Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A bit if a winge

I’ve been meditating on why it is so difficult to talk calmly and rationally with many good Catholic Americans about a cautions approach to Capitalism. So many think that is has to be the only way of doing anything, the only alternative being Socialism and this being intrinsically evil.

This is not intending to be a political post. I’m worried because some seem to hold the tenets of Capitalism closer to their hearts than their Faith. They use their Faith to justify their belief in Capitalism, they say “my Faith shows that Capitalism is the only valid economic process”. This is dangerous. Faith should never be used to justify any theory. It is absurd as using Faith to justify a particular theory in science as being better than another scientific theory. One place we end up in, if we go down that route is the academically unsatisfying backwater that is “Intelligent Design”. There is an embarrassing lack of academic rigour both for scientists and theologians in intelligent design, the Church is rightly sceptical of its merits. Incidentally, can it ever work the other way round, has anyone ever been brought to a deeper understanding of their Faith by wholehearted embracing of a political theory? Has anyone ever said “My wholehearted embrace of Capitalism/Socialism has deepened my faith, hope and charity”. Would you trust them if they did?

Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?
1 Cor 1:12-13

How can we be a “right wing Catholic” or a “left wing Catholic”? The universiality of the Church demands that the C of Catholic is branded on our heads and pierces our hearts, it can not lead to unstinting political allegiance, or unstinting allegiance to an economic theory (we have to let go of this idea), our allegiance is to Christ alone. Christ in the poor, the naked, the hungry, the lame, the neighbour who tells you uncomfortable truths, the neighbour you like, the neighbour you can't stand and Christ manifest in the Magesterium of the Church and the great Sacraments of the Church.

So, why are our American brothers and sisters in Christ often such truculent political idealogues? Partly, I think as they see us in Europe as inherently leftist, they see the old world as a failure and leftism being the epitome of failure, it makes them love America more. Partly also because the spirit of Frontierism seems hardwired into the American psyche. Wagon trains roll and strive, achieve, make good by your own hands and love your liberty. A regulatory state such as appears in Leftist governments gnaws at the very soul of the Frontierist. He feels emasculated and threatened. Importantly, the American will also have a strong sense of family, and a sense that the family is the most precious thing. It could be argued however that some Americans cannot see beyond the family and a concept of wider networks of humanity and wider bonds of charity and affection. In many ways there is nothing to admonish in loving your country, Frontierism or strong family values, they are all valid and life-affirming. However they can be quite insular mindsets, firstly there is an inability to see and love much that is good in Europe and beyond, secondly Frontierists do not interact with their environment they conquer it and do not listen to its needs and thirdly a totally family centred approach falls apart if it is not thoroughly bound into the wider communion of the Church Militant, Triumphant and Suffering.

We all have mindsets, I’d like an American perspective on prevalent European mindsets. My grouse is a worry that some of us will hold onto these mindsets at the expense of failing to let Christ work in our hearts.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Completely Different

Some time ago my union sent me a questionnaire to fill in on workplace bullying, this is a topic of some interest to me, as I have alluded to in the past. I dutifully filled in the questionnaire including the very PC, equal opportunities bit at the end, this included the question:

State your sexual orientation:

  • gay
  • bisexual
  • heterosexual
  • prefer not to say

It struck me that this is a totally daft question: what does it mean? It must just be referring to our capacity for sexual love, and at that our capacity for sexual love devoid of higher human feelings. Is the question referring to more that our preferred means of genital stimulation? If it is a higher question than that, then surely we are all bisexual, indeed our capacity for love should not be restricted by age, race or gender. If is is purely about sexual feelings, then surely it is a simply a matter of the preferred means of genital stimulation. How should a Catholic answer this question? I don't think they should.

Heterosexual is NOT the correct answer. We should not define ourselves by the criteria of others. The labels start to stick. Ours in not a world of homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, but it will become so if we let it.

Incidentally, these questionnaire setters think they're so PC, but they forget the obvious, surely in the interests of inclusivity, there should be a box to tick for those that would call themselves Onanists.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


MIL (Phyllis)died peacefully in her sleep earlier this week, I humbly request you please pray for her soul.

There is much I wish to write about, but it doesn't seem quite appropriate at the moment. DH is devastated....

I will however say that I am finding great solace at the moment using "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene, which has been beautifully reprinted by Baronius Press. Whilst MIL was suffering and we were wondering why the good Lord was not taking her from us in her agony, the following passage gently instructed my raging heart:

Just as the Holy Spirit dwelt in the most holy soul of Christ in order to bring it to God, so He abides in our souls for the same purpose. In Jesus he found a completely docile will, one that He could control perfectly, whereas in us He often meets resistance, the fruit of human weakness; therefore, He desists from the work of our sanctification because He will do no violence to our liberty.

I'd not really got anywhere near appreciating the relationship between our free will and the will of God before reading that.

I also noticed for the first time that the battle for the soul really does take place as someone dies. I may write about what I saw at some later date, but not now. I just ask you to recall what you already know, that the prince of this world will do his best to lead you away from God right up to the time of your death, and that he seems to show a special interest in those that are doggedly faithful to God. This is not an excuse to lapse away from your faith but a reminder to make sure you embrace and submit to your faith and the sacraments even more fully.

I do fear the Catholic blogworld is getting more egocentric, argumentative and obsessed with earthly and largely irrelevant goings-on....this is not the work of God. Please be warned, and practice even greater humility and vigilance.