Thursday, 22 May 2014

Where Is The Church Militant?

Karl Adam
Besides the excellent bloggers on this blog, and a few writers in the marketplace, one has to ask where is the Church Militant in Great Britain? The idea of fighting the good fight in every aspect of moral and liturgical life, not to mention the political and work spheres, seems to be missing among the larger groupings of Catholics.

The old recusant mind-set may be vanishing. I sincerely hope not, but I have had a sinking feeling that, perhaps, the first country to truly persecute Catholics again in the not-so-distant future will be Auld Blighty.

The political parties as a whole seem not to be open to discussion with mainstream religions, bar one. And, the common person on the street, the true secularist, has marginalized religion to the point of making it irrelevant. So, the more the Catholic Church becomes marginalized, one of the stages of persecution, the more the Church will lose influence.

The Church Militant described by Karl Adam in The Spirit of Catholicism, (I have one of the original pink books of his in the old Catholic series), defines and describes the Communion of Saints. The Church Militant may be seen as this, part of the Communion of Saints:  

The relations between the Church of this world and the Church of the next are many and various; scarcely less rich and fruitful is the loving and vital fellowship that exists between the earthly members themselves of the Body of Christ. When the Fathers, beginning with Nicetas, bishop of Remesiana at the commencement of the fifth century, speak of the Communion of Saints, they are thinking especially of this earthly fellowship, and it was this that St. Paul also had specially in mind. It is the mysterious inner life of the Church, the mysterious exchange and commerce in functions and graces between its members, the mysterious process whereby the fellowship of Christ grows up organically into a "holy temple in the Lord," into the habitation of God in the Spirit (Eph. ii, 21-22)
Here is an excellent definition from Adam, which incorporates the words of the Beatitudes into the description of the Church Militant.

The Church Militant (ecclesia militans).—The "saints" of Christ, His "holy nation" (1 Peter ii, 9), fight here on earth, not with loud clamor or great display, but in quiet and stillness. Their wrestling is not against men, but against sin; they seek the pearl of great price and the hidden treasure. They are depicted in the Sermon on the Mount, in the concise and graphic phrases of our Lord. They are the "poor in spirit," the little ones of state and Church and society, the unappreciated and despised, who day by day go their inconspicuous way of duty, and cannot marvel enough that the great and holy God should wish to be with them also. They are the "meek" who never grumble at life and who ever accept with great content whatever God sends them. They are the "mourners" who in the lonely night cry plaintively to God: Lord, not my will, but Thine be done, and who at the last can thank their God with glad hearts that they are allowed to suffer with Jesus. 
They are those who "hunger and thirst after justice," those who reck nothing of comfortable piety and well-fed virtue, but on the contrary are pierced to the soul with the thought of their unworthiness, and put their whole trust constantly in the redeeming power of Jesus. They are the "merciful," for whom the need of others is their need, whom no obstacle, no sin or foulness can hinder from succoring their starving brother, and whose hands are closed by no ingratitude. They are the "pure of heart," men of a childlike simplicity and singleness of aim, kindhearted, guileless and always cheerful, for whom life is all sunshine, a constant loving cry of Abba, Father! 

They are the "peace-makers," men of the Holy Spirit, of inward maturity and serene equipoise of mind, from whom quiet and peace flow forth as from a sanctuary, before whom all discord is ashamed and dumb. And lastly they are those who are persecuted "for justice sake," "for His sake," those apostolic souls and tireless workers in the vineyard, who proclaim His truth by speech and writing, by teaching and example, "in season and out of season" (2 Tim. iv, 2). They seek not their own advantage, neither recognition from the world, nor honors from the Church; they seek only souls. And commonly their lot is abuse, persecution and hatred. For their life is a special challenge to the world, and draws down the scorn and laughter of its wise ones.

If the Church Militant in Britain completely loses her identity, the New Evangelization will be stymied. Only in the acceptance of this identity can those who are true soldiers of Christ move out into the public square with conviction. This media of blogging provides one such way of supporting ecclesia militans. This Guild provides a vanguard for ecclesia militans. I shall continue with this theme again soon.

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