I was a lapsed Catholic. Moved by the obvious disinterest which priests around me showed in Catholic values and Mass attendance, badly catechised, and surrounded by a more and more secular world, I started to lose the habit of thinking with the Church that had been rudimentally transmitted to me as a child. Slowly, other things went out of the window, due to the influence of the secular values when one stops seeking the nourishment only the Sacraments can give. I preferred to consider abortion a terrible evil I would not have the courage to avoid, and preferred to leave it at that. I refused, or rather neglected, to think rationally about the necessary consequences of being a Catholic. I was the socially conservative version of the Cafeteria Catholic. I was disgusted by fags; but mainly only out of common decency, rather than of deeply felt religious values.
In all this, never one day, never one minute did I lose the faith in God. Feeling abandoned by the platitudes of the V II Church and not yet acquainted with Traditionalism (a movement I really discovered only in 2005, thanks to the Internet), I spent countless hours with “do it yourself” exercises, with up to seven different Bibles on my table, trying to understand and deepen the faith about which I felt so strongly, if confusedly, and which made me despise the secular priests of questionable virility I saw around me and on TV, and the shallow rhetoric of poverty and social justice that had nothing supernatural in it.
Faith is the biggest grace I ever received, and never losing faith for one second is, in itself, a grace in the grace. I feel as if a good God would patiently wait, through my Years Of Stupidity, until I finally found the fountain of pure water, Catholicism as it was always intended and had never been taught to me. Coherent, logical, manly, as beautiful and as hard as a diamond.
I confess that I suffer of “excessive doctrinal security”. I could, if it depended on me, depose Francis, defrock him, and send him to die at the stake without flinching; and I would be ready and proud to be called at my own judgment there, on the spot, whilst the Argentinian’s corpse is still burning, and the smoke still rising high in the Roman sky.
Faith is a grace, that I have obviously not deserved. But I think it my duty to make use of it, and help others along the way.
And I want you to see it, this faith. I want you to feel it, I want it to jump on you unexpectedly, like a lion. You may disagree with me, hate me, mock me. But my faith, you will not be able to deny or even ignore.
It is a grace. Fully undeserved. Given to a wretched sinner, concerned about his own salvation more than it’s comfortable to him. Given to him, I think, so that he may use it to help others.
However, even if I had not been graced with a strong faith, and had gone through periods of doubt – something up to now always spared to me, but common to even many saints in form of perceived distance of God from them, or of punishing spiritual aridity – never would I dare to present my doubts, my trembling and wobbling faith, as something desirable, or that makes me more “complete” than the one who never had such doubts.
“Never doubted God? You’re missing something, my boy’!”
Who would be such an idiot as to express himself in that way? Someone without faith, of course. Someone who cannot avoid thinking in totally secular terms, and likes it, and wants you to think in the same way. Someone who thinks so much in terms of moral relativism and pensiero debole, that he boasts of his own lack of faith.
Someone, in short, like this one.
There is not really, I think, ground to be worried yet. It might even be that idiots of this sort help the common citizen to understand how important freedom of speech is, and how long it would live it this kind of people had their way. Most probably, we have here the usual atheist moron looking for some publicity and, luckily for him, finding some other moron (the Director for Public Prosecution, another clear waste of space and taxpayer’s money; and God knows whether Ireland has taxpayer money to waste) ready to listen to him.
Still, I think I should report this to expose the Nazi mentality – but seriously, I wonder where in Nazi Germany the htought control went as far as that – of a “humanist” (this is a nice sounding word for: godless) minus habens called John Golgan. Mr Colgan, who is also politically active and can therefore use all the headlines he can get, has a problem with the following two passages of a homily of the Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Boyce. Quoting from this blog, they are as follows:
1) One of the passages referred to the Catholic Church in Ireland being
“attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture”
2) A second passage, which was included in the complaint, stated:
“For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness.”
Believe it or not, this chap Colgan is on record with the following nonsense:
“I believe statements of this kind are an incitement to hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists, within the meaning of the [Incitement to Hatred] Act, who are perfectly good citizens within the meaning of the civil law. The statements exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracising of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens, who do not share the aims of the Vatican’s Irish Mission Church.”
I don’t even know where to start (though an insult might be appropriate). Beside the fact that in the above mentioned statement there is nothing even remotely approaching antipathy, this chap makes a first somersault construing such innocuous, even banal statements as “antipathy” against the godless; from there, he proceeds to a second somersault declaring that to have a category of people in antipathy means to incite to their hatred and is, therefore, a criminal activity.
Once again, bear in mind the poor cretin needs publicity. But really, not even Goebbels or Hitler would have dared to criminalise the Church for saying she risks of being persecuted, and mit brennender Sorge was, in fact, read in all German churches without any bishop being prosecuted!
From which we learn that compared to modern secularists a’ la Colgan, even Nazis appear moderate and tolerant.
These people are a cancer that must be eradicated.
There, I have said it. Waiting for the police now. No wait, I don’t live in Ireland, and my blog is located in the United States.
Sorry then, old chap….
If you like the wonderful British novelists of the XIX century (Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope & Co.), or even if you are a bit interested in the past, you’ll know already that in the past, premature death was – unfortunately – a much more frequent affair than it is today.
I do not bore you with the countless examples in said literature – suffices it to say, people could predict which people could make it to a ripe age, as a sickly child or weak teenager knew his chances were rather bad -, but you might be more familiar with some of the great of the past. Beethoven died aged 52, Chopin 39, Bizet 36, Mozart 35 and the great, great, great Franz Schubert 31.
It would seem, only two centuries ago death was everywhere. Birth (for women of course, and children), disease and war were constant dangers, and the premature farewell to this valley of tears an ever-present possibility.
No rosy and healthy young wife could tell you she wouldn’t be dead in less than 12 months’ time, whether of birth or disease. People knew it, and lived with it as with something both natural, and God-given. Again, we see it in the novels of the time – in their sum, certainly a very accurate portrait of the reality of the times – and this reality must have been full of uncertainties if even in the Sixties of the XIX Century – when the medical advancements had been plentiful – Trollope could put in his character’s thought the doubt that perfectly healthy people could live for long; with which he expressed what must have been generally felt as the ever-present possibility that even young and healthy people might be carried away in a short period of time.
Why do I say this to you? Because the Trollope book I am reading – boy, the chap was good! I am astonished he should be so comparatively underappreciated nowadays – reminded me of a trailer of a movie I never saw, in which Nicole Kidman performs a mother struggling to cope with the death of her own child and – it appeared from the trailer – becoming blasphemous in the process.
It stroke – and strikes – me as shocking what absence of historical perspective must be necessary to not even write, but even think such screenplays. Nowadays, life is a man-given right, and his end an unforgivable offence. This world is the centre of everything, and therefore the end of the life on this world as a little child not the promotion to an infinitely better one, but something to be grieved to the point of hating the One to Whom this life is due in the first place. The same belief in God is negated when one doubts the goodness of the God he still says to believe in. You can’t really believe in a cruel Christian God unless you are seriously, seriously disturbed. If you believe in the Christian God, you know He loves you. If you doubt this, you doubt His very existence, and make a cruel joke of Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection. If you blaspheme Him because of what you are supposed to know comes from Him, you make a fool of yourself.
We are extremely spoiled in this day and age. Thankfully, we enjoy unprecedented health and a life expectancy that would have been a dream only two generations ago. Sadly, this has gone together with a
. I do not blame the medical advancement of course, not do I think that better life conditions made people less religious – it being very obvious that some of the places with most comfortable life conditions are among the most religious -. What I think is that the shifting of the attention to the life below led to the loss of the very meaning of both the life below, and the one above.
I blame the mentality which infected the country from – say; at least as much as one can say such things – the Sixties, a mentality which encouraged people to think that their human condition here below – not their eternal destiny up above – is in the end what really counts.
Seriously, a society which makes of child death a reason to justify blasphemy – and I do not know whether this was the content of the film, of whether it ended with a more Christian message; but you could notice the trailer strongly leveraged on these feelings – is a society which must still learn to understand the first things about life and death. I compare the movie with the reaction of the presidential candidate Santorum to the death of his child, and see the difference between a Christian and a secular world; though I do not doubt for a moment the Santorums will carry their loss with them to their grave.
How spoiled we are. How misled by bad shepherds feeding us theological double-entendres meant to appease us whatever out thinking, and to dance around truth without ever touching it (how about this: “all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” You can immediately see the two ways in which it can be read. Ah, what masters of flattery the Conciliar Fathers were…..). Secularism polluted the entire Western world and instead of fighting it, the Church was polluted Herself.
We live longer and longer, but in our attitude to death we become more and more like little children who understand nothing and ask their parents in the hope of answers they will, if they are lucky enough to get them, not understand.