Monday, 20 May 2013

Bidding Prayers for a Lapsed Congregation

Before I can read, I think that God’s name is Peter. This is based on nothing more than saying the response “Thank, Peter God,” to various prayers every Sunday for the first few years of my life.

My nine-year-old son confides in me that every other week, when there is a whole school mass, the sight of the stained-glass windows makes him want to stand up and shout, “Burglar!” at the top of his voice.

Aged 15, I secretly change the words of The Lord’s Prayer so that I openly blaspheme during the twice-daily house prayers and the weekly school mass: “Our father, who never listens...” but it’s not just God I’m mocking.

My room-mate tells me he has a vocation to be a Roman Catholic priest. At a school reunion twenty-two years later, I meet my former room-mate; he is a Roman Catholic priest, and the only person out of nearly ninety who has come in work clothes. I have one conversation with him where he is scathing about the poor and the needy (as Jesus would have called them) feckless, scrounging underclass (as he calls them) of his parish.

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