Sunday, 14 March 2010

Archbishop Sheen; The Spirit of the Age and the Romance of Truth (Part 11)

In the programme I referred to in an earlier post, Archbishop Sheen spoke about education. One of the goals of education, and one of the reasons for anyone being educated is to know the Truth. I wonder if today education, in the western world at least, is more to do with experience and opinion. I seem to remember recently reading that a "majority" of young Catholics in America believe that morality is "relative". I think they could do with a good dose of Sheen who, amongst other things, warns us about such reports that are often based on very selective investigation. However, it is true that many Catholics do believe that moral judgements should be based on experience and opinion. The so-called freedom to dissent often comes down to this. The idea of the informed conscience often means nothing more than my conscience informed by my own experience and my own thinking.
In a culture of moral relativism we might argue that the Catholic Church surely has a mission to proclaim the Truth, not simply to protect itself, but for "the glory of God and the good of souls" (a wonderful phrase we should never tire of using). The Church does not merely serve itself, but others. Catholics should live and proclaim the truth "welcome or unwelcome", in the manner of the prophets, because that is what we are called to do. To compromise is to take the risk of losing our moral authority in the face of those who seek to deny it.
It is against this background that I find the report here very worrying. I suspected that the reason for the Bishops' silence about the CES sposored ammendment to the Sex Education Bill was something to do with an "accomodation". It seems clear that the Bishops feel that the CES serves us better by negotiating with the enemy. This, it is thought, will allow the Catholic Church in this country to continue teaching Catholic doctrine. Is this really the case? Can we teach that what we teach is the Truth? For too long Catholic High Schools have been tainted (however slightly) with the notion that the Catholic view is one among many, suggesting that other views might be just as valid (according to one's conscience of course - but see above).
In Sheen's programme, he speaks about Chesterton's image of the romance of Truth. It is like driving a team of horses along a narrow ridge, with a chasm on one side and a sheer drop on the other. It is necessary to go straight forward veering neither to right or left, and to do so with courage and determination, not halting or worrying too much about obstacles on the path. Somehow I do not see much of a connection between this idea and the "negotiations" of the CES.

1 comment:

  1. Father,
    I can only agree. There are too many 'accommodations' being made nowadays across a wide range of scenarios.
    The Truth stands and we have to stand beside it or perish.

    The following might be of interest as it is a link to the website of an American Archbishop which highlights standing by the truth.

    I was also reading of an American High school in Philadelphia that was being closed due to lack of 'Catholic' students. Perhaps the Church in the UK ought to consider such action if the schools are obliged to promote aspects of the Sex Education Bill that are contrary to the Church's teaching as they can then no longer be considered as supporting the ethos of our Faith. Then we can see what the governments attitude and response is. We need to stand up to bullies and not concede.