Monday, 20 September 2010
Chickens Coming Home to.....?
I just saw part of a BBC discussion on the Pope's visit. Archbishop Nichols was challenged on the question of the rejection of "most" Catholics in the United Kingdom of the Church's official teaching against contraception. He struggled with it, but Huw Edwards let him off the hook. With deep respect to His Grace, it is true that most Catholics do reject official teaching on this matter. One reason is that they do not understand it, and why is that? Because so few bishops and priests attempt to explain it to them! Why is that? There are probably three or four reasons, but two are; 1. Some do not understand it themselves (because they do not read about it or because it has not been adequately explained to them) and because some of them also reject it.
This really is a case of "chickens coming home..." etc. This is only the tip of the iceberg. May we say again (sorry to do this again) that the teaching of the Faith over the last 35 years or more has been quite poor? Some "Catholic" school children (I do not jest) do not know who the Pope is or what he does (although following the visit they perhaps do now). Some of them do not care. The "moral underpinning" of society may well be crumbling but the Catholic moral foundations in our Catholic schools exist only at the level of social justice. If a recent blog message is correct, a highly-placed member of the Catholic hierarchy is unhappy with the phrase, "mortal sin". If we are now concerned about the widespread rejection of the official moral teaching of the Church and presumably - because it is true - the rejection of some doctrinal teaching (for example with regard to Our Lady) we have only ourselves to blame. Will this state of affairs continue? As far as I am concerned as a parish priest, it will not, but then, without the support of others, what can I reasonably do? This matter is regularly in my prayers and in my discussions with fellow priests. Beyond that, I am powerless. I pray that, following the Pope's visit, there will be a renewed call, from all corners of the Church in England and Wales for a full-blooded, confident presentation of the WHOLE Faith to both adults and children. Is this too much to hope for?
In case anyone is not convinced of the case I am making, why is it that for the 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae (2008) we heard almost nothing from our bishops?