Saturday, February 23, 2008

I've been asked...

to help publicise a series of talks on Love and Responsibility, taking place in Central London over the next few weeks, and I'm very happy to do so. These are the issues that get people thinking, talking, arguing, wanting to know more...and often surprised and challenged by the discovery of what the Church gives and teaches. Topics include "Building the civilisation of love in a media-driven world", "The Gift of Life and Christian Discipleship". Find out more here.

Newspapers full of debate about what to do about "binge drinking" and the evident sense of a flat empty pointlessness in life that gives rise to it. Daft to pretend that making wine and beer more expensive will do anything to change that. Charles Moore in today's Telegraph makes some good points on this.

Young people want - need - to know they are loved and lovable, necessary, valued, and capable of great things. They need to know that life can be full of huge challenges and tasks, and adventures in doing them, and they need the structures that come with all that. How horrible that in modern Britain all this is being denied to so many.

Today in the High Street, a team of Christian singers were braving the cold and the weary who-cares-anyway of shoppers, and singing cheerily about the love of Christ. Their joy was suddenly contagious, and I felt warmed by it. It also made God seem real: he came here, lived among us all, joined in. Cares hugely about every single individual one of us. Easy to forget that.

9 comments:

On the side of the angels said...

Sorry Joanna but I'd truly love to know what you would suggest for young adults to do ?
I work as a shelf-stacker ; and virtually all my fellow employees under the age of thirty [with one notable exception] spend every ounce of free time [i.e. where they don't have to care for young kids if they have them] in pubs and clubs - because frankly there is nothing else to do - we're talking of millions of people here whose only recreation is alcohol - because that is the way society has decreed it - and please don't tell me that capitalist/conservative policies [of both the tories and new labour]which have decimated the arts and entertainments industries since the war hasn't conspired with this ?
what exactly do you propose ? a paper chase , charades , or a bike journey to budleigh salterton with brass rubbings and lashings of ginger beer ? a nice lecture on pugin or teaching them how to crochet ? cream teas with the archdeacon ?

These poor disenfranchised people have been let loose to the wolves...and what did we do to help ?
They are...to go all Newmaniac for once..
'dispossessed , aside thrust chucked down by the sheer might of a despot's will...'

...and what do we do to help ?
I have three kids and it is very ,very hard to keep them safe and informed of their catholic inheritance and responsibilities amidst this secularist tyranny...

I'm sure you meet many admirable young gels and upstanding young catholic schoolkids belonging to youth groups as you venture forth round the country ; and I'd bet my last shiny sixpence that you pray hard and care unremittigly for the drunken drug induced louts or foul-mouthed half-dressed teenage harridans f-ing and blinding on the street corner, knocking seven bells out of each other when they aren't recklessly copulating with all and sundry....but sometimes treating the rash does no good when the disease is allowed to thrive...

...and I agree wholeheartedly ; they most sincerely need to know they are loved and lovable ; but so too do their parents from whom most of this dissolution of sanity, propriety and hope originates...
we need to make an all-out assault on the root of the problem...adult life and their entire disenfranchisement by today's society....

The devil wins when we confuse our priorities...and if delude ourselves into thinking this problem is sourced in the youth we will continue to make the same errors ; merely supporting and sustaining the already saved while the lost sheep remain in the wilderness...

Maureen said...

Not everything is illegal yet. There's nobody pointing a gun to people's heads, saying, "You can't invite your friends back to your flat to make elaborate schemes for the domination of world art!" The best things in life are still free.

However, it takes some mental effort to get out of a rut, especially if most of the culture is saying, "Unless you have money and even if you do, there's nothing more worth doing than getting drunk." Also, to be fair, most low-paying jobs are tiring, and depression makes them more tiring still.

Anonymous said...

The Angelic One has knocked the nail on the head. Excellent though the work of St Patrick's, Soho, is it is mainly directed at a fairly small and enthusiastic group of middle-class young believers who are fed, year in year out, by the same closed-minded group of clerical brain-washers and professional Catholics, ie those with time on their hands to spend on a religious hobby. These people represent a dim Catholic form of Al Quaeda. There is a world outside Black Fen and similar cotton-wool lined enclaves which remains completely untouched by such endeavors.

Joanna, you write about a petit bourgeois fantasy world, enlivened by unconvincing snobbish overtones that expose you to ridicule. Listen to the Angelic One if you can, but the reality is that you listen to nobody but yourself, those who reflect your conventional views, and the tired, overplayed tracks on your self-promoted, scratched LP. The Angelic One knows about life, you don't.

Lucy said...

I'm not really sure why this particular post evoked such vitriol. As far as I can see, Joanna is not blaming the young people themselves, who are the victims of our society's unconcern, nor suggesting that if they just pulled their socks up and had a nice cup of tea then all would be well. She doesn't propose some kind of cosy middle class solution; instead she states something that I would have thought was an underpinning belief of any Christian, or indeed of any person of good will: "Young people want - need - to know they are loved and lovable, necessary, valued, and capable of great things." She does not claim that the problem is sourced in the youth; rather she writes: "How horrible that in modern Britain all this is being denied to so many." I'm not sure why this loving response is somehow representative of a shadowy Catholic Al-Quaeda, which has been brainwashed by narrow minded clerics. Commenting on a blog shouldn't be an opportunity to let loose a torrent of abuse while completely misrepresenting what the blogger has said. Just a little bit of integrity and a drop or so of charity will do wonders.

Anonymous said...

The self destructive behavior of people and the despair that they breed around them has nothing to do with the low payng job they may have a the moment.
People need to have a sence of self worth. The world is full of very ordinary people doing ordinary jobs. Ordinary people can be wonderful parents,terrific friends,loving children,helpful within the community,a faithful face you can count on seeing each Sunday Morning at church.Alcohol dulls the pain for a moment-a relationhip with the Lord is healing. Find meaning and self worth. God loves us and created us we are worth that!!

Fiorella said...

Anon, you sound like a Socialist Worker editorial circa about 1964. Whilst I sympathise with the Angelic One's point, no one goes to a pub with a gun at their head. When I was at school, the majority of kids in my class thought a 'nice night out' constituted blagging their way into a nightclub to get blind drunk followed by a one night stand. Some of us chose to stand against that brand of yoof culture and it was the Church that taught us our lives were worth more than that. As to these so-called 'cotton-wool lined enclaves', they are open to all and the 'clerical brainwashers' you speak of are considerably more intelligent and open-minded than the embittered, agenda-driven former hippies I came across at secular youth events. Incidentally, before you patronise me as you patronised Joanna, I came to this country with my family as a penniless refugee and don't need lecturing on the harsh reality of living in the 'real world'.

leutgeb said...

I went to the talk at St Patrick's Soho Sq last night and it was excellent. Yes, I'm very lucky to be able to have gone to it.

I had never been to that Church before and found it very welcoming indeed. Thank God there are people organising such things as a series of lectures on Humanae Vitae lasting til June and publicising them.

Surely we should support everyone who is trying to turn around the 'culture of death' in all its forms in society.

I don't recognise anon 1's description. I grew up in Blackfen, went to the Parish Primary School and have taught in the area. No cotton wool in sight. Some very tough situations for some pupils. Some very lucky and very happy. All 100% real.

Magda said...

If the cap fits, wear it.

Anonymous said...

Trust fanatical Fiorella to add her pennyworth.