The Raft of Corks

Fifteen years ago I sat in a hall with several hundred people listening to a Catholic priest describing the state of the Roman Church.  It seemed to me that so many people of my age, adolescents at the time of Vatican II, became adults at the same moment as the Church began to disintegrate.  It was no longer the barque of St Peter, but rather flotsam and jetsam left to the oceans’ currents. Yet our childhood has shaped our religious consciouness: we have a shared vocabulary,  embedded cultural attitudes which shape our morality,  the same sacramental initiation for all and a sound heritage of spiritual wisdom, often armour-plated, and disguised in gold leaf, by a theology shaped by a need to justify, convince and contain; intollerent of other positions.  Shaped to fit, like corks, we were cast overboard in the shipwreck of Vatican authority.  Nonetheless we harbour, in this last phase of our lives, an affection for Christianity and an awareness that the wreck contains treasure of infinite value.  The raft of corks is a simple metaphor for the platform which this generation, who enjoyed the music and freedom of the 60’s and 70’s, is today building from which we will recover this treasure and emerge together from the individualism which has eroded society in the wealthy nations throughout our lifetime.