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I've got a joke for you.

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

One of my kids told me the following joke. ‘What do John the Baptist and Winnie the Pooh have in common?’ I don’t know, came my reply ‘they have the same middle name’

It’s a good one. Kids are funny, have them.

‘I’ve got one for you’, I said ‘What do Abraham, King Saul, Lance Armstrong and the Nativity school in Worcester Massachusetts have in common?’ ‘I don’t know’ they said, and I replied;

In Genesis God makes promises to Abraham, one of which was that he would have as many descendants as the stars above, but Abraham and his wife Sarah were old, and had no children. Abraham thought in human terms and reasoned that the only possible way he could ever have a child would be to impregnate a younger woman, and so he took Hagar, who became pregnant with his son. I wonder what Abraham expected when he next communicated with God. That God would say ‘well done Abe, you worked it out on your own, sorry for not being clearer.' This is not what happened. What happened is that God rebuked Abraham and told him that it is with his wife Sarah that he will bear a son. Abraham and Sarah tried to circumvent the will of God by using socially accepted, but not God accepted, means of bringing about what they thought God wanted.

In Samuel 1:13, the Israelites are going to war with the Philistines. They are waiting for the prophet Samuel to show up and make a burnt offering to God. Samuel doesn’t show up and they start to fret because Israel doesn’t want to go to war without worshipping God. King Saul takes matters into his own hands, figuring that anyone can slaughter a bull and set it on fire, so this is what he did. As soon as he does, Samuel shows up and says to Saul ‘what have you done? You have acted foolishly. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not continue’

Lance Armstrong was a gifted cyclist who was given a life ban and stripped of all titles, including 7 tour de France wins, after it was discovered that he had been ‘doping’. He argued that he was just ‘levelling the playing field’ because everybody was doing it. He took matters into his own hands.

In all these cases there was a lack of faith and a turning to self for the solution to a perceived injustice. And so it is at the Nativity School, Worcester and many Catholic schools besides. They have lost faith in God, His promises and the church Christ established. If they had not lost faith, Catholic schools would see that they have all they need to combat the evils of injustice; in scared scripture, sacred tradition, and magisterial teaching, and do not need to turn to ideologies born out of a secular godless society.

I spoke recently with Dr Gavin Ashenden who made the point that all the ‘isms’ of our day are really just a failure to ‘love thy neighbour’, and I agree. Our Catholic faith is rich in teaching about true equality, dignity of the human person, authentic freedom, rights and responsibilities and natural justice. It is incumbent upon catholic educators to show that the remedy for the ills of our sick culture can be found in our faith, and not in ideologies that contradict it.

Yet time and again Catholic schools lack confidence in the deposit of faith, capitulate to the culture and take matters into their own hands.

In October 2020, a catholic school I know decided that it had to respond to the killing of George Floyd and the resultant protests across the globe, with a new ‘racial justice committee’. This committee was made up largely of young, secular, single, childless, white, liberals. The first task for the committee was to deliver anti racism training to the staff body and this is what it looked like; Images and quotes of Ibram X. Kendi were projected onto the screen, fists raised in the air, the song ‘no justice, no peace’ played out across the hall, carefully chosen videos making the case for ‘white privilege’. After one such video was screened, the school receptionist; a kind and compassionate middle aged white woman who had spent decades of her life being treated badly in both her domestic and professional life said ‘I didn’t realise I had white privilege, I feel really guilty.’ Job done. Since this time the school has never appeared more divided and the behaviour of the students has never been worse, buoyed up by a divisive narrative that pits blacks against whites and has revenge, not justice, at its heart.

And now it is June, a month dedicated to anyone whose sexuality and gender identity is not cisgender heterosexual. Even in Catholic schools, the rainbows appear, little nods of support to PRIDE; socks, lanyards, badges, keyrings, tote bags, ties. Just like with the BLM narrative a ‘them and us’ emerges, the good guys and the bad guys, whispers and judgment ‘he’s not wearing the rainbow lanyard’ ‘he didn’t support BLM either’ ‘come on, let’s walk past on the other side of the road’

‘What’s the punchline?’ my kid asks.

'Wait and see' I reply.

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About Me

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I was raised in the Catholic faith but fell away in my early 20s when I heard convincing arguments against Gods existence.  Catholicism no longer seemed reasonable to me.  Many years later I took the time to understand the teachings of my faith, this, along with a personal encounter with Christ led me back to Holy Mother Church.


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