Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Of light and darkness

Being Candlemasstide we think about the Christ being the light to lighten all peoples. He is the one who came to his own but his own received him not, he is a sign of contradiction. He still is light; he will be light forever. He is still not welcomed by all and he is still a sign of contradiction, and for those who love him above all else, as he rightly deserves, there will still be that sword that pierces.
The Pope spoke to the English and Welsh RC bishops assembled for their quinqennial pilgrimage to the threshold of the Apostles. He spoke against the so-called Equality Bill, and obviously, vessels that make a lot of sound released their din.
The Church of England Bishops have said the same things in the House of Lords but as soon as the Pope says it then we are graced with headlines pointing to an attack on Labour, on equality and also threats of a coalition of the forces for the culture of death bringing images to mind from fundamentalists in other countries. It seems that for these people freedom of speech is available for everyone except for the Pope. The Church of England Bishops say the same thing and the Government Equalities Office says nothing, the Pope says the same thing and they issue a statement. Andrew Brown accuses the Pope of aggressiveness but that does not fit for CofE bishops who uphold, on this matter, the same view. Ruth Gledhill, who seems to know how the magnificent Papal brain works, claims that he borrows from Locke (!) and aligns herself with the labour Equality Bill. She says: Recent data from the Social Attitudes survey show the extent to which the secular public in Britain has changed its mind on homosexuality. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England show themselves sadly out of touch with the public mood. Good, the Church is being a sign of contradiction; as it seeks to serve humanity the inspiration comes from Jesus and his eternal light-giving teachings and not from what public opinion says. Remember that public opinion changes so swiftly and sometimes may be determined by those who control the media.
The light of Christ cannot be extinguished, never, whatever some sections of the media or the secularists say or do. The Church is here until the end of time. Actually, these events convince me that the Church is on the right track – like Jesus it is a sign of contradiction, if it is faithful it must remain the salt of the earth.
I believe that people who calmly reflect on these events will see through the smoke and hot air and understand that equal rights, that the Church upholds from the Gospel, must be equal and just rights for all without squashing the rights of some over others.
However, it still encouraging that when the Pope speaks he gets the front page, at least people engage even if in the negative; my greatest worry would be apathy, but clearly that is not the case.

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