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Peter Rosengren: The most dangerous thing in the world

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The health of the Church is closely linked with the family, the domestic Church. PHOTO: Unsplash/Jessica Rockowitz

In a world that’s turned upside-down, believing Catholic families remain an untapped power

Recent events on a range of fronts have communicated ever more forcefully how the lay baptised vocation is, in a certain sense, the most dangerous thing in the world.

Issues such as the Seal of Confession, religious freedom – now more than ever in this nation’s history increasingly under threat from state diktat – the increasing objectification of women and girls, the rise of radical gender ideologies that deny not only common sense and science but depend upon denial of the concept of truth are just some of the assaults on ordinary human beings which are now regarded as normality for our society.

The young are especially targeted by the toxic anti-culture of modernity which is communicated relentlessly through social media. But it’s not just social media which is the problem. The morals-free society communicates and intrudes its increasingly totalitarian and disordered assumptions through every possible avenue.

Catholic families living an heroic faith will change the world. Nothing can resist the power of lives inspired by faith and the indwelling of the Spirit

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This reality really highlights the importance of the family and especially parents to children, the Church and the common good of society. It also implies the fundamental importance of the lay vocation. Some Catholics regard taking potshots at bishops as something close to a spectator sport. Bishops, of course, can be easy to criticise on occasion. But the great problem of the Church is not the bishops or even the most remote and uber-intellectual theologians in their sterile theoretical laboratories.

It is the way in which huge sections of the laity have evaporated from the Christian life and therefore from the Church, reaching, in the process, an easy accommodation with an increasingly Christophobic and inhumane but affluent world and comfortable culture.

Catholic families living an heroic faith will change the world. Nothing can resist the power of lives inspired by faith and the indwelling of the Spirit as witnesses to God. But this is overwhelmingly a work of marriage and of parents, a work of the baptised lay vocation.

Two boys pray during Walk With Christ for the feast of Christ the King in Sydney 2019. PHOTO: G Portelli

To achieve this in family life is an immense challenge to spouses who are believers living in the midst of a toxic and corrosive culture such as ours, so it must necessarily be conducted in solidarity with other believing parents and families.

Forming bonds of friendship between such families, forming communities of faith based on the Word of God, prayer and the sacramental life, forming strong bonds of friendship, social life and affirmation are necessary and essential characteristics of this task which seems largely to be carried out successfully only among the new movements in the Church.

When Catholic men and women realise the profound calling of their baptismal vocation and that it centres usually around marriage, family and working life, something akin to an Einsteinian conceptual leap or an atomic explosion of energy will be released in the Church and the world.

When this happens it will transform the Church. But then that’s what revolutions usually do.


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