Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Environmentalists, Gays, Feminists say it better!

The Eucharist is at the heart of the Christian polis.
Receiving the holy Eucharist signifies the recipient is in Communion with the Church and also that the Church is in Communion with recipient.
The Bishops are custodians of the Eucharist, they "bind and loose", they are the gate keepers.

In the 1970/80s many writers were saying things like "the Eucharist is not a reward for good behaviour", many Bishop spoke of the dangers of "politicising" the Eucharist, "politicising" in the sense of linking it directly to "party politics". Perhaps Bishops and the Church in general became anxious about blanket decrees of excommunication, such as post-war Italian bishops excommunicating anyone, and on the face of it everyone, who voted Communist. Many Bishops too who witnessed the great exeunt of fellow clergy and religious after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae are still wounded by the experience and fearful of repeating it..

At the same period a new sense of morality inside the Church led by moral theologians like Charles Curran and outside the Church by Existentialists and Deconstructionists made many of us rather fearful of any objective statement of morality to the point where many bishops and priests were happy to speak about secular morality and to adopt secular causes "banning the bomb", "social justice", immigration, religious freedom and plurality. These tend to be socially acceptable, they tend to be about the reform or changing of structures but to neglect anything that involves personal conversion. Essentially they are middle ground Liberal politics and concerned about "them" rather than "us".

What seems to mark this type of moral outlook is that it is "safe", non-judgemental about individuals, it is "tolerant", though mildly critical about social structures, insofar.as it takes the line of least resistance. In England it seems to characterised by Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's reception of Tony Blair into the Church without any expectation of a renunciation of views that seem out of kilter with mainstream or "institutional Catholicism", as if his personal beliefs expressed in his voting record, his views on Life issues and sexuality are of absolutely no importance. The same could be said of successor, in his failure to speak strongly and consistently about practically every issue that faces the Church in this country today.

In a similar way Cardinal Brady when asked this week about the exclusion of pro-abortion "End-a life", Prime-Minister, Kenny from Holy Communion says that the Irish bishops had not even considered the matter and that he did not want to "politicise the Eucharist", instead he wishes to strip the Eucharist of any meaning of Communion, or Morality and render it a meaningless "symbol".

What Brady seems to be suggesting is that there should be no connection with morality and belief. Pope Benedict stressed the connection between belief and worship, his attempt at liturgical reform, not so much the outward signs, the ornaments, of the liturgy but rather his insistence that the translations of the liturgy really reflected the belief of the Church. What on the face of it he only glancingly touched on was the relationship of morality to faith. This seems to be something Pope Francis seems to be addressing on a very simple level. "Stop grumbling", "care for the poor", "welcome the disabled ", "do a good turn everyday", "be kind", "be joyful", "smile" are the rather prosaic messages of Francis' daily Mass sermons but they seem to indicate an attempt to suggest that faith and morality are intimately connected.

When the Church and its clergy are identified as being far from moral, hypocrite, and as actually being evil, pedrastic, self-serving there is a serious problem. Today Christianity is no longer identified as being about goodness, or being moral. It is no longer, salt that gives savour, or leaven in the lump or light in the world. It no longer seems to have a message that changes lives or societies.

No longer does the Church teach humanity how to live. In fact, today most people do not think the Church has anything to say that is not better said by a whole variety of secular groups ranging from Environmentalist to the Gay or Feminist movements. In fact they say it a whole lot better, without the hypocrisy and kant of many ecclesiastics, take Cardinal O'Brien as an example. The reason seems to be because we have lost the connection between faith and personal morality.

In brief: What I hope this Papacy will address is the gulf between faith and goodness.


Cosmos said...

An action from the Pope in support of your hope:


Michael said...

Essentially they are middle ground Liberal politics and concerned about "them" rather than "us".

What seems to mark this type of moral outlook is that it is "safe", non-judgemental about individuals, it is "tolerant", though mildly critical about social structures, insofar.as it takes the line of least resistance

Sums it up perfectly.

Jacobi said...

"the Eucharist is not a reward for good behaviour",


It is the Body of Christ which the Church requires us to receive at least once a year. It is normally received during Mass, which we are required to attend circa 56 times a year.

It can be received only by baptised Catholics, who believe in the Real Presence, are free from mortal sin, are in a State of Grace and pleasing to God, and who have observed the required fast.

Reception outside of these conditions is, objectively speaking, a mortal sin and if persisted with, could be sacrilegious.

Ma Tucker said...

Thank you Father. Abortion is about murder not politics. It is an unspeakable crime.

JARay said...

I must say that I did like your description of "End-a-Life Prime Minister Kenny". I also agree whole-heartedly with your objection of Tony Blair's reception into the Church by CMOC without any rejection on his (T.B's)part of sin.
This idea that we should never criticise anything because it is "judgmental", has allowed all sorts of evil to creep into Church life.
We are constantly told how non-judgmental Jesus was, but what is forgotten is that Jesus also said "Go, and sin no more".

Fr Ray Blake said...

I am afraid it was stolen from Mr Eccles:

GOR said...

There is an engaging simplicity about Pope Francis, as there was about the saint of Assisi also - not to mention Our Lord Himself. Perhaps we have made the faith too complex, delighting in hair-splitting and endless discussions.

But Our Lord’s words were addressed to everyone – from the most unlettered to the most educated. He used simple terms: “Love one another…” “Be ye perfect…” “Feed, clothe, visit…” those in need.

In essence: “Believe…and live your belief”.

We have been given a gift – a talent – and we should use it. Or else…

And He was uncompromising about the “or else…”

Rod George said...

Very little was said about catholic members of parliament who voted for same sex marriage or in other words for men to sodomise each other and call it marriage.No doubt its still ok for these members of parliament to receive communion.

anonymous said...

the medieval nobody received Christ maybe once a year - usually, it's my understanding - the 'elevation' was so the faithfull could look and 'partake'; lack of bread and wine especially back in the day is why the 'host' was the whole - but there's a quote from St Paul that affirms the bread to bear body and blood. Eucharist, Sunday... does anyone remember a tv programme late 70s early 80s called 'danger UXB' - unexploded bomb. about a bunch of blokes post WWII going about the English countryside defusing enemy droppings. they were so dedicated to their task. saving lives. if only priests were half as interested in saving souls. a priest 'services' the soul; yes a soul is infinitely more important than a car but it seems to me one's local grease monkey is more dedicated to his duty than one's local consecrated. priests are called upon to marry, baptize (infants), perform last rights and funerals. anything else? oh, support social issues; become liberation theologians; teach Marxism and or the un-uniqueness of christ, the unecessity of the 'sacrifice' of the 'mass', or confession or history. priests such Fr Ray seem to believe in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as received and so understood by generations of priests prior. If one's priest or pope has offered his heart to something other than this Holy Sacrifice, then it all collapses into what Marxists and gays and blah blah blah do better...which is exploit the inevitabilities of the human condition as if they were gambling chips for earthly utopia jackpot. the french revolution, marixsts, even humanists believe in a utopia in the realm of the 'prince of this world'. the actions of our first parents cursed this life, this world - of which we have daily, minutely and thousands of years of recorded evidence. Priests who see God as a Heavenly King and the world as the domain of the 'prince of this world' are a rare breed.

anonymous said...

p.s. 1 Cor 11 23-29...whoever eats the bread OR drinks the cup unworthily... either OR taken unworthily offend against the 'body and blood'.

GOR said...

I think that sometimes we get sidetracked into discussions of ‘what I believe’ rather than concentrating on ‘why I believe’. Like Martha we are ‘concerned about many things”. We wring our hands and obsess about what is ‘wrong in the Church’. But what is really important?

Our first responsibility is to save our own souls. Only we can do that - no one else can do it for us. While this may seem a selfish pursuit, Our Lord showed us how to do it when he spoke about the ‘First Commandment’ and the ‘Second’: “Love God with your whole heart…and your neighbour as yourself.”

He then followed up with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. I suspect the Samaritan was well aware that the Priest and the Levite had hurried past and ignored the injured man. Did he stop and complain about the sad state of the priesthood or the Levites of his day? No, he got to work himself - going out of his way to help the injured man.

We do love to complain. And there is a certain human satisfaction in discussing the public failings of others. Like the Pharisee, we complacently rejoice that we are “not as other men…” But are we that different?

I sometimes think that at the Last Judgment we may be surprised to find that some of the ‘bad’ people we knew were not as bad as they seemed – and that some of the ‘good’ people were not as good as they appeared.

But, while we breathe, we still have time…

mark said...

I followed up the link to Cardinal Brady, but I couldn't see how you have deduced that he 'wishes to strip the Eucharist of any meaning of Communion, or Morality and render it a meaningless "symbol"'?

Pope Francis is trying to re-link faith to goodness, as you say. In this morning's address to the women religious of the UISG he urged them to be 'centred on Christ and the Gospel', so that their work is both 'adoration and service' (ie, the two things always together).

Fr Ray Blake said...

Is that not the obvious result of the Cardinal's failure to even consider that it should not be given to those who obviously and publicly reject the Church's teaching?

Angelo Cardinal Fratelli said...

When I looked at the picture, it seemed like those prelates were having fun.

But yes I agree, the Church has become more of a nanny than a teacher.

Tony Flavin said...

The swipe at Cardinal O'Brien was totally unnecessary, although typical.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Deacon Flavin,

Are you really so out of touch with Catholicism on these islands that you do not think that the worst scandal we have had for centuries, the fall of a Cardinal is just a malicious "swipe".

It is a key to the health of the Church here.

Independent said...

Why are they trying to put their heads in plastic bags?

Genty said...

Looks like a metaphor for the liturgy to me.