Religious instruction – for St Patricks Day

I recall an acquaintance of Catholic origins saying a young priest had explained to him, as a teenager at school, just what heaven would be like.

It would be like sex: constant, everlasting, sex, this presumably celibate priest told his youthful and impressionable charges –  I suspect with a bit of drool hanging down his virginal chin.

Not for the first time, I find myself lamenting my lack of a Catholic upbringing.

I was brought up a Presbyterian, and I cannot recall any of my Bible Class teachers even mentioning such a thing as sexual intercourse existed, in this world or the next.

It sounds a lot more colourful, the Catholic thing.  Also, I can sort of see the upside of confession.  Why?  Well it seems to me, as an outsider,  that you can go and get all that stuff off your chest, do the hail Mary or whatever thing, and then get on with stuff.

The religious tradition I came from had so such safety valve. Apart from work, of course. Just work a bit harder.

So, for St Patrick’s Day….the Pogues, who seem to me to be *all* safety valve, mostly of an alcoholic variety.

But hell, they can play. And on this song – about the Irish diaspora – they’re playing their heart and guts out. 

I don’t have a drop of Irish blood in my veins, but this one chokes me up every time.

Especially that last verse…

Thousands are sailing

Across the western ocean

Where the hand of opportunity

Draws tickets in a lottery


Where e’er we go, we celebrate
The land that makes us refugees
From fear of Priests with empty plates
From guilt, and weeping effigies

And we dance...

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