I don't have very high expectations when I attend mass. I accept that there will be some lefty politics and I accept that the dignity of the mass will be disturbed at times. But this morning I left early. It was Aboriginal week and the church was festooned with Aboriginal motifs. The mass opened with a statement of praise for Aboriginal culture and spirituality. That much was OK. But then we got to the "we are living on Aboriginal land" stuff and I'd had enough. It was one intrusive political moment too many. I left quietly. I'm not sure if I'll go back to my local parish.
The next closest parish is even worse. I had a look at their website and the front page featured a very biased SBS documentary on refugees. They have a social justice group which is connected to left-wing activist groups like GetUp and Avaaz. GetUp is currently campaigning for gay marriage, a climate tax, and against refugee detention centres; Avaaz is a bit less biased to the left, but it nonetheless campaigns on issues like drug decriminalisation.
I'm not going to give up. There are a few more parishes I can attend in my quest for a normal mass.
A few thoughts on this issue. First, my local parish is in the doldrums. Despite having a school attached to it, I am usually the youngest person in attendance. Nearly everyone attending is older than 60. It seems that the current strategy of the parish is to adopt left-wing politics as a way of attracting more parishioners. But that seems to me to be a mistake. You can get left-wing politics anywhere - you don't need to go to church for this. Furthermore, the majority of young lefty types are irreligious. Worse yet, left-wing politics is usually directed against white, middle-class heterosexuals - but our suburb is mostly composed of exactly this demographic. Does the church expect large numbers of people to voluntarily attend an institution which is set against them?
All of this makes me wonder if the Catholic Church is going to follow along the path of the Anglicans. The Anglicans set themselves up as a church of the left-liberal middle class, but in doing so they put themselves in a position in which the values of liberal modernity came increasingly to clash with Christian orthodoxy - leading to division within the church and the ever present threat of schism.
Things do not seem to be well at the parish level of the Catholic Church in Melbourne.