I hear that the Czech Republic had a revolution and became protestant before slipping back in the 1620's to the old Catholic ways (celebrated at the time by 27+ simultanious hangings) .
Now I'm not against Catholicism, there are loads of really good aspects and I've had a very good education from a Catholic school. But on the continent it's quite something else. It's just so incredible backwards, it seams at least.
I took the oppertunity of finding a Church last Sunday on when I arrived in Prague and attending the morning service. The church was not massive, like a big anglican parrish church, but the inside was filled with statues, Mary paintings and a massive F-O alter, and a very few pews.
These slowly filled to a 15% capacity with perhaps 50% being tourists. Hymn books were hidden and when I eventually found one it was difficult to use with the "laser display board" (which gave the currnt hymn number) shooting back and forth when hymn verses were sung in strange orders. And the singing itself was simply appauling - none of the locals sung loudly enough to be heard, prefering to mumble some tune. And even the priest and alter boys didn't open their mouths to join in.
The collection was a pittiful affair, not that it is really legitimate to comment upon, but a very small collection was taken - not generous by any strech (I was confused as to how such a massive church could possibly maintain itslef).
And then there was this collection box at the back of the chuch which I thought I'd donate to (only a little I admit). Now the usual deal is that these have soft interiors to catch the money and prevent much noise being made in the case of coinage. Not this one, oh no! This had two internal metal plates that caught the conis making a pearcing clang clang as if announcing "I've just just given some money - arn't I amazing". This pissed me right off.
How can such an insitute function when there is little apparent desire to be there and no encouragement or excitement in the worship of a living God. Jesus is an awesome dude, God rocks and the Holy Spirit is with us to enable our conection to both above - totally amazing. But t seems that God and the Holy Spirit are pretty much the sole responsability of the Pope with the general Priest (called Father of course) heirachy obscuring them from the congergation. And as for the Holy Spirit, I wouldn't be surprised if she'd just died out due to lack of use.
Like I say there are great points about Catholicism, and the Catholic chruch in the UK is leagues ahead of this (Taze is another amazing example). But these churches still continue in the same archaic manner, firmly refusing change yet perhaps being the sole expression of Chrisitan faith that some locals will ever experience. I cirtainly wouldn't be persuaded that God was worth shouting about had this been my upbringing.
So I guess I'm urging the Catholic Church to get involved in the continent and shake them awake again.
As for me? I'm going to see if I can find a free Church this comming Sunday instead.