Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Friday, 2 March 2012

Culture Wars

Those who persist in using this terminology really should spend some time looking into the Spanish Civil War. The atrocities committed by the republicans are known as the Red Terror and resulted in the martyrdom of thousands of priests and religious, many of whom were canonized. The White Terror, atrocities committed by the nationalists, is less well known in Catholic circles at least. It was particularly chilling to me to read of teachers being killed in the first weeks of the war for promoting secularism.

I have been watching Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism series this Lent. In the first episode he takes us to the battlefield of a culture war, the ancient Roman Coliseum. Pope Benedict prays in this place of martyrdom each Good Friday. We won this culture war at the very beginning of our history but it might be useful to remember how we won it. "The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians." - Tertullian

Today many Christians seem to believe that Jesus sitting down with publicans and sinners might have been a bad idea. Perhaps God was a bit hasty in making his covenant with Noah. We need to be forthright and fearless about proclaiming the gospel but to do so from the safety of an ivory tower might be missing the point a bit. You cannot proclaim the good news of the kingdom to someone unless you get close enough to them to be vulnerable. It is no accident that the meeting place of God and man is the cross.

It might be time to change the paradigm a bit. We have all seen what culture wars can lead to. The notion that you can be a cultural Christian while adhering to tribal, ethnic or ideological loyalties that are utterly inimical to who Jesus is and what he did must be dispensed with. Perhaps it's time to come out of the ark, down from the ivory tower, out of the fortress to take up our own cross and follow him.

Spanish Civil War seen as religious conflict, biographer says

Ideology at work: Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez

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