Fr Ray Blake's post on the Manhattan Declaration, not to be confused with the Manhattan Project, the results of which are pictured above has already received criticism from one commentator. The commentator's criticisms of the Church, or those who speak in Her name, primarily, Her Pope, Bishops and Clergy, and secondarily, mad blogging Laity is as follows...
Why do Christians, especially traditionalist Catholics, always sound so pompous when they get onto their moral high horse?
Sorry, I was just getting my foot caught in the stirrups. If there's a moral high horse to be mounted, we're there, bro! We strive to speak the Truth, to proclaim the Truth and to speak it with Charity, even if, as frail and sinful creatures we fail daily to live up to it. Hence we fall off the horse, go to Confession, get back on and start striving to witness to the Gospel again.
The one they claim to follow allowed himself to be intimated into silence and to have his conscience violated by earthly powers regardless of the consequences to himself. Can his followers expect anything better?
The One we follow, or strive to follow, even if our efforts are often so feeble, allowed Himself to be handed over to the wicked to be crucified and to die in atonement for the sins of the whole World. At no point was He 'intimidated into silence' but He allowed, by His free choice, the power of evil, during His Passion, to snuff out the Light of the World - Himself. Death, however, had no power over Him and the Heavenly Father raised Him from the dead to reign as Eternal King, Judge and Saviour of mankind. Can we expect anything better? Well, what with this country being Our Lady's Dowry, converted by St Augustine of Canterbury and his monks, at the behest of Pope St Gregory the Great, one would have thought so, but then, this is a different age and the Church is now and will be in grave danger. Still, if the worst comes to the worst, Our Lord warned His followers, "If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you" and if ever the Church in the UK faces the kind of 'silencing' that involves pillows over mouths then those who die will receive the crown of Martyrdom.
Why should they think they can stand on their rights?
Rights? From whence do they come if they have come not from God? Like the right of the unborn to live, for example.
And rather than setting up oppositions between their supposed moral superiority and contemporary society why do they not seek out and co-operate with the real goodness that is found in the world at large? Christians have no monopoly on truth or goodness. They will not be listened to until they imitate their founder in his humble lack of self-righteousness.'
Catholics are all for co-operation. Unfortunately, however, the 'discussion' is a one way street and the Church is ignored. For evidence see the Abortion Act (1967) and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (2008). It doesn't matter what the Church says, the Government does it anyway and that tends to go for the US, the UK and the EU. You berate the Church and Christians for displaying a lack of humility. Yet, where is the humility of those in public office who lay siege to the laws of God?
Catholics must surely know by now how heartily detested the Church is these days.
Yep. We're picking up a general 'vibe'.
The more we stand on our rights and issue pompous statements of what we will and will not tolerate, the more people will come back at us and say, 'Don't you dare to lecture us when you are riddled with paedophiliac abuse and other scandals.' If we want a right to be heard we have to earn it, and the only way we can do so is by imitating Our Lord's example of humble unselfrighteous service.
Unfortunately, we cannot, dear brother, wait until we are Saints in order to proclaim the Gospel. Our time is short and as for the World? Well, we never know when Our Lord will return to judge us on our words, deeds, actions and omissions, nor do we know the hour of our own death. Time is short. Let us serve the Lord in sincerity, truth and love! As for those who abused children in their care, entrust them to God's mercy because from what Our Lord said of those who scandalise the child, they're going to need it, but then, who am I to judge their fate, when my own sins are so grave and I have nothing to defend my soul, save God's mercy?
Yes, so I read the Passion story. Our Lord allowed himself to be reduced to impotence and silence and clearly did not consider whether his conscience would permit acquiescing in the terribly unjust treatment meted out to him. He rejected the option of having his disciples fight in his "just" cause - and of course in doing so shows his true authority. Would that his followers imitated his model of humility.
While Our Lord was quick to tell St. Peter to put away his sword, I don't think the Lord was too happy when St. Peter denied him thrice. Still, we all know the rest of the story and it is still true that if Holy Mother Church denied Him today, the Lord would be just as upset. For if the Truth were not preached, how would men know they needed to go to Confession to receive God's mercy and make a firm purpose of amendment?
Sadly, Fr. Blake, if we do not always live the truth we proclaim people will not listen to our proclamation. Being and saying must go together. This is really my point, that proclamations costing nothing to make will not impress when people see the Church as authoritarian, judgmental and condemnatory - in short very unChristlike.
Yes, its important that we love as Christ called us to love. It is important we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, shelter the homeless, bury the dead and pray for the living and the dead. That does not mean we remain silent while injustice prevails.
People love and admire Christ and will listen to him...but see the Church and its leaders as being exactly like the Pharisees Christ condemns who do not practise what they preach. This is why they will not be guided by them and why the Church does have to earn a right to speak for Christ.
Some people love and admire Christ, others love and worship Him as their Redeemer and Best Friend. For He is the kind of Friend who doesn't kick you when you're down. The kind of Friend who picks you up when you fall. The kind of Friend who listens to your Confession of sin and your misery and crowns you with His merciful love and then gives you His very Body, Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity afterwards, sealing you with His tender mercy and His Salvation. All this He does through His Priests, His Bishops and yes, His Pope too, whether they be great sinners or whether they be great Saints. The Church does not have to earn a right to speak for Christ, for He has commanded the Church to speak in His Name and I must say, Pope Benedict XVI and Fr Ray Blake, for that matter, are doing it rather well. Many have caused great scandal in their ministry and done harm to many individuals in the abuse scandal, but that, I have to say, is an entirely different matter.