Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Protest the ...
Secular society is also having its protests, the gathering number in the City or on Wall Street are expressing an anger, generally inarticulate and unfocussed, placards say they are against greed, poverty, injustice, hunger, global warming and for peace, honesty, integrity, transparency, fair dealing. In society generally there is a disillusionment with organisations: trade unions; political parties etc are losing membership in the same way as any Church. Personalised cafeteria politics are mirrored in personalised cafeteria religion. Perhaps an economic change will bring about a reversal of this.
The Church militant today is the Church protesting, somehow I suspect a major part of the New Evangelisation will be about "protest", challenging the values that actually sit uncomfortably within our culture and psyche, those things which are contrary to the Natural Law. The hard cases are difficult to argue against but fundamental ideas of human dignity, the right to life, to human dignity and to what the Pope continually now refers to as "human ecology" are going to become more easily assimulated and will become increasingly so.
"Protesting against" is where contemporary politics is at: most people tend to vote against political parties rather than for them, politicians lose elections not win them.
As Christians we define ourselves by those things we affirm: I believe in God etc. We have become reticent about those things we reject: Do you reject Satan... and all his works etc, Thou shalt not ..., but these also defined Christianity. They also tend to challenge our society. The loss of definition by negation, have caused a loss of Catholic identity and for so many a loss of a lived morality. Hence Catholics are as likely as one else to abort, contracept, divorce or engage in pre-marital sex as anyone else. What we are for is nebulous, what we are against is tangible.
The French bishops called people on to the streets to protest an anti-Catholic play but for the most part Catholic protest is tied up with Life issues. Most protests by Catholics are ad intra: the disobedience of clergy in Austria and Ireland, the disobedience of bishops in Australia seem as ill defined as those of Wall Street or the City. In Ireland it seems most of the protesting clergy are simply finding a way of showing discomfort a poor leadership.
In England Catholics seem to be involved in protesting on specific issues: the demonstrations and legal tussles with the Archbishop of Westminster over the Cardinal Vaughan School or prayerfully protesting outside St Mary's Warwick Street over those Masses seem to identify an anger or at least dissatisfaction with our clerical leadership.
The French bishops got students and Action Francaise onto the streets: how do we harness protest? Can we teach the faith by denunciation and protest?
Posted by Fr Ray Blake