Le Cri de Coeur

My blog is constantly accessed from Liturgiae Causa, and I have read the two most recent postings. I met Patricius last spring in London, a young man of good urban appearance and intelligence. Not being a medical professional, I wouldn’t venture an opinion on the causes of such a conflicted soul. At a human level, it may be lack of maturity or an inner conflict that reveals serious spiritual difficulties.

The episode on the bus in the suburban London sprawl was quite amusing, and Patrick has a gift with writing and a sense of satire. He then wrote Are you happy? as a result of an interview with his boss at the bank where he works. Frankly, I cannot imagine anyone less suited to working in such a corporate structure as a major bank than Patrick – other than myself! Me, I prefer my long hair, hoodie and bermuda shorts with lots of pockets, my cassock when I’m on duty as a priest… All the same, the comments of his superiors are germane. If you’re happy working with us, stay. If not, go and find another job. That seems to make sense. When you go to a ball, the thing to do is dance – Quand on est au bal, il faut danser.

Then he wrote In answer…  It might seem disturbing, but he writes about it and expresses himself in this cri de coeur. I am amazed about his objectivity and lucidity, but yet his lack of resolve to make his way in life in some unconventional way. Wrong line of work for someone who so violently opposes corporate conformity, the only world-view possible for working in a large retail company or an international bank (my own current and business accounts are with them). I feel just the same about corporations, but I keep away from them. We don’t have to like “power” suits and short cropped hair! We don’t have to live or work in a city. There are other ways to live. All that we do has its consequences.

It isn’t my responsibility to analyse anyone. I don’t have the qualifications and it isn’t my business. At his age, I too went through conflicts as I went to the wrong seminaries and pursued the wrong illusory vocation. My own present is the consequence of my errors of youth. It is simply the law of karma – the state of man awaiting the freedom that the grace of the Redemption confers.

It is tempting to blame everyone other than oneself. Patrick reminds me very much of Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, someone torturing himself from the inside out, Sebastian contra mundum. His greatest friend, Charles Ryder, could not continue with the way things went, and had to leave this piece of suffering humanity in his elected domicile in northern Africa. Charles himself had to face the consequences of his own broken vocation as an artist and husband, to find himself in the Army at the beginning of a grotty war at a grotty time of history. We all carry our own crosses, but different ones – with more or less dignity and stoicism. Sebastian’s future was so beautifully described by his younger sister Cordelia. You can see the videos in Libenter suffertis insipientens : cum sitis ipsi sapientes. Sebastian is a man totally devoid of will power, stripped of all dignity and who paradoxically finds holiness as a fool for Christ.

Hatred is my chief problem; absolute hatred. Ever have I had the uttermost scorn for authority, especially that wielded by the young, and scarce can I conceal it.

Perhaps it is by reading the cantankerous Evelyn Waugh that we begin to understand the Augustinian pessimism about human nature (which is not entirely mistaken). Hatred was an emotion keenly felt by Oscar Wilde as his purged his term in prison –

You may realise it when I say that had I been released last May, as I tried to be, I would have left this place loathing it and every official in it with a bitterness of hatred that would have poisoned my life. I have had a year longer of imprisonment, but humanity has been in the prison along with us all, and now when I go out I shall always remember great kindnesses that I have received here from almost everybody, and on the day of my release I shall give many thanks to many people, and ask to be remembered by them in turn.

I never tire of reading De Profundis, as I understand it anew each time. Unlike Dorian Gray, I grow older and my understanding matures at the same time. At the same time, I cannot bring myself to take the role of a raging Hitler is some re-enactment of Götterdämmerung wowing to kill everyone he deemed to be unworthy of life. At least he had the grace to take a cyanide pill and blow his brains out, and thus made the rest of the world a more pleasant place for the rest of us. Patrick has never been “in power” and has never been responsible for anyone’s death. But, the feeling can be equivalent to the act as Christ teaches when he condemns anger as being just as bad as actually killing someone. We all have to master our tempers.

I recognise the Wilde and Waugh in his writings, and these two authors will be remembered long after the rest of us are forgotten.

Suicide? I don’t think he would ever do it. It is perhaps a question that many of us would ask, but the act of killing ourselves is anathema. It opposes our most fundamental instinct of self-preservation. It would lead to a most uncertain afterlife to put it mildly. We will be gone quickly enough, but Patrick is still at an age when time seems to go slowly. Perhaps he could go to Africa, look after the sick and catch Ebola – at least that would be a death for a purpose! Not that I would wish that on anyone, and certainly not on myself. We are called to live and accept the challenge which is harder than copping out…

Like all of us, he has the solution to his predicament in his own hands. He needs to discover a sense of vocation (not necessarily religious) and put his will and heart into it. Many of us “miss the bus” when we are young and it is harder later in life. I read his gifts as a writer, yet he has written no books. I have encouraged him to consider journalism, but I fear that most modern news agencies would be too corporate. Theatrical and drama training would be another possibility. Those places are hard to get into, but he is still young enough.

Some of you may wonder why I give publicity to this person, who writes to the world on his blog. We all need to develop our empathy and care for those who suffer in body and mind. Prayer is everything, and compassion – not the nihilist pressing the button to nuke the world – makes us human.

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9 Responses to Le Cri de Coeur

  1. David says:

    I think he should write a book on something… ANYTHING.

    I know because I do so myself (fantasy and speculative fiction) in addition to my day job. My first one is done but not yet published (my editor is working on it) and my second one is a work in progress.

    Patrick appears quite intelligent, but has too much self-destructive bitterness and anger. He needs to channel all that energy into something more inspiring.


    My prayers are with him.

  2. The Rad Trad says:

    People in this sort of state usually think they do not have much love in their lives. Best to get out often and be around friends, to remind one’s self that he is indeed loved.

  3. Dale says:

    I like Patrick; he has personality, passion, writes well, and is intelligent. Quite some time ago I did carry on an email correspondence with him; but I am afraid that I rather supported his Mother’s wish that he continue with his studies; hey, I am old and really do believe that one should have an education to fall back on.

    I cannot believe that he is working in a bank, a more soul destroying position one cannot imagine, unless it is working for a legal firm.

    I still believe that it would be best for him, notice how we old farts are always telling others what is best for them? and go back to school. If it were not for academe, I personally do not know what I would have done with my life since my own inclination is towards, perhaps, a slightly eccentric Anglo-Catholic parish priesthood, but that possibility, still in existence in my youth, simply does not exist today. The liberalism of establishment Anglicanism precludes its existence and Rome has never suffered intelligent difference well.

    For someone who loves the old liturgy and also its rubrics, Patrick’s web page was always interesting, albeit there were times when he should have been kinder on his attacks against the Goths, but that is also a calling of youth as well.

  4. I read about Patrick’s problems on the link. I wanted to post a reply but being technologically challenged could not fathom out how to proceed. I abandoned both Twitter and Facebook some time ago because I found both media very boring. (Well I am another old fart!)

    May I just say a few words here in the hope that Patrick may get to read them.

    I suffered badly from depression back in the 1970’s and my advice is to access good treatment. Psychotropic medication has it’s place of course but what I found very helpful was ‘Talking therapy’ especially CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

    I have friends in present times who have benefited from this type of approach.

    Severe Depression is a debilitating illness and needs treatment.

    Secondly I would say it is not unusual for people to experience utter disillusion about the work in which they find themselves. If possible it may be a good idea to keep going at it to earn the necessary income nearly all of us need whilst working on the exit plan. It may take time of course but the way forward is usually there to be found.If it involves earning a lot less money basically so what if you start to enjoy life more? Prayers and Best Wishes Patrick.


    • Rubricarius says:


      I would agree that CBT has a demonstrable track record. It is one of very few therapies available on the NHS these days too. Having experienced severe depression myself I would add that one difficulty is that when one in in a deep depression it is very hard to see ways out and those set-backs of daily life that people in a ‘normal’ state of mental health take in their stride and overcome with their internal positive resources can appear to be overwhelming when one is depressed. Modern life does not help it must be said with the cut and thrust of succeed or fail in the job market.

      I will not make any comment about Patricius as although I too empathise with his situation I don’t think it is right to comment about another on a public forum.

  5. Ad Orientem says:

    I am an admirer of Patrick’s writing skills and am sympathetic to the spiritual warfare in his life. He has a lot of what the younger generation call “issues” and I know from experience that those kinds of battles can be very challenging. For a long time I had his blogged linked on my own, unfortunately I found it necessary to remove that link after he posted not one, but two anti-Semitic screeds. I will have to take a look at his blog again and see if it’s safe to restore the link.

    • That is his less fortunate side that could land him in a lot of trouble. I too disapprove of any form of “hate speech” or any kind of discrimination against people for what they are, as opposed to what they might do voluntarily (like break the law or behave anti-socially, for example).

      I respect you for having your own policy on your blog. On mine, I decline all liability (moral or legal) for the content of any blog to which I link. A blog to which I link may be offensive in some respects and interesting in others. I invite readers to adopt a mature and critical attitude.

  6. Patricius says:

    I appreciate this post and the comments thereunto.

    You might also like to read The Sins of the Cities of the Plain, published anonymously in 1881. I have a rather handsome copy on the cover of which there are two dandified gentlemen with those stiff turned down collars so popular in the late 19th century.

    As for my being proscribed by certain other bloggers I can only say that I have suffered worse things.

    • Thank you, Patrick, for the kind word. I sympathise with what you have been through. I was only talking with my wife and a friend about notre monde de merde, mentioning the obscene amounts of money spent on illegal immigrants who will never do a day’s work in their lives. I too appreciate solitude, as does my father. We need to get our own minds and lives sorted out.

      Oh, the Dandies! I’m too much of a country yokel to be a good dandy. I do make the effort to dress in clean clericals when I come over to London for our diocesan meetings – and tie my hair back so that it doesn’t look too shocking from the front. I have now achieved Wesley’s hair length. I have a tricorn, but it is too ridiculous to wear anywhere other than on my boat in big sailing gatherings! It goes beautifully with the Breton marinière striped shirt. We do need to be serious from time to time. And I don’t forget that I am a priest.

      I have a brother-in-law who works for Total, the big oil company. The corporate world is something that frightens me, the way they consider empathy as a weakness and emphasise competition and strength. They have strict codes for dress and hairstyle – definitely not me! I’m not surprised that banking is not your thing. But to write and express yourself, you need self discipline and will to finish a job you begin. I hope you will write – and I for one will read your books.

      Many of us would like to see you get on in life, but your way and with what you do best. I have said it before, develop the Romantic’s love of nature, and get out of town. Get a bicycle, get another dog, get out and about. Go to the sea, take off your shoes and socks, and walk in the sea along the shore.

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