It is the feast day of Santo Tomas, patron of our church and village. A doubter. He and I have that much in common.
I am writing this between greeting passing pilgrims in the church's 'departure lounge' and stamping their credentials, if given the chance. When not stamping, or musing on the parade of flesh of some of the French ( and Spanish) pilgrims, who are practically wearing swim suits with their mochillas, (it is hot) I brood. “Why do you bother with the Catholicism Pure & Simple blog?” ask some folk, sadly shaking their heads. Good question, as I have been beset by problems with religion in general for the last half century. The idea of believing six impossible things before breakfast each morning has proved impossibly challenging since I was about 15.
What captured my attention at first was the incredible nostalgia of CP&S. For one thing, the 'bloggers' mostly seemed to have names like my aunties and the nuns that taught me when I was little - names like, Teresa, Gertrude, Kathleen, Bernadette, Clothilde. (Not sure I ever had an aunt Clothilde. Bit too classy. Still.) And, when they write, they sound like my aunties as well, albeit considerably better educated.
And as I wax nostalgic about them they, in turn, are waxing nostalgically about the Good Old Days when the Mass was safely incomprehensible in Latin, before all this nonsense about the Mass in the vernacular, priests facing the audience, 'Signs of Peace', and talk, God forbid, of women priests. They wax fondly about the days when Irish priests with faces the colour of pig's liver, and fingers mahogany with nicotine, raved and raged interminably from the pulpit about the horrors of contraception. Whatever happened to contraception, by the way? Scarcely gets a nod, these days. Least of several evils, I suppose thrust into the second row of grave sins by abortion.
But I must say that throughout my childhood,dominated as it was by priests and nuns, I never was aware of the slightest hint of sexual impropriety by any priest. Sadism, yes, but not sexual. Father Doyle administered his beatings on my backside with total bored, insouciance(!) – not even bothering to take the cigarette from his lips. No respect! But again, I strongly believe that, if I had been subjected to anything like pederasty, and had told my Mother, her immediate reaction would have been horror directed at me for telling such wicked lies.
In those Good Old Days, Bing Crosby was the Mel Gibson of his day. Times change. All we can do is wax.
(As I was writing the above, horrible things happened. See Reb's blog, alongside. I may return to the original theme tomorrow. Be warned. Whole lotta waxin' goin' on!)