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It is my grandson’s generation that will have to take up the struggle for Christian values

Plus some helpful responses to my post about Tesco

By on Wednesday, 9 November 2011

First of all, I would like to thank all those excellent posts in response to my last blog about Tesco. Indeed, some of them put the case against this cynical and commercially-motivated move by the multinational company, in throwing its weight and influence behind next year’s London Pride march, much better than I did in what I wrote and I am most grateful for them. In particular, Paul Priest’s posts demonstrated the charity and truth towards the LGTB community that we who call ourselves Christian should always show.

To accuse Christians of ‘homophobia’ because they rightly question the wisdom and the motives behind Tesco’s decision is, as one post put it, just a cheap shot. My attitude towards my LGTB brothers and sisters (I am sure I have said this before) is that they are sinners, like me; they need grace to change their lives, as I do; and they require healing, like me. The revised wording of the prayer we make just before Communion at Mass – ‘Lord, I am not worthy…’ – says it all.

I have just picked up a recent CTS booklet about World Youth Day in Madrid (a cause that, as one post pointed out, Tesco would never consider sponsoring) entitled “Be Firm in your Faith”. It contains all the addresses and speeches made by the Holy Father to the young people in Madrid and there are some wonderful passages in it. I will quote two:

“The Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true. It is God’s ‘yes’ to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows… I can only urge you then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God’s love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead there can be no salvation. He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire.”

(Somehow this puts the whole debate arising from my last blog into its true perspective: of course the LGTB community have sorrows to bear, as do we all; I know several wives and mothers struggling heroically under heavy crosses, and also many disabled people who suffer formidable problems – but they do not try to draw attention to themselves, demand to become a privileged group or seek victim status.)

The second passage: “Ask [Christ] to let you imitate him in his perfect charity towards all, so that you do not shun the exclude and sinners, but help them convert and return to the right path. As him to teach you how to be close to the sick and the poor… Relying on his love, do not be intimidated by surrounding that would exclude God and in which power, wealth and pleasure are frequently the main criteria ruling people’s lives. You may be shunned along with others who propose higher goals or who unmask the false gods before whom many now bow down. That will be the moment when a life deeply rooted in Christ will clearly be seen as something new and it will powerfully attract those who truly search for God, truth and justice.”

All this too, is pertinent to my earlier blog. I must remember to read it before I compose my letter to the chief executive of Tesco, and not let annoyance or frustration with the company rule my pen.

My grandson, who wants to remain anonymous, has at long last responded to my appeal to give me his own memories of WYD in Madrid. He tells me they had a long, 8-hour journey “through an arid, desert-like landscape” to reach the city where they slept for several nights “on the hard floor of a college gym.” At the Catholic refugee camp, the vast campsite where the millions of young people were to meet the Holy Father, he held up the whole group “chatting to an official outside the gates about his employment prospects” (he is a friendly lad). “Waiting for the night vigil was a penitential test of endurance for all but the hardiest people” (allow for youthful exaggeration here).

More rigours were to come: “Quite unexpectedly the police turned up at our spot, accusing us of being in the wrong place and demanded we leave.” The day was only saved when “Father Daniel [Seward of the Oxford Oratory] dramatically donned his cassock to further the cause.”

All in all, my grandson found it “a very worthwhile experience in a convivial company of people”. He consolidated friendships with others of a shared faith and realised he was not alone. Even though the Pope spoke mainly in Spanish or Italian, “it didn’t matter; we all knew why we were there: to support each other in our Catholic lives.” He also mentioned the prayer tent and the singing, accompanied by the melodic strumming of a guitar, inside it – but, interestingly, nothing about Youthfests or orgies.

As I wrote in an earlier blog about WYD, my grandson’s experience was at the heart of the gathering, not the negative prophesies posted after that blog. It is his generation that will in the future have to take up the cudgels in the struggle to maintain the ancient Christian values in this country that we are in danger of losing – not least when Mammon, aka Tesco, seeks to replace God.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful post as usual..I very much look forward to my future grandchildren..God-willing..

  • Anonymous

    The touble is though Francis, that however much they pray, and however hard they try, they remain homosexual. God does not heal them.

  • karlf

    Francis should thank God that he didn’t make her grandson gay, like he does so many others – imagine the trouble there would be if he had!

  • theroadmaster

    Francis in her words displays a selfless, Christian humility which recognizes that we are all in need of God’s grace and mercy while trying to lead others by our words and actions away from sinful tendencies.  The current loss of a moral centredness in society underpinned by objective moral values, has pushed Christian beliefs and other religions into the margins.  We see the detrimental effects of this on committed believers who are faced with legislative sanctions for venturing opinions, refusing to carry out actions or wearing religious symbols which clash with the Politically-Correct liberal consensus, regarding the morality of certain acts or beliefs It is as if society at large has been brainwashed and cast adrift from it’s roots and allowed to wander aimlessly into wasteland without any discernible boundaries.  But the Catholic, Christian Faith while still ignited in the hearts and minds of the committed can still act as a leaven in society to ground it in the truth about the nature of humanity and society and pass that commitment down to further generations to help bring the country back to the sanity of Christian principles.

  • Oconnordamien

    When a parent teachest a child that ‘I am not worthy…’ and that torturing and killing your son/self when you choose to is the way to “free the world from evil and bring about the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire.” Surely we would call this abuse and lock up the parent as dangerous.

    Unless of course they are doing it in the name of their particular god.

  • Oconnordamien

    Sorry to post two in a row but it’s best to do so.

    Just think how most teenage boys could fall asleep in a wardrobe.. upside down if they were tired enough and still feel chipper in the morning. If Mrs Philips’ grandson complained, well I honestly think the arrangements must have been darn uncomfortable. 

  • Laurence England

    What is the ‘trouble’ with that if Jesus loves them?

  • Anonymous

    A  lot of people (all, actually) have passions or desires that are disordered, they like to eat and drink too much, are lazy, have poor taste in music or clothing, worry too much, etc.   It’s part of being an adult to realize that you’re not perfect and you may need to change yourself or, failing that, discipline your desires. So simply asserting that God made people gay does not thereby mean that homosexual attraction should necessarily be acted upon. If it did then you leave the door open for a great deal of unwise self-indulgence.

  • Anonymous

    Are you sure that no one ever has realized that they were just sexually confused and then went on to live a traditional married life? Even if it is impossible for someone to learn to prefer mates of the opposite sex, in the same way that one might learn to appreciate the finer things in life, it would not then necessarily mean that it is wise to indulge one’s personal preferences, much less force society to applaud them.

  • Parasum

    Why not burn them alive, as used to be done ? No more homo, no more homostuff. Or, revive the legislation (abolished in1861) that made that kind of thing a capital offence. Simples.

    Just joking.

    Since being gay is not a disease or an infirmity of any kind, it is not possible to heal it.

    “(Somehow this puts the whole debate arising from my last blog into its
    true perspective: of course the LGTB community have sorrows to bear, as
    do we all; I know several wives and mothers struggling heroically under
    heavy crosses, and also many disabled people who suffer formidable
    problems – but they do not try to draw attention to themselves, demand
    to become a privileged group or seek victim status.)”

    ## But how many “wives and mothers” are in danger of being murdered simply because they are “wives and mothers” ? Those who tell gay people to quit complaining are like those who told the Jews to stop complaining about being persecuted. I’d like to see the OP say those quoted words of hers  to David Kato or Matthew Shephard, or to the thousands of gay people gassed by Hitler or killed by the Church. “[T]he LGTB community”‘s troubles are caused in large part by haters for Jesus like certain noisy preachers who rant about “fags”, or blame abortionists & gays for Hurricane Katriona, or blame gay people for the clerical  molestation of the young, or call gay people “gay brownshirts”, or tell God alone knows what other lies against them. But they are supposed not to complain about any of this – IOW, they are to behave as though they had no right to defend themselves, and are to be uncomplainingly lied against, slandered, murdered, treated as non-persons, & be scapegoated & demonised. When people are treated in these horrible ways, as they often are, it is time to speak out clearly, and say “Enough !”, because it is a poisoned culture of gaybashing that makes these evils possible.  Wronging people is wrong – or are gay people not really people ? I suppose that’s one way of evading Matt.25.31-46.

  • Anonymous

    Sexually confused? Not really. The difference between the desires of heterosexual and homosexual in men is huge. It is ignorant and naive to ignore or overlook the reality of the situation, but make the comments that you do.

  • Tom

    Glad Francis Phillips mentioned the prayer before communion “Lord, I am not worthy” which every communicant says. It is based on the centurion’s words to Jesus when he asked him to heal his servant. Many scholars think that the centurion may have been in a homosexual relationship with his servant as was common among the Romans, but Our Lord does not condemn him. He even commends him for showing faith that he has not seen in the whole of Israel. If we are all sinners as Francis says then isn’t it perhaps divinely ironic that the Church makes all, even those who deplore homosexuals, say the words of the centurion who may have been homosexual?

  • Anonymous

    One day the Church will have the wisdom to realise that being gay and living a faithful life in a gay relationship is not sinful.

    In a world where all people of good will accept gay relationships as healthy, and not in any way disordered, opposition to them from the the Church will seem as odd as the Jehovah’s Witnesses ban on blood transfusions.

    The teaching on contraception has long since been ignored by the Catholic faithful and one never hears anything about it from the Church any more. We should be grateful that guided by the Holy Spirit eventually the Church corrects the mistakes it makes in its moral teaching. Like the ban (under fear of mortal sin) on attending a service in an Anglican church, and the ban on working on Sunday (also a mortal sin back in the 1950s), these errors will be put right eventually.

  • https://openid.org/locutus LocutusOP

    Perhaps some elementary assumptions should be addressed…

    I was under the impression that a homosexual is someone who engages in sexual acts with others of the same gender, much like an adulterer is someone who cheats on one’s spouse (and not someone who simply feels attracted to others).

    It would seem others have a totally different definition, and want to imply that the mere urge to do something is what defines a person, and not the action the person does, and by logical extension, that all our urges are innate and must be acted upon. So if a man is married and feels attracted to another woman, one be willing to say, “well, I can’t help cheating on my wife, God made me this way”…If I wake up one day and don’t feel like going to work, well, “God made me this way. He must have, or it wouldn’t be so hard to get out of bed!”

    What’s more, by this logic, this person would expect the Church to completely ignore the commandments given to it so as to accomodate him. In other words, God should toss out his divine plan for mankind because a man (I suppose just one man would be enough to get God to change the plan) felt the need to have sexual relations with a woman who is not his wife.

    Is that about right?

    We all have our weaknesses, and most of us have desires that go against the will of God…It’s the Church’s job to guide us towards finding the will of God and not help us indulge in those sinful desires which go against this very will.

    Ultimately though, it’s up to each one of us whether we wish to follow the will of God – even in great struggle – or whether we wish to elevate ourselves to His level and devise an alternate plan for ourselves….But we then ought not to fool ourselves into thinking that God would have had different commandments if he only had known about our unique situations.

  • Anonymous

    >I was under the impression that a homosexual is someone who engages in sexual acts with others of the same gender, much like an adulterer is someone who cheats on one’s spouse (and not someone who simply feels attracted to others).

    I have never come across this definition before. Surely homosexuals can be either non-practising (as the Church urges them to be) or practising (as the Church forbids them to be)?

  • Anonymous

    Oh Patrick!
    Where do you get the idea that the Church says being homosexual is sinful?
    Rather they are victim of either a natural or socio-culturally induced moral disorder.
    They have a sexual predilection which will prevent them from allowing to give themself wholly to another and for that reciprocal love to overflow into new life – therefore it is morally disordered – nothing to do with sin [which is an act of will] unless choice and acts of will become involved – like the bored heterosexual wanting to experiment.

    Ditto where do you think the Church says homosexual relationships are sinful?
    Rather Cardinal Ratzinger specifically called for mutual support via chaste disaffected friendship – the Church will never place a proscription on rightly directed love. No human being is to be denied human companionship unless they have in full volition made a solemn sacrificial vow to that end.

    Homosexual sexual activity is what is forbidden – as it is intrinsically morally disordered.
    - just as contraceptive sex is mere mutual masturbation and a scandalous degradation of its participants – so too is the mutual masturbation of intrinsically anti-creative homosexual acts.

    …just because the majority deny the right and the good; and accept the wrong and the sinful; why do you think the millennia-old teaching regarding love and life in human lovemaking is going to change?

    It won’t: Because it can’t!
    The inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of human lovemaking is absolute and sacrosanct.

    Incidentally – nice try on the Sunday work thing but it isn’t true -  what was prohibited [except through dispensation e.g. for oil-riggers, trawlermen, soldiers etc] was heavy servile work WITHOUT just cause.

    ..and as for attending Anglican services there are still proscriptions and prohibitions according to what denotes scandal and potential conspiracy within it. Yes a Sunday observation may be fulfilled in a critical situation where there is no Catholic mass or Church available by praying among [but not with] the baptised of a separated ecclesial community in their place of worship – but many of their liturgical rites retain an absolute prohibition [e.g. we're forbidden to participate in their communion service; and although we may attend the marriage of two baptised non-catholics, or a non-Catholic christian and an unbaptised ; we cannot attend the 'wedding' service of a non-dispensed Catholic in a non-Catholic Church - as there is no marriage and scandal is invoked]

    Just because you want the Church the way you want it?
    Aint going to happen!

  • Anonymous

    “I was under the impression that a homosexual is someone who engages in sexual acts with others of the same gender, much like an adulterer is someone who cheats on one’s spouse (and not someone who simply feels attracted to others).”  Well that really shows how ignorant you are. Truly unbelievable! Have you never heard of a dictionary?

    It is absolutely ridiculous to compare someone’s sexuality with a desire to stay in bed in the morning!

  • Anonymous

    > Homosexual sexual activity is what is forbidden – as it is intrinsically morally disordered.
    - just as contraceptive sex is mere mutual masturbation and a scandalous degradation of its participants – so too is the mutual masturbation of intrinsically anti-creative homosexual acts.

    This is indeed the Church’s teaching. But in practice the Church deals much more harshly with those who participate in homosexual acts than She does with those who take part in heterosexual intercourse while using artificial contraception. Nowhere, to my knowledge, does the Church advocate imprisoning those who take part in heterosexual intercourse while using artificial contraception. She does, however, in some countries (such as Belize at the moment) campaign for people who take part in homosexual acts to be imprisoned.

    Would the Church’s teaching on chastity and the right use of sex not be more easily understood if the Church campaigned for people engaged in active homosexual relationships to be given the same dignity and respect that is given both by the Church and by civil society to, for instance, people in second ‘marriages’ who have a partner living, or people who cohabit heterosexually but choose not to marry?

  • Anonymous

    …one hell of a ‘may have been’!

    Nevertheless: Our Lord and Saviour did not advocate prostituion when He associated with prostitutes did He? He didn’t advocate adultery when He declared to the adulteress ‘neither do I condemn you’.

    You may have a poignant factoid – but it doesn’t change anything.

  • Anonymous

    You are presumably too young to remember being taught that ALL servile work was forbidden on Sundays. Servile work was physical work, as opposed to “thinking” work. This applied both in the home – so no cleaning or gardening on Sundays – and in our occupations, unless there was a grave necessity for it. The 1917 Code of Canon Law said:  “Festis de praecepto diebus Missa audienda est; et abstinendum ab operibus servilibus, actibus forensibus, itemque, nisi aliud ferant legitimae consuetudines aut peculiaria indulta, publico mercatu, nundinis, aliisque publicis emptionibus et venditionibus.” So we were not allowed any physical work, nor business acts (without legitimate customs or special indults) nor to buy anything from a market or shop. I  knew people who had been refused the sacraments when their factories introduced a Sunday shift. This was certainly regarded as “grave matter” by the priests of my youth.

    Indifferentism was also a grave sin, so no Catholic was allowed to attend the funeral of a friend in an Anglican Church. This was not taught to us a rule of the Church that could be changed (like Friday abstinence) but as part of the moral code passed on through the centuries.

    It is silly to pretend that on most moral issues the teaching of the Church has not changed radically over the years.

  • maryp

    There is an organization called Courage I believe, which helps people out of the gay lifestyle.

  • maryp

    Being homosexual is not a disease but living it out in (modern parlance) the ‘gay lifestyle’ does cause many (life threatening) diseases. Our nanny state warns of the dangers of smoking, drinking etc etc, when will it have the courage to warn people of the dangers to health of living out ‘the gay lifestyle.’ Check it out. Sadly, it’s a fact.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you are right. But it doesn’t change them from homosexuals to heterosexuals – it just a way of helping them to ignore, or smother their sexual nature.

  • Anonymous

    Parasum – I live happily with my female partner and our three kids – but that hasn’t prevented me being the victim of several homophobic physical and verbal assaults [one in which I lost four teeth after a severe kick in after being thrown head-first into a tree] I still get violent migraines due to it – within the past two months I have received a tirade of homophobic abuse – the first occasion having a can of red bull thrown at my head by a gang of thugs; the second becoming the target of a beer bottle throwing contest by a horde of drunken young women.
    Why?
    Because I was on my own at night and rather than wearing the proverbial cultural uniform of rangers or celtic top and a skinhead – a floppy fringe and suit-jacket obviously meant I was homosexual and worthy of contempt.
    But the verbal abuse is something one gets used to – a gang of teenage kids called me all manner of things only last Sunday night – in the same way a young girl received a barrage of sexual expletives and two Polish workers received likewise xenophobic and homophobic abuse.

    Do you honestly think this is religious-incited homophobia?
    Or hatred and violence invoked because they can do whatever they want and there is no moral compunction stopping them…

    Do you think it’s quite possible that rather than the problem being religious morality [which incidentally absolutely prohibits any prejudice or antipathy] – it’s instead an irreligious absence of any morality whatsoever?

    Francis is in no way demonising homosexuals

    But it’s quite possible she’s reacting againt militant anti-religious homosexual activism which makes intensifying unjustifiable demands upon religion in the name of equality…only last month we had a Sussex MP demanding that Churches be forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies; we’ve already had calls from politicians, journalists and political activists for all Catholics to be banned from public office because of Catholicism’s “institutionalised ‘homophobia’”.Remember the Euro-MP banned from heading the European parliament because he was an orthodox catholic? We’re not merely talking about christian B&B owners refusing to give homosexual couples a double bed and winding up in court for it…

    Magistrate Andrew McClintock – sacked because he wouldn’t contravene his Christian beliefs and wished to transfer cases involving adoption to same-sex couples to other magistrates.
    Gary McFarlane – sacked from Relate for refusing to give sex advice to gay couples.
    Owen & Eunice Jones – Banned from fostering because they wouldn’t tell 5-10 yr olds that a homosexual sexual lifestyle was acceptable [the fact that they wouldn't discuss any type of sex with children that age was irrelevant]
    Harry Hammond – 69 yr old street preacher assaulted, pelted with earth, water thrown over him for having a placard  stating ‘stop immorality stop homosexuality stop lesbianism’ – the only person prosecuted was Mr Hammond – £695 under the public order act
    Dale McAlpine – street preacher who,when pestered by an onlooker over the issue, said he believed homosexual acts went against God’s teaching – was subsequently arrested by a homosexual police support officer [who demanded an answer from the preacher on his moral position] and charged!!
    Psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington – lost her accreditation for trying to assist by prayer and counselling a patient begging to be ‘cured’ of his homosexuality [he was actually a homosexual activist lying to entrap her]
    Dr Hans-Christian Raabe – sacked from the drug advisory board for his religious beliefs on homosexual sexual acts!!!??
    Matt Barber.- sacked from an insurance company because he stated online that he was against gay marriage
    Lillian Ladele – registrar sacked because she wished to transfer same-sex ceremonies to colleagues…

    Is this really the equality you want Parasum?

    …where all are equal – but some are more equal than others?

  • Tom

    No, no evidence either way but two points make it at least feasible, absence of evidence not being evidence of absence, and all that. 1. The relationship was possibly a pederastic one – older master younger servant was commonplace in the Roman militia and 2. the centurion himself came on behalf of his servant and didn’t send another which suggests if nothing else a personal relationship. But that is not the point I was making. People, indeed like Francis herself, say homosexuals are no worse sinners than anyone else and that we are all sinners, so making all sinners say the centurion’s words at least should give people cause to think in a non-judgmental way about the sins of their neighbours. After all, we do not say at communion the words of the pharisee “I thank you Lord that I am not as other men”, do we? Catholics, in my experience, are far less judgmental that many other types of Christian – with some notable exceptions, alas.

  • Anonymous

    @C-monsta

    > Yes, you are right. But it doesn’t change them from homosexuals to heterosexuals – it just a way of helping them to ignore, or smother their sexual nature.

    It don’t know if it’s possible for homosexuals to be changed into heterosexuals. My feeling is that as a general principle it’s probably not, although I have known of people who have ‘crossed over’ in both directions (perhaps because their sexual identity, whether heterosexual or homosexual, may not have been fully formed earlier in their lives).   

    But are ignore’ or ‘smother’ the right words here? That’s what the Church’s teaching often comes across as, and it is very understandable that it should do so. But in times past ‘sublimate’ was a word used – the channelling of a forbidden desire into a permitted and approved channel. YouCat also speaks of the homosexual inclination as a ‘wound’, through which people can be drawn closer to God. This seems to me more helpful than the cold and forbidding language of ‘objective disorder’ towards ‘an intrinsic moral evil’.

  • Oconnordamien

    I understand your experience, in my case it was a broken nose and cheek bone as five or six guys decided my face was a good place to do a jig, but I learned a different lesson. I thought if I was beaten to a bloody pulp for merely being seen as gay, how much bullying must actual gay people have to endure. When I look at the people on your list I see people who are treating other people badly, not to a level of physical beating, but still advocating that some people are less than others.

  • Oconnordamien

    That is a fallacy, I have checked it out, I’ve been clubbing in many gay venues pretty often. 
    Was there a lot of drugs? Yes, but less than in some “dance” clubs I’ve been in.
    Was there obvious sexual activity? Yes, but less than some “meat market/pick up joints” I’ve been in.
    Is there a risk of STD’s being spread by such behaviour? Yes but look at the levels of STD’s in young straight people.

    The gender preference issue isn’t the problem. The fact that young men are reckless is main problem. The things that happen in “the gay lifestyle” are pretty much the same as in the “straight lifestyle” but with fewer drunken brawls.

  • Anonymous

    From the 1917 Code, fyi: Can 1258 §1. Haud licitum est fidelibus quovis
    modo active assistere seu partem habere in sacris acatholicorum.

    §2. Tolerari potest praesentia passiva seu mere materialis, civilis
    officii vel honoris causa, ob gravem rationem ab Episcopo in casu dubii
    probandam, in acatholicorum funeribus, nuptiis similibusque sollemniis,
    dummodo perversionis et scandali periculum absit.

    Canon 1258 § 1. It is not lawful for the faithful to take part in [or] to actively assist in any way in the sacred [rites of] non-Catholics.
    § 2. Passive or merely material presence can be tolerated, or [for the] sake of honour[ing] a civil office , by the Bishop for a grave reason in a case of the proof of the doubt, in the deaths of his non-Catholics, the solemnity of marriage and similar, as long as the danger of scandal and perversion far from it.

    So YET AGAIN you attempt to make it look like the Church has radically reversed its position – when it simply hasn’t! We were permitted to attend non-Catholic weddings and funerals for a just reason – but we were expressly forbidden from invoking public scandal.

    You might have known of Priests/Bishops who imposed their own localised version of the regulations on the faithful – But I can re-assure you that even in the 1940s my Grandfather and his brothers would attend 5a.m. Sunday Mass before beginning their shift in the steelworks [causa iusta] and it was a similar situation for Lanarkshire miners in the 1930s and a 1925 commentary actually refers to the dispensation afforded French farmers during critical times of harvest in poor weather. The Church has ALWAYS recognised that the Sabbath was made for man:Not man for the Sabbath. The proscriptions on unnecessary servile work STILL apply.

    So: You’re exaggerating the ‘relaxation’ by revisionism that the olden days were more draconian [I've read Mortalium Annos Patrick! - and there is little confusion or rupture in the ongoing hermeneutic through ad Petri Cathedram, Unitatis Redintegratio and Dominus Iesus]

    But I repeat: Nice try!

    But homosexual sexual acts will never be treated as a moral good.

  • Anonymous

    A better translation of the code would be:

    “At funerals of non-Catholics, at their marriages, and similar solemnities, provided there is no danger of perversion or scandal, passive or merely material presence on account of a civil office or for the purpose of showing respect to a person may be tolerated for a grave reason.”

    There has to be a grave reason – and I was certainly taught in the 1950s that mere friendship with the deceased was not a grave reason. Note that attendance has to be passive and joining in with a prayer such as the Our Father would still be gravely sinful.

    A few other moral issues about which the teaching of the Church has totally changed:
    Whether it is right to torture people who are suspected of heresy.
    Whether it is right to execute people for crimes against the faith.
    Whether the death penalty is moral.
    Whether it is right for an adult man to marry a twelve year old girl without the permission of her parents.
    Whether in a Catholic country people of other faiths should be allowed to practise their religions.
    Whether it is right to own slaves.
    Whether it is right to read books that disagree with the teaching of the Church.
    Whether it is right to charge interest on a loan.

    I could go on. The moral teaching of the Church is ever changing as it learns from the signs of the times.

  • Anonymous

    Francis,
    Going by the current trends it would seem highly likely that your grandson will not be a practising Catholic by the time he reaches 30 – and, in all likelihood, will not believe in God at all. This is not, as you would appear to believe, a result of prevailing bad values, but the increasing prevalence of reasoned thinking over religious influence.
    You talk as if you have these enemies called ‘atheists’, but I don’t define myself as an atheist, as I don’t define myself by all the other things that I could, but don’t believe in. This is not a new point, although it clearly needs repeating: of all the supernatural imaginings of mankind, including Thor, elves, Zeus, ghosts, Zardoz, Buraq (Mohammed’s flying horse), fairies, genies etc., I don’t define myself by my reasoned non-belief in any these things either, and I certainly don’t see myself as your enemy.
     
    Reasoned thinking is the source of civilisation as it has been the route to overriding our animal nature and discovering how and why things work as they do. Reasoned thinking does not support unsubstantiated superstitions or the fanaticism that thrives under twisted religious and political ideologies. A reasoned thinker tries to understand others – why they think and act as they do, as well as trying to understand the workings of their own minds. I came to this website to try to understand what and why Catholics believe what they do.
     
    If God exists, then of course I would be clamouring to find out more about him. But, in a world of billions of people, and throughout the whole of recorded history, not one single thing has been shown to be the result of supernatural forces.
     
    Think of all the different religions that there are in the world, and consider all those that must have been and gone. Consider the similarities of the different holy books – the close similarities of the Bible and the Koran, and how neither show any more than what an archaic, middle eastern man could have thought up at the time of writing. Muslims think their holy book is the word of God, just as you think yours is. If you had been born into a Muslim family, don’t you think that you would abstaining from eating pork, or would be wearing a headscarf?
     
    I hope for your grandson’s sake that he will be one of those that escapes from the mindset of childhood indoctrination, to be free to think for himself without the shackles of an imaginary adjudicator – to judge for himself by what he recognises to be right and moral, devoid of holy threats or rewards,  and to appreciate the true wonders that life has to offer and the incredibly small chance by which we are able to experience it.
    Medical science has demonstrated quite conclusively that what we understand as our personality – our consciousness – is created by the physicality of the brain. Therefore, if an aspect of our mind can exist outside of the brain, it would not be what we call ‘us’. This is only one reason for not believing that an afterlife is a likely experience awaiting us, but is reason enough when we consider the evidence to the contrary. It is not surprising that Christian opinions of heaven and hell are so ill defined and shaky. Belief in an afterlife only diminishes the value we place on the real lives of real people.

  • theroadmaster

    If we constructively use our brains to investigate signs of a Divine spark in our universe, we may have to look no further than the complex physical and mathematical logic that underpins the movements of material bodies in our cosmos.  If such a universe was the product of  an uncaused series of random events, how do we explain the underpinning laws which effect every particle of it’s composition, without tracing everything back to a Divine Creator?
    You point to the similarities of the holy books of the 3 major monotheistic religions in the world.  May this  be an indication that they more or less share a common heritage in terms of discerning the transcendent influence of the One, True God throughout history?  Christianity, as distinct from Judaism or Islam, is centred on God man Man, as revealed in Jesus Christ.  His ministry, death and resurrection was recorded in first hand accounts in the NT gospels by His closest followers 
    You think that religious education is a form of “indoctrination”.  Might not the same be said about atheism or militant secularism which seeks to reduce men and women to a materialistic, limited classification and deny their spiritual essence.  The brain you describe as “physical” and at it’s very core lies our consciousness.  Where does consciousness come from and how can you measure it in laboratory terms?  It cannot be measured in purely “physical” terns, like you would talk about monetary denominations or the weight of objects.  Some people describe as part of the life-force which animates us and survives the demise of the body and brain.  Scientists tell us that energy cannot be destroyed but is transformed into another form when the environmental conditions change.  So if we apply this dictum to the physical death of humans, we have to question what happens to the life force that once inhabited the bodily frame?  The journey of the spiritual essence of each human is beyond our earthly field of vision, as Catholic Christians believe that the final destination is with the Lord in Heaven. 

  • Anonymous

    Paulpriest – “Female partner and three kids” Don’t you mean your “wife” and three kids?

  • Anonymous

    No Jim:I’m living in sin and living in the consequences of its grave sin – doing what we can to get out of its sinful nature – but life in complicated and legal and canonical wheels run slowly. I’m very much a sinner creating public scandal; but I’ll be the first to acknowledge it as sinful – not try ro excuse, mitigate, dismiss or deny it; as our modern Tabletista would prefer.

  • http://ccfather.blogspot.com/ Ben Trovato

    Francis,

    Talking of Mammon replacing God, why does the Catholic Herald carry advertising by the extremely anti-Catholic Terence Higgins Trust?  And if it continues to do so, will you still write to it?  If you wonder why I object, have a look here (but proceed with care: it is pretty disgusting): http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/sexandsexuality/sex/sexualacts/

  • Anonymous

    To be clear, I wasn’t judging. I thought “my female partner” a strange phrase to use, that’s all.

    It is good that you are trying to get out of it and I hope that you do.

  • Anonymous

    “If we constructively use our brains to investigate signs of a Divine spark in our universe, we may have to look no further than the complex physical and mathematical logic that underpins the movements of material bodies in our cosmos. If such a universe was the product of an uncaused series of random events, how do we explain the underpinning laws which effect every particle of it’s composition, without tracing everything back to a Divine Creator?”
    But we don’t actually see a divine spark – we just have a notion of one, and that is not enough to base your whole philosophy of life on is it? Saying that God created everything is not a satisfactory answer, as you are only pushing back the question to ‘what made God?’

    “You point to the similarities of the holy books of the 3 major monotheistic religions in the world. May this be an indication that they more or less share a common heritage in terms of discerning the transcendent influence of the One, True God throughout history?” – Exactly! But you believe that Mohammed made it all up, or was totally delusional ???

    “You think that religious education is a form of “indoctrination”. Might not the same be said about atheism or militant secularism which seeks to reduce men and women to a materialistic, limited classification and deny their spiritual essence.”
    Religious teaching is indoctrination. Do you agree that parents are right to raise their children to fear Allah and pray to him 5 times a day?
    Please read again my comments on atheism. I believe children should be encouraged to have an enquiring mind and the freedom to think for themselves – to make judgements on what is real or not based on reasoning and logic. I don’t suggest in any way that people should deny their ‘spiritual essence’, whatever they believe that to mean.

    “Some people describe as part of the life-force which animates us and survives the demise of the body and brain” I did allude to this, but if it is so, medical science has demonstrated quite conclusively that whatever it is that survives would not be our personalities, which are created by the physical functioning of the brain.

  • Oconnordamien

    Dude does it not bother you that the pope is wearing a pair of Gucci shoes that cost more than the shoes of all three children combined till they left college? 

    Quote away at canon law as much as you like. Still won’t make it fair!