Fundamental Catholic Contradictions & Unequivocal Principles
|Header snipped from The Telegraph on line.|
A bit more following on from yesterday's post as I have been thinking and praying about this a lot. First of all, I would say that this is thinking aloud and not a personal attack on Mr. McGuinness - God rest his soul & have mercy on him. However due to the particular nature of his office and life and the stances he took publicly on a number of issues, I feel this is worthy of further discussion. If only to tease out the socio-cultural challenges faced by the Church today in regard to these issues.
The first issue is his terrorist/ freedom fighter legacy. Broadly it seems clear that all are capable of redemption if they acknowledge their sins and repent. This change - metanoia in the Greek of the Bible - is the principle of Christ's preaching and it conveys the power of the Gospel. It is the action which follows the word. The difference being Christian makes.
I know that Mr. McGuinness did not public repent of his murderous IRA activities, but he did become a peace broker, as I said yesterday. Irrespective of our opinion on whether this was genuine or not, we have to leave this judgement to God, this is specifically the 'Judge not...' of the Bible, we do not know what is in another's heart.
My main discomfort comes with respect to the fact that he was publicly and very perniciously opposed to Catholic teaching, especially with regard to abortion and same-sex 'marriage', as I detailed yesterday with links to relevant articles.
Despite his consistent positions on these issues, he has been roundly praised by clergy. Now it is a matter of course that we speak well of those who have left this life, accentuating the good, but with a situation where a person has put their immortal soul in danger by advocating for abortion, is it wise for the shepherds of a community to suggest that this is not relevant or does not count somehow? Here is how one Catholic from Ireland reacted to my blog post yesterday:
As a catholic in northern ireland, we have no catholic politicians supporting church teaching and we have no choice but to vote for the party that does support Gods laws and the teaching of the church and that party is a staunch protestant party, the only ones that defend the unborn and oppose abortion being allowed and oppose same sex 'marriage' from being made legal. Mr mcguiness and co, promote abortion being made legal as womens rights and equality and same sex marriage as equal rights for all, communism, Marxism, humanism, they believe in themselves with no need for God. Catholic in name only. None of us but his confessor knows if he repented and only God in His Mercy can save him. God have Mercy. [sic].It struck me that this person knows her faith. In Catholic social teaching, the sanctity of life is an unequivocal principle. So with respect to "life issues" in law and public policy – direct abortion, euthanasia, and the killing of unborn life for medical research, Catholic teaching is clear and definitive; the defence of innocent human life is a non negotiable.
Given Mr. McGuinness' position on abortion, what should have happened is that his pastor - his shepherd - the man responsible for leading Martin to Christ - should have gone to him and called him to metanoia - to change. To turn back to Christ. Without Christ, Catholicism becomes salt without its' saltiness (c.f. Matthew 5:13).
I'm not convinced that it is possible to have a relationship with Christ and be comfortable contradicting fundamental principles of Catholic teaching. Without its' integral supernatural dimension, what does Christianity become? A social argument? One theory among many?
"[T]he poison of our epoch is slowly seeping into the Church Herself, and many have failed to recognize the apocalyptic decline of our time" - Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Devastated Vineyard.
If we allow the Gospel to be ignored because of the secular culture we live in, we lose what makes us different, we lose our saltiness. If we believe that this is a truth revealed to us by God, where does that leave us? What good is Christianity if it does not change us? If we are not bound by its fundamental principles? What we are left with is not Christianity, but, as Mgr Andrew Burnham pointed out recently; secular liberalism and cultural Marxism. Secular liberalism rejects the Church’s notion of the complementarity of the sexes – male and female having separate and distinct roles within the economy of salvation – and cultural Marxism would do away entirely with the biblical teaching on marriage and the family. Both liberalism and Marxism reject the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
As Fr Lucie-Smith said yesterday
'a funeral: it is about interceding for the deceased, and not about celebrating his life, or canonising him. Let us hope that this Requiem truly is a Requiem. For there is one thing we can all agree upon: every passing soul needs prayers.'
And this is absolutely correct. But if our pastors fail to point out points of departure from the path to salvation, surely they condone such action by their silence and fail to do that fundamental duty for which they are called & consecrated; to call the people to repentance (Matthew 4:17).