After many years not going to my local Church in Sardinia (Italy) where I had my first communion and was confirmed I tagged along with Mum and Grandmother that wanted me to go with them for the 11 o’clock Christmas service.
In classic Italian style the mass started a few minutes late but many arrived 15-20 minutes after the service began. Even the altar boy and girl were late and ran up the alter to join the priest. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt 15 years ago as I was often late when serving (some things just don’t change).
The parish priest, an acquaintance I met years ago when he was still training, was now portraying himself as very traditional as he wore old fashioned gowns (both on and off the altar) that recalled medieval priest attire and also decided to sing big parts of the mass.
During the mass, 3 ladies read extracts from the Bible at the microphone. It was their moment of glory, they could shine in front of the parish and show what a good reading intonation they have. After all, it’s good that they have something to look forward to during the week which must be a welcome change from their daily housewife duties.
The parish is located in an area called ‘Margine Rosso’, the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Quartu S. Elena, the city in which I was brought up and where my family still lives. In this area many drive BMWs or Mercedes and even at church you could notice their social-economic status by the fact that many were wearing Burberry scarfs or other ostentatiously posh clothing and most likely have successful careers to match.
It is funny that you can visibly distinguish who truly believes from those who are forced to attend by their bossy wives and this can be noticed especially when people are required to kneel down or at the start and end of the mass when everyone is supposed to do the sign of the cross.
For some reason the young children tend to make most noise (scream, cry or kick a fuss) in the most sacred moments. That could be a sign of their inner struggle with demons that possess them who could not stand the high levels of holiness.
During the mass there was a moment of ‘free prayers’ in which a member of the community read out ‘supplications’ thought by parishioners. One of them was for ‘the people who lost their faith’ to help them find the goodness within them (I almost burst out laughing) and to help the ‘Christian communities’ in Norcia (central Italy) who were effected by an earthquake earlier in the year.
After mass I wished a Happy Christmas to The Nun who used to be in charge of the alter boys (and probably still is). She hasn’t aged in 15 years which makes me vaguely suspicious, does she have Swedish blood?
I respect the Catholic Church as an organisation as they do a lot of good in building communities, uniting people, giving hope and purpose and being a multinational point of reference for millions of people across the world. However, I will never be able to go back to being part of an organisation that inflicts disease on many by preventing them using protection against HIV, that condemns homosexuals and bisexuals to being damned for eternity for the fact their love does not follow the Mary-Joseph-Jesus model. Also the condition of women inside the Church who are inferior to men in the functions they have as nuns cannot give mass and are forced to cover their hair (same way as women in Saudi Arabia widely criticised by catholic people).
When leaving the church someone asked me why I did not go for communion, to which I replied: ‘sorry, I’m a vegetarian’.
The tile of the post was inspired by Hozier’s song you can watch the video here.