This Sunday most of us may/or may not be read the letter from the Bishops Conference that we published earlier this week. Fr. Ray Blake has blogged the following on http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com and for the benefit of our readers who may not be familiar with Fr. Ray, it is reproduced, in the fervent hope that we may all learn and see beyond the Bishops lofty words, and cause each Roman Catholic in this country pause for serious thought as to what we, as the faithful might be able to do. Writing to your M.P. might be a start as this will have to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons.
From Fr. Ray Blake:
I published the Archbishops of Southwark and Westminster letter on the redefinition of Marriage without comment. I received the hardcopy of their letter the following day in the post. My secretary assured me it came without a covering letter, in my diocese no-one has said whether it should be read at all Masses or was simply sent for my personal information.
Some people have suggested it is too late and too weak. I’m not too sure about that, but certainly it is perhaps correct to ask whether the Church here really has the heart for a fight. In our effort to get out of the “Catholic ghetto” and to be regarded as “English” rather than an immigrant church, we have downplayed our Catholic identity, possibly to such a level that many Catholics have little understanding of anything distinct about our religion, or if they do they have rejected it.
The majority of Catholics, the official figure is 90%, despite (or in spite of) all the money and energy the Church invests in our schools, do not practice the faith. Neither could we ever dare suggest that Catholics are less likely to cohabit, divorce, abort or contracept, nor are the vast majority of Catholic parents more open to children, than their non-Catholic neighbours, the statistics do not show any difference.
In the latter half of the 20th century abortion and contraception have been issues that have troubled individuals but hardly seem to be a major concern in England and Wales. Co-habitation and divorce seem to be even less of a concern, everywhere these issues are left to a woolly “pastoral solution”, everything depends on the personal convictions of the individual priest.
After members of Catholic Voices have spun the Bishops 2003 statement on Civil Partnership, I am confused by what their Lordships intended to say, I used to think their teaching was clear but maybe not. Milo Mindbender and Co are the official unofficial keepers of the Catholic Voice in E&W but only seem to make the feint voice even more distant and give the real God appointed Voices of the Church a barricade to hide behind. I digress. Even so, anyone but a fool would have realised that the introduction of such partnerships would lead inevitably to the situation we now face. What we have failed to do is prepare our people for any battle over this issue.
I am not part of the dioceses of Southwark or Westminster and lacking any clear direction I will present this letter on Sunday but frankly I think my people are ill prepared to receive it and having received it, I am not sure what they are expected to do with it.
My anxiety is that this letter will be all. That there is no further plan. As an opening salvo it was good but what about the barrage to follow, will it? Or was that all?
It would be good to think that following its publication on Sunday the bishops and leading clergy will be on every television and radio station, that they will write their own letters to every and any newspaper that just might publish them, that they might even start to use modern technology. After years of fudge and drift it, which has not only left Catholics in ignorance and confused but has had an impact on wider society it is time that we had clear teaching on sex, on homosexuality, on marriage, on the duties and responsibilities of Catholic politicians, Catholic Institutions and above all the Clergy to uphold the Church’s teaching.
I can’t understand why Fr. Ray Blake says the Church “in order to get out of the Catholic ghetto and to be regarded as English rather than as an immigrant church”…etc.
Why is he excluding the rest of the Church in Britain? Does Fr. Blake think he isn’t British and that only England matters? ;from one “ghetto” into another it seems. What happened to the Church in N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland? Does he wish to sideline them from the coming struggle?
I hope not. Nor have I heard of the Catholic Church being regarded as an immigrant church, tho’ others may have.
He is probably right that there has been a lack of clarity over important issues. He rightly feels that it’s time that modern technology is used to communicate these matters. It might help too, if he looked a little further to the rest of the UK.
If it is reliable, a recent poll showed that 60% of people thought that same sex marriage should be allowed. Rather surprising I thought. If they had said they were indifferent, it would be as expected.
Mr Wall-Eyed Whippy – the most relevant words in your last paragraph are ‘if it is reliable’, which given the statistics you quote, suggest that it is not reliable. Polls are manipulated and are manipulative, depending on the questions asked, the persons taking part in the poll, the numbers taking part, the general ‘sentiment’ of the poll, and numerous other proven techniques used to ensure that the result accords with the pre-ordained plan of those commissioning it. I suggest that the poll you quote falls within this category. Regarding Fr Blake’s post, he is clearly suggesting that Catholics should not be afraid to ‘stand up and be be counted’ for their Roman Catholic Faith. The fact that he mentions England is because he is in England, no other reason. I think he has written an excellent post.
The majority of Catholics, the official figure is 90%, despite (or in spite of) all the money and energy the Church invests in our schools, do not practice the faith.
Christianity is not Islam — it is not a “practice”.
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum Filium Dei unigenitum.
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero.
Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri : per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem decendit de caelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine : Et homo factus est.
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis : sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est.
Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.
Et ascendit in caelum : sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, judicare vivos et mortuos : cujus regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum sanctum, Dominum, et vivificantem : qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur : qui locutus est per Prophetas.
Et unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum. Et vitam venturi saeculi.
Yes Plainchant, I said “if it is reliable” because, like you, I know polls may not be reliable. The result surprised me and I said so. My surprise allowed for its possible unreliablity, but you chose to interpret my reference as acceptance of that poll.
Fr Blake, by confining his comment to England makes a pointless and dividing distinction. He might as well go further and restrict himself to a county. Britain has been a United Kingdom for around 300 years, tho’ the news has yet to filter through. Disunity here will weaken any resistance to erosion of values. I do hope you can see that.
And yes, he is calling for Catholics to”stand up and be counted”, quite clearly. That is the substance of his comment.
I doubt that you have ever heard the Church described as “an immigrant church” either.
“Gallia est omnis divisia in partes tres” …..
– and it seems that CP&S is heading the same way, with Latin, Greek and lately, Arabic. A learnéd group of commentators, I’m glad to say!
Oops, I forgot about English….
Yes Plainchant, we in UK (perhaps Fr. Blake should have said UK rather than ‘England‘) should indeed be willing to ‘ ‘stand up and be be counted’ to uphold our Catholic Faith. We must, or otherwise we shall be swamped with yet another unacceptable law clashing against our beliefs and consciences.
For this won’t stop here, as experience has already shown us. (We do have some faithful, courageous Bishops…… but not enough.) We must rally round our Bishops and plead with them to fight this unjust law on the ‘redefinition of Marriage’ being thrust upon us.
“Neither could we ever dare suggest that Catholics are less likely to cohabit, divorce, abort or contracept, nor are the vast majority of Catholic parents more open to children, than their non-Catholic neighbours, the statistics do not show any difference.”
Well, I’m no expert on statistics, but, like Plainchant and Mr. Whippy, I would certainly question some of these polls taken for the very reasons Plainchant pointed out. What exactly is a ‘non-practicing Catholic’? Someone who doesn’t go to Mass every Sunday, or someone who cannot define a theological statement? But no one knows what is in the heart of those who define themselves as ‘Catholic‘.
More than half of my friends are orthodox Catholics, loving God and the Catholic Church with all their hearts. These above-mentioned sins are far far less frequent among the Catholics I know.
And I still hear people referring to things like ‘large Catholic families’ as quite a normal thing.
Here is an interesting interview from EWTN on YouTube with the indomitable Joanna Bogle, Catholic journalist, speaker and writer:
With a few like JB standing up for the Faith we could achieve any goal ;-).
P.S. I edited this post (having said ‘practicing’ instead of ‘non-practicing’ above) and now can’t get rid of the bold! What was it Toad said about WordPress?