Blog Post

Atheist Comedian Touched by First Holy Communion

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist After attending the First Holy Communion of her sons, popular Australian broadcaster, comedian and confirmed atheist Wendy Harmer wrote in her latest column that she felt humbled by the faith of the congregation and praised the blessings weekly services provide that aren’t found anywhere else in secular society. Writing in Australia’s Sunday Telegraph, Ms. Harmer said she attended her children’s First Holy Communion last weekend and couldn’t help but be impressed by the occasion. “The church was full and, as an atheist, I must admit to feeling humbled by the faith of the congregation. I couldn't help thinking that going to church on Sundays had a lot to recommend it.” Although her column begins with statistics revealing that Australians are “turning their back on God in record numbers” with less than 16 percent attending religious services at least once a month, she remembers with fondness the Sunday Masses she attended as a child. “There was always a sense of occasion. My Sunday best - hat , velvet frock and good shoes - got an outing. We four children sat with mum and dad in the pew and all knew our family was on show. We felt proud and tried to behave. Where do we get to do that now, as a family unit? At Westfield shopping center . . .” It was also the time to meet and greet our neighbours, she writes, admire new babies, mourn the passing of elders and share stories of achievement or disappointment. “Again, when do we have that opportunity, in a secular society? Not at the New Year's Eve fireworks, when we jostle with strangers for space for our deck chairs.” She even had a positive view of the passing of the donation plate. “Isn't that a more dignified way to give, than being plagued by telemarketers ringing day and night?” Ms. Harmer goes on to suggest that maybe secular society should create similar rituals of its own to mark the growing need of Australians to become more “spiritual.” “One definition of spirituality is something that touches the soul, that's not dependant on physical or material comforts. Joy, peace and love. All that. We atheists reckon we can express it without God. Who knows if we are right - but it feels that way.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®