorry to witter on. I really don't want to go elsewhere. This should be my parish. I live here. It's supposed to be a Catholic Church - it says so on the front door. Why do they want me to go somewhere else.? There's one across town. They have an EF Low Mass on a Sunday morning and plainchant in Latin and English at the Sung OF Masses.

The Church is beginning to feel like Britsh Rail in the 1970s. Put up with the crap, because no-one else is going to take you. Stale sandwiches? Tough -that's all there is. Late service - hard lines, mate. That's just the way it is. Surly staff - like it or lump it.

The thing is I know it needn't be like this. I know there are priests out there who want a decent liturgy and are fed up with it. Priests who know the Faith and want to preach it in its fullness. I know they live in fear of Chancellors and other Curial bullies who would blight their lives. I just don't know what to do. The place feels like a desert on a Sunday morning and anyone who isn't a happy-clappy baby-boomer can p*** off.

There I've had my rant. Now have your say.


Blogger Left-footer said...

Nice analogy, but at least British rail ca 1974, got you there - eventualy.

I'm not so sure about the English Catholic Church and its sometimes heretical Bishops. I suppose those deluded by them can plead ignorance before the Judge.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Ttony said...

The problem in E&W (were you writing about E&W? BC? S? all of the above?) is that while a few of us rant, most people just put up with it and look on passively at their children not going to church any more, all of which means that the diocesan magic circles can carry on realising their very specific vision for the future of the Church.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Victor S E Moubarak said...

Would you rather have Gregorian Chants and sermons about fire and brimstone and the perils of hell?

That won't draw in the crowds will it? And the collection plate will be even emptier. Let's get our priorities right!

God bless you.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...


The parish across the river with the Gregorian Chant seems to pull the crowds in. He didn't preach hellfire when I was there.

Jesus Christ was known to warn about hell a bit. Are you saying we shouldn't? There is a balance to be struck. Personally I prefer to hear about the love of God and do, most of the time.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Oh, and God bless you, too.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Patricius said...

As one who used British Rail regularly during the 1970s I disagree with your characterisation of the quality of the service. My recollection is of an excellent and reasonably-priced service. True, I never tasted their sandwiches and sometimes the ride could be a bit wobbly but I never felt ripped off nor patronised by being called a "customer".
I do, however, concur in your evaluation of the musical/liturgical horrors!

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean in all the above . But of all your observances it is the musical one that resonates most with me. Like you, there is not one single Mass in the five nearby Parishes that does not have someone, or a choir, most of the time "howling at the moon". Quiet early morning Mass!!?? I wish.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Victor S E Moubarak said...

You miss-understood me, I fear. My fault. (Unfortunately one can't write tongue in cheek!)

I'd love a church with Gregorian Chants rather than the screaming/singing in our church which gives God a headache every Sunday.

And yes ... I'd love a sermon about hell. We need to go back to basics and as well as teach people about God's love and Heaven we need sermons which spell out clearly the alternative should we choose, as many do, to turn our backs on God.

I suspect the ills of our society these days stem from the fact that God is excluded from every part of our lives. The church seems preocupied at keeping bums on seats and collection plates full. Only recently we were asked to pledge £100 a month for 5 years for the Bishop's funds.

So, all in all ... I agree with your post, but did not express it clearly with tongue in cheek.

God bless.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Rusticus said...

Gosh - some harsh words here, Paulinus! But isn't it sad that they have to be said?

I too have been similarly afflicted, though not by that particularly appalling "hymn", D.g. There is, however, an even worse one ("Moses I know you're the man") which will send me screaming from the church if the "Music Group" ever commit it again.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Sorry Victor

Ithink I had a sense of humour failure there and my antennae weren't atuned to irony.

God bless

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Richard Collins said...

Great! I feel much better after reading this post. Thanks Paulinus.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous C Hargis said...

O thank you for your post. It is so good to know that there is more than one person out there that withers every service with the drivel being offered as " relevant worship" to God Almighty.

5:09 PM  

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