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Sunday, 20 November 2011

'A Common Catholic Looks Back' by David Read

This post is a  reminder of the shock and dismay bordering on despair, experienced world-wide in the years immediately following Vatican II, by thousands of devout and loyal Catholics, at the  debasement of so much of the liturgy of the Church; the brutal alteration some would say desecration, of so many beautiful churches; the unjust treatment by certain bishops of  priests who dared criticise; the disastrous relaxation in the rules and dress of Religious;  the adoption of a false ecumenism seriously weakening the primacy and Divine authority of the Church,  particularly applicable to schools, with great loss of young souls to the Faith; the abandonment of Catholic musical tradition; the list goes on.

This personal anguish and holy anger is manifest in the writings of David Read, notably in his poems, ‘A Common Catholic Looks Back’, printed privately between 1976 and 1981. 
In his writings David Read laments the rupture in the tradition and liturgical practices of the Catholic Church  following  Vatican II.  

Since 2007, with the 'Summorum Pontificum', of Pope Benedict XVI, the traditional Latin Mass has enjoyed a gradual, but perceptable re-emergence in many countries, although still experiencing hostile opposition in many powerful ecclesiastical quarters. This will undoubtedly dissipate as intolerant modernist Bishops retire or die, and  more obedient Bishops, loyal to the Magisterium, take their place.  Although progress is slow, it is happening and I believe it will accelerate over time. David Read will be encouraged, as are many Catholics, by the words and actions of Pope Benedict XVI re-asserting the importance of tradition in the Church and the unequivocable right of all priests to say the traditional Latin Mass at any time.

          The Transfiguration of Christ (Andre Ivanov)

The following is just a small selection of David Read's poems, all  protected by copyright.


Sweet Catholic lady, honoured Catholic man,
I crave your pardon, writing as I can.
If some poor words of mine offend,
Forgive me pray, for I do not intend to shock.

Upon my rude interior is laid
A thin veneer of culture, and is made
A poetaster in some humble wise,
Of rough-hewn lump,(although in gentle guise), of rock.

Please be assured, before the work’s begun,
My cruder words are never used in fun;
They break from me when silly men annoy;
When shepherds, by their foolishness, destroy their flock.

So read my lines, and do not me condemn:
They may be hard, but hurt love lives in them.
A little warmth, when they have read their fill,
Perhaps from some cold hearts may still unlock.

                                                                    (c)David Read


Not far from where you live my friend, exists a Catholic school,
And four times out of five my friend, so-called progressives rule
The school is much the same my friend, as others round about;
No stress put on R.E., my friend, morality left out.

The modern teaching ways, my friend, are different you’ll see,
From those in your young days, my  friend, no simple A.B.C.
The Faith is changed as well, my friend, the old books in the bin.
Humanities they sell, my friend, and let’s not talk of sin.

“O” levels head the list, my friend, and mammon must be paid,
So something must be missed, my friend, when timetables are made.
D’you  search your daughter’s mind, my friend, to find out what she’s heard?
Her faith’s a different thing, my friend, from yours, in thought and word.

Does your son know the Creed, my friend? And what the phrases mean?
They may not feel the need, my friend, on the progressive scene.
You’ll blame the teaching staff, my friend, for failing to supply
A steadfast Catholic life, my friend, and ask the reason why.

They’ll all be wrong but you, my friend, when your kids go astray.
There’s nothing you could do, my friend, to teach them how to pray.
But when you go up there my friend, your soul is opened wide,
St Peter strips you bare, my friend, there’s nowhere left to hide.

Responsibility, my friend, for generations more
God gave to you and me, my friend, to even up the score.
He will not say, “Hard luck, my friend, the teachers have to pay.”
No passing of the buck, my friend, for us on Judgement Day.

So take a long hard look, my friend, at what is on the slate;
For wrong must be forsook, my friend, before it is too late.

                                                                (c)David Read

                     St George slaying the dragon  (Raphael)


This the new church, Father? Just wait a while,
In a few moments I’ll get back my smile.
Yes, it’s impressive; mod-art? Is that true?
(Looks like a concrete and brick public loo).

Let’s go inside, tell me, which is the door?
Nice purple carpet you’ve got on the floor.
But first of all, I must just say a prayer.
Oh yes, the Sacrament’s right over there.

Where? Oh I see, in this hole in the wall.
(Wouldn’t have known You were here, Lord, at all).
Cross made of chipboard and nails, very nice;
Three thousand  pounds?  Very cheap at the price.

Got to be with it, and artists come dear,
Look at the Stations, they’re all over here.
This is the confessional? Oh sorry, no,
That’s where the new amplifiers will go.

Must you be off, Father? See you again.
Phew! Now he’s gone, this a church? What a pain!
Look round the walls, not a statue in sight,
Stained glass that looks like two dogs in a fight.

Altar just like a juke-box on a stand,
Everything spiritual must have been banned.
Who paid the money for this monstrous fraud?
Were we so bad,You allowed it, O Lord?

                                                              (c)David Read


M  odernism, well, what’s in a name?
E  verybody likes to feel they’re in the game.
N  o-one wants to be the odd man out.
E  ven popes and prelates join the silly rout.

M  eaningful is what it all must be.
E  xpert planning worship now for you and me.
N  evermore the truth shall be the guide.
E  nd the dogmas, let’s all join the winning side.

T  heologians change the basic facts.
E  levations soon will be symbolic acts.
K  eep the answers from the people’s eyes.
E  nd their questioning with sweet and crafty lies.

L  ove your neighbour first is what you do,
U  nder modern thinking, God is number two.
F  irst, though, come to think, is always me:
A  fter me, the neighbour, God is number three.

R  ise and shine, and sing and dance and shout!
S  peak up loud, That’s what the Mass is all about.
E  nd the fasting, feast in solemn state.
N  ow, the Medes and Persians live within the gate!
                                                         (c)David Read


Almighty God and Father of mankind
Before you here, I humbly bend my head.
Forgive the pain that honest men may find
In these poor rhymes, and words that I have said.

Be merciful, O Giver of all gifts;
Such talent as you gave I wish to use
To help to heal the ever-spreading rifts
Caused by the power that your priests abuse.

Emotion’s voice, Lord, I try not to heed
With small success, for souls are cast away.
My conscience, which the priests told me would lead,
Speaks in a muddled tone, and err I may.

His hands are black, who dares the pitch to touch;
But who loves greatly is forgiven much.
                                                             (c)David Read

                         Resurrection of Christ   (Coypel)


Responsibility belongs to each of us alone,
Salvation still demands, you personally shall atone.
No standing up together shouting “We believe” will do,
The final nitty-gritty for your soul depends on YOU.

                                                                c) David Read


Finally a thought from St Alphonsus:-      
        "If beggars do not receive the alms they ask they do not cease asking;  they return to ask again.
         If the master of the house does not show himself any more, they set to work to knock at the door.
         This is what God wishes us to do:  to pray,  and to pray again,  and never to leave off praying"


A Catholic Comes Home said...

Thanks for this post.The thoughts of many are encompassed in the poems.
God Bless you and yours.

umblepie said...

'A Catholic Comes Home' - many thanks for your comment.Kind regards.