A shout to my friends in London

I have been watching with horror the social unrest and riots in London. You have been in my prayers.

I fear we are going to see more of this sort of thing in the future.

Please stay safe!


I wish I had access to someone’s SlingBox in London so I could watch the TV there and follow what is going on. I am hearing some pretty bad things on the news.


See this from the Daily Telegraph.  Kids volunteer to clean up!  Go watch the video NOW.  Now, I say!

A very cool story from The Guardian:

London riots: hundreds answer appeal to clean up streets

Facebook and Twitter mobilises hundreds of people to clear debris from streets in London’s worst-hit communities

Hundreds of people armed with brooms, binbags and rubber gloves turned out across London to help clean up the damage caused by a third night of rioting, looting and arson.

Co-ordinated online on Facebook and Twitter, volunteers mobilised in the worst-hit parts of the capital to sweep streets, help local shopkeepers and show solidarity with communities thrown into turmoil by the violence. Though their efforts were thwarted in many parts by police work, their presence on the streets gave a valuable morale boost to those seeking an end to the disturbances.



Incidents mapped.

UPDATE 10 Aug 0026 London time:

From Fr. Finigan in Blackfen, Kent southeast of London:

If you are looking for an explanation of what is behind the “civil unrest” that seems to have taken everyone by surprise, here is an account from two girls in my childhood home, Croydon:

“Just showin the Police and the rich people we can do what we want” about sums it up, I think. “I can do what I want” is the net result of moral relativism applied by the ordinary teenager affected by original sin and educated in a system that undermines any real foundation of duty to God, country or neighbour.

Few people have noted the irony of the appeals by the Police to parents to “contact their children.”

For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents. Agents of the state can teach your children how to have sex, give them condoms, put them on the pill, give them the morning-after pill if it doesn’t work, and take them off for an abortion if that doesn’t work – and all without you having any say in the matter or necessarily even knowing about it. Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave.

WDTPRS Kudos to the great Fr. Finigan, PP of Blackfen.  Be safe, friend.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. RichardT says:

    The Archbishop of Wesminster has just put out a statement today:

    “The scenes of the last few nights in parts of London and elsewhere are shocking. The criminal violence and theft that have been witnessed are to be condemned. They are a callous disregard for the common good of our society and show how easily basic principles of respect and honesty are cast aside.

    “I ask that Catholics pray especially for those directly affected by the violence, for those facing danger on the streets, for those whose livelihood has been ruined, for those whose lives are marked by fear, for those whose parents are worried about the behaviour of their youngsters and for those who, at this time, are being tempted into the ways of violence and theft.

    “In the face of these difficulties, a forthright common effort is needed to ensure that these times bring out the best in our society and not the worst. I am sure that, as Catholic citizens, we shall play our part with clear principles for living, both as individuals and as a society, with honesty, compassion and prayer.

    “May God grant us courage and determination to shape our lives with dignity, self respect and care for the common good.”

  2. irishgirl says:

    Respect has just about vanished from Western society-for fellow men, for property.
    The scenes in London and elsewhere in England are frightening, to say the least.
    They ought to get the military in there to help out the already overstretched police.
    Thank God I never encountered this in my visits-I would have been scared to death!

  3. Liz says:

    Praying for our friends there too. God bless these poor people!

  4. dahveed says:

    If it’s okay, I’d like to share two brief blurbs from my aunt, who lives there, as does one of my cousins, his wife and kids, anonymized a bit. From monday: “Hi- I don’t know how much news the London riots are making in the rest of the world, but I’ve been to see _____ and ______ in east London today and so far I think we’re all ok. The damage is local, and the action appears to be moving by use of Blackberry or similar devices (the kind that used to be the privilege of a well-paid manager). It’s alarming, but hard to identify reasons for the damage-more like vandalism at this
    point. If you hear about it, I’d be interested to know how this is reported elsewhere. Meanwhile, pray for heavy rain!”

    From early this morning:”Just to keep you up to date: I get my newspaper from the shop at the petrol station. He said there was a bit of trouble on the High Road yesterday, so a lot of the shops just closed down. He’s putting out less stock today, just in case, and the petrol company does advise them as to whether there is any risk. I think our High Road is similar to the market near _____ and ______ (shops tend to be cheaper household goods, fewer sporting clothes shops), and the shops didn’t open yesterday, according to ______. It really does sound like the incident which started a protest has turned into a rash of looting. Not a pretty sight, but today is a bit quieter.
    No rain, but gray skies….” She did ask how things were being reported in the news here, which we’ve relayed. Please, pray for them.

  5. sawdustmick says:

    I don’t live in London, but my wifes cousin lives in Tottenham, about 1/4 mile from where the Police station is (where it all started). She has been away and is travelling home with trepidation. Any prayers would be appreciated.

    I was about 30 miles north of Enfield / Waltham Abbey today ( I was on a hill) and saw the black smoke billowing from what I assume to be the supermarket distribution centre that has been burning for 24 hours. The fire service have told people to stay indoors and keep windows shut. It must be frightening being in the midst of it all.

    We will be praying for an end to the violence and for the conversion of Souls.

  6. Patti Day says:

    May God protect your loved ones and friends. It is shocking to see the pictures of buildings on fire and people rioting in the streets, and looting and risking lives for the sake of a flat screen tv, or the thrill of shattering a shop window. It could happen here. It has happened here. I keep wondering when we are going to hear our Bishops and priests in the pulpits exhorting us pray, not just Catholics, but all people, get down on our knees and pray.

  7. Amerikaner says:

    I agree that, sadly, there will be more of this. Italy and France are rife for unrest too.

  8. Jacob says:

    Western Civilization has civilized itself to the point of being unable to defend itself in times like these.

    “Reading the Riot Act” actually meant something up to 1973. Too bad some people got the idea that such an old-fashioned law was outdated and needed tossing.

  9. sallyr says:

    I lived in Camden Town in London while attending University College of London for a year in the 1980’s. I have loved London ever since, and it is so painful to see this horrible violence.

    I really do believe that Western society as a whole collapsed morally at least 40 years ago. All we are seeing now is the inevitable consequences of that collapse – economically, socially, politically, in the family, in the Church (at least in the human aspect of the Church). We still have a long way to fall before the painful consequences will educate enough of us about the need to re-establish civil and moral standards. May God speed the day.

    I heard the most outrageous interview with 2 teenagers who had been looting all night. They said it was the government’s fault, and also the rich people’s fault (by which they meant the little shopkeepers they had ruined). They laughed and said they hoped the looting would continue tonight. The inanity was beyond belief.

    For all those in London – heartfelt prayers.

  10. Joan M says:

    My husband and I were watching BBC World news this morning and one of the reporters interviewed 2 seventeen year old girls. Their comments were unbelievable – they were doing it “for fun” and because they could! Setting buildings on fire is fun! Looting is fun!

    They need the army in there, fast. On an online poll, 83% of those who voted want the army there to put a stop to what is going on. Britain’s “soft policing” method is just not working.

  11. All this comes from a world that has no respect for God nor for the dignity of anyone else. God have mercy on us!

  12. Anyone in London with a SlingBox?

  13. APX says:

    I’m amazed the government hasn’t declared Martial Law yet.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    We were in London at the time of the Brixton riots, and the violence and looting were confined to that general area and south of the river.

    The map above shows that the incidents are spreading north of the river and are surrounding the City.

    That does not bode well. Things have been allowed to get thoroughly out of hand.

    Prayers for all those affected and for a quick end to the violence.

  15. Pachomius says:

    I’m not sure the 1970s are to blame in themselves, sallyr – it seems to me that the roots are a bit deeper than that. The First World War broke, perhaps permanently, our confidence (as a society) in the old certainties: God, law, the Western way of life. We escaped the consequences of this in the 20s and 30s through a hedonistic age which sought to plaster over the problems, and then war broke out again… and this time, not just war but genocide. And that not only broke but crushed the West’s spirit, and destroyed any lingering ability to believe in anything from our culture – from the classics to the scientific method.

    This brought some good things – like a realisation of the past evils committed by Western countries and individuals – but also has left a void, which in the UK was filled by a rapacious consumerism by the government of the 1980s and early 1990s, and then supported and exacerbated by the Labour government with a debilitating combination of increasing deregulation and monopoly economically, and a system of benefits and job-seeking systems for the unemployed which, coupled to a collapsed education system has created an underclass, unable to equip themselves for work should they choose it, and incapable of behaving responsibly.

    We have managed to create a force of sheer chaos, destructive to civilisation, and to the structures that have guided us since, give or take, the Agricultural Revolution.

  16. Charivari Rob says:

    “Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave.”

    Oh… SNAP!

  17. Marianna says:

    The other thing about the appeal to parents by the police, is that it assumes that these parents could care less about what their children are up to. We have fallen so low that a good many of them probably approve of their children stealing designer clothes, if they can get away with it.

    It is not uncommon here in the UK for parents to be abusive to teachers who have tried to discipline those same parents’ misbehaving children. When the parents themselves are incapable of civilized behaviour, their offspring are unlikely to learn any better.

    Meanwhile, our politicians won’t do a thing to encourage marriage and stable family life. And our bishops aren’t exactly shouting from the rooftops about it, either.

  18. Paulo says:

    My brother lives in London, but he has not been affected too much by the riots, thanks be to God. I am glad to see young people also mobilizing to clean the mess. It reminds me of what happened here in Vancouver in the aftermath of the Stanley Cup riots: scores of people took to the streets to clean up the mess. There are still some decent folks left.

  19. phd12699 says:

    In the “Abolition of Man” C.S. Lewis spoke of a generation raised without the “Tao” or connection to the Natural Law. He spoke of society wondering, post factum, why the youth are reacting the way they are. He says simply: “We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” How true; not just for society but also the Church.

  20. Jack Hughes says:

    Just before Midnight the BBC interviewed a shopkeeper in Manchester, thugs had stolen his entire stock!!!! I’m assuming that although he may turn a reasonable profit this guy was far from rich and even if he was I assume that his gains were legitimately made.

    Last night (Monday) a furntiture store that had stood for over a hundred years was torched.

    What I found most annoying is that young harridins only had the vaugest idea of who was in government, whilst my parents may have brought me up without the Faith they at least installed a sense of civic pride, decency and respect for the law.

    After the Bloody Baron of Brighton (its a long story involving a Priest doing a dracula impression) Aka Father Blake noted that Our Lord was the answer, the esteemable Mr England of the Bones predicted that the staff of the CTS shop in Victoria will be ready and waiting to hand out missionary Rosaries, copies of Hummane Vite and copies of the Baltamore Catechism

  21. david andrew says:

    I was really uneasy and upset by all I’d seen over at the Daily Mail Online this morning, but that all-too cool photo of the young people armed with “brushes” of all different colors mobilized to clean up the mess really gave me a sense of hope. I especially love the look on the faces of the two young men in the foreground. The one with the black and white tee shirt has a smirk on his face that just screams, “Right, time to do what WE want . . . act like civilized adults”, and the blonde in the brown shirt just seems to have this look of confidence and bold defiance on his face. Maybe it’s that smile. In fact, many of them have smiles on their faces.

    It’s kind of like the pro-life flash mobs in Chicago . . . such confidence and joy in the face of wanton stupidity.

    I have hope.

  22. EXCHIEF says:

    No respect for God, for laws, and for human life…..not at all surprising in most western countries. Just a matter of time until it happens in the USA whcih will serve as an excuse for the abandonment of our historic system of government and imposition of the sort of dictatorship the current president seems to prefer.

  23. Jane says:

    The Divine Mercy devotion is desperately needed to help put an end to these riots.

  24. asperges says:

    It is not just London now. Manchester was the main target last night. I live in the Midlands. Outbreaks in Nottingham, Birmingham and area, looting in Leicester and many other places. Radio interviews with participants are blood-curdling: youngsters with absolutely no moral code whatever. They want a “piece of the action,” can’t see why they can’t etc. Very reminiscence of Clockwork Orange mentality except that it’s mostly aimed at Police and getting as much material goods as they can for nothing.

    It isn’t race-based and not the same as the troubles of 30 years ago. Nor is it political. This is post-Christian anarchy and payback for years of mindless liberalism in education and society generally and above all a breakdown of the family. Please pray for a swift end and that some lessons might at last be learned.

  25. Ttony says:

    Father: no Slingbox, but friends who live overseas swear by “Expat Shield”, available at http://expatshield.com/ which connects you to the web via a UK-IP’d proxy server.

  26. RMT says:

    The rioting, in the UK and the US this summer, reminds me of the Omegas in P D James’ book “The Children of Men”.

    At least some young people are reacting in kindness and charity instead of more anger and venom.

  27. Maria says:

    For several decades our country has undermined marriage, the family, and the rights of parents. Agents of the state can teach your children how to have sex, give them condoms, put them on the pill, give them the morning-after pill if it doesn’t work, and take them off for an abortion if that doesn’t work – and all without you having any say in the matter or necessarily even knowing about it. Now all of a sudden, we want parents to step in and tell their teenage children how to behave. (Quote)

    Too true, sadly.
    There have been many times when I have said to colleagues and family that young people (some of course, not all) can be very arrogant, rude and selfish these days and all I get for an answer is “Well, thats kids today” and the sad thing is that about 90 per cent of these comments received have been by parents, some of whom are just as arrogant, rude and selfish, and they have no interest in God whatsoever. ‘We’ reap what we sow as a society and this is awful.

    On the ‘up’ side, how lovely too see so many youngsters out with their brooms etc. They are not all the same thank goodness.

    Thanks to all who have offered prayers in this situation.

    I live in Birmingham, UK

  28. Scott W. says:

    Read this comment at Unqualified Reservations blog:

    the guy that was shot was a member of the Tottenham Man Dem gang (he may even have been one of the core members). The individuals that started the riots, and continued the majority of them, were from that gang, and other affiliated street gangs. The left are playing this as “poor revolutionary underclass” angle, when it is really urban street gangs acting with impunity.

  29. irishgirl says:

    Joan M-I listen to the BBC World News on the radio overnight (via a local NPR station) and there was an interview with a pair of teenage girls in Manchester. That might have been the same one you were watching on the TV. It was hard to understand them because they talked so fast (and the ‘Mancunian’ accent didn’t help, either), but they acted like it wasn’t a big deal to go out and steal and trash things from the shops of hard-working business people. No remorse whatsoever….young pagans!
    I woke with a start when I heard ‘Salford’ (a suburb of Manchester and the name of the Catholic diocese). I was afraid that the Cathedral might be in danger of getting attacked!
    Thank God my priest-friend in the Salford diocese doesn’t live in Manchester proper-he’s in a town northwest of there, about 200 miles from the Scottish border.
    Yet I’m glad that there were many decent people (the ‘silent majority’) who came out to help in the clean-up after the riots-good for them! Gives us some hope that ordinary human kindness will prevail…..

  30. Jack Hughes says:

    @Irish Girl

    Does your Priest-friend’s surname begin with W? if so he’s a mutual friend, if so you have no need to worry as he is currently in Poland.

  31. AvantiBev says:

    Unlimited welfare for life (as in Britain) breeds total dependency and erodes any shred of self-respect without which one finds it hard to respect anyone else. Those who built the welfare states and those who cheered more tax payer funded “care” by the government, including many of my fellow, well-meaning but misguided Catholics, were pushing the most deadly drug addiction of all. Withdrawal from any drug is a painful process but the time is long past in the West if we are to once again be citizens not slaves nor serfs. The withdrawal will be violent and painful but better pain now than total collapse into serfdom. Pray God we are not too late in this country.

  32. catholicmidwest says:

    It’s not just that. If it were only that simple! Between the facts that:
    a) the economy is tanking in the West and many people can’t get jobs or make enough money to live on,
    b) many countries in the West are warehousing immigrants instead of enculturating them properly,
    c) most European countries have totally unsustainable tax and entitlement policies,
    d) and the European Union with its Euro currency was never really long-term viable in the first place,
    Europe is imploding. Expect it to get worse before it gets better. Much worse.

  33. catholicmidwest says:

    People support a system when they have a stake in the system–a reason to care about it. When too many people are allowed to go on welfare or be warehoused or otherwise sidelined, they will destroy the system by acting out in favor of what they can “get behind,” even if it’s only a random shake-up that might benefit them if they “get lucky.” [Think looting.] I really remain shocked that the powers-that-be who are supposed to be so intelligent etc etc, don’t seem to comprehend this basic dynamic of social behavior.

    It works in small groups; it works in large groups. Every junior high school teacher knows this simple principle, and sets up his classroom accordingly.

    And of course, the moral decay of the last few decades only brings this principle to the front more quickly when times are tough.

Comments are closed.