One dimension of the international kulturkampf is the promotion of unnatural unions as if they were “marriages” and the introduction of legislation to force these unions to be recognized as such, even in the face of reason. After legislation is passed, pressure will be put on ministers of religion to perform ceremonies, rent out halls or churches, etc., with the aim of inflicting penalties on the ministers – when they refuse to violate their consciences and religious liberty – and churches under the banner of discrimination or hate-crime.
The targeting by a lesbian activist and entrapment of a good priest in the Archdiocese of Washington DC is but one example of what we will see often in the future.
We see in my native state of Minnesota that there is up for a vote an amendment to the state constitution which would defend a proper definition of marriage. The Catholic bishops in Minnesota are actively supporting the amendment. Protests have already begun on Sundays in front of the Archdiocesan chancery. As the weather gets warmer, I suspect a real freak-show of protests will begin at the chancery and cathedral. Intimidation is their tool.
For the kulturkampf to succeed, marriage has to be destroyed.
The kulturkampf is farther advanced in England that it is in the USA, though we are cathching up quickly. It is instructive to read the insights of good priests in England about what in the American electoral campaign season have been dubbed the “social issues”.
My friend Fr. Ray Black, the great p.p. of St. Mary Magdalen in the troubled sea-side town of Brighton, has a good piece on his blog today. What I find of special note is the concept of persistence and follow-up by our bishops concerning the attacks we experiencing.
For example, the Minnesota Catholic Conference has effectively nailed its colors to the mast concerning the defense of marriage amendment. If they stay true and on course, even if they lose the fight they will retain their moral capital. If they go wobbly or become shy when the enemy sweeps our decks with grape and chain, they’re finished as a moral voice in the public square.
With that as a preamble, here is Fr. Blake, with my emphases and comments:
I published the Archbishops of Southwark and Westminster letter on the redefinition of Marriage without comment. I received the hardcopy of their letter the following day in the post. My secretary assured me it came without a covering letter, in my diocese no-one has said whether it should be read at all Masses or was simply sent for my personal information.
Some people have suggested it is too late and too weak. I’m not too sure about that, but certainly it is perhaps correct to ask whether the Church here really has the heart for a fight. In our effort to get out of the “Catholic ghetto” and to be regarded as “English” rather than an immigrant church, we have downplayed our Catholic identity, possibly to such a level that many Catholics have little understanding of anything distinct about our religion, or if they do they have rejected it. [Which calls to mind the damage then-candidate John F. Kennedy did to religion in the public square. HERE.]
The majority of Catholics, the official figure is 90%, despite (or in spite of) all the money and energy the Church invests in our schools, do not practice the faith. Neither could we ever dare suggest that Catholics are less likely to cohabit, divorce, abort or contracept, nor are the vast majority of Catholic parents more open to children, than their non-Catholic neighbours, the statistics do not show any difference.
In the latter half of the 20th century abortion and contraception have been issues that have troubled individuals but hardly seem to be a major concern in England and Wales. [I am not sure, but I suspect that Fr. Blakes' use of the pairing "England and Wales" suggest the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. I may be wrong.] Co-habitation and divorce seem to be even less of a concern, everywhere these issues are left to a woolly “pastoral solution”, everything depends on the personal convictions of the individual priest. [Not on a unified solid front and message presented by all the bishops together with their priests.]
After members of Catholic Voices have spun the Bishops 2003 statement on Civil Partnership, I am confused by what their Lordships intended to say, I used to think their teaching was clear but maybe not. Milo Mindbender and Co are the official unofficial keepers of the Catholic Voice in E&W but only seem to make the feint voice even more distant and give the real God appointed Voices of the Church [bishops] a barricade to hide behind. I digress. Even so, anyone but a fool would have realised that the introduction of such partnerships would lead inevitably to the situation we now face. What we have failed to do is prepare our people for any battle over this issue.
I am not part of the dioceses of Southwark or Westminster and lacking any clear direction I will present this letter on Sunday but frankly I think my people are ill prepared to receive it and having received it, I am not sure what they are expected to do with it.
[NB] My anxiety is that this letter will be all. That there is no further plan. As an opening salvo it was good but what about the barrage to follow, will it? Or was that all?
It would be good to think that following its publication on Sunday the bishops and leading clergy will be on every television and radio station, that they will write their own letters to every and any newspaper that just might publish them, that they might even start to use modern technology. [Just try to imagine such a drastic move!] After years of fudge and drift it, which has not only left Catholics in ignorance and confused [the ad intra diminesion] but has had an impact on wider society [the ad extra] it is time that we had clear teaching on sex, on homosexuality, on marriage, on the duties and responsibilities of Catholic politicians, Catholic Institutions and above all the Clergy to uphold the Church’s teaching.
Fr Richard [Aladics] has a good post on the Public Dimensions of Marriage.
As I read that, I felt much as I imagine some American men felt as the Battle of Britain was heating up and who went to England to join the RAF’s Eagle Squadrons. My brother priests, my friends, are having a hard time of over there and I feel for them. Mind you, the fight has been joined in the USA as well and it is heating up very quickly. We here can learn from what they have been up to, or not up to, there.
Fr. Blake made a good distinction toward the end of his piece, which I want to spin out a bit.
Tepid leadership, worship and instruction has over time produced Catholics who don’t know who they are and who, when introduced to something genuinely Catholic and clear (liturgical worship, basic catechism, moral preaching) become confused, disoriented, and even hostile. In turn, Catholics have little to say in the public square concerning the great questions of our day. They have little to say or, what is worse, they actively take the wrong side.
We need a renewal of our Catholic identity. If we don’t know who we are as Catholics (this is the question considered from within the Church, ad intra) then we won’t have anything of value to contribute in the public square (ad extra), which is the point of Our Lord’s great commission to Holy Church and all her members.
I am convinced that to spark, support, and sustain an effort to revitalize our Catholic identity, we must have a revitalization of our liturgical worship. If we do not have solid, clear, dignified, faithful, transcendent liturgical worship, all our efforts, in regard to raising a new generation of Catholics in our Faith or recovering those who have fallen away or who were only slightly formed to begin with, will fail.
Fr. Blake gets this. A quick look at his blog will reveal what he has been up to in restoring his parish church and organizing events for the parish’s anniversary. Take a look at what he has going on.
WDTPRS kudos to Fr. Blake