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 Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?

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PostSubject: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:35 pm

I noticed the Financial Times last week reported that church attendance in Iceland has soared since their economic woes began. Similarly there were noticeably more people at the Christmas Carol Service and Christmas Day services in my Church this year - the place was bursting at the seems with people standing into the porch behind out of the Church. Highly anecdotal evidence but to what extent do people feel that the current economic crisis will lead to a reevaluation of everything, including faith?
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:43 pm

Do you not say 'back to Mass' ?
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 2:45 pm

Mass is held in a Church. Churches of all denominations partake and provide many more activities than Mass.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:05 pm

Maybe I live in the wrong place but I don't feel that the Church here generates a strong sense of community. I find some priests to generate the opposite kind of feelings, in fact. The vow of poverty is one I never understood - why take some vow like that and then drive a huge merc or audi and live in a massive detached house all for yourself ?

Plus you get drink money for the weekend for free from donations at Mass too or somewhere like that.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:25 pm

Are vows of poverty not more associated with religious orders than parish priests? I wouldn't know as I am not a Catholic but that is my understanding. Beyond which, how many priests do you know driving a merc? I would imagine that is quite a rare situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:07 pm

johnfás wrote:
Are vows of poverty not more associated with religious orders than parish priests? I wouldn't know as I am not a Catholic but that is my understanding. Beyond which, how many priests do you know driving a merc? I would imagine that is quite a rare situation.
The issue for me with priests driving big huge cars is about the sense of humility and connection that the priest has or doesn't have in a community that is represented or created by those material things. IMO - a priest with an Audi is almost instantly distanced from more of his parishoners than not. Not saying it's the Audi's fault - maybe the guy is an unlikeable asshole and the last person you'd want to see on your own deathbed.

The material trappings often connect with only certain upper portions of the community, not the entirety as is meant to happen with Christianity I think. Again I'm not saying it's the Audi's fault but I do feel that the first business of the community's Holy Men, Protestant or Catholic, should be to unite the community, big small rich poor alike. Too often a community is run by a 'set' or clique of 'powerful' people and the priest is in there with them.

Maybe that's just from my experience and I'm just living in Hell though.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:09 pm

How often do you see a priest driving a huge big car though? My Minister drives a 6 year old Nissan Micra with his 3 teenage sons piled into the back and his wife in the passenger seat. I know a few Catholic priests and most of them don't even drive.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:20 pm

johnfás wrote:
How often do you see a priest driving a huge big car though? My Minister drives a 6 year old Nissan Micra with his 3 teenage sons piled into the back and his wife in the passenger seat. I know a few Catholic priests and most of them don't even drive.
Maybe down the country then priests need half tanks with which to survive the hazards of zig-zagging through country lanes as they speed from last rite ceremony to baptism.

I've no problem at all in supporting a priest's need for a car or even his interest in fostering the next generation if that's how it is but some objects have a definite social stamp, conveying more of a sense of exclusion than inclusion which makes me look at crucifixion in a whole new light.

A six year old Micra is plenty for Father Ted - how well do the Protestant Ministers do in integrating the community and organising events and generally sewing up rifts in the social fabric that are created often through apparently innocuous items like 1.8 diesel Audi A4s ?
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:41 pm

We provide alot of services to the community but we can always do more, problem is it all costs money. We have an ecumenical eco committee between all the local churches (interdenominational) which examines green issues and looks at ways of implementing a greener agenda as well as informing people on issues. We employ a fulltime youth worker and run several youth groups on a weekly basis for any child in the community to attend for free - over 200 kids would engage in this activities each week. We have an active retired group, various ladies groups, a bowls club, a mens group, a mother and toddlers group and we run a marriage course... all of which are open to anyone in the community.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 4:48 pm

johnfás wrote:
How often do you see a priest driving a huge big car though? My Minister drives a 6 year old Nissan Micra with his 3 teenage sons piled into the back and his wife in the passenger seat. I know a few Catholic priests and most of them don't even drive.

I live very close to Opus Dei, and so see a lot of priests. The majority would definitely be in the Nissan Micra category of vehicle.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:40 pm

Our priest drives something suitably modest, anecdotal evidence though it is.

Our church was packed for the 'midnight' mass, standing room only. The priest said he never saw the place as full, but I think he says that every year.

Cynic that I am, I was thinking a secure job in the priesthood was a nice alternative to the dole queue. Sure they won't be celibate for long the way things are going.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:10 pm

Sure just become a Protestant minister 905, no problems of celibacy there, in fact I know several very nice looking girls who are attending theological college so it might be a run to a good thing!
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:19 pm

johnfás wrote:
Are vows of poverty not more associated with religious orders than parish priests? I wouldn't know as I am not a Catholic but that is my understanding. Beyond which, how many priests do you know driving a merc? I would imagine that is quite a rare situation.

Yes they are. I don't think our priests have taken vows of poverty but they certainly don't live extravagant lives. They dress well and have reasonably new cars like Renault Meganes but they aren't driving BMWs, Mercs or anything like that. They live well but not excessively so off the spare change we put in the basket from week to week.

On the subject of Mass attendance, I do see a steady number of people at Mass every week and the number isn't going down. I went to Midnight Mass and the church was indeed packed. I also heard that the earlier Children's Mass was absolutely and utterly packed, with people standing in the porch as there was no room in the nave.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:27 pm

Have you seen the number increase in recent years at your place of worship, Ard? If so what would you anecdotally see as the demographic of those newbies... would they be more newcomers to Ireland or would they be Irish people who are starting to attend again?
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:56 pm

johnfás wrote:
Have you seen the number increase in recent years at your place of worship, Ard? If so what would you anecdotally see as the demographic of those newbies... would they be more newcomers to Ireland or would they be Irish people who are starting to attend again?

There has been a slight increase in the last few years, I'd say anywhere between 5-15% more people are going to Mass in my parish now compared with the turn of the century. Attendance trends have been U-shaped in the last 20 years. Many of the new people are indeed immigrants. Most of them would be either Polish or Filipino, Catholic strongholds both of them. There are plenty of young people coming to Mass and there of course is still the old core who go to Mass year in, year out. That said, I'd say I'm in a minority of about 10% in my age group. When I was going to school, I was 1 of about 10 in my year of 130 who went to Mass or Church(since they were CoI). The attendance situation has improved, but remains quite disappointing relatively speaking.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:18 pm

I think people are scared, and feel that they don't understand what is happening and don't know how things will be in the next few years. They have a feeling that things are beyond their control. These sort of feelings may well lead some people to look for reassurance from one or other belief set, no matter how irrational. The move to fundamentalist Islam in middle eastern countries under pressure could be interpreted that way.

People may get comfort from both the belief side of things and the community activities that johnfás talked about. On the minus side, people need to take a rational and scientific approach to understanding what is happening in order to deal with it.
Also, attachment to one religion all too often means demonising people who have a different one.


Last edited by cactus flower on Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:36 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added on to first paragraph cf)
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:31 pm

Ah but the key qestion: will there be a rise in vocations?
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:14 pm

johnfás wrote:
Sure just become a Protestant minister 905, no problems of celibacy there, in fact I know several very nice looking girls who are attending theological college so it might be a run to a good thing!

Congrats Johnfas.... do you happen to know what vocations are like on our side of the fence?? we'll probably notice a rise if only because the IFSC/City/Wall St are less enticing than they used to be, for all denominations?? Chances are that the churches without celibacy rules will benefit more from vocations, but I'd say many will have more time for churches, politics, community, especially those who have lost jobs and might have time on their hands. Sunday school clubs can perform a vital role in providing fun for kids that doesn't cost a fortune and provides ethical, moral, spiritual and musical training at the same time. The parish I'm in suddenly has a lot more under 10s in the Sunday club, the vicar is very pleasantly surprised. I suspect that at least some of it is down to family homes in the area becoming more affordable, or couples moving into parental 5 beds as the parents downsize/need care/move to Spain to retire.
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PostSubject: Re: Will the Recession send our Society back to Church?   Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:39 am

johnfás wrote:
I noticed the Financial Times last week reported that church attendance in Iceland has soared since their economic woes began. Similarly there were noticeably more people at the Christmas Carol Service and Christmas Day services in my Church this year - the place was bursting at the seems with people standing into the porch behind out of the Church. Highly anecdotal evidence but to what extent do people feel that the current economic crisis will lead to a reevaluation of everything, including faith?

Its an absolute certainty. In times of trouble, I think people naturally tend to "huddle" together for warmth, security, reassurance etc. I think its an entirely natural thing.
What you gotta be careful of is the gouger who tries to take advantage.

As a religious sceptic, its hard for me to be completely objective but I think that shift to a less material outlook is not a bad thing in itself.
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