I AM calling this blog “The Conservative Catholic” because that is what I am.
Catholic from birth, by faith and reason; Conservative for most of my life, by reason and faith — the difference is key to both! The title of this post also conveys a meaning: I am not pretending to be something I am not.
My Conservatism does not mean that I am one of those who believes that the Catholic Church ceased to exist the day that Paul VI declared the Second Vatican Council to be at an end but I am among an increasing number, not only of my contemporaries but of my grandchildren’s generation, who call into question some of the theological and liturgical assumptions which the “progressives” in the Church have foisted upon us for reasons of their own.
Nor does being a Conservative, politically, mean that I am favour of unrestrained capitalism, corporate greed, or the principle of “devil take the hindmost”, a philosophy (if it can be called that) that for much of my lifetime I have associated more with the political left than the political right.
If indeed those terms have anything other than a vestigial meaning in the modern world.
That is all I need to say about me and as for the blog, it will need to speak for itself because it is going to reflect my views on something, maybe religious, maybe not, that has caught my eye or come to my notice.
Let me start with a New Year idea that I picked up from In Conversation with God, a series of daily meditations by Francis Fernandez that I plan to devote a separate post to in the next few days.
While we wish all our relatives, friends and acquaintances a Happy New Year, Fernandez asks, what actually do we mean, as a Catholic, by the word “happy”? He argues that since true happiness lies only with God (a belief that very few adherents of any western faith would disagree with) wishing someone a Happy New Year has to be seen as hoping that the coming year will result in their becoming closer to God with their faith strengthened and their love of their Creator enhanced.
And this may well involve events and experiences that do not fit with the definition of happiness as understood by this world! Illness, loss, grief — all can be used to move us closer to God if we accept them in the proper frame of mind. While those around us are prone to ask how we can continue to believe in, let alone worship, a God who permits [insert nastiness of choice here!] we are, hopefully, inclined to see these events as just a further test of our faith, to be resolved by prayer and a re-affirming of our belief that the God we know to be all-loving, all-wise, and all-just knows what He is about even though we cannot quite understand what precisely He has in mind in a given set of circumstances.