Friday, December 28, 2012

Mass attendance: wounds and broken relationships

Most Primary School teachers say the can tell whether a child has both parents or has an absent father. Happy families tend to produce happy children, broken families tend to produce broken children. There seems to be a plethora of material that shows that divorce isn't just about breaking the marital bond but actually breaking the hearts and lives of children. Tim Stanley has story that a British consumer agency released a survey that showed that the tenth most requested gift from Father Christmas was “a dad”.

According to the census figures Brighton is the second "most atheistic" city in the UK, which probably actually reflects a lack of any shared or binding idea, atheism is not itself a shared belief but a rejection of a unifying belief, even so I am told that most of the parishes around the city were crowded with people this Christmas, especially in the leafier parishes of the city; lapsed children, non-Catholic spouses turned up in droves. Here, numbers were certainly up but we don't have many families. Housing here doesn't encourage families, most of my people live on their own, so a large number of people were away for Christmas or had no one to bring to Mass. So, I think we did quite well, considering a large number of our parishioners are students who returned home for the vacation, by having an increase of about 30%.

Loneliness seems to be a root problem for my parishioners. Loneliness leads to sin, "it is not good for man to be alone". Living alone tends to produce a soliptic spirituality and world view. Narcissism and self centred sexuality are easy vices, as are other forms of eccentricity. In that sense "the centre does not hold". Growing old on ones own, living on ones own, for many is a fearful prospect.  Fear touches the lives of so many, the experience of broken marriages and families produces a fear of any settled relationship. Older people often have a series of discarded relations, younger people have a fear of commitment, which makes the lasting commitment of marriage and family difficult.


Physiocrat said...

How much of this is the aftermath of war. My grandparents on my father's side were ruined by the Boer War. On my mother's side it was the Russo-Japanese war. My mother was traumatised by bombing in the First World War, and Second World War wrecked my parent's family life, with the post-war housing shortage being the last straw as there was no possibility to increase the family as they had wanted to do.

You can repeat the story a several million times.

Rabies Theologorum said...

Father have you looked up the housing benefit changes in april.....

JARay said...

I think that you are on the right track Father.
Divorce is a scourge.
My youngest son is going through such a divorce right now. His wife, on the Internet, has picked a new paramour and he has come over from America and now resides in the house which, by rights, belongs to my son. He changed the locks on the house and the wifes parents called the police. They informed my son that, although the wife is a squatter, she has the rights of possession and these trump his rights of ownership!
This divorce is very nasty.
I am emotionally involved since my granddaughter is involved. The wife wanted to take my granddaughter off to America to be with her and the new paramour. My son has had to put a hold on the granting of a passport to his daughter so that his wife cannot take her out of the country.
I could go on but what's the use?!

nickbris said...

The best advice anybody could give to alleviate loneliness is to go to Church regularly and try to get involved.

Most people tend to stay in the same area all their lives and old schoolfriends who have lost touch with each other suddenly meet again at another's funeral.

Atheists and other assorted cranks are the ones that die alone and sometimes are not discovered for months.

Pablo the Mexican said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nickbris said...

Is that Pablo feller coming out with RACIST CLAPTRAP on your blog Father Ray?

Fr Ray Blake said...

I thought I had deleted that, I have now - thanks

Sixupman said...

As it happens, I have been comparing E&W Catholic statistics between 1984 and 2011 [I might try 1964]:

Whilst nominal population little changed at circa 4 Million, marriages have declined by circa 63 per cent and now a mere 10,301 for 2011.

Secular and Religious clergy down 2,333, circa 35 per cent, parish churches closed 222, circa 8 per cent. Parish clergy 1,8 per church.

Permanent Deacons exponential rise of 500 per cent at 788. Liverpool has 108 and Salford none.

And so it progresses.

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