I've been watching, with some interest, the increasing placement of 'news' about local Catholic 'community work', especially amongst the Manx Filipino community.
Not a lot of people know this, but last year this
island was sent the first Catholic missionary since the time of the
Celtic saints. It isn't that the Vatican is concerned for the state
of our souls, more that it is worried about missing a gravy train on
which other churches were early passengers.
For over a century the island has been adequately
served by Anglo-Irish priests, who established churches for a growing
Irish community in the late 19th century. It is only fair
to note that in doing so they also met head on the racist prejudices
of that time against both the Irish and Jewish community, which
manifested themselves in everything from petty objections over
planning permission through to denial of schooling, housing and
social services. From the 1930's until the mid 1980's (when we
started to see the arrival of evangelical bigots who couldn't cope
with a newly equal Northern Ireland) it seemed that anti-Catholicism
was a dead duck.
Since then, apart from the Paisleyites, everyone
else got on fine until a newer wave of 'guest workers' from strongly
Catholic Eastern European countries, particularly Poland. But while
the church made a show of caring about the welfare of Polish workers,
the blunt truth was that many were educated young professionals here
to escape not just Polish unemployment but the rebirth of the
Catholic extreme right, so the last thing they wanted was more
Which made the arrival of Filipino guest workers a
relief to such clerics. Here seemed to be more fervent religionists,
except that in rejecting the Marcos regime Filipinos also started to
take an interest in other brands of Christianity, particularly US
televangelism, which meant that while here they were ripe for turning
by (ironically enough) Paisley's sectarian chums.
So a battle for souls commenced. Except that, of
course, none of these churches is quite as concerned as they say
about the minds and bodies of exploited workers and their families.
The real interest is that people who work here to
support families 'back home' send back a large percentage of their
hard-earned income. Money meant to feed, clothe, educate and provide
the medical needs of less fortunate relatives, but which might, with
a little misinformation, also be directed toward religious
'charities' which claim to do the same thing, while actually keeping
the poor under the thumb of anti-democratic chancers who, from way
before the time of theo-fascists like Mother Teresa, always prop up
the likes of Marcos.
If you want to get an idea of the problem, try
Googling 'Filipino Freethinkers' and seeing their lively and humorous
take on such matters. I guarantee you will laugh, but also never
again consider the antics of 'religious charities' in the Philippines
and their Manx allies quite so innocent or well meaning.
4 years ago