Sunday, April 01, 2007

No to Pollyanna!

Comment: this blog has been criticised (we knew it would happen!) for reporting, without comment, one of the less admirable actions of a senior cleric. This was a public action, already widely reported elsewhere, and the cleric was happy both to do it and to defend it, but it seems some people would prefer it to be hidden from those, such as the readers of this blog, who might not think it was the right thing to do.

At this moment of crisis for the Catholic Church in the UK, should we hide our head in the sand, and pretend everything is just marvellous? Or that all our difficulties originate from outside the church, or from tiny bands of marginalised conservative-minded Catholics not sufficiently loyal to the hierarchy? Gabriel Communications points the way: their official policy, in publishing The Universe, The Catholic Times, and Catholic Life Magazine, is to be "100 per cent supportive of the Catholic hierarchy and clergy".

Can the hierarchy and clergy do no wrong? Can they not disagree among themselves? What if they disagree with the Pope?

On the left there is a picture of 'Pollyanna', a book written at the height of Victorian sentimentality, about a little girl whose self-deluding optimism and unrequited love for all and sundry melted the heart of the wicked aunt who, after the death of her parents, was bringing her up. Pollyanna's clinging to the belief that everything was wonderful actually made everything wonderful. This seems to be the hope of our critics, of Gabriel Communications, and of many in the Church who have held back from criticising, or even acknowledging, problems within the Church.

Is this policy likely to succeed? Is it a Catholic attitude? No, and no. Our policy is that of G.K. Chesterton, who wrote

I tell ye nought for your comfort,
Yea, nought for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet,
And the sea rages higher.

The alternative policy was aptly characterised by Jeremiah:
They have treated the wounds of my people lightly saying Peace, Peace when there is no Peace. Jeremiah 6:14.

In fact no one has done more to expose to reasoned discussion the crisis in the Church than the present Pope, in a stream of books written before his election. This has got to be done! In order to respond constructively to the present crisis in the Church and the state, Catholics have to know what is going on. We promise our readers that we won't hide the truth from them for fear of shattering their illusions or embarrassing those in authority. We like to publicise the good things bishops and others in the Church say and do, but we have to be ready to note the less good things as well.


John Kearney said...

You cannot not ignore the record of the Bishops. Catholic Education is a disaster because in training our teachers at Roehampton or Hope,meet feminists and modernists who openly tear the Church to shreds, especially on sexual matters. They teach that truth is found in the community rather than revelation, and one quaint idea of the Feminists is that St John did not write his gospel, it was a community effort. The Bishops approved of these people. So do not expect catholic schools to produce good catholics. The Bishops do not want that. It is a nightmare. Loyalty to the Bishops, yes, but to Rome first.

Thomasmore said...

I will pray that you gain strength and stamina to keep fighting the good fight.

If the church cannot take discussion and debate of its activities, then it is not following the Gopsels and teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ!.

The Church must face up to reality; Its failure to do so is why people are leaving the church.

It seems that it has been hijacked by people that see more worth in secularist activities than in developing the spiritual growth of the faithful. In our diocese the priests are more concerned with running businesses.

One must pray that in this Holy Week our Church will renew itself and grow up into a church that seeks to put our teachings and faith into action at all levels within it!

I wish you all a Happy and Holy Easter.

May God Bless You and Keep You From all Harm.

Anonymous said...

Greeat blog and you're right about Gabriel. there needs to be change there

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen