Thursday, September 22, 2011

Silencing the Christian Message

Elderly Canadian priest suspended for denouncing abortion/homosexuality - LifeSiteNews

The first I heard of this was on talk radio today in Halifax. The host was surprisingly fair, and he insisted that this was an issue of freedom, not an issue of beliefs. He kept repeating to callers that what mattered was the fact that someone should be allowed to hold their own beliefs and state them. Several times, he said that what this priest said was Catholic doctrine, so why was he being silenced?

I have to commend him, it was refreshing to hear a host be this fair on the topic of religion. His callers were not so fair.

So what relevance does this have for us here in Halifax? Well, it seems to explain why we have no Catholic priests joining the 40 Days for Life vigil this fall. In fact, I got an email today from one who has been coming all three of the past vigils saying that, due to other commitments, he cannot take part this year. What, at 7 am? other commitments? It struck me as fishy, and I wonder if the bishop has put out the word to all priests that he would prefer that they keep their distance from 40 Days.

We will never find out, unless some brave clergy blows the whistle. Which I don't think will happen. Be that as it may, I repeat to myself and to anyone coming to the vigil, that this is what "grassroots" means - it is us, the laity, who are carrying the issue now. We can no longer look to our clergy to lead us on important issues. Oh sure, there are going to be meetings on the "new evangelism" and how to grow the "engaged" church, whatever that means.

As my husband said so astutely this evening: once the new evangelism is in place, how will they teach about homosexuality and abortion without offending those who have been newly evangelised? If you really want to evangelize, at some point, you have to tell people about sin and repentance and the need for a saviour; without that, it is all straw.


Elena said...

I think that you misunderstand the new evangelisation. It is a call to the church to proclaim Christ to the world and to invite all into an encounter with Christ. Of course they will here about sin and a need for a Saviour. Anyone who properly understands the new evangelisation will proclaim both of these points of doctrine. Moreso, the new evangelisation is a call to evangelise the churched and the unchurched.

Julie Culshaw said...

No, I don't think so. From what we have seen of the new evangelisation here in Halifax, there is no mention of the need for repentance. There is a message of the unconditional love of God and the inclusiveness of the Gospel message. It is being presented as all nice stuff, nothing hard in there to swallow at all. My point is that they are simply excluding the central message of the Gospel.

Julie Culshaw said...

I know what the Pope intends by the new evangelisation, but that is not what is being presented here. Out of fear of losing people, the Gospel is being watered down so that it is palatable. And that is not the Gospel at all. Rather than Christianity Light, we are being given Christianity Lite.

Elena said...

my point is that sort of hfx stuff is not the n.e..

Roseberry said...

It will be interesting to see how many of the clergy turn up for Life Chain on Sunday. In the past, Archbishop Prendergast usually attended, along with a few other priests.

Julie Culshaw said...

And now we have lost Father Hattie. Many people have remarked to me that they feel his loss acutely.