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Torrential rain cancelled all the matches for a full day recently at Rolland-Garros.  First time in sixteen years : climate bloody change !  In fact the weather these last few weeks has been atrocious all over France.  Flood levels in the Seine and other rivers have approached 1910 heights, making  many Main Streets canals.

This weather-report would be out of place here, were it not for the Rolland-Garros Connection.  Scores are given only in French, where “égalité” (40/40), “quarante à”, replaces our “deuce”.  This terribly British word means, of course, “devil” – and it is indeed a devilishly dangerous moment in a game : two consecutive points lost means loss of the game.  The Devil is everywhere, even on clay courts.

We all grew up believing the bit about the Fallen Angels and their Capo di Tutti Capi, Lucifer.  Christian iconography, liturgy and devotional practice reserved a large place for the Devil.  He was part of the horror stories which traumatized children by introducing them to the sadistic torture they could expect for eternity if they died without absolution after committing, just once, masturbation or deliberately missing Mass on Sunday.

Only blind, traditional, Tridentine Catholics believe any more in Satan.  BOTBs should weigh the implications of how one of the Church’s silliest doctrines, preached fervently in Parish Missions when I was a child, has reached its expiration date.  What if all the rest were equally hogwash ?  C’mon mates : jettison the junk !

RIDENDA   RELIGIO

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