‘Let’s get out of here,’ I whispered, almost in tears, as the priest finished his horrible homily.
Standing at the altar in front of a stained-glass window showing Jesus with his arms outstretched, this priest was telling us all off for what had happened in Dublin, three hours’ drive away.
I suppose we expected a bit of a lecture, going by the speeches about Palestine that we had been subjected to in previous weeks. We did so want to fit in by going to Mass, which had been noted by our Irish neighbours as a good thing.
But this was too much. We couldn’t be doing with an extended political manifesto extolling the virtues of Leo Varadkar and open borders on a Sunday morning.
We sat there stone-faced waiting, because we were sure, at some point, this man of God would offer a prayer for the five-year-old girl stabbed in the street, who, so far as we had been allowed to know by the media coverage, was lying critically injured in hospital.
This, so far as we could see, was what had led to the rioting in Dublin, along with the stance of the authorities in saying ‘nothing to see here’.
The priest took the same line. It was ‘someone having a psychotic episode’, he said, as if that made it all right. The congregation stared back, expressionless. The only sound was a baby gurgling on its mother’s lap. ‘What the hell?’ I whispered to the builder boyfriend.
The priest told us how un-Christian we were being for listening to social media gossip and not being very nice about foreigners.
I don’t believe any of us in that church had said or thought any such thing.