An American notices dirt. Now, some of our Midwest towns and cities are very clean, with monies going to upkeep as civic pride is an important community aspect of life.
One thing I have noticed over the past twenty-five years in the deterioration of some European cities. Dublin, for example, is filthy, with dog excrement everywhere and garbage piled outside even nice shops. People smoke while walking, which was considered a no-no where I am from, and drop cigarette butts everywhere. I noticed in parts of London the same deterioration of cleanliness.
This sad fact is part of the culture of individualism, which undermines a sense of belonging to a community. The idea that a street, a road, a neighbourhood belongs to you and your family and friends is gone. No one seems to care and the younger ones, who are less than thirty, probably have not seen anything else than urban dirt. To me this is an indication of the lack of communal pride and community, period.
There are no young people in the churches for daily Masses, except at the Latin Mass, which creates a sub-community of sorts. However, the only young people I have met at the TLM are all foreigners and none Irish. These young college students or young marrieds are from Singapore, Poland, France, Germany.
They go to the TLM at home and go here in Dublin. But, how sad that the local youth are steeped in a rebellious spirit and reeling farther and farther away from God.
Today, on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, I pray for her youth in Eire. May they come back to the faith soon. Mary belonged to a community, a strict bound community, with cultural rules and customs which not only gave the individual identity, but created an extended family.
All that is lost in Eire. Perhaps, forever....