Sunday, March 11, 2012

When you go... Mass at Westminster Cathedral on a Sunday morning, you are assailed by various group urging you not to do so. There are earnest men with tracts explaining that all you need to do is say one prayer and then you are Saved and that's that. There are bright young girls with handbills inviting you to attend services at a new church somewhere else. And there is a Lefebvrist with leaflets telling you why he thinks the Church is all wrong. And the message from each of these is:please stop and talk instead of going to Mass.

But if you gently ignore them and walk up the steps and enter the Cathedral then the atmosphere of prayer greets you and folds you in. As Mass begins, the choir sings gloriously, the timeless reality of the liturgy sweeps you up into the hugeness of the mystery.

Today,instead of a sermon, a special Letter from our Bishops re marriage. As the priest started to read it out, the atmosphere became somehow more intense, as if everyone knew that something of particular importance was happening. You don't normally get that when a letter from a Bishop is announced - it's usually the signal for people to settle back comfortably and not really bother to engage. But today was different.

There were extra copies of the letter to take away at the end of Mass, but these all ran out quickly. (You can get a copy by following that link given above). Outside, as the crowds poured out, the groups in the piazza had been joined by another - a little lobby of people with a placard being rude about the Church for opposing same-sex marriage.

The Cathedral newsletter urged people to sign up to the marriage petition on the internet, giving the link. For those that don't have internet access, there are forms...I had some with me and a friend was keen to sign then and there - lots of other people then surged round to sign too.

What will happen about this new marriage law? I expect that the initial reaction to our Bishops' letter will be sneers - especially from those who for some reason seem to delight in arousing indignation about anything a bishop says.

It's also a grim fact that the Govt will only be swayed by one thing - the possibility that the ghastly plans to rewrite the definition of marriage will prove so unpopular that it might cost them the next election.

So one small thing you can do is to sign the petition, and get others to sign too.


Patricius said...

Unfortunately the letter was not read out in our church. No reason was given- although we were told copies were available. It seemed to me an appalling betrayal of our bishops- who, given the vilification they have to face, deserve our wholehearted support.

Bernadette said...

David Cameron's adoption of this cause under the invidious umbrella of 'equality' is nothing more than a smokescreen. It veils the responsibility of the Government to establish greater equality through the distribution of wealth. In a society governed by corrupt bankers and financiers this would be seen as against the Conservative interest. The consequence is promoting a cause that is inimical to a balanced society.

From what little I understand of the subject, many gays have no desire for marriage. Some see it as supporting patriarchy, others as the imposition of a heterosexual norm on a lifestyle that rarely wants permanence. The idea of marriage for gays is preposterous and it has no foundations.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Joanna

This has nothing to do with your latest blog entry but, just in case you have not come across it, I thought that such good news with regards to recent development in Spain must be brought to your attention. Personally, it made it all that more special after reading your wonderful posts on WYD.


"ADF attorney sound bite: Roger Kiska

MADRID, Spain — After a widespread public outcry, including a lawsuit filed with the European Court of Human Rights by the Alliance Defense Fund and Professionals for Ethics, Spain has decided to abandon a compulsory, anti-Christian education course for the country’s public and private school students.

“The state should respect the right of parents to raise children according to their beliefs. Spain is rightly respecting basic human rights by abandoning a class that forced students to participate in values training contrary to their convictions,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska, who is based in Europe.

Thousands of lawsuits had been filed opposing the agenda of the “Education in Citizenship” classes, which promoted a leftist stance on crucial social issues such as sexuality and abortion. ADF and Professionals for Ethics filed the only suit at the European Court of Human Rights, Europe’s highest court. Included in that suit, Bejarano v. Spain, are more than 300 Spanish parents and children, including 105 children from both public and private schools in several Spanish regions.

Since 2007, more than 54,000 parents had registered complaints with Spain’s government over the four-course program, which featured recommended materials that openly bash the Catholic Church and contain highly sexual imagery. The class was mandatory for 10- to 16-year-old students attending Spain’s public and private schools. Spain’s new minister of education, Jose Ignacio Wert, has now decided to replace the class with a new class on European Union institutions and Spain’s Constitution."

More here:

God Bless

Clearly Salmon said...

Hi Joanna,
At our local parish, a mini-homily preceded the letter. Church teaching was upheld with pride.I once again, counted the many blessings I experience at being part of St. Joseph's. The priests point True North with unwavering certainty, which leaves me feeling secure in the knowledge that they remain faithful to the Holy Father and the Sacred Tradition of our Faith.
I think the Bishops have dealt with this topic sensitively, and wait with baited breath to see what unfolds. To be honest, I don't feel optimistic at the outcome.