Daily Archives: July 25, 2011
The Irish Times has an article about the situation of discomfort experienced by many priests in Ireland. The chief whiner seems to be a Father Hoban, whose world fell on his head when he received a couple of rather vulgar phone calls and who nowadays feels, how should I put it, not very popular.
The interview deals with other issues, but what striked me most is this: that a priest should complain because he experiences social isolation or hostility.
Without going in detail about the personal situation of this particular priest (from what one reads around rather a professional whiner, and one of the trendy ones), I would like to expand a bit about this situation of uneasiness experienced – in a more or less whining way – by many Irish priests.
1) A priest is not supposed to be popular. He is supposed to be a scandal. If a priest thinks that he must be popular, I know that he will be a bad priest; a priest more interested in his own acceptance than in the health of his sheep’s souls is a priest who will start twisting and turning the Catholic message in various ways in order not to compromise his main aim: to be popular, accepted, “part of the group”. This is Father Pansy, the typical appearance on the parishes of the Western world. Irish priests seem to have been particularly adept at this, as they have managed to almost destroy an extremely strong Catholic tradition in just a few decades. Whining and whingeing seems to me, therefore, not warranted.
2) In my experience, a strong priest is never despised. He will be the object of hostility, perhaps rancor, perhaps even hatred, but he will be respected at all times, and he will have a healthy following of sensible people, intelligent besides being religious. He will save souls, but saving souls always comes at a price. It was never supposed to be an easy job, or a popular one; if the priest believes in his mission, that is, and does his job accordingly. The strong priests will experience hostility and isolation, but he will always experience esteem with it. The pansy, on the other hand, will be despised, because he will be perceived – and rightly so – as a little cowardly weakling, who would do everything to avoid being unpopular. Father Pansy is, nowadays, very easy to find. I would venture to say that in my experience the majority of priests belong to this category. You know what, Father Pansy? If you are despised, you have no right to whine.
3) I can’t avoid smiling at reading about a priest moaning because of a couple of insulting messages, or perceived hostility and isolation. Really, what a pussycat. These people should have a couple of balls put under the tree at Christmas, with a pressing request that they may please start wearing them. In the vast majority of the planet, Catholic priests live in daily, physical danger; they don’t have the luxury of whining, because even to show fear would be dangerous; they couldn’t afford a voice message service where people leave ther insults, but are daily at risk that such insults be delivered by way of a stock, or a knife, or a pistol; they wouldn’t get the attention of an important newspaper, their very real danger being utterly ignored by the local press; and they would consider Father Hoban’s life a life of luxury, comfort and security, with or without voice messages and social isolation.
4) It must be unknown to Father Hoban that every day, countless members of the laity are insulted, or openly mocked, because of the decade-long inaction of pansy priests. Still, these laymen and laywomen continue to get the flak for their love of Christ, and don’t go around saying how oh so very cold their social environment has become. Many others choose to lose their jobs rather than having to perform abortions, or being forced to behave against the tenets of their faith. Your humble correspondent had the privilege of knowing a Christian layman from a Middle Eastern country, savagely beaten by Muslims fanatics to the point of getting asylum in Italy; with an eye almost blinded, and several skull fractures, and a walking impairment from the savage beatings (several of those) received. And if you really want to cry tears of rage and tenderness, I’ll tell you how it worked: that the man was *always* asked beforehand, by people armed with sticks, whether he was a Christian or a Muslim; and he *always* answered “I am a Christian”, knowing that a savage, life-threatening beating would be the result. He was left unconscious and half dead on the street on several occasions.
A layman, mind.
Father Hoban should just shut up, and hang his head in shame.
In all this discussion, the mistakes of the bishops are, in my eyes, a bit of a sideshow, at least as far as the likes of Father Hoban are concerned. Had he been a good, respected priest, no failing of his bishops would have been able to dent his personal prestige and the respect friends and enemies have for him. Instead, we read the pathetic moaning of an old man who very evidently hasn’t experienced social isolation until the ripe age of 63; which, if you ask me, is a clear sign that he hasn’t been much of a priest all of his life.
It is very strange, this shock at social hostility, when many laymen (including your humble correspondent) have experienced this very same social hostility (and not without physical threats at times; and not without hate at times; but never with contempt) from a good number of their peers since adolescence, because they opened their mouth to defend their values. Never with contempt, I said, because you’ll see that those who have the gut to believe in what they do are, generally, much respected by their enemies, and never have a problem in finding true friends. It’s the pansies who are despised by everyone, and rightly so.
Molti nemici, molto onore (“Many enemies, much honour”) was a Fascist slogan vastly – and predictably – criticised after the war, but whose profound meaning evidently always escaped our Fathers Pansy. Their honour is to be the darling of everyone, to the point that experiencing social isolation and hostility can tear their world apart. Poor little pussycats.
This is what Vatican II has given us: a generation of pansies whining because they aren’t the darling of the neighbourhood anymore; and this, after it was exactly their desire to be the darlings that has almost destroyed Catholicism under their wake.
Can you imagine a strong priest of the years before Vatican II whining in this way about the icy atmosphere around him? Thought not. They had to do with violent commies, murderous at times, as in Spain.
Not with voice mails.
Surprisingly, there is no trace on the Catholic blogosphere of the event that has surprised and – as it is always said, though in this case with less reason – shocked Britain on Saturday afternoon: the death of Amy Winehouse.
This is surprising because it is in my eyes not entirely consequential to condemn the perfectly a-religious (in the best of cases), booze-and-drugs lifestyle more or less directly propagated by too much of the modern pop culture, and not stop to reflect – and to admonish – when this culture actually leads to such a death.
Besides being an undoubted talent, a beautiful singing voice and a remarkably free-thinking artist in many respects, Amy Winehouse was in my eyes remarkable in another respect: a rather total lack of orientation in life. She was not one of those focused people who steel their determination in long years of obscurity until success comes to them; success had happened to her, so to speak, very early in life, and in such a casual way that she even maintained not to have a record of her first album at home. This was not a story of dogged determination, for sure.
Her famous “I don’t give a f**k” to Bono seemed rather her life motto, a motto to which she has remained faithful until it has become her undoing; a motto the more remarkable in these times where the talents of the music industry are rather strictly kept under observation, I assume for a sense of humanity besides the obvious “asset protection” reasoning.
They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, “No, no, no”
are the opening verses of a – actually, rather beautiful – song of her. In the same song, we hear
I don’t ever wanna drink again
I just, ooh, I just need a friend
In thinking of the tragedy of the late Amy Winehouse, what I think the experts and the rehab clinics and the music industry managers and even the fans couldn’t give her, a sensible prayer life would have given. I do not want to say that if you pray your addiction will automatically disappear, or that you will transform yourself overnight in the embodiment of fighting spirit; but it is fair to say that even a small prayer goes a long way to avoid the worst excesses, and that when one collaborates with grace then more energy is given to tackle one’s problem, and so on.
Amy Winehouse was born in a Jewish family, but it doesn’t seem that faith ever played a role in her life. I wonder whether she ever stopped for a moment to think of the Blessed Virgin, or if she knew Her at all, or if she had any religious life at all. You see, how one can send people to rehabilitation clinics without talking to them about God is beyond me. It’s like trying to produce water without the oxygen.
Talking about Catholic oxygen, one of the most beautiful aspects of Catholicism is to be able to see the Blessed Virgin as our Heavenly Mother. Even if I were hated by my parents, or had a very troubled relationship with them, the love and respect for my Mother in Heaven would certainly encourage me to stop harming myself. This thought has been in the past the guide and consolation for innumerable orphans, or people with difficult parents. I dare to think that what has failed here was not the attention of her agents, or of her production company, but her prayer life. The first prayer leads to the second, and then comes the third. At some point, you have enough self-esteem and self-love to not appear on stage drunk like a lord, because you know that you are loved.
We know that the Blessed Virgin suffered for her every day. We know that she would have been able to intercede for her more effectively, if properly asked for. We know that it is impossible to feel loved and valuable and willingly go forth toward self-destruction; that no matter how hard the trial – and her trial, if undoubtedly self-inflicted, must have been very hard at the end – we can’t blindly abandon ourself to self-harm when we feel embraced by Her tender love. Now, Winehouse being Jewish the recourse to Mary would have been (perhaps) not in the cards; but this shows once again the beauty, wisdom, love and Truth of our wonderful Catholic religion.
Therapists, consultants, more or less loving parents, the usual entourage of officially disinterested friends: was there among them someone who just suggested to Amy Winehouse that she prays, and then prays again, and then prays some more? I haven’t found any mention anywhere. It doesn’t seem to have been part of the picture. But fame, money, an army of consultants cannot do much against one’s own ghosts, unless supernatural help is asked and received. And what are we without prayer, other than little vessels lost in the storm of life…
Therefore, when the official reason for her death is made public, we are not very likely to read what was rather probably an important part of it: lack of proper spiritual life, lack of knowledge of being an infinitely beloved soul, and lack of knowledge of the Blessed Virgin as her Heavenly Mother.
I hope that she has avoided the worst, though frankly who can say… I have prayed for her not because I think that she was more deserving than all those unknown souls who died on saturday afternoon, but because of the sadness of such a waste of life and talent, and the suffering she must have caused to her poor guardian angel, and to Mary in Heaven.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Interesting article from the Poughkeepsie Journal, informing us that outside of New York City, so-called same sex “marriages” aren’t popular.
One may only speculate as to how on earth such a hardly fought battle (a battle that will leave several flip-flop politicians dead on the ground in the years to come) for “human rights” doesn’t cause a run to the town and city halls, with the wannabe “brides” (do they throw a coin? Or ….ugh!) happily destroying their mascara under the emotional tsunami of their virginal tears of luuv, on the day they are made Queen and Queen of the household.
One can only make some suppositions, like:
1) for most of these perverts, the relationship with their “partner” is mainly about doing the disgustingly unspeakable, not any kind of bond or mutual obligation. The “partner” is, then, there to minimise the possibility of AIDS, not because of a life plan;
2) homos are the first ones not to believe in the tale of the human right. I can’t imagine many liberated black slaves deciding that there is no great need for liberty after all, or that they will wait before they exercise the human right to become a free man; similarly, I can’t imagine many people opining that the right to free expression, or free association, or free vote are something worth fighting for in theory, but that in practice few will want to exercise;
3) whilst it can be fashionable in a place like New York City to play “trendy fag” showing one’s limp wrist with a ring around one finger (please don’t tell me if they really do: it’s disgusting; and please don’t tell me if they really don’t: wasn’t it supposed to be about “luuuv?”), it is easily conceivable that the matter might be different in smaller places, where people tend to think that marriage is between a man and a woman. Ask the local gentry, and they will say it’s elementary.
This is, I assume, the main reason why perverts gather in the biggest cities: anonymity means both license, and the possibility of creating self-approving communities halfway protected by the ridicule.
What will be most interesting to follow, though, will be the rate of divorce of these so-called “couples”; then these clowns can never create any real expression of “love”, just the mockery of it.
One thinks that, perhaps, they understand it themselves.