Give me that old time religion

It seems the present Pope will continue his conservative push. Later this week, an annoucement is expected to allow the widespread return of the Tridentine mass. Objectors say this will harm inter-faith relations in particular with the Jewish faith. Balrog rejects that particular notion but fears it may have a more detrimental effect on intra-faith relations.

  • ben

    And everyone who isn’t a credulous fool will continue to ignore the pope and the maundering inter-faith whiners and all that nonsense. We are trying to live in the real world here, your stupid superstition and woogedy hocus-pocus aren’t helping. Go on, the lot of you, and ponder how your supreme invisible sky elf cares about what language you genuflect in. Idiots.

  • snakebrain

    Avowedly anti-clerical as I am, I must confess to having a sneaking admiration for the evocative ceremonial capabilities of the RC Church. Say what you will, they’ve got the incense and chanting thing down.

    And it works even better when you don’t understand a word of it.

  • ciaran

    The tridentine mass is tradionally said in latin but not exclusively so. The tridentine part is actually refering to the council of trent.It refers to approved texts rather than a particular language.

  • Harry Briscoe

    Is Paisley’s mob still running Romewatch or is this the new version? Ben’s thoughtful post will open a lot of eyes.

  • Glensman

    Yes Ben,

    Anyone who doesn’t think the exact same way as you MUST be an idiot! God forbid you actually take the time to study a religion.

  • Leo

    I see the Belfast Telegraph is repeating the lie about the “anti-Semitism” of the older Latin Rite. The old Latin Rite did contain a prayer in the Good Friday ceremonies for the “conversion of the faithless Jews”. However, the wording was changed in 1962 to be something like “for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God”. This (revised) prayer is also included in the current Good Friday ceremonies.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    ‘Anyone who doesn’t think the exact same way as you MUST be an idiot! God forbid you actually take the time to study a religion.’

    But Ben is 0 right…..I’ve looked into religion and saw just a void! and so said Nietzsche or words to that effect!

    Sigmund Freud insisted that God was a result of human invention. Humans dreamed up an idea of God because they needed a father figure to whom to look for protection.

    Checkout the good English professor’s book Richard Dawkins ‘The God Delusion’
    Christopher Hitchens ‘God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’
    and George H. Smith ‘Atheism, The Case Against God’

    Relieve yourself of the burden of religion and mythological nonsense!

    Freethinkers stand up!

  • Hogan from County Tyrone

    Not sure it is a big issue?

    As a taig i would be confident that the Latin mass would be used only on particular occassions, perhaps annually?

  • Turgon


    Yes Freud also said that young women and girls who reported incest from their fathers were having fantasies and were not being abused.

    He was clearly so right on that one that he must be right about religion.

  • jpeters

    Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    I seldom meet anyone less freethinking than the atheists and those who profess no religon. Always seems that its not enough for them to believe what they believe without trying to convert very one else! And the chief argument is always is always a spurious intellectualism (pls dont start going down the road of creationism and that crap most RCs dont believe it anyway)

    At least RCs have an excuse for trying to convert others!

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    Ah go on outta that, will ye’s…
    Turgon…Remember Freud was apart of a partriarch society in late 19th early 20th century Austria, but he was forever updating and changing his analysis and thoughts. Freud said things that would be somewhat out-dated today given the advancement in psychiatry, science, social vaulues, etc…
    JPeters…Religionists get all on edge when their faith is challenged, afraid to examine one’s beliefs perhaps is the greatest sin, you believing in sin of course ?

  • jaffa


    One of your freethinkers is Jefferson who found value and inspiration in the allegory and history of the Christian faith even though he declared himself a deist believing perhaps in a first mover or an intelligent design but not in the immanent action of God on everyday life.

    If materialists want to discredit the influence of spirituality then they’ll need to address the real benefits of a relgious viewpoint for the individual and generally for society in a more “scientific” fashion that adolescent sneering about delusion and sky pixies.

    Many of the most religious people on the planet don’t believe in a supernatural individual (let alone unique) intelligence but they have a far greater understanding of what it means to be human, and the pitfalls of a self-centered (not neccessarily selfish) materialist perspective than “modernists” who think an A level in biology and a tenuous grip on mutation and heredity equips them to write off the collected wisdom of a million years of human development.

  • jpeters

    Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    don’t flatter yourself mate i will have the debate with you any day on this one!

    im no poster boy for the RCs my point is you and the regular posters on slugger have to accept that some people do have religon and your purely fact based analysis of others spiritual beliefs more often than not misses the point totally.

    Unless there is an attempt to raise the debate beyond factualism the atheist arguement just sounds like sneering, no wonder christian’s backs are always up!

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    So Turgon says…”Many of the most religious people on the planet don’t believe in a supernatural individual (let alone unique) intelligence but they have a far greater understanding of what it means to be human……”

    If you are one of the many of the most religious people as you stated above by the sounds of it you don’t believe in a god then! What are you talking about!

    JPeters……..Please pray for me then for I am lost! All contributions welcome, cash would be better however!

  • jaffa

    Before I’m accused of having a tenuous grip on evolution myself I concede that “a million years” may have been an exaggeration (although it’s a chicken and egg kind of thing anyway). These guys say anatomically modern homo sapiens are at least 160,000 years old so I’ll go with that.

  • jpeters

    Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    cheque on its way cant take it with me after all!

  • jaffa

    “So Turgon says”

    No he didn’t I did.

    “If you are one of the many of the most religious people as you stated above by the sounds of it you don’t believe in a god then! What are you talking about!”

    I’m talking about most Bhuddists, many sufis, lots of unitarians, a fair amount of quakers, confucius followers, stoics (might have overstreched myself there), heaps and heaps of people with religious sentiment who are easy on the God thing.

    Maybe you need to stretch your brain a bit on the definitions.

    Quite a lot of RC’s too I’d guess.

    Anyway I didn’t say what I believe.

    I’m a biblical universalist today.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    Sláinte Peter, and I’ll enjoy it here while I’m alive!

  • Gréagóir O’ Fránclin

    Sorry Jaffa… and Turgon of course! Wire crossed!

    Ah Jaff, the way it is though it is nice having nice warm feelings and senastions of a what could be called a religious or spiritual kind. Incence, prayer, incantations, meditation etc..anything to soothe a tired or distressed body and mind. But that is all it is, relaxation and a sense of well being…..No link to a Nirvana/Heaven that’s at one with nature and the earth and all that, but just an easing of the bodily nerves and sense.

  • jaffa

    “just an easing of the bodily nerves and sense”

    “Just” is a fairly subjective word to use.

    How’s this for a without prejudice consideration of religion from a materialist perspective.

    Man is a small colony species. The frontal lobe (don’t ask me how) has been theorized as having room for a 140 – 160 close relationships. This is a recurring number in effective organisation forms and shows we’re designed socially but with limits.

    The centre of man’s well being is understanding and enjoying his place in the small colony.

    Man’s tragedy (and the source of “sin”) is that although his sub-consciousness is organized with reference to the colony (and by extension to all humanity) his everyday survivability demands protection and replication of his physical self. To drive this nature has blessed us with stress inducing hormones.

    This everyday individualized perception (sinful “knowledge” if you like) confuses and corrupts the underlying small-colony instinct. Many religions encourage the maintenance of small churches or communities because they see this potential to lose the sense of community and attendant inner peace in larger groupings (consider Old Testament injunctions against settling the nomadic Hebrews and cities generally).

    Stripping away self-centeredness, re-booting the primal colonial instincts (parenting, loyalty, honour, forgiveness etc) is the rebirth and renewal offered by religion.

    Good religion makes this happen. When it does your hair stands on end, you start laughing, you lose your anxieties, your pride, and you find yourself naturally and willingly investing your idea of success in the success and survival of everybody else, not just yourself. People even look different – more like old and wrinkly children who you truly love – (I have not been eating mushrooms).

    This is not the same as rational self-interest. It’s understanding and being true to your underlying nature as part of a bigger organism, not tit-for-tattery.

    Some religions call this understanding and the attendant relief the blessing of the Holy Spirit, some Gnosis, some Satori, and some Enlightenment. Many use different techniques to get to this point, including esoteric stories of one hand clapping, fasting, rites of one sort or another and which try to free up awareness.

    Jesus told one man that to truly enter the spirit of heaven he should give up his possessions and follow him. Clearly he meant his attachment to these impermanent things not his legal possession of them.

    Maybe I’m being subjective but I think this is a bit bigger than putting your feet up and it is profoundly spiritual. That is not necessarily the same as supernatural (but it could be!).

    Christianity talks about the living and the dead.

    If you can’t get past just staring out of the sockets in your head and worrying about where the next meal’s coming from you’re a mobile alimentary canal with some capacity for articulation. You’re a clump of dust. You’re dead.

    If you can imbue your everyday experience with a real sense of your connect-ness with others and the miracle that through you simple dust is aware of itself you’ve touched something divine. Whether or not your individual perception survives death doesn’t matter. So long as human consciousness prospers you’re immortal because you’re part of it.

    Incidentally I don’t think Christ talked about heaven as much as people claim. He did talk about the march of humanity, guided by the Holy Spirit to a day of judgement – a point at which chaff would be burnt away and people become like angels. That’s the obvious and inevitable end state of the alignment of reason, consciousness and faith and an awful lot more time.

    I believe that the Ultimate Reconciliation of all people and things is the message of Christ (and other prophets) and (allowing for the flowery language of previous generations) is totally comaptible with science.

    You can call that souped up atheism if you like but my version’s more fun.

  • Greenflag

    Visiting priest to old Kerryman in hospital circa the time when of the Mass language change from Latin to English /Irish

    ‘I take it you’re a Catholic ‘? Mr Ryan

    ‘I am and I am’nt Father to tell ye the truth ‘says Mick

    ‘Why so then Mick’ says the priest ? somewhat puzzled .

    ‘It’s this new liturgy Father ye know English instead of Latin and music and all the new stuff – I don’t like it -at all at all’

    ‘But shure now that ye can understand what the priest is saying surely you can pray better and be more involved ?’ says the priest

    ‘Nary a bit ‘ replies Mick . ‘When the mass was in Latin I used to pray like a whore but now that it’s in English shure its not the same at all and then theres all this ‘peace be with you stuff ‘ but the worst part of all is that part during the Lord’s Prayer when ye have to turn around and make the sign of peace and shake hands with some bastard that ye would’nt cross the feckin street to spit at !

    Nothing like good old religion for stoking the flames of brotherly love? :)?

    Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return . In the meantime do your best -enjoy your life -help those you love -family and friends .Be grateful for the one and only life you will ever have !


  • jaffa

    See how much joy religion brings. Where would Greenflag be without it? Babies and bathwater and all that.

  • jaffa

    Showing my ignorance here but I’ve attended a couple of masses lately (shitty circumstances) and while I shook hands with a few people there I don’t remember anyone gesticulating at me. What’s the “sign of peace”. Is it like a two fingered salute?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Unless there is an attempt to raise the debate beyond factualism the atheist arguement just sounds like sneering, no wonder christian’s backs are always up!’

    It’s a bit hard not to sneer JP. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your personal deity idea within the privacy of your own brain, but it’s entirely insulting to expect others to respect a subject with zero evidence, zero substance and zero sense.

    Organised religion is not only an affront to common sense, it’s a potentially lethal form of collective delusion and control, with the inevitable results illustrated recently by Muslim fanatics. The child-abusing, batchelor controlled dictatorship that is the RC Church is merely one example.

    Perhaps the ultimate irony would be a nuclear holocaust inspired by the infantile notions of ‘right and wrong’ religion.

  • Greenflag

    ‘What’s the “sign of peace”. Is it like a two fingered salute? ‘

    If I recall correctly the priest would say

    ‘Give each other the sign of peace ‘ which meant shaky hands time . Probably fell into disuse after some hardshaws started with the two fingers routine occasionally interspersed with the ‘up yours Ivan ‘

    Look on the bright side . Without ‘religious oppression’ England would probably have remained Catholic – Also the USA would have been colonised by the Spanish or Chinese and without religious discrimination Martin McGuiness would not be Deputy FM nor would Dr Palsy be FM.

    Religion or at least a ‘religious spirit’ seems to be deeply embedded in the human subconscious . Religion has been the source material for much of the world’s great art and music . So it’s not all negative waves as it were . Religion gives many people comfort and drives not a few insane same as drink and sex .

    In an uncertain world where globalisation and a fast changing economy and society leaves many people wondering ‘WTF is going on here ‘ or how can I make sense of this ‘ religion provides a seemingly safe haven. I say seemingly for if you happen to be a Sunni in Baghdad or a Jew in Teheran your religion ‘badge’ can guarantee a personal meeting with your God earlier than expected.

    But we all know deep in our conscious and unconscious selves that although love may make the world go around it’s money/dosh/loot etc that keeps it spinning apart of course from Sol’s gravitational pull . Mix in some of Karl Marx’s economic theory of class formation to Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest plus a top layer of Adam Smiths every man /woman for himself/markets rule and thats the world we live in .

    Science and pragmatic politics is the way forward for modern societies . An excess of religious zealotry is a guarantor of poverty and backwardness at least in todays world .

  • snakebrain

    Good post Jaffa

    I think there’s a lot of sense in what you say about having to understand the human condition from perspectives other than the crudely mechanistic. I also agree with other posters that to deny the positive influence of religious organisations is wilfully blinkered. The RC Church , which I only single out because of its historic importance within our European heritage, has been associated with many of the most important intellectual developments of our collective history. I do think it was an overtly elitist organisation for the vast majority of the period of its dominance; it’s wisdom was never intended for the masses, but always for the benefit of an elite ruling class which it orchestrated and controlled.

    There’s a difference between spirituality, which is the subject of much of your post, and institutional Christianity, which has been a political and economic phenomenon as much as anything. A lot of the modern objections to religious organisations are rooted in those facets of the behaviour of religious institutions, rather than in the spiritual path they lay down. It’s important to unweave those threads for a proper understanding of what’s been happening over the last few hundred years as power devolved into democratic and other secular hands.

    Human beings, for whatever reason, do possess a capacity for emotional and intellectual response to more ethereal and metaphysical stimuli than those that operate at the obvious physical level. These seem to be inherent to the functioning of our consciousness, and are tied up in some way with both collective exerience and utterly personal internal reactions within the mind. The prevalence of systems of religious and spiritual belief in every human society is symptomatic of this aspect of our mental function.

    It’s simple to attack one aspect of a system and use that to attempt to draw the rest of it into disrepute as GLC does. Of course much of what went on in the RC Church was unforgivable. It’s an entirely different matter to argue that because of that, nothing that was ever suggested by that organisation is valid. There are as many hues of Christianity as there are shades of blue, and many of them predate the events GLC refers to, and are not invalidated by it.

    I don’t personally accept the Christian doctrine of an individual God in whose image we are created, and the accompanying dialogue of Original Sin, and the fundamentally flawed nature of humanity, or the supposed redemption brought by Jesus in the NT. I think that understanding of human nature is damaging and untrue.

    I do however recognise that it has evolved in response to internal human pressures, and is in some way reflective of an attempt to get to grips with both our consciousness and ability to idealise in a Platonic sense, and the difficulty of reconciling that idealisation with a world which does not correlate perfectly with the ideals thus generated.

    As a species, we have an intellectual impulse towards an understanding of the universe on a spiritual plane, which may simply be an evolutionary relic, but which is nonetheless inescapable and which we have to find a way to accomodate and fulfil. Dancing round a fire in a voodoo ceremony and worship at a marble altar are ways of approaching the same aspect of human nature, and reaching the same communal ecstatic response.

    That process of reaction to a deeply held impulse and response through communal ecstacy is one of the defining human experiences, and I’d be sorry to lose it in an completely secular society that would deny the existence of this aspect of the human experience.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘It’s simple to attack one aspect of a system and use that to attempt to draw the rest of it into disrepute as GLC does.’

    Yes indeed it is simple Snakebrain and without such an admittedly flawed concept, it is doubtful this board would exist. The RUC, UDR, Unionism, and Republicanism have all been smeared over the decades, largely due to the actions of a small number in their midst.

    The proof of the pudding is how the organisation dealt with their miscreants. In the case of the RC church child abuse scandals, the actions of the supposed moral guardians were at best lamentable, and fell far short of that expected of an organisation supposedly close to the creator himself.

    I’m not suggesting that the RC church have never done any good deeds, but it’s fair to say that the bad ones are light years away from what would be expected of the keepers of morality.

    It’s fair to assume that clerical abuse went on before the mid 20th century and is by no means a modern phenomenon. The church’s stance on contraception, divorce, mixed marriage, abortion, homosexuals and the equality of women have caused untold and entirely unneccesary suffering down the centuries and continue to do so.
    The clinging to frankly absurd concepts such as transsubstantion, papal infallability and confession merely insults the intelligence.

    All of this is however merely an entree to the potential horror of fundamentalist religion taken entirely literally. Britain is currently face to face with religion in it’s most ‘perfect’ and logical form. You can actually see where these people are coming from. If your prophet / God demands something in a holy book, and you believe that deity to trump everything, including human life, then his pronouncements must be obeyed. A global caliphate is the only logical outworking of a literal interpretation of Islam, and if that involves murdering millions of infidels, then so be it.

    Organised religion has been subsidised, humoured, respected and excused from the dawn of time. Pre-science there was an excuse — we didn’t know what planetary alignment was, we didn’t understand mental or most physical illness, we didn’t realise that the planet was millions of years old and that we were merely a temprary phase.
    Post-science, the excuses grow weaker — sentimentalism, human rights, subjucation whatever. The fact is that religion has been highly adept at warping the minds of the very young, insisting on absolutes, feeding on intolerance, misogny, homophobia and supposed truth at a time when it should have been placed firmly in it’s box alongside flat earthers and witch trials.
    The terrifying end result is ultra-violent jihadism, the creed that considers absolutely anything fair game in the quest for a global Taliban style state. The ultimate result of such insatiable yet divinely endorsed slaughter could well be a global society hurled back to the dark ages, if not annihilated altogether. In millenia to come, we may be known only as the species that destroyed itself through it’s own delusions.

    ‘’d be sorry to lose it in an completely secular society that would deny the existence of this aspect of the human experience.’

    Rather like the wrench that children feel on learning the truth about Santa Claus, it’s part of growing up SB. Spirituality can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Dress it up with rights, laws and diktats and you have the recipe for the current madness we now face.

  • snakebrain


    I agree with a lot of what you say, but don’t patronise me with bullshit about Santa Claus. I think my eyes are pretty well open.

    I’m not ignorant of the issues you raise. I’m in the middle of writing a novel with the insanity of belief in transubstantiation as a pretty major theme. I’m also not as arrogant as you it appears.

  • Liam

    Ack, no one listens to the Pope anyway. Nice Captain Beefheart title by the way.

  • Turgon

    “Pre-science there was an excuse—we didn’t know what planetary alignment was, we didn’t understand mental or most physical illness, we didn’t realise that the planet was millions of years old and that we were merely a temprary phase.

    This appears quite close to a religion of science.

    Take one of your statements as an example “we didn’t understand mental or most physical illness”. And we have a full understanding now do we?

  • snakebrain


    The attempt to seperate the nature of spirituality from institutional religion was at the heart of my post. You’ve instantly responded by conflating them again. If you look back, you’ll see I describe myself as avowedly anti-clerical.

    However, some of the finest people I’ve met are clerics. Dom Lawrence Freeman OSB, director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, stands out amongst many in that respect. Some of the worst are also clerics. The Dalai Lama stands out in that respect, and it’s precisely on grounds of his political aspirations and the oppressive theocratic nature of the regime he would revive that I object to him.

    Incidentally, the two are very close friends…

    Life is not always as simple as you’d like.

  • snakebrain

    Further II:

    Just for the record, you’re much more likely to find me dancing round a fire than in a church…

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Turgon: “we didn’t understand mental or most physical illness”. And we have a full understanding now do we?

    I never used the term ‘full understanding.’
    I’m merely referring to the fact that we (as in western Europe) no longer consider the mentally ill to be demon-possessed, we no longer consider physical illness or handicap to be a punishment from God and we have the capability to prolong life in a practical capacity rather than appealing to the whim of a deity.

    ‘This appears quite close to a religion of science.’

    Only if you wish to drag everything down to the level of religion. I consider the car to be the best way to get around, as well as being stylish and a status symbol. I don’t however consider myself to be a devotee of the religion of the car.

    Science is a practicality rather than a superstition. It can’t and never will answer all the questions posited by humanity, but it tends to deal in the factual rather than the whimsical and as such has to be on a higher plane. A particularly glaring facet of the religiously minded is that when in medical trouble, they will always turn to science for a cure. Is there a moral there somewhere?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘I’m also not as arrogant as you it appears.’

    Sorry SB I’m not getting at you personally. I’ve debated with religious zealots / supporters / sentimentalists many times both online and in person and it’s often difficult to gauge which end of the spectrum they come from.
    As with most fervent anti-religionists, I’ve had more than my fair share of religion in the past, via various channels, and very little of it has been what you might call uplifting.

    ‘The attempt to seperate the nature of spirituality from institutional religion was at the heart of my post.’

    An entirely laudable concept, but not one which is ever likely to prosper in widespread terms unfortunately.
    Rather like capitalism, as soon as someone has an interesting idea, it’s immediately seized upon by the corporate and turned into a controllable money-making powerhouse. If only Ron Hubbard had kept his great ideas about thetans to himself, we wouldn’t have to suffer the absurdities of the world’s fastest growing religion.

    Spirituality in itself is wholly understandable, given our insignificant place in a vast universe, but as a concept it is far too easily open to exploitation for entirely worldly ends.

    I’m not a disciple of Richard Dawkins, but I would fully agree with one of his statements; ‘People say there’s got to be more to life than this. I say what more do you want?’