The sickening encyclical.
I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. If you don’t know me by now, I’ll understand, or will try to understand such determined obscurantism in the face of reading this blog for any amount of time. I will endeavour to add some graphs and equations to it purely for your benefit but only as long as you accept I’ll just be giving it a go, but my heart won’t really be in it.
Meh, bollocks, I’ve done all my graphs and equations porridge, I’m clean nowadays, I’m a quitter, I don’t do that sorta stuff no more, haven’t turned a trick in years. For those people who read slowly and carefully, you probably realised long ago which particular stripe of rockcake I am, so bingo, you got me.
Like so many of my generation, I walked away from it but unlike so many of them, it wasn’t from laziness – it wasn’t that I couldn’t be arsed to go to church Sundays or being pissed off at a variety of holy Joes who were pinching choir boy’s bottoms, but an intellectual rejection. Believe it or not, I was the sort of sad bastard who thought he could read through the theology and that would assuage all the growing doubts.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin I finally decided was an overrated simplistic twat with barely two and one half brain cells to rub together and Thomas Aquinas really needed to get outside the monastery into the sunlight and get laid, possibly by a nun which he seemed to be hinting at. The cloistered brides of Christ might have a practical use after all, but an exclusively liturgical one you understand, à la mode Loudun.
What followed was not a godless life, but a normal one. I’ve seen the evil that men can do, the goodness that’s in the heart of some people on the worst day of their lives, but I’ve never yet discerned the hand of God in any of it. If anything, his absence. If it needed fixing, it was always up to us schmucks to just get on and do it, because praying to God to work his magic never seemed to deliver in any timely fashion. Life is a simple but roughty toughty business; work hard, keep your nose clean, look after your loved ones, don’t ever allow yourself the luxury of being stoopid and never forget a Smith & Wesson beats four aces any day of the week.
The intellectual reasons for abandoning ones faith are easy to trot out and it’ll always be a no contest with anyone who seriously thinks they can argue to the contrary. Those sort of arguments I long ago ceased to engage with. It is after all a matter of personal belief. I have a few friends I love who have the real faith and I can only envy them. I honestly do. They have a capacity for a belief that’s not been within me for many years. We’ve had all the long talks and they no doubt put a good word in for me in their conversations with him upstairs. I have good reason to suspect I’ll need all the help that’s going when I eventually run out of road. Who will sing for me?
Having established my credentials as the worst sort of lapsed Catholic, that’s to say a badly lapsed one, I’ll finally move on to give my fippence worth of opinion on the head honcho in the poncho’s cycling piece. It’s of course a masterfully crafted and anodyne piece of prosaic drivel that wouldn’t be out of place in one of those terrible stealth religious movies you mistakenly watch for half an hour before realising that awful bloody truth. It was financed by a bunch of holy Joe businessmen in somewhere like Minnesota to convert you to Christianity on the sly. You’ll never get that wasted half hour of your life back.
It says everything and nothing to anyone and everyone, without ever once foundering on the reef of controversy as it sets sail out into the vast Sea of Irrelevance. It’s no wonder a resurgent Islam views not only the Church of Rome but Christianity as a rudderless hulk, lost and adrift in a sea of anything goes it created by abandoning any beliefs or sleeves rolled up duty of care to the poor in favour of a kindly sound bite from the media tarts of the developed world.
They’ve profited by gaining the world but the real cost nobody wants to talk about. Any sort of muscular Christianity is dead. One by one, all the isolated holdout outposts of principle have been abandoned in favour of a touchy feely religious experience. The soldiers of Christ who manned those solitary keeps for centuries have walked away into the wilderness to die of despair.
The Judeo-Christian tradition has now become the love that no longer dares to speak its name. It’s been mashed and mellowed, homogenised and pasteurised, rinsed and spun dry, fucked, bollocked and buggered over to the point where it’s now fit for nothing more than daytime TV. Atop St. Peter’s Rock, now squats a new and terrible Earth goddess. Her name is Gaia and she demands the blood sacrifice of the most vulnerable in our world to preserve her new and improved version of the Garden of Eden, and if you don’t know it, that’s the one without any people in it.
The final indignity to be heaped on the compliant face down, arse up corpse of the Church is the sudden appearance of various Saturday night special instant theologians who though the wouldn’t recognise a papal bull from my left bollock, nonetheless feel it incumbent on themselves to guide us through the mystical subtleties of the encyclical. Thanks but no thanks – I learnt to read for myself some time ago.
Like the curate’s egg, everyone found a part of it that was to their satisfaction. The skeptics could pronounce it a damp squib and the godless BBC could lead with el Pappa admonishing us to become earth worshippers. Even the degenerate rag that was once the venerable Manchester Evening News seized on the bits that supported its agenda. Yes, the militant bloody atheistic swine egging on the faithful to obey the pope. How fucked up is that?
Never mind Selwyn, never mind.
A long time ago, a man walked into a house of worship and seeing what it had allowed itself to become, became enraged. He found usurers and money changers busily plying their trade within it, so he attacked them. He went ballistic, he totally lost it. He beat them, he kicked their ass, he overturned their tables and raged as he whipped them out of the temple. It’s the only passage in the New Testament where I actually feel the son of god might really have been a man, if only because he lost his rag completely. That man and his anger, I understand.
The abiding love and the care still within us apostates demands we need someone to start nailing a more human way forward to the door of the cathedral. In the meantime, God has no other hands on this Earth but ours.
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