Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Manhattan Declaration

The "Manhattan Declaration", is according to Sandro Magister, "The Manifesto That's Shaking America",

It's been endorsed by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox leaders, united in defending life, the family and the place of Christianity in society. Obviously aimed at the Whitehouse:
"We will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves."
it is presented as a new civil rights movement:
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:
  • the sanctity of human life
  • the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife
  • the rights of conscience and religious liberty.
Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The Manhattan Declaration
 sign it yourself here


Savonarola said...

"We will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves."

Why do Christians, especially traditionalist Catholics, always sound so pompous when they get onto their moral high horse? The one they claim to follow allowed himself to be intimated into silence and to have his conscience violated by earthly powers regardless of the consequences to himself. Can his followers expect anything better? Why should they think they can stand on their rights? And rather than setting up oppositions between their supposed moral superiority and contemporary society why do they not seek out and co-operate with the real goodness that is found in the world at large? Christians have no monopoly on truth or goodness. They will not be listened to until they imitate their founder in his humble lack of self-righteousness.

Fr Ray Blake said...

"The one they claim to follow allowed himself to be intimated into silence and to have his conscience violated by earthly powers regardless of the consequences to himself."

Did he really?

George said...

So Ignatius - do you suggest that christians sit idly by and watch the destruction and violation of Church, Marriage and Family?

Should we not fight for a better world - surely that is our Christian duty!

Anonymous said...

Ignatius, Pilate, one senses, was a thoughtful and intelligent man, so maybe if Jesus had played up to his residual goodness and compromised just a little He could have avoided the crucifixion?


Michael Petek said...

I have to come to Father's defence here.

The only time when Jesus was silent was when He was before Pilate. He had good reason to be, because such were the procedural irregularities in His trial that He was in law not even accused let alone properly convicted of anything.

Here's a Gospel reading for Ignatius:

"Then the Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap him in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with some Herodians, to say, 'Master, we know that you are an honest man and teach the way of God in all honesty, and that you are not afraid of anyone, because human rank means nothing to you.'"(Matthew 22:15-16).

So much for intimidation.

We've just celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King, to inaugurate which Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical letter Quas Primas. Here's an extract:

32. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honour and obedience to Christ.

It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

As to Ignatius' reference to moral elevated ungulate mammals of subspecies equus ferus caballus, one of seven subspecies of the family equidae, there is an entire harras (yes, that is the collective noun!) of them in the book of Revelation at 19:11-16:

"And now, I saw heaven open, and a white horse appear; its rider was called Trustworthy and True; in uprightness he judges and makes war. His eyes were flames of fire, and he was crowned with many coronets; the name written on him was known only to himself, his cloak was soaked in blood. He is known by the name, The Word of God. Behind him, dressed in dazzling white, rode the armies of heaven on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword with which to strike the unbelievers; he is the one who will rule them with an iron sceptre, and tread out the wine of Almighty God's fierce retribution. On his cloak and on his thigh was written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords."

The moral of this, as of Lord of the Rings, is: don't mess with the Rohirrim!

Savonarola said...

Yes, so I read the Passion story. Our Lord allowed himself to be reduced to impotence and silence and clearly did not consider whether his conscience would permit acquiescing in the terribly unjust treatment meted out to him. He rejected the option of having his disciples fight in his "just" cause - and of course in doing so shows his true authority. Would that his followers imitated his model of humility.

georgem said...

Ignatius, what troubles you about the three stated aims? Is it the sanctity of human life, the sacred bond of marriage or the freedom of conscience?
Christ was certainly not intimidated into silence. Witness His exchange with Pontius Pilate; His seven last words on the cross. It was precisely because He would not be intimidated into silence that He suffered the agony of crucifixion.
His resurrection was the triumph over death unless, of course, you don't believe it and that would make your anxiety understandable.
Catholics, all Christians, would be less than faithful to Christ's precepts - all there in the New Testament - were they to crawl away into a dark corner and shut up.
I wonder if the mission statements of other, secular, organisations cause you such discomfort.
Christians have been reviled for 2000 years; long enough to beat any pomposity or self-righteousness out of us.
And none of us would or could claim a monopoly of goodness, for we know only too well how imperfectly we live our lives.
What aspect of the contemporary world should we adapt to? Truth surely transcends the mores of a particular age. That's the point of it.

Michael Petek said...

Ignatius, your second point is as bad as your first.

Jesus put Himself in harm's way because He had sworn to do so in the words of consecration He spoke at the Last Supper, so it was a matter of justice that He should keep it. That is what a covenant is all about. In the Bible a covenant must be sealed with an oath, and if there is no oath there is no covenant.

Second, the reason He went to the Cross in the first place was to enable the forgiveness of sins so that we could be saved from hell as the consequence of them.

Third, this wasn't acquiescence, it was forbearance. He had authority to do this, and He had authority for the alternative: "Do you not think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence?" (Matthew 26:53)

Fourth, Jesus went to His death having spent three years of His life telling the truth about the way of life which men and nations must follow in order to please Him and be saved in eternity.

Showing the people the way they should go is what consecrated kings do.

Savonarola said...

Catholics must surely know by now how heartily detested the Church is these days. The more we stand on our rights and issue pompous statements of what we will and will not tolerate, the more people will come back at us and say, 'Don't you dare to lecture us when you are riddled with paedophiliac abuse and other scandals.' If we want a right to be heard we have to earn it, and the only way we can do so is by imitating Our Lord's example of humble unselfrighteous service.

George said...

Fr Thomas Euteneuer of HLI has this thought in today's Newsletter - very apt I think to this post of yours Fr Ray and to some of the comments:

"During this Advent we must also prepare for battle - a spiritual battle, that is - and we have to get our lives in order for it. The Second Vatican Council says, "The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day." (Vatican II, Gaudium et spes 37:2) We are soldiers of the Church Militant, and we fight for all that is good and true and holy.

In our day and age, the greatest war we fight is the struggle to protect the sanctity of life, marriage and family. The attacks grow more relentless each day and the number of casualties is enormous. Will we fight with Him to defend the life of each and every unborn child? Advent is a time to ask ourselves that question and make sure that we are prepared for the battle and not playing into the hands of the Enemy through sloth or apathy. Will we defend marriage and the sanctity of the marital act from all immoral practices such as homosexuality, contraception, pornography and adultery? These are the main challenges of a slothful generation that has long ago given up fighting the most important battle - that is, the fight to save our immortal souls".

'Amen' I say to that!

For the full letter follow this link:

Fr Ray Blake said...

We also have a duty to proclaim the truth, even if we don't always live it.

Michael Petek said...

Again, I agree with Father and disagree with Ignatius.

"Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus said, 'The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do and observe whatever they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practise what they preach.'"
(Matthew 23:1-3).

Let people detest the Church if they will. Let them protest 'don't you dare lecture us . . . ' if they will.

What needs to exercise them is:

(1) that the Church doesn't need to earn the right to be heard, for Christ has given her that right already; and

(2) that He is the Judge of the living and the dead, and they will answer to Him, not to the Church.

There is only one message that can save sinners, and if people will not hear it, the Church has no mandate to tell them something else, or nothing at all.

Edward P. Walton said...

Sorry to disappoint you but the Declaration is not "shaking" anything in the USA.

"Yanks" are not intimidated by "Manifestos".

Thomas Fuller said...

If you read the article that called this 'the manifesto that's shaking America," I think that you would see that the phrase is not inappropriate... at least this American doesn't think it is.

ignatius said...

Sadly, Fr. Blake, if we do not always live the truth we proclaim people will not listen to our proclamation. Being and saying must go together. This is really my point, that proclamations costing nothing to make will not impress when people see the Church as authoritarian, judgmental and condemnatory - in short very unChristlike.

People love and admire Christ and will listen to him, Michael Petek, but see the Church and its leaders as being exactly like the Pharisees Christ condemns who do not practise what they preach. This is why they will not be guided by them and why the Church does have to earn a right to speak for Christ.

Monica said...

Yes, Father, but it is very off-putting when people declare the truth and are obviously not living it. On this particular day, we are reminded of our Christian duty to care for little children - a truth which we declare.

Michael Petek said...

Hear, hear, Thomas!

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, from Father Farfaglia's blog:

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choisest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father Who dwelleth in the heavens.

nickbris said...

This Manifesto was always going to upset the "Heathen" We are now being bludgeoned again by Headline News of "Revelations"that are always dragged up at opportune moments.

The Iraq inquiry is already showing us that the USA and UK are run by a bunch of bloodthirsty,greedy,hypocritical bunch of BERKS.

The Churches and predominantly Catholics have been shouting from the roof-tops and hurting these Eugenicist Abortionists and Same-Sex advocates.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ignatius, Monica,
Sad truth is all Christians fall short of Christ - the result of us being human and therefore sinners.

The Bones said...


Here's the life of your namesake, St Ignatius. He layed down his sword and took upon himself the armour of God. Henceforth his battle became spiritual.

You believe that the Founder of the Church would have His followers go gently into the night?

It was because the Early Church did not hesitate in condemning the evils of the age that so many were martyred. In every age where evil appears to triumph, martyrs will be made who yield a rich harvest through their witness.

According to you, the Lord would have His followers remain silent while the unborn are killed in their mother's wombs, while the institutions of Marriage and Family, without which no human society can function without social chaos, are ripped asunder and while religious freedom is stamped out like some kind of Stalinist purge.

While it is true to say that Our Blessed Lord said, "Whosoever shall live by the sword, the same shall die by it," the same Lord told the Apostles, "Whoever hears you, hears Me."

We carry no swords, yet you condemn us.

Ignatius. It sounds rather like the reason you don't like it when the Church speaks is because you don't like the sound of Christ's Voice and while He may have been 'silenced' once, He speaks through His Church yes even today.

God loves you, of course, because God is Love and loves every man, such was the Love that impelled Him to climb Calvary with His Cross to die for our sins.

But God is also Truth and until the day the Church is 'silenced' by the wicked, She will speak with power and authority, in humility and in truth, for in this there is no contradiction - For this, Ignatius, is how Our Lord spoke.

Ignatius said...

Fr. Blake, you say 'Sad truth is all Christians fall short of Christ - the result of us being human and therefore sinners.' Quite so, I already know I do. All the more reason why we need to be careful how much we are prepared to claim for and about ourselves. That is what I have been saying.

The Bones said...


Feel free to comment.


The Raven (C. Corax) said...


As far as I can see the Declaration isn't a specifically "Catholic" initiative: it seems to have the support of both Orthodox and Evangelicals.

I would add that your Reading of the Passion of our Lord is at odds with the black ink on white paper in the copy of the New Testament open before me.

Ignatius said...

May I add a comment, Fr. Blake? I do of course believe that we should stand up for Catholic truth on life issues, support the family and so on. It is how we go about it that is critical, and none of the people who have attacked me on your blog have addressed this point. St. Francis famously said, 'Preach the Gospel at all times; use words when you have to.' That seems to mean that it is the quality of your living that will impress people, not so much what you say. The new mode of self-assured aggressive confrontation accords ill with the example of Our Lord, and rings very hollow today with the news from Dublin. I have looked at some of the comments on this on 'The Times' website and recommend them to your contributors. They make for sobering reading, and show what people at large think about the Catholic Church - not because we courageously stand up for the truth, but because of the way we betray that truth in what we do.

George said...

Ignatius - so because there are a few bad apples in the barrel the rest, those Catholics who do uphold Church teaching and there are many many more than you possibly think, these people are supposed to hide in the shadows and say nothing?

No! We are not going to stand by and see the deconstruction of the True notion of the Family, the sexualisation of our children from age 5 in schools, the secular push of the culture of promiscuity and murder of the unborn through abortion. Too many 'closed mouths' in Hell, Ignatius.

At least let us be able to say to Jesus on that day when we wake upon the shores of eternity, 'My Lord and my God, I tried'.

Ignatius said...

Dear George, it quite chills me when we hear the news from Dublin and people say, 'It's only a few bad apples,' as if we needn't feel concerned, we can ignore it and carry on as before. It's because the Church has had that attitude of not being concerned that abuse has flourished and been concealed.
I didn't say we should stand by and watch the family being destroyed and do nothing, only that whatever we say must be integral with what we do. This is why I admire Cardinal Winning, who did not just pray and pontificate about abortion, but set up a practical scheme to help women avoid having abortions and help them through the birth of their children and afterwards. If we are serious in standing for truth this is the kind of thing we need to do.

George said...

Ignatius - of your charity, please do not put words in my mouth.

Yes - it is indeed a FEW bad apples - no way should the entire Priesthood be tarred with this brush. There are many more Good and Holy Priests in the world, but when does the media ever focus on the good that they do - NEVER. It's always the bad, bad and sad news that is reported because allegedly 'bad news' sells!

Yes - we should all be very concerned and indeed this awful chapter in Church history has been publically exposed and is being dealt with most severely. And our Holy Father has taken a leading role in sorting this mess out and putting things back on the rails.

My point is that while the most Sacred institutions of Human culture (not just Catholic culture)
marriage between a man and a woman, the nuclear family and religious freedom of conscience are being attacked and destroyed it is a duty for ALL people of good-will to stand up and be counted. To stand idly by is wrong!

God Bless.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...