Thursday 22 June 2006

Dancing Priests

Fr. Nicholas of Roman Miscellany put up this post about Fr. Saju George, the Dancing Jesuit.

Looking at the picture, I can't help wondering if Fr. Saju has taken the idea of rejecting clerical attire a little too far: I would never go so far as to say that a priest should always wear a cassock, or even a clerical shirt and collar, but I don't really want to be confronted with hairy chests and bare nipples at Mass...

...and then there is the question as to whether it is really appropriate to have anyone perform a dance more usually associated with Hindu temple prostitution as a Gospel meditation or thanksgiving after Communion.

Tuesday 20 June 2006

The Need for Fertility Treatment?

Listening to the radio this morning (I really shouldn't... it's invariably bad for my blood pressure) I was interested to hear that there is a population crisis in Europe: apparently not enough babies are being born, and this will result in an increasingly aging population being supported by a decreasing number of young workers.

Nothing new here. The bit that really had me gasping for breath was the proposed solution. Some mastermind suggested that if fertility treatment was offered to couples for free, the increased birth-rate would solve all the problems... and incidentally, the increased tax revenue would actually cover the cost of the treatment...

...I've had a blinder of an idea! How about we stop killing little babies in the hundreds of abortions that happen in Europe, and encourage infertile couples to adopt instead? We save the money from the surgical and pharmacological abortions, we save the money from the post-abortion counselling, we don't need to splash out any dosh for the fertility treatment AND we get the increased tax revenue from all those extra working people in a couple of decades.'s not exactly rocket science, is it?

Sunday 18 June 2006

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the UK. Unlike Mothering Sunday, which is a Church Feast Day, Father's Day is a piece of shameless commercialism aimed at increasing sales of beer, aftershave, chocolate (well, I suppose men like chocolate too... there's certainly lots of it on sale in Supermarkets with "Don't Forget Father's Day" plastered all over the shelves) and greetings cards.

I don't really have a problem with this sort of thing... though I draw the line at celebrating "Grandparents' Day". But it did occur to me that it would be a great day to say a "thank you" to our priests - our spiritual fathers.

I don't think we say "thank you" to them often enough, and we also take them for granted. This was brought home to me when I helped to start up a demonstration at the Chrism Mass at St. George's Cathedral, Southwark. It was quite a simple idea - a group of women from the diocese who wanted to show their loyalty to the Magisterium and their appreciation for everything that our priests do for the Church. As we handed out little prayer cards, one priest was almost in tears as he said that no-one had ever thanked him for being a priest before.

It's important. I have been privileged to meet many, many good and holy priests since my return to the Church. These dedicated, prayerful and hard-working men give up their lives for God and the Church - that's us. Without their self-sacrifice, there would be no Sacraments, no Church.

The prayer cards we gave out at last year's Chrism Mass had a quote from Pope John Paul II:

"The priest is someone who, despite the passing of years, continues to radiate youthfulness, spreading it almost contagiously among those he meets along the way. His secret lies in his passion for Christ...

"If he is able to offer himself as a gift, placing himself at the service
of anyone in need, his life takes on its true meaning."
(Maundy Thursday, March 2005)
So take the opportunity to wish your Parish Priest (and/or Curate) a Happy Father's Day.
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