Tuesday Feb 6th
IN THE CATHOLIC PRESS
Current issue of Catholic Times has a review (by me) of Josephine Robinson's new booklet about Pope John XX111. (Catholic Truth Society, £1.95p). It's amazing the myth that has grown up around this Pope: he actually wrote and said a lot of things that today would be regareded as hugfely politically-incorrect. And he was certainly an extremely old-fashioned Catholic, with liturgical and doctrinal ideas that today would place him firmly in the ultra-orthodox camp. People who have not read or studied his life and work - including the group "We are Church" which campaigns for, among other things, ordination of priestesses - have adopted him as a hero but discovering the real man is much more interesting.
In the same here is also a v. amusing letter from Fiorella Nash about the National Board of Catholic Women. Oh, do buy the paper and read it. If you enjoy this blog, why not get the Catholic Times every week, where you can read my column and soak up informatio on celebrating all the feasts and seasons of the Church's year? (You can pick it up at most Catholic churches, or get a subscription - they are doing a special offer at the moment which involves them giving a donation to a charity of your choice too. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org )
AND ON RADIO
Phone call from Radio 5Live - they want me to do a debate late on Sunday night about children. Recently the Holy Father pointed out that attitudes to family life are distorted - people see children as an optional extra, even as a sort of threat, taking something away from their own lives and their own pleasures. These profoundly wrong attitudes mean a loss of a sense of hope in the future.
Well, of course, suggesting that people should be open to life and should be glad to welcome children - and to point out that without children there is no future whatever - is to invite the wrath of those who are so obessed with the contraceptive idea that they can no longer think logically at all. So one such angry campaigner will be denouncing the Pope on this radio debate, and I'll be defending him. Tune in. Radio 5Live 11pm on Sunday night.
Europe is dying. All countries except Malta and Ireland now have birth rates that are below replacement rate. Most people in Europe - although not, it has to be said, most of the Catholic and also Evangelical families I number among my friends - see children as a pleasant and delightful accessory, in limited numbers. But the idea that children are a blessing, the natural fruit of married love, a gift from God and an assurance of the future....such an idea, a rich part of our Christian understanding of life, God, and the reason for our existence, is deemed to be old-fashioned, even harsh and repressive. It's all desperately sad. Imagine actually having to debate the fact that children are the future, and the right of a Christian leader to affirm,teach, and celebrate that truth.
Tune in - and join in: it's a phone-in programme and anyone can take part.