Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ostracism or Demonmisation

Alexamenos worships his god "Christian or Anti-Christian graffitoRome, c. 200

We do seem to be pushed further and further to the edge of society, many people, including practising catholics seem to see the Church as unjust, cruel or even patently evil. One wonders if Bishop Budd's introduction to the book of Essays, published under the auspices of the Bishop's Conference reflects this view.

In a "sound bite" culture it is very easy top ridicule the position of the Church, especially when it stands against a the consumerist culture of disposability that was so much of the 20th Century. In Brighton especially it seems that the Church either conforms or is going to suffer ostracism or demonisation.

Francis, I haven't a surname, summed up my thoughts fairly well in the Comments Box on the piece about Amnesty International and abortion.

Francis said...
Fr. Ray,

The fact that Amnesty International has defined abortion in certain circumstances as a “human right” is another example of how the Catholic Church is being pushed into a position which exposes it to legal persecution on the trumped-up charge of “denying basic human rights.”

The corner that we are being painted into looks like this: We oppose abortion, therefore we “deny basic human rights”; we oppose gay sex and gay-couple adoption, therefore we “deny basic human rights”; we oppose artificial forms of birth control, therefore we “deny basic human rights”; we no not ordain women, therefore we “deny basic human rights”; we have single-sex religious orders, therefore we “deny basic human rights”; we have faith schools reserved for Catholics, therefore we “deny basic human rights”…

There is now a clear trend towards ostracizing – and indeed demonizing – Catholicism for its moral teachings as a prelude to a legal clampdown on the Church.

I would not be surprised if the end-game, at least in Europe, is the legal definition of the “right to protection from religious indoctrination” – which would not only put Catholic schools off-limits but also make it illegal to teach the faith to one’s children. The traditional right to freedom of religion will be restricted to adults who opt in, but exclude children who are co-opted in by their parents. (Islam, as an “expression of multi-culturalism,” will be granted an exemption).

We have 15 years at most before this becomes reality.

My question, what do we do?


Anonymous said...

Pray Hope & Don't Worry!

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

To Jackie Parkes' comment I would add these words :
"Take up your cross and follow me."

And if that involves ostracism and demonisation, so be it.

Anonymous said...

March towards the sound of gunfire. And lose no opportunity to compare our wannabe persecutors with the Nazis.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the meassage must be even more loudly proclaimed.
Problem is Bishop Budd et al, being off message, like the cricket captain nobbling the bats before play.

Michael, Not sure all in opposition to the Church are really Nazis! We have to be honest!

Anonymous said...

We are asked as Catholics to watch the signs: a massive falling away from the Faith followed by growing persecutions in which the Church will be seen as the only evil worth fighting.

As Father John Hardon SJ said, in the future we shall be either heroic Catholics or ex-Catholics. We need to pray for the grace to be the former. The temptations to give up our faith have been accelerating ever day.

It is possible that Providence has perhaps given us back the traditional rite of Mass at this juncture of history as a means of helping us set our faces like flint on our dangerous journey towards Jerusalem.

On the side of the angels said...

We fight for the hearts minds and souls of those we are commanded to love i.e. everyone !!

Phil said...

There’s a great deal that we could do, starting in our own parishes, schools and colleges. But primarily, we must not compromise on the Truth of the Faith as it has been revealed to the Church. This not the first time that the Church has been put under pressure to adapt and change with the ‘gospel’ of the modern age; in our own land, the English Reformation is an example of that; good men and women were willing to offer their lives, rather than compromise that Truth. What seems to stand out in our generation is how willing many of the ‘faithful’ (?) are to sing from the secular hymn sheet, starting with our own bishops.

I take great comfort from the Catholic community that blogs as we all seem to be quite clear in our own minds as to what constitutes the Faith and how it should be lived. That doesn’t mean that we are saints, or even very good Catholics (whatever that might mean). It does mean, however, that we are not delusional, unlike many who claim to be Catholic, but in truth, confess a belief system that has many traits of the secular and Protestant revolutions. The ‘Catholics’ of Amnesty who voted in favour of abortion as a human right still want to claim their Catholicism, but they must surely know in their hearts that they themselves have caused the break in the relationship between themselves and the Church and not the other way round. To claim that the Church has caused a situation because it won’t change is absurd – it’s a nonsense and yet it is often the comment made by those within and without the Church to justify their choosing the easier path. Mr Fletcher’s Situation Ethics are the problem, not the answer.

There was much discussion shortly after Benedict’s election about his (unconfirmed, as far as I can tell) desire for a slimmed down Church consisting of Catholics who lived the Faith as best they could and resisted the onslaught of secularism rather than embracing it as so many seem to do. This would be a Church grounded in worship of God, our reason for existing. The praxis that comes from our worship of God would truly lead to the New Evangelisation that our present liberal national leaders seem unable to pursue.

What can we do? Watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation. (cf Matt 26:41)

Anonymous said...

Phil Collins, of course they aren't Nazis on all points. Some of them are in fact Communists. But organisations like Planned Parenthood are comparable tothe Nazis in their preoccupation with birth control.

Ttony said...

We consult first with Orthodox Jews, then invite unliberal protestants to join us and ...

... we wear yellow stars.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

What everyone says is so true. Not much to add.
I have considered that we may need to be prepared for prison.
In the meantime the rosary is one heaven of a weapon.

Anonymous said...

Pray the rosary, deepen our faith, be well informed about the issues, stand firm and leave the rest to God.

Paulinus said...

Follow the example of St Thomas More: be the king's good servants, but God's first.

No compromise, no burning incense to false gods, love our neighbours and pray, pray, pray. Trust our Lord and His Mother.

All this, too, will pass.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with the above, all of it. It's important that when we are asked, have you anything to say, as St Thomas More, was that we say "Yes!" and then, um, say something.

Red Maria said...

What do we do? I can tell you what we should do.

We should be fighting our corner, defending our democratic rights and arguing our case before the bar of public opinion. We should be taking on aggressive secularism in its own terms, exposing it for the fallacious contradictory anti-religious prejudice - and threat to liberty - that it is in the public square. We should be explaining the serious implications anti-religious policies have for the key democratic rights of non-believers.

That means getting out of the Catholic ghetto and arguing our case in the mainstream press, in public meetings, on non-Catholic blogs and fora. As the old anti-racist slogan has it, self-defence is no offence.

I can tell you what we actually do.
We wring our hands, we talk among ourselves, we retreat from the world and bewail our lot. And then we react with horror (sotto voce, of course) when an anti-religious initiative of which we've had plenty of forewarning, creeps up on us and yet another liberty is taken away.

I can tell you what the hierarchy do. They cling to the old ways of doing things. They put their faith in back-door deals with politicians (put not thy trust in princes!). They treat the press with suspicion (guess what, secularists are ever available for comment). They are reactive not proactive.

I can tell you what we don't do. We don't seek broader alliances. Where's the Catholic who knows, still less worries about the threats to schechita from animal rights maniacs? (Secularists know what schechita is and they sure have a policy on it: ban it). Did the Catholic Education Service even know that a Jewish school in Hackney gave up state funding this year rather than accept DFES admissions guidelines? Of course not. But it was reported on page 3 of the Jewish Chronicle back in October. Are Catholic leaders aware of leading left-wing columnists with impeccably secularist credentials who had serious reservations about the SORs on libertarian grounds? I doubt it.

But why listen to me?

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