Arise Once More: Reviving Catholic Britain — Part II



AUTHOR’S WARNING: The following is a retelling of the story of Arise Once More: Reviving Catholic Britain, but a longer version with explanations where possible. Heavy plot details follow. A number of points brought up involve questions of faith. If you do not wish to be spoilt, please scroll down quickly and shift your attention to another post. Thank you.

Victorian era

The Roman Catholic hierarchy was restored in Britain in 1850. Things were going in two directions at once: on the one hand, they were taking a turn for the better as far as religious freedom in Britain was concerned, whilst on the other, things were taking a turn for the worse with the advent of birth control, which, though not as widespread, was seen to become a problem in the future. And the naysayers were right. This will be explained when the problems of the modern era are discussed.

It was also around this period that Charles Darwin’s theory on evolution was conceived. In fact, it was conceived only nine years after Roman Catholicism was reestablished in Britain. Now, regardless of what our stance is on Darwin’s theory (we’re actually allowed to either uphold it, oppose it or remain neutral), people were bound to miss the point of the whole creation theory.

The whole point of the creation theory is that Man is the highest point of creation — and in saying this, I affirm that yes, we are substantially different from other animals. We have DNA nearly similar to those of chimps, but unlike them, we are both physical and spiritual in nature. We only need to look at history to see how spiritual we indeed are, and how much we need it. If we were just apes with bigger brains, as some people may put it, it doesn’t amount to who we are, because a bigger brain doesn’t necessarily mean a capacity to think, to feel or to engage in activity which truly satisfies us. We would be governed by the regimental “schedule” of nature — eat, sleep, breed, die, that’s it. It’s saddening, therefore, that some people actually missed the whole point of the creation theory. And some of them were our Church Fathers. We’ve realised our mistake — our mistake wasn’t opposing the Darwinian theory. No, our mistake was not realising that in any case, Man is the highest point of creation.

Modern-day joys and woes

Ah, the 20th century. I imagine many of you have been born in the late 20th century, just like me. 20th century Europe saw two world wars taking place, nation states forming and the EU forming. Oh, and the Stalinist repression in eastern Europe. But as far as Britain is concerned, we have had the Great Depression, the Troubles in the 60s (which began the process of devolution of power to Northern Ireland, Scotland and to an extent, Wales)… and now, there are all sorts of troubles springing up, in particular, the war on terrorism.

I’m not sure whom I discussed this with, but in our discussion as to why people were growing even more distant from the faith (and we needed to rule out upbringing), a reason was put forward to me — no, make that several reasons: 1) people choose the philosophies that don’t sound inconvenient, 2) they are disillusioned by the fact that world wars have taken place in supposedly Christian countries. And today, the mass media make it all the more possible to report things, and perhaps to spin things around. Media and whatever was within the lines of public decency began to unravel in the 60’s, and it’s unravelling at a great speed today. And when things like announcements of the supposed date of the end of the world take place, all hell breaks loose.

To be perfectly fair, honest and reasonable under the circumstances: which society has never made errors? And blunders at that? And how many societies are willing to forgive and forget? Very few. And why turn away from God when it’s the people who should be blamed? Still today, no matter how many times we deny it, the search for truth is still going on.

Quid est veritas?

This is the same question Pilate asked Jesus when the former had the latter tried. It’s the same question modernity flings at us today. It translates from Latin to “What is truth?”.

I must be blunt in giving out the truth. Truth never hides behind political curtains, it never changes according to the progression of time. Truth hurts in the short term, but heals in the long run. Truth is found when humanity is loved. Truth does not contradict itself at any point, and need not be spin-doctored by news reports. Truth is not the “minitrue”, “minipax” and “miniluv” of Newspeak. Truth does not vary from person to person. The circumstances may vary, but not the very nature of the circumstances itself. The search for truth has been hardwired in us such that we tend to seek answers to the questions we ask ourselves, even in the noise of much of 21st-century England. And the truth arises from the fact that we are fallen: we are searching for this fuzzy, warm little thing called love. And some of us just don’t have it, and some of us don’t know what it even is, or what it entails.

So what is love, then? This is where Scripture shall kick in. Love is not boastful nor arrogant nor demanding. Far from it. It is patient, kind and gentle, and in it, hopes are renewed and all things are restored. It never ends. Everyone wants to be loved, and this being the case, the definition of the qualities of love is purely objective. People have hurt only to hurt again, which is not very loving of us, but we have even done it on a large scale, between countries, between ethnicities; and the further we’ve gone into the future, the less loving and the more impersonal we’ve become.

There is still hope in the fact that people are still searching, because they want to be loved, and accordingly, if one loves another, he’d give him the truth. There is always the notion among humankind that “the truth will prevail”, and as a young writer, I see this actually happening today. For our part, we’ve stood by the truth for 2,000 years (and counting), no matter what kind of opposition we’ve received. People have been determined to wipe us out from the face of the earth for various reasons, but truth has it that as far as the Church is concerned, “not even the gates of hell would prevail against it”. One only needs to make reference to the fact that those who purport to go by scripture alone have themselves been scattered — there are 37,000 distinct denominations with doctrinal and theological differences and different approaches to the sanctity of human life and unions.

So what is the truth? This last bit may have thrown you aback. I believe you may be able to find out for yourselves.

I trust in the revival of Catholic Britain. I trust with all my heart that it shall happen, slowly but surely. One only needs to watch, pray and wait.


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