Saturday, 1 January 2011

Matthew 10:16

Joe has made some observations about phobias for 2011, he mentions Tradphobia and Episcopophobia. I have to admit I’m getting a little uneasy with the tone of some blogs with regard to Bishops, as irritating as our Bishops can be, flippancy is no weapon in the fight for orthodoxy. On the subject of Traddies, I’m not sure I know what one is. It seems to be one who is a lover of Baroque finery, but that is hardly tradition as it does not date back before the Reformation. Perhaps, those who won’t go to a Mass where the vestments are Gothic rather than Roman and insist on Latin, if they desire holiness, should be pleased that they are being criticised, and be gracious to their critics.

With the news from Alexandria, as it is today, I am more concerned with another phobia that can infest Catholic circles, Islamophobia. I believe this phobia does nothing but damage the Church. Our example should be the Holy Father and his efforts post Regensburg, Serious and lasting progress towards peace is being made, most of it unreported by the Catholic bloggers.

Without in any way seeking to lessen the tragedy of the bombing in Alexandria, I would like you to consider the following points.

Moslems claim to be believers in the One God. We cannot be in the situation where our “One God” is different from their “One God”. We would then be hypocrites. We could perhaps say, we are believers in the “One God”, you Muslims are not. In which case we are calling them idolators, because what they believe in is false. Can I just say, how unwise it is to go down this route. We too easily forget, or never knew in the first place, that Moslems have a code of conduct which involves acting as a mirror to the behaviour they see around them. In mirroring this position, they would say they were the true believers and we were the idolators; and as they take the charge of idolatory very seriously (as we should) the consequences for us are severe and unpleasant.

Just remember Matthew 10:16: that we are sent out as sheep amongst wolves and that we must be a shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. Gentleness, humility and shrewdness are called for and this does seem to be Benedict’s winning formula.

Our Lord never gave foreigners, Samaritans or Canaanites a right ticking off. He was most venomous over the Pharisees, who were so close to the Truth but also so carried away with their own egos. Our Lord was also most critical of those closest to Him, those He loved, like Peter.

So, perhaps we should not be phobic over any grouping of people. But righteous indignation may be allowed, perhaps we are allowed to call a whited sepulcher a whited sepulcher. But what is the target for our venom? I say, let it not be Moslems, let it be luke warm Catholics. After all, a Wahabi Jihadi nut job with a belt of plastic explosive would not even be recognized as a Moslem by the majority of Moslems. Let us not fly into a rage over them, but we must pray sincerely for those whose lives are terrorised by those lunatics. No, our target must be luke warm Catholics, they, afterall are likely to damage far more souls. Remember, if we have a target, the target also has a right to use us as target practice (it is the other side of the Golden Rule: do to others as you would have them do to you).

Bring on the luke warm Catholics, we can fight them (in the nicest possible way).

A huffy-fluffy image from a misqoted bit of scripture; lions lying down with lambs, make of it what you will.


Richard Collins said...

By 'luke warm Catholics' do you mean the Bishops?

Rita said...

I don't know any Bishops personally, but I know too many luke warm Catholics.

No I'm really not sure going for the Bishops is the answer. Pray for them...

Richard Collins said...

It was a shade trite, more a case of humour whilst sorrowing!
Of course, we must pray for them and for the Papal Nuncio that he gets the right men in the right posts.

Joe said...

Three thoughts on lukewarmness (or "average-ness", which has become my term for it):

1. I think we should recognise that averageness does make it difficult for those who try to live their Catholic faith with some sort of vigour. It has a discouraging effect.
2. If the Christian mystery is one of conversion and redemption, then those who are lukewarm might well be living the experience of that mystery more fully than those who try to be vigourous or devout. A cautious note!
3. In practice, I think on needs to find one's own little sources of encouragement in one's own situation. Those sources will be different for different people and different geographical locations - and, for me, the EF is not such a source of encouragement, but a local Sunday evening OF Mass is. Those who try to be vigorous in their practice should try to answer the same call to conversion as we would want to apply to the lukewarm.

I suspect I have become a bit more exasperated with the comments of traditionalist bloggers about bishops than you, Rita!

At the moment I am reading (rather slowly, because it is in French) a study of the thought on inter-religious dialogue, and particularly Christian-Moslem dialogue, of Christian de Cherge, the martyred prior of the Cistercian monastery in Tibhirine (cf the film Of Gods and Men). When I get sufficient thoughts together, I expect I will post on it.

Rita said...

Thank you for your comments.

I do feel that there are types of "luke-warmness" that do need a more direct form of tackling, but in a gentle way. Normally I would walk away from someone whose conversation goes along the lines of "Jesus was a very nice person, I'm sure he would approve of my relationship with ...." or "Nobody really believes in that these days do they?" or "These Anglican clergy coming over just don't like women, why are we bothering, we'll have women priests soon."

I'm not sure walking away can be an option any longer, this talk is dangerous if it influences others.