One of the great realizations of my life has been that there is a MASSIVE difference between religion and spirituality.

Religion is a man-made phenomenon wheras spirituality is rooted deep in the universe, creation and the soul.

Religion CAN BE a way into spirituality – but that means moving beyond religion and finding spirituality.

The religious masses stay stuck in religion and never move on from it.

Whereas truly spiritual people either never needed religion in the first place – or cast religion off as a caterpillar casts off the “shell” as it becomes a butterfly.

For a catterpillar to become a butterfly it undergoes a complete metamorphosis.

For religious people to become spiritual people a similiar complete metamorphosis is required. Most people don’t get there in this life.

The religious condition is a condition for people who are afraid, conformist, and the inability to be spontaneous.

They have their creeds, their catechisms, their canons, their rituals and they believe that by sticking absolutely to these things and in total obedience to their religious leaders, they will get to paradise and heaven.

The back page of their catechism is their ticket for the Pearly Gates.

Of them, one must ask: “Is there life before death”?

And they are dangerous, very dangerous. As Jesus said: “The time will come when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy work for God”

People such as these planned and carried out the Crusades, the Counter-Reformation, the Inquisition, American Slavery, Apartied, the Twin Towers …….

I once saw a vodka add that summed up religious zealots and zealotry. It read:

“So pure, its wicked”.


Many people who come to me to get married often say about themselves: “I’m not very religious”.

And I tell them, its more important to be spiritual. And ifbthey say they are not spiritual, I ask them:

So you don’t like music?

You don’t like art?

You dont appreciate a beautiful mountain or seascape?

You don’t believe in love?

You don’t marvel at the innocence of children?

We are all born with a capacity for the spiritual.

Sometimes the experiences of early life dulls our spiritual senses.

But they are still there, waiting to be revived and blossom.

One of the great purposes of life is to find and recognise the inner spiritual and to go with it.

Believers, atheists and agnostics can be spiritual too – even sometimes more spiritual.

The spiritual is the non-materialistic, the intangible, the awesome, the wondrous, the glorious.

The spiritual is also the painful, the distressing, the agonising, the harrowing, the unknowing and the unknown.


It is perfectly possible to be amazingly spiritual but not to believe in a God.

But for me personally, and for many others, our spirituality is God and Jesus centred.


This week we slightly reordered our Oratory here in Larne – especially to accomodate a beautiful hand carved wooden tabernacle which came from Brittany, France.

It allows us to put the Blessed Sacrament back as the central and focal point of The Oratory.

The hideous habit of putting the Blessed Sacrament to the side and replacing the tabernacle with the bishop’s chair is odious.

The Blessed Sacrament is what we must treasure and adore, not iffy bishoos.

Out Oratory relics of St Philip Neri and John Vianney.