What is evident is that no apology or action on the part of the Church will be accepted by this secularist protest movement. It is apparent from much of the discussion on Irish social media over the weekend that what many within this movement demand is nothing short of the complete destruction of the Catholic Church. Many are quite explicit in this demand, and it is not limited to the clerical institution of the Church but extends to la Comunidad Católica in its widest sense; evinced in the wholesale targeting and abuse of “ordinary Catholics” online.
In Britain and Ireland it has become increasingly apparent that mainstream Christianity – the legally established and otherwise respectable churches – has become the preserve of the better off. The so-called underclass has long since been abandoned by the churches, and attendance at Sunday services in the most deprived areas spells out quite clearly the fact that Christianity has become irrelevant to the lives of the vast majority of these people.
'Blessed are you who are poor' is by no means gratitude for the cruelty and injustice of poverty, but a thanks to God that God has never ignored the suffering of the poor, but has come to be among them, and stand with them for justice and restitution.
Adoration of God, as the Nativity account makes clear, has always been the prophetic action of the powerless on the peripheries – were not Mary and Joseph also “Jews?” Are we to assume that the shepherds in the surrounding Judean countryside were not Jews as well? This is absurd.
Actually, when we take the time to read what they’ve been reading to us in church for two millennia we find that the script doesn’t match the performance; Christianity is meant to be a wee bit mental.
“We should kill them all,” as disturbing and spiteful as such words are, are all too frequently the expressions of people – like us – who are bewildered and frightened by the sense of powerlessness we have all been made feel.
Truth cannot be calculated by the application of formulae. People’s accounts of events; the presentation of their truths, be that in books, the newspaper, or their spoken words, stake a claim on truth which cannot be factuality because it speaks to a distinct category of knowledge.
Last night, possibly the last Hallowe’en in the life of Teresa’s Gardens flats, everyone came out to enjoy the community bonfire and fireworks. Kyle, Marley, Anthony, and the rest were so chuffed to discover they had built the biggest bonfire in the city.