Monday, 10 September 2012

Do good, and disappear...

I read this in The Telegraph this evening. Basically Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel & Brighton, is calling for Roman Catholics to set reminders on their mobile phones about the new rules for Friday penances and to set aside a few moments at work or in some other public place, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, for prayer. Now I am just as annoyed as the next Catholic about the obvious persecution of Christians around the world but is this not a stinking red herring? Please bear in mind that this is the same chap who said that Friday abstinance was a ''mark of identity'' - which sounds to me like the worst possible reason to fast, but then I am a miserable heretic and apostate who hurls invective against Mother Church, so what do I know? I am nevertheless reminded of a few verses from St Matthew chapter VI.

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Surely it would be more meritorious to be less fussed about it all, and to follow the commands of the Lord in our dealings with people rather than open, vulgar display of prayer and alms as the Pharisees of old? So, what do you do? Follow the writ of the Lord or someone else?


  1. Worship has become a way of "keeping up appearances" for many within modern Christianity.

    That is to say we go, we kneel, we recite the words but we couldn't really give a damn about the meaning of any of it... which is a shame, but people like the Bishop you mention are trying to get religious observances to take root in modern society which should surely be welcomed.

    However empty observance, without any real purpose except to show one's affiliation to Rome, is something that we as Christians should denounce.

  2. Patrick, my dear - you iz nickin' my schtick! ;0))

  3. Yes, I saw your comment last night and thought it very apt. I have come very close to despair with a rather long post in preparation about Gandalf and wizards and that sort of thing. I don't know if it's writer's block or procrastination or whatever, but it's a nightmare to write. Every post this week has been simply to keep a steady readership in anticipation of it. I expect like all my Tolkien posts it will fall flat, though.

  4. So you forget what Gandalf told Frodo in Moria, then, eh, or what he told Pippin in Gondor about despair?

  5. Well, I don't know whether or not you'll find it encouraging, but you you have (pretty much single-handedly, I think) conquered my former indifference to Tolkein. I'm going to get my kids onto him at the earliest opportunity.

  6. Would many Tolkein fans think of looking at a blog titled "Liturgiae Causa"...?