The world we live in is becoming increasingly more godless; the Church capitulates to public opinion which is turn is driven by the media. So has the Church lost its nerve in the face of the media promoting an oppressively constant counter-culture opposed to the teaching of the Church and our most holy faith?
Most of you will no doubt have heard of Stephen Gately, a singer in a group called ‘Boy’s Own’, and his untimely demise at the young age of thirty three; he was found dead in his holiday home in Majorca. He had entered one of these so called ‘civil partnerships’ with another man and lived a sexually deviant life style. The body was brought back to Dublin and he was given a full Catholic Mass service in his home church in Dublin and no one seemed the least bit surprised. The band played and songs were sung and yet no one spoke of eternal life, God’s judgement or God’s mercy - should we not “be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching”(2 Tim.4: 2, emphasis mine), preaching the word? Thousands attended his funeral including musicians, celeberties and politicians; what a wonderful opportunity this afforded to preach the whole counsel of God. Please do not think that I am judging the state of this poor young mans soul, but the scandal given to ordinary practising Catholics who must have thought that it is of no consequence what your life style has been, you will, nonetheless, receive a full Catholic funeral when the time arrives. The same is happening when a ‘partner’ (not a spouse) dies; it seems it does not matter for, married or unmarried, one will get the same treatment from the Church. This is clearly outrageous, have we really defected so far from orthodox Catholic doctrine?
Think of the uproar if the Archbishop had denied Mr. Gately a Catholic Funeral. Why, there would have been an outbreak of fury in the media, public opinion would be whipped up (not too difficult these days) and the Church would have been vilified more than ever, if that were possible. The Church appeasing the media achieves no positive results and in the end only serves to weaken its testimony and damage its credibility in the eyes of the world.
On the topic of funerals, a newspaper article here in the U.K. told of the disgust of a Anglican clergyman when conducting a service for the deceased. It was an entirely secular affair as he had to endure Tina Turner and Frank Sinatra; hymns and prayers were replaced by a “poem from grandma” or a “saccharine message from a pop star”. The clergyman said he felt like a “lemon”, sort of redundant. The service had no Christian content whatsoever. As the coffin rolled into the furnace, “I did it my way” blared out from the speakers. Tina Wollen, of the British Humanist Society, said: “Being chanelled into a ritual of words that do not ring true with your beliefs when you are saying goodbye to someone you love can be especially painful. Humanists believe we have one life and it ends at death”. This is the kind of militant and irreligious atheism that the Church must engage with in these days of unprecedented spiritual declension; the question is, do we have the stomach for the fight?
Warmest good wishes,