Will Africa Save UK Catholicism?

Impressive experience yesterday, at a Novus Ordo church I will not mention.

The start was very bad, as for the first time since attending in England I had to endure a guitar, which made the usually atrocious hymns even more atrocious.

I prepare myself for a horrible experience when the priest appears. Like more and more priests in these part, the man is African, though his strong accent does not make the understanding difficult. Father is young, big and tall, and his assertive, masculine tone immediately makes clear this is not your Father Pansy.

Where things really become surprising was by the homily. Never, outside of the Brompton Oratory, had I heard the like. Taking inspiration from the the gospel reading, Father invites with thundering voice to defy, and in case quarrel, even with our closest family members in defending Christianity's values.

He spoke with a very loud, thundering voice, and if he ever was a timid child, this was a long time ago. He spoke, if you allow me the arrogance, like one who reads this blog every day, albeit it would be more appropriate to say “like one who cares for Catholicism”. It was clear, though unsaid, that the impact with the British society must have been rather traumatic.

It was like a black Don Camillo thundering from the pulpit, and I kept wondering how this could be reconciled with the guitar, and the atrocious hymns. Perhaps he is new and must wait some time before he strikes, I thought; or perhaps he, being African, doesn't really understand our beautiful musical tradition and follows the “colourful” musical arrangements of that Continent. At the time of distributing communion a third hypothesis could be made, as a far older white priest came out to help with the distribution (in cassock! The man was wearing a cassock!) and I thought the older priest might be in charge, and be the more accommodating type.

I had been in that church before, and the two priests I temember were different ones: the one was rather good but still too V II, and the other very probably a homo. The new team was certainly different, but again it was the Black Don Camillo who was highly impressive.

“These are the people who inspire vocations”, I could not help thinking. His passion, energy and candor, but also the assured manliness of his behaviour, must send to every boy the message that priesthood is fitting for real men, and if you aren't one you have no business in even thinking of becoming a priest. Noticeably, there were no altar girls, either.

If it had not been for the damn guitar and the blasted hymns, I would have thought shameless Catholic reaction is here openly at work. Perhaps, though, the matter is much simpler: there is great need for priests, and these priests come largely from Africa; and boy, they do Catholicism.

My impression is that a young priest who has risked the stick in his own country is not really afraid of the bishop, or of the old petty women in the parish council, when he moves to England. His vocation has been already tested far more than most of our bishops will ever dream of. To him, “sensitivity” squabbles must seem as stupid as… they actually are.

This is not the first time I notice when the NO parish priest is a young African the chances he's good are very high, and when he is a sixty-something English smiling champion they are very low. Give this country another fifteen or twenty years, and priests like this Black Don Camillo will become very common. I'd love to see what the bishop can do, then, to keep them silent, and that might also be the time when vocations start to increase in earnest.

Salvation for this country, now tragically sinking in an ocean of stupidity, political correctness and compulsive niceness, may well come from Africa.

In time, they'll get it right with the music, too.

Mundabor

 

 

Posted on August 19, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Good Shepherds, Traditional Catholicism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Yes! This is my experience in Eastern Oregon, USA, as well. We have a number of African priests in our diocese, and the one in my parish is precisely as you described at the beginning of your post. You could have been writing about our priest’s homily! Also, he told us that he never heard about not saying something “because you might offend someone” till he came to the US.

  2. At my parish church an African family attend. The mother is usually preceded by her small children, they march up the aisle, make absolute genuflections and cross themselves, then kneel reverently in their pew. I would bet my last dollar that such behaviour was taught within their home.

  3. A priest friend of mine who just turned 40 years of age, often gets in trouble with his bishop because of his homilies. Sometimes people complain when he uses words like “sin” and “hell”. One ex-nun complained to him and the bishop that he made people feel bad. it doesn’t faze him in the slightest. He is a great guy, and so are the OCD priests we have here. None of them worry about making people feel bad. They worry about the state of your soul, not your feelings.

    • Complain to the bishop because the priest makes people “feel bad” or mentions “sin” or “hell”: truly, we are in a bad way.
      Thank God for the brave priest like the one you mention.

      M

  4. This is indeed refreshing to hear. There are good priests out in the waste-land that is the typical N.O. parish. I must add that the first curate here where I am assigned, also from Africa, is very good. A very bright man, holding a Ph.D., he is very zelous for the salvation of souls and his own priesthood. Clear and articulate preaching, even the “hard sayings”.
    Perhaps all those years of Archbishop working in Africa are helping to bear fruit in the restoration.

    • There certainly are good and very good priests in NO parishes, and my peregrinations in NO parishes do not give a very discouraging picture. On the other hand, my anecdotical evidence indicates the following:
      1) they are clearly in the minority, and generally pretty young. The old priest around 60 or 65 is still, in many cases, a coward at best (yes, I am the one to “judge”…).
      2) what is true in my neck of the wood might not be true elsewhere. I do not doubt there are entire dioceses that are pure wasteland, even here in the UK.

      M

  5. Not so here in New York Archdiocese. Cannt tell African Priests from any other Novus Ordo, Dolanite.

  6. Our priest giving the sermon was a 70-something year old Jesuit. His take on the gospel was that we should be more like Oscar Romero, that that is the way to make Christian waves and not go with the flow. That was his interpretation that Jesus came with the sword.

    But wouldn’t it have been far more meaningful and timely to implore the suburbanite congregation to go forth with Christ at our side and do battle with all friends and relatives who think sodomite marriage is simply a matter of “equal rights”. No, that would have been too unkind, too uncharitable, too hateful. Marriage is being destroyed in this country as Catholic clergy, for the most part, says NOTHING.

    • Ah, but that is a Jesuit, what do you expect?

      Thank God, the Cardinals will never be so stupid as to make one of these people Pope… 😉

      M

  7. Your experience is of one opposite to mine. Every priest I have met from Africa sent here (Ohio), have performed the usual modern novus ordo. Before I had even learned that there was a Latin Mass here, I attended daily the novus ordo, jumping from one church to the other, hoping to find some thread of traditionalism. During this time, I met several priests from Africa. They were in the order of ‘The Apostles of Jesus.’ There were four at my home for dinner one day, and I about choked when one asked me my opinion of “women priests”. It was asked by the priest in charge of the new ones coming over here,..and he knew what I thought about it. Then I realized that he wanted to get reactions going at the table (of all places). To make a long story short, I just answered what the Church has Always taught. And of course, the priest to my left replied he was in favor of them. He stated how long women had to wait to be allowed to vote…etc. I asked him Why he ever became a priest if he chooses Not to obey or believe Church teaching. As usual, he felt the Church needs to be brought up with the times of today.
    With that, it is obvious to see these men had poor seminary training, and when they come to America, its the liberal feminist ‘nuns’ who swarm them in order to get them to go along with everything they tell them. They offer them money, maybe a car…and then they have them offering mass at their liberal functions. I have seen this time and time again.
    Thankfully, it was as though God knew I just couldn’t take it anymore with this modern cr-p, is when I had learned for the first time that there was a Latin Mass 30 min. away. Its been about 10 yrs now that I have steered clear of the Novus Ordo. Deo Gratias!

    • So this happened more than 10 years ago? I ask because it can be the quality of formation has increased in recent years.

      It is interesting to notice from the other side of the Pond there are more critical voices, and it would appear less orthodox priests.

      I’d love to know the way in which a bishop can try to “steer” who is going to come to his diocese.

      Anyway, the priest about whom I wrote the blog post obviously celebrated the NO. Most priests do, even some excellent ones.

      M

  8. Dear Mundabor. Beautiful and bracing. Thank you for some good news, One excellent thing about Africans is that they hate sodomites

    • They hate them, and they say it!

      I have written of a priest (clearly African himself) who has the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel said after the (NO) Mass! That’s the spirit!

      M

  9. I remember reading that Archbishop Lefebvre spent many years in Africa. I forget where, exactly, but is his influence still very much felt in Africa? And are the SSPX active there? I hope so.

    • Yes he did and yes they are, but I doubt the influence of the SSPX can spread much beyond their local environment.

      As far as I know, their conservatism is not due to the influence of the SSPX, but to the fact that VII has not managed to make there the same mess as here. The music and the liturgy are generally bad, but it seems clear to me your average African (not only Catholic) takes it seriously.

      M

  10. May God give us priests with balls – both metaphorical and literal.

  11. I am a UK parish priest and I don’t share your optimism. My experience of the African laity is that after an initial ‘good show’ they have proven themselves to be as adversely polluted by our poisoned culture as the average Catholic. I have found them to be mostly poorly catechised with large gaps in basic knowledge. Often they seem more evangelical protestant than Catholic. I hope my experience is atypical.

  12. My experience is there are good, very good african priests.
    Friends of mine met on St Peter’s square in Rome an african Bischop, they visted him together with their 5 children, in his dioecese (Nigeria) and he visited them in Germany.
    They brougth him to tridentine mass and he was very very impressed.
    In our parish we have had somtimes an african Bishop on visit, his sermon was so good and so catholic, that the translater translatet the sermon wrong (more soft and not so clear)
    The problem is, the lazy western way of live ist very attractive, even for young people, also for young african catholics.
    Most african dioceses habe many vocations, and many of them would like to send priests to europe (for mission, to tell the pangan europeans the gospel) but the european bishops refuse.
    Clearly there are many problems and africa is not the promised catholic land, where everything ist okay.

    • Yes, nothing is perfect on this world, I am sure the African clergy is no exception. We have already seen the Traditional Mass seems even less celebrated than in Euope, for example. .

      Perhaps this kind of “rotation” is good, if it prevents priests being “westernised”.

      M

  13. My nephew ( a convert to the Faith for his fiance) cohabitated and the African priest that had married him would come for dinner to the couple’s home before they were married for dinner, a few beers and a football game.

    The marriage took place at the Church of the Immaculata on the University of San Diego campus. The priest was an embarrassment and used the homily to break out props (stuffed toy, alarm clock, etc.) to say something insipid to the couple. I experienced the very same schtick at a Protestant wedding a few years before that. It’s all so shameful.

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