Friday, November 14, 2014

The Ham Sandwich Test

Those Oxford chaps, like that glorious erudite and dazzling ornament of the Ordinariate, might indeed climb the stairs of the Ashmole in order to converse with the stony face of Benedict XIV Lambertini, who reminds him of Newman's teaching:
The Church holds it better for sun and moon to drop from Heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in the most extreme agony... than that one soul... should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth or should steal one poor farthing...
I tend to meet  Soli Zuckerman on the No 1 bus, when I visit someone in the hospital, he's a tailor who now works for Homebase or something like that. Tonight he was returning home for family Shabbat he is delightfully loquacious, I asked him about liberal Judaism "Rab", he said, "It is all about ham sandwiches and Quiche Lorraine, that's the key. Bacon, they stop at that".

He was telling me about a friend of his who is a member of the Liberal Synagogue at the end of my road, I thought it was being demolished, the last time I passed by the doors were open and everything was stripped out. One of Soli's friends married a third time, this time "he married out" and embraced "liberalism". "They might use English, they might have services in which women form a quorum along with men or even on there own, they might happily have a Lesbian Rabbi but they won't have a ham sandwich or pork pie for their shared lunches". I checked and Soli was right.

There is a bottom line for every religion, for Soli and even Liberal Jews it is pork, at least not in the synagogue. For Catholics, at one time the bottom line was Friday meat eating, now it is a bit more difficult but I suppose what the marble lips of Benedict XIV were saying is that for the hierarchy the promotion of sin is impossible, the Church cannot accept it.

As I have just seen one blog put it we end up in an Orwellian world, quite different from Christ's if we say,


Fred Brown said...

The problem is not sin, but our perception of what is sinful.
There's a famous Episcopalian female vicar in the USA and she claims that it is sinful to deny any woman the right to abort their fetus.This gives light to the damnable lie that Ecumenism is from the Holy Spirit and also highlights the problems we are facing

How can we proceed when there are those in the Church, one or two at the highest level, that are trying to convince us that we are 'sinful' for not accepting certain things as good that were once not questioned as being sinful e.g., allowing the divorced and civilly re-married to receive Holy Communion?

Fred Brown said...

I forget the link

Daniel J said...

True, Father, but a little unfortunate that you had a post with a pic of ham sandwich on a Friday when I'm feeling hungry and would love some meat!

JARay said...

I know where you saw your last quote. I have seen the same blog. Indeed we have to take seriously the effects of even the smallest of venial sins. All sin is offensive to God and if we close our eyes to even some offenses we are weakening our relationship with God. The need of purgatory is crystal clear to me. God is supremely pure, Jesus is the lamb without spot and we part of the Body of Christ. We have to strive to attain that purity or we are not worthy of that Body.

Anil Wang said...

I agree that the lack of meatless Fridays has seriously affected the Church. You only need to look at the Humanae Vitae revolt for evidence. If people can't fast one day a week, how on earth can they do the necessary fasting if they want to use NFP? The results are clear. As was repeated again and again by the liberals at the last Synod, all fasting is a heroic virtue that not everyone is called to. Humanae Vitae will never be fully embraced until we return to a regular fast.

But I disagree with your bottom line argument. It gives a false illusion that Catholics are part of the faith when they are not. Look how far the liberal wing of Judaism is from Orthodox Judaism. You can be an outright atheist or pantheist committed to extreme secularism and still be considered a "devote Jew". And even liberal C&E Catholics do have their bottom lines too. For main liberal Catholics, the Christmas mass and Wednesday ashes are their bottom lines. And receiving the Eucharist is still considered a marker of Catholic identity, although for liberals the requirements not to receive if you are in a state of mortal sin isn't (i.e. I'm not a mass murderer. I'm a good guy and "God understands and is merciful").

I think the heart of the issue, isn't the "ham sandwich test", or the fasting, or the liturgy, or the poor catechesis, or the Catholic university revolt, or the Sister's revolt, or communion in the hand, or the belief that mercy trumps natural law. All these are important and need to be fixed, but they are not the core of the issue. The core issue is that in our worship the average NO Mass is not Ad Populum rather than Ad Deum. The meaning of worship has changed from a sacrifice where priests are both essential yet replaceable, to a shared praise of God where priests are special and (ideally in the average Catholic mind) entertaining and inspiration. From this fundamental change, all the other issues flow. Until this is fixed, any Pope attempting to remedy all the other issues will face an uphill challenge.

Romulus said...

Daniel J: Another penance you can offer up!

William said...

Yes, the ever-reliable Eccles has excelled himself this time. Nailhead, meet hammer.

northernHERMIT said...

Interesting post, and it does have me wondering: what is Christianity's and Catholicism's equivalent to that ham sandwich? The sandwich is simple and direct, and it does not get lost in fancy wording. Is there anything as universal as that ham sandwich that Christians will avoid because it offends their faith? It seems all of the big issues that used to define the faith are no longer much of a barrier. The smaller ones are either distant memories or ancient history.

Supertradmum said...

Fred Brown, the problem is that sin has been forgotten totally. I was talking with a Catholic yesterday whose wife is committing adultery and has been for years. The husband told me that he did not like to use that ugly word. I replied that the sin of adultery is ugly.

He is in denial and cannot get back into reality because he denies natural law which is God's law written on all our hearts.

Jewish identity is almost extinct in Britain as well as in other places, but fasting, abstinence and other rituals are useless without faith.

The loss of faith is reflected in the loss of penances.

Only the perfect see God is a common phrase on my blog where I have over 700 posts on perfection and 200 plus on what the Doctors of the Church have to say about perfection.

It is all about love.

When there is no love, there is no faith, no hope, no identity.

Jacobi said...

The bottom line for Catholics must be that we do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ, under the outward appearance of bread and wine, when we are in a state of Mortal Sin, I would suggest.

Sin is not difficult to determine. It is as obvious as a sack of potatoes as GKC said.

Christ said if we loved Him we must keep His Commandments. It is pretty clear therefore what sin is, not keeping Christ’s Commandments, all of them.

Liberals don’t fool themselves. They too know what sin is but are denying it to further their purposes, a further grievous sin.

One way to achieve this bottom line in Catholicism again, is to reject the Mass as an automatic protestant style communion rite. We could re-introduce the three hour fast. Not difficult really . I remember the “fast from midnight rule” and it did no harm at all, but, boy, did we enjoy breakfast afterwards.

It would also give all the wrathful, the greedy, the slothful, the divorced and remarried, the contraceptors, the oppressors of the poor, and so on an excuse to stay in the pews and not feel they had to join in and be seen by all and sundry, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ Sacrilegiously.

Cressida de Nova said...

Stealing a farthing is about as serious as breaking off a cutting from a neighbour's geranium to plant in your garden. A venial sin no doubt but certainly nothing important enough to warrant the moon and stars flying into orbit. Sometimes I think we forget that God is the epitome and font of reason and intelligence not given to hysteria and over reactions.

Cressida de Nova said...

Stealing a farthing is about as serious as breaking off a cutting from a neighbour's geranium to plant in your garden. A venial sin no doubt but certainly nothing important enough to warrant the moon and stars flying into orbit. Sometimes I think we forget that God is the epitome and font of reason and intelligence not given to hysteria and over reactions.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think Blessed JHN would suggest you forget God is absolute Goodness, and within Him there is no shadow, nor can he tolerate anything sinful.