Friday, July 4, 2014

Fidelity And Ambiguity, Conformity Or Defiance?

It has been over a week since I blogged last. I have been busy with parish and other duties. And it seems we have just slipped into July - I didn't see that one coming, not so soon. 

But a lot has happened in that week. Poor Meriam Ibrahim is still suffering. According to news sources, she will probably be put on trial again, this time for falsifying documents, ie using a name, her name, which the Muslim authorities of Sudan do not accept. Her step-brother, who called for her execution, is also trying to have the authorities put her under his jurisdiction so he can prevent her from leaving Sudan and, I presume, force her to convert to Islam. I do not think that will happen. During all her trials, Meriam has refused to renounce Christ or the Church and I think she may well prefer to die than convert. That would make her a martyr and probably even eligible for beatification. We must continue to support her with our prayers.  At the moment I believe she is in the US Embassy: is there any way US authorities could get her out of Sudan?

I note a post from Fr Ray Blake on his blog in which he asks where all the bloggers have gone. It was reading that this morning that pushed me online now. It is an interesting post and I find myself agreeing with what he says.  A lethargy seems to have descended on many, the discussions under Benedict have now changed to fears, raw defence of Catholic orthodoxy and accusations of disloyalty whenever someone is suspected of raising a question about the present pontificate. Meanwhile the whole approach to teaching the faith has changed. Now a priest is attacked and censured for explaining Church teaching clearly, while the approved method now seems to be maximum ambiguity "clarified" only by meaningless, fuzzy language. What a strange country we are walking in now. No wonder faithful people are resorting to silence for the sake of loyalty and unity. But I wonder what will be the consequences of that?

Finally, the response to the US Supreme Court decision on the Hobby Lobby case is very interesting. The wave of anti-Catholic rage has been most enlightening. The New York Times ran a one page ad which is reminiscent of the old days of anti-Catholic bigotry. The guys over in Creative Minority Report point out that the ad features a large image of Margaret Sanger, the mother of eugenics. There is also a good article in The Federalist by David Marcus in which he wonders if it is possible for Catholics to serve in the US without being accused of being intolerant. Strange times indeed. 

I think Pope Benedict said once that the Church may well have to go underground again, and that time may not be too far off. Reading the signs of the times I think he might be right. But I do have to wonder, if such a time is coming, is our response as a persecuted people one of ambiguity and fuzzy language, or should it be that of Meriam Ibraham: of faithful defiance in the face of those who would have us conform, silenced or dead?

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