Relationships Education

Delighted this week to post a guest blog from my friend and European Director for 40 Days for Life- Robert Colquhoun.

“The role of Parents in relationships education”

“Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them… in conformity with their moral and religious convictions”

Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality

Parents are the first and primary educators of their children. They are in the best position because they know their children best. This responsibility is given by God and should be considered a privilege. Today there are many pressures upon children and families in this regard. Many parents are not aware of the level of influence they have in their children’s life. Serious problems arise when parents are disconnected from their children.

The call to love is more powerful than the imposition of fear. If you love somebody, you want to do what is best for the other person. Some children have low self-esteem. The need to be built up emotionally can happen by the simple words, “You look beautiful” or “I love you.”

Sometimes in society there is a complete loss of healthy touch – either too much emphasis or a complete phobia of it. We all have a need for human touch. Mother Theresa was aware of the need to be touched by others frequently, especially the elderly. With a healthy sense of human touch, one is given the sense of being protected.

Some men need good male role models. When they are given a tangible and physical role model they realise it is possible to be virtuous. Without a solid role model, they can find the wrong group of friends and not have a clear reference point of what it is to be a man. Every young person needs a man who gives him support and affirmation so that he can come to a healthy sense of self identity and know how to relate to other men.

Prayer is of utmost importance for families. If we ask God for something he will shower us with gifts. Saint Augustine of Hippo was a badly behaved child, but when he grew up he learnt how to be a saint. The prayers of another saint (his mother) was important in helping him get to this state. Parents do not need to blame themselves when children veer off in undesirable directions. God is the best parent in the universe. He gave his children free will, and look what happened! St Francis said be patient with the whole world, but first of all with yourself.

It is important to be a parent first and not a friend of your child. Parents do not need to have the fear of being rejected by their children. It is important to keep tabs on the friends of your children make and note who they spend time with. It is good to have good communication with the parents of their friends. You do not hear many ‘thank yous’ as a parent. Your newly born baby is not going to thank you for changing his nappy. Your children are not going to thank you on a regular basis. It is important to do what is best for your children rather than succumb to their own desires.

Internet safety is essential in securing the purity of your family. If you put your computer in a communal area of your house it can help prevent an occasion of sin on the internet. Parents need to learn how to check the internet history properly on the computer. Putting a filter on your computer can provide priceless protection.

Parents can learn a lot from the parenting network of other parents at school and in the community. The parents of children’s friends can share the same values. Children learn a great deal from personal example. As humans learn by imitation, personal example happens by osmosis in the home.

You do not need perfection to have authority as a parent. Parents should have an authentic interest in their children without interrogation. The power of listening can do tremendous good.

The most important and best thing you can do for your children is to show the great love between husband and wife because the image of the love of God is then present.

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The Saints go Marching In

I’m not going to mention the usual Halloween stuff which surrounds us this time of year. Indeed I highly reccommend reading this on just how bad things have got in our culture around the ghoulish.

Has Halloween horror morphed from innocent fun to a troubling symptom?

I think all parishes and schools should avoid buying in to the Halloween stuff and be radically, counter-culturally Catholic instead.
Why not invite all the children to attend Sunday mass or on November 1st during school day to come in costume dressed as a Saint. This isn’t a new idea, but it could become mainstream in our parishes and Catholic schools.
All children love dressing up, the fun, the anticipation, and the use of imagination are wonderful vehicles for joy and laughter in the household. It’s a gift of the Spirit, and we should all cherish it. More importantly, it presents the opportunity to talk to our children and grandchildren about the example of the Saints and the vast array of witness down through centuries to spur us on to holiness of living. It’s one of the greatest treasures of Catholic faith to hand on.

We shouldn’t underestimate the value of what the Saints can teach us today about sexual difference and complementarity either. In his formal intervention at the 2014 synod Cardinal Nichols said:
“Conflicts and confusions in anthropology underlie much contemporary controversy and instability. The Church has a crucial contribution to make if we can find a revitalised language.” 

Part of that revitalisation of language, I think, can be discovered in the recorded witness of the Saints. God knows, they were real about masculinity and femininity! Likewise, as we cherish the memories of our dear departed ones, especially by preserving keepsakes of them and photographs of them in our homes; so too, do our images and relics of our beloved Saints in our churches betoken solidarity communion and comfort in our hearts. The charm of the Saints helps us cope better with the harsh and often cruel reality of the world which lies behind the disproportionate preoccupation with the ghoulish at Halloween(not that there’s anything wrong with “spooking”out the demons figuratively speaking on this night to be better prepared for the Solemnity itself. Indeed, its a timely reminder to have fresh stock of Holy Water in the home).

I think there’s a distinct lack of charm in society, which is why perhaps there seems to be such a collective mental block against the wisdom and beauty of the Church’s teachings on the family. “Go against the current, against this civilization that is doing us so much harm,” said Pope Francis on July 27th 2013. The saints teach us to do just that.  But on the subject of a revitalised language, I leave you with this insight to ponder on  as we rejoice with our families in the heavenly glory of the communion of saints:

“The old Christian dogmatic terminology is like an enchanted castle where the loveliest princes and princesses rest in a deep sleep; it only needs to be awakened, brought to life, in order to stand in its full glory.” Søren Kierkegaard

Double Standards?

Ofsted needs to decipher its equity from its equality.

I don’t often reproduce on this blog either whole or in part, articles from other places but on this occasion I think the subject matter and the strength of argument behind the piece warrants it. The link is here
http://christiansineducation.co.uk/is-ofsted-in-breach-of-the-equality-act/  and here is the article itself by Gill Robins from Christians in Education. I hope parents in particular will find this informative and that for teachers, especially headteachers it will be useful food for thought.

‘Education has to be the values anchor in a stormy sea’ according to Amanda Spielman in an address to the Birmingham Education Partnership conference last month. The ground was carefully laid during the speech to make the argument appear irrefutable. Education challenges us and opens our minds to new concepts and ideas. It takes us on a ‘journey of enlightenment’ – spot the motivational rhetoric as the philosophical argument heads towards a moral precipice – a journey which is ‘far more difficult without democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law, and tolerance of different belief systems’. Well, nobody wants to send children off on a rocky, pot-holed road to ignorance, so obviously everyone is going to buy a ticket for this journey.

But the rhetoric belies embedded thinking within Ofsted that sends a much more sinister message. If you don’t embrace Ofsted’s interpretation of the Equality Act, you can’t absorb new ideas and you therefore, by implication, remain rooted in your own ignorance. If children aren’t being taught values at home or are being actively encourage to resist them, then schools must fill the gap and do so by ‘inculcating’ British values.

Education should establish moral codes in order to provide the values anchor that children need. And that goes straight to the heart of the argument. Who gets to decide what moral codes children are raised with? And who codes them: parents or the state? Amanda Spielman clearly has no doubts – where parents are deemed to be steering their children in the wrong direction, it’s the job of Ofsted to set them right. She even appears to rather regret the fact that children only spend one fifth of their lives in schools, thus severely limiting the amount of inculcating and moral anchoring that Ofsted can police.

The case of Vishnitz Girls School demonstrates the sharp barbs of this values anchor. Ofsted is adamant that inculcation is necessary in order to enforce the Equality Act 2010, because LGBT is a protected characteristic. Al Hijrah is another case in point. Accused of gender inequality, the school was failed by Ofsted. When it mounted a legal challenge (which it won on the grounds that segregation is not, of itself, discriminatory) Spielman found it deeply frustrating that a school used a legal challenge ‘to delay things that in our view urgently need to happen’. Her defence in court was short on empirical evidence and long on feminist ideology.

The word ‘inculcate’ was correctly chosen by Spielman: it means to ‘instil by persistent instruction’. An equally apposite word choice would have been ‘indoctrinate’. So there, beneath the beguiling tone of the speech, lies a deeper intention – to indoctrinate children with a liberal ideology and to deal with parents who choose not to buy a ticket for Ofsted’s journey to enlightenment.

Except, here’s the thing. Are Ofsted in breach of the very Equality Act which they so love to invoke? Because in the same week that Amanda Spielman was delivering this speech, the National Association of Teachers of Religious Education delivered its State of the Nation report. It showed that 28% of secondary schools gave no dedicated time to teaching RE – and that’s only the percentage of schools that owned up. More than a quarter of secondary schools are breaking the law, yet Ofsted simply looks the other way. They show missionary zeal in failing schools that don’t comply with their LGBT or feminist agendas, yet do nothing about schools that don’t comply with the law.

And this isn’t simply a case of schools breaking the law as defined in the 1944 Education Act. Schools are also failing to comply with the Equality Act 2010 by denying about 800,000 students each year of an opportunity to explore faith. Listen to the voices of young people in the Interim Report of the Commission on Religious Education to understand just how vital high quality RE teaching is in understanding belief. And if Ofsted think that such an understanding can be delivered through other routes, then they are guilty of doublethink of Orwellian proportions. If LGBT and feminism must be explicated in order to actively promote equality, then so must religion. Ofsted can’t pick and choose which protected characteristics it wants to police. If they are so ardent about equality, then the teaching of RE must be as vigorously enforced as all other aspects of the law.

It extends beyond the curriculum, too, because schools are failing to protect pupils of faith. The DfE is spending millions of pounds on stamping out homophobic bullying: the amount being spent on addressing religious bullying is zero. Schools are held to account if they don’t have a homophobic bullying policy in place: the accountability of schools for religious bullying is zero. Yet Ditch the Label, an organisation which collects data on teenagers’ views of bullying (rather than teachers’ perceptions) shows that the number of children bullied for their faith is the same as those being bullied for their sexuality. So where, DfE, is the money to stamp out religious bullying? And where, Ofsted, is the evidence of you holding schools to account?

The Bible uses the imagery of anchors, too. The letter to the Hebrews talks about our hope in God, saying that ‘We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’ (Hebrews 6:19). Unlike British values, faith can never be inculcated – it’s a very personal decision made by people who want to live in relationship with God. Christian parents don’t need to indoctrinate their children so that they can cope with stormy seas – they know that hope in God will provides all the security we need through life, however stormy the sea gets.

Walsingham

24th September is the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. I love Walsingham and all it stands for in English Catholic history. As my friend Edmund Matyjaszek so eloquently puts it in his piece for the Catholic Herald some time ago   http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/november-18th-2016/how-england-took-flesh/

For me the renaissance of devotion to what Walsingham stands for is intrinsically linked to all that I have been writing on this blog over these last three years since the first extraordinary synod on the family.

Walsingham in a sense, crowned in the physical material context what the English had for centuries –perhaps sub-consciously- understood to be the absolute source and summit of all liberty and justice; the marital home.
In 597 AD, the evangelization of Britain under Pope St. Gregory the Great was able to begin precisely because that faithful married couple – St. Ethelbert and St. Bertha, the King and Queen of Kent – by their material and more importantly, their moral power enabled it to happen.  In other words it was in and through the witness of the primary agents of the evangelization of culture, a husband and wife, which made the work of St. Augustine and his monks first possible.

We shouldn’t be surprised at this. In their book “Families without Fatherhood” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs in 1992; academics Norman Dennis and George Erdos, (neither of them Catholic) who carried out research in to the crisis of the family quoted, The Ecclesiastical History of England  by the Venerable Bede, to remind the country of a previous time when society was in an equally parlous state. When St Augustine arrived in England, he wrote to Pope Gregory to describe the levels of; aggression, lawlessness, random sexuality, broken families and neglect of children which Augustine felt made his work futile. The Pope told him to concentrate on teaching the Anglo Saxons about marriage and its many benefits.  Augustine and his missionaries did precisely this and according to Bede, England recovered. A renaissance of marriage and family life based on natural law for the good of society and upholding the absolute sacredness of human life from the moment of conception to natural death by the family happened before in Britain and despite all the odds, it can be done again with God’s help.
It emphasises the fact that in marriage the spiritual precedes the material and the vows are meant to be given in the heart before the union of the two in one flesh. The English took to their Marian devotion with such intensity and fervour because in cherishing marriage so collectively from the 6th century, they could instinctively perceive how Mary is the exemplar of and national emblem [through the power of her own assent to God] of how the spiritual precedes the physical, especially in the act of taking a vow and in particular the marriage vow which in turn gives rise to the physical establishment of the home as the microcosm of society, shaping a universal commonwealth.
So for England to have this Holy House, to be Mary’s land, and to honour marriage as Pope St. Gregory wished, led over centuries to that long continuity of our institutions where these values become writ large into national life, and as out of the small house of Nazareth came a child who grew to a man who was the salvation of the world, so out of this domesticity grounded on the pre-eminence of the values of the spirit, came the fidelity to a sense of covenant with God in justice and freedom. It is the seed of family life inspired by the Gospel of Life within the cell of the home, symbolically venerated in Walsingham with great fervour until Henry VIII and his brutal cultural revolution in the 16th century, which multiplied through generations to make a honeycomb that was society itself and where there are still strong cultural traces of it within British life. There is no need for me to enunciate the many and diverse risks facing the family. The message of the 2008 World Day of Peace puts it succinctly;
‘Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace.
Thus, fidelity, the bonds and ties of marriage, home, of unconditional love for children, and all small domestic things, become the building blocks of a society that coheres. So the small domestic fidelities – on a par with Mary’s own small family house – contain within it both the beginnings and maintenance of the very cohesion of society at large.

Epilogue. Here is Sting’s version of “Walsingham” [all 38 seconds of it] by John Dowland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xajDJ46WOwQ

Speaking Freely

This last week or so has seen a lot of activity and comment around the topic of “free speech” or freedom of speech in the wake of the comments by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on his fidelity to Catholic teaching on the subjects of abortion and same sex marriage. I’m not going to go over again the myriad of comments that have been published of the aggressive and at times vulgar reactions to what he said. We all know that the issue is about not what he expressed but the fact that he [and indeed anyone who wants to publicly express their Christian belief and conviction about moral questions] had the “audacity” to give voice to them at all.
It reminds us that in fact, there is no such thing [really] as free speech or freedom to speak. Yes [so far] one can legally say what one believes in public on such matters as Jacob Rees-Mogg did but the fact is what he said and what so many others might wish to say in public or print or in company and even amongst one’s own kin; it does not in fact come without a price – a cost of some kind or other.
I am talking about the price one pays for expressing Catholic faith and conviction across a whole range of issues in social settings, the workplace, even to friends and family. More and more conscientious believers in Jesus are prefacing what they say, tweet, write or text with the thought – “but how will they react to this? What will others think of me if I say this or that?”
This is particularly true of the shade of any opinion that in any way places one firmly in the opposite direction of so called “LGBTQ” rights and the ever menacing reality of “transgender” rights etc. The way the draconian interpretation of equality legislation is going will soon mean that even one’s unspoken thoughts will be subject to scrutiny by another who might “perceive” your silence on their rights as denial of their rights to which they can then claim you have offended their feelings [their person] and so report you to the new “hate” police for being mean and unsympathetic etc etc..

What binds us together in civic society in a civil way where all shades of opinion can be expressed and tolerated is rapidly falling apart. Where this will end is anyone’s guess. One Archbishop infamously said “Who knows what’s down the road?” in reply to a question about the future of the Catholic Church and gay marriage. So yes indeed – who knows what’s down the road for conscientious Christians not just in the workplace or social setting but the classroom, the living room, the restaurant or pub [at an overheard discussion] on a train, a bus and not least on social media [which can be often a decidedly anti-social environment] in fact anywhere. Our only hope is that because God sees all and hears all and is everywhere, then our courage to stand up for what we believe in, despite the threats will not go unrewarded.

Back to School!

“Back to School!” How that phrase [so often used early in August for the purposes of marketing school uniforms and stationery] used to fill me with dread when I was a child. And I have to say [as a parent] the thought of the children returning to the daily/weekly routine of school timetables and repetition is somewhat of a relief after 6 weeks of a fair degree of disorder and random activity [depending on the weather] around the home. For all of that though, I shall miss something of the “school of the home” atmosphere we have all enjoyed as a family since mid July.

Classroom and home, hearth and assembly hall have got to be synergised in the cherishment of Christian values and faith if the family/school; parent/teacher partnership is to bear the rich fruit it is called to bring forth in grace. For that, there really has to be fresh standards of mutual appreciation and support but especially I feel, for the sacred space that is the Christian home.

I was reflecting on this over the last few days as I was immersed in [of all things] the painting of our humble garden shed. A somewhat mundane task but one which we all enjoyed contributing to [though I had the lion’s share] as a family. What’s this got to do with my point above? Well, some years ago I addressed an international conference at the University of Torun in Poland on the dignity and purpose of the family. In my talk I reminded the audience of the unique phrase to this island nation of ours; “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” 

It was established as common law by the lawyer and politician Sir Edward Coke (pronounced Cook), in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628:

“For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home is his safest refuge].”

This enshrined into law the popular belief at the time, expressed in print by several authors in the late 16th century. It was even used as an argument to say that outlawed English Catholics still enjoyed the protection of this maxim, at least culturally if not always technically. The Stage of Popish Toyes: containing both tragicall and comicall partes, by Henri Estienne wrote in 1581:

‘The English papists owe it to the Queen that “your house is your Castle.”’

The English have had a passion for the sovereignty of hearth and home for more than a millennia. The English have the widest variety of chimneys in the world as well as more garden sheds than anywhere else. (Which is why I felt obliged to smarten our’s up!)

Seriously though, if the home is meant to be sacred then the family, and the wishes and conscientiously held beliefs of that family [consonant with Gospel values and Catholic teaching] who reside in that home ought to be fully respected and served by all sectors of society and ecclesiastical life. The former grows less and less but the latter [especially the parish and school] must be something the Catholic family can depend upon; if not then something is very drastically wrong. There is no need for me to enunciate the many and diverse risks facing the family. The message of the 2008 World Day of Peace puts it succinctly;

‘Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace.

So as a new academic year begins I pray the Holy Spirit will pour afresh on parents, teachers, clergy, and catechists a new and deep sense of mutual respect, Christ-like love and dependence upon the Lord to fulfil their shared task of passing on the Faith.

 

Moonstruck!

This last few days have seen some major media attention on the full lunar eclipse of the sun which passed through 10 different US states in the space of 90 minutes. An eclipse is always an impressive thing. One commentator in the US who witnessed it said it was “a religious experience.” Not sure what he meant by that; perhaps like many natural wonders he meant it was a numinous experience, something that takes one out of oneself reminding one of the transcendent and omnipotent Divine. Well I can relate to that. I was in Ephesus at the shrine of the House of Mary (Miryam) in  August 1999 when a total eclipse was witnessed by millions from Falmouth to Syria and more. I can always remember that strange sensation when the sky turns dark and the temperature drops [though at the height of summer in Turkey that’s not much of a drop] and you feel that bizarre wonderment of being in the midst of something almost apocalyptic. By that I mean an “unveiling” of something rather than an end of the world/doomsday type of thing.

The “unveiling” for me that day at the last earthly home of the Queen of Heaven where she was assumed body and soul in to heaven was one of a new realisation that like Mary, we too as disciples of the Lord must be “lunar” models of the Church. That is to say, like the moon we must reflect the light of Christ in the darkness of the world around us so often without that light. We must shine as reflectors of His glory and wonder. We will never do it as beautifully as Mary Immaculate for unlike her we all too often “eclipse” the light of Jesus by our sins. But it’s by turning often to Her who is the Refuge of Sinners, who has the Moon at her feet as a symbol of her sovereign power and closeness to the Redeemer, that we will shine once again with grace and truth and beauty. In these days of continued commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima and her monthly messages to the child seers and through them to us, let us renew efforts to be close to Her through the power of the daily rosary. We face uncertain futures in this fragile world so full of terror, war and threat of devastating war. The Holy Rosary is and must be our preferred weapon of choice to fight the ultimate battle we all face every single moment of every single day.

POSTSCRIPT

Apart from the summer season of rest from writing this blog you may have noticed that for some time I have not posted it on a Friday afternoon as was my original intent.     https://edmundadamus.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/friday-17th-april-2015-a-reminder/

This partly due to change of circumstances which for the most part makes it impossible for me to draft and publish anything by a Friday and also because of the shift in emphasis of my work from marriage & family to education in general. So for some time I have been wondering about changing the name from “Friday FAST” to something else. Not sure yet as it may be published over weekends and not necessarily every week.

In any case thanks to all those who have given me feedback since 2014 on this blog and expressed appreciation and if you have any thoughts on where it should go next or even if blogging is not constructive anymore in the age of Twitter/Instagram etc then let me know your thoughts.

God bless

 

 

Monstrance of the Soul

Yesterday I was privileged to visit a delightful primary school in Portsmouth diocese where during my visit the local deacon came to do the monthly afternoon of Eucharistic Adoration for the Key Stage 2 pupils and staff.
This was a simple but deeply prayerful arrangement whereby the Blessed Sacrament was respectfully exposed in a fine monstrance in the school hall with candles and flowers and class by class were quietly brought in to genuflect and sit near to Jesus in the Sacrament for a period of 10-15 minutes of totally silent adoration and prayer.
I have to say that for a Friday afternoon when children are normally [understandably] getting a bit restless looking forward to the end of the school day and the fun and relaxation of the weekend; these youngsters were impeccable in their sense of reveerence, awe and respect in the Real Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
The teachers [not all Catholic] had obviously prepared them well and they were accustomed to being prayerful and calm in a meditative mood and spirit.
Two insights from Scripture struck me, as I prayed with the children and watched them keeping watch with the Lord.
1. The words of Jesus to “come away and rest a while” which these children were doing amidst the busyness of the school day.
2. And the exhortation of St. Paul to “put on the mind of Christ”
As I sat there watching them pray and be calm it occurred to me that children don’t need to latest ‘fad’ of mindfulness techniques to bring fruits of inner calm and serenity to their sometimes fractious lives but time spent with Jesus, the Prince of Peace who alone can give the peace the world cannot give.
The children were open and friendly, genuinely interested in me as a visitor and happy in their own skin as it were because they were being educated and cared for in an atmosphere of extraordinary warmth and love. The head teacher was like a mother to all the children [all 480 of them!] and seemed to know the name of every single one. It was Catholic education at its best; natural, holistic and familial.
My final thought as I came away was the words of the late Joachim Cardinal Meisner, Archbishop of Cologne (RIP) who once said that “the face is the monstrance of the soul.” As I looked on the innocent faces of these children gazing on the absolute purity of the Sacred Host in the Blessed Sacrament through the monstrance, it was a moment of profound grace to have one’s faith in the beauty and dignity of the ‘sacred altar’ of the innocent soul of a child restored and the obligation that places upon us as parents, teachers and adult influencers in the lives of the young to do ALL we can to uphold and preserve that sacred reality, for one day we WILL be judged on how we have preserved that ‘altar’ not just for our own children but all children and young people who come within the sphere of our influence.

I will be away to ‘rest a while’ myself for the next few weeks so no blogging or any social media for me for a bit so as to waste time with the Lord amidst my loved ones. May you all enjoy the grace and blessing of a time of recreation and some restorative silence, so needed in oour world of today.
Peace be with you!

As a church we are very good a building hard, physical institutional infrastructure. As faithful communities have for generations built parish churches, presbyteries and parish halls etc sometimes with the sweat and toil of individual parishioners.

We established many schools and colleges, building them to high standards and rightly so. We built hospitals and hospices, age care facilities, seminaries, refuges.

We do this because we know they are important to our mission. We are very good at physical institutional infra-structure, but for decades we have neglected the core of our non- physical institutional infrastructure;Matrimony. Marriage is the vocation most adult Catholics spend their adult lives,trying to faithfully live.We make visible to the  world, the invisible reality of the Fathers unconditional love ingrounded incarnate ways. Our sacrament is more beautiful than anything man can build And yet if marriage was a physical institution,we would see it as a neglected, uncared for broken, crumbling  building. A building that has been taken for granted. Its beauty and awe no longer like St Peters Basilica in Rome, is now a dilapidated, crumbling edifice.

This building is still defended by a  few but it is largely dumbed down and undermined by a world increasingly questioning its purpose and relevance. We who understand both thesacramental importance of marriage, and its social public good, defend its presence

and speak to its purpose, but few see it in its true glory because we have left it in such disrepair.

And now, to carry the analogy a bit further, the local council has turned up and told us our precious building is no longer safe and violates regulations and stand ready to tear it down. They tell us that not only must it go in its current form but that new regulations will not let us rebuild it once torn down. And so we are faced with the harsh reality years of neglect, despite the best efforts of Pope Saint John Paul II and his monumental catechesis.

We either rapidly

reinvest in this infrastructure or lose it for generations. And like any physical asset school, church , or a seminary , every few decades we have to reinvest and rebuild.We have to do so not from our annual maintenance budget butfrom our capital. Not batting an eye lid at this for our hard infrastructure, indeed we get quite excited about it. One diocese I know spent over £800,000 on refurbishing its seminary chapel but gave nothing in comparison to marriage and family life ministry or theology of the body development in schools.
Against the ever increasing cultural Marxist onslaught of same sex “marriage” and gender ideology we must fight for authentic matrimony like we have never fought before….otherwise…what is the point of the new evangelisation at all and where is to be found amoris Laetitia –the joy of love?

Playing the Long Game Day by Day

As a church we are very good a building hard, physical institutional infrastructure. As faithful communities have for generations built parish churches, presbyteries and parish halls etc sometimes with the sweat and toil of  individual parishioners.

We established schools building them to high standards and rightly so. We build hospitals and hospices, age care facilities, seminaries,  refuges.  We do this because we know they are important to our mission.

We are very good at physical institutional infrastructure, but for decades we have neglected the core of our non‐physical institutional infrastructure, Matrimony.
Marriage is the vocation most adult Catholics spend their adult lives trying to faithfully live out.

We make visible to the  world, the invisible reality of the Fathers unconditional love in a grounded, incarnate way.  Our  sacrament is more beautiful than anything man can build
And yet if marriage was a physical  institution  we  would  see  it  as  a neglected, uncared  for,broken,crumbling  building. A building that has been taken for granted. Its beauty and awe, no longer like St Peters Basilica in Rome , is  now  a  dilapidated  crumbling  edifice.  This  building  is  still  talked  about  by  a  few  in  whispers  of  its  once   magnificence but it is largely dumbed down and undermined by a world increasingly questioning its purpose and relevance.   We who understand  both  the sacramental importance of marriage, and its social public good,  defend its presence and speak to its purpose, but few see it in its true glory because we have left it in such disrepair, this beauty is no longer visible to most that they are willing to lay down their lives for it in a permanent commitment.
And now, to carry the analogy a bit further, the local council has turned up and told us our  precious building is no longer safe and violates regulations and stand ready to tear it  down. They tell us that not only must it go in its current form but that new regulations will not let us rebuild it once torn down.
And so we are faced with the harsh reality years of neglect, despite the best efforts of Pope Saint John Paul II and his monumental catechesis. We either rapidly reinvest in this infrastructure or lose it for generations.  And like any physical asset, a school a  church, or a seminary, every few decades we have to reinvest and rebuild.  We have to do so not  from our annual maintenance budget but from our capital budget.  We do not bat an eye lid at this  for our hard infrastructure, in fact  we  get  quite  excited  about  it. One diocese I know spent over £800,000 on refurbishing its seminary chapel but gave nothing in comparison to marriage and family life ministry or theology of the body development in schools.
Against the ever increasing cultural Marxist onslaught of same sex “marriage” and gender ideology we must fight for authentic matrimony like we have never fought before….otherwise…what is the point of the new evangelisation at all!?