Saturday 9 January 2016
A commentator (James) noted my lack of contributions to the blog recently, and Father Dickson made known my procrastination, so I thought I’d better contribute something...
I attended a talk on Radicalisation this week, in which we were told about the problems caused by radicalisation and how to spot it, but we were given no definition of it. It seemed to be assumed to be religious extremism expressed in terrorism. I believe from Wikipedia that the British Home Office has defined Radicalisation as “The process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, then join terrorist groups.”
During discussions after the talk I voiced the idea that “people can be radicalised in Secularism too, but be unaware of it”. The speaker dismissed this, but I believe many people today are radicalised in secularism and don’t know it, with an obdurate adherence to relativism which causes them to engage in the active persecution of Christian folk -aided and abetted by Governments who pass ‘hate laws’ by which anyone offended by religious belief can legally persecute their neighbour.
Governments rightly seek to stem terrorism, but they might be said to engage in radicalisation themselves on behalf of atheism when they enforce relativist secularism in education and establish laws that hinder religious people from living by the basic tenets of their faith. Thus Christians have been persecuted under ‘hate crime’ laws for holding to marriage as a union of one man and one woman for the procreation of the human race and stability of society. One need only think of bakers who have been prosecuted for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual pairing or for refusing to let a room to a homosexual pair; one need only think of marriage officials fired for refusing issue marriage certificates which violate their beliefs; one need only think of folk forbidden to wear religious items at work, such as a crucifix.
I wonder if it is not true that radicalisation in atheism is occurring in our schools and colleges by the promotion of relativism and secularism, with persecution of decent, religious folk by legal prosecution its consequence? The unswerving dedication by secularists/atheists to relativism is the very thing they deride in Christianity: dogmatism. The relativists have failed to see or are ignoring their contradictory stance: “it is true that there is no truth”, along with their duplicitous ignoring of their persecution of persons in their prosecution of Christians.
Tuesday 5 January 2016
I’ve said time and time again not to believe anything one hears from a pulpit whether it be by a Bishop or Priest, and not to simply believe whatever one reads on some internet site (be by a Bishop or Priest or theologian) because we can all get it wrong. My recommendation is always to buy and study the Catechism, because we can all be too easily astray. For example, we’re singing ‘We Three Kings from Orient are’ at the moment, but how many kings does the bible say there were? It says ‘some’, it doesn’t say three. And it uses the words Magi, rather than kings. So not only do we not know how many Magi there were, we don’t know if they were teachers, kings or just distinguished men. And how old was the Child Jesus when the Magi came? Reckoning by the date the Wise Men gave him, Herod had all the male children less than two years old killed, so Our Lord may have been a two-year-old by the time the Magi visited. And He may not have been lying in a stable manger when they arrived, for Matthew tells us the Magi went into a house, not a stable.
This needn’t disturb us; the scriptures do say wise men visited the infant Jesus bringing three gifts, and stables were often the lower floor of a dwelling, so it may have been the very same building visited by both the shepherds and the Magi. But the actual biblical text compared with our hymn sheets should wise us up to getting to know our Faith well, by getting a Catechism and learning the official, formulated teaching of the Church as set down by the Magisterium over the centuries.
But to turn to the message of this particular Feast of the Epiphany: the romanticism of Christmas with a star in the sky, angels singing ‘Gloria’ and our families and friends exchanging gifts, food and drink, can bring us to miss the message of Christmas -which is one of reconciliation between God and man. God’s gift to the nations is His Son; what is our gift to Him going to be? Well, there are three traditional offerings that we are expected to give God: prayer, fasting and almsgiving; we can also give more time to visiting the sick, the housebound and the imprisoned. But reconciliation between the individual soul and God is only half the story: we need to be reconciled to one another too. So, is there someone to whom you need to say ‘sorry’? Reconcile with them. Is there someone whose reputation you’ve damaged? Restore their reputation in the eyes of those to whom you defamed them.
If this jubilee Year of Mercy is going to achieve anything it must focus on the sacrament of reconciliation, and the celebration God’s mercy celebrated in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. So go to Confession; go regularly (at least once a month) to grow in the grace of reconciliation with God. And feel free –indeed be ready- to challenge the sinful attitudes and actions of those who are engaging in sin; challenge them in order to help them to reconcile their lives to the beauty of goodness and truth. Call them to meet Christ in Confession too. In the Epiphany, God is calling to all men of all nations; let us then give all folk the opportunity of being healed by Christ, the Light of the World.