Sunday, 7 August 2011

A partial comment on Fr Ray's post

                              Hoodie available from Catholic with Attitude

In his latest post, 'Coercion', the great Fr. Ray Blake raises a number of questions about how Catholics who fall short of or deny aspects of Catholic teaching/practice, should be encouraged to live fully their Catholic Faith. Such encouragement, as the title of his post suggests, might involve a degree of insistence on the part of those who have authority over those subject to such authority.
I won't presume to comment on all the examples Fr. Ray gives, just  the first one, because it falls within my sphere as a Catholic mother, to have authority and responsibility, jointly with my husband, for our children.

So, this is the question posed:
"Should a parent insist his child goes to Mass? Obviously if child is seven but what about seventeen?"

Catholics believe that the Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and  summit of the Christian life (CCC1324). The action of the Holy Spirit during the Mass confers graces on those who are open to receiving them.
At every Mass, we, His creatures, are united with the ultimate sacrifice, the Sacrifice of God the Son, on Calvary. His life for our salvation.
At every Mass, Heaven touches earth and we are in the presence of Almighty God who loves us with a love which knows no bounds.
At every Mass, Jesus, the Son of God, desires to be united with us through our reception  (in a state of grace) of Holy Communion.
Attending Mass is not an action done in isolation from living the Catholic life, as if being a Catholic only counts for one hour of the week. It is from the Mass that we receive the help we need to meet those difficulties, problems, challenges and crosses that He permits, before we meet Him next.
Perhaps we have a tendency to  regard the gifts that the Lord would give us through the Mass as optional. Well, it is true that they are optional in the sense that we are not forced to receive them. God knocks at the door, we open the door, or leave it shut. But they are not optional in this sense: that God only gives us what we need to live a faithful life in an unfaithful world.By ourselves, we cannot live this life in preparation for the next life, the life of heaven, without His help. We are simply too weak.We need His help. The Mass, summit and source of Christian life, is where He chooses to give us this life giving help. We could think of it as kind of a spiritual life-support system.

On the particular question of  a teenager who doesn't want to go to Mass...dare I say it....the trick is to not allow dissent to develop to a point where the teenager believes with confidence that he doesn't need the Mass.
Start early, no child is too young (and no teenager too old), to receive the gifts and graces available at the Mass.
Be the devout Mass attender that you want to encourage your children to be, explain the Mass to them (not during Mass) before, and after.
If necessary, (how can I put this delicately?) find a Mass which is offered in a most dignified way, and where the homilies do not patronise, tell us how wonderful we are, but challenge us to be the saints God wants us to be.
Have a strong prayer life at home. Daily prayer is essential, Organise things so the children have experience of leading family prayer. Make sure they are all involved in the daily prayer, let it become a habit. Remember Grace before and after meals. Don't think that you can't introduce spiritual topics during meals, of course you can! Encourage your children to join in the conversation.
Be vigilant about the influences in your child's life: friends, school, social media, books.Don't be afraid to insist that the book/film/website is unsuitable, but explain why.
Take care that your young children understand the importance of being sorry for wrongdoing, (receive their apologies gracefully), and when they are old enough, the primary importance of the great sacrament of Confession. Keeping your children close to the sacraments is as important as doing the same for yourself.
Use the saints!
Have some good quality spiritual reading at home, read it yourself and pass it on to your children.
Make sure to teach your children that everything they receive, including life itself, is a gift from God, who gives because He loves. 

Back to the stroppy teenager; he needs to understand that when tempted to omit doing something which God through the Church, and through the legitimate authority of his parents, asks of him (going to Mass), such a refusal without a just cause i.e. illness, would be a kind of disobedience, and it would be sinful.
Yes, the 'S' word.
Sometimes you have to call a spade, a spade. To deliberately avoid Mass on Sunday is sinful. There, I've said it, but the Church said it first.

What would you do to avoid your child falling into a sinful habit such as Mass avoidance?

Rocco Buttiglione: A call for truth in politics

                                photo courtesy of Fr.Ray Blake's blog

Leading Catholic political thinker calls on new generation to defend Christianity

Rocco Buttiglione,the vice-president of the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies,has called on a new generation of politicians to defend and promote Christianity. Rocco Buttiglione is widely known for having his nomination to the European Commission blocked for upholding Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
Rocco Buttiglione stated:

‘We need people with conscience in politics. And,I think the great reservoir of values today is in the Christian people and we must tell them,you must make politics,you must enter into politics,you must make with your hands the future of the land.
‘Good things have a high price,but they are worth it,of course. If you want to be Catholic in politics,sometimes you have to make sacrifices and value your conscience more than your position,more than your seat in politics. But,would you trust a man that put his political career higher than his conscience?’
‘I think that we very often forget that democracy is a very delicate creature,” he stated pointing toward the first flourishing of democracy in ancient Greece which collapsed after 171 years.
“And,what is the reason that Greek democracy died? Because of moral relativism,corruption,” he said adding that the moral relativists of today are,in fact,the intellectual descendents of the sophists of ancient Greece.
“Western democracies run the danger of dying because political activity is not based on principals.”
Despite the dire predictions,the 63-year-old academic and politician is not without hope for the future. The key to success,he said,lies with a five-letter word – truth.
“We must bring truth to politics again. We must be able to tell the truth to the people. Very often politicians don’t tell the truth. Very often politicians tell the people what they want to hear. And,what the people very often want to hear is not the truth.”

The Catholic News Agency reports:

‘Already several young Catholic politicians in Italy are responding to the challenge laid down by Buttiglione and others.
“Politics must be done by heroes,” said Simone Budini,the 24-year-old co-founder of a new Italian political party,Giovani Liberi e Forti (Young,Free and Strong). The new party is based on Catholic social principles.
“Heroes are men who are in politics because they love their city and they are ready to give their lives for their city. And,nowadays,we have the opposite example. We’ve got people who are ready to sell their city to have pleasure for their lives.”

Protect the Pope comment:

Ideology has replaced truth in western culture as soft totalitarianism becomes entrenched in political institutions,the judiciary,the media,health services,education,and even sections of the Church,such as dissenting development agencies,and dissenting clergy,for example in Austria,Ireland and England.
The response of compromised institutions to those who speak the truth is often silence,a refusal to even recognize those who speak the truth.
If people persist in speaking the truth then the compromised institutions start whispering campaigns,attempting to discredit the truth speakers by insinuations of fanaticism,even insanity.
The next response of compromised institutions is to ridicule and demonize those who speak the truth,to portray them as dangerous,unreasonable,and wicked.
Rocco  Buttiglione is right when he says we need a new generation of Catholic politicians who have the courage to speak the truth,but we also need such courageous individuals in the Church,where sometimes the silence is deafening.

Thanks to Deacon Nick Donnelly of Protect the Pope