17 March 2007

Phoenix Nights Catholicsm

Fr Ray Blake has highlighted a couple of YouTube videos. One is of the Halloween Mass in Orange County, California, notorious for, amongst other things, an extraordinary minister costumed as the Devil; the other is of a recent Mass celebrated by the egregious Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles (also California) at the end of a recent RE Congress.

Reading Fr Ray's post, it struck me that we have no simple expression (other than "sacreligious" or "heretical", of course) to describe the sort of thing that isn't just one-off wild and wacky, but is a head-on confrontation with the Universal Church. "Cafeteria Catholicsm" describes a pick-and-mix approach that offers a choice: what about the sort of Catholicsm where no choice other than a liberal-two-fingers-to-Rome is on offer?

I'd like to propose "Phoenix Nights Catholicsm". The Phoenix Club, owned by Brian Potter is a simulacrum of a normal club: it has no licence; it is a dangerous fire hazard; it is corrupt and dishonest; it is meretricious; its music is abysmally poor. The poor club-goers of TV's parallel Bolton have no real choice: the Banana Grove is equally awful, and the man in charge, Den Perry, is as criminal as Potter.

Phoenix Nights Catholicsm is not yet common in England and Wales, but we have our Brians and our Dens, and, given half the chance, they will impose their version of the practice of our religion on the rest of us.

Let's not give them their half chance. Let's do the thing they most dislike: laugh at them, laugh as much as I laught at Phoenix Nights. They are on the "Road to Nowhere": let's hasten them on their way.

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