Family Unity… At All Costs?

The central place of the family in society is clearly taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Issues surrounding the ideal of family unity is in the news this week, due to the resignation of the Prime Minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, who is both a Member of Parliament and a Government minister. 

Headlines like this (Guardian headline below) have added to the Prime Minister’s woes, as he is attacked on all sides for the crime of trying to do what the majority of us asked him to do in the referendum of 2016 – take us out of the European Union…

The news of Jo Johnson’s resignation reminded me of the dilemma facing all too many Catholics, these days, as they choose, in conscience, to move from attending the new Mass in their local parishes, to attending a traditional Mass elsewhere.  This has led to friction within families, as I’m certain, Jo Johnson’s decision has caused disquiet, to say the least, within his family.  Indeed, on a popular news programme, one commentator opined that he doubted if the brothers “would ever recover from this.” 

So, the question is, what price family unity?  There are people (in my own circle) who believe that family unity trumps everything else – although, scratch beneath the surface, and often what they really mean is “keeping up the appearance of family unity” trumps everything else.  

Share your thoughts on this – is there a line to be drawn?  Is there a limit to family unity/loyalty?  Look at that Guardian headline again and ask yourself if anything, absolutely anything, should come before family…

 

Would a “Surprise” Brexit be Dishonest?

Comment: 

The determination with which the remainers continue to work  to overturn Brexit – using the excuse of a “catastrophic no deal”  – is a lesson in zeal for us all.   However, if the above short video content [dated yesterday, 15 August] is true, and the Prime Minister is acting to make sure we DO exit on 31 October, with or without the support of Parliament, is that wrong?  A lot of us, if not the entire Catholic Truth blogging community, are Brexiteers to our fingertips, but should we support Boris – “do or die” – to get us out of the EU?   

USA Shootings in Texas & Ohio: Can These Massacres Be Prevented? How?

We discussed the subject of gun ownership in the USA back in 2015  here

Watching the news reports over this weekend, of the mass shootings in two American towns, it is unfathomable to many of us that  people of faith support, and even advocate, gun ownership – perhaps because it has never been the culture here in the UK.  However, in America, it is considered a very important constitutional right to bear arms.  Here’s the young American Jewish commentator, Ben Shapiro, debating the issue with Piers Morgan in 2017…

Comment: 

We know that the gun lobby, big guns business (so to speak), makes it very difficult for politicians to propose a ban on gun ownership, never mind the Second Amendment right to bear arms, cherished by the American people.   My own gut feeling is that, with the extent of the killing sprees now taking place almost routinely across the USA, a President – preparing for possible re-election – who boldly proposed doing whatever is reasonably possible to deal with the problem of widespread gun ownership, would be onto a winner.  Surely, the sheer number of deaths caused this weekend alone, in two different parts of the United States, would be sufficient to cause a change in the American mindset about the Second Amendment? 

Personally, I’d like to see a courageous President move to end widespread gun ownership, by whatever constitutional means are available, and if you agree, let’s hear it.  But if you disagree (and I can already see some of our American bloggers bristling with indignation 😀 ) then please suggest your preferred solution – but make it one that would truly make a difference…

Final thought:  I have a young (teenage) relative who says he would dearly love to move to the USA when he’s finished his education.  I keep reminding him of the two things that would be very different if he did so;  one, the gun culture (don’t get impatient – with anyone! If the bus is late, so be it! If that hamburger is cold, smile at the waiter and tip him/her anyway!) And the second – well, that’s irrelevant to the present discussion, so I’ll leave that hanging there for another day 😀 

For the purposes of this conversation, please, simply answer the questions in the headline –  can these massacres be prevented?  And if so, how

Cardinal Newman – To Be Canonised in October – Traditionalist or Liberal?

From the “liberal” – i.e. anti-Catholic – Tablet, the following predictable commentary: 

“…Given the context, it is appropriate that the English priest will be declared a saint by a pope who has sought to implement Vatican II, and during the synod of bishops assembly on the Amazon, a structure established by Paul VI as the council drew to a close. Newman’s writing on the primary [sic] of conscience, which he described as “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ”, is also echoed in Francis’ family life teaching, Amoris Laetitia, which opens the door for remarried divorcees to receive communion. The pope has said Amoris Laetitia is an attempt to move away from legalistic casuistry, and canonical manuals to a deeper understanding of applying moral laws…”   Source

Typically, by quoting Cardinal Newman’s words on conscience out of context, The Tablet and other liberal outlets omit the following, wholly orthodox, conclusion reached by the Cardinal on the subject: 

“…I observe that conscience is not a judgment upon any speculative truth, any abstract doctrine, but bears immediately on conduct, on something to be done or not done. “Conscience,” says St. Thomas, “is the practical judgment or dictate of reason, by which we judge what hic et nunc is to be done as being good, or to be avoided as evil.” Hence conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church’s or the Pope’s infallibility; which is engaged in general propositions, and in the condemnation of particular and given errors.” Source

Indeed, the Cardinal’s own words of opposition to the spirit of liberalism, taken from his famous “Biglietto Speech”, make absolutely clear that he detested liberalism in religion…

“…For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often…”  Click here to read the rest of this speech

Comment:

Prepare, in the months leading up to the canonisation in October, to hear plenty of propaganda about the “liberal” Cardinal Newman from the mainstream “Catholic” media,  with emphasis on his alleged (i.e. non existent) belief that conscience reigns supreme.  Conscience, as peddled by the liberals, of course, is no such thing;  it’s simply the self-centred human mind telling the self-centred human person to do whatever he/she wants, as long as he/she “feels” it’s OK.  Really deep thinking.  But, manifestly, not the thinking of Cardinal Newman.  Just how deceitful does a so-called liberal have to be to twist the Cardinal’s beliefs asbout conscience to mean the precise opposite? 

Your views on that question welcome, but keep the answers (reasonably!) polite. ..If necessary, check out the House Rules before you begin typing 😀

Also, if you have any favourite quotes from the writings of Cardinal Newman, or titles about his life which you would recommend, feel free to post them here.  

Scottish Bishops Challenge SNP Government on Freedom of Conscience

President of Scotland’s Catholic Bishops asks First Minister to protect freedom of conscience

The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert has written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to express his concerns at the attacks launched against the SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron (right)  following her vote against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland.

In his letter on behalf of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Bishop Gilbert calls on the SNP leader, on behalf of all those “who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square” to provide an urgent reassurance that freedom of conscience will be protected within the SNP and valued in Scottish public life, at every level.

The full text of the letter is shown below.

Letter to the First Minister

Dear First Minister,

I write following recent public comments made by Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP Member of Parliament for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.

On Tuesday 9 July, Dr Cameron voted against an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill that would have lifted the legal protections presently afforded to the unborn child in Northern Ireland. It is a long-standing parliamentary convention that votes on such ethical issues are considered matters of conscience and, thus, are not subject to the party whip. Indeed, this was confirmed in writing to Dr Cameron prior to the 9 July vote by the SNP Chief Whip, Patrick Grady MP.

In the days following the vote, however, Dr Cameron has been subject to a significant degree of hostility from many quarters, including ordinary members and officer bearers of the Scottish National Party, some of which she describes as being “nothing less than vitriolic” in nature. She adds that according to local officials it may “now be incompatible to hold pro-life views and be a SNP MP, candidate, to pass vetting or be elected in any capacity”. She further notes that, despite prompting, she has presently received no public re-assurance from the leadership of the SNP that this is not, in fact, the case. I therefore am writing to you as Leader of the Scottish National Party to seek such a public re-assurance.  [emphasis added – Ed.]

I believe I write on behalf of all who cherish freedom of conscience within the public square and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.

“Moral courage is readiness to expose oneself to suffering or inconvenience which does not affect the body,” wrote the co-founder of the Scottish National Party, Sir Compton Mackenzie, in 1962, “It arises from firmness of moral principle and is independent of the physical constitution.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter First Minister.

I await your reply with anticipation. In the meantime, please be assured of my continued prayers and good wishes.

I am, Yours Sincerely,

Bishop Hugh Gilbert
President
Bishops’ Conference of Scotland   – Source:  website of the Catholic Parliamentary Office 

Comment: 

On this occasion, we are pleased to thank the Bishops of Scotland for their public support of Dr Lisa Cameron – and we await the response from Nicola Sturgeon with nothing akin to bated breath 😀  Predictable assurances of respect for freedom of consciences to be expected. 

To offer your support to Dr Cameron MP, you can email her   lisa.cameron.mp@parliament.uk  – for more contact details and information click here 

The Theology of Mass “Preference”

With increasing frequency, I hear people saying that, while they prefer the traditional Latin Mass (and attend it when they can), they still attend the novus ordo Mass;  generally speaking, it’s easier to get to the new Mass or, in some cases, the people concerned have commitments in their parishes which they are not yet ready or willing to relinquish.  Having educated themselves on the Mass controversy, and come to the conclusion that they really ought to be attending the traditional Mass, they are still somewhat (and naturally so) attached to their parish communities.   But are they right to continue to attend the new Mass, knowing what they now know? Here’s a short talk on the question of informed Catholics continuing to attend the new Mass…

Comment: 

Imagine the reaction of a judge in any courtroom you care to name, listening to  to a defendant accused of any crime, who, while admitting his guilt sought to excuse himself by arguing that he would have “preferred” not to have committed the crime at all, but…  Is that a defence?  Aren’t we all expected to conform our behaviour to comply with the law, whether road traffic laws or the moral law?  Try running a few red lights and telling the court that you’d really have “preferred” not to do so, or excusing the murder of your annoying neighbour by insisting that it really wouldn’t be your first choice of action, your “preference”, but… 

Why, then, do we think that it’s OK to swap the new Mass for the traditional Mass when it suits us, spuriously claiming that we “prefer” the traditional Mass, so that’s all right then?  

Answer:  it’s not.  It’s really not all right.  God more than “prefers” the traditional Mass; this is the worship that He wants from us, as is clear from the history and tradition of the Church – not to mention the decimation of entire congregations since the introduction of the new Mass in recent years.   So, what any of us “prefers” is irrelevant. Goodness, we might “prefer” to spend a couple of hours clap-happy singing in the nearest Pentecostalist church –  who cares?  “Preference” is irrelevant. Our duty is to give due and true worship to God. We are quite simply not doing that at the new Mass. 

If you have some cast iron evidence to the contrary, of course, let’s hear it!                                                               

Women’s Football & Femininity…

Is there anyone out there who actually thinks that women playing football is even remotely “feminine”?  Take a look at this…

Now, try to keep a straight face as you make the case for women’s football – which is being praised and promoted across our TV screens like it’s the best thing since – you guessed it – sliced bread…

Women, in fact, seem to be praised and promoted for doing anything and everything that men do, with no sympathetic mention of the traditional role of women as wives, mothers, homemakers.  Indeed, being a wife and mother is now dismissed as “unfulfilling” – hardly surprising, then, that it is the one ambition to which most young girls do not aspire these days. The feminist movement has succeeded in making women ever more masculine – women’s football being the latest evidence of this disturbing phenomenon; and I believe women’s cricket is now also increasingly popular with sporty feminists. 

Yet, it seems to women like my unworthy self, that the “feminist” types today are very far from being feminine women, either in appearance (highly immodest dress is very common these days) speech (they can be as crude as any male) or demeanour – see the above clip from the world of women’s football for a classic example. 

Think of the planning, the preparation required in order to achieve success in games and move up to national and international level.  Doesn’t leave much time for marriage and the family, does it?  And if it doesn’t sit comfortably with marriage and family life, does that exclude Catholic women from pursuing the sport, at least professionally?   Or have Catholic women now dropped the adjective to become merely “women”?  Could be.  It was George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright)  who said: “…it is difficult if not impossible for men [and women!] to think differently from the fashion of the age in which they live.”   Seems self-evidently true in our times. 

In any event,  personally, I cannot look at any female footballer, whether rolling in the mud crying with disappointment, or strenuously kicking a ball almost level with her head,  and think “feminine”.  Can you? 

Comments invited…