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Catholic Youth “Combat the Darkness” in Glastonbury

Pagans Attacked, Abused

From Christian youth forum XT3 (cached only):

has the light on your halo gone dark?

have your wings gone a bit grubby?

just want to switch your faith back on?

Then you could do with attending Lightswitch@Glastonbury, an alternative Hallowe’en festival for those who have grown tired of tatty fancy dress and the Blair Witch Project.

In an article in The Universe, Youth 2000’s David Ashford describes the modern-day stand-off:

[In Glastonbury] this dramatic play-off between good and evil rages on. It’s been viewed as a special place by both sides for centuries. Until the Middle Ages, there was a major shrine there dedicated to Our Lady of Glastonbury and people travelled for miles to visit the Abbey on pilgrimage.”

“Nowadays, the Christian significance of Glastonbury is less well-known, but it has become a magnet for modern-day pagan religions, with the Tor in particular being a focus point for Wiccan worship.”

Highlights include:

Mass in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey

Pilgrimage to the Tor, prayer to combat the darkness at this holy spot.

Peaceful Eucharistic Procession through Glasto’s streets. Not to be missed!

The event has now passed, but the Guardian has a report on what we missed:

In scenes reminiscent of medieval witchhunts, Catholic pilgrims in Glastonbury have attacked pagans and threatened to “cleanse” them from the town.

Local pagans were pelted with salt and branded witches who “would burn in hell” during a procession organised by Youth 2000, a conservative Catholic lay group. The Magick Box, a pagan shop on the route of the march, was also singled out and attacked.

…The archdruid of Glastonbury, Dreow Bennett, said: “To call the behaviour of some of their members medieval would be an understatement. I personally witnessed the owner of the Magick Box being confronted by one of their associates and being referred to as a bloody bitch and being told ‘you will burn in hell’.”

Youth 2000, however, claim they are not to blame:

Charlie Conner, the managing director of Youth 2000, said: “There were several incidents that happened that same weekend that were linked to people who had come to Glastonbury for the retreat. This was in direct contravention of the general spirit of Youth 2000 and its express instructions. The young man who was fined was not in fact registered on the retreat, although he did attempt to attend it.

A fuller statement appears on Youth 2000’s website and can be seen here. One youth was arrested and two women were cautioned by police. Further discussion about what went on can be found at the Wild Hunt Blog.

The Catholic pilgrimages have been going on for a few years, and they appear to have had originally an irenic attitude. Independent Catholic News reported in May 2000:

Clare Ward, from Youth 2000 said: “It sounds like the most crazy thing for any young person to do. We’ll be walking by all the shops selling pagan and New Age gear. But somehow I think we have more in common then [sic] we realise.”

The organisation was commended by the Catholic Bishop of Lancaster in August.

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the extra information, and for posting it at my blog. It seems there is a fine line between the rhetoric of “spiritual” warfare, and actual action against your religious “enemies”. Considering that this is the second year running in which Catholics on retreat have harassed local Pagans I’m not buying the “few bad outsiders” excuse given by Youth 2000.

  2. Neither am I. You can’t present one side of history ad nauseaum, accuse all others of being destined for hell save your own narrow sect and accuse pagans of being ‘satanists’ and the disavow blame when sh*t like this happens. It’s like Hitler saying he didn’t actually kill anyone, it was underlings.

    Wish I was there, would have belted the little tw@t who started the abuse of the shopkeeper.

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