Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paganism in Brighton

Have you seen Damian Thompson's piece on the BBC and Paganism?

Pentangles abound in Brighton, so do rings with goats heads, people wear strange tattoos. Personally I know more pagan priestesses than vicaresses. There are more shops selling witchcraft's bits and pieces than there are selling copies of Hans Kung's latest, in fact there aren't any selling Kung but there are at least half dozen witchcraft shops.
As Damian says witchcraft and paganism, feminism and greenness go hand in hand. Local witches are often specialists in which herbal tea to drink for headaches or joint pains and their witchery goes no further, except possibly to a openness to lovers of either sex.
In our psychiatric hospitals there are sad men who tell complicated narratives of human sacrifice on the ancient hills that surround the city, I hope these depend more on the fantasies of madness and Alistair Crowley than reality.
There is an overlap between paganism and Satanism which seems to centre on overthrowing Christian values and morallity, there is not much evidence of 20th century far right politics in Brighton's paganism except to overthrow the morality of the last 2000 years.

Say a prayer for my pagans, they need it.


Clare said...

It might be a good idea to pray to Blessed Bartolo Longo who was attracted to the occult as a student and went on to become a satanist priest. After suffering an almost complete breakdown, he returned to the Church. Initially despairing of salvation because of his former activities, he promoted the rosary because of the promises associated with it, eventually founding the shrine to Our Lady of Pompeii, which houses a miraculous image of Our Lady.
Blessed Bartolo Longo, pray for us
St Michael the Archangel, pray for us
St Joseph, terror of demons, pray for us

Anagnostis said...

Sadly, Father, an awful lot of people have been (as somebody has put it) innoculated against Christianity by homeopathic doses of it; or by the charmless, inauthentic inanity of modern fundamentalism/liberalism.

A few years ago, I found myself formally "in communion" with a Bishop who stated that there was no longer any point in talking to people about "salvation". But salvation is everything - it's what the Gospel IS - deliverance from the enemies by the King who breaks into the closed circle of our failure and impotence, and rescues us from within. It's not a legal status - a decision to let us off on the Last Day; it's the refashioning of our hearts and minds by the One Who alone "tramples down death by death".

Openness to Christ begins with understanding truthfully the nature and extent of our plight, and our utter inability to rescue ourselves. It means bringing evil home (Solzhentisyn's "line running through every human heart"), instead of seeing it always as something "out there". When we recognise that we're drinking death everywhere and in everything, and realise that we're powerless to stop doing it, then we begin to understand the meaning and value and cost of "salvation".

"Christianity" that falsifies or ignores salvation begets paganism - by a revulsion from legalistic stupidity or contempt for something essentially mundane and ideological.

"Christ came, not to make bad men good, but to make dead men live".

Jeremy Allen said...

What does feminism have to do with satanism or paganism? Sorry but I can't see a connection.

Mike said...

I regret to inform you that the (supposedly Catholic) Pauline Books and Media shop in Glasgow is selling the latest (?) book from Hans Küng. It also has in stock a book by Richard McBrien and has in the past had a book by Tina Beattie. Lucky you in Brighton.

johnf said...

On a lighter note Father did you hear about the dislexic devil worshipper who sold his soul to Santa?

RJ said...

@Mike: break out the garlic! :)

Anonymous said...

One of the things I think Paganism does is make the most of the gaps, sometimes gaping great holes in what the Church offers in this country today; and the biggest hole is healing.
I know so many seriously ill people who, on finding medics uncaring and nothing in their churches at all, turn to people who offer some kind of "healing" whether hands on, reiki, whatever.
I am aware of a reiki healer who is in fact Christian healer, but she calls it reiki, because that's better recognised.
If the Church takes back her charism of healing and caring for the sick a lot of paganism would loose it's glamour very quickly.

Jonathan Marshall said...

I doubt Brighton can hold a (black) candle to Glastonbury, down yurr in Somerset. A few years ago Glastonbury was full of rather hippie-ish people (and their shops); fairly harmless in a slightly drug-hazy way and even entertaining.
Now the whole tenor of the place has changed, and I find it extremely creepy and rather sinister - thank God for the wonderful church of Our Lady!

Edward P. Walton said...

The picture of the three women, looks like a scene from T. S Eliot's MURDER IN THE CAThedral.

Jonathan said...


You'll be glad to know that we had a healing service after Mass on Friday evening last week. Fr John Rae, who has a healing ministry, had come over from New Zealand to Acton in West London. The church was full with people of all ages and almost all came up for healing after the Mass. Fr John stressed the healing properties of the Eucharist and the need for Faith.

Melvin said...

Isn't every Mass and Confession healing, "say but the word and I shall be healed"?

How did the Catholic Church manage with only shrines, medals and Holy Water, before the days of Fr John Raes and the inventions of 20th century charismaticism?

Anonymous said...

Jonathan- that's interesting to know. I have wondered what happened to the charism of healing; it does seem rare these days for some reason.

Melvin - when did the Church ever manage with only shrines, medals and Holy Water??
The Apostles healed without any of those things through their priestly charism.
And when the Church was in the healing field it provided sacraments, medicine and care to the sick, whether they could get to Holy Mass or not.
As someone with a serious chronic illness I see none of these things any longer.
I have holy water and oil and medals and when I am well enough to get to Mass I receive the Holy Eucharist.
People looking for healing will go where they see it happening.
May God grant you health.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Yes, commemtless on all post over 6mths old

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