Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mysogynistic, Homophobic, Fascist, Racist and Xenophobic

I find it quite frightening on how badly prepared the Church in England and Wales is to combat secularism and opposition to the Church's teaching. We give the impression that we don't really care.

This weekend there will be a demonstration against the Papal visit outside Westminster Cathedral followed by a rally outside the Italian embassy, presumably in the hope of attracting the attention of the Italian media, amongst the speakers will be Peter Tatchell, it advertises itself as:
We support:
· Women's equality and reproductive rights
· Equal rights for LGBT people
· A secular Europe - immune to the Vatican's agenda
· One law for all, no religious exemptions from the law
· State neutrality in matters of religion and belief
We oppose:
· European Union collusion with religion (Lisbon Treaty Article 16c)
· The special status of the Vatican in the United Nations
· State-funded faith schools
· The economic privilege and political influence of the Vatican in Italy
· Taxpayers funding the Pope's State Visit to the UK this September
· Misogyny, homophobia, fascism, racism and xenophobia
The problem is, I suspect most people in our congregation might actually agree or be unable to argue coherently against these assertions. Those Catholics not attending Sunday Mass, especiallly the young, are easy prey for the presentation of the Church as mysogynistic, homophobic, fascist, racist and xenophobic.

The very fact that our schools, our Catholic charities, our bishops, our clergy, our leading thinkers, our journalists, etc do not oppose this kind of appalling presentation of our faith might suggest that most of them believe that it is true.

Every agency of the Church needs to direct its efforts to communicating our Catholic vision of humanity. Too often we merely preach to the converted, rather than preaching to convert.

Let's stop being so Churchy and look out, start training applogists, public speakers, people who can write about the faith.

81 comments:

Volpius Leonius said...

If the Bishops did their their jobs it would be a good start.

Volpius Leonius said...

And by that I mean acting like an Apostle, like St. Paul.

Instead of hiding completely most of the time and then on rare occasions making statements anonymously through the Bishops Conference, and then only to say liberal secular things rather than Catholic things.

Do our Bishops even have the faith? How can we know they never say anything.

fidelisjoff said...

Unfortunately my bishop would be supportive of the protest.
He appears absorbed in secular values and opinion. We need far better episcopal appointments desperately.

Catholic with Attitude said...

I've just been on Facebook and have been looking around all the Anti-Pope Benedict groups (which are many). It makes my blood boil seeing the amount of ignorance and stupidity out there! The views people hold, not helped by the media, I find deeply disturbing. How can I find one speech by the Pope inspiring and yet for another it's enough to label the Pope as homophobic. One idiotic group I found has as part of its description:

'Homosexuality is a sin but priests being paedophiles isn't'

ARGHHH!! Stupidity seems to be spreading far more than Swine Flu!

God bless the Holy Father and long may he reign!

georgem said...

Now here's an ideal opportunity for the Archbishop to lead senior clerics into the public square to show their support for the Pope and the faith.
No, I thought not.

pelerin said...

It will be interesting to see how much publicity is given to this protest by the media on Sunday. Of course much will depend on what happens in the world on that day. The television news at the weekend is usually much shorter than during the week so let's hope it won't even feature.

I don't like the idea of the start of the demonstration being the Cathedral although wouldn't it be an opportunity for a spokesman for the Church to confront them? Or perhaps a silent peaceful group of parishioners outside?

I fear this could be the first of many such demos leading up to the visit.

Patricius said...

If the Bishops did their jobs Volpius? You're flogging a dead horse there...

Jack said...

Fr. Blake, Just a note from the Birmingham across the pond (Alabama) that you will be in my prayers. I read the link to your site over on Fr. Z's WDTPRS blog. God bless you and your flock!

Moretben said...

Apologetics is mostly useless in this context - particulary the sort of apologetics that pitches "Christian morality" as just another ideology.

Only one apologetics can do anything worthwhile or permanent: martyria - prayer, repentance, forgiveness of enemies, love of the poor. All the rest is just talk.

joe mc said...

I have many friends who immediately jumped on the media bandwagon unleashed after Pope Benedict's address to the E&W Bishops. As a layperson, and one with little philosophical or theological training, I find it difficult to present the Catholic case when these discussions begin. The problem I find is that many of my friends are genuinely angry about what they *think* the Church says. I imagine that these discussions will increase in number and intensity as the Papal visit approaches. The thing is these moments would provide such a great opportunity to maybe plant a seed in someone's mind about the Church that isn't negative: and who knows where that might lead? How to do it??

nickbris said...

Mr Tatchell appears to have a death wish,perhaps he should be sectioned before somebody gets themself into trouble by granting it.

What happened to the Law about " conduct liable to bring about a breach of the Peace"

Volpius Leonius said...

Don't you believe in miraculous resurrections Patricius?

Volpius Leonius said...

"I have many friends who immediately jumped on the media bandwagon unleashed after Pope Benedict's address to the E&W Bishops.

How to do it??"

If nothing else comes to mind just tell them you are a Catholic and what they are saying is not true. If the respect you as a person than the mere fact that you are a Catholic will be enough to give them pause for thought.

After all how can the Catholic Church be evil if you are a catholic and are good while believing everything the Church teaches and agreeing with the Pope 100%.

If nothing else you will at least find out who your real friends are.

It really is as simple as that, do not let lack of knowledge stop you from standing up and been counted.

If you can say with truth:

"I believe it because the Catholic Church teaches it and she is the Church founded by God to make known His truth to all mankind"

that is enough of an answer for God.

madame evangelista said...

Moretben, I'm always grateful to read your comments on this blog, they are full of good sense.

John said...

Good night, they couldn't have the church's teaching more backward. That whole "no religious exemptions from the law" thing is nothing more than an attempt to foist their own brand of fascism on people of faith. Pray and preach the truth.

George said...

This is my suggestion for what it's worth and it's only a dream that something like this might happen.... "Dearest and most Loving Holy Spirit...."

What we need is a Solid Catholic group made up of the following:
Fr Benedict Groeschel, Fr John Corapi, Gerry Metatics, Dr Scott Hahn and Raymond DeSouza (oh yes and just in case it gets nasty, John Pridmore - where are you!!!)

After High Latin Mass in the Cathedral before the 'oh so tolerant', secularist, 'rent-a-mobsters' move into the Piazza ranting and raving their anti-popist slogans.

The 'solidly CATHOLIC' group mentioned above would shoot down in rapid fire succession all the ignorant and not so ignorant arguments that the secularists and gays could think up and throw at them. These would not stand a chance against the theological and apologetics heavyweights - and might actually learn something about the Catholic Faith in the process. Now THAT would be worth reporting across the world media machine!

Do you think one of our E&W Bishops might be 'man enough' to join that group?

Roger Buck said...

Moretben, you write:

"Only one apologetics can do anything worthwhile or permanent: martyria - prayer, repentance, forgiveness of enemies, love of the poor. All the rest is just talk."

I appreciate where you are going here, the aspiration towards something pure and loving I think ...

But as to "love of the poor" ...

I would include all those poor suffering souls who have NO IDEA what the Church is beyond these media stereotypes ...

If we *feel* for *these* poor in the depths of our hearts ...

I think we will join Father Ray in wondering why there is such terible lethargy here ...

Yes indeed if we love the poor then we will say they deserve better, all of us poor deserve better than

"this kind of appalling presentation of our faith might suggest that most of them believe that it is true."

It is appalling. It is horrifying.

And if we FEEL rather than RANT our hearts will compel us to acts of love ...

You mention certain acts of love indeed Moretben, but to say "all else is just talk" is I think, to risk to depriving the very poor ...

John Kearney said...

There is a psychology we must come to terms with. Homosexuals do not get any satisfaction out of their activities indeed they come away with guilt feelings which is why they compensate with such ate against anyone who dares to say `what they are doing is wrong` Again we are very poor at apologetics. Apologetics is not just saying `this is a sin` but explaining why. You can start with the simple fact that homosexuals cannot give blood. Why? Because of the HIV and STD`s with which they are infected. Yes, the esablishment is very good at patting them on the back but not really caring for them. Their lifestyle is far from normal and safe as The Liberal leader would have us say to our children. Many die of bowel cancer, a 400% increase from normal. They will die much younger than normal. No, their lifestyle is far from healthy. Wo homosexuality is a sin not just because of the act but because of the neglect of the body. There is a start. A friend is one who tells the truth no matter the consequences. That makes the Catholic church the only true friend that ;rdnosmd smf hsud jsbr/

Mike said...

Well, we know what needs to be done. But will any of these things ever be done? Who is going to do them? The problem is that all sorts of suggestions are made about what needs to be done but is anything ever actually done?

Here’s another good example of outlining things that need to be done. It was written nearly a year ago.

http://www.faith.org.uk/Publications/Magazines/Mar09/Mar09LearningFromHomosexualActivism.html

But who has done any of these things? Who do we think should do these things? There’s no point in suggesting the people we think should be doing them but aren’t. We have to suggest people who actually might. Are there any such people?

This week the Scottish Catholic Observer gives a whole page to Bishop Tartaglia of Paisley. What does he fulminate against? People who attack the Pope? Nope. People who demand that the Church ordains openly practising homosexuals? Nope. People who demand that Catholic schools should teach that homosexuality is “normal and harmless”? Nope. What he fulminates against is Catholics who want to attend the Mass in the extraordinary form. He almost goes as far as saying that such people only want to cause disruption and dissent and criticise the Church. I wonder if the Pope saw his article before his talk with the Bishop. What Bishops should be doing is directing their fire towards the people who are attacking the Church. But it’s probably easier to have a go at a few folk inside the Church. Rearranging the seats on the Titanic anybody?

pelerin said...

I agree with joe mc - as a lay person I too feel ill equipped to explain a point without being too 'preachy.' As he/she says - it is often what people 'think' the Church says which they are against, not the reality which many of us lay people feel unable to impart.

The closer the relationship too, the more difficult it seems to be. I can think of only one occasion when I was really able to argue with someone who was making me and others around us particularly angry. He was demonstrating against the Pope in Lourdes with an enormous placard which threatened to obstruct our view as the Pope was due to pass by. It was obvious what he was going to do when I read his placard which advised us to 'Read the Bible before it's too late! and having staked my seat many hours earlier I was determined he would not spoil either my own view or that of others around me.

Nobody else seemed to want to engage him in conversation and to be fair most of those around me were either Irish or Italian! So as he approached me I informed him forcibly but politely that we had all waited a long time to welcome the Holy Father and that if he did not, then he should leave. He then started shouting that Lourdes was open to everyone and as he was French he was quite entitled to be there etc etc.

I think I surprised even myself as I got into a heated discussion with him trying to keep it as civilised as possible. I managed to surprise him by informing him that it was actually the Catholic Church which decided on which books of the Bible were to be accepted and that the Bible was read by Catholics. I brought in the importance of Tradition and can no longer remember what else we discussed but after a while he calmed down and almost seemed impressed that I had come all the way from Britain!

In the end he agreed to move away placard and all. We shook hands and I remember he actually smiled as he told me that I reminded him of his sister, adding 'mais elle est morte.' It was all very surreal especially his last comment! Apparently whilst he had joined whatever Protestant sect it was, his sister had retained her Catholic Faith until death and presumably had tried to bring her brother back by argument. It would be nice to think that I had 'planted a seed' on this occasion - who knows.

We should all be prepared for English versions of the "man with the 'Read the Bible' placard" but I personally really don't feel equipped to argue should one cross my path again. I think it was the element of surprise and annoyance which really got me going and the determination that he was not going to spoil a once in a lifetime occasion for so many people.

Any advice from our Bishops on how we are to deal with criticism of the Holy Father and Catholicism in general would indeed be most welcome.

Timotheus said...

Fortunately the Catholic Church does not have the dubious distinction of being the state church in England. Also we are blessed in not having the constant politicization we see in the American church. Let's live our faith and keep it separate from politics.

Just Curious? said...

Is it just me or is there not a contradiction with:

"One law for all, no religious exemptions from the law," and
"State neutrality in matters of religion and belief."

If the state is 'neutral in matters of religion and belief' does this not mean that any 'faith' group can go about its business unhindered by the state and free from intolerant, bigoted people. Religious freedom, perhaps?

And could this demonstration not be classed as inciting religious hatred?

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Fr Ray,

I'll bet those protestors outside Westminster Cathedral will get far better, and more favorable press coverage than the 400,000 pro-lifers did in front of the US Capitol last month.

If I wasn't on the other side of the pond I would go out in front of that Cathedral with a Rosary in hand and pray (no protesting).

Seriously. Groups of people should go, not to confront, but to pray. It will also be an opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit rest on you as you are mocked while keeping your head down in prayer.

This is how we handle prayer vigils in front of abortion clinics and it is an option for things like this.

Never protest these kinds of protesters. Use prayer. Pray for them!

Stewart William said...

Stop treating gay men and women as 2nd class citizens and condemning them and rejecting them on the basis of their sexuality - then - and only then will the church be viewed as inclusive and non-hateful.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=296450337896

Independent said...

It is a great pity that so many do not appear to be able to consult a good dictionary otherwise they would not use such words. They are usually devoid of meaning and are employed as terms of opprobrium rather than as descriptions. Often when one asks for definitions the speakers are unable to give ones which are accurate. However this sort of ignorance is not confined to left-wingers, right -wing people often use terms such as marxist in a similar manner. What a pity too that courtesy seems to have departed from political discussions, and is replaced by the shouting of abuse and slogans. All anyone can do is to be polite, to seek to explain, and to try to discover what exactly is their point.

Br. Jerome Leo said...

Kudos, Fr. Ray. I saw your post link on WDTPRS and am glad you spoke out.

Chris C said...

I think our lack of apologetic success stems from the fact that we argue from a "The Church teaches" or "The Bible says" perspective. We need to argue on the common ground of reason. Ok, I know that reason sometimes seems beyond these people, but they are the ones that claim to be defending reason.

I have found that the Crash Courses offered by the International Society of Scholastics are an excellent training ground to be able to do this.

My 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son have been enjoying the Crash Courses
http://www.societyofscholastics.org/crashcourse/crash_course3_002.htm
and can for example now tell you with startling clarity the fundamental flaw in socialism. It isn't what you think it is or at least what I thought it was.

The courses offer in-depth Thomistic reasoning followed by application to current issues like Health care reform.

What I have most appreciated is that these courses transcend the conservative/liberal polemic and go to the root of the issue to offer an orthodox Catholic perspective on modern problems.

Looking forward to up-coming courses on
Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Right to Privacy’?
Why Homosexual Marriage is a Contradiction in Terms
The Moral and Immoral Roles of Insurance Companies
to name but a few.

We need hundreds of Catholics to know these arguments.

Red Maria said...

@ Stewart William: Does the facebook group you moderate permit free speech?

I'll test it out. Actually, I also call on everyone else reading this to test it out.

Here's an idea, Father Ray: why don't you do a blog post about Stewart't facebook group, inviting your readers to post on it.

Back to Stewart: I will debate with you anywhere, anytime and be pleased to give you a few lessons in Catholic doctrine and the distinction between fact and raving hysteria too, ok?

I like Peter Tatchell very much. It's a real shame to see him associate himself with Sunday's anti-Catholic filth.

Volpius Leonius said...

The time for apologetics is BEFORE a protest not during, at protests all that happens is that people chant slogans at each other, no meaningful conversation takes place, think football fans and you will get the idea.

And the very small minority of people who can be bothered to drag themselves to such protests are not the kind of people who are for changing.

Protests are a show of force not a show of intellect and the only thing that matters is numbers and who can shout the loudest.

Anthony Bidgood said...

Diane M. has a very useful suggestion on what people can do. To assemble in public before the Cathedral and pray the Rosary. If Catholics in and around London are unable to do this they should ask themselves why?

In Christo,
Anthony

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin: good job! as to how to do apologetics with the sort of person you did, be aware that they have a certain set of questions they're often prepared wtih in trying to hammer Catholics.

Oddly enough, just Tuesday night my current parish has started up an adult course in apologetics. It was the first talk in a series to be given but the priest gave some very practical advise. Do not be afraid to carry a small bible with you. They often have a "bag" of set questions to try and trip you up with, often based on a false premise they have gotten from their Protestant pastor. Understand that they will read texts in isolation - out of context. Learn what questions they are most likely to ask. Then when they ask them be ready to counter. Have them read the text out of THEIR bible if they have one. Most of their "challenges" are going to be on things in the new testament. Point out other passages they've ignored, and have them read the whole thing in context. Don't be afraid to "color code" your text and tab them. There's the "long chat" version, and then there's the "catching the bus" type answer.

An excellent book is Karl Keating's Catholicism and FUndamentalism. Also "Catholic Answers" has some good pointers www.catholic.com

Also good are books by Scott Hahn. Because he converted from being a protestant minister to a professor teaching in a Catholic University. He knows the thought processes and mindsets protestants have.

gemoftheocean said...

Stewart: We love the sinner, hate the sin. Being sexually attracted to the same sex is not a sin in and of itself. One can't control "feelings." That's involuntary. However, it's the ACTING on feelings that one _can_ control.

All are sinners. We all have our particular crosses to bear. I can feel sorry for the person who has a tendency to kleptomania, but I wouldn't advise he become a bank teller. Nor would I advise a homosexual to "marry" one of the same sex and adopt children.

Before psychology got "political correct" psychology students were told that homosexuality is NOT "normal." [How can something be "normal" which would result in the death of the human race? It's not "normal" for one man to want to stick his penis up another man's rectum, in other words.] In almost ALL cases, the homosexuality a person exhibits is masking _some other_ psychological problem. [I'm not saying that in some cases there might not be a chemical imbalance of some sort] But it was often found that once the underlying issues in the person were solved, then the homosexual behavior went away.

Moretben said...

Roger

"The poor", as well as the materially poor, is everyone in the pig-pen; and especially, as you, suggest, those who having known only the pig-pen, know nothing of the Father's House, which many have learned to think of as a crass and even despicable fable.

Being angry with these brothers and sisters, and judging them, is a sin. Seeking to "win" them round by means of Culture Wars, or appeals to Authority, or cast-iron Thomistic syllogisms is a total waste of time at best, and a snare of the Evil One at worst. If there was ever a time for that kind of discourse, it's far too late for it now.

During the last great persecution of Diocletian, the Roman biens-pensants were beginning to turn away from Imperial policy. the persecutions had become very unpopular. Why? Because nearly every Pagan knew a Christian by now; the sick had been visited; the hungry had been fed and the naked clothed. They hadn't been judged or harangued, they had been shown Christ's love and his victory over sin and death in the lives of the lowest of the low.

Repentance, repentance, repentance.

Craig Dennis said...

Amen, Amen, Amen, Padre. God bless and keep you. I'll definitely try my best to get myself and my circle of friends to do better apologetics and apostolate.

StBasil said...

You are exactly right, Father!

I've thought of this a lot recently, how most often preaching is done to the choir and not to the world. Think of how different was a St. Augustine or a St. Paul, they defend the truths of the Faith against all those who attacked them or disagreed with them, seeking their conversion.

I think there are very fundamental epistemological issues too where people in the modern world view God and the world in very different ways in very basic things. For example, is Truth relative or absolute? Who in the Church is making a good case for what is Truth and attacking that relativism? Although the Pope is doing a great job most people in the world seldom read his audiences except for through the lense of a biased media.

We do need to preach the Truth, Christ, to the world and do so with confidence, humility, fortitude and charity!

I agree whole-heartedly Father! I just don't know how it happens or how to do it, especially when the world seems that they do not want to hear what we have to say.

God bless you!

Laicus said...

Stewart William,

You say: "Stop treating gay men and women as 2nd class citizens and condemning them and rejecting them on the basis of their sexuality."

I'm entirely happy with that, entirely. I don't want to condemn or reject anyone, as persons. But I hope that you for your part will stop wanting Christians to be required by law to adopt your belief as to the nature of homosexual acts in place of our own belief as to the nature of those acts.

Laicus said...

Prayer for the liberty of the Church:

Defend, O Lord, thy servants, we humbly beseech thee, from all dangers of body and soul: And by the prayers of the glorious Virgin Mary, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of the blessed St (Name), and all thy Saints: grant us the mercy of peace and safety, that, all adversities and errors being removed, thy Church may serve thee in secure liberty. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From the old prayerbook, "The Key of Heaven")

Dominic Mary said...

First, I am surprised that the Metropolitan Police will let them begin their demonstration outside the Cathedral; do they actually have permission for it ?

Secondly, I would have thought that it might well amount to 'incitement to religious hatred', and suggest that someone might like to make representations to that effect - to the Police, and also, perhaps, to the Judiciary.

Thirdly - and sadly - I don't see an end to this, until our Bishops (and indeed all Christian Leaders) see 2 Timothy 4, vv.2-3 as fundamental to their vocation . . .

Delia said...

This sounds like an interesting initiative, though I know nothing about the outfit:

http://catholicunion.org.uk/2010/02/03/events/
264/catholic-voices/

It would be good if Westminster archdiocese could put on a crash course of lectures on apologetics for lay people this summer. I think I'll write and suggest it ...

Faith said...

Hey Everybody, this is the era of the Laity. Stop looking at the Bishops and criticizing them, or your parish priests. We Laity should be confronting these people, writing, and speaking what Catholics really believe. We need to educate ourselves to be better able and more comfortable with defending our Catholic belief.

pelerin said...

Following Delia's comment regarding lectures, does anyone know if there are any Lenten talks planned by any of the parishes in the Brighton area?

berenike said...

Sign up for the Evangelium conference: last year, off the top of my head, there was Prof. Thomas Pink on freedom (different meanings thereof and the consquences of those, as I recall), Fr Harrison on religious freedom and the church-state relationship, Dr Helen Watt of the Linacre Centre on some hot bioethics topic, ... etc.

Why not write to the organisers if you want to go, and there's a topic you feel ought to be covered? Now is the time to do this, so they can invite a good speaker.

berenike said...

Here's the Catholic Herald on last year's conference

and here you can book for this year.

On a Youth2000 weekend in New York I met a couple of teenagers who'd come because an aunt or grandparent or parent had sent them - some were on it for the first time for this reason, some had come the first time for that reason, and were now on their nth retreat of their own free will. Evangelium is aimed at a slightly older group, but perhaps readers who are older yet have younger relatives or acquaintances who would benefit, but might need persuasion and/or financial help? Everyone is there, (lots of normal people, and groups represented are everything from Neocats to the ICKSP! :) and it is very friendly.

georgem said...

Stewart, Are you really a 2nd class citizen, or are you wishing it upon yourself? You can spend your life wearing the mantle of victimhood. But I think it’s often a disguise for a rather aggressive campaign of primus inter pares and whoever shouts the loudest wins.

As you know, the Catholic Church condemns all sex outside marriage. All. Gay/straight. No distinction.
(And before anyone leaps into the issue of deviant priests, let us be clear that this is a grave sin, mistakenly thought to be curable by the action of repentance coupled with a firm purpose of amending behaviour. Later studies proved otherwise.)

Aren’t the real victims of the world the refugees in Darfur; the child soldiers and the women raped in a demonstration of muscular power; the women whose genitals are mutilated; the women who are killed for notions of honour; the children of poor families duped into a life of slavery and abuse; the young men, women, and children, trafficked to satisfy the lusts of a sex-fixated West? Oh, the list of victims is endless.
But it doesn’t include you. You may find us hateful; who, after all, wants to be told they‘ve got it wrong? We don’t hate you. Demonstrate by all means. But know that there are truths which are eternal and will be defended.

George said...

Someone else has already mentioned this in the commentary - however many Catholics can manage to get to the Cathedral for 1pm tomorrow (and I hope there will be many) please bring your Rosary.

Silent witness while praying the Rosary is the most appropriate response. There is no better support to give the many Priests and no doubt Bishops and Archbishop who will answer the media questions and those posed by any secularist spokespersons.

Remember the power of the Rosary at Lepanto. Our Blessed Lady will shower her gifts on the Cathedral Piazza if we but pray the Rosary in support of our beloved Pope Benedict and Whom he represents.

The 'opposition' is unhappy about so many things, but deep down that unhappiness must be the manifestation of a lifestyle that has no real purpose or meaning to these lost souls.

I bet there will be quite a few lapsed Catholics among the protesters - wouldn't it be great if there were a number of confessionals set-up in the Piazza - so that an opportunity was available for those souls to experience the healing power of God's Grace through confession and make a return to the Sacraments and their Faith.

To the secularists and non-Catholics I would say, instead of confrontation and shouting out those same tired old slogans, engage the Catholics in calm, reasoned discussion, probe the Catholic Faith with those questions which have been tugging at your hearts all your lives. You may be surprised at the answers you get as the Holy Spirit 'gives utterance'. Invite Jesus into your hearts and open a whole new world, a new persective on the true meaning of life and specifically what Jesus wants for you and of you in your life.

For all Catholics everywhere (this needs to be an International truely Catholic effort) who can not be at the Cathedral tomorrow - set your timers for just before 1pm GMT and start your Rosaries. The effects of this collective and most powerful prayer will be felt for sure and who knows what fruits may come from this.

Also any one who is suffering can also pray the Rosary and make great use of this 'gift' offering it to Jesus to use for the salvation of souls.

Let's make tomorrow a victory for Jesus and our Holy Father.

Michael Petek said...

Peter Tatchell says this on the website at the other end of the hyperlink:

"The Pope opposes women's rights, gay equality, embryonic stem cell research, death with dignity and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV."

Let's start with "death with dignity". On 14 July 1933 the Nazis set up the T4 committee (after its headquarters at 4 Tiergartenstrasse, Berlin) which euthanised 275,000 people according to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

Now, let's look at homosexuality and the Nazi movement.

Baldur von Schirach, the leader of the Hitler Youth, had been arrested by the police for 'perverse sexual practices' but released on Hitler's order. In 1934 the Gestapo reported over forty cases of pederasty in a single troop of the Hitler Youth.

The brownshirted Stormtroopers (SA = Sturmabteilungen) were the successors of the Rossbachbund which had been created by the openly-homosexual Gerhard Rossbach. This was a predominantly homosexual unit of the Freikorps which was active in Germany and the Baltic States after World War One.

The homosexual magazine Der Eigene wrote in 1930, "Men such as Captain Roehm are, to our knowledge, no rarity at all in the National Socialist Party. It rather teems there with homosexuals of all kinds. The joy of man in man is the highest virtue of the Teutons, it blossoms around their campfires and is cultivated and fostered by them in a way done in no other male union that is reared on party politics."

The Captain Roehm in question was Ernst Roehm, the leader of the SA and a notorious homosexual. He and the rest of the SA leadership were arrested by the SS at Wiessee on 30 June 1934 and then shot.

When the SS burst in they found Breslau SA leader Edmund Heines in bed with an eighteen-year-old male SA senior troop leader.

Former German Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher, himself a founder of the Freikorps, referred to the SA and the early Nazis as "filthy boy streetwalkers!".

That takes care of fascist, racist and xenophobic as predicates of people who had much in common with Mr Tatchell.

As for misogyny, how come he prefers men to women?

Elizabeth said...

Another rent a mob situation, this hatred of the Catholic Church is just the devil throwing around his venom, Jesus came "to destroy the works of the devil" (I Jn 3:8), to free man from Satan's slavery, and to establish the kingdom of God after destroying the reign of Satan. However, between the first coming of Christ and the Parousia , the devil tries to entice as many people as possible to his side. It is a battle he wages with the desperation of one who knows he is already defeated Therefore, Paul tells us in all honesty that "we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12).

We are badly prepared in this country to combat secularism because over the last 45 years the Faith has not been taught and the Sacred has vanished. Satan's power is felt more keenly in periods of history when the sinfulness of the community is more evident. For example, when you view the decadence of the Roman Empire, you can see the moral disintegration of that period in history. Now we are at the same level of decadence, because of Western secularism, consumerism and materialism, which has poisoned our society.

We are depriving today’s children of the beautiful inheritance of their Catholic Faith.

Thank God for the return of Latin Mass.

I came across the following peom and thought it very apt.

Mary Had a Little Lamb
His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere theat Mary went,
The Lamb was sure to go.
He followed her to school each day,
Twasn’t even in the rule.
He made the children laugh and play.
To have a Lamb at school.
And then the rules all changed one day, illegal it became;
To bring the Lamb of God to school, or even speak His Name.
Everyday got worse,
And days turned into years.
Instead of hearing children laugh,
We heard gun shots and tears.
What must we do to stop the crime,
That’s in our lives today?
Let’s let the Lamb come back to school,
And teach our kids to pray.

pelerin said...

Googling around I discovered to my surprise that the gay and lesbian humanist association had a demo last September outside the Labour Party conference here in Brighton. Bearing such placards as 'Pope Nope' there appeared to be three people involved - if it had been well supported then I imagine the association's site would have shown this.

I also discovered that the London demo on Sunday is not the first. There are photos of last year's on a site - lots of photos of men with megaphones and it was policed but from the photos I would not describe it as a large demo by any means. I went on one of the anti-war demos in 2003 and that WAS enormous.

Does anyone remember any coverage of last year's London demo? Incidentally it is actually a demo for 'No vatican interference and London for a secular Europe' although following the invitation to the Holy Father the anti-visit protest appears to be tagged on this time.

the owl of the remove said...

One of your saddest, but wisest posts, Father. Exactly why the recent 'ad limina' was so important. Interestingly, in John Allen's new book, he identifies apologetics as one of the most important needs in the Church today.

Fr William R. Young said...

One wonders how much these people have contributed to the Haiti earthquake fund.

Elizabeth said...

Let's not forget the annual burning of the effigy of the Pope at the Lewis 5th November firework celebrations.
The Pope is doing so much good that is why he is in the public eye and making the demons furious.

Long live Papa Benedict. All catholics should pray for him daily.

Shepherd said...

Diane K has the right approach....pray the Rosary outside the Cathedral
Would that I was able to get there.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Quite Fr William,
As well as saying the Rosary, it might be an idea to distribute hot coffee and buns, and ask for a donation to Haiti.
Oh for some nice old nuns in veils to do it!

Fr Ray Blake said...

I never publish anonymous comments but some said:
On the plus side, it's good to see you reaching out to other denominations Father- your photo is of the Vineyard Church, St Albans. It's thanks to my previous life as a testifying evangelical that I recognised my old haunt!

I am afraid I just found it on the net

Michael Clifton said...

Ii wish I was well enough to be there tomorrow to join the praying group against this demo. I wish you well if you can get there..why not sing "Full in the Panting Heart of Rome" sometime during the demo.

Volpius Leonius said...

"Hey Everybody, this is the era of the Laity."

Which is why it has been such a disaster.

The professionals want amateurs to do their job for them, it does not take a prophet to foresee that the results will be negative.

A lay man who studies his faith in his spare moments when he is not working some secular job to provide for his family or taking care of his wife and children will never come close to a man who spends 6-10 years in a seminary studying for the priesthood.

The small number of laymen who have become professional apologist are only able to do so because they are full time apologists who manage to provide for their families through apologetics itself.

And their example should serve as a rebuke to all those successors of the Apostles who cower behind the walls or their cathedral afraid to confront the evils of our day, afraid to spread the Good News in its entirely, including the hard bits.

The layman must do his part yes, but he cannot be expected to play the main part, or even all of the parts he simply does not have the time needed to gain the necessary expertise.

That is not to say things cannot be done to make the laity more effective, but as the Bishops are the ones who control Catholic education again it comes back to the Bishops to take the necessary action.

So it comes down to the laity to force the Bishops to be Bishops, that is the greatest role the laity have to play in our current times.

It is as Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen put it:

"Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious like religious."

That is the most important role of the laity and in fulfilling it we make the difference between our Bishops saving their souls or been damned to hell and dragging the multitude down there with them.

Delia said...

Berenike: good idea if you're aged 18–35...

Volpius Leonius said...

They always try to have the protests for as broad a spectrum of issues as possible Pelerin its the only way they can get a turn out that is not self defeating.

Simon Platt said...

Dear Volpius,

Thank you for that dose of good sense.

Augustine said...

"The layman must do his part yes, but he cannot be expected to play the main part, or even all of the parts he simply does not have the time needed to gain the necessary expertise."

VL, we should remember that Christ was a layman, living and working as a carpenter in Galilee.

I should also point out that the 'main part' is not that of institutionalised, professional clergy. The clergy exist to serve the Church as a whole.

The 'main part' in witnessing to the world is simply having faith in God and living the Christ-life. This has NOTHING to do with seven years studying scholastic theology and biblical languages.

The clergy are not the problem, and it is lazy to suggest that the ills currently experienced in English Christianity (whether Roman, Anglican or otherwise) is due to a weakness amongst our bishops.

Bishops and priests do not come from nowhere; they all have a personal background in the lay community. If there is a problem with the bishops as individuals, it stems from a problem with us as a body. Solving the problem of the laity will correct the problem of the clergy. Not the other way round!

Even if we like to think of ourselves as orthodox individuals, there nonetheless remains a failure on our part to act as the whole Body.

The defence of the Catholic Faith requires that we hold to the truths of Scripture as interpreted by the tradition on the Church, and obey our Lord's command to love our neighbours as our self. St Augustine was converted in part by Ambrose's Christian charity, not for his scholarly learning or formulaic orthodoxy.

The fault lies with ourselves, the laity, the body of Christ as a whole, and not with the clergy. The laity are not mean to be passive, and it is wrong to suppose that bombastic prelates would correct rampant heresy and moral apathy.

The laity have abdicated Christian responsibility, preferring to leave the everyday practice and defence of the Faith to 'professional' priests and apologists. The laity must recognise its own calling to live a visible Christ-life, finding a golden mean between timidity and sanctimonious pride. That balance seems remarkably lacking amongst the English laity.

It is ourselves, the laity, who must learn to repent and believe the Gospel.

Independent said...

Who was it said "Don't get mad, get even"? Perhaps it is good advice.

sandy said...

I think the demo is Sunday at 1pm.Not tomorrow....

Moretben said...

Augustine

You're absolutely right. I wish I'd put it as well as you.

ICXC NIKA

Volpius Leonius said...

"VL, we should remember that Christ was a layman, living and working as a carpenter in Galilee."

Firstly Christ is God, Secondly He is not a layman He is even higher than the Pope, Thirdly He had been doing apologetics from as early as that time He went missing in the temple, fourthly even He gave up the carpentry business when he really started on His mission. And fifthly He is the Word of God itself.

So as you can see Christ is not just a lay carpenter who happens to have a bit of knowledge from studying in His spare time.

If there is a problem with the laity than it is the clergy to blame for that, it is the clergy who are meant to sanctify the laity, if we are unholy it is because they have failed in their mission to make us holy and save our souls, they have failed to pass on God's grace to the laity.

It is not lazy at all, it is recognition of the fact that without priests there would be no salvation, they are essential, if they fail we all fail because they are the conduits through which God's grace is bestowed upon the laity.

"When the Lord chastises a people, the chastisement begins with the priest, for he is the cause of the sins of the people, either by his bad example, or by his negligence in attending to their sanctification. Hence the Lord says, The time is that judgement should begin at the house of God. In the slaughter described by Ezechiel, God wished the priests to be the first victims of his vengeance: Begin ye at my sanctuary. That is, says Origen, 'with the priests.' A most severe judgement, says the Wise Man, for them that bear rule. And unto whom, says Jesus Christ, much is given, of much shall be required."

-Dignity and Duties of the Priest, by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, first published in 1760, pp. 83-84.

Moretben said...

"You yourselves are at fault. You made poor use of the good priest, and the Lord took him away. Tell me, did you become better from your previous good priest? Here you falter to say, "Yes". But I from a distance shall say that you did not become better, judging by the fact that you are judging the new priest, not knowing how to control your feelings in relation to him as you should. Indeed, you had a good priest even before this good priest who has now departed from you, and the one before him was good too. You see how many good priests the Lord has sent you; but you all have not become any better for it. And here He has decided: why waste good priests on these people? I'll send them one not so good. And He did. Seeing this, you should have at once paid attention to yourself, to repent and improve, but you just judge and keep judging over and over again. Improve yourselves, and then the priest will at once be changed. He will think: With these people I cannot carry out my holy work carelessly; I must serve reverently and conduct edifying conversations. And he will mend his ways. If priests are negligent and hurried in serving the services and are trivial in conversations, then most of the time it comes from conforming to the parishioners."
- St Thophan the Recluse.

How about the following for Lent, as Christian alternative to the Culture War?

Save, Lord, and have mercy on those whom I have caused to stumble, turning them away from the path of salvation and leading them to evil and unseemly deeds. Return them to the path of salvation by thy Divine Providence.
(a prostration is made)
Save, Lord, and have mercy on those who hate me and offend me, and do me harm. Do not let them perish because of me, a sinner.
(a prostration is made)

Moretben said...

St Theophan continues:

"Saying this, I am not justifying the priest. He has no excuse, if he tempts the souls entrusted to him... But I say only what is more useful for you to do in the given case. And the most important thing I have already said: do not judge, but pay attention to yourselves and improve yourself both in prayer and in conversation, and in all your behavior. Pray for this with all your heart, that the Lord will correct the priest. And He will correct him. Only pray properly. The Lord said, that if two agree about anything and will begin to pray, then they will have their request (Matt. 18:19). So all you right-thinking parishioners gather together and decide to pray for the priest; join fasting to your prayer and redouble your almsgiving; and do this not just for a day or two, but for weeks, months, a year. Labor and afflict yourself with brokenness so long as the priest has not changed. And he will change; be certain that he will."

Roger Buck said...

Your reply to me contains a very great deal of beauty I think.

Still I want to say that when you write:


"Being angry with these brothers and sisters, and judging them, is a sin. Seeking to "win" them round by means of Culture Wars, or appeals to Authority, or cast-iron Thomistic syllogisms is a total waste of time at best, and a snare of the Evil One at worst. If there was ever a time for that kind of discourse, it's far too late for it now."

I would have you note that I wrote originally to this effect:

"If we *feel* for *these* poor in the depths of our hearts ...

I think we will join Father Ray in wondering why there is such terrible lethargy here ..

And if we FEEL rather than RANT our hearts will compel us to acts of love ..."

Which is to say, I have no interest in ranting angrily at my brothers and sisters.

I am not sure though that:

“Being angry with these brothers and sisters, and judging them, is a sin.”

Anger does not seem a sin to me. Our Lord was angry in the temple. And with a heart of burning love you could say that his remarks to the pharisees were a form of judgment of their actions if not their essential beings ...

I think there may well be a need, provided our hearts are VERY TENDER to say to certain forms of secularism: “Hypocrisy!”

But let us pray that our hearts are filled with love as we take this step ...

Hatred IS a sin. Anger can be a sign that´s one´s heart is ALIVE to world suffering.

I think yout call to penitence and more very beautiful.

But I do wonder if you are *writing-off* too much when you say as you said originally

"Only one apologetics can do anything worthwhile or permanent: martyria - prayer, repentance, forgiveness of enemies, love of the poor. All the rest is just talk."

Yes we must be very prudent about destructive ranting, we must pray that our hearts become like unto His tender and humble.

And if we do that we may forge a burningly needed apologetics, but one which has little to do perhaps with much of this:

“Seeking to "win" them round by means of Culture Wars Seeking to "win" them round by means of Culture Wars, or appeals to Authority, or cast-iron Thomistic syllogisms is a total waste of time at best,, or cast-iron Thomistic syllogisms is a total waste of time at best,”

I share some of your concerns here. I do believe in “appeal to authority” however.

Our world is falling, falling, falling for the false authorities of the media, the corporate agenda, secularism ...

I want to appeal in all charity that I can muster from my stony heart that we realise people are being destroyed by these self-serving “authorities” and that there is a crying need to listen to an Authority based not on the market and the latest trends, but on the Tradition over centuries, on prayer, reflection, devotion ... on all that and far more that has constituted the Magisterium ...

Volpius Leonius said...

Praying for the Bishops does not mean you cannot also ask your Bishop to be a Bishop, you can do both, and should do both.

By doing so you strengthen the Bishop on the right path, Bishops are human to they need to be encouraged to do the right thing, if for no other reason than to negate the pressure put upon them by the enemies of the Church.

If the Bishops never hear that we expect him to act like a Bishop and to be 100% orthodox it becomes far to easy for them to choose the path of least resistance, that is, to go along with the secularists and the modernists just for an easy life. It is the nature of many men to try and avoid conflict at any cost, if only one side is fighting for what they believe then it is that side that such men will appease, to the detriment of everyone else.

This is also why we have a Pope, why we have Canon Law, and why we have courts among other things. To encourage people to do the right thing.

God more often than not works through human beings, through us, he expects more from us than just prayers, he expects deeds as well, he expects action.

Especially from the laity.

Volpius Leonius said...

Anger is not an intrinsic sin, in fact lack of anger when anger is justified is a sin according to the angelic doctor, we follow Christ not Gandhi. Christ got angry and Christ was sinless.

Who did he get angry with?

People who where teaching error and leading the people astray.

santoeusebio said...

As regards the relationship between Bishops and Laity I feel the history of the Portuguese church is useful.

In the 18th century the Marquis of Pombal managed to change the Catholic church in Portugal into a version of the Anglican Church. The Monarch was to recommend bishops and decide on doctrine. As a result during the 19th century the church became more and more liberal and the Bishops worse and worse. The Government would recommend a priest for Bishop and the Patriarch would pass it on to the Vatican saying what a good chap he was. However sometimes the Patriarch followed this up with a secret letter. One of them concerned the Bishop of Santarem whom he described as having taken up with a lady who owned a tavern. "He was only to be seen with his sleeves rolled up serving beer at the bar. We have had complaints from the Mayor that he has corrupted the local police force by offering them free drinks after hours. This recommendation by the Government is merely intended to bring discredit upon the hierarchy".

Come Vatican I four bishops were dispatched to Rome with strict instructions to vote against Papal infallibility. But the laity had had enough. Fed up with lack of moral guidance from the Bishops and longing for Papal teaching they campaigned in the Press and elsewhere for a vote in favour of Papal infallibility. One bishop returned home in disgrace (drink?), one abstained and two voted in favour of papal infallibility.

Eventually of course the cosy relationship between the hierarchy and the Government came to an end when the freemasons came to power at the start of the 20th century. Our Lady, at Fatima, gave the final coup de grace to ultra-liberalism in the Portuguese church.

Nicolas Bellord

berenike said...

what moretben and Augustine said.

Moretben said...

Roger

Thank you very much for your kind reply. I have to say that though I've certainly heard of "righteous anger", I've never seen it. I've seen fear, defensiveness, prideful indignation, self-assertion dressed up in the language of "righteousness" - but truly dispassionate, holy anger - no, I've never seen that, other than in the Lord Himself (who as VL reminds us is entirely a Special Case). I think the mystery of Lord's anger is something we simply fall on our faces before, not something we're invited to imitate. We're too far fallen for that. Self-emptying and humility are enough of a struggle on their own - a "kenotic" anger and humble rage is, I think, entirely beyond us.

You're right though, insofar as we must always be "ready to give an account of the Hope that it is in us"; but we simply cannot do that unless the Hope is really there - unless we trust Christ enough to abandon ourselves to Him in simplicity and repentance, knowing that He "will give us the words we need". Mere arguments around the application of the Christian world-view simply cannot be appropriated by those who do not know Christ. Appeals to the "Magisterium" are mere circularities. Demonstrations in logic and philosophy, however useful, of the rightness of the Christian understanding of Man in the universe, on their own reduce Christ to the level of another ideology. God knows, one sees more than enough of that.

Ultimately, our only criterion of Truth is Christ Himself. So we have to show Christ. Christ - not just another pig-pen tricked out in baroque lace and glib ideological rhetoric (and therefore twice as repulsive).

Personally, I think we're going to have to face up to the fact that the world has called time on our disorders. Like Nebuchadnezzar, it's making ready to throw us to the flames. We're all going to pay for the conniving apostasy of "the Liberals"; for the willful stupidity of the Fundamentalists; for the reality-dodging, paper-religion of the Catholics; for the complacent ethnocentricity of the Orthodox; for the ideological "crusading" of the neo-Conservatives; for the histrionic narcisism of the "Trads". Persecution in the modern era has been the norm, not (as Anglophones so easily persuade themselves) the exception.

So we'd better get ready, finally, to suffer with Christ in order to rise with Him. Lots of people hate us, bitterly - and it's mostly our fault, not theirs.

pelerin said...

Re tomorrow's demo: there was a tv van with satellite dish parked outside the Cathedral this evening. I wondered if it was there to film something else going on in the vicinity tomorrow or whether it is there to record the start of the protest march.

It is a pity the demo did not coincide with today's Mass there for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. As I had had to miss the Mass on Thursday for once I was delighted they moved the feast to Saturday. The cathedral was absolutely packed, everyone with a Lourdes candle and the enthusiastic singing of the Lourdes hymn and the Salve Regina was such a joy. The great doors were open and the music must have reverberated round the piazza.

There was a moment of humour when it was announced that they were running late as one of the ambulances had taken one of the sick to Westminster Abbey by mistake and we were waiting for it to arrive. Perhaps tomorrow many of the would be protesters will make the same mistake - one can but hope!

pelerin said...

PS I spotted two piles of Tablets each 3 or 4 inches thick on sale in the Cathedral.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Aldni,
I never comment on personalities, once they are mentioned a whole rash of criticisms emerge, its not fair, and often not just.
"Magic Circle" is a term I refrain from using, it is a bit of stereotyping that is not helpful.

gemoftheocean said...

Moretben: You've NEVER seen righteous anger? You're joking right?

[....just for openers...what about all the justifiable righteous anger we've seen about many countries and many dioceses where bishops just shuffled pedo priests around, or defenceless innocent children where cruely treated in many Catholic institutions?]

I think yif you looked just a weensie bit harder you might see a lot of justified righteous anger.

And liturgically if you look around you can find a lot of justified righteous anger where priests celebrate Mass by treating the Eucharist as if it was some sort of symbol instead of the actual Body and Blood of Christ.

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

Fr. Blake:

I found this post in Fr. Z's WDTPRS. Props to you for such a meaty sermon-in-a-minute. I wish you'd come over to our side of the pond and teach some of our priests to "cast fire"!

Sadie Vacantist said...

As Richard Ingrams pointed out in the "The Indie" on Saturday 13th, what was striking about Fry and Hitchens when interviewed by Widdecombe recently was their anger and rudeness.

What we need in response is someone who possesses wit and intelligence. The protestant Ann Coulter is on another planet to anything we have in this country. The late Auberon Waugh was made of a similar stuff but we lost him at Vatican II.

In truth, post-conciliar Catholicism does not attract or invite smart, intelligent or witty apologetics.

Fr. John Guy Winfrey said...

Hmmm. What ever happened to the old Catholic Truth Society in England? I remember seeing odd copies of tracts and such that they wrote and published in the 1910s and 1920s. It was usually all good stuff... good enough to have reached me in Texas in the 1980s! Ought it not be brought forward again? We could all benefit from such sound level headed apologetics, that too often forgotten task.

Fr Ray Blake said...

CTS: is still going, and goes pretty well.

Sadie Vacantist said...

With respect Father, the recent CTS documents I have read look very odd indeed. Something has gone wrong there in the same way it did with CASE which is about to be closed.

I can't think of a single post-conciliar initative that has worked. Can you?

My life is a mess and I freely admit it. What annoys me about the modern hierarchy and their underlings is that they won't publicly take responsibility for the shambles over which they currently preside.