I received a very kind message from my Bishop this morning who found that it was wise to put The Anglican Catholic to bed for a little while until it gets focused on positive themes and transcends the kind of themes for which I devised the three Blow-Out departments on this blog. Even there, I expect a degree of courtesy so that matters can be discussed between adults. This blog does not engage my Church or Diocese in any disputes – see the disclaimer at the head of the right-hand sidebar.
I often say it myself, and my Bishop has put it beautifully:
The fights that regularly break out in the holy places in the holy land between groups of monks charged with custody of these shrines does more damage to the cause of the Gospel than a million authors writing books like the ‘God Delusion’.
Ah, the Holy Mountain! Some of those monks will have only themselves to blame if the whole place is turned over to developers to turn Mount Athos into a complex of luxury hotels and rest centres with saunas and jacuzzis for rich businessmen and politicians. In the 1900’s in France, the French government became virulently anti-clerical and turned the monks out of their monasteries, took possession of the cathedrals and parish churches, took away state support for the Church as under the old Napoleon / Pius VII Concordat. Priests and pious lay Catholics were mocked in the same way as Jewish people under the Nazis. In short, what was the cause of all that?
The western world faces a secular future. Even the Muslim immigrants are enjoying life in our countries and put their faith on the back burner. Three things contribute to this process, religion discrediting itself through intolerance and obscurantism, the easy modern life (on condition of being able to afford it) and pressure from atheist intellectuals.
I am in two minds about discussing things on blogs. We clergy tend to say that we should keep quiet about all the “negative” stuff and present a rosy image of Christianity to the world, one that will appeal to the innocent and credulous. Another part of me says that we all have to be lucid about the reality so that our faith and Christian commitment will be that much more robust and be able to resist scandal and anti-religious rhetoric. Perhaps this is something we could discuss.
Certainly, the spectre of Christians fighting over sets of doctrinal articles, dogmas from Ecumenical Councils, liturgical rites, political ideologies and the “true church” alienates most people of good will. I am certainly affected by all this poison, and I am expected to be thick-skinned, being a priest and veteran at blogging! One great intuition of Pope Francis is the idea of being simple again and thus getting the real message of Christ over to people.
Some may read this and say to me – Speak for yourself! Indeed, we are all guilty of being the most effective persecutors of Christianity, far more than Robespierre, Jules Ferry, Jean Jaurès and Richard Dawkins to mention only a few ideological atheists. This is persecution from within, and we all have our examination of conscience to make when we consider our empty pews and increasing church upkeep bills with nobody to pay them.
The atheists may be our enemies, but we are our own worst enemies!