It was First Holy Communion day today at the Holy Ghost and St Stephen’s in Chiswick with me in attendance. I have been a non-believer for many years, so I find myself torn when the responses are ringing out. There is something in the deep rhythms that makes me what to join in. Through my fault through my fault through my own most grevious fault with the hand beating the heart three times. I just have to say it, even though I know it’s not through my fault, none of this, the crucifixion of Jesus or any of it was my fault. I want to show I still know the rhythms, the responses, for some reason. I sometimes say it’s through respect for my past, through the people I knew when I was younger and was Catholic, though I know it’s also just a child-like enjoyment of the ritual. Of course, it all becomes more and more ridiculous in my eyes. We watch the priest eat his bread and wine. We watch him do his fastitious cleaning up afterwards. They must be taught that at the seminary. Make sure you are meticulous in cleaning the silver plater of host. Bits of Jesus must not be left for the cleaners on Monday morning. These days the congregation are more of an audience. They are wanting to clap at various moments in the ceremony when the seven and eight-year-olds take centre stage. and at the end of the sacrement the litany of photographs goes on forever. You can see the poor priest taking deep breaths as family after family step forward for the suite of photos. Child with parents. Child with priest and certificate. Child with godparents. Child with Auntie Molly. It is endless. Fr O’Reilly came in for the ritual. Now he’s doing children’s parties. You pity the poor Irishman. Though this one didn’t seem to be actually Irish. Good luck to him. Keep it going while you can, father. It won’t be long till the whole thing becomes the Disney parade that is its historical inevitability.