Virginia Barton

1 March 2019: Au revoir, for now

1 March 2019


It’s time for a break, and when better to make a fresh start than Lent? The penitential season begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th , and while I cannot pretend that I will devote the six weeks to what Jerry Cruncher in A Tale of Two Cities referred to as “flopping”, I shall hope to do some of it.

(Jerry’s unfortunate wife was chided if not cuffed for her habit of flopping, unless Jerry was in a tight corner when, perversely, he hoped she was doing it.)


You need a respite from my iPad, and I must make a tour d’horizon like some hopeful periscope swivelling and scanning the surroundings hopefully.

What next? The eighty-second birthday hoves ever closer: there is surely more to come? With my extraordinary good luck, no doubt something will turn up.


There is still much to comment on, and two things this week I am loth to leave behind.

I rarely mention politics, but Brexit (who’s the Clever Dickie who invented that ghastly name?) is on everybody’s mind if not lips. A clagginess drapes the country like cold porridge. One or two bright sparks, like little stars, pierce the gloom here and there depending on your point of view: Yvette Cooper, Anna Soubry and Luciana Berger. The mood is depressed; only the extremes to right and left seem to get any pleasure out of our perilous situation.

Was it Jean-Claude Juncker who said he had “Brexit fatigue?”

We ALL do, M. Junker.


As if that were not enough, the ongoing scandal in the Catholic Church concerning the abuse of the vulnerable by priests continues to affect every Catholic everywhere. It is a question that will not be resolved until long after I am dead and gone.

But I will say this: as a convert, I did not become a Catholic because of any individual priest or lay person, although several were influential.

I became a Catholic because of faith in the truth of that religion revealed by the Church and which has never failed me. Several priests have been disappointing, also nuns. Catholic teachers have not come up to expectations – perhaps one expected too much. Many more priests, nuns and teachers have been inspirational and more than fulfilled everything one hoped for.

But I repeat, I did not join the Catholic Church for individuals. It was for the Church that the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against.

Pope Francis has his work cut out and deserves our fervent prayers.

(Flopping for his intentions during Lent might not be a bad thing…)


Curiously, I was immensely cheered by a very lively Methodist musical I went to last week; performed with great slickness and con brio, by a large cast that swept us seamlessly from Exodus to the Wesley brothers. The music was fun and catchy and the audience loved every minute of this lively performance.

I sat there thinking about my own Church’s problems in which we all suffer. I know we are not unique, and hope some simple joy and genuine forgiveness may somehow show the way to a lighter brighter future.


Can’t resist a farewell quote from GK: 

The most incredible thing about miracles
is that they really happen.”






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