The Direction of Travel

Just keep up with modern secular society...

A theme I constantly refer to is the evidence around us for what works in building the Church and what does not work. I try to always base this on facts and evidence, but the basic conviction that there is a right and a wrong way to do things comes from my own experience growing up Catholic. The lack of instruction I received and the ensuing confusion about what it meant to be Catholic, coupled with a growing sense of meaninglessness based on the platitudes of niceness which constituted most of that experience. Why believe in something that is meaningless? Why argue about ancient truths is they don't matter in application in any case? If they merely constitute a 'nice' way of looking at things? There had to be more to this Christian thing than that! Didn't lots of people die rather than renounce these beliefs once?

Discovering that being Christian was important, that it had a real, powerful effect on the choices you make, was somewhat of a dynamic revelation to me. And something of a relief also. The search for knowledge, the networking with real Catholics and the growing confidence that the Catholic Church was not only true, but had the power to change lives was initially a relief and ultimately a cause for great celebration. I now ground my faith in the truths taught by the Magisterium, in the beauty of liturgy which speaks to the effort of humanity in prayer before God, and reverence for the Sacraments which constitute encounters with the living God in a real and physical sense. And I want to share that with other people.

Sadly I am constantly let down and disappointed by a Church leadership who seem frightened to teach the Gospel, remain silent regarding the atrocities of the modern secular society leaving people confused and without direction about Abortion, IVF, Gay Marriage, & all the modern malaises that afflict society, and seek to promote a reductionism which is paring away at what it means to be Catholic today, taking away holy days of obligation for example, changing what it means to be married, or suggesting that holy communion doesn't necessarily mean that it is holy, or that you have to be in communion.

Those who have discovered that, to take one's faith seriously is a source of incredible joy, find the lack of faith and praxis within the Church hierarchy extraordinary (with a few notable exceptions). National initiatives seem particularly lacklustre and attempts to woo youngsters with huge events in stadia leave them bemused and disconnected. We know what works, the evidence is there, the people just need something to believe in.

And if we continue with what we are doing? Well, we can look across the North Sea and see exactly where we will be in a short while. The beginnings of this are all around us in the plans of bishops and diocese today as they 'manage decline'.


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