Friday, 28 June 2013

"Organised religion" - again

It's entirely predictable, yet rather dismaying, that as part of my preparation for later in the year - a fast approaching September - on reading through quite a few modern guides and accounts of being a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela that, in addition to the very helpful tips on actually walking along the Way of St James, one comes across so many dismissive references to "organised religion," made, it has to be said, largely by those who seem to have had little or no experience of it, other than the learned prejudices of others.
The Church is far from perfect (heaven forbid that - in this life - it should be held up to be) but, rather like a pilgrimage itself, when eternal life is the goal, and we stand in need of so much grace, a certain amount of organisation is ... shall we say... desirable.
This is St Irenaeus on much the same subject:
"...... Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?      [St Irenaeus Adversus Haereses III. 4]


  1. The enemies of religion would prefer it to be disorganised.

  2. I think you might have referred to 'acquired' instead of 'learned' prejudices. The juvenile drivel in the linked page is certainly neither learned nor intelligent.

  3. True enough - juvenile but also rather sinister if these are the attitudes our education system (and the media, it has to be said) is inculcating in the young...

  4. Yes, it is sinister and left me feeling helpless and dispirited for a while (though comment boxes often have that effect on me - with a few honourable exceptions of course - and the "drivel" there was no worse than things I've read elsewhere). But I woke this morning to hear a certain broadcast service (just the sorte of outdated, psychotic nonsense the "drivellers" want banned) full of the faith and hope that have survived the worst of persecution since the days of the apostles. "Let all men know He is your choice - Alleluia!" Let nothing you dismay, Father (I'm not being flippant). Christus Vincit!


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