Saturday, August 29, 2009

Every day while I am here in France I go cycling in the afternoon.

I take a pen and notebook and generally sit for a while in the forest. There is something about the quality of the silence under the trees that helps me write.

On the way back, I always go through one of the beautiful villages that exist on the fringes of the forest.

Each one has an ancient church: and each one of these churches is locked and barred.

There is no-one to say mass there or look after them. Mass is said on a rota basis which is explained in a tiny notice pinned to the door.

I am surprised to find this so sad. It'sas if a building that could be at the very heart of the community is locked up and disused.

There would be such scope for such places, staffed by people of love and imagination. They could be centres of creativity as well as of the spiritual life.

For the people's spiritual needs have not gone away; they are simply not being met by a church which has lost touch with its own compassion, open-heartedness, creativity and imagination.

Largely through an utterly misplaced obsession with misogyny and sexual conduct.

What an opportunity here: this could, truly, be the most amazing time for reform.

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