Monday, November 15, 2004

It's not just RTE that hates America

At Mass yesterday (not my usual parish), the priest took time during his homily to tell us about his recent trip to Auschwitz. He talked about how nobody spoke inside the camp other than the guides and about the conditions that the Jews lived in while in the camp. He mentioned how cold it was during his visit and how tough life was for those who had minimal shelter and no heat. I thought it a little odd that he seemed to think of it as an under-equipped refugee camp, but I figured he was assuming that we already knew the more horrible aspects of Auschwitz.

He then changed tack and started talking about Fallujah. Outrageously, he compared the US military's decision to not allow the Red Crescent aid trucks into Fallujah with the Nazis behavior at Auschwitz. His last line was that "nothing had changed in 60 years". I was totally flummoxed. I didn't hear a word for the rest of Mass. I couldn't work out if he had said what I thought he said or did I mishear him. Yet, I know I didn't mishear. I was fuming.

Part of me was annoyed that I didn't shout at him there and then. It's just not my nature and not what I would consider appropriate behavior at Mass. Still, I felt impotent, which only made me angrier.

The worst thing is, he didn't give me the impression that he was a radical or given to extreme views. I really suspect that he believes this view to be mainstream.

This sort of thinking is all too prevalent in the Irish Church. I remember Bishop Kirby making some silly remarks before the war in Afghanistan started (Sep 11 made no impression on him), although nothing as ugly as this. Sometimes I think this is the priests' only way of being on the side of those who are "hip and happening", as if uttering the most grotesque anti-American lines will help them win friends among the liberal media.

All it accomplishes is annoying me.