Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Anti-Evangelism


My Aunt Grace when I was a child was a Congregationalist, she lived down the street opposite us just above us was the her church, it was really just a corrugated iron hut which she used to clean every Saturday. Occasionally I would go with her but there was picture a bit like the one above, it was Jesus surrounded by children of different nationalities, even then, I couldn't have been more that six, probably younger, it seemed a bit creepy and not very convincing, in fact I remember very consciously looking at it and deciding I rejected it and what went with it.

It was a piece of anti-evangelism, to me as a small child it was obviously fake the tin hut has long gone and the Protestant sect to which it belonged has almost disappeared. Separating the real Jesus of scripture from his Church is the best way of destroying the Church and make the Catholic Church disappear. 

All the doctrines that 'Catholics' of a certain hue seem to want to disregard or are embarrassed by are actually 'of the Lord': Hell, judgement, eternal life come from Him, so do the condemnation of divorce and remarriage, the promotion of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom. It is Jesus who speaks about these things and Christians who are so often embarrassed by them.

The teaching of the early Church, which though not explicitly taught by Jesus in the canonical Gospel is so ancient and so obviously shared by ancient Jewish communities, it was obviously teaching Jesus would have no problem with because it fits the rigour of the Gospels, it is not mentioned by him simply because no-one around him would have questioned it. I mean the prohibition on contraception and openness to life, the detestation of same sex relations, the abhorrence of abortion.

I can't help but get annoyed when people say: the Church doesn't allow divorce etc., because it is not the Church, it Jesus himself who teaches such things.

It is interesting those Christian communities who we have always judged to have validly ordained Bishops: the ancient Churches, who hold fast to authentic Christian teaching, whilst those whose orders we would say are invalid, that have itching ears and seek to bend with every wind who seemed incapable of fidelity.

14 comments:

GOR said...

Good points, Father.

So often when people dissent or criticize, they use terms like ”The Church”, “The Vatican” or “The Curia” as the object of their criticism. You rightly point out that the Church cannot be divorced from Our Lord and only teaches what He taught, expanding on the understanding of Doctrine - under His guarantee of non-defectibility.

If they were to substitute ‘Jesus’ as the object of their criticism, would they have the same attitude…? Perhaps they would, but then they could hardly call themselves followers of Christ - much less Catholics.

Simon Reilly said...

The picture you remember seeing is probably identical with the picture (entitled "Suffer the Children to come unto me.") that appears in a copy of The Book of Common Prayer with Children's illustrations. Somebody on seeing the picture said that you could just imagine Jesus sitting on the veranda, sipping a gin and tonic after the Children (from all corners of the British Empire) had departed to their homes.

Cosmos said...

Thank you, Father. Those are some very good points.

EFpastor emeritus said...

Nearly well said! :-)

Deacon Augustine said...

"...whilst those whose orders we would say are invalid, that have itching ears and seek to bend with every wind who seemed incapable of fidelity."

Unfortunately the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain has just issued a text which the most liberal of Protestants would be proud of. They want the Synod of Bishops to endorse contraception, divorce and remarriage, homosexual activity - you name it.

There is no wonder that there is so much confusion in the pews about what the Church teaches. We no longer have an episcopate which has the faith or courage to defend Church teaching and so these dissidents will go unchallenged - again.

If the hierarchy continues to undermine the faith by their quietism, we are destined to go the same way as the Congregationalists. When you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

parepidemos said...

Father Blake,

The few Gospel passages which mention Jesus and children indicate that He would have been someone with whom children were comfortable. I think that this is what the painting is conveying.

The painting is far from being a masterpiece, but I find it odd that you would use the term "creepy" and certainly fail to see how it is anti-evangelistic.

viterbo said...

'All the doctrines that 'Catholics' of a certain hue seem to want to disregard or are embarrassed by are actually 'of the Lord': Hell, judgement, eternal life come from Him, so do the condemnation of divorce and remarriage, the promotion of celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom... prohibition on contraception and openness to life, the detestation of same sex relations, the abhorrence of abortion. It is Jesus who speaks about these things.'

Most sermons speak something that any guru would speak. The Word Made Flesh, the only begotten Son of the Living God rarely is referenced. In sermons Our Lord is painted as the perennial, 'lover, not a fighter'. I can't recall ever hearing the word 'sin' mentioned from the pulpit of my local.

If we could engender within ourselves through prayer and the sacraments a solid belief in hell, judgement, eternal life, a detestation of divorce and remarriage, same-sex relations, abortion etc. If we don't we'll keep promoting the poison of mortal sins and others will keep taking the poison. Detoxing from these poisons is hard work but it has to be done. As Deacon Auggie says: When you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

p.s. the picture is creepy - it looks like a hollywood-harikrishna with his little unpaid kitchen maids and pamphlet pushers.

Unknown said...

"It was Jesus surrounded by children of different nationalities". Huh?? Excuse me Father, but they all look like white folks to me! Lol

Jacobi said...

We now have widespread rejection of Catholic teaching amongst those who call themselves Catholic.
There are effectively two Churches within Catholicism, one orthodox, and one secularised and relativist which picks and chooses its beliefs, particularly those associated with the deadly sins of Lust and Greed.

The Holy Father has started by trying to include such people in the hope they will eventually come round, a highly dubious approach, which does not help those who struggle to hold to orthodoxy. Now I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes, but the time must be approaching when the Church, in order to avoid just melting away, like the Protestant sect you mentioned, Father, must once again proclaim Scripture, Revelation, Tradition and Infallibility – and apply Excommunication on those who reject Catholicism.

As Benedict said, we will have to accept a smaller Church, for some time, at least

Sixupman said...

In the current "Christian Order" there is a quote from the redoubtable, lamentably late, Fr. Hugh Thwaites, S.J.:

"It seems to me that the Church of the future is going to consist of those families who have been faithful to the Rosary. But there will be vast numbers of people whose families used to be Catholic.

The latter part, we have already reached.

Cosmos said...

parepidemos,

I am not speaking for Fr. Blake, but I will tell you why I think it is anti-evangelistic.

People are attracted to beauty and authenticity. They are repulsed by the opposite. Even when a piece of art has a "good message," if it is rendered unskilfully or in a overly-sentimental or cliche manner, it send the wrong message. As they say, "the medium IS the message."

This is the precise problem with the way the Novus Ordo is often "performed." You can talk all day about the meaning of the words used in the NO, but liturgy is not just a matter of conveying an idea. It is a combination of words, actions, gestures, music, art, and forms. A liturgy can be perfectly orthodox in an abstract sense, while simultaneously conveying that the Christian faith is small, silly, and not to be taken seriously. That is what is conveyed at many parishes. Cahtolicism is not to be taken seriously.

CONTROVERSY ALERT: Much of what is done in modern religious liturgy and art seems to appeal to old ladies and little girls--as well as good-natured people who try to like it against their natural inclinations. But it repulses adolecent boys and men. The natural reaction of men who are told to stand up and hold hands with smiling strangers or sing a broadway style song back to some smiling worship leader with a silly grin on their face is to (a) look at the ground and fidget, or (b) get the heck out of there. That is exactly what is happening, and that is anti-evangelistic.

If someone "re-wrote" Waiting for Godot as a one paragraph play that said: "In contemporary society there is a loss of the sense of God. This has caused much anxiety and doubt. No one is quite sure what to do with it or how to bear it, but this reality is here to stay." Sure the idea is still there and accurately stated, but the power of the play to convey that message is gone. The art loses its worth.

Supertradmum said...

Someone asked me today whether Jess was an Arab. There is so much confusion concerning the fact that Christ was Jewish, as this is suppression in art over and over. As to evangelization, sadly, the Catholic Church has in some areas has thought that Protestant ideals of evangelization, such mega-churches with televisions, loud modern music of dubious worth, and horrible translations of the Bible.

This idea that the Catholic Church has to be "trendy" is absurd.

viterbo said...

unfortunately I think cosmos is spot on when it comes to what's been called the 'feminization' of the liturgy. if altar girls will do the job the boys won't bother, if women sign up to be Eucharistic 'ministers' the men don't 'need' to. And on. It's not for nothing that Our Lord made the Priesthood and the work of the Sanctuary the job of men. It's not for nothing that the SSPX are flourishing with vocations - there's no confusion or conflating or dissipating the boundaries - I don't know how the FSSP are doing but they seem to be growing.

but then now it's women doing all these things how do you get the men to bother again?

Dymphna said...

When I was a child I saw a similar painting and I found it rpulsive and creepy as well. The closest thing I could find to it is below.

http://lds-artists.org/sites/default/files/Copy%20ofChildren%20With%20Jesus.jpg