Now to rebuild Europe

A thoughtful short post from Jo Shaw (LMS Chairman) on his analysis of the UK’s situation within Europe in the wake of Brexit referendum. Recovering Europe’s Catholic identity is the only way to restore hope in our joint future. (Map and pictures from CP&S.)

Map of the enlargement  to 28 EU Members countries (2013)

Map of the enlargement to 28 EU Members countries (2013)

Britain’s departure from the European Union may not mean the end of the EU, but it does mean the end of the EU as the way we, in the UK, perceive our relationship with ‘Europe’. It means that we need to engage with our neighbours in a way not mediated by EU institutions. It is striking how people have been talking about ‘Europe’ as though that simply meant the EU, and how the issue of human rights, connected with a treaty and court entirely separate from the EU and covering a wider set of countries, as though it was the same thing. (David Cameron, remember, wanted to withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights. He did not want to withdraw from the EU.) The EU had taken over our imaginative understanding of Europe.

The same people wanted to roll up the UK’s relationship with the Republic of Ireland, our bilateral deal with France over the migrant camp in Calais, and even our relationship with the United Nations and the USA as though all these things were just aspects of our relationship with the EU. Perhaps real life is too complicated for political sloganeering.

(Gregory the Great's meeting with the slave children that sparked his idea to evangelise Britain.) 'Angles call ye them?' he   said, 'Nay, Angels rather.'

(Gregory the Great’s meeting with the slave children that sparked his mission to send Augustine to evangelise Britain.) ‘Angles call ye them?’ he said, ‘Nay, Angels rather.’

For better for or for worse, we will be leaving this particular political structure. What is necessary now is to re-imagine the UK in Europe. And that is something for which UK Catholics have a special vocation.

The Catholic genius is a taking seriously the natural world, not as untainted by the Fall but not as evil either. This understanding makes science possible without making science a tyrant. It makes art possible without making art an idol. It gives us an appreciation of nature, without an embrace of paganism. Wherever Catholics are, there is an acceptance of the good things of life and the interesting things of life, the achievements of humanity and the glories of nature, alongside restraint, an openness to criticism, and balance.

It is this that lies at the basis of European culture. For all the triumphs of European Protestant art and science—which as a Briton I certainly cannot ignore—the conceptual framework which makes all of this possible is Catholic, and the degree to which Protestantism has taken things towards a Manichean rejection of matter, or anti-intellectualism, and the degree to which reactions against such tendencies has given us Romantic neo-Paganism, European culture has declined, disintegrated, or simply come to a halt.

This is the grain of truth in Belloc’s bombastic remark, the Faith is Europe, and Europe in the Faith. And this is the positive thing, along with many negative things, which Europe has bequeathed to the Americas, to Africa, and to Asia: a model of how to work with nature, with natural reason and human desires and strivings, without becoming enslaved by them. This is the European genius, a genius which is at the bottom of much that is good and organic and authentic in a world now more and more dominated by European culture and its Holywood spin-offs.

Folio 7 contains an image of the Virgin and Child. This is the oldest extant image of the Virgin Mary in a Western manuscript.

Folio 7 contains an image of the Virgin and Child. This is the oldest extant image of the Virgin Mary in a Western manuscript.

That is why the Catholic Church does not flatten out local cultures, but enables them to flourish in new ways. The monumental artistic achievement of the Book of Kells expresses native, pre-Christian Irish artistic traditions, but it would never have happened without the Catholic Church. The staggering Latin American Baroque tradition gives expression to the passion, industry, and inventiveness unique to Latin America, but it was made possible by the Catholic Church. The delicacy and compassion of English medieval poetry and our early modern composers is supremely English, and totally Catholic in a way that no other nation’s Catholic art is Catholic. It is an expression of Catholic truth through the English spirit. It is the English spirit at work in the Vineyard of the Lord, alongside the spirit of every other nation, distinct, mutually influential, and harmonious.

It is not just possible for a Catholic from one nation to value and appreciate the culture of another; it is necessary. English Catholic pilgrims to Europe have always marvelled at the glories of Rome and Jerusalem, at Paris and Cologne and Santiago: Saxon Catholics, late Medieval Catholics, 18th century Catholics, and Catholics today do so. Some of these Catholics bring back important cultural ideas from these trips. But they don’t cease to be English, and for their part our continental brothers do not expect us to do so.

Catholic thought not only lies at the centre of what it is to be European, but it gives us a way of appreciating diversity, not of tolerating it but of really valuing other traditions, of making them part of our imaginative worlds without ceasing to be a party to the diversity ourselves: without ceasing to be distinct.

The European Union has a problem with all this because it rejects the Christian roots of Europe. This might seem a superficial thing, but the argument about the wording of the European Constitution and halos on commemorative coins symbolises something deep. The only way our rulers in Brussels and Westminster can imagine maintaining harmony is to destroy diversity, often in the name of diversity. The hysterical persecution of people selling potatoes by the pound or rolling cheeses down hills is part of a mindset which cannot understand how different ways of life can express universal values, because it admits no universal values. Without real, substantive, universal values, there is only uniformity, efficiency, and ‘elf ’n’ safety.

Not through the political machinery of a bureaucratic state or super-state, but through friendship, mutual respect, and re-teaching of the fundamental values of the Christian religion, will Europe be restored.

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44 Responses to Now to rebuild Europe

  1. Robert says:

    Yes absolutely. Understanding that a pagan Anti Christian Union isn’t European. This is an wolf in sheep clothing.

  2. David O'Neill says:

    The original concept of a European union began as the European Economic Community (EEC) which was formed by committed Christian men for the TRADE benefit of Europe. The EU became a POLITICAL entity with all that implies regarding legislation which, in many cases, was far from Christian. At least operating outside the EU we can hold our politicians responsible at the ballot box should we disagree with their legislation. Insofar as trade is concerned many nations outside of the EU have trade agreements with the EU benefitting all.

  3. toadspittle says:

    “Recovering Europe’s Catholic identity is the only way to restore hope in our joint future.”
    What would the protestants, and non-religious majority, answer that absolutely gob-smacking statement? With a big, loud, raspberry noise, I’d imagine. Might as well say, “..Let’s bring back the Druid identity.”
    I fear a Europe with a “Catholic identity” would be as totalitarian, and unbearable as a Europe with an a Calvinist, Quivering Brethren, or Communist, identity.
    But I suppose it all depends on what we mean by “identity.”

    “This understanding makes science possible without making science a tyrant.” As I keep endlessly telling Robot, science can’t be a “tyrant” – it is a process not a person.
    Now Kathleen’s doing it Do’h!

    “The hysterical persecution of people selling potatoes by the pound or rolling cheeses down hills…” Labelling such actions – bureaucratically daft as they may be – as “hysterical, persecution,” strikes me as hysterical paranoia. But I might be wrong.

  4. kathleen says:

    “At least operating outside the EU we can hold our politicians responsible at the ballot box should we disagree with their legislation.”

    That’s a good point, David. Unfortunately though, after generations of a force-feeding of anti-Christian Secularism in Britain and elsewhere, disguised as ‘tolerance’ or ‘inclusiveness’, it’s doubtful at this stage that those who oppose evil legislations will garner enough support to prevent them going through.*

    Ed.: * Or reversing the ant-Christian laws already in place of course.

  5. kathleen says:

    Toad,

    Christ’s teaching is the Truth – and “the Truth shall set you free“.

    Protestants with Christian ideals, and even those from other religions and non-believers who hold to the basic moral law, would flourish in a Europe that had recovered its Catholic “identity”. IOW, in a Europe where men put God first in their lives, and where they would strive to live according to the teachings of Christ Our Lord.

  6. Robert says:

    Toad
    Belloc pointed out what the reformation was and wasn’t. So away with your outdated and entrenched perceptions of Christ and Europe.
    Belloc pointed to the Netherlands and He was right. He grasped the Rosary and His work on heresy in all its ramifications is bang up to date.
    Its to Christ that I look now to heal the wounds and bring together the Hosts of Mary. The fine details have to be worked out the road is hard and stone (as was the Road to Golgotha) but away with this morbidity and self pitying.
    You want the Triumph Of the Immaculate? WORK FOR IT!

  7. Robert says:

    Toad
    Science? I follow it! Read it and talk to those within it!
    1/ The funding dictates the Research in other words funding expects a profitable return. Funding isn’t bothered about the Truth!
    2/ Ideas a proposed one week and demolished the next.
    3/ I have tried to explain so called Evolution which requires eons of stability for its changes. Most changes by the way are like cancer self destructive! In other words unless you can give a definitive history of the solar system/ our galaxy etc then you cannot say these eons existed. Comets are short life objects they burn up and cease to exist. So comets and the existence of huge volumes of water in the solar system hasn’t been explained.
    4/ The Faith has to move forward towards a returning Christ instead its entrenched in a structured Institution that is self preserving rather than looking forward.
    Why through out the settled truths and Sacred Traditions, the foundations, call these into question.

    Time to go forward a Exodus from this modernism and materialism. The Apoc is the return of Christ and His triumph its not gloom and doom! This is what I hear at least we know where we are! So did the Israelites under the Egyptians!! Moses was present at the Transfiguration mediate on this!

  8. toadspittle says:

    2/ Ideas are proposed one week and demolished the next.
    Yes, Robert. Quite right. That’s how the process of science works. It doesn’t go around “tyrannising” people – it just tries out ideas – until one works. …And discards the failures.
    Do you have some difficulty – some moral objection, possibly – to that concept?

    3/ I have tried to explain so called Evolution which requires aeons of stability for its changes.
    Nonsense. The earth never has, not ever will be – stable. Stability is not necessary for evolution. If it were, we wouldn’t be here. Yes, it takes aeons. Aeons of upheaval and destruction.
    The reverse, “instability” is essential. Evolution works by mutation. Ask a scientist. Any scientist.

  9. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad, I think you have answered your earlier question about why a good God made the world such an unstable (and dangerous) place.

  10. Roger says:

    [The moderator – Drivel, Roger. Don’t attempt to repost it.]

  11. toadspittle says:

    “Science can’t be a tyrant? Yes it can if its wrong and Kills people like say Asbestos. Yes if produces the Atom Bombs; Naphalm; Nerve Gas etc..”
    Robger – for God’s sake! Science doesn’t kill people – the evil application of science is what kills people. Science is neutral. It can’t be “wrong.” It can be used wrongly – that’s a very different thing. The same electricity that kills a man in Arkansas for murder also keeps Catholics nice and warm in Surbiton. So it’s no good saying, “We must get rid of the tyrant Science,” – there’s nobody there. When people are killed by asbestos, they are killed by asbestos, not by “Science.”

    “Glad you agree Toad about instability.”
    I think that must be irony. At least I hope so.

    Look, my CP&S friends – as you can see, I’m having a bit of trouble here. Maybe someone else smarter than I can get this over to Rebort. I’m plainly just not up to it..

    “Toad, I think you have answered your earlier question about why a good God made the world such an unstable (and dangerous) place.”
    Really? I’m clearly being even thicker than usual today, Bro B. Pollen count, or something.
    Briefly, what is my answer?

  12. Brother Burrito says:

    You were expressing your usual rant about earthquakes, ebola, extreme weather, etc, ad nauseam.

    Let me look for your original comment(s).

    PS: Robert clearly enjoys holding court here.😉

  13. John says:

    Kathleen @10.07 You speak of ‘force-feeding of anti-Christian Secularism in Britain and elsewhere’. Secularists are not the only ones who were, and are, engaged in force-feeding. It goes on in Catholic schools from infant level right upwards where the Catholic ethos is inculcated in the very original sense of that word .

    And what of infant baptism which pre-empts the child’s decision whether or not to become a Roman Catholic ?

  14. Brother Burrito says:

    Mr Kehoe,

    Is it even possible to force-feed a hungry infant? No force is needed, ever.

    Sure, a person of bad will might false-feed them, give them something they cannot derive nourishment from, but only disease and upset.

  15. mmvc says:

    “Sure, a person of bad will might false-feed them,…”
    Brilliant, BB.
    As my boys would say, you’re a legend! :o)

  16. johnhenrycn says:

    What I’d like is a Kehoe’s Katechism of Katholicism to put on my bookshelf right next to Rahner’s Revised Raccolta and Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

  17. John says:

    My dear enemy Johnhenrycn. The usual flippancy instead of argument. Kathleen had complained of the force-feeding of anti- Christian Secularism. Without consulting my imagined Katechism, is it not possible to force-feed Roman Catholicism ? That never happened ?

  18. kathleen says:

    I second that mmvc (Maryla) – BB is the best ‘donk/doc’ in town!🙂

    And JH is another ‘legend’, from over the pond this time, (re his comment ^^ @ 21:19). It had me in stitches!

    How ‘our boys’ think up these wonderful retorts to such negative Eeyoreish pessimism as Mr Kehoe’s – that would have even the guffawing Card. Timothy Dolan suddenly reaching for the Kleenex – I just don’t know.

    Hello Mr Kehoe. You don’t reeeeeally expect me to respond to your comment at 20:49, do you? I mean – you surely can’t be serious?

  19. John says:

    Brother Burrito Of course one does not speak of force-feeding a hungry infant with bodily food necessary to sustain life, but it is possible to sign up an infant into a religion where informed consent cannot be given by that infant, and where the infant is not in any real sense hungry for it.

  20. John says:

    Well hello, Kathleen, my old adversary. Your usual empty derision instead of argument. What is Eeyoreish ? Never head of it

  21. johnhenrycn says:

    …from Kehoe’s Katekhism of the Katholic Kirche. New Age Edition.

  22. johnhenrycn says:

    John: you ask (22:29) – “is it not possible to force-feed Roman Catholicism ? That never happened?”

    Let’s leave aside your obsession with child abuse by priests and religious. I do wish that I’d been force-fed the real Catechism (not your New Age one) as a child; but you – having never been so deprived – may not appreciate yearnings like that from a person who first told his mother that he wished to be Catholic more than half a century ago.

  23. johnhenrycn says:

    Good bye, John, my dear cremini:

  24. johnhenrycn says:

    …oops. Sorry, John🙂

  25. johnhenrycn says:

    (: Sorry everyone.

    (GC: gremlins outed, JH. You’re welcome)

  26. The Raven says:

    Your usual empty derision instead of argument.

    Why do you think that your assertion deserves an argued response, John? You know very well (or should know very well) why the Church baptises infants; your bold assertion that it shouldn’t is, itself unargued.

  27. toadspittle says:

    Right, time we all pull ourselves together (metaphorically speaking, of course) – get back to the point of this post, and start rebuilding Europe. Well, we’re done it before.
    I suggest, looking at the lully map, we first colour in Switzerland gamboge, and work our way out from there.
    I will take personal responsibility for constructing a “Trump” wall, made of vast hunks of surplus, over-subsidised EU cheese, cemented together with paella, along the Pyrenees, ensuring the “Catholic Identity” of Spain remains untainted with the Sartrean Existentialism that has so corrupted the Frogs and Monegasques.

    “Catholic thought not only lies at the centre of what it is to be European, but it gives us a way of appreciating diversity, not of tolerating it* but of really valuing other traditions, of making them part of our imaginative worlds without ceasing to be a party to the diversity ourselves: without ceasing to be distinct.”
    Waffle? Yes – but it’s Catholic waffle. So that’s all right.

    *Too true.

  28. Robert says:

    Toad
    My starting point is simply that C st restores All things that were lost to Man. The most important starting point is Eternity. The Reparation necessary to the Infinite for Sin.
    It isn’t understood but actually Sin does attach to siblings from their parents. This is the profoundity of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
    Genesis has the division in man between Cain and Seth. Noah is from Seth’s line as is Enoch.

    Christ restores all things over His time. This includes the Conversion of the Jews by the way.
    The Fathers of the Church looked at the Ascension and took Our Lord’s literal word that He would return (in His second coming) Mount Olives.

    It is understood that the Church will have its moment of Triumph. That is One Faith over the world before the End of Our Time.

    The Road chosen by God is that of the Virgin so the Triumph of the Virgin and hence the Immaculate Heart is about this preparation for the Next Era of the Church.

    The EU isn’t Christian is it? Its closest to Julian the Apostate. It started with Treaty of Rome but this Rome was after the imprisioning of the Popes in the Vatican (that was the language of the Popes). Since 1960 the language from Vatican (and it is separate from Rome) has been of a Submission to a Secular world (Paul VI and the triple crown given to UN).

    So what is next for the Church? Well sadly without a return to spiritual values what can be saved in Europe? St Augustine has the two cities Babel and Jerusalem. So when you say rebuild Europe do you mean Babel or Jerusalem?

    The Church actually can complete its voyage few or many! This is well illustrated in the Acts with a small minority leaving Jerusalem (which was later ploughed into the ground).

    Britain? The path chosen by plebiscite is uncertain rocky and a turning of the back on the sweet meats of EU monies. The British have perhaps unknowingly chosen their Nations Sovereignty over Money (Babel).

    We have a generation lost to the Faith (discussed elsewhere) in Britian and this is co-existent with the EU. Its an Exodus of course from Babel and we must not do what Lot did look back. Perhaps in the coming months, years the allure of Babel may be replaced by Jerusalem. I suspect considerable Civil unrest and bitter divisions (but these frankly have been simmering below the surface for decades). For Me like Belloc its the Rosary and the Future.

  29. Robert says:

    William Blake

    And did those feet in ancient time
    Walk upon England’s mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
    On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
    And did the Countenance Divine
    Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
    Among these dark Satanic Mills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold!
    Bring me my arrows of desire!
    Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
    Bring me my chariot of fire!
    I will not cease from mental fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England’s green and pleasant land

  30. Brother Burrito says:

    “Jerusalem” is a stirring hymn, but many miss the point a bit.

    The Kingdom is already here. All of us fail to appreciate this fully.

    When one gazes upon the beauty of nature or even one’s garden, when one feels oneness with one’s friends or is enraptured by the music of the spheres, it is easy to think that the Kingdom is here already and complete.

    However when one encounters ugly wastelands, disunity and disharmony, one may be tempted to despair, but risen Christ sees those places as His future mission territories and us as His missioners.

  31. toadspittle says:

    Blake’s religion was rather obscure in terms of denomination. One thing was certain – it was not Catholicism.

    “It isn’t understood but actually Sin does attach to siblings from their parents. This is the profoundity of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.”
    This (and virtually everything else you say) is utter gibberish to me, Rebort.
    But not, it seems, to the faithful on CP&S.
    …My problem, then. Poor old me.

  32. Brother Burrito says:

    [REDACTED]

  33. kathleen says:

    John Kehoe @ 23:06 (last night)

    “What is Eeyoreish? Never heard of it”

    You mean you never read the stories of Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh as a child, Mr Kehoe? You really missed out. Eeyoreish is the adjective of Eeyore, CR’s toy donkey*. (It’s in the dictionary BTW.)

    This might help you out.

    * N.B Not to be confused with our Brother Burrito.

    Sorry to hijack your comment Kathleen, but the readers must know that I am frequently confused, and unruly -BB

  34. johnhenrycn says:

    …or as Eeyore would have said if he was still alive: Have a nice day, John, which it won’t be.

  35. toadspittle says:

    “…or as Eeyore would have said if he was still alive: Have a nice day, John, which it won’t be.”
    When I was an ink-stained wretch in the slums and stews of Toledo, Ohio – well meaning folk would say, “Have a nice day,” to me. I always replied, “Thank you, but I have made other arrangements.”

  36. Robert says:

    Toad
    Father Malachy Martin said once Possession is Generational!.
    This was an exorcist talking about the same demon as it where tempting generations with the same families and even more profound nations.
    To get rid of these requires guess what? prayer and fasting. Not words that win votes and electiosn.
    The Reformation saw entire Nations ripped away from the Faith because of the preclavities of the few.

  37. JabbaPapa says:

    David O’Neill :

    The EU became a POLITICAL entity with all that implies regarding legislation which, in many cases, was far from Christian.

    The more time passes, the clearer it becomes that the EU is a Masonic project.

    Frankly, I’m seeing Brexit more and more as an island of sanity in a roiling ocean of Relativist Atheism.

  38. JabbaPapa says:

    John :

    what of infant baptism which pre-empts the child’s decision whether or not to become a Roman Catholic ?

    It doesn’t, which is why we have the Sacrament of Confirmation.

    The ordinary form of Baptism is the adult Baptism, which most certainly constitutes becoming a Catholic (in fact, Anointment as a Catechumen is sufficient for that). This is why Confirmation is almost automatically granted to the adult Baptised, with no need for any extra requirements.

    The infant Baptism OTOH is, like an emergency baptism, conditional to some extent, so that its fundamental purpose is to provide forgiveness to the person of the Original Sin for Salvation, as well as a promise by the parents and godparents to raise the child in Catholic Faith. The decision of the infant baptised to become a Catholic is made at Confirmation, not earlier, although this is sadly very often not taught to our children and their parents and godparents and their families, so that it is far too often perceived as a simple rite of passage on the journey toward adulthood.

  39. JabbaPapa says:

    Malachi Martin’s theology is dubious and shaky, though some of his (overly public) statements were quite sensible. He is not the absolutely trustworthy source of wisdom in all things that some believe him to be.

    Not all demonic influence requires the possession of those influenced by it, and our Baptism and the divine Origin of our souls both provide us with very strong protections against possession, even in cases where people might scoff entirely at the possibility of such a thing and might also loathe the Church.

    The Rite of Baptism ordinarily includes a Prayer of Exorcism, though I have personally seen it omitted, which is very shocking ; most of us have benefited from an exorcism at least once in our lives.

  40. toadspittle says:

    “The Reformation saw entire Nations ripped away from the Faith because of the preclavities of the few.”
    Wouldn’t mid seeing a diagram of that. Or even a hologram.

    “..most of us have benefited from an exorcism at least once in our lives.”
    Knowingly. Jabba?

  41. Robert says:

    Jabba

    Of course I understand what you are saying about exorcism etc.
    Blood lines Nations/Tribes even Cities (with types and traints) figure in the Bible.
    Differences and traints originating from a common stock
    Sic Cain and Abel. Later Cain and Seph. The 12 tribes (Israel and Jacobs blessings on His Sons).

    The significance of Adam and Eve, Jesus and Mary (sic the Immaculate Conception) is that the original root of All Man was preserved by God. Man degraded following the Fall morally and physically.

    Christ restores All things and this is especially the Case with the Flesh and Blood of Christ (Man as created by God). The Immaculate Conception is a deep and profound Dogma that reaches back to Creation and forward to Man’s future in the Messianic Kingdom.

    Now getting back to the traints or families and Nations and knowing the anathema placed on Cain and His descendants, what does this mean? Sadly we seem to be faced with combating the demons that seduced our descendants.

    How else do we explain the Babylonian exile? Did the children deserve their parents punishment? Now fast forward to what happened in the Reformation. Consider today what this must mean on a Europe that is Apostate.

    Sadly and not properly understood there is always Reparation for Sin even if the Sin is forgiven. The Sacraments heal and yes exorcise BUT the demonic Temptations that seduced our ancestors have to be overcome in Our generation.

    Reparation for Sin and yes the Sins of Our Ancestors? What does the Communion of Saints mean unless it means this?

  42. JabbaPapa says:

    Knowingly. Jabba?

    In my case yes. The adult baptismal rite involves three exorcisms, and one when you become a Catechumen.

  43. Roger says:

    The Blog is the rebuilding of Europe.
    The New Testament fulfills the Old Covenant and gives us the New.

    However if you deliberately ignore, overturn or deny the Christ then you have the evidence of the Old Testament of how God corrects and punishes the reprobate. I say reprobate because of the rejection of Truth and Light (Christ) and the consequences on future generations.

    It has become unfashionable to talk about the Jews. However they were dispersed and Jerusalem ploughed into the ground and the Temple destroyed (as Christ had Prophecised) the Nation vanished. In 1948 Israel again was recognised as a Nation in other words what 2000 years. As well as a most dreadful holocaust.

    Rebuilding Europe is a two fold question. Rebuild for Babel? or for Jerusalem? The price/cost of the European Apostacy is Reparation. If the parents and grand parents wouldn’t then it will fall to the sons and that Reparation is necessary is evidenced by “Look at the Passion of Christ!”
    In England we have the incredible Holy martyrs who gave their lives for the Faith as a holocaust for England’s Apostacy.

    The forgiveness of Sins and the Sacraments Yes of course. But remember the Law of Reparation for Sins forgiven. As Our Lord said the woman taken in Adultery SIN NO MORE!

  44. kathleen says:

    Jabba @ 08:40

    Thank you for your concise and lucid explanation to Mr Kehoe about infant Baptism. For someone who is always going on about being “force-fed” Catholicism in his youth, I thought he was simply being provocative and looking for yet another argument in asking me this question.
    But as we have all seen, Mr Kehoe’s understanding of Catholicism is shockingly blinkered.

    “The decision of the infant baptised to become a Catholic is made at Confirmation, not earlier, although this is sadly very often not taught to our children and their parents and godparents and their families, so that it is far too often perceived as a simple rite of passage on the journey toward adulthood.”

    This is so true, Jabba. I was a catechist for years, helping prepare our youngsters in the parish for Confirmation, and together with the other catechists, we had quite a job sometimes in transmitting the importance of this, the second Sacrament of Initiation. Some of the youngsters were more concerned about who were to be their godparents, what name to choose, or what to wear at the celebration afterwards!

    All the same, there were many wonderful young catechumens too, who took the preparation for Confirmation seriously, asked honest and profound questions about the Faith, and demonstrated greater maturity than many adults. I am still in touch with some of them, quite a few who are now married and with small children of their own.

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