Letter: Disarray in Catholic ranks

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The Independent Online
Disarray in Catholic ranks

Sir: The two reflections of Andrew Brown on what's wrong with English Catholicism and what's wrong with Thought for the Day (11 May) complement each other perfectly, reaffirming what I, for one, find every day in parish life: the whole show is so boringly remote from ordinary life as to be incomprehensible. "Does mi 'ead in" in common parlance.

On the one hand, people are too sophisticated for the old, simple (semi- superstitious) traditions of childhood memory, but on the other hand are unable to synthesise modern knowledge of reality - from genetics to astrophysics - with a coherent, adult faith view. Zealots need only suspend any critical faculty to star.

As a result of this malaise, the increasing need to invent some reason for existence produces all sorts of "groupies" with special interests from rave charismatics to Latin Tridentinists. Perhaps the much-execrated Vatican Council II is so hated because it actually dared to challenge fundamental adult perversions like anti-Semitism, cultural naivety, bellicosity, religious exclusivity and authoritarianism.

In the wake of all this, we clergy are increasingly left to the "coffin trade" or wheely-bin religion: wheel them in for baptism and out for funerals. Somewhere in the midst of this is a garbled version of the "will of God", as in Andrew Brown's view of "orthodoxy" that an omnipotent God "wills everything". Well, all I can say is, let's hope He (She, They) can sort it all out - preferably before any impending millennial cataclysm.

Fr Dominic Kirkham