Friday, October 10, 2008

FFM - Parishes

From Bishop O'Donaghue's 'Fit For Mission? - Church'. The CTS printed version has some extra passages, one of which is this, a discussion of anti-Catholic prejudice and media bias. As he explains, the media appears to be convinced that distortions and vilification which would not be acceptable if directed to any other group can be directed towards the Catholic Church, Catholic teaching, and the Holy Father.

Anti-Catholicism is one expression of a more general Christianophobia which is spreading throughout the world. I agree whole heartedly with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary of the Secretariat of State, when he states that ‘discrimination against Christians is as equally unacceptable as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and should be resisted with the same force.’ Christianophobia refers to acts of violence, persecution, intolerance and discrimination against Christians.

Archbishop Mamberti observes that, ‘In many countries Christians are victims of prejudice, stereotypes and intolerance, at times of a cultural nature. It’s a paradox not guarantee Christians the same freedoms granted to other religions, or to create a sort of hierarchy' of intolerances’.
What should be our response to this re-emergence of anti-Catholicism as an acceptable prejudice? Archbishop Charles Chaput offers penetrating analysis and recommendations:

We should not soften the Christian message – the cross, the call to holiness, the need for salvation from sin – just because ‘these truths aren’t considered respectful in a secular, pluralistic society’.

The danger is that to gain a public hearing, Catholics justify the church’s social teaching in practical, humanitarian terms, not explicitly founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Catholics must not allow the hostility of the secular world make us abridge the Gospel, cutting out the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the unique saviour of the world.

What needs to be done by Catholics today for their country? The answer is: Don’t lie. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to prove it.....public life needs people willing to stand alone, without apologies, for the truth of the Catholic faith and the common human values it defends. One person can make a difference – if that individual has a faith her or she is willing to suffer for; a faith that can say, as [St John] Fisher did in greeting his executioner,” I come to die for the faith of Christ and Christ’s Catholic Church.’ (Charles Chaput, Render unto Caesar, p. 197).

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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