By BERNADETTE HAN
Today, I have shit on my face.
Well, ash, if we want to be specific and I’m not the only one.
Today is Ash Wednesday, a feast day in the Catholic Church – and most other Christian churches – to celebrate the start of Lent. It’s a day on which Catholics gather in a liturgy to receive a small cross of ash on their forehead.
In theory, also bearing a sizeable portion of shit on their face today, are 5.7 million Australians, and 1 billion people worldwide.
Realistically, you won’t be able to see all of these people with shit on their face out and about today. Most won’t celebrate Ash Wednesday. Of those recognising the feast day, only a few will celebrate by visiting a church. Most (85% in Australia) haven’t been regularly going to church for a while. Of those who do decide to visit a church today, many will rub off their cross as soon as they leave.
The ashes are made from the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) celebrations. They are an ancient symbol of loss and repentance, but also new beginnings.
Loss. Repentance. New Beginnings. They are a symbol of the Catholic Church right now.
I am an Australian Catholic with shit on my face.
And I want a Pope who sees this.