Even the Archangel Michael is gobsmacked by online critics!

December 21st, 2020 11:40 AM

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Irreverent ‘Mass-hoppers’ are awarding celebrants a points rating not dissimilar to reality TV shows

A NEW religious phenomenon, that of ‘Mass-hopping,’ has taken off with such fervour that even the Archangel Michael is gobsmacked (we assume).

Essentially, ‘Mass-hopping’ is a spin-off from online church services, such as the streaming and broadcasting of Mass, and the priests who perform the liturgy on TV.  It’s also a consequence of Covid-19 restrictions whereby physical attendance at religious events has become a health hazard.

Indeed, irreverent viewers (‘Mass-hoppers’) have taken to awarding celebrants a points rating and, according to some ecclesiastical critics (cynics), the ‘Mass’ slot is becoming not too dissimilar to reality TV competition shows such as ‘The Great Irish Bake-Off’ or ‘Gogglebox Ireland’!

A Cork priest recently informed us that people have their favourite online liturgies and that reviews and comparisons of a priest’s skills have been known to feature on Twitter and Facebook (In other  words, the ‘performance’ of one priest is measured against that of another priest) .

For instance, some ‘Mass-hoppers’ have ‘favourite’ online priests who encourage the singing of rousing hymns. But the clerics deemed top of the pops (if one can use that phrase) are those who give the best homilies.

Inevitably, the perceived trivialising of the online Mass has upset priests and laity. A spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents over 1,000 members of the clergy, said it was unfair to mock priests who were self-conscious when appearing on screen and who clearly were not ‘professional’ performers. 

Indeed, some priests have stopped doing online religious services. They complain that it isn’t pleasant to have a television camera stuck in one’s face, a microphone pinned to their vestments and saying Mass to an almost empty church.

‘Can be very hurtful’

‘Mass is about meeting people, gathering people,’ a priest commented. ‘We can’t do that now. And online comments can be very hurtful.’

Needless to say, for the benefit of our readers, we sought the advice of an eminent theologian who took the line that in a televised Mass people are not physically participating, or celebrating together with the priest. Consequently, something transcendental or other-worldly is being missed.

He reminded us that according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal there were times when the exceptional nature of a religious event made tuning in online, or via television, the only viable substitute for participation.  That was OK. The events he had in mind could be the canonisation of a saint in Rome, a funeral Mass for a Pope or the elevation of a priest to the job of bishop.

Nevertheless, our sacerdotal butty acknowledged that a television Mass helped people cope with sadness, loneliness and the fear generated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Interestingly, he’s no supporter of the idea that ‘Liturgy equals Mass.’ But, before he got stuck into that fascinating topic, yours truly made the appropriate excuses and fled – our tiny brain unable to cope with the theological nitty-gritty of such a wise cleric!

What’s in a name?

Look who’s back!  It’s Uncle Adolf!

No! Not that Adolf, otherwise known as the monster of humanity, but rather the Peruvian politician, Hitler Alba, a decent gent from Ungar, a highland town in the Andes, who (as many people know) is seeking re-election as mayor. 

His campaign slogans read, ‘Hitler returns’ and ‘Hitler is with the people,’ but, he says, ‘I’ve always rejected what the German dictator stood for.’

Problem is, political rivals found a candidate to challenge him, and he too has a famous name: none other than Valdimir Rodríguez Lenin!

In Peru and other South American countries, parents like to name their children after famous people despite the negative associations. For instance, Peru’s national juvenile team used have a player called Osama Vinladen!

And it’s not only in South America that parents give their children famous names.  In Namibia there’s a well-known politician who also has the ‘Hitler’ moniker.  He’s Adolf Hitler Uunona. 

Earlier this year, he won a seat on the regional council from where he reassures people that he has no plans to conquer the world. His wife calls him Adolf,  which is par for the course considering that Namibia was a German colony until the end of the First World War and street names still carry German origins.

‘Nestopolis’ update

Last week, The Southern Star revealed that thousands of wealthy Hong Kong nationals, fearful of Communist China taking over their city, were considering Ireland as an option in which to make a new life.

Indeed, a Hong Kong billionaire is searching this country for a location where he’ll build an upmarket city (‘Nestopolis’) which would be shared by Hong Kongers and super-wealthy Irish citizens.  He’s interested in a site near Dundalk.

But, according to a recent Guardian report, it is to Britain that 600,000 fearful Hong Kong residents are heading and they’re doing so much faster than the British government had anticipated.

Under a special scheme, those with colonial-era British National Overseas status will be able to obtain visas and ‘pursue a path to British citizenship’ from January onwards.  Most want to come much quicker than anticipated by the UK government.

Around three million people in Hong Kong are eligible for British national (overseas) passports and, said the newspaper, they would be able to travel with dependants.

On the gravy train!

Did you know that Our Mickey and FF crew are spending a mind-boggling €6m a year on 64 politically-appointed ‘special advisers’? Individually, the spin-doctors trouser between €67,569 and €101,114, plus exes, and have succeeded in convincing the Taoiseach of Turners Cross that their exact roles should not be made public – which was a weird demand. 

The Leeside Taoiseach defended his generosity on the basis that he needed advisers to update his ministers on things going on in the country. Terribly important, don’tcha know, that Mickey’s ministers should be up to speed and have some notion of government policy and government initiatives.

On the other hand, if our parliamentary brain boxes, including Mickey, were to read the columns of this newspaper they could get a unique view of rural Ireland for a tiny fraction of that obscene €6 million smackers!

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