Via an article in the online version of the Catholic Herald, I discovered the blog of Catholic writer, Mary O'Regan,'Bad things happen if good people do nothing'
In this post Mary recounts a conversation she had with Baroness Warnock, which took place last year following a lecture at University College, Cork (Ireland), given by the Baroness. The lecture was about promoting a case for experimentation on human embryos.
Here's how the conversation went:
Hello Baroness'. Customary shaking of hands. Dreadfully false toothey smiling from yours truly. The baroness smiled at me in return.
'May I ask Baroness Warnock, you are a member of a Christian denomination.'
'Oh yes, indeed I am a Christian'
‘So, you unreservedly call yourself a member of the Christian faith?’
The baroness looked gamely at me, gave me a knowing nod and said 'Well yes. But my dear, Christianity is all part of a lovely fairytale, very little of it is factual. There's some morals that you can pick and choose from.' Perhaps I strayed from the rules of polite conduct for conversing with baronesses. But I asked, 'thank you for being so kind as to tell me that you are a...Christian. Yet my understanding Baroness is that Christians believe Jesus will be at the end of their lives a judge.'
The baroness's smile disappeared. I sighed, and felt like a TV evangelist. I pressed on and said ‘that He will render an account of our lives when we die. And should Our Lord find fault with your...enthusiasm...for experimenting on embryos...what will your response be?'
Baroness Warnock’s eyes loomed large and she said to me ‘you’re terrible, how can you think such a thing...Jesus as judge...puh...you’re absolutely terrible.’
I gave a shrug . My body language implied, ‘well there are a lot of loonies in this world, I’m just one of them, but since you say you are 'Christian' why do you not shy away from Our Lord’s role as king, who decides where a subject will go at the end of their days?’
I smiled at the baroness, and wished her a pleasant stay in Cork. I told her that I would pray for her. She looked at me blankly, as if to say ‘you obviously think that I’m damned, why bother praying for me?’ Because I don’t know what else to say Baroness, and often I don’t know what else to do other than pray. --------------------------------------------------------------------------
I applaud Mary O'Regan for her courage in bringing to the Baroness's attention the reality of that final reckoning, when all of us will have to render an account. At that moment, belief in what can properly be called fairytales, is unlikely to be of much help.
That Christianity is no fairytale, is a message which needs to be passed on, in the public square and in private life.