Sunday, 23 March 2014

The banality of the mediocre

I have now lost count of the blog posts started and left unfinished in the last year. With my other many and varied duties, I just cannot keep up with the flood of news and, when I have the time, I'm generally too exhausted to write cogently about it - to utterly pooped to gather the varied shards of my concentration into anything resembling focused thought. I blame myself then for my increasingly common reaction to news, which is to sit there agape, and more often to sit there horrified at the latest banal act of mediocrity masquerading as serious commentary.

A couple of days ago I received some information about a Tablet attack on Bishop Egan. The latter had given an interview to Lifesitenews saying those politicians who vote against key moral laws should not be receiving Communion. Oh, how they howled at the House of Commons! The Catholic MPs that The Tablet spoke to were unanimous in denouncing Egan. Of note was Conor Burns MP who voted against gay marriage but who said with something nearing smugness:

I think it is a pity, indeed a tragedy, that this bishop appears not to have noticed we have a new, gentle shepherd preaching a message of Christ-like inclusivity, love, tolerance and forgiveness.

Naughty Bishop Philip then! So behind the times! Which is effectively what Francis Davis also said:

Bishop Egan means well but we live in a democracy and the Church didn't elect our MPs.

It is hard to know what to say to such patronising platitudes. Bishop Egan has simply spoken out to remind politicians that there are consequences for their actions as legislators. They will not be able to wave their order papers at the final judgment and say (with the Ruler of the Queen's Navee)

I always voted at my party's call and I never thought of thinking for myself at all.

How, I wonder, do these critics spend their spare time? I imagine them with scissors, cutting out large sections of the Jerusalem Bible that offend them, but I could be wrong. Or do they pass their time getting up conscientious objections to carrying their cross - the cross which will only make sure no Catholics are elected? Better ditch the sacrifice, then. Any volunteers to tell Jesus?

Of course, this problem is not just restricted to the looney left. The Catholic Herald these last two weeks has had Quentin de la Bedoyere - bugger the prissy accents, frankly - telling us first that Humanae Vitae was a big elephant in the room: an inconvenient, wrong-headed blight on the Catholic mind (I paraphrase). Funny that, because I thought mass infidelity and doctrinal ignorance was the elephant in the room.

This week, Quentin tells us that everything depends on conscience and that essentially conscience is top in just about every game of spiritual top trumps. He sprinkles a few references on top to the Holy Spirit and being alone with God. But that's it. Apparently, he has never heard of an erroneous conscience, and thinks the Church should just leave us all alone (although he wraps it up in a load of cod-psychology about mature reflection). After deep and mature reflection, you can decide that God too should just mind his own business. Apparently, the Holy Spirit can help you come to that conclusion.

I could go further but once again a flood of small bodies and the thunder of tiny feet have disturbed my peace. You get my point anyway.

Are you interested in this stuff any more? I confess it bores me to tears. It feels like living in the midst of flat-earthers who are scared of finding the supernatural at the end of all risk.

So, there we have it: Catholic publications, pumping this toxic stuff out for the consumption of the masses. One can only pray the masses are too indifferent to be damaged.


Lynda said...

Conscience depends on the objective truth given us by Revelation and our God-given reason. If there were no objective right and wrong, there would be no function for the conscience. Conscience presupposes objective moral truth.

tempus putationis said...

"Are you interested in this stuff any more? I confess it bores me to tears."
For those of us who live in wilderness dioceses led by dissenting bishops, blogs which continue to identify and reject error are fulfilling a vital function: we are not alone! Please continue.

Recusant said...

At the risk of contributing to you woes and exhaustion, please, pretty please, carry on. We have no right to expect a daily/weekly/monthly update, but your take on things and the well argued manner in which you deploy it are much appreciated by this wandering member of the flock.

And many thanks for all you have already done.

Ches said...

Tempus, Recusant, I'll do my best! Please pray for me.

GOR said...

Ah yes, the ‘primacy of conscience’ argument! Now where have I heard that before…?

Apparently “conscience doth make cowards of us all” no longer applies. ‘Conscience’ has become the barometer for everything. Of course it is ‘my’ conscience, not yours, or the Church’s, or God’s. But then God doesn’t have a conscience, does He?

So I’m one up on Him! I know it all.

Seems like I heard that before too.

Woe is me. Too soon old, too late smart…

Mary's Contrary said...

Dont ever stop writing you column. it's amazing. we need you. Diaper those babies and get back to work ! Mary Arnold, Pleasanton, California