Friday, December 28, 2012
Mass attendance: wounds and broken relationships
Most Primary School teachers say the can tell whether a child has both parents or has an absent father. Happy families tend to produce happy children, broken families tend to produce broken children. There seems to be a plethora of material that shows that divorce isn't just about breaking the marital bond but actually breaking the hearts and lives of children. Tim Stanley has story that a British consumer agency released a survey that showed that the tenth most requested gift from Father Christmas was “a dad”.
According to the census figures Brighton is the second "most atheistic" city in the UK, which probably actually reflects a lack of any shared or binding idea, atheism is not itself a shared belief but a rejection of a unifying belief, even so I am told that most of the parishes around the city were crowded with people this Christmas, especially in the leafier parishes of the city; lapsed children, non-Catholic spouses turned up in droves. Here, numbers were certainly up but we don't have many families. Housing here doesn't encourage families, most of my people live on their own, so a large number of people were away for Christmas or had no one to bring to Mass. So, I think we did quite well, considering a large number of our parishioners are students who returned home for the vacation, by having an increase of about 30%.
Loneliness seems to be a root problem for my parishioners. Loneliness leads to sin, "it is not good for man to be alone". Living alone tends to produce a soliptic spirituality and world view. Narcissism and self centred sexuality are easy vices, as are other forms of eccentricity. In that sense "the centre does not hold". Growing old on ones own, living on ones own, for many is a fearful prospect. Fear touches the lives of so many, the experience of broken marriages and families produces a fear of any settled relationship. Older people often have a series of discarded relations, younger people have a fear of commitment, which makes the lasting commitment of marriage and family difficult.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake