Monday, June 10, 2013


What distinguishes us as Catholics , from other people?

 This is one of those questions that has an ideal answer, if we are serious about our Faith. That ideal answer was given to us by Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ :

" By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John  6:35

But is that us  - are we recognisable? Do we live up to that ideal given to us by Our Lord?

In some ways , it is perhaps difficult for us to answer. For the Jewish and Pagan world in which Our Lord set that ideal, has long since been transformed by us Catholics freeing it of its vicious, uncaring and certainly unloving character. No longer are widows and orphans, the halt and the lame, deaf, mute and blind cast off as they were then,nor are captives made slaves. With many failings , and many steps forward and the occasional step back, we Catholics have transformed the Western World and indeed much of the rest of the World. And above all, the transformation we have brought to those once pagan worlds, is to bring the gift of Love.

Our progress received a radical set back at the time of the Protestant Deformation of the Church. The universal system of charity to those in need provided by the monasteries of Europe and England was largely demolished by the dissolution of the monasteries and the rape of their altars and shrines and destruction of their stained glass and theft of their lead roofs.But more and worse, the poor and needy were left without succour by the obsessive deformers. It was to be up to a century before a "substitute" provision was made - often in the form of the cruel work houses of Protestant "culture". The " disposable society" was born in the hellish crucible of Protestant deforming of the Church.

It is in the nature of the ideal that the Good God has given us, that we are continually elevating our sights and expecting more of ourselves in moving toward that ideal. That is a sure sign that we are on the right track.

That is all very well at the level of our society as a whole. But we have as Catholics, achieved so much in our 2,000 years history that even the secular elements of our society have now moved to address the material needs of the members of that society. But they do so untouched by the love of Christ.The recipients of their good works are, to them, no more than "clients".

 We come to appreciate how the external works of mercy and kindness need to be done with the love of Christ if they are to have their fullest, truest effect for the authentic flourishing of mankind.It was in the course of just that Love that tens of thousands of Religious Nuns and Brothers gave their whole lives to the service of the poor and needy. In that case they are accompanied with an outpouring of Divine Grace upon the helper and the helped. The mystical Body of Christ is strengthened for the good of all mankind.

But at the same time the completion of our witness as disciples of Our Lord is not achieved if, within the Church, there is not patently obvious the Love of Christ in the way in which we deal with one another, and in our personal lives that same Love of Christ in the way we deal with those we meet, know and love.

What then, are we to say about the manner in which, in some parts of the Church, priests accused of heinous crimes are abandoned to the wolves , as if to be accused is to be guilty? Because of a lack of courage to demand justice, senior people in the Church run like craven cowards to avoid the attacks of the media, throwing the hapless cleric to the dogs.

Let us remember that the Love of Christ is to be extended to all. Civil justice is occasionally flawed but our involvement in the Love of Christ should never be flawed.

It is after all, the standard by which Jesus Christ wants us to be known and the " enduring society" of the Kingdom of God - the Church, is to be characterised by that standard.   


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