Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shattering the Foundation Stones

Self-loathing is a worrying thing. When people suddenly find themselves beating their breast, not so much because a past wrong or present regret comes to mind but simply because they are hate themselves then there is problem.

When bishops or priests publicly profess their detestation of the immediate past it is obvious the Church has a problem. One of good things the Holy Father has tried to deal with with Summorum Pontificum was to reconcile today with yesterday so there might be a tomorrow. The words, "what earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful". These words by themelves cut us from the Pol Pot "year zero" mentallity, that seemed to suggest the Church had recreated itself around AD 1970. One of the most damaging things to spirituality and theology of the Church was to cut itself off from its history. By doing so the Church opened itself to all kinds of madness, falsity and novelty for novelty's sake.

The commandment "honour your mother and father" is followed by the statement "and you shall live long in the land" means, presumably, something about fideity to that which has given birth to you so that you may have a secure future. We have experienced the disaster in the Church when that which sustained our parents and their parents has been treated with contempt.

Today in our society we are expereincing the same thing the Church went through in the latter half of the twentieth century, the gay "marriage" issue is just one example. There is an amnesia at best, perhaps something more sinister that seems to want to strip our culture of its Christian rootedness. England has probably not been Christian since the 16th century but it has used Christian metaphors and concepts to express its sense of being and to say something about what it considers "good". It gave a language that we could some how agree giving expression to common aspirations and virtues. We imade God in our own image and likeness and identified him as an Englishman so that we could express metaphysical realities in a narrative form, understandable by all in our society..

"Being a Christian", as one public school headmaster said, "was really being an English gentlemen" (forget . mystical union with Christ, or radical discipleship, we are speaking here of Englishness). With a more  or less commonly agreed  understanding of the Christian narrative the lessons of self-sacrifice, of the obligations of the wealthy to the poor, of marital fidelity, of obedience to authority could be easily be illustrated and communicated.

In much of media debate over the redifinition of marriage, the hatred of the Christian concepts seem almost palpable. The redefinition of marriage strikes at one of the foundation stones our of society and the rejection of the Christian narrative at another.

One definition of "religion" is "to bind together" both the Christian narrative and marriage are elements that have bound us together. In a time when economic and therefore politically instability seem be looming on the horizon, the rejection of both of these seems a very wreckles and dangerous thing. At such times in history societies go in search of strong leadership, on this Holocaust Memorial Day we need to remember how easy it is for apparently peaceful societies to become vicious and murderous, think of Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda. When government becomes the arbiter of what is right and wrong the positivist totalitarian regimes of the first half of the 20th century seem to be breathing on our necks again.

Interestingly when the Church realised the mess it had got itelf into it looked to the strong leadership of JPII and Benedict XVI, these are benign leaders, I do not think secular leaders are likely to be quite so benign.

11 comments:

Supertradmum said...

Thank you for this thoughtful post. We must never forget the Holocaust or any genocidal actions.

Europe has moved so far away from her roots; she has settled for the temporary, the superficial and the stupid. It is up to all of us to help return the Faith to Europe, as Europe is the Faith or it is nothing.

Physiocrat said...

If the Guardian's Comment is Free is any guide to the mood of the country,then it is a worrying state of affairs.

wretchedwithhope said...

'to reconcile today with yesterday so there might be a tomorrow'

it's voices like this in the internet wilderness that give one hope that the increasingly few and far between oasis' of authentic Christly nourishment will indeed not be swamped by the hell of lethe.

The Jews will never let the Holocaust of WWII be forgotten - the Rabbis have kept it and all those other 'escapes' from obliteration alive and breathing as a vital sinew, a connection between Judaism and the Rock of Israel. Why then is that most sacred 'thing' vouchsafed to the Gentiles being determindely 'forgotten'? We know the answer, it's not the Church's agenda that it be forgotten, it's the agenda of the father of fibs and all his willing whigs who've always been trying to dilute pollute and ultimately dry up the Living Water.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

'The Pol Pot "year zero" mentality' is a very good description of much of what happened in the Church after Vatican II. That mentality is still there to some degree. I would say that very few priests ordained in the years after Vatican II - I was ordained in December 1967 - were unaffected by it.

There's a lot of wisdom in Reb Tevye's 'Tradition'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRdfX7ut8gw

Uncle Blobb said...

Thank you, Father. I'm an American. I'm praying for England, and Europe.

nickbris said...

We may as well give up the fight about SSM as the biggest star in the history of BBC Television Claire Balding wants to get married to her partner Alice Arnold.

Don't know where Maria Miller comes into this equation but there is a bad odour about the whole thing.When a miniscule minority is allowed to push through the most unwanted legislation of all time it is time to turn the ploughshares into swords.

RJ said...

Agreed, Father.

nickbris said...

Holy Mother Russia is coming to the rescue.Abortion will be very carefully controlled and promotion of unnatural acts will be severely punished.SSM is off the agenda

johnf said...

According to the UN data the abortion rate in Russia (abortions per 1000 women between the ages of 15-44) was a terrifying 53.7

In comparison the USA is 20.8 and the UK 17.0, which are atrocious enough.

UN Data

nickbris said...

Shouldn't take much notice of UN data or Amnesty International for that matter.

The BBC is also a good source of misinformation,they have promoted the terrorist riff-raff in North Africa & Syria to Jihadists which means we are now involved in a Holy War. Are we helping out as Christians or Atheists?

johnf said...

The UK statistic agrees with other data from NHS, so at least one of the points on the UN graph is believable. The old USSR was long recognised as having an enormously high abortion rate. So it doesn't surprise me to find that Russia and ex satellites of the USSR have a staggeringly high abortion rate.

In the absence of contrary data I would accept the UN stuff at face value.