The Crucifix, the Classroom and the Court

Can't stay in a classroom, apparently.

I was born and raised in Italy. In those years, Catholicism was the “Official Religion of the State” and this was anchored in the Italian Constitution. A Crucifix adorned every classroom. This was, besides its obvious religious significance, a most natural cultural factor. The mere idea of questioning its presence would have seemed bizarre in the extreme.

Then came the (disgraceful) “Revision of the Concordate”. Catholicism was not the Official Religion of the State anymore, but the State recognised the “cultural role” played by the Church in Italy’s life. The Crucifix remained on the school walls, but in “superior schools” at the beginning of the year the teachers had to ask whether there was opposition to it. In my school of twenty classes, opposition never came.

Mind you, this was not because of the absence of atheists (sometimes rather vocal ones; Communists were, after all, still around), but because even the Communists and Atheists would have been ashamed of asking for the removal of something so naturally part of the country’s cultural backbone. It would have been a bit like declaring pasta “fascist” and in those years even the Communists possessed the basic decency to respect commonly and widely spread religious feelings. In short: even those who insisted in being wrong took care not to appear stupid.
There might have been exceptions. I am sure they weren’t many.

Not anymore, you might say, but you’d be wrong. The support for the Crucifix is still widely spread within the Italian society. The biggest party of the Centre-Right coalition (yes, that one!) and the biggest party of the Centre-Left coalition (yes, the one with the ex-Communists in it!) are both in favour. So are many of the smaller parties. So is, in his overwhelming majority, the Country. The Crucifix, some years ago challenged by a Muslim father because – hear this – it “scared his child” was even upheld by the Italian Constitutional Court.

All right, then? Well, er, no. A not-so-well-known organ called Europe’s Human Rights Court (constituted by an even-less-known supranational organisation called Council of Europe, nothing to do with the EU by the way) has decided that the Crucifix has to go. What the tradition, the people, the political parties and the judicial system of the country all consider right is actually, we are informed, wrong.

The Italian government has now presented an appeal, together with another dozen or so countries. Even if they should lose the appeal, I do not doubt that as long as the Centre-Right coalition is in power they will do whatever they please for as long as they please. Italian governments have this down to a fine art and the Italian electorate – always fond of the “furbi” – would like it a lot. I can’t imagine that they would just give up. They might even be hoping to lose the appeal and reap a rich harvest with the opposition to it, but that’s just me.

Still, I must reflect on a couple of things (three, actually):

1) this is what happens when a government consents to participate to feel-good initiatives only meant to create jobs and to show some humanitarian activism. Italy is no Zimbabwe. No, really. It knows a thing or two about human rights, democracy, and Crucifixes. Yes, even the actual Prime Minister 😉

2) I am fed up (as many of you I am sure are) with delegation of Sovereign Powers (at least nominally) to supranational organisations. If you ask me, it means to put your cultural patrimony at the mercy of a bunch of feminists (of whatever sex) and atheists largely of other countries. You don’t want that.

3) This must be reversed. Italy must (as every other European country) proudly re-claim the *right to decide for itself* in matters like this. It can’t be that a bunch of judges start to remould the cultural fabric of an entire Country against the will of its Parliament, Judiciary and people.

If we don’t wake up, we’ll all end up in the hands of a bunch of social nannies playing God at our expense.

Mundabor.

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52 Responses to The Crucifix, the Classroom and the Court

  1. omvendt says:

    The logical extension of this insanity is to demand the removal of crosses from European national flags.

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  2. lutonia says:

    Indeed – the Union Flag has three crosses – will they all have to go? Of course they will not, even though it is all but certain this appeal will be lost. The reason they will not have to go is that they are not thought of as religious! It is all part of the insanity of so-called multiculturalism.

    Still, thanks Mundabor for reminding us of a more civilised approach to religion which existed in the past. It brought to my mind the stories of Giovanni Guareschi about Don Camillo and the communist mayor Peppone. That ‘little world’ was a place where however violently people disagreed they would respect each other’s views.

    There was a wonderful line in the James Stewart film ‘You can’t take it with you.’ The old grandfather commented ‘Abraham Lincoln said “with malice to none and charity towards all”. Now we say: “If you don’t think the way we do, we’ll bomb you to hell.”‘

    That’s the ‘progress’ we are expected to consider so wonderful.

    And indeed traditionally the Western democracies have stood for the rule of law. Now it seems that is being steadily eroded in the face of arbitrary dictats from non-elected bodies who have no expertise in either culture or law.

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  3. Mundabor says:

    “It brought to my mind the stories of Giovanni Guareschi about Don Camillo and the communist mayor Peppone. That ‘little world’ was a place where however violently people disagreed they would respect each other’s views”.

    Oh well Fr Jonathan/Lutonia , you asked for it 😉

    “I’m not moving aside for you, but for Him!”

    Even in the Italy I grew up in, certainly a believable statement.

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  4. Benedict Carter says:

    I urge everyone to read Michael Davies’ book on Vatican II and religious liberty. Google it – I have a copy here but can’t find it but it will be easy to find online.

    This book is essential reading. It shows how an American priest (who had been banned from teaching under Pius XII because of dodgy views) came to the Council as one of the periti and ended up almost singe-handedly drafting the document on religious liberty which very many much better commentators than me think has substantively changed the Church’s teaching in this area. If the Novus Ordo and ecumania sprang from the German and Dutch bishops, then this document sprang from the Americans.

    Why is this important with regard to Mundabor’s thread?

    Because the Church’s attitude to Herself vis-a-vis the post French Revolutionary State has shifted so much that instead of insisting on the primacy of religion (part of that is the crucifix in the schools of a Catholic nation such as Italy or Spain), the Church has put Herself for many decades in a subordinate position to the State, with disastrous effects.

    One can see this in various Catholic countries’ requests to the Vatican in the late 1960’s and 1970’s for renewed Concordats – which were refused by Rome. One sees this in the search for God within Man, a strong feature of the Church post Vatican II (seen most strongly in the Novus Ordo, where an almost total loss of transcendence coupled with a horizontal community relationship rather than a vertical relationship with Christ the Redeemer leaves everybody numbed with the banality of it all). One sees this in the secularization of vast swathes of the worldwide episcopacy. One sees it in the demise of worship of Christ the King: the Mass sheet issued by the Portuguese parish I used to attend to accompany the Feast of Christ the King carried a long peroration from the suited parish priest explaining that Christ is not a King at all.

    Of course, as the counter-Catholic Church movement grows ever more militant, the Holy Father has woken up to the problem and is attempting a fight-back. But yet again, as with the Mass – too little, too late.

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  5. Mundabor says:

    Benedict,
    like you I also have the impression that the Church has given away without a fight positions of privilege like being the Official Religion. When the Concordate was revised, the Church lost this position without any official resistance. Less than 30 years later, Italians fight to keep Euthanasia away from their statute books.

    Still, it is not the darkest hour of the night. The opposition to the Italian Church to the euthanasia case some time ago was rather strong, as strong has been the reaction to the Crucifix matter. When the Church takes the lead, the faithful feel encouraged and follow Her.

    A friend of mine, from Treviso (north-East, traditionally Catholic) has told me that there are now Mayors giving instructions to check that not one single Crucifix is missing (the government has immediately made clear that the sentence of the court is not operative in Italy yet) and replace the displaced ones. Therefore, over there there are more Crucifixes around now than one year ago.. 😉
    My impression is that the will to fight back grows, but the leadership is still not determined enough.

    Good night
    M

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  6. teresa says:

    They removed the cross from all Courtrooms of Düsseldorf as I read some months ago.

    And from the patient rooms of an evangelical hospital after someone complained about it, but brought the crosses back again after protest.

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  7. Mundabor says:

    Teresa, isn’t surprising that as soon as someone complains, the first thing they do is to remove the Crosses? This is always the “be nice” mentality, methinks….

    Ok this time I will actually switch off the Computer so I am sure I can go to sleep 😉

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  8. The Raven says:

    We really could do with having an edit button! That should have read:

    While the academic study of law is fine as an intellectual pursuit, in the same way as Science Studies, it bears very little relationship to the practise of law (a criticism levelled at Science Studies’ relationship with actual science).

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  9. What a surprise. I cannot understand how people who claim to be followers of Our Lord can advocate anything other than a Theocracy- and although this is an idea which is met with howls of laughter, when I tried it myself in Florence many years ago, it was fine until I drastically reduced the rate of interest those money changers were exploiting the people with (incidentally from around 20% down to 1%). It was only then that I had to be dealt with. Im sure it was all a coincidence, and nothing to do with the kind of power money could buy in those days.

    What people need to wake up to is that there is a co-ordinated effort at present to oppress and eradicate Catholicism (and strictly Catholicism- nobody gives a stuff about protestants) from Western Europe. I think in the next ten years we are going to see the church suffer and get a lot smaller, whilst the Neo-Catholic Church will disappear altogether. It is the only way- and frankly it harmonizes with Christ’s own life and teachings. Did you know somebody was recently arrested for declaring Catholic doctrine in public? Although the case against him broke down in court, the chilling effect the whole procedure set out to achieve is definitely felt.

    Though the worst is perhaps yet to come, I feel we shall really have a good “Mundabor-ing” of the Church, insofar as the false shepherds will flee for their own skin; compromise their way in to comfort and expose themselves for the fraudsters they are. The sooner we get these Anglican-“convert” pseudo Catholic priests out the better. They have done their best to infiltrate and destroy the Church in England.

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  10. p.s.- Sono comosso di essere qui, fuori del’ inferno dei finnocchi. Hai visto i nuovi posti?
    Che strano..

    Grazie Mundabor “Il Magnifico”

    Girolamo

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  11. toadspittle says:

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m all in favour of crucifixes all over the place, and am particularly fond of The Black Christ of Burgos Cathedral, which is life-size and reputed to have real nails, hair, skin and thorns. Legend has it that the statue has to be shaved every eight days. Who knows?
    (There is a very good novel ‘Inquitud en el Paraiso,’ in which the hero, a young seminarian has the fortnightly task of taking Jesus to the local barber in a wheelbarrow for ‘the usual.’ Not translated yet, and unlikely to be.)
    But… just imagine if one had never seen a crucifix before. If an artist came up with the idea last week and put one on display in a church. What would people think?

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  12. churchmouse says:

    Great post, Mundabor. Your explanations of Italian society are always illuminating. A couple of questions — does Italy still have crucifixes in courtrooms and hospitals? Do most modern Italian homes have them?

    Ben — How can a priest say that Christ is not King — especially on the feast of Christ the King? Shocking, especially for Portugal, prophesied to be the remaining shining example of the Catholic faith (from Fatima, I believe)?

    Girolamo — I take your point about Anglican priests but, knowing quite a bit about both the Anglican and the Catholic worlds, I would posit that the Anglicans (starting with the Episcopalians) got their ideas from the American Catholic clergy, who were deep into left-wing (including social) politics from the 1960s. Also, the Anglican priests who have entered the Church are more orthodox than many celibate cradle Catholic priests. Perhaps the problem is the fact that they are married?

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  13. joyfulpapist says:

    Toadspittle is, of course, right. The crucifix is shocking. It should be. We killed our saviour, and we killed him in a particularly horrible way. And he went through it in order to save us. We should remember this.

    A friend of mine reports that her child, aged four, was deep in thought after church one day. Eventually he said to her, “Mummy. That’s just a picture of Jesus at the front of the church, isn’t it?’ ‘Yes,’ she agreed. ‘A sort of picture called a statue. It’s carved out of wood.’ ‘I thought so,’ said the young sage. ‘Because if it was really Jesus, he’d be calling out ‘Help me!’ ‘Help me!’. And that would disturb the Mass.’

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  14. glynbenedict says:

    @ culturalcircle:
    “The sooner we get these Anglican-”convert” pseudo Catholic priests out the better. They have done their best to infiltrate and destroy the Church in England.”

    Thanks for nothing, culturalcircle. I am one of those “convert pseudo Catholic” former Anglican clergy, who is about to become a real Catholic, and may offer himself in due course for ordination. I believe the faith, honour the Pope and will do all I can to support the Catholic Church in England.

    Your scatter-gun insult, which includes me, is offensive and inaccurate. Furthermore, two of my dearest friends are former Anglican clergy who now serve as Catholic priests; one of them is married; they are faithful, hard-working Catholics. Think before you insult. Committed former Anglo-Catholics may well prove to be the life-blood of the Church in these difficult times, and many are – as churchmouse says above – more orthodox than cradle Catholics. You send me off to work with a sour taste in my mouth. I can read ignorant drivel on DT’s blog – naively, I didn’t expect it here.

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  15. cumanus says:

    You’ll never get the crucifix completely eradicated from Italian society: far too many young thugs and other assorted bravos have invested big bucks in heavy gold chains and crosses that they flash through their open-neck shirts, especially in summer – do go for a walk down the Via del Corso in Rome on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll see immediately what I mean.

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  16. toadspittle says:

    OFF TOPIC….

    On this day in 1535, Sir Thomas More was executed for treason, as a result of his refusal to recognize King Henry VIII as the head of the Church. He was convicted of high treason on July 1, 1535. Five days later, on this day in 1535, he was led to the scaffold on Tower Hill. His executioners asked him if he had any final words, and he took the time to say that he did not blame them for their actions and he looked forward to the day when they could all meet in heaven. With that, he was beheaded. His head was later displayed on the London Bridge, but his daughter retrieved it and it was buried with her.

    More was named a saint by the Catholic Church in 1935, and in the year 2000, he was declared the patron saint of politicians.

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  17. Hi Guys

    The sooner this mess over removing crucifixes etc ends the better. It is political “correctness” gone mad. One does not have to be a Catholic to defend a Catholic’s rights to their religious icons or artifacts (please excuse my lack of knowledge of the proper name here). Such things that are cherished for religious reason such as crosses, roseries etc should never be removed.

    RR

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  18. Mundabor says:

    Realityreturns,
    you have expressed yourself, as always, well enough.

    May I point out to the fact that here something much bigger is at stake: a small clique of soi-disant intellectuals put themselves above the powers of a democracy.

    They go frontally against the clear wish of the people, an overwhelming parliamentary support, the Government of a sovereign country and a clear jurisprudence up to the very top (Constitutional Court).

    They just don’t care. They evidently see themselves as the chosen ones, sent to make a new world. A delusion of omnipotence typical of those who presume themselves “intellectual” and look with disdainful superiority to the uneducated humanity below.

    M

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  19. Mundabor says:

    Cultural circle,
    you are “Savonarola”, right?

    I do think, with you, that the day the Church forces Catholics to choose between in and out not a few people will go out. Personally I do think that it is high time to say clearly that to be a Catholic means to believe everything that the Church believes, etc.
    The world does not need fake Catholics. There are enough fake handbags and fake wristwatches already.

    I think, though, that one problem of the current Pope is that if he started a giro di vite (beautiful Italian expression; let us try with “to tighten some screws”, no idea if it gives the sense) he would cause people to go out of Catholic life due to the miserable catechesis of one generation of priests. He probably feels that he must recover proper Catholic teaching before he can ask fidelity to it.

    Still, I do think that he could do much more and that the Church would be able to bear the burden of a much harder line than the one he has chosen.

    M

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  20. New Templar says:

    I was born in Ireland and like you was raised in a predominantly Catholic culture where Catholicism was the state religion. Due to the capitulation of the Church’s leadership to the spirit of the age between 1965 and the present, what is left of the Church in Ireland is an empty shell. People believe what they want and are encouraged to do so and there then follows what has been described as “…a silent and unconcerned apostasy”. I don’t blame ordinary Catholics because the Church is hierarchical and they should have been able to trust their bishops and priests. Unfortunately they were been betrayed.

    What it means practically is that there are very few Catholics left to protest against the continuing onward progress of a materialistic and nihilistic culture, a culture to which most of those are baptised adhere to due to the fact that they have not been taught the Faith. We live in a time when faithful Catholics need to band together because a time will come when those who oppose the culture will be persecuted.

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  21. Benedict Carter says:

    glynbenedict:

    More power to you!

    My father was an Anglican and converted in 1946 (I thought in ’56, but he put me right two nights ago).

    There is a wonderful story about his parish vicar (ex-Battle of Britain, High Church Anglican) stopping by his house (dad was out) and asking his mother “Why has Donald not been to choir practice recently?”

    “Oh, hasn’t he told you, Mr. XXX? He’s become a Catholic”.

    Silence.

    Anglican vicar turns on his heel, marches to the front door, turns about and dramatically declares (I imagine an arm flung out), “Just remember, Mrs. Carter, that the Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England!”

    I do hope that you will seek ordination and then tell us where is your parish. I also hope very much that you will learn how to say the Mass using the 1962 Missal. You will find that it perfectly sums up the entire Catholic Faith, whereas the deliberately-imposed ersatz copy of Cranmer we currently have (and let us not forget that Cranmer violently detested the Catholic Faith, especially the Mass, in which he had lived his whole life) does not.

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  22. Benedict Carter says:

    New Templar:

    Welcome! I completely agree with your post.

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  23. Benedict Carter says:

    Toad:

    You’re right. It would be seen as a kind of Damian (or is that Damien 🙂 ) Hirst number, wouldn’t it?

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  24. omvendt says:

    culturalcircle:

    Newsflash: Cardinal John Henry Newman was also a convert from Anglicanism.

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  25. Mundabor says:

    GlynBenedict,

    I am inclined to believe that cultural circle meant “pseudo-Anglican converts Catholic priests”, that is, “Catholic priests who look as if they had converted to Anglicanism”.

    It is clear that he sees the problem as existing on such a scale that the extremely rare converted Catholic priests could never be the cause of it.

    If I am wrong, let me throw a stone at cultural circle myself, though… 😉

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  26. @ glynbenedict: “Thanks for nothing, culturalcircle. I am one of those “convert pseudo Catholic” former Anglican clergy, who is about to become a real Catholic, and may offer himself in due course for ordination.”

    Dear Sir, I apologise if I offended you. I think there is a small misunderstanding. Perhaps in my ire I was less clear than I should have been. The people I was referring to are people who are already Catholic Priests that were formerly Anglican clergy. I respect your experience in this matter – being an anglican priest yourself and having friends e.t.c. I would also like you to respect my experience however. Having been surrounded by clergy from the Westminster diocese for around 5 years day and night as a student; I have come into contact with a plethora of priests who have very interesting “after hours” existances. Let me assure you, we are not talking about one or two people here- rather the situation from personal experience is one of variations on a theme. As a young Catholic fortunate enough to be brought up with a very good picture of the Church, it very sad that an experience which was supposed to nourish and inspire my faith became one of testing my faith and sensibilities. I was shocked at the kind of behaviour that seemed rife amongst clergy – which nobody seemed to feel was wrong. Without giving too much away, I once held and event in the quarters of a certain Catholic religious for him and his guests; and I have never seen so many pictures of naked and nearly naked ballerini (all male) (some autographed) in my entire life – not to mention some of the magazines that were on display. This individual – though pretty dispicable, was not the worst.

    My point was simply that this is not a case of a few bad apples spoiling the crop; rather that there seems to be this impenetrable atmosphere of a clique of clergy that dominate the scene here- who have two things in common. One is their past as anglican clergy, and the other is something else. I just feel -from experience, that too many priests (esp those associated with the Ecclestone square Chief Executives) feel there is no real difference between Catholiscism and serious Anglicanism, and the differences that there are are negligible.

    To my mind, the whole thing causes a giant crisis of conscience eventually- just like the one which we are seeing now.

    I did not mean any offence, and sorry for having offended you. The more priests like you that can set a shining example to us simple lay people, the better! Best of luck with everything.

    Sorry for the long post, as per relevance to the thread:
    See recent statement from Italian Bishops ~Conferece stating that it is not the duty of Catholic Church in Italy to convert non Catholics.

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  27. toadspittle says:

    What wouldn’t I give to be a ‘soi-disant intellectual?’ Would fail the medical, though.

    On pilgrim duty today. Had a Pole in who has walked over three thousand kilometers from his home. He’s seen a few crucifixes for sure.

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  28. @omvendt- I am not against all converts! Its just those who “cross the floor” and then undermine everything from within. I also concede that if we saw everything too closely then we would not respect or admire anyone, myself included. I just have always had this idea that priests (though enduring a difficult life) are worthy of great respect because they take care of the sheep and set a good example. Having accidents is one thing – a silent devisive attitude is another, and it ends out mixed messages to the faithful- i.e. St. Anthony Blair of Marie Stopes “conversion” to Catholicism.

    Dont worry- I am young and I will get worn down just like everybody else eventually…;)

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  29. @ New Templar:
    Thats what I meant- exactly!

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  30. churchmouse says:

    GlynBenedict — Based on your personal experience, do you expect a large number of Anglicans to cross the Tiber? What effect would there be if Jeffrey John became a bishop?

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  31. Mundabor says:

    Culturalcircle,

    yours are excellent posts in my opinion and show a kind soul rightly offended by the abominations he has seen.

    Of all the changes introduced by the current Pope, the clear instruction of keeping people of deep seated homosexual tendency out of the seminaries is one of the most important.

    I would so much like to be sure that no one of these people with “interesting after hours existences” will ever become a bishop. I do not doubt that everyone of them will do a lot of damage to the sheep entrusted to them anyway. The idea that one may be a good priest and a sodomite is a madness for Anglicans.

    If I had a son to introduce to the faith, I think I would take great care to educate him to separate the Church as the Body of Christ from the people acting within her and – as far as the latter are concerned – to expect the worst.
    It is better to have young people pleasantly surprised by the good priests than plunged into a crisis by the others.

    My hat is off to you for keeping your faith in the midst of such indecent behaviour of those who should foster it.

    M

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  32. Mundabor says:

    “What effect would there be if Jeffrey John became a bishop?”

    Churchmouse, don’t you think that the rationale of appointing that strange parody of Elton John as bishop would be made – if it is made – specifically in order to drive out the conservative fraction? The so-called c of E hierarchy can’t really believe that the conservatives will be happy with the fig leaf of the “chastity” when the two girls even live together, can they?

    Still, I do not think that there will be a run of Anglican vicars to the Ordinariates. More likely, secession from the so-called c of E and creation of alternative Anglican structures. From what I understood, many of the Christians remaining among the Anglican vicars are rather evangelical in outlook, whilst not few of the so-called anglo-Catholics are either openly homosexual or clearly effeminate; as such, they would not be able to qualify as Catholic priests.

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  33. churchmouse says:

    Thanks, Mundabor! That’s what I was thinking on both counts but needed clarification of my theories. Your first paragraph is cracking! 🙂

    Many of the Anglican priests who defected — about whom I have read, anyway — are married, but they live in the US. The parishes have a problem accepting them fully because of their wives. Culturalcircle gives us a fuller picture of the UK, of which I was unaware. I am somewhat surprised — and disappointed — that such men are being accepted into the Catholic priesthood. That speaks volumes about both churches. I figured, perhaps naively, there would be close questioning with regard to (ahem) personal matters. Perhaps there was. I’ll stop there.

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  34. churchmouse says:

    Mundabor — Re my earlier question — do they still have crucifixes in courtrooms and hospital rooms in Italy? And how many modern homes (where people are 50 y.o. and under) have crucifixes?

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  35. Mundabor says:

    “I figured, perhaps naively, there would be close questioning with regard to (ahem) personal matters. Perhaps there was. I’ll stop there”.

    Churchmouse, I think you’ve hit the bull’s eye. My impression is that when one starts tampering with orthodoxy and looking for popularity (“aggiornamento” seems to me a good term to describe this mentality) one puts himself on a slippery slope.

    All that happens afterwards is, if you ask me, a consequence of this mentality: that things had to be “updated”. You start gravely deforming the Mass and you end straight with a paedophile priest scandal and seminaries full of homos who don’t even see a problem in their condition, it is all connected and it all has the same root.

    Truth never needs to be updated. If one tells me that it does I start questioning whether it is really Truth he wants, or popularity and easy living.

    You sow search for popularity, you reap paedophile priests.

    M

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  36. churchmouse says:

    Well, let’s hope that the Pope can bring in some much needed reform. I can see — sincere apologies to culturalcircle for my misunderstanding — that a serious fear might be to go down the route of the Anglicans. Because after all this, then there could be a clamour for women priests, and where does it all end? Then, the faithful (as in the Anglican Church) will start leaving in even greater numbers.

    I agree that the Pope should be pushing for more and stronger reform. But who knows what sort of prelate operates in the Vatican? If anyone knows, it will be BXVI, and this is why I believe he hasn’t gone further. What do you — and others — think?

    We must pray often and fervently for the Church. For those of us who can fast, let’s do that, too.

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  37. Mundabor says:

    Churchmouse,
    to your questions:

    1) as far as I know they still have them in both. The fact is, the sentence of those strasbourg “judges” hasn’t changed the Italian law and AFAIK has no power to do so (read: their sentences are not immediatly producing changes into the Italian legal system).

    2) I’d say that most people still have *something* at home. A crucifix or a cross or a picture of Mary in the bedroom would be so normal that one wouldn’t even really notice it. What you would find is probably very rare among the under-fifty is what goes beyond, like for example a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

    If I can add other observations: religious window stickers are much more frequent than in England and you still see people crossing themselves when an ambulance with sirens drives by (they are much, much rarer than in England, though, as there are no statistics to feed).

    Look at the World Championship: don’t you see the big displays of crossing oneself and looking heavenward of the teams from Catholic countries? I notice it every time and I think it is a great adv for Christianity!

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  38. omvendt says:

    Mundabor:

    Re your World Cup observations: I quite agree!

    I’m sure many of us used to enjoy watching the Brazil players cross themselves.

    Of course, in those days all the Brazil players were (at least in some sense) Catholics.

    Sadly, this is no longer the case. Pentecostalism has made inroads into Brazilian society and this is reflected in the national football team. Two of their best-known players, for example, Kaka and Lucio, are Pentecostalists.

    Oh well, at least Spain is still in the tournament!

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  39. churchmouse says:

    Thanks, Mundabor — much appreciated (and most heartening to read)!

    We had a football controversy last year (I have the link somewhere) about making the Sign of the Cross. Footie officials asked that it not be done, so like you and omvendt, I’m happy to see it ‘in play’! Post about all of you coming up within the hour on my blog (try around 23:15).

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  40. Mundabor says:

    Omvendt,
    Kaka crossed himself as if there’s no tomorrow, though….

    ———–

    Churchmouse,
    did you complain with the football federation or other competenmt authority? I find this really absurd.

    (and yes, I’ll try around that time .. 😉 ).

    Like

  41. churchmouse says:

    No — it had to do with Brazil and Kaka (link and excerpts follow):

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1199121/Brazils-football-superstars-told-Keep-faith-football.html

    ‘Brazilian players, and Kaka in particular, are well-known for their strong religious beliefs and the squad and backroom staff formed a large circle and sank to their knees in prayer after the victory over the US at the end of last month.
    ‘In the subsequent team photographs, many players were wearing the Christian T-shirts, with captain Lucio prominent as he lifted the trophy.
    ‘But Brazil’s display of faith had an extra element of controversy because most of the players are Pentecostalists, whose leaders have been accused of violating religious freedom by attacking those of other faiths.’

    Like

  42. churchmouse says:

    Okay — reading further, there doesn’t seem to be a mention of the Sign of the Cross specifically, but at least all the Christians are stand together. However, there was a request from a Danish official for ‘all religious statements banned from football.
    ‘Jim Stjerne Hansen, secretary general of the Danish football association, said: “Just as we reject political manifestations, we should also say no to religious ones. There are too many risks involved in clubs, for example, with people of different religious faiths.”

    So wrong!

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1199121/Brazils-football-superstars-told-Keep-faith-football.html#ixzz0swQvZARw

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  43. churchmouse says:

    Should have been ‘standing’ (line 2) — sorry.

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  44. toadspittle says:

    When I last watched American Football, some six years back, there was (for me, at least) a distressing rash of players kneeling in a circle with their arms around each others’ shoulders and praying.
    Whether it was after the game in relief at having inflicted more physical damage on the enemy – assisted by Jesus – and therefore having won, or whether it was in the expectation of doing so, with Jesus,’s help, I can’t recall.
    Didn’t care for it, though.

    Like

  45. toadspittle says:

    Re: American Football post

    There was a huge African-American player who was, in fact, a sort of preacher of peace and love – Southern Baptist, I believe, when he wasn’t concussing people.
    He was known as, ”The Minister of Defense”

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  46. churchmouse says:

    Hello, toadspittle — This is a relatively recent thing in American football. Never would have happened until 15 or 20 years ago.

    Great line here: ‘a huge African-American player who was, in fact, a sort of preacher of peace and love – Southern Baptist, I believe, when he wasn’t concussing people.’ 😆

    The irksome thing about American football is all the doggone protection the players have. Let ’em try rugby (esp. rugby league), I say.

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  47. Mundabor says:

    “There was a huge African-American player who was, in fact, a sort of preacher of peace and love – Southern Baptist, I believe, when he wasn’t concussing people.
    He was known as, ”The Minister of Defense” ”

    I personally prefer Southern Comfort. And I don’t even like that that much.

    Anyway: in American Football as in general, to open one’s heart to hope and right understanding is more difficult, but more conducive to spiritual advancement than to make jokes about faith.
    Just my two cents of course. Feel free to exercise your wit against me at will; you’re not the Minister of Defense after all 😉

    M

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  48. churchmouse says:

    Mundabor — The man in question is probably a mini-celeb and a good role model for youngsters, ergo, people don’t see him as joke material.

    There’s also a notable linebacker from the 1970s, Ken Hutcheson, who became a Protestant minister and has his own congregation. He, too, has celeb status and, I believe, recently married radio show host Rush Limbaugh:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Hutcherson

    I didn’t get the impression that toadspittle (or I) were ridiculing faith here. It was the juxtaposition of the rough and tumble of US football and the ‘love thy neighbour’ message off the field which makes for a bit of irony.

    Like

  49. glynbenedict says:

    First of all, a reply to culturalcircle:

    Thank you for your explanation of your earlier comments. I see where you are coming from more clearly now, and I sympathise with you. I feel that your analysis was still wrong, however; and I correctly assumed that you seem to blame convert former Anglican clergy who have become Catholic priests for a significant element of the moral decline found in parts of the Catholic Church. (I think my reading was correct, Mundabor.) There is plenty of unacceptable behaviour on both sides of the Tiber, and to focus the problem on the small group of former Anglicans to whom you refer is unfair. Yes: there are immoral converts; yes: there are immoral non-converts! Like you, I hope, I condemn both. My earlier point remains, that fine, theologically Catholic Christians have left the Anglican Church for Rome, precisely because they were sick to death of the theological anarchy and unconstrained liberalism of the former body. They can and do add much to the Church, even married ones! – as I am – and I hope that I will be able to do the same, one day.

    Convert Anglo-Catholic clergy tend to be orthodox, in my experience. Indeed, why would a liberal Anglican who likes vestments and a liberated sex life bother with Rome at all? Anglo-Catholic liturgy is often much better done, frankly, whilst the moral constraints are greater!

    Churchmouse asks about an exodus from the CofE and about the Jeffrey John affair. No, I do not expect a large number of conversions in England, but I do in the wider Anglican communion. I suspect that Anglicanorum Coetibus is aimed mostly at the latter. There is not much left of traditional Angl0-Catholicism, in fact and, as we see from the feeble response of Forward in Faith to the generous papal offer, there is no apparent desire to accept it. Some will convert; some parishes will ‘go over’ en masse, but not many.

    Jeffrey John? He is exactly what the CofE wants: he epitomises the liberal establishment of church and state. Some African Anglican provinces will abandon Canterbury completely as a result of such an appointment, and some evangelical parishes will stop paying their parish shares, but the CofE and the rest of Anglicanism will limp on for a while longer until consumed in a secular liberal oblivion.

    In conclusion, there are some (a few) former Anglo-Catholics left who will leave, and many of them will enrich Rome with their orthodox theology, their liturgical competence and their fine preaching.

    GB

    Like

  50. Mundabor says:

    Agree with you, GB,

    the sheer number of the now-converted or previously converted Anglicans could never have been such as to give a real “colour” to a problem whose genesis is to be found entirely within the Church; moreover, it might be said that if the Church had remained uncompromising in matters of morals the “bad apples” would not have considered conversion in the first place.

    You seem to think that the so-called c of E (you’ll get accustomed to the correct form: little “c” and preferably “so-called” before it as it was regularly done before V II) would happily be looking for some of the other so-called churches of the Anglican Communion to separate themselves from Canterbury altogether. I found this astonishing at first, but I must say that you are right. The idea to lose conservative fringes in England without also losing entire provinces in Africa and South America is not very realistic.

    I can see the day when the so-called bishopess Schori (much beloved in Australian birkenstock-wearing feminist circles) and the so-called archbishop of Canterbury (an usurper, as we all know) will be having their afternoon tea in Lambeth and politely asking each other, in a very inclusive way, who is going to pay the next electricity bill……

    Like

  51. Mundabor says:

    Glynbenedict,
    another rather lavender-coloured blogger of the “Telegraph”, Wynne-Jones, reports that “Elton” John will, on reflection, not become bishop.

    In truth, one wonders at the ability of the so-called c of E to put itself into the most embarrassing situations. The insertion of a homo priest (albeit, one presumes, musically talented) in the short list with the probability of him not being selected is just suicidal. It is as if someone there had thought “we have not been looking stupid enough in the last weeks: let’s candidate an homosexual to become bishop and let’s have another open row on the matter!”.

    You couldn’t make it up….

    Wynne-Jones is not satisfied, of course. To him a homo bishop is “colourful” and “inclusive”.
    From their editor you will recognise them.

    M

    Like

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