Monday, 30 January 2012

Christians should always be "persecution ready"

Blessed John Paul 11 declared St. Maximilian Kolbe to be patron of the 20th century ("patron of this difficult century"). We need the prayers and examples of both these men NOW. There are real signs that we are heading for a more serious persecution of the Church - specifically the Roman Catholic Church - in certain areas. Of course, it will not just be Catholics but all orthodox Christians who - depending on the power of the state - will be at risk. The National Secular Society of Great Britain has tried to argue that it is not difficult for Christians to follow their faith today. Although it is true that certain cases of apparent abuse or "persecution" against Christians have been exaggerated (and this is not a good idea!), there is still plenty of evidence that the general trend of anti-Christian feeling is gathering strength. In Ireland the Bishop of Raphoe is being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions there after a secularist complained that a sermon preached at Knock incited hatred against secular humanists (see this). I was reminded of the comment of the American Cardinal Burke (here) about possible imprisonment of bishops and priests in the United States. The recent attempt by the Obama administration to rule out freedom of conscience for Catholic bishops and their co-workers suggests that we are indeed approaching those times.

This post on the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate Blog also speaks of these things. As far as I am concerned, as a parish priest, I feel that I am fighting a battle against the continual encroachment of secularist moral values into the Catholic community. It seems that no matter what I say - or try to say - many people continue to assume that certain patterns of behaviour (e.g. living together before marriage) are perfectly acceptable and that the "Church" is wrong to speak against them. So many still hear a priest presenting the official teaching and then say, "that's what he thinks - that's just him" Relativism rules! In this case it is one priest against another - one bishop against another.

I recently discovered an American Catholic internet discussion group which is speaking out in defense of marriage and, in particular, in defense of the marriage bond against decisions made by diocesan marriage courts. Some of the stories related there are horrendous. Both the present Pope and his predecessor warned the American marriage courts against being too liberal - being too ready to hand out annulments based on a wide reading of such things as "immaturity" in relation to living the Sacrament of Marriage. I have started to read up on this, and I recently purchased the Pontifical Council's "Dignitas Connubi" and the book, "What God has Joined Together" by Robert Vasoli, which is about the "Annulment Crisis in American Catholicism". If we are going to defend marriage against the attempts of western governments to redefine it, we had better get our own house in order.

It is beginning to look as though a more virulent form of persecution will come. I once said to my parishioners - in relation to anti-Christian persecution in Pakistan - that we have not yet had to suffer physical persecution though we are undergoing a kind of persecution through the media. Many will see this post and think it is OTT, but the evidence is there to be seen now. The attempts by the last Labour Government to attack the freedom of conscience of Catholics - in spite of the presence of Tony Blair's cronies - was truly ominous, and there is a real danger that if Ed Milliband's leadership fails we will see a militant anti-Catholic take the reins in the next few years. He (or she) is in the wings.

1 comment:

  1. When I was in the process of conversion, Father, I simply could not make head nor tail of the rules about divorce, marriage and annulment. Some of the group had a bit of "history". One man was getting annulled after about 30 years, goodness knows on what grounds, but as Father explained it, if you were actually more or less at the altar and suddenly realised, or thought, you were making a mistake (that is got cold feet) and went ahead this is grounds for annulment, as you knew at the time it was not "love". Frankly it sounded awfully dickipoggy to me, as a former Anglican I have to say if you make a mistake and its intolerable to live with someone who i making you utterly miserable or abusing you --not a whim or fancy for someone else---then surely its more honest to have a divorce rather than make up some expedient nonsense about your wedding day to fit the annulment bill.

    On another issue, Mr H Potter, Father was talking about demons and possession this week at church though he did not mention the Potter controversy. Wise man! I did read your post Father, and there may be hidden meanings of a good sort in the story, but I have neither the time nor inclination to read them, I rest my case on one film I saw--title unknown--of the potter series, all I recall of it is things whizzing round, fancy effects and intolerable noise. I did try and watch it in the interest of research.

    I doubt that many children will be able to discipher the subtext, what ever the" Christian" message is, or figure out the allegorical--ness, they will just enjoy it for what it is, a lot of flashy fun and excitement,while possibly having a harmful effect--everyone says"there is no evidence" --like the germs on the chalice---- but what evidence has been collected properly, and gone through all the stringent trials which allows
    a proper and objective--not subjective---result to be used as research based evidence? Mr Potters influence--good or bad but plenty of dollars for the author!-- is almost impossible to quantify, with or without trials, but people still go on saying --as with the chalice--forgive me --- blasely "there is no evidence"---but there have been no properly conducted trials!