Friday, August 21, 2015


All those prophecies, all that Apocalyptic talk, there is a great deal of it around nowadays. Under Pope Benedict Catholic bloggers and social media users would get excited by the sight of Papal fanon or the asterix, nowadays attention seems to being paid to the prophecies of Our Lady of .... , or some strange dubiously orthodox internet seer.
Perhaps I ought to be more excited about the end of the world, I am 62 next birthday, and growing old and comfortable in my sin. In fact I am further from asking leave to retire to some cave in the rocks to prepare for the inevitable than I was a few months ago or even a few years ago.

Ageing might bring about a certain pessimism but I don't seem to be the only one. Laudato Si, for example seems to be one of the most Apocalyptic encyclicals, and the Pope's constant talk of the devil, and a 'new' Church, or at least new ways of 'being Church', add to a sense of dislocation. The great emphasis  of Cardinal Kasper's writings seem to be the old world and its Greco-Christian ways of thinking have come to an end, which is probably true but I am not sure they are ripe to be replaced the thought of those nineteenth century German philosophers who were essentially atheists. I am disinclined to replace my understanding of God for Kasper's 'anti-God'.

In many ways the Labour Party leadership election seems to illustrate a decline and fall, the end of a particular age in European politics. Apart from Corbyn there is no alternative apart from exhausted fag-end Blairites, and Corbyn will consign Labour to the the status of just another opposition party, playing second fiddle to the Scotish Nationalists. Socialism has run its course, it is unable to answer the serious problems of impending poverty, most Southern European countries have up to 50% youth unemployment, most governments are going to be unable to pay the increasingly high bills for pensions and for health services, for this reason alone euthanasia acquires increasing support from the political classes. Immigration is a necessity because low birthrates mean we are simply not replacing ourselves. Indeed postwar anti-family, and therefore anti-child, policies seem to have been enshrined within our culture to the extent that they are unchangeable at least until catastrophe forces change.

A woman on the radio recently said to another, who had decided not to have children, 'Don't expect my kids to wipe you backside when you old', there is a terrible truth in that. The Dutch king recently announced the end of  the welfare state, in its place a participating society. The most obvious way for anyone, other than the very wealthy, to participate in society is through family.

The problem is that for many 'family' simply doesn't exist, it is certainly not there in 'same sex marriage' and we have changed our very understanding of human sexuality. In Japan for example where reproduction is barely happening, one of the major problems seems to be that pornography and masturbation, seems to have taken place of the real thing, In the West the LGBT agenda, which our politicians have embraced, seems to be concerned about the removal of all sexual taboos and restraints. Sexual or gender confusion which will affect not only our children's moral, emotional and psychological health and future generations too. Exposure to pornography seems to be something even very young children cannot avoid. How will children and families cope with 'government approved morality'? How will we hang onto sanity?


JARay said...

So, Father, you are only 62! You should have many, many, more years ahead of you. I am considerably older than you are and I do think about death quite often. I am going through one little problem which is ahead of me and that is the matter of what will be done with my mortal remains when I have faced life's last great adventure.
I always expected to be buried and my remains would then, I did hope, lie in some spot on terra firma. But now I discover that the cemeteries around here dig up those remains after 32 years and I have no firm knowledge of what then happens to those remains! I now contrast this with the fact that my parish here has just built a "columbarium" which has hundreds of little letter-boxes for the ashes of those who have been cremated and I am assured that each of these deposits will stay there into infinity! I'm told that the cost of one of these letter-boxes is $800 which is considerably less than the cost of having a hole dug in the local cemetery for my 'temporary' burial for 32 years and I now do not like that prospect! What am I to do?
I cannot help thinking of G.K. Chesterton's acid words:-
"But Higgins is a heathen
And when he came to die
They put him in an oven
As if he were a pie"

Jacobi said...

Ageing is about accepting reality. The inevitability of the Four last Things and the move from this physical world to the reality of the Real World. It is often mistaken for pessimism but is about holding to Faith and Charity (not false mercy) and above all, to Hope.

Civilisations, unlike the Church, come to an end. I suspect future historians will look back and identify the technology of contraception, of foeticides, of abortion and of artificial insemination techniques, as the factors which ended the Graeco/Roman/ Judeo/ Christian Civilisation.

Paul VI, uncharacteristically opposed it, but neither he nor his successors had the guts to hold that line. So I suppose decline to Recusancy is now inevitable.

But maybe I'm just being pessimistic. There is always the Holy Ghost!

Pelerin said...

Jacobi's comment on aging rang a bell with me as a Priest advised me just a few days ago that I should learn to accept my limitations which come with aging. Not an easy thing to do!

Charlesdawson said...

"A woman on the radio recently said to another, who had decided not to have children, 'Don't expect my kids to wipe you backside when you old', there is a terrible truth in that." Yes, indeed. However, speaking as one who has worked in Nursing Homes and on geriatric wards, my reply would be "and don't take it for granted that they will wipe yours, either." Said wards and Homes are full of lonely, frightened, abandoned old people wondering, with weakening hope, if they will ever set eyes on their children and grandchildren again.

GOR said...

With age comes perspective, Father! When young, it seems life will go on forever. No worries, tomorrow is another day. As we age we’re more conscious of the passing of time. We’re aware that we may not have many more days. We don’t make long-term plans. While current world and Church problems are a concern, soon they won’t be – for us. We’re in God’s hands – now and later.

JARay, I was amused by your concern… For years my mother put ten shillings weekly in an account “to bury me” as she said. I used to try and talk her out of what I considered a wasted expenditure (she didn’t have much money). “They have to put you somewhere, Mom”, I’d say. “They can’t leave you above the ground”.

I’m not concerned where they bury me. My remains will be just that – remains – not me. I will be long gone – hopefully ‘up’ and not ‘down’, God willing. My prayer is that people will pray for me, regardless of where my remains lie. Which is why I pray daily for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, in the hope that others will do the same for me – as I expect that, at best, that’s where I’ll be for a long time!

pie said...

Although my birth certificate says otherwise, I am much, much older than you are. You see, I am a believer in "age ideology" - Everyone must be free to decide how old he is.

The fact is in the last couple of years, I started aging very quickly.

I can't move like I used to. I have to drag myself into church.

I'm afraid my hearing and eyesight are decaying rapidly. I stopped listening when some members of the hierarchy speak and my eyes refuse to read the latest magisterial pronouncements.

As for my mind, well, my poor brain is unable to process the concepts of "confession without contrition", "communion without state of grace", "Mercy without justice", "Church without Doctrine", etc... you know, "spiritual Alzheimer" and all that.

I reminisce a lot about the "good old days" ... "Those were the days. And you knew where you were then. Girls were girls and men were men", and the Pope was the Pope ... 2012 was such a nice, peaceful, uneventful year.

I lost my appetite; my hair is very tired and stays in the pillow after I get up in morning; the Mrs. is very worried and keeps sending me to the doctor. But I'm a little confused and I always end up in the confessional ... sometimes the priest is there too.

I spent my days in front of the tele until someone pointed out that we don't have one. So, now I pray the rosary and the litanies. The Salms bring some solace too.

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