Thursday, April 9, 2009

If You Want to Be Catholic, Tony Blair, Be Catholic

My brother-in-law, "Dave", is a bartender and a very good one. He has been a bartender ever since he was in his twenties. Not only does he enjoy it, but has enjoyed a certain amount of notoriety for his "flipping" skills and creation of new drinks, much to the delight of his customers. In the same year that my husband I were married, he also married. The woman he married was a nurse who eventually went back to school to become a lawyer. It wasn't long after that she started to complain about Dave's "lack of ambition." She felt he was "capable of so much more" and started to push him toward getting a job in an office.

I knew Dave enjoyed being a bartender and would loathe working in an office. I told my husband: She fell in love with a bartender. She knew what she was getting into and now she wanted him to change. I thought it was not only arrogant, but selfish and short-sighted. 

I feel the exact same way right now about former British P.M. Tony Blair and his wife.

Tony Blair converted to Catholicism in 2007. I am certain he was presented with a catechism but cannot be certain about the type of spiritual formation he received (or his wife). At any rate, just two years after his conversion, they feel it is their duty to tell the Catholic Church that they've got it all wrong on homosexuality and condoms. In fact, Tony Blair said this:

"Actually, we need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith," Blair said in an interview published in Attitude, a magazine aimed at gays.

Tony Blair Criticizes Vatican Attitude Toward Gays

"Concept of evolving attitudes," Mr. Blair? I'd give anything to have ten minutes with him. My first question would be: Did you understand the church's position on homosexuality according to the Bible and the catechism? My second question would be: Do you understand that what God declares and nature confirms, is an incontrovertible truth that cannot be changed? And if you understand the concept of an unchanging nature - what, pray tell, does "evolving attitudes" have anything to do with it?

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Period.

Tony Blair's position (which just may change next year, you never know) causes me to wonder if he understands the nature of God. God doesn't change according to the winds of popular opinion. He doesn't bend to the wishes of a sinful world. He has created a natural order which includes procreation between a man and a woman, and life only springs forth from that union. God is all about life.

But what really irritates me is that Tony Blair and his wife aren't alone. There are many who convert to Catholicism and then suddenly, once received in the church, want to change whatever they think is unnecessary or outdated. My question to them is: if you didn't like it before you became a Catholic, you shouldn't have converted. I've watched even those born into Catholicism complain about the "women priest" issue. My opinion is the same to them: you know what the church teaches and if you don't agree with it - leave.

It isn't that difficult to do. There are plenty of churches that allow women to be ordained and welcome practicing gays. Maybe, Mr. Blair, that is where you and your wife belong.


Shirley said...

I think Mr. Blair and his wife need our prayers for the intercession of the Holy Spirit to guide them into Wisdom and Understanding to help them overcome their lack of understanding of the Catholic faith, and to evolve their attitudes with a well-formed conscience.

Mary Rose said...

I agree, Shirley. Yes, pray for them. I just had to vent a little. :-)

X said...

I believe Cherie was always Catholic.

From Wikipedia:
Cherie Booth Blair and her younger sister, Lyndsey, were then raised by their mother Gale and their paternal grandmother Vera Booth, a devout Roman Catholic. Cherie and her sister both attended Catholic schools in Crosby in Liverpool. Cherie Booth Blair attended Seafield Convent Grammar which is now part of Sacred Heart Catholic College...

joannaB73 said...

I think Tony Blair is aware and understands his Catholic Faith. I just think he is caught up in a profession where you have to be 'politically correct'. Maybe it's not his faith he needs to change but his job! I have just got Cherie's autobiography 'speaking for myself' out of the library and I am looking forward to reading it.

Rachel said...

Mary Rose, if you hit "delete" a second time on that deleted post you'll find you can remove it forever so its residue will no longer be visible. :)

As for Tony Blair, right on. His behavior is churlish. But I suspect we should partly blame the churlishness of whoever instructed and received him into the Church, for not emphasizing Church teaching and his need to repudiate past sinful policies.

When I was in RCIA, the priest who taught the class went into gory detail about Church teachings, and all the stuff that was hardest for moderns to understand-- indulgences, contraception, only men can be priests, etc-- he spent the most time explaining. He made sure our questions were answered. And those who missed the class on the 6th and 9th commandments were required to make it up! I have the highest respect for that priest, and wish he'd been the gatekeeper for some of these new "Catholics". Of course, the cradle "Catholics" can be just as bad. :)

My point is we've got bad sheep because we've got wimpy shepherds. That's how we know God preserves His church-- no way would we survive 2000 years with everyone fighting so hard to change with the times, unless the Holy Spirit was guarding the truth!

Mary Rose said...

Thanks so much, everyone, for letting me know about Cherie. I corrected the blog entry.

Rachel, also thanks for letting me know about the deletion button. :-)

I also liked what you said about "bad sheep" and "wimpy shepherds." Here's the thing: there will always be changes in culture. What is acceptable today may not be acceptable tomorrow. It used to be acceptable to refer to homosexuality as "the gay lifestyle." Then that was suddenly wrong as the PC crowd claimed it wasn't a lifestyle, but a genetical trait.

The bottom line is that the Catholic Church is staying true to both the Bible and tradition. I know Mr. Blair is walking in a fiery furnace. There will always be challenges to one's faith but still, I've seen many handle it diplomatically.

I think the best thing really is to continue praying and asking God to give all of us strength. I know it isn't easy to stand up to the PC crowd, but we must. Remaining silent or acquiescing to popular opinion isn't an option as a believer. May God give me and everyone else the courage to stand for the truth.

CJ Sweet said...

Hi, I just stumbled on your blog and have to say that I could not agree with you more about Tony Blair. It is the same way I have been feeling all day since someone sent me a link to that story. I also have to say that I love your name - I have a 4 month old daughter named Mary Rose! God bless!

Janny said...

Would that our bishops would have the iota of courage it takes to say the very thing you've said in your final paragraph. When we Catholics see that the numbers of Catholics are dropping off, we become troubled; maybe we SHOULDN'T be so troubled. The ones that remain, after all, are the ones prepared to be obedient. The ones who aren't...don't have to be Catholic. And, contrary to the panic-stricken looks you just got from your DRE when you said that, that doesn't necessarily represent a tragedy, or even a "failing" of the Catholic Church.

It's a free country. Go to another church, another denomination, or no denomination at all, and practice whatever false religion you've been sold. But in time, if you're sincere about what you're trying to do--and many disobedient/dissenting people are, on one level, "sincere"--the Hound of Heaven will get after you. You'll miss the Eucharist. You'll crave real worship. You'll wonder why churches based on cultural adaptation, "worship band" expertise and feelings don't seem to "do it" for you. You'll coming home.

And then, you'll be prepared to be obedient. Because, like so many of us who reverted, you'll know WHY obedience is for your greater good, why your Mother cares for you so much, and why Jesus keeps protecting His Church for those who stay on the narrow path. And the love you feel when you realize those things will be too irresistible to fight any longer.

Difficult? Sure, it can be. But enriching? Oh, so much more so than anything else on earth...