Proud To Be Catholic
And it came to pass yours truly directed his unworthy person toward the local church at lunchtime, in order to attend the Ash Wednesday Mass.
A huge queue (up to the end of the block) had formed itself outside of the building. As I went in, I noticed another huge queue had formed the other side of the entrance.
The Church had not one, but three masses at lunchtime, plus morning and evening. Obviously all packed.
At the end of my mass, we were made to go out from the fire exit to facilitate the entrance of the “huge crowd waiting outside” for the next one (so the priest, verbatim).
If it had not been for the Mass (which was reverent, but strictly NO) I would have fancied myself in 1957.
Those attending – working in a busy business district – were exactly the kind of people Francis bashes all the time: the well employed, going about their busy lives, almost all in suit and tie. They had nothing of “periphery” in them, nor was any sheep stink to be detected. They are the one supposed to be tepid, bashing in their own securities, and all that Francis rubbish we all know.
The interesting thing is that I attended the same Ash Wednesday mass in the same church some years ago, and there was absolutely nothing of the sort. Absolutely.Nothing.Of.The.Sort.
Now, let us make a little analysis here: is this the Francis Effect?
Clearly not. If Francis had such an effect on the crowds p, they would flock to Rome in droves before, during and after any Holy Year you can or cannot imagine. But they don't, and they actually seem to carefully avoid the place (the smoke of Satan stinks a lot after all).
What might, then, be happening? If you ask me, and unless this is an isolated episode, what is happening might be simply Providence. More and more people, of the more educated – and therefore informed – class, receive an echo of the controversies surrounding Francis; and this gives them a warm feeling of persistence of good values, a consoling, cosy sensation of “good things that won't go away”; and in time, this teanlates – with God's grace – in curiosity, and then interest, and then trial, and then regular practice.
Your humble correspondent could not hide a triumphant feeling, a total exhilaration at being out in the cold, queueing, and reminded of the packed churches of his early, blessed childhood in a Country where the Only Church was the State Religion. One tear, or three, of the purest joy might have escaped his old and tired, far too emotional eyes.
Today I was so proud of being a Catholic. So proud, that for forty minutes I almost forgot the Evil Clown and his band of thieves. It was exhilarating.
Bad Popes may come and go. They can inflict much damage.
But boy: the Church is – without a shadow of a doubt, and in a very visible way – the toughest shop on Earth.