Saturday, August 26, 2006

Football crosses

I thought it might happen. An ire-stirring news story before the end of August. Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc has been cautioned by state prosecutors in Scotland for crossing himself during a match with Glasgow's other club, Rangers (the Protestant one). Admittedly the prosecutors say this was but one of several 'provocative' actions, and I'm guessing they reckon he may have done it deliberately to anger the Rangers supporters, in which case shame on him, but making the sign of the cross on one's body by touching the forehead, breastbone and both nipples in quick succession (no disrespect, but what's 5cm between friends) is a sign of religious dedication, a sign that the crosser is redeemed by Jesus' death on the cross, and it's by no means limited to the Roman Catholic church. Rangers supporters, Scottish prosecutors and Hot-Prots please note: Eastern Orthodox Christians cross themselves. Indeed, around half the vicars and churchgoers in the Church of England cross themselves.

As it happens I'm a Christian. I was convinced and started feeling like a new person 12 years ago after I started looking seriously at 'all this Jesus stuff'. On matters of theological detail I would veer towards the views of the great reformers, Luther and Cranmer, and latterly the likes of John Stott and Jonathan Edwards (both the rector and the runner). And whereas I'm critical of any big-organisation church because of the politics and dogma that creep in, as a Christian I have respect for the leaders of the Catholic church and the hundreds of thousands of its Faithful members. Which brings me to my point:

I find myself in Catholic churches a couple of times a year and have no trouble - no trouble at all - in crossing myself with the rest of the people there. It's no magic trick, it's a simple sign of devotion and reverence (something which can tend to fall a bit short in the happy-clappy world I normally inhabit).

Rant over. It's nice to be back.


At 1:56 p.m., Anonymous Parnell said...

Well said and a sentiment I wholeheartly endorse. The nature of the complait on religeous grounds appears to be based more on secrarianism.

At 12:15 a.m., Anonymous bill said...

Actually it is a magick trick. It predates Christianity. It was adopted by Christianity.

At 5:14 p.m., Blogger The Maddog said...

It turns out he was done for incitement not crossing himself.

At 4:45 p.m., Anonymous aileen said...

I can't see how someone crossing themselves could be considered an insult,

unless they did it on first catching sight of you ;o)

Welcome back John.

At 10:16 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger said: I have respect for the leaders of the Catholic Church and the hundreds of thousands of its Faithful members.

I think that all Christians should judge the character of others by their behaviour and the way they live their lives rather than by their creed or denomination.

Just one other point: The Catholic church does not have only hundreds of thousands of members. The actual number is in excess of 1 billion. The Catholic Church is not only the largest Christian Church, but also the largest organized body of any world religion. According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, the Church's worldwide recorded membership at the end of 2004 was 1,098,366,000. That’s about 1 in 6 of the entire world population!

I think that most people in Northern Ireland don’t realise that the global church is not entirely made up of Irish Nationalists. Most global Catholics, including the Vatican, have little or no interest in Irish/Northern Irish political issues.

At 10:03 a.m., Blogger oskar said...

Just a note, Orthodox Christians cross themselves the other way round than Catholics (ie the right nipple before the left).

At 7:54 p.m., Blogger The Phantom said...


A significant number of our baseball players, esp the Latins, cross themselves...has the local prosecutor nothing else to worry about?

What in the world is going on over there?

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