Many, many years ago the Mamas and the Papas sang, in one of the great songs of the ‘Sixties, “California Dreamin”. It didn’t mean much but it was a great song. These lines from it came back to me last week in the context of a rather unpleasant experience,
“…on such a winter’s day
Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray”
Well, no, it was a beautiful summer day and I was actually trying to pray but I wasn’t given much of a chance.
It was, sadly, a Catholic church in Dublin. There were about ten or a dozen people in the church and they had been preparing for either a funeral or a wedding in the day or two that followed. It was probably a wedding because had it been a funeral there might have been a little more decorum.
But decorum there wasn’t. It was like the harvest fair day in Glenties in there. All of them were gathered in a group at the back of the church without the slightest sign that they had any idea of the Presence in the place or the purpose of the place. I looked at them – I hoped, disapprovingly – but I got no acknowledgement nor was there the slightest sign that they were aware that their raucus conversation was 100 miles out of place. Like Mama Cass, I knelt down and pretended – it was all I could do – to pray. I thought that they might take a hint. Not a hope. I looked around again. Still no response.
Had I been braver – I felt there were too many for one person to take on – I would have taken the Lord’s cords and driven them out. But I wasn’t. I just resorted to a pointedly disgusted march to the door. I wish I had their email addresses. If I had I would send them this splendid little video from Leah, telling us how we should behave in a church on SheisCatholic.