(These are ten snakes that are alive and well in the Ireland of today. Clearly they must have given St. Patrick the slip. They are particularly evident in the Irish Church).
fideitepidis (literally tepid or lukewarm about faith)
probably one of the most common of today’s snakes. People are often unaware they have even been bitten and the venom is slow acting. There is generally an increase in negativity and cynicism and an accompanying decrease in joy. It is often accompanied by lines like ‘well I am a good Catholic, I just don’t go to Mass’, or ‘I don’t believe in Confession, I just tell God I’m sorry’.
episcopithumpodoris (literally ‘bishop basher’)
this particular snake is not terribly common though there is some evidence it is on the increase. It’s hallmark is a mixture of frustration and scapegoating.
malmagnus (literally the worst of badness)
this snake is one of the worst. It seeks out prey that are vulnerable or weak and whilst it’s venom doesn’t kill it stays with its victim for years. Whilst it is relatively rare it’s venom has wreaked havoc in society and Church.
malmagnusobrina (literally the cousin of the worst of badness)
This particular snake went relatively undetected for years. In the main this was because it’s bite was symptomless until long after the damage was done. It’s venom has at times led to despair.
tumorinterens (literally the tumour within)
whilst this specimen is quite common it is at the same time surprising that it can go undetected for many years. It is often gradual in it’s destruction. Eating away inside like a tumor, the poison here leads to a gradual erosion of inner peace and can manifest itself in great vengeful anger and a desire to blame.
scatterissimus (literally complete scattering)
if there was a watchword for this snake it would be ‘divide and conquer’. It is the enemy of unity and seems to have found its way into the Church.
insipientes (literally lacking in wisdom)
a deadly snake whose venom damages both love of self and love of God. One of the first casualties of this venom is we stop praying.
regilaretimore (literally religious terrorist)
it was thought to be something of a rarity though there appears to be a sharp increase in recent times of this snakebite in the Irish Church.
vaccasacratecno (literally sacred cow of technology)
one of the most common snakes in the country. Once bitten by this the person tends to shun family, friends, exercise and even daylight, literally living instead for technology.
amicomnibus (literally friend of everyone)
unfortunately quite common and much more dangerous than first thought. It seems to be
common among those with responsibility. Difficult to treat.
In short, if Patrick was to return once again to walk amongst us, he would have his work cut out. Let us pray with renewed vigour through his intercession, for Ireland, and especially the Church.