Not quite what was wanted ….. but maybe what was needed ……

John McGahern once wrote a piece about a replacement priest that came to his home parish.  I came across it again this evening, while looking through some bits and pieces for an Advent Retreat and thought I’d share ……

‘A young man replaced Father Glynn for a few months when the old priest fell ill. His sermons were short and delivered quietly in plain language. They related Christianity to the lives of people and stated that reflection on the mystery of life was itself a form of prayer, superior to the mouthing of empty formulas: he touched on character assassination, back-biting  marital violence, child beating, dishonesty, hypocrisy  he claimed a primary place for personal humility and love of others and charity of mind. My father in the front seat was incensed …. (he) did not lack support. The criticism took the form of a deep and troubled censoriousness at what the modern church was coming to. They rejoiced when Father Glynn returned. What they wanted was hell and damnation which they could apply, like death, to other people’.

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