Friday, 29 March 2013

Refuse Antinous? It is going to be hard

Antinous, the Emperor Hadrian's
deified boyfriend. Hadrian's
subjects were forced to worship
him after the boy's death.
Our rulers in France accuse the opponents of gay marriage of not being 'straight' with their arguments. They are not putting on their cards on the table, the socialists say.
But that criticism cuts both ways. And the social reformers are hiding even more.

The transformation of birth certificates so as to include Parent A and Parent B, and the school textbooks that will follow on in order to promote the idea to children in primary schools, will have the effect of imposing a minority view about marriage and family on the majority. Schools will have to promote the excellence of the new arrangements, and little ones who say "but I have a mummy and a daddy" will be told to shut up.

It will no longer be possible for the child's mother and father to be publicly recognised as such. Acknowledging the fact of a mother and father will be become something banished to the private sphere. Discovering that new friends also come from a traditional family will be the kind of nice surprise one gets when one finds out they share the same religion or went to the same kind of school. But one never asks outright ... That would be rude. And soon, asking a guy if he ever had a mum and dad could soon even be illegal. References in schools (including children's stories) and public documents, to mothers and fathers will have to be modified so as to be freed from 'homophobia'. All of this is already underway ...

Then, the idea that one should be able to marry whomsoever one choses is a powerful one. But the problem is that once one accepts that there should be no limits on marriage, why not follow the argument through? If a man loves two women and they love him then perhaps one should not seem to fall into bigamophobia (and what about the Muslims, with all their wives?).

If it is all about sexual orientation then perhaps we need to be fair to bisexuals too; they are much more commonplace than homosexuals, and yet even more persecuted and marginalised by society; no marriage for them ... a successful businessman who wants to marry an energetic young man plus a warm, caring and elegant lady to be the mother of his children finds no comfort in the new social reforms ... but he no doubt will, if he can just hang on a few more years. Because once polygamy is opened up in order to be fair to Muslims, then bisexual marriage will have to come next in order to satisfy the sleeping giant of the bisexual minority (or will we discover that it's a majority?)

Promoting three-way bisexual marriage would even have the effect of solving the problem of where two women or two men will get the new baby from. No need for surrogate mothers or expensive medical treatment ...

It is all just a slippery slope into anarchy. And the custody battles in divorce cases will be so intracatable that we will in the end just have to leave the children at the mercy of the adults fighting over them, or doing worse to them ... what about the fact that the age of legally informed consent to sexual relations is dropping everywhere like a stone, and that judges are increasingly refusing to sentence couples for incest. It will not be long before the momentum gathers to legalise incestuous gay marriage (is it morally any worse, after all?) and perhaps even incestuous heterosexual marriage, and certainly the legal situation of adolescent children is going to become increasingly problematic; if 13 and 14-year-old children in countries such as Spain and Germany can legally have sexual relationships with an adult, then what happens if they campaign for the right to marry?

So, opposition to gay marriage is also opposition to an enormous and barely veiled agenda of social reform that is gaining enough momentum to keep Pandora's box open for decades to come, until such time as our families and relationships are in the biggest mess they have ever been in since Adam and Eve. Talking about this in public, and in my job as a schoolteacher, is going to get harder and harder.

Soon, I fear, we will all be worshipping the beautiful Antinous if we want to stay out of jail. Who dares stand up to the Emperor?

Desperate thoughts on Good Friday. But there is a lesson in that: our Lord's disciples felt, no doubt, that they had failed and been abandoned that day, only to discover that all that suffering and confusion was a prelude to the glory of the resurrection.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pope Francis

We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin.

Pope Francis, Palm Sunday, on Twitter!

Friday, 8 March 2013

And now for the Women ...

I don't want to miss the opportunity to wish all the ladies in my life a very Merry International Womens' Day. Thanks for all the gentleness, warmth, beauty and grace you bring to my life. 

I suppose we are all glad that the canons of feminine beauty have moved on since the ninth century BC ...

"My Lady is beautiful, beautiful beyond compare; so beautiful that when one has seen her once, one would wish to die so as to see her again; so beautiful that when one has seen her, one can no longer love anything earthly."  St Bernadette.

Ave Maria!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The challenge; well, one of them, anyway.

We Catholics have not only to do our best to keep down our own warring passions and live decent lives, which will often be hard enough in this odd world we have been born into. We have to bear witness to moral principles which the world owned yesterday and has begun to turn its back on to-day. We have to disapprove of some of the things our neighbours do, without being stuffy about it; we have to be charitable towards our neighbours and make great allowances for them, without falling into the mistake of condoning their standards and so encouraging them in sin.

 - Ronald Knox, from "In Soft Garments"

Good hypocrites and bad hypocrites

A certain Scottish Cardinal is being accused of hypocrisy. Samuel Johnson reminded us that hypocrites preach what they do not believe in; not necessarily what they do not practise.

"Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself." (Johnson. Source: wikipedia)

Is the alcoholic who counsels against the dangers of drinking a hypocrite? Is the man who tells his wife he loves her a hypocrite because he has sometimes been unfaithful? (Should he tell his wife even if he thinks it would destroy her? Well, no, not if he loves her ...) And what about the Labour politican who drones on about racial equality and homophobia but has no black, asian or homosexual friends, because he actually dislikes such people? Or the outspoken egalitarian who secretly send his kids to private school?

There seems to be a lot of hypocrisy about hypocrisy ...

I don't deny, of course, that recent news from Scotland will make enemies of the Church even more angry and will be a great source of discouragement and scandal for the faithful.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Gay marriage: What about Australia?

I notice that Bishop Peter Elliot told parishioners at the London Oratory recently that the Australians had just voted against Gay marriage.

Funny that the European papers kept that quiet.

Cardinal O'Brien is, we are told, a bigot because he thinks gay marriage is 'shameful' and 'grotesque', but what about the whole of Australia, which obviously came to the same conclusion, through the democratic process?

Let's not be bullied by the politically correct.

Pity about O'Brien, though. In the middle ages, oddly, a bishop could probably just have done public penance (rather like Clinton after Monica Lewinsky) and then have just got on with life.  His authority would not be diminished in the way O'Brien's has been.

I have been re-reading Sigrid Undset's Kristin Lavransdatter, and there the medieval parish priest berates his flock for their moral shortcomings, and tells off the children when they deserve it, but also has no complex about providing for his daughter, begotten out of wedlock. Such arrangements were common in an age where having an abortion would have been a theoretically capital offence, but having an illegitimate child was just one of those things.

What about an eldery bishop, then, who admits to having a sometimes difficult-to-control weakness for young priests, but is sorry about it, asks us to bear with him, and still tries to teach us how to live
a good life? The fact of being honest about it might help him to overcome it. I wonder, would that kind of honesty and lack of hypocrisy work in the twenty-first century? After all it worked for many kings, emperors and bishops in the past. Probably not.

Funny old thing, original sin, isn't it? And a funny old thing is progress, too.

I suspect that we will soon live in an age, if it it is not already upon us, where we will all know everything about each other - a kind of awful anticipation of our joyfully resurrected state - so we will have to get used to the fact that although everyone's sins are different, we all have something so badly wrong with us that only the death of God's own Son is enough to make up for how shameful and grotesque we all are. And in his love and mercy we are all made beautiful and holy again; a little every day, and most perfectly in the resurrection. Isn't that great?

In the meantime, may God have mercy on us all.

BTW, another BIG recent story, ignored by our papers, was the public penance done by the President of Uganda back in November. One big issue for the Ugandans has been to face up to their own sins in order to fight more effectively against the foisting of gay marriage and other liberal agendas on them by the post-Christian north. Here is what he said, just before Christmas:

"Father God in heaven, today we stand here as Ugandans, to thank you for Uganda. We are proud that we are Ugandans and Africans. We thank you for all your goodness to us.

I stand here today to close the evil past and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness.
We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation.

We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.
Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.
These sins and many others have characterised our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love you, to fear you and to seek you. Take away from us all the above sins.

We pray for national unity. Unite us as Ugandans and eliminate all forms of conflict, sectarianism and tribalism. Help us to see that we are all your children, children of the same Father. Help us to love and respect one another and to appreciate unity in diversity.

We pray for prosperity and transformation. Deliver us from ignorance, poverty and disease. As leaders, give us wisdom to help lead our people into political, social and economic transformation.
We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfil what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.

I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to you, to walk in your ways and experience all your blessings forever.

I pray for all these in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

Now, there is a leader one could follow with a joyful heart! God bless you, President Museveni!