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Scots Catholic

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No embarrassment in showing your Christian faith to the world (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 8th March 2015)

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 12:27 PM Comments comments ()
Wouldn't this look nice in your front window?
 
From Sunday’s First Reading (Exodus 20:1-17):
 
‘God spoke all these words. He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘You shall have no gods except me.
‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons, the grandsons, and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’’
 
 
This first Commandment of God is quite apt considering the content of Friday’s blog when we considered the dangers of Buddhism and its apparent rise in popularity across western culture. 
 
As stated in the blog, it is not uncommon to see Buddhist statues and ornaments in homes and gardens today.  Walk down the street and you are bound to see evidence of Buddhism in at least one or two homes.  Yet it is clear from today’s first reading that God has an issue with this.
 
While it may all seem a bit harmless for a Christian household to have a little Buddhist artefact sitting by the window; what kind of message does this send to others about our faith?  Would God not prefer to see a statue of his precious son on display? Would such a gesture perhaps allay any possibility of God becoming jealous, something He Himself said He is quite willing to do if we should bow down to other ‘gods’? 
 
If someone were to walk into your house right now, what would they think?  Would they think that this person has nice wallpaper or a nice carpet?  Would they think that this person likes Buddha?  Or would they walk in and think straight away that this person loves Jesus?  There is no embarrassment in showing the world that you love God and that you love your faith.  You never know, you might even save a soul or two by your witness.
 

Edinburgh University Survey on Faith and Belief in Scotland

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:26 AM Comments comments ()
Have your say in this interesting survey on faith in Scotland.  It only takes around 10-15 minutes to complete and the results are to be published in the spring of 2014.
 
Click here to take the survey:

Evangelii Gaudium: Pope Francis on Secularism, New-Age Religion, Religious Freedom and the Media

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:35 AM Comments comments ()
 
‘Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalisations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realising that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same.’
Pope Francis
 
‘A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatising religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.’
Pope Francis
 
Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need.
Pope Francis
 
 
Here, in detail, is what Pope Francis has to say on these important issues:
 
We should recognise how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.
 
In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional.’
 
 
‘At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativise or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle.
 
Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God.
Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.’
 
‘The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God.
 
These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism. We must recognise that if part of our baptised people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelisation.
 
The process of secularisation tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change.
 
Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth.’
 
Secularist Advertising
 
‘In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various forms of a “spirituality of well-being” divorced from any community life, or to a “theology of prosperity” detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters, or to depersonalised experiences which are nothing more than a form of self-centredness.
 
One important challenge is to show that the solution will never be found in fleeing from a personal and committed relationship with God which at the same time commits us to serving others.’
 
 
‘It is no longer possible to claim that religion should be restricted to the private sphere and that it exists only to prepare souls for heaven.
We know that God wants his children to be happy in this world too, even though they are called to fulfilment in eternity, for he has created all things “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), the enjoyment of everyone. It follows that Christian conversion demands reviewing especially those areas and aspects of life “related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good”.
 
An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters. If indeed “the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics”, the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice”.
 
Furthermore, neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.’
 
 
‘The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right.
This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”.
 
A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatising religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.
 
The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.
 
When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalisations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realising that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason.
 
As believers, we also feel close to those who do not consider themselves part of any religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth, goodness and beauty which we believe have their highest expression and source in God. We consider them as precious allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building peaceful coexistence between peoples and in protecting creation.’
 
 
 

A Return to the Faith - one man's journey of faith

Posted on July 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments ()
 
Picture: beliefnet
 
Scots Catholic is delighted to bring to you the true story of a man who was baptised a Christian but whose heart became hardened causing him to embark on a mission to reveal what he thought was the 'real' truth about Christianity.
 
However, despite his hardened heart, the 'pull' of Christianity was too great in the end and he returned to the Faith.
 
It is a very interesting read and gives an interesting perspective on the Christian faith from someone who, at one point in his life, had very little time for it!
 
 
 

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