How A Parish Dies
And it came to pass yours truly was, a couple of months ago, attending Mass at one of the Novus Ordo parishes that are still not difficult to find in his parts, taking the temperature of the local churches.
A leaflet at the entrance talks about the inability of adulterers to receive communion, and describes it in terms of “exclusion”. It falls short of saying that this exclusion is “wrong”, but at the same time this “exclusion” is compared to Christ’s “inclusion”. The leaflet was not signed.
Father is your typical V II product: oily ceremonious, utterly unmanly (though not effeminate), and speaking in a sanctimonious, slow, low tone voice. You know the type. The love child of Uriah Heep and McDonald’s. He asks whether someone wants to volunteer to be the reader, because the readers haven’t showed up yet (and he seems to know the types). No takers I am afraid. Father keeps smiling.
The mass begins. One arrives late and is directed straight at the lectern. No readers for the second reading. Who wants? No one? Embarrassment all around. Father does not even think of being a priest and doing what priests do. A child of the apparent age of ten is finally chosen as mama encourages him to go there and do his best.
The boy can’t read. No, I mean he can’t read. He stotters and staggers over every word less than entirely banal, takes his time to read it, then dares to speak it. The boy is clearly mother tongue, and clearly not retarded. The scene is so embarrassing I would like to disappear; but hey, this might be the typical reading skills standard of an English boy of an apparent age of 10 in the Year of the Lord 2015. It is, by now, abundantly clear having Scripture read by a functional illiterate is still vastly preferable to Father than having to do it himself. I’m sure it’ s not laziness, but simple cult of V II.
The homily is so boringly stupid I struggle not to sleep. It clearly has five main concepts: poverty, poverty, poverty, poverty, and poverty.
The “choir” consists of five old parishioners, sitting in the pews behind me. The most tone-deaf people I have ever heard opening their mouth and sing in a church. Embarrassment again, with added pain. I am absolutely sure they were “the choir” because no one else wanted. These five, by the way, had been chatting aloud before Mass like it’s afternoon tea time in the garden. I don’t think there was any arrogance in it, just pure ignorance.
After Mass, Father has some communications:
- The rota of the readers is more and more neglected. People just don’t show up.
- The rota of the cleaners is like the rota of the readers.
- Less money is donated than it used to be, this or that initiative might not be possible next year.
And there stays yours truly, wondering how this man can be so thick that he does not understand his pathetic excuse of a mass literally drives all but the oldest away from it, and his spineless oily behaviour causes him to be despised to the point that even those scheduled to read at mass do not think they should do him the courtesy of showing up. Mind, I am not saying they are not attending Mass elsewhere, or at other times; but they do not show up when they said they would, because Father is just irrelevant.
When even your readers do not show up, Father, don’t be surprised that the money doesn’t come in, either. Your parish is dying, and deservedly so. In a number of years you’ll have to find another parish to demolish, if the money if there for that in the first place.
Perhaps should we all become more “inclusive”?