Lost in the Desert

Faith Blog

Our Latest Blog Articles

alcheltron
  1. Flirting with Fideism

    "Each Chrisitan generation must undertake" “the synthetic passage through both Athens and Jerusalem."

    Read More
  2. The Trump Election and Freedom of Thought

    The Trump Election and Freedom of Thought
    In a recent “Points of View” episode on BBC Radio 4[1], the well-known philosopher, Professor Roger Scruton, gave a reasoned analysis of something that may explain the surprise election of Donald Trump in America and of the Brexit vote here in the UK. Although clearly not a supporter ...
    Read More
  3. Bishop Barron Misses the Impact of Modern Science

    Bishop Barron Misses the Impact of Modern Science
    On his blog and in a recent Catholic Herald piece (9.9.16) Bishop Robert Barron offers some excellent reflections upon a recent Pew survey looking at reasons why young people are leaving Christianity in droves. He well shows how Roman Catholic leaders and teachers are dangerously underestimating ...
    Read More
  4. Jeff Mirus illustrates the fulfillment of Holloway's 1950 prediction.

    Jeff Mirus illustrates the fulfillment of Holloway's 1950 prediction.
    Jeff Mirus writes here on modern murder mystery novels. He says “Unfortunately, I’ve run into a number of telling cultural trends in these stories which make it more difficult to relax and enjoy the solution to 'a good clean murder'". He well articulates the over represen...
    Read More
  5. Contextualising Brexit

    Contextualising Brexit
    On 23 June 2016 a referendum was held in which a narrow majority of voters in the United Kingdom (nearly 52%) voted in favour of leaving the European Union, the so-called “Brexit”. This contrasts with the large majority (67%) who had voted to join the then European Community in 1975. ...
    Read More
  6. A 1980 Post-mortem of a Rebirth

    A 1980 Post-mortem of a Rebirth
    Thirty odd years after this overview of twentieth century Catholic intellectual culture, the points of James Hitchcock seem even more relevant. Below are some extracts but the, significantly longer, full article repays study. [Post-mortem on a rebirth. The Catholic Intellectual Renaissance, from ...
    Read More
  7. 'Desire Trumping Ideas': A Too Simple Diagnosis

    'Desire Trumping Ideas': A Too Simple Diagnosis
    The great analyser of relativist culture, Jeff Mirus, seems to have downplayed a bit too much the role of the intellectual. In part of his insightful series on “gender” ideology he argues: (our comments in blue).Modern Western culture is weakened by a great vacuum of systematic though...
    Read More
  8. Refounding Human Dignity

    Refounding Human Dignity
    A Guardian editorial in May described the decline in numbers and influence of Christianity and affirms that Christianity gave us “the idea that people have some rights just because they are human, and entirely irrespective of merit, [it] certainly isn’t derived from observat...
    Read More
  9. Experimental Success contra Aristotelean Natures

    Experimental Success contra Aristotelean Natures
    Mgr Charles Pope recently turned his deft blogging hand to a subject close to our heart. Pulling up Roots from Reality – A Review of a Cogent Analysis of the Post-Cartesian West.Like Fr Edward Holloway and others he acknowledges that a key moment in the rise of relativism was René De...
    Read More
  10. The Benedict Centre and Public Life

    The Benedict Centre and Public Life
    On 6th May, the Catholic Herald published a news article by Dan Hitchens entitled:“St Mary’s University launches Benedict XVI Centre to ‘play a key role in public life’”The centre is a good fruit of Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain in 2010, when he ca...
    Read More
  11. The Rights Juggernaut and the Weakest of the Weak.

    The Rights Juggernaut and the Weakest of the Weak.
    Comments to blog@faith.org.uk (which will be moderated) or twitter to @faithmovukIt is always worth keeping in mind that it is the little ones who must first pay the price of the cultural rejection of ‘human nature’. An item in last Sunday’s “Sunday programme” illust...
    Read More
  12. Meeting the Modern Mindset.

    Meeting the Modern Mindset.
    Here’s a powerful three minutes showing where the denial of “the nature of things” has got us.This further illustrates the deep infiltration of the philosophical position of ‘swing vote’ Justice Kennedy, which we recently blogged about: "the constitution &hellip...
    Read More
  13. BBC allows Lemaitre to witness to harmony of Faith and Reason

    BBC allows Lemaitre to witness to harmony of Faith and Reason
    The BBC recently produced an excellent two-part programme concerning the beginning and end of the universe (available until 28th April). The presenter, Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, is a regular presenter of “The Life Scientific” on Radio 4 and has presented several television series on scien...
    Read More
  14. Tony Blair Moves Towards Pope Benedict

    Tony Blair Moves Towards Pope Benedict
    Comments to blog@faith.org.uk (which will be moderated) or twitter to @faithmovuk1. “Theology must become part of the solution if it is not to remain at the heart of the problem”. This is a key theme of Rabbi Sacks’ recent book “Not in God’s Name”  concern...
    Read More
  15. Which comes first in Kerygmatic Catechesis: Sin or Christ?

    Which comes first in Kerygmatic Catechesis: Sin or Christ?
    The indefatigably insightful Msgr Charles Pope has recently plotted a helpful way forward for kerygmatic catechesis. Yet his content starts with, “Part 1 (Sept. to Jan.) – Sin – ‘I once was lost in sin’”A Mr Miller puts an attractive alternative ...
    Read More
  16. 5 Similar Diagnoses of Marriage Redefinition

    5 Similar Diagnoses of Marriage Redefinition
    1. The US Supreme Court’s “swing vote” Justice Kennedy gives a clue to the philosophy sweeping through our culture (not least through his actual votes). He builds his moral judgments upon the absence of a concept of human nature.In a March 4th Catholic Herald article, “The...
    Read More
  17. Priestly loving: The BBC versus St John Paul II

    Priestly loving: The BBC versus St John Paul II
    In the November 2008 FAITH magazine Fr William Massie, reflects upon Edward Holloway’s pamphlet, “The Priest and His Loving”. A prophetic 1974 foundation of this pamphlet is in the current magazine. Fr Massie quoted this St John Paul II imperative to priests:be a witness to Chri...
    Read More
  18. Towards Diagnosis: Two more pieces on the pre-Vatican II era.

    Towards Diagnosis: Two more pieces on the pre-Vatican II era.
    In support of seeing a lack of appropriate theological development before the 1960s (see previous post) is a piece by Jeff Mirus. He concludes:“Too often Catholics prefer[ed] to condemn rather than to engage the rapidly secularizing society … When the culture shifted, their...
    Read More
  19. To What Degree Did The Pre-Vatican II Church ‘Cause’ The Decline Of It's Influence?

    To What Degree Did The Pre-Vatican II Church ‘Cause’ The Decline Of It's Influence?
    In an earlier blog post we flagged up a recent Catholic Herald piece showing the need for a diagnosis of how classical Christianity came to drop the reins of cultural influence. http://tinyurl.com/nrk454mThe Winter 2013 “Mass of Ages” provides another piece of evidence. The Latin Mass...
    Read More
  20. Mediating between the New Atheists and the new apologists

    Mediating between the New Atheists and the new apologists
    Comments to blog@faith.org.uk (which will be moderated) or twitter to @faithmovukProfessor Tom McLeish of Durham University recently made a common Christian reply to the New Atheist claim that science and faith are opposed. On Radio Ulster he affirmed that science “uses our capacity for fai...
    Read More
  21. The Magi: not just a story.

    The Magi: not just a story.
    Available for the next few weeks, BBC iPlayer has an interesting exploration of astronomical possibilities for the Star of Bethlehem (though beware a juvenile short section from The Life of Brian, and a lazy equivalence of pre-modern science astrology and “devout Christianity&rdqu...
    Read More
  22. Civil Law and the Homosexual Person

    Civil Law and the Homosexual Person
    Mark Lowery FAITH Magazine July-August 2002“You Can’t Legislate Morality?”Why can’t you just let us do what we want to do?” “How does this harm you?” “Don’t impose your morality on us!” “If you don’t like this,...
    Read More
  23. FAQ: Why is the Church so homophobic? If two people love each other, shouldn't they be allowed to get married, regardless of their sex?

    FAQ: Why is the Church so homophobic? If two people love each other, shouldn't they be allowed to get married, regardless of their sex?
    The Catholic Church promotes the dignity and welfare of every human individual regardless of whom they are sexually attracted to. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that those with homosexual tendencies must “be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (2358) and &...
    Read More
  24. Hard Questions - a new series of talks in London

    Hard Questions - a new series of talks in London
    "Hard Questions" is a new series of talks that will take place in Central London and is run by Faith Movement to which all are welcome. The talks will take place on selected Tuesdays at 7:30pm.God and Our Environment29 September 2015 Is man an ape or an angel? Fr Roger Nesbitt...
    Read More
  25. In Defence of Frequent Communion

    In Defence of Frequent Communion
    Check out the this Editorial addressing the issue of the reception of Holy Communion and the value of regularly receiving the body and blood of the Lord for the sanctification of the faithful. ...
    Read More
  26. Three excellent resources & two caveats

    Three excellent resources & two caveats
    Fr Barron’s “Catholicism”:  catholicism.wordonfire.org/Portsmouth Diocese's new Confirmation programme:  www.transformedinchrist.com/session1/Westminster Diocese’s brand new singing and dancing youth page, where the CTS has provided the “Catholicism&rdq...
    Read More
  27. The Need for Diagnosis

    The Need for Diagnosis
    Stephen Bullivant says in this recently published piece:“Just think at your next Easter Vigil, for every new person coming through the RCIA – over whom we are right to rejoice – 10 people have drifted so far away that they no longer tick the “Catholic” box on surveys...
    Read More
  28. ARCHIVE: Saint Philip Neri - A Guide to Chastity

    ARCHIVE: Saint Philip Neri - A Guide to Chastity
    Richard Whinder FAITH Magazine July-Aug 2007St Philip Neri, (1515-1595) founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, and often called the ‘Second Apostle of Rome’, has many titles attributed to him. Two of these – ‘Flower of Purity’ and ‘Gentle Guide of You...
    Read More
  29. In a hurry? More than you realise!

    In a hurry? More than you realise!
    It’s tempting to think the universe is rather static. So thanks to Msgr Charles Pope http://tiny.cc/8deiux for the following information:At the latitude of Washington D.C., the Earth is rotating at about 750 miles an hour. [401c.html">1]The rotating Earth is also revolving around the Sun at ...
    Read More
  30. Our Lady In The Teaching of Pope Benedict XVI

    Our Lady In The Teaching of Pope Benedict XVI
    Check out one of the new articles in the January - February edition of FAITH Magazine on Our Lady In The Teaching of Pope Benedict XVI. You can subscribe to FAITH Magazine here. ...
    Read More
  31. New Series Of Talks In Glasgow!

    New Series Of Talks In Glasgow!
    The Glasgow Faith Forum has just announced a new series of talks which will take place on Thursday evenings over the next few months. All talks are followed by questions, refreshments and Night Prayer and aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25. Get more information at the Glasgow Faith Foru...
    Read More
  32. New Year Series of London talks!

    New Year Series of London talks!
    The London Faith Forum is back with another series of talks which take place on alternate Tuesday evenings in January, February and March. The series, entitled The Church and Other Beliefs, features a host of good speakers addressing important questions concerning the nature of the Church and its...
    Read More
  33. Great Start to Faith Winter Session 2014!

    Great Start to Faith Winter Session 2014!
    Faith Winter Session 2014 began yesterday at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire with around 200 young Catholics from across the UK in attendance. Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury preached at Mass yesterday evening about St Thomas of Canterbury and how his yes to God should inspire young people to hav...
    Read More
  34. FAQ: Why did God wait for so long to come and help us?

    FAQ: Why did God wait for so long to come and help us?
    The time before God becoming man is the period in which He gradually comes closer to mankind, fostering the fullness of life, as well as healing from sin and its effects. The help of God has never been absent from human history, even from the time of humanity’s Fall. But it is true tha...
    Read More
  35. The Primacy of Christ in the Vision of Edward Holloway

    The Primacy of Christ in the Vision of Edward Holloway
    Fr. Michael John Galbraith. FAITH Magazine January-February 2006 The Unity of Truth In his Encyclical Fides et Ratio, Pope John Paul II reminded us that, “the unity of truth is a fundamental premise of human reasoning... Revelation renders this unity certain, showing tha...
    Read More
  36. FAQ: Why do Catholics have to go to Mass on Sunday? Why not Monday?

    FAQ: Why do Catholics have to go to Mass on Sunday? Why not Monday?
    In the Old Testament God commanded his people to keep holy the Sabbath. The Church, which is the new People of God, observes Sunday as the Sabbath in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ which happened on a Sunday. We keep holy our Sabbath by attending Mass and in this way obeying Christ&r...
    Read More
  37. ARCHIVE: The Cardinal, the Pope & the Scientists

    ARCHIVE: The Cardinal, the Pope & the Scientists
    Editorial FAITH Magazine November-December 2005If they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things? (Wisdom 13,9).Science And The Magisterium, A New ControversyHis Eminence Cardinal Schonborn managed to spark ...
    Read More
  38. ARCHIVE: Holiness is Fitting for your House, O Lord

    ARCHIVE: Holiness is Fitting for your House, O Lord
    Editorial FAITH Magazine September-October 2003“If anything constant remains in our days of recurring crisis, it is that the certainties have gone out of life, out of the life of the individual and out of the life of society.It is a heartbreaking realisation.The feeling of insecurity i...
    Read More
  39. FAQ: If disease & death are a result of Original Sin, then how come they affect organisms that cannot sin & predate the Fall?

    FAQ: If disease & death are a result of Original Sin, then how come they affect organisms that cannot sin & predate the Fall?
    Properly speaking, it is human suffering and death which are a result of the Fall, not disease and death in the purely material creation. Clearly, if God gave humans and animals the plants for food (Gen 1:29-30), then He envisaged that plants would die before the Fall. And presuming that we are n...
    Read More
  40. ARCHIVE: The Crusades - Seeking the Truth

    ARCHIVE: The Crusades - Seeking the Truth
    Nicholas Schofield FAITH Magazine May-June 2006The crusades capture the imagination – but over the years they have done so in many different ways. Here are three modern examples:When I was a boy, I spent many a happy hour with my toy soldiers. I was particularly keen on playing ‘...
    Read More
  41. FAQ: How can God be loving when Abraham is tricked into thinking God wants him to kill his only child?

    FAQ: How can God be loving when Abraham is tricked into thinking God wants him to kill his only child?
    We must understand that what we read in the book of Genesis comes from a religion and culture which is at its early stages of growing into a relationship with God. What Genesis recounts can be difficult and confusing for us who have the benefit of having heard the message of Christ communicated t...
    Read More
  42. ARCHIVE: How are we to assess Islam?

    ARCHIVE: How are we to assess Islam?
    Edouard Harmouche FAITH Magazine September-October 2003Catholicism is still the largest religious group in the world with over a billion adherents. After that come somewhere in the region of 900 million Muslims, who currently form the fastest growing religious group on the planet. This is re...
    Read More
  43. CURRENT MAGAZINE: The Gospel & Cultures

    CURRENT MAGAZINE: The Gospel & Cultures
    Michael Nazir Ali FAITH MAGAZINE September-October 2014The last few weeks I have been closely engaged with the people and scholars of two ancient cultures – that of Egypt and of Mughal India. This has raised afresh for me the question about the relationship of the Gospel to culture.In ...
    Read More
  44. FAQ: What does the Pope do?

    FAQ: What does the Pope do?
    The Pope maintains the public unity of the Church. This unity in belief and witness is essential if Jesus’ role of humanly forming and feeding us with Himself is to be continued.The Apostle Peter was the first to be given this role, as is shown in Holy Scripture. The Pope is his “Succ...
    Read More
  45. ARCHIVE: The Spirit moves over the waters: renewing our vision of the Sacraments

    ARCHIVE: The Spirit moves over the waters: renewing our vision of the Sacraments
    Editorial FAITH Magazine September-October 2007 Why Sacraments?  This editorial article takes more the character of a sustained theological meditation than a topical or controversial ‘op-ed’ piece. There is good precedent for this approach in the magnificent editorials ...
    Read More
  46. London Evening of Faith Success!

    London Evening of Faith Success!
    The first of our Evenings of Faith kicked off this week on Tuesday evening with a talk on Original Sin by Mary Gray. The event was well attended by University students and workers in the city of London gathering to listen, ask questions and interact with one another over a glass of wine and pizza...
    Read More
  47. FAQ: If something good happens after someone prays, and the same thing happens to one who doesn't pray for it - how can you prove that the prayer was answered?

    FAQ: If something good happens after someone prays, and the same thing happens to one who doesn't pray for it - how can you prove that the prayer was answered?
    God is free to bestow gifts on people even if they don’t ask for them! Does a parent only provide good things for their children if they specifically ask? Moreover, God, who alone sees all things and what is necessary, treats us as the unique individuals He created us to be; not a ‘on...
    Read More
  48. ARCHIVE: A Time for Listening to the Ordinary Magisterium

    ARCHIVE: A Time for Listening to the Ordinary Magisterium
    Editorial FAITH Magazine July-August 2003The Swiss priest Hans Kung ranks among the most famous theologians of our times, and it is interesting to note that Prime Minister Tony Blair has met with him on a number of occasions and says he has been influenced by his thought. However it should b...
    Read More
  49. Glasgow Faith Forum gears up for Spring Session

    Glasgow Faith Forum gears up for Spring Session
      GLASGOW FAITH FORUM 2016a series of talks for young people aged 16–25 HERALDS OF THE NEW EVANGELISATION    THE BAPTISMAL CALL TO EVANGELISE 21 JanuaryPriest, prophet and king Father Peter Damian Grint   EVANGELISATION THEN 4 February Procl...
    Read More
  50. Why was the Crucifixion necessary? Could not God have saved us in a way less cruel?

    Why was the Crucifixion necessary? Could not God have saved us in a way less cruel?
    God is not responsible for the brutality of the crucifixion. On the contrary, the crucifixion is the result of human sinfulness. This is because human wickedness has real consequences, and therefore our redemption (i.e. how God saves us from our sins) is not just about God “turning a blind ...
    Read More
  51. ARCHIVE: A Short History of Science & Christianity

    ARCHIVE: A Short History of Science & Christianity
    Peter E Hodgson FAITH Magazine November-December 2008It is becoming increasingly recognised, at least within the Church, that science has developed only in the context of a Christian civilisation, and has deep Christian roots.If we consider the great civilisations of the past such as those o...
    Read More
  52. FAQ: If God is All-Good, why do bad things happen?

    FAQ: If God is All-Good, why do bad things happen?
    God has created different sorts of things. In particular He has created matter, which is simply controlled by His laws of nature (the laws we attempt to discover in the natural sciences). He has also created spiritual beings, angels and human souls, which have free will; they are also govern...
    Read More
  53. What has Ethiopia to Teach us?

    What has Ethiopia to Teach us?
    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali FAITH MAGAZINE July-August 2014The introduction of Christianity to Ethiopia is charted in the Acts of the Apostles. The contemporary story of this ancient Christian church, though, has much to teach us, says Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali.The St Frumentius Lectures in Addi...
    Read More
  54. FAQ: What does being Confirmed mean?

    FAQ: What does being Confirmed mean?
    We are made members of the Body of Christ through receiving three sacraments - Baptism, Confirmation,  which we receive only once, and the Holy Eucharist which is Christ Himself. Confirmation completes and strengthens ('confirms') the spiritual “character” and belonging t...
    Read More
  55. New edition of Faith Magazine online!

    New edition of Faith Magazine online!
    The New July-August edition of Faith Magazine is now online. ...
    Read More
  56. New series of talks in London!

    New series of talks in London!
    All are welcome to our Autumn series of talks Jesus Christ and Human Love.The talks are a great opportunity to deepen your faith and to connect with other Catholics.Talks will take place on alternate Tuesday evenings at 19:30 from 23rd September in the Crypt of Our Lady of Assumption Catholi...
    Read More
  57. Summer Session Roundup Video!

    Summer Session Roundup Video!
    The Faith Summer Session 2014 was as good as any in recent memory, set in the beautiful grounds of Woldingham School in Surrey. The theme was especially relevent given contemporary challenges to family life and the upcoming Synod on that subject.Here our very own David Edwards provides a quick su...
    Read More
  58. ARCHIVE: Confusion over the Meanings of Marriage

    ARCHIVE: Confusion over the Meanings of Marriage
    Editorial FAITH Magazine March-April 2006The "Ends" of Marriage: An Unresolved TeachingThe old Code of Canon Law (1917) stated that “the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of offspring; the secondary end is mutual love and support, and the remedying of c...
    Read More
  59. New photos from Faith Summer Session!

    New photos from Faith Summer Session!
    See more photos in the new album on our Facebook page and please like us too!   ...
    Read More
  60. Summer Session Success!

    Summer Session Success!
    The Faith Summer Session 2014 has just come to a close. Young people from across the UK and beyond gathered to hear talks on the topic of The Family In God's Plan and the Modern World. The Summer Session combines time for presentations on the faith, daily Mass, prayer and the opportunity for ...
    Read More
  61. Summer Session 2014 Update

    Summer Session 2014 Update
    See our new video update from the Faith Summer Session 2014. Sr Andrea Frailie describes what has been going on at the conference so far which is addressing the theme of The Family in God's Plan and The Modern World. She speaks about the presentation she gave to the conference on th...
    Read More
  62. Summer Session 2014 begins!

    Summer Session 2014 begins!
    Faith Summer Session 2014 has begun at Woldingham School, Surrey. The Conference is for those aged 16-35 and is addressing the theme "The Family in God's Plan and in the Modern World". The first speaker of the conference was Dr Stephen Dingley, tutor of Theology at St John's Sem...
    Read More
  63. FAQ: What is Papal Infallibility?

    FAQ: What is Papal Infallibility?
    Papal Infallibility refers to the fact that the Pope is divinely preserved from teaching error in his formal teaching on faith and morals. It flows from the divinity of Christ in the Church. God is infallible, and He has irrevocably entered the human realm by becoming man. The Church is the conti...
    Read More
  64. Why Do We Sin?

    Why Do We Sin?
    Having spiritual souls means that we have free will. We are not bound to do what is good for us by instinct. This also means that we can refuse to do what is good. God did not make us this way as some sort of test, but because he wanted us to be in his own image and likeness. God is Love and love...
    Read More
  65. FAQ: Why does matter need a cause?

    FAQ: Why does matter need a cause?
    It is part of our everyday experience that material things need causes. If you discovered an elephant in your sitting room, you would immediately ask yourself how it got to be there. You would not think, “Oh well, maybe it’s just here for no reason: elephants often just turn up like t...
    Read More
  66. Why The Church?

    Why The Church?
    Why The Church? Come and see our video....
    Read More
  67. FAQ: What about the Crusades?

    FAQ: What about the Crusades?
    Jesus is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Is. 9:6). As St John Paul II said, war always represents a defeat for humanity. Yet the Church is realistic about the presence of sin in the world, including amongst her own members, which produces conflict. Thus, while individual Catholics may adopt a ...
    Read More
  68. FAQ: What Scientific Evidence is there of God's Existence?

    FAQ: What Scientific Evidence is there of God's Existence?
    Science is concerned with the material universe and its ‘law-like’ behaviour. Catholic Christians believe that God created the universe and continues to hold it in being, i.e. without God's existence the universe cannot exist, so we should expect an interweaving harmony between sc...
    Read More
  69. ARCHIVE: The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage

    ARCHIVE: The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage
    William E May FAITH Magazine September-October 2004The Gay Case: Need For An Intelligent AnswerAdvocates of same-sex marriage commonly assert that its opponents are intolerant bigots unjustly denying a fundamental human right to individuals attracted to persons of the same sex. They maintain...
    Read More
  70. YES!!!

    YES!!!
    It's been a long overdue face-lift and lots of people have worked very hard with patience and caffeine so thanks to all you guys who have contributed to this project. Thanks to all the volunteers who've lent a hand in the run-up to going live. To all of you reading for the first time, giv...
    Read More
  71. Come and See!

    Come and See!
    Have you heard of us but don't know what we do? Maybe this is the first time you've encountered us. Take a look at our new promotional video and come and see us. Consider booking on one of our youth conferences or attending one of our forums. Connect with us on Facebook or Googl...
    Read More
  72. FAQ: What do nuns do?

    FAQ: What do nuns do?
    Before considering what nuns do, it’s more appropriate to reflect on what nuns are: regardless of the congregation or religious institute to which she belongs, making Christ present in the world is the nun’s primary mission. She does this by conforming herself entirely to the Person o...
    Read More
  • Editorial

    Spring: looking forward 

    EDITOR

    When the FAITH Movement began, in the 1970s, people were drawn to it because it ofered a coherent, uplifting and challenging message in the middle of post- hen the FAITH Movement began, in the 1970s, people were drawn to it because Vatican II confusion. It was standard at that time to hear many lamentations from the faithful, announcing that Everything was a Dreadful Mess, and claims that the fault lay with the Second Vatican Council, pointing to the exodus of priests and religious, proliferation of inane songs and antics in liturgies, and the inability of an ever-increasing ecclesiastical bureaucracy to ofer support for good catechesis. While most were prepared to acknowledge that the Council “didn’t intend any of this”, there was a tendency merely to lament what was happening – and so there was enthusiasm for any group that appeared to ofer hope. And meanwhile some wreckers were around, creating havoc with people’s faith – liberation theologians owing more to Marx than to the Gospel of Christ, crusaders for contraception who railed against Humanae Vitae and denounced the gentle Paul VI with a savagery that caused that good, wise and courageous man real sufering.

    Exploring the background

    Rarely heard was “How we got where we are” – so today it is worth exploring the background to the 1970s confusion. This necessarily involves a look at the tensions, debates and passions marking the era from Vatican I to Vatican II: a Church struggling with dramatic changes in European politics as the last vestiges of the ancien regime toppled. A sense of being embattled: a reliance perhaps on rules rather than answers to profound questions raised in a rapidly-changing world, a sense of the Church as a fortress rather than a Mother and teacher, a bleak landscape for Biblical studies. Academic rigidity: Scripture used chiefy as proof-texts for known certainties, neo-Scholasticism the imposed line in essays. And some injustice towards gifted theologians with fresh and rich insights.

    The way ahead

    But to this mix we should of course also add things that indicated the way ahead: Pius XII’s Divino Afante Spiritu and Mystici Corporis, the work of German-speaking theologians von Balthasar and (newly emerging) Ratzinger, plus the French Jean Daniélou and Henri de Lubac. It is worth noting that these last two were men of complete orthodoxy, passionately loyal to Catholic doctrine and moral teachings, unjustly marginalised in the pre-Council years, but magnifcently vindicated at the Council. They will have lasting infuence on the Church – but it is important to add that in the 1970s/80s they were roundly denounced as hopelessly “conservative”. Daniélou was treated with great unkindness by his own Jesuit brethren, even to the point of helping to spread untruthful stories about him following his death. (The FAITH Movement is quietly proud of having played its own small role in telling the truth and was privileged to be the publisher of one of Daniélou’s noted works on the Church).

    Today any serious commentator must recognise the history, and then look beyond post-Council confusions and seek the authentic message of Vatican II: a message voiced by St John Paul II and Benedict XVI, both of whom played major roles at the Council. Today’s generation of Catholics is being infuenced by a much more nourishing diet than was available in the 1970s, and takes for granted the good things available: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, World Youth Day, St JPII’s Theology of the Body, the New Movements, Veritatis Splendor, Benedict XVI’s teaching on the relationship between faith and reason, and his emphasis on truth, beauty and a personal encounter with Christ, to name just a few. The Church has big problems – and is losing the once-Catholic heartlands of Europe – but she also has some new resources with which to face the future. And the staggering growth of the Church in Africa and Asia ofers a wider perspective to all discussions.

    Beyond post-Council confusions

    But there is much more to be done, and the FAITH Movement in this Spring of 2017 sees an increasing need for the specifc message of its New Synthesis of science and the Catholic Faith, with its dynamic of understanding that has fostered so many vocations to the priesthood and so much dedicated lay activity over the past decades. We mark our 45th anniversary this summer and will do so with gratitude to God and with a renewed commitment to the tasks ahead. FAITH has always had a forward-looking message and has never seen itself as part of that chorus of lamentation so dominant in the immediate post-Vatican II years. We did denounce the catechetical chaos, the absurdity of some of the new Religious  Education material and, of course, the liturgical We love the Church, and have abuses. But we sought to take a postive stance. We were pleading for a decent translation of the Mass long before it became fashionable to do so (a famous feature in FAITH magazine pointed out a staggering number of serious mistranslations by ICEL), and were arguing that the vernacular should not wholly replace Latin in the liturgy (a good FAITH pamphlet put the case strongly). From the start our increasingly popular youth events had the Liturgy of the Hours, the Angelus, confession, Benediction and the Rosary when these were widely abandoned elsewhere. And we were prophetic in our grim predictions about the consequences of episcopal inertia over poor catechesis and inadequate (to put it mildly) support for Humanae Vitae.

    Witnesses

    We are glad to have been active in, and witnesses to, gradual and in some cases dramatic improvement in areas of Church life where we stood frm: most Catholic youth events now have the sort of liturgical and devotional style that at one time was almost unique to the annual FAITH summer gathering, and the new generation of priests has a vigorous approach to catechesis and to promoting the Church’s message on marriage and family life. But we are conscious that the growth seen in FAITH and in other New Movements has been in contrast to dramatic losses elsewhere in the western Church. From the 1990s there was increasing Papal encouragement for the New Movements in the Church, and we saw ourselves in a fresh perspective among them.  We found we had, as it were, come of age – and since then the growth has continued, the FAITH Movement has fourished, and we look ahead. We love the Church, and have a confdence in the way in which she is always renewed. We seek to cultivate a love for the Church in the hearts of the young. We fnd inspiration in the vision of the Church ofered by Lumen Gentium at Vatican II, a Marian and maternal vision. Being a Catholic is not about rules, it is about truth and grace given by an incarnate God. Henri de Lubac loved the Church: “She summons all men so that as their mother she may bring them forth to divine life and eternal light” (Catholicism: 24, 1950). He taught, prophetically, the link between Mary and the Church: “Just as the maternal function of Mary is to give the God-Man to the world, so the maternal function of the Church, which culminates...in the celebration of the Eucharist, is to give us Christ” (The Splendour of the Church: 329, 1953). Hans Urs von Balthasar unfolded a profound understanding of the Mary/Church 3 bond, echoing de Lubac: “Mary begins by being the Mother, but at the Cross she ends by becoming the Bride, the quintessence of the Church” (To the Heart of the Mystery of Redemption: 53, 2005). And Joseph Ratzinger brings Biblical studies together with Mariology, noting that “She is the true Israel in whom Old and New Covenant, Israel and Church, are indivisibly one” (Daughter Zion: 43, 1977). In all of this we can see what formed John Paul II’s “Marian profle” of the Church in Redemptoris Mater. A new generation of Biblical scholars has made full use of the freedom opened up by Pius XII. Scott Hahn has founded a study centre specifcally to “promote biblical literacy for Catholic lay people and biblical fuency for Catholic scholars and clergy” – a fruit of Pius XII’s Divino Afante Spiritu and Vatican II’s Dei Verbum.

    New generation

    Vatican II’s emphasis on Scripture produced a richer and more nourishing diet from the Old and New Testaments at Mass. “A priest who celebrates Mass daily is required to proclaim much of the Bible in the course of a three-year cycle” (Scott Hahn). It also brought a fresh sense of confdence in using Scripture in evangelisation, as evidenced by the work of the New Movements in the Church. Thus Kiko Arguello of the NeoCatechemenate: “We were having a celebration of the Word with the travellers once a week...Among the poor, something was beginning to be created. What we now called the ‘tripod’...was born: the Word, the Eucharist, and the Christian community” (The Kerygma 2014: 62).  The issue for the Church after 1870, the loss of the Papal States and associated troubles, was one of confrontation with the modern world and its huge challenges. What was to be done? T. Rowland writes “The response of Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (his 1907 encyclical against Modernism) was to try to avoid the iceberg of history. At Vatican II the majority decided that the iceberg, so to speak, could not be avoided: it had to be engaged. The names of Rahner, Schillebeecks, and Kung ...are now shorthand terms for one form of engagement, the names of Ratzinger, De Lubac, Wojtyła and von Balthasar, shorthand terms for another” (Ratzinger’s Faith: 148-149, 2008).

    Engagement

    We too seek to be part of that engagement. With the insights ofered by an exploration of a synthesis of faith and science, we respond to the call to evangelisation – from Paul VI’s Evangeli Nuntiandi, through the powerful and compelling calls of St John Paul and Benedict XVI to the plea of Pope Francis to take the message to the margins. FAITH is a movement born when man had just landed on the moon, when TV was in the frst fast-racing rush of its world domination in speedy communication, when the sexual revolution in the West was well under way and when the horrors of a possible 4 nuclear holocaust had frst established itself as part of world understanding. An era that called for a new synthesis. Quiet confdence And now, as in our early youth, we announce with quiet confdence that we need not be afraid. God’s original design for man is a great and glad one. In the era of the internet, post-modernism, “gender ideology”, global networking and the emergence of new biotechnology, the FAITH Movement is conscious of a sense of urgency in ofering its specifc message. In the 70s, our detractors – and indeed some of our supporters – spoke of us as reactionaries, gleefully announcing that we were “opposed to Vatican II”. We weren’t and aren’t. On the contrary – we saw and see that Council as opening up rich possibilities for the message that we ofer. The Church has the answers to the questions asked by men and women of the 21st century. There is work to be done and the FAITH movement is glad to be doing it. And now, as in our early youth, we announce with quiet confdence that we need not be afraid