Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Are Catholic

Thank you, Fr. Henry, for this link to the Diocese of Lancaster in England.  (Lancashire was the heart of English recusancy--loyalty to the Old Faith in face of Protestant persecution over centuries.)  Rant alert!--After the past 40 years in the wilderness, years following Vatican II when the dominant trend was one of liberal-secular accommodationism; of a 'beige Catholicism,' as Fr. Barron calls it; the lost generation of uncatechized Catholics abandoned by clergy who seemed embarrassed by their faith and its visible signs, who treated the Church's teaching on faith and morals as optional or obsolete; who brought scandal on the Church by their own immorality; who wrought destruction through translations of the Missal and Bible that stripped the sacred language of its poetry and substituted the language of the instruction manual (talk about a dead language!); stripped the altars; discouraged the devotional practices of the faithful; produced travesties of church architecture, liturgy, and music...

--after all that, what a joy it is to see the resurgence of a Faith that is strong and confident, priests and nuns who are not afraid to look like men and women dedicated to God and his Church and accessible to those who need them.  In England, my home country where Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular are generally regarded with indifference or hostility, where persecution and prejudice against the Church are deep-rooted and flourished for centuries even before their current militant-atheist form, it is wonderful to see the Diocese of Lancaster stand strong and proud for the Faith of our fathers, holy faith.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

January 3rd, 2012Confident Presentation Of The FaithBY FR. SIMON HENRY

I can't recall when I last - if ever - went to an English diocesan website and thought, "Wow, that's really good!" But if you go the the Diocese of Lancaster site the home page greets you with this video unashamedly announcing who and what the Catholic Faith is. Words and claims for the Church not seen in ages are boldly announced:

We are sacred
We are obedience
We are joy
We are tradition
We are happy
We are Papists
We are universal
We are strong
We are sacred
We are courageous
We are defenders of the Faith

... to name but a few.
The accompanying music is full-on modern and upbeat. All the images are not afraid of showing Catholics acting and dressed as Catholics - nuns, priests, marked with the Lenten ashes, Pro-Life - all positive and highlighting the vigour, youth, tradition, beauty, grandeur and struggle of the Church.

This is the sort of publicity we should be focusing on, a confident, joyful message embracing ALL of the Church's Tradition. If only we could have more like this instead of the mediocre, insipid and lowest common denominator offerings usually served up. Who knows, perhaps this sort of presentation might actually attract people to the Faith.

Confidence in the Faith and its message is something that I think has been lacking in recent times. After the turmoil induced in the years following the Second Vatican Council the great hopes the modernisers held out for did not materialise - quite the opposite. The secular media is always ready to bash the Church on premises that are occasionally real but usually false or exaggerated. Many Catholics hardly seem to know what we are for and so no wonder we have trouble telling others why they should join up - why it might be imperative that they join up. Bishops, priests and laity, certainly in the Western world, seem to have lost confidence in the power of the message and so the temptation has been t0 compromise it and fit in - in how we look, in how we think, in how we act, even in how we worship. It's only now with a new generation is more confident - not disappointed by the lack of "success" after the Second Vatican Council because they never experienced the let down feeling - only saw their elders rather tired and a bit lost for words - or at least words that meant anything. Confidence doesn't have to mean Triumphalism - it can just mean confidence that the Church really is guided by the Holy Spirit. It is now and it always has been - even before Vatican II and even (if not especially!) in the election of Pope Benedict!

Well done Lancaster Diocese!
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