In this week’s blog, Fr. Paddy talks about one of the most watched television programmes, the X Factor.

Fr. Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist papers.
This column appeared in the edition published 16 November 2010

EVERY Saturday and Sunday evening millions of people, tune into the X Factor.  Many find this programme captivating and highly entertaining.  Contestants perform each week, in the hope of winning the ultimate prize. A massive recording opportunity and instant over night celebrity status is guaranteed by the winner.   Our own, Mary Byrne, personifies, despite her middle age, a generation absolutely enthralled by the cult of celebrity. Being a star, brings with it huge expectations.

It’s interesting that one of the main judges, Louis Walsh, is rumoured to recently have had a face lift to make him look “more presentable and with it”.

The X Factor, is hugely dependent on popularity. Millions of votes, each week, decide who stays and who goes. Recently, I felt embarrassed, for one of the contestants, Katie Waissel, who literally, on her knees, begged the judges and public to ‘Please, please, please save me’.

When it comes to generation X Factors’ value system, I see a huge contrast to what the Christian faith, hopes and believes in.

Thankfully, when it comes to our Creator, God, we certainly do not have to perform, beg or engage in cosmetic surgery to avail of His gratuitous friendship.

The cult of celebrity is at variance with how our God wants us to realise.

God does not place conditions and expectations when it comes to His overwhelming love for us.

Recently, I went to Holles Street Hospital, to pray for a tiny beautiful baby girl, born prematurely.

I marvelled how this tiny and frail human body, contained an innate resilience, courage and determination to live.

I was greatly moved by her spirit.

A spirit in which is planted in all our hearts.

These are difficult times from bond markets to interest rates, unemployment to emigration.

I believe despite the storm of economic and recessional turbulence, we all must remain hopeful and resolute.

All will be well. This little child brought me to a place beyond the present moment. This place is the kingdom of God.

The kingdom in which God has purchased and planted in all our hearts. We are much more than any recession.

Every individual cannot just be defined by an economic perspective.

Does the economy serve society?

Or society serve the economy?

There is a massive hunger among generation X Factor, to be recognised, accepted and loved.

These are precisely the free gifts, given in abundance to all in God’s kingdom