Friday, 15 March 2013

Wot, No Pot Pourri?

I had a chat with a progressive Catholic the other night. I was in the pub and he just turned up, someone I'd known for a few years. Anyway, this young (about thirty) man, someone with an Oxbridge degree. under his belt, someone working on a Ph.D about 17th century English diarists, was full of opinions about the new pope. Suffice to say that, for one churchgoer, Francis I is not a harbinger of reform and enlightenment.

My young friend's view is that religion ought to be about tea and cake and generally being nice, and all the dogma about abortion, civil rights etc is a pain. This may not be a very sophisticated theological position, but a. we were in the pub and b. it makes a lot more sense, considered rationally, than all that stuff about a virgin knocking up a ghost and so forth.

My friend's attitude to religion was enlightening because, as a very intelligent adult, he clearly felt attending church is a good thing if it makes people happy, and that's essentially 'what it's for'. He told us about a priest brought in from the Congo (not sure which one) who - via a translator, as he only spoke French - gave a hellfire and damnation sermon at a typical English Catholic Church. It was 'politely received', so to speak.

I have heard it claimed that priests and ministers from Africa will be swarming to the Old World to re-evangelise the largely pagan Europeans. I suspect that it will be tricky if their approach sets perdition above pastry.

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