I'm afraid I have to do something today that I would normally avoid like the plague. Before you conjure up an image of some sort of esoteric liturgical abuse let me assure you that the unpleasant task, for it can frequently be so, would seem, at least externally, to be quite benign. But like other things that eat away it's actual potency can be hidden. Well what is this terror of terrors? Yes I'm afraid I have to go and socialise with other clergy. It's something I generally find irksome, not just as an ardent anti clericalist of the old school, but because clergy, at a social level, are best taken diluted. Other similes would involve them being best spread around.
So what's the real problem you ask? Well it's not the usual lot of heretical rot that's spewed amongst clergy- you just expect that and learn to 'take it on the chin'. Half the time they're not aware of what they're doing. It's not the inane pomposity of the clerical caste at play nor their intellectual achievements- to find such in many places would be a rare pleasure. Rather it's simply the pure boorish nature of such gatherings. Come to think of it it's pretty much the same with modern homiletics except it's difficult, but not impossible, to spill a glass of bubbly and make a discreet exit, when being subjected to parsimonious balderdash from the 'presidential chair'.
The clergy these days (and traddies seem to be particularly susceptible) are unable to hold a decent conversation without reference to (i) tat, or, (ii) Vatican politics, or, (iii) more tat, or (iv) diocesan politics, or (v) even more tat! It's not their fault really, rather it is the way they were trained without any reference whatsoever to their own cultural heritage. By the way, in case of emergencies you can 'kill' a conversation over a clerical dining table in 15 seconds flat by just mentioning 'Antigone'. You can then work your way down, starting with William Shakespeare, till you find some common ground. I normally make a pit stop when we get to Mark Twain to see how we are going. Unfortunately I normally get to Marvel Comics before any real group discussion will kick back in with any coherence.
S. Thomas More, ora pro nobis!