Conscience and Conformity

By Weenson Oo on 11:23

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Oswald von  Nell-Breuning was furious.
The rage of the then 90-year old former architect of the papal encyclical of Pope Pius Xl written in 1931 was amply demonstrated albeit with a touch of humour, to the assembled audience at Vaughan House by Fr Patrick Riordan.

So why was von Nell-Breuning transformed into a raging nonagenarian?  Well, in 1931 Pope Pius responding to the dangers arising from unrestrained capitalism and totalitarianism under the communist regimes, called with urgency for the reconstruction of a social order based on the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity. von Nell-Breuning was thus venting at the lack of progress by our politicians who he saw as having failed society on all fronts.
Fr Riordan went on the explore the relationship between faith and politics and asked how we should react when faced with choices that contradict the principles of our faith. He drew on the experience of the church in 1937 before the last great war, when Pope Pius XI wrote Mit Brennender Sorge ( with burning concern ) which had to be smuggled into Germany. Its call was heeded by Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter who in refusing to be called up to fight in a war which was both immoral and unjust in its conduct was executed by the regime.
The meeting concluded with an examination of the role of evangelisation today and considered  the challenges faced by Christians as they  question the norms of conformity urged by the changing values and judgment of an increasingly secular and at times, unjust world when these are in contrast the teachings of the faith. Being true to theWord of God does also mean that we are not like sheep.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III : 70-200L  and 15 FE

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