August 13th, 2012Slimey Limeysby Joseph Pearce

Against my better judgment I watched the closing ceremony of the London Olympics last night. I was expecting the worst and it was even worse than I expected! The whole thing was a nasty and narcissistic celebration by the denizens of modern Britain of how wonderful it thinks it is. It was a debauched celebration of atheism and hedonism, including schoolchildren singing Lennon's atheistic anthem, Imagine, as hundreds of people came together to create a giant icon of Lennon's face. Lennon, the most ethno-masochistic and anti-Christian of the Beatles, had once claimed that the "Fab Four" were more popular than Jesus. Judging by last night's closing ceremony, he is right. Everything is more popular than Jesus in modern Britain. The Son of God is well and truly hated as is His Church. Anti-Catholicism reared its intolerant head during the ceremony as dozens of roller-skating women, dressed as nuns, cavorted across the stage, lifting their habits to reveal their underwear.
 
Another feature of the closing ceremony was the celebration of the homosexual lifestyle, demonstrated by the resurrection on the big screen of Freddie Mercury to lead the crowd in inane chants. There was also a performance by the leather-clad George Michael, sporting a skull on his belt buckle, symbolic of the culture of death of which he is a symbol. There was much more that was much worse but I don't have the stomach to continue with the litany of smut.
 
As an Englishman, I might have felt ashamed of such a spectacle. Instead I just felt as if my body had been covered with slime. I also felt a great sense of gratitude that I had shaken the smut and dirt from my sandals and had left the sordid culture of which I was once a part. Deo gratias!
 
As for the land of my birth, I am reminded of the words of C. S. Lewis who would have been as appalled by last night's spectacle as was I. In The Great Divorce, he wrote that in the end there are only two possibilities for each of us. We can either say to God, "The Will Be Done", or else God will ultimately say to us, "Thy will be done". Modern Britian has what it deserves; it has what it wants. The slow and tortuous decay of its barely living corpse will continue until it dies of self-abuse. Its passing will be a blessing.      

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  • August 13 2012 | by James Morris

    One would like to ask Danny Boyle or Lord Coe if making fun of religious was in keeping with the tolerance that was supposed to be paramount 'at these games', and that was proclaimed over and over again.

    What is the real worry-no dissent at all from anyone -the universal judgement that it was all 'GREAT'.

    The song sung by Eric Idle-song was of course used to ridicule Christ crucified in Life of Brian.

    Freddie Mercury, George Michael the greats of modern Britain. It was the pits.
  • August 13 2012 | by Rick DeLano

    I think we can safely dispense with any notion of "perfidious" Albion at this point......
  • August 13 2012 | by Manny

    I saw about half. It was horrible.
  • August 14 2012 | by RML

    O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and our own most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England, thy Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
  • August 14 2012 | by Dena Hunt

    I am so glad I didn't see that. I can feel, almost physically, the pain in your words, Joseph.

    Your conclusion articulates the very thought I had on reading your opening paragraph, though your final sentence reads like a curse.

    That's a terrible thing. To be cursed by someone out of hate would be sad, perhaps discomfiting, but it wouldn't be "terrible." But to be cursed by someone out of love--that's another matter entirely.
  • August 14 2012 | by Fellow Traveller

    The deadness of Britain has not gone unnoticed. You might enjoy this collection of brief reflections.

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/007708.html
  • August 14 2012 | by Mike

    I didn't watch any of the Olympics, nor do I watch much TV these days. Our mass culture has rightly and prophetically been called "the propagandist for Satan." My hope and prayer is that more and more faithful Catholics will realize this and turn away from it, for the sake of their souls and those of their family members. Lord, have mercy on us.
  • August 14 2012 | by Linda L Deslauriers

    Eh, lighten up
  • August 14 2012 | by Suellen Brewster

    My sympathies. I read a review of the Opening Ceremonies which compared it to a Secular Mass. The Closing Ceremonies were even more "worshipful" of all that is degraded. I also must add, what does all of this have to do with Excellence in Sport? Choosing The Low Point is tough, but I will go with the Parade of Anorexic Supermodels in front of young people, in excellent health, who have given God glory with the use of their bodies and their talents.
  • August 14 2012 | by ann

    so sad, and we here in the good ole usa are on the same decline - we need to pray, pray, and pray more
  • August 14 2012 | by Brian Kelly

    Mr. Pearse, your sentiments are my own, but better expressed.

    I posted a news item about this on our website catholicism.org with a short comment:

    You can google this if you want to read about how far England has fallen in their idolization of “rock” stars as something to do with British culture. I didn’t find a worthy link to refer to, so no links are provided. Lennon’s song “Imagine” was a bold exercise in hypocrisy, perhaps written from his guarded Long Island mansion. I do not know how many other mansions the “no-possessions” Beatle owned. Perfida Albion. May the Faith that is now hidden in England in small Catholic enclaves and cloisters shine forth once again by the grace of God.

    If I had had your article I would have linked to it. I know a few students at Thomas More. And Dr. Fahey spoke at our annual conference two years ago. Now I have another teacher to recommend, yourself. I was not aware of your story and that you are teaching literature at the college.
  • August 14 2012 | by Gina Nakagawa

    Dear Mr. Pearce:

    I am sorry for your disappointment in your homeland. It is distressing to see your birthplace fall into moral ruin. I pray for you and for this sad sick world. May God bring us healing and a return to His Grace.

    Again thanks for your influence in my husband becoming a Catholic. I shall be forever grateful to you. God bless you.
  • August 14 2012 | by Liam Ronan

    I wonder if you have ever read Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson's "Lord of the World", Joseph? I watched the Olympics from my home here in Ireland and felt the opening and closing ceremonies were deeply disturbing, perilously close to a humanistic hedonistic liturgy.
    W. B. Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" come to life. Spiritus Mundi exalted. Non-serviam.
  • August 14 2012 | by John

    Sad expat stuff of the kind one would normally read in the Daily Mail comment boxes. Because, after all, the United States of half-time wardrobe malfunctions, constitutionally-enshrined secularism and McPlayboy is so much better than the UK.

    You trash your motherland while residing in the land whose cultural exports have defiled her. Still, I imagine the locals like it, eh?
  • August 14 2012 | by Stephanie Bodene

    What are my thoughts on the subject? My first thought is that England is going to be Catholic again, and what a beautiful, blessed thing that will be.
  • August 14 2012 | by Linus ll

    I'm pleased to say that I haven't watched the olympics for years and years. In fact I don't even own a T.V. Yet there are pockets of faith in Britain. But these pockets must feel very isolated. And look at Europe! I wonder how much longer the world has?
  • August 14 2012 | by Recent Convert

    "Its passing will be a blessing."
    Whoa, you must really have hated the closing ceremony! wink

    In all seriousness, it was pretty bad. If you had seen the opening ceremony, you knew what to expect with this one.
    I have to say, of the many olympic ceremonies I've watched, these have to be the most vapid, silly, stupid, and lamest of them all. Did I mention pointless as well?
    Britain is how old? How much history has happened across that isle, how much worthy of note. It's actual cultural achievements, it's virtues, even it's vices, it's wins, it's loses. All reduced to a footnote at the opening ceremony, which was merely a segway to get to what modern Brits really thinking is worth celebrating about Britian: the pop culture of the 20th century.

    Shakespeare, one of the greatest English writers of all time, hardly got a mention. When he did actual get mentioned, it was in the form of his works and writings (along with other greats of Brit lit) covering the ground stage (digitally of course), (and this is where the ironic symbolism comes in to play) which was stepped all over, and eventually tossed aside when the rock stars came out to play.
    Even during the opening ceremony, when british children's lit was being celebrated, there were terrible and stupid omissions: Harry Potter...but no Hobbit?! No Narnia?
    And don't forget about the opening ceremonies celebration of Britain's socialistic health care. Sheesh!

    While I enjoyed the games themselves, I do have to point out one more thing: even at the very end of the whole event, when NBC host Bob Costas wrapped up the Olympics by summarizing the games in retrospection, it was frammed in a leftist/progessive slant. Progress, that was the big winner of these games! What with more american female athletes than men at the games this year (more woman than men=progress??), and homosexuals, participating "openly and without fear" at these games.
    These days NBC can't even let a sporting event go without giving it an ideological spin.
  • August 14 2012 | by Richard M

    I had the same reaction, watching it ( for reasons I can't quite fathom; I knew to expect the worst): an utterly tasteless spectacle. It swam beneath even my lowest expectations.

    Set aside C.S. Lewis for a moment. The last Olympiad hosted by London was in 1948. What would an Englishman of that year - easily within living memory! - have thought, watching this spectacle? The surreal appearance of a Churchill stand-in would have invited the inevitable question: is this what we fought the Nazis to achieve? Is this even the same country?

    The Cultural Revolution in Britain is over. Sunday night reminds us who won.
  • August 14 2012 | by Deacon Ed Peitler

    Time to begin assembling a group of Catholics from around the world to re-evangelize Britain and the rest of Europe. It's long overdue that they hear the message of the Gospel.
  • August 14 2012 | by Eugenia

    Watching it I thought, is that what England has to offer? How the mighty have fallen.
  • August 14 2012 | by Edward

    Spare a thought for those of us faithful Christians who are still here. I have the right to live in America if I want... am I quite mad to stay here?
  • August 14 2012 | by patt

    Totally agree!!!!!!! Turned it off. The opening "ceremonies" were bad enough. My people divorced themselves from London in 1832 when they jumped ship on the Texas coast. Never looked back.
  • August 14 2012 | by Brother Rolf

    Not only the UK, but the entire world is going this way.
  • August 14 2012 | by Dan Delaney

    Your views are very Uncatholic like. Britain stood up to one of the worst that man has seen, they faced horrible times while we tried to stay out of it all. 'We Catholics', actually we're here in the US favoring some of the NAZI crimes that were being fomented throughtout the Sudentland, and eastern Europe.

    You sir are much more slimey than the good hearted Brits.

    If your faith is so so weak that you cannot recognize the thoughtfulness and hope that is in the song 'Imagine', then I guess you really are not following Christs teaching.

    I feel sorry for you and your 'ilk', who have nothing but HATE on your minds.
  • August 14 2012 | by Glenn J Haninger M.D. OB/GYN RetiredGlenn

    I definitely agree.

    What has been touted as a celebration
    of athletic excellence has become a
    venue for trumpeting the politics of the culture of perversion and , ultimately, of death.

    Hiding behind, "Tolerance" is the shield of the
    "Nice" (in Latin, Ignorant) who are really
    cowards.
  • August 14 2012 | by katie

    . . . Because a worldwide event in which every major country and religion is represented is supposed to be Catholic, or Christian period? Give me a break. Lighten up. The Olympics is a celebration of sportsmanship, athleticism, and solidarity. Not Jesus.
  • August 14 2012 | by SHAMROCK

    I have not been much of a fan of this year's Olympics. Really the opening night was almost equally atrocious. I wonder in the future how many parents will sacrifice the time, effort and funds to promote their child given the tacky and truly trashy ambiance surrounding the whole event. Times change and perhaps unless the Olympics begin to reflect the wholesomeness and neighbor to neighbor as in country to country competition, without the drugs, etc they may just fade into history again. Ok with me!
  • August 14 2012 | by Warren Miller

    I felt bad on behalf of the athletes. Theirs was a good showing, for the most part. But the closing seemed to be the result of almost no original thought; truly "junk-food".
  • August 14 2012 | by TeaPot562

    The description leads to sadness on the state of British culture - but more a reflection of what the moguls in entertainment in London think will attract viewers ages 15-40 or thereabouts.
    There are still faithful Christians, but not a large proportion of the citizenry.
    TeaPot562
  • August 14 2012 | by Suzan Zaner

    I would like to know how many people in Great Britain were equally disgusted?
  • August 14 2012 | by Agnes Shepherd

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that the closing ceremony looked totally pagan, if not demonic. WEIRD is probably the best word to describe it. I am hopeful, however, that the movement of some Anglicans to reunite with Christ's Church will bring new and abundant graces to Britain. May God have mercy on this land of so many saints and martyrs.
  • August 14 2012 | by Luce

    Was I the only one who thought the rising of the industrial chimneys bore a chilling resemblance to the Tower of Isengard? I was hoping to see the Ents intervene! What unfolds after the rise of those stacks supports Tolkien's viewpoint regarding the industrial age and where it has taken us.
  • August 15 2012 | by Paul Northam

    How depressing. While many aspects of the closing ceremony were indeed stomach churning and downright anti-Christian, I think it takes quite some effort (as well as a particular type of personality) to find demons behind every belt buckle. I quite liked some of the music!

    Unsurprisingly, Danny Boyle's spectacles revered only certain 'icons' and failed to do justice to both the variety and the great good that British citizen's have done, and indeed are doing, for our society in the midst of great and fierce opposition. There is power and redemption (last I heard) in the Cross of Christ and many Brits still believe that.

    Whatever Boyle is he is certainly not an historian - nor a Brummie. Those dark satanic mills were only part of the reality of Industrial Britian. "According to Asa Briggs, had Engels lived in Birmingham and not Manchester, Marx might well have ended up a currency reformer rather than a Communist." We need some persprective.
  • August 15 2012 | by Colin

    I'm from the UK and was totally ashamed and embarrassed by the whole thing and the impression it was giving to the rest of the world, who might think this was an accurate representation of British culture! After the enourmous achievements by athletes who had trained years to become good at their sport it seemed totally insulting to use the closing ceremony not to celebrate their hard work, but to showcase shallow pop culture and worst of all supermodels who just stand around looking good for a living! Then to disrespect the beliefs of a large proportion of those athletes by riddiculing and dismissing religion was very dissapointing to see. I'm not sure how many of the athletes were religious, the only figure I've heard is that around 3000 were estimated to be Muslim (1/3 of the total number of athletes) and judging by the number of athletes crossing themselves before races, quite a lot of Christians too not to mention all the other religions so probably the majority were religious. It also was totally contrary to the rest of the games which had excellent support for the religious welfare of athletes, with a large multifaith centre, nearly 200 chaplains, prayer rooms at every venue etc so it was a shame that such a successful games in other respects should end in such a way.
  • August 15 2012 | by Richard M

    Because a worldwide event in which every major country and religion is represented is supposed to be Catholic, or Christian period?"

    No. But it would it be so much to ask for a worldwide ceremony that doesn't egregiously insult our faith (nuns flashing sexual gestures)?
  • August 15 2012 | by Richard M

    "If your faith is so so weak that you cannot recognize the thoughtfulness and hope that is in the song 'Imagine', then I guess you really are not following Christs teaching."

    "Imagine has a beautiful melody - but appalling lyrics.

    The lyrics imagine a world
    at peace, which is nice. It also imagines a world without any religion, without God. That's hardly reconcilable with "Christ's teaching."

    We've seen a world that acts as if Christ doesn't exist - at Auschwitz, at Perm 35. No thanks.
  • August 15 2012 | by George Johnston

    Mr. Pearce: Your essay is very good. I missed the closing ceremonies of the Olympics and I'm glad I did. I'm grateful you shared with us the content of the cereemonial debauchery.

    Thank you!
    GAJ
  • August 15 2012 | by luis

    Glad you could see some evils in the olympics, but there were a lot more than you described. It wasn't just john lennon, although his Imagine song represents more than you said, have you heard of the UN's agenda 21? It also represents what the communist manifesto seeks....with had the spice girls and their evil girl power, george michael's Freedom is a true image of aleister crowley's motto, do as tho wilt shall be the all of the law....but here more info for you: http://www.henrymakow.com/olympics-blatant-occult-symbolism.html. Henry makow has an anti-catholic agenda. I'm a catholic...
  • August 15 2012 | by Karen

    Thank God, there will be no Olympics in Chiago in 2016!
  • August 15 2012 | by Emily

    The Closing Ceremonies were far too strange for my taste, as is usually the case with the Olympics- oddly enough, I thought the Opening events were a breath of fresh air and expertly done. I was not nearly as offended at the Closing as many of you- perhaps my 25 years of age showing- but, to me, the costuming was more repulsive than anything. When the highlights are Eric Idle's antics and Annie Lennox atop a gothic pirate ship, you know you're in for it.
  • August 15 2012 | by Tom Frazzini

    Did the queen have any comments about the closing?
  • August 15 2012 | by Marion (Mael Muire)

    Linda L Deslauriers wrote, "Eh, lighten up."

    Quite so. Ms. Deslauriers, in order that we may be furnished with an example in, as you so rightly suggest, "lightening up," kindly publish your home address at once, to which locale we shall all repair with our beloved pets, who shall be permitted forthwith to dig up flower beds, spend pennies, etc.

    The ordinary homeowner would naturally be furious at such a thing; but the "lightened up" outlook which you helpfully proposed yesterday will undoubtedly reveal itself in your voice and attitude; these will impress themselves equally helpfully on our memories, so that we, too, may be as "lightened" as yourself.

    Awaiting the requisite information and the opportunity to learn from your good self with the greatest pleasure, and thanks in advance.
  • August 15 2012 | by TheInformer

    ca, ca, click-click........BOOYAH!

    BOTH BARRELS SMOKING!
  • August 15 2012 | by roc

    I would like to know what the Queen thought too. That poor woman! She is the last of true nobility. She looked positively pained at the opening ceremonies.
  • August 15 2012 | by Serena Rainey

    Wow -- now I'm once again glad I don't have a TV.
  • August 16 2012 | by MrOzAtheist

    If you were expecting the worst, it can't have been worse than you expected. smile
  • August 16 2012 | by Roy Cope

    Your article has given me so much joy.
    It fills my heart with gladness that it upset you because religion has been the cause of barbarity and suffering for millenia.
    I saw the closing ceremony and thought it was wonderful and Lennon got it right.
    Thankfully Britain is shaking off the evil shackles of religion and entering the land of reality.
    I look forward to the day when your bronze age myths are seen for what they are. Fairy tales for the gullible.
  • August 16 2012 | by Simon

    I frequently feel pride in being an American, and having <i>become</i> an American. It is somewhat rarer that I am called to feel a certain wan pride in having—as a prerequisite to the aforesaid—ceased to be British in anything more than training, heritage, and accent.
  • August 16 2012 | by Edward

    @Roy
    lol, that was comedy gold!
    Seriously, the whole 'religion is the source of evil' thing, no one with any real understanding of history, mankind, or reality could honestly come to that conclusion. Stop smoking richard dawkins. It doesn't help.

    If the closing ceremonies are representitive of what you consider good, please see a priest, or a psychologist.
  • August 17 2012 | by Michael Lankford

    I watched it until I could stomach it no longer. Joseph Pearce is spot on. It was a disgrace to England and Britishness. I was disgusted by the closing even more than the opening "ceremony." Both of which I thought were embarrassing to all that is British. And, poor Queen Elizabeth having just celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and then these godless sideshows taking place in the shadow of such a wonderful event as her 60th anniversary – truly from the sublime to the ridiculous. Our Lady of Walsingham pray for us!
  • August 23 2012 | by Martin

    Mr. Pearce,
    I watched the opening ceremonies and I found them very bizarre.

    The part that celebrated the industrialization of Great Britain was odd. I now feel that it reflected the Marxist view of history as a material and economic process.

    The spiritual aspect of Britain's history was not mentioned or any of its past greatness.

    The gimmicky entrance of the Queen was silly and undignified.

    It was as if the Monty Python crew had collaborated with Socialists to create this surreal spectacle.