Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Confidently Catholic

One year on from Pope Benedict's visit to this country, the Bishops of England and Wales have marked the occasion with a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday (the Archbishop of Westminster's excellent homily can be watched here : http://vimeo.com/channels/pope) and have offered some thoughts one how we might build on the good done while the Holy Father was among us:


They ask us to be "Confidently Catholic", and, echoing the Holy Father's frequent quotation of Blessed John Henry Newman last year, they ask us to carry out the "definite service" that our Heavenly Father calls us to perform. 
God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself; but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glory—we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.
God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Blessed John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions

Being "Confidently Catholic" is certainly one way to do service to God and to others.  A strident, triumphalist  or exclusivist Catholicism is not what is called for by this phrase, but rather a Catholicism manifested in a Catholic who lives what he believes, who witnesses to his faith by what he does.

In our discussions with others, we are asked to follow the Holy Father's example in witnessing to the Splendour of Truth, as he did at Westminster Hall, where in the Archbishop of Westminster's words he spoke "with sensitivity and reasoned argument, without hectoring or condemning, inviting rather than demanding, firmly but gently." 

One thing that the Bishops invite us to take up immediately is the restored practice of Friday abstinence from meat.  Abstaining from meat on Fridays not only achieves our Friday penance, but is also both a means of solidarity with those who have less than we do, and a gentle but clear way of marking out to others that we are serious about what we say we believe.

For those who live in or near London, there are two events in the next few weeks that will give opportunities for other ways of being "Confidently Catholic".  Do support these events if you can, and bring all your friends.

The first is a Procession of the Blessed Sacrament from Westminster Cathedral to St George's Cathedral, Southwark on Saturday 1 October, leaving Westminster Cathedral at 1.15pm with Benediction scheduled to begin at St George's at 2.30pm.

The second is another procession, this time a Procession of Our Lady, a Rosary Crusade of Reparation.  For more details, see the link below.

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