Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back on topic!

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!


  1. You need to take up golf, Father. Though things may have changed today, many years ago a round of 'clerical golf' had little to do with serious matters of 'tat' or anything similar. It was a release from the daily 'grind' and discussions were more likely to center on the proper use of the mashie or niblick and what the 'rub of the green' really meant. Fr. Bob - a pastor in a northern parish - was a late convert to the game and never achieved much proficiency - but he persevered nonetheless.

    He had a problem with the driver. His drives never rose much over a foot above the ground and didn't travel further than the range of a 9-iron. In frustration he complained "I just can't get it up!" Bob couldn't understand why the rest of collapsed in laughter. Upon being apprised of the reason, he joined in the laughter with the rest of us. But from then on we could always crack him up by reminding him of what his real 'golfing problem' was...

  2. Start a clergy reading group. I've often thought it would be inspiring and edifying to get a couple of people together and read out plays, or the dialogues of Plato. (Tried the latter with my live-in granny, but old age makes it difficult for her to concentrate on the long sentences.)


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