Saturday, 21 July 2012

Day for Life

Well done to Fr Tim Finegan, who has posted about the rather weak and bland materials produced for next week's "Day for Life", in particular the leaflets sent in bulk to each parish for distribution.  They latch on to the Olympics, of course.  I don't think its necessarily a bad thing to use something in the public consciousness as a hook to get people's attention but only if it leads on to a real presentation of the Faith.  Too often we jump on any popular bandwagon that comes along - it smacks of a desperation to be popular.  I think the worst example was possibly in 2005 when the leaders of the Catholic Church in the UK ran up to Scotland to join in with some very anti Church types in protesting the G8 Summit Meeting, but then they did get to be photographed with Bob Gelolf (wow!)

 As I'm in the process of writing a review of a book which illustrates that Pope Paul VI was very wary of allowing Communion in the hand  as a dangerous novelty undermining proper faith in the Real Presence, I was particularly unhappy with, as Fr Tim says, with "the back cover close-up of Holy Communion in the hand, the photo chosen to illustrate the Eucharistic Dimension of the theme."

Here is the actual message of the day as outlined by Blessed Pope John Paul when he proposed a Day for Life in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae:
Its primary purpose should be to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. Particular attention should be drawn to the seriousness of abortion and euthanasia, without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration, as occasion and circumstances demand. (n.85)

Considering that the "theme" is focused on the body, there is no mention of suffering (except once, obliquely, in the prayer).  Many people sitting in church this Sunday will either have bodies that bring them suffering or be people who care for those who are suffering.  The supposed big argument in support of abortion and euthanasia is that it relieves suffering but this is not tackled at all.  It is precisely in the area of suffering that respect for the human person "from conception to natural death" in Christian terms needs to be explained to people.  A missed opportunity.

1 comment:

GOR said...

“…there is no mention of suffering…”

Yes Father, and that has become a theme to be avoided for many years now - especially here in the US. Pain, suffering, illness, disease are all viewed as ‘evils’ which with just the right amount of funding we can eliminate from human life and create a perfect world.

While we should strive to alleviate these things, all of them can never be completely avoided in this life. We have lost the concept of ‘offering up’ the bad things that happen to us – pain, suffering, etc. – as many of the saints did and Our Lord before them. We want the resurrection without the cross, but there is no shortcut to heaven.

We all have some crosses to bear. And if we feel hard done by with our lot we need to just look around us. There are always others with far heavier crosses to bear.