Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Catholics and others must reflect deeply on the blasphemy in Cologne Cathedral

As a Catholic I was naturally appalled to read about Josephine Witt, a FEMEN activist, who leapt up and stood bare-breasted upon the altar in Cologne Cathedral during Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Joachim Meisner on Christmas day. On her chest was written the slogan “I am God.”

Euronews reports that “The activist climbed the altar to protest Vatican propaganda for the criminalisation of abortion".

The stark contrast between FEMEN and the Holy Mass and Christmas will not be lost on visitors to my blog.

As Dan Blackman, a young Catholic on SPUC's staff, put it to me: "It is precisely during the Holy Mass that the words 'This is my body' are said by the priest. Contrast the beauty and truth concerning Christ’s giving of His whole self to mankind on the Cross, with the ugliness of the pro-abortion rhetoric 'my body my rights' which seeks to justify, on the basis of a blatant lie, the killing an innocent child."

However, this incident should not simply appal Catholics (and others). We really need to reflect deeply on its significance.

The fact is that Femen is recognising through this public blasphemy, albeit in a grotesquely distorted way, the fundamental truth which explains the Catholic Church's unequivocal opposition to abortion: i.e. the link between the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, present in body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, and the value and inviolability of every human life.

Furthermore, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of Jesus and Mass is the re-enactment of Christ's death and resurrection. Pope John Paul II explains the significance of the Salvation story for humanity in this way in Evangelium Vitae [2]
"'By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every human being'. This saving event reveals to humanity not only the boundless love of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16), but also the incomparable value of every human person."
On the basis of this teaching, Pope John Paul goes on to confirm the unchanging and unchangeable teaching of the Church about abortion:
"Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, in communion with the Bishops-who on various occasions have condemned abortion and who in the aforementioned consultation, albeit dispersed throughout the world, have shown unanimous agreement concerning this doctrine-I declare that direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, always constitutes a grave moral disorder, since it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written Word of God, is transmitted by the Church's Tradition and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium." [Evangelium Vitae 73]
What Femen did in Cologne Cathedral was appalling and even managed to shock the secular world. A spokesman for the Green party in Germany reportedly said:
"The action by Femen in Cologne cathedral was disrespectful and an unnecessary disturbance of worshippers during a service."
However, I feel bound to ask the question: Is the blatant, ugly, blasphemy of Femen any worse than the reception of Holy Communion by politicians and others who make no secret of their pro-abortion stance?

Should not all Catholics make a new year's resolution - Catholic laity, nuns, priests, bishops and cardinals - to do everything in our power to protect the Holy Eucharist in 2014? Femen's disgusting action simply underlines the fact that the Body of Christ is being exploited by the enemies of the unborn child to advance the "respectability" of the pro-abortion cause in Ireland, in the US, in Britain and throughout the world.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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