Mon 20th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Mon 20th Oct 2014 at 13:19pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

I feel a shiver when I see the parallels between our world and that of St John Fisher

How long, indeed, before employment in the public sector requires a profession of liberal principles?

By on Thursday, 9 August 2012

St John Fisher as painted by Hans Holbein

St John Fisher as painted by Hans Holbein

Following my last blog, which came about after reading a priestly obituary in the Fisher House Newsletter of the Cambridge chaplaincy, I read on and my spirits rose; instead of the dispiriting legacy of 1960s priestly rebellion against the Church’s authority, I read about St John Fisher (who gave his name to the chaplaincy), the magnificent and martyred alumnus of the 16th century. In an article by Dr Richard Rex, I was reminded that Fisher, who refused to renounce the authority of the pope in favour of Henry VIII, accepted execution rather than go against his conscience. “That Fisher would find himself called upon to deny a doctrine that had been taught in England all his life was something he could hardly have imagined in his student days. More surprising still is how few followed him in refusing. The reason was partly fear, but more the spirit of the age…”

Rex continues, drawing a parallel between the challenge faced by Fisher and those facing Christians today: “We shall not be called upon to make that ultimate sacrifice. But look out for the dominant ideology. Today it is just straws in the wind. Rocco Buttiglione disqualified from the European Commission because of his adherence to Catholic teaching on sexual morality. The closure of Catholic adoption agencies in England because of their refusal to place children with same-sex couples. How long will it be before a formal affirmation of so-called ‘liberal’ principles becomes a prerequisite for employment in the public sector?”

This is disquieting but should not be a surprise. Critics of Christians sometimes attack us for having a “martyr complex”, determined to find injury and insult from our secularist brethren where none is intended. But this is not the case, as Dr Rex soberly points out from the examples he gives.

He concludes: “The consensus is strong, and increasingly determined to have its way. For now we are rightly content to let them have their consciences if we can keep our own. Perhaps we should pray to St John Fisher that if – when – they come for ours, we have the grace and strength to keep them for God.”

I felt a premonitory shiver on reading this last paragraph. St John Fisher: pray for us.

  • Meema

    “ie most identify themselves as Christian”
    As most people understand very well, it’s a default position, and meaningless.
    (And it does help to get rid of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, without being nasty to them – and that’s one advantage that the Jeddi religion doesn’t have )

    Most of us also do have a  Roman culture built into our view of the world. You only have to go around the British Museum and visit the various galleries where the goods and works of (past) people’s around the world are exhibited.
    Going into the Roman floor or gallery after all that is like stepping into a large John Lewis store – with all the electrical goods removed, of course.

    But we don’t have to believe in, or worship, Jupiter, or the Christian God of Rome’s latter years. All that belongs to the past.

  • Kevin

    For now we are rightly content to let them have their consciences if we can keep our own.

    Between Liberals and Catholics there is only one side seeking the right to conscientiously object. Modern Catholics have been educated to believe that we do not possess the Truth. Liberals, however, believe that a moral conclusion necessitates moral action. Theirs is the rational position.

    That Catholics believe abortion is evil is no impediment to Liberals’ goal of enshrining it in law worldwide. The rational Catholic position would be to seek to have it criminalised worldwide (in conjunction with appropriate amnesties). The practical outcome may be a permanent stalemate, but it would protect the Catholic conscience more effectively than asking permission from those who seek to wipe us out. It would also be the right thing to do.

    If this seems like a culture shock, consider the example of cannibalism. Which is the more moral position: to take action to outlaw it, or to petition for the right not to serve human flesh in the public sector canteen?

  • Vlad Hen

     The proof that liberals are intolerant is shown right here on this website with numerous harassing posts by anti-religious bigots. I personally don’t waste my or anyones time harassing atheists on their websites; Idon’t go to Dawkins’ website to attack them; therefore I have the right to enjoy communication with those I agree with, without harassment from those that have so little else to do than  that they must harass those they disagree with on our websites. Go to Dawkins’ website for you diatribes, I say to you, and leave us religious fools, as you say, here alone.

  • la catholic state

    It is never meaningless to have some form of attachement to Jesus Christ.  It always has some spiritual advantage.  It is like a dormant seed that may spring to life again.  God willing. 

    Not everyone has a Roman culture built into their worldview.  Phillipines is a very Catholic nation and I’m sure the Roman world has not impinged on them.  None the less many are dedicated to Christ Our Divine Lord.

  • Meema

    “That Catholics believe abortion is evil is no impediment to Liberals’ goal of enshrining it in law worldwide. ”
    Many others (apart from Catholics) believe that some abortions are evil, but also believe that some in the very early stages of pregnancy are potentially good and fully justified.
    It is the Catholic position that any and all abortions are always evil, and the extreme pro-abortion stance that all abortion is potentially good, which leaves everything stuck in an impasse, and enables abortion on demand (at all times) to be possible.

  • Meema

    We were originally talking about the UK, and those who went for the default “Christian”.

  • Common-sense-man

     Just stop voting for the political parties that are Christianophobic – while you still can…

  • nytor

    Are there any which are not?

  • nytor

    Here as well.

  • Meena

     The majority of these are Catholics from babyhood, and were brainwashed by influential adults from when they acquired language.

    Many who have long ago given up on religion are still on the baptised lists of Catholic and other Christian churches. It’s difficult to become “unbaptised”

    Others respond to questions about religiousity by quoting (in UK) the default word “Christian”. Most have not the foggiest of ideas about Christianity and couldn’t care less about it.

    Hardly any go to C of E services on Sundays – many more Catholic go, because they are threatened with mortal sin, torture and eternal damnation if they don’t. But their numbers too are dwindling, and have dwindled quite dramatically over the last 50 to 60 years.

  • Mike

    ”Liberals, however, believe that a moral conclusion necessitates moral action. Theirs is the rational position”

    You are right. Liberals are not content to just be right in their eyes, they must take action to remake the world according to those views. If conservatives were the same way the world would be quite different but most conservative play on defense…

  • Nesbyth

    I’ve been to Mass every Sunday of my life and I’ve never heard a sermon that threatens Hell and Damnation etc.
    Mostly they’re about loving your neighbour and loving God.
    And practising your faith in everyday life….like the sheep as opposed to the goats.
    And perhaps by encouraging people to live a little more intensely but not out of fear, more out of love.

  • Maggie

    An American priest has said I sleep in my bed, future priests will sleep in jail and it may be that some will eventually will die for their beliefs.

  • Meema

    “Liberals ,,[believe they],,,,,,,,must take action to remake the world according to [their] those views.”

    No, not at all. This, in fact, is the mark of the religious zealot – missionary and fundamentalist Catholics and Islamics, for instance. 

    So far as people who do not accept the ancient superstition of theism are concerned, everyone should be totally free to hold whatever religious opinions they wish (after all there is quite a variety for them to choose from, if you include all those across the world) – so long as they do not hurt or damage others (please see next paragraph).

    However, they must understand that, in a pluralist society, they should have no special rights or privileges because of their particular theist beliefs: that means, among many other things: no special tax relief status; no special educational status with the state paying the hugely greater part of the cost of their various religious schools; no special status regarding opt-outs in respect of their adoption agencies; no Immunity from the law, making it a criminal offence to make statements to people which might cause them anxiety or distress (such as threats of eternal damnation in Hell);….and many other things. 

  • Meema

    It’s in the New Testament, in the Catechism and has been widely preached in Church, at retreats and in RC schools.

    I agree that these days the Church, understanding that all this Hell tosh will soon be made illegal, has not been peddling this nonsense as much as it did in the recent past.

    But, as the RC Bishop of Shrewsbury indicated by his words before Easter 2012, it is not yet dead. And may even revive before if becomes unlawful. 

  • Meema

    Exactly – you don’t get the point. (And life is short!)

  • theroadmaster

    Hopefully, Maggie, things will reach that desperate situation, but Faith principles cannot be compromised in the face of laws to the contrary. Geraldo

  • Nesbyth

    And how do you know it’s “tosh”?

  • Meema

    No, not for their beliefs. But nobody can foretell the future.
    The Church once held it a grave sin to attempt to tell the future – but made a convenient opt-out for so-called “prophesies”.

    If priests or other religious people start breaking the law that applies to all, then of course they should expect the same consequences as any-one else. There should be no special exemptions in law for the religious. There are many such exemptions and privileges at present. The religious should realise that these are to go.

    As a non-theist, I would object if theists were persecuted for their beliefs.
    Many non-theist groups have made this point, and strongly.

  • la catholic state

    And your point was??!

  • la catholic state

    We want to make Christians who are not Christians by default.  That is our mission.

  • Meena

     Oh really!

    Because, of course, the Flying Sphagetti Monster extinguished the flames of Hell (on 2 June 1867, if you really want to know (at 2.32 pm BST).

  • rjt1

    Nuclear weapons, nerve agents, sophisticated weaponry of other kinds. Perhaps in some respects not so well off.

  • rjt1

    “were brainwashed by influential adults” Empirical studies to back this up?
    “Catholics go, because they are threatened with mortal sin, torture and eternal damnation if they don’t.” The usual ignorance.

  • Nesbyth

    What exactly are you doing on this blog?
    You really can’t debate sensibly about these matters?
    Do you believe in God? And His son Jesus Christ? Or are you simply amusing yourself by putting up silly statements??
    No point discussing further is there….

  • Meena

    Children come out of Catholic primary schools as convinced believers in Catholic dogma.

    Children come out of Islamic madrassas as convinced believers in Islamic dogma.

  • Meena

     The weapons are new, but the butchery of war is not.

    The battles of WW1 were not fought with the above “sophistocated weaponry”  -  nor were those such as Gettesbury or, further back in time, the battles of Cressy, Agincourt, Waterloo, Hastings etc.

  • Meena

    And plenty of islamics want to see you as a Muslim.

    This is one of the truely dreadful features of religion – they are (as you say) on a “mission”.

    Well – different conflicting missions, actually.

    With the Middle East in the dangerous state it is, precisely because of this.

    As the saying goes: “God help us all”.

  • Meena

     This thread is supposed to be religious in nature – not party political.

    The readers of the Telegraph ‘papers, and such like, show their presence by their ‘Likes’ of your party-political right-wing post.

    I am no friend of the Liberals (yes, they still exist, with no MPs, I think) or of the LibDems (who exist with some MPs) or of the Green Party (1MP) – but their Policies are not Dogmas (ae?). The Policies of all of these can and do change, to make sense in the changing world.
    The Conservative’s Policies you (MUST) have noticed, also change (oddly enough, these days, usually more rapidly than the others).

  • la catholic state

    Well don’t discount atheists in the fray!  They want either us all to become atheist….or else to impose atheism on us.  Don’t forget the gulags please!

  • whytheworldisending

    The Atheists are destroying both society and the planet. Jesus tried to warn the jewish authorities about the destruction that would fall on the city as a result of their policies, but they wouldn’t listen and the temple was destroyed. Today atheistic materialism is causing both wide spread corruption and global warming. The reality is that selfish consumerism has taken root, because the authorities have rejected Christ and try to force the faithful to do the same by way of corrupt laws. Meanwhile we become obese by consuming vast quanities of what we don’t need because we are taught to care only about material things. In doing so we destroy ourselves by pushing greenhouse gases up, causing unprecented floods, forest fires we cannot put out, and we turn our bread basket into dust bowls. The scientist cannot save us. Soon money will be worthless, as repeated bouts of quantitative easing fails to convince people that they should borrow more than they can earn as food prices go through the roof. As a planet, our only chance is to repent and believe the Gospel, so its about time the politicians stopped listening to the self-appointed high priests of atheism and wake up to the warning they were given 2,000 years ago.

  • Meema

    OOPS! Sorry about the Gettesbury.
    I of course meant Gettysburg (50,000 plus killed)

  • Meema

    NO. Nobody wants you to become an atheist unless you actually want to.

    Theists simply should not have privileges that impose on and effect others. What you choose to believe and follow as a religion is up to you entirely. 

  • la catholic state

    Oh come on,atheists want theists to be underdogs who put up and shut up.  Atheist should have no privileges.

  • rjt1

    Sorry, Meena, I don’t quite understand your point here. Could you make it a little more explicit?

  • rjt1

    A few thoughts:
    Parents have a right to teach their children what they hold to be true (unless perhaps they are teaching them to subvert society or go out and bomb civilians or something).
    The Catholic faith is more than a set of dogmas. It is more a community of life and love from which children are not excluded and in which they can share from infancy.
    The phrasing you use suggests they are being force fed by teachers determined to ram dogmas down their throats. I think that’s a caricature.
    People have plenty of time to consider what they have been taught as they grow up, whether they have been brought up as humanists or as Christians.

  • Major Calamity

    The arrogance of the original article, and of many of the replies, is breathtaking. You truly do have the “martyr complex” to which you refer. No-one stops you participating in the process by which public policy is formulated. You have every opportunity to express your ideas and debate them. Society even goes out of it’s way to try to accomodate minority opinion whenever possible. However when the debate is over and laws are made we all, me, you and everyone else have to abide by them. There is no anti Christian movement at all. There might be more of a determination these days to remove the special privileges enjoyed by Christians in the past, but that is different. To again bring up the choice made by the Catholic adoption agencies as evidence of some kind of unfair bias is typical of this attitude. This was THEIR decision, no-one forced it upon them. Once the decision had been made about how agencies needed to behave to remain licenced they had a simple choice. Comply or close. Do you really think everyone else should simply bow the knee to Catholic principals just because you happen to believe them? In matters of law the state’s determination MUST be paramount and if a religious objection intervenes in anyone’s ability to comply then they must accept the consequences.

  • Stephen

    You are obviously spiritually blind–a very lost soul.  Sweetest Jesus, please do not permit the loss of this soul redeemed at so dear a price of thy most precious blood.  Amen.

  • Eduardo Acosta

    You wrote; “We shall not be called upon to make that ultimate sacrifice.” I disagree, the time is drawing nearer when if fact we will have to choose between God and the world. Unfortunately the Conciliar Anti-Church is leading the few “Catholics” left into accepting the New World Order of Satan. Little by little the novelties and heresies of Vat 2 lull the true Catholic into apostasy. Just like a frog if placed in a pot of cool water and the heat is then turned on, it becomes oblivious to the warming temperature until it cooks in the boiling water. The same way Conciliar “Catholics” are slowly cooking in the Vatican 2 pot and soon they will cook until well done, a precursor to their final destination. Kyrie Eleison.

  • Stevestone1988

    Are you serious? Look back into all the accounts of communist takeover for instance, or the Spanish civil war/French revolution; They burned churches down to the ground and made the religious go underground or kill them.