Prayer to convert England
A number of English blogs have pointed over the last few days to the new site of the Walsingham Project, which 'aims to provide a Catholic response to the de-Christianization and islamization of Europe and the West', certainly a worthy cause.
The project is partly a prayer crusade. The site even provides a prayer that people from other countries can say for the cause. Here it is:
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy Dowry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the Cross.
0 sorrowful Mother! Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.'
But what about Australia (or...)?
Prayer is obviously the essential starting point, but what comes next is a more vexed question. The Walsingham project is apparently premised on the need for a spiritual dimension (prayer) and an intellectual dimension, in this case supplied by the promotion of a book defending the sacraments by Henry VIII (written before he fell into schism). I have to say that sounds a little weird to me.
But then, when it comes to programs for converting the world, there are a wide range of views around. Collecting up people's programmes for the task has become a little bit of a hobby of mine, so I thought I'd give you a partial list of those I've come across so far for your consideration....
1. Catechize the laity properly, and encourage them to engage in the 'public square' - this is the age of the laity, and they have to take the lead in the 'new evangelization' (a popular view, particularly in the US, amongst neo-cons)
2. Create enclaves where Catholics can practice their faith in safety while the world falls apart around us and from which when the time is right catholics can re-emerge to evangelize (eg Ave Maria, but the traddie quasi-amish homeschooling strand of thinking is similar)
3. Strive more than ever for holiness, pray fervently and maintain absolute fidelity to the holy teaching of the Church, faithfulness to the Holy See, frequent reception of the sacraments, the Rosary, daily spiritual reading, and gratitude that we have been given the fullness of God’s revelation (a traddie version of 1, from Alice von Hildebrand; but see also Peter Kreeft's book on How to win the Culture War).
4. Spread the TLM far and wide; get novus ordo said reverently. 'Say the black, do the red'; Save the liturgy; save the world (Fr Z).
5. Systematically expose doctrinal and other errors and depose bishops as necessary (aka bring back the Inquisition).
6. Encourage Catholics to smash their tv sets and rediscover the wonders of our patrimony (the rationale for liberal arts 'great book' based programs), which is the bulwark against the barbarians at the gate (John Senior and others), often argued for in conjunction with proposal 7.
7. Revive monasticism - monasteries converted Europe once, they can do it again! What is needed is powerhouses of liturgy, people willing to show their conviction through sacrifice, and point the way to heaven by example (Dom Calvet, Senior, etc).
I have to admit I personally think we probably have to do a little bit of all the above (and more). I think we will only move forward when the laity are well educated and engaged; and when they are supported by good priests and vibrant monasteries. In my view the whole of the Church militant needs to be healthy to be effective, because each part of the Church depends on the other (just as the Church Militant in turn depends on the Church Triumphant).
So Fr Aidan Nichol's multi-pronged approach (Proposal 8) has some attractions - his list is revive doctrine; re-enchant the liturgy; recover Thomist metaphysics; renew Christian political thought; revive the Christian family; resacralise art and architecture; revive monastic life; more powerful pro-life rhetoric; recover reading of Scripture; and fix Catholic schools.
Of course that still leaves the question of where to start....but while we ponder that we can at least mirror the Walsingham Project and pray for the conversion of Australia (thanks to Psallite Sapienter for posting this awhile back):
"O God, Who hast appointed Mary, Help of Christians, St Francis Xavier, and St Therese of the Infant Jesus Patrons of Australia, grant that through their intercession our brethren outside the Church may receive the light of faith, so that Australia may become one in faith under one Shepherd. Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Francis Xavier, pray for us.
St Therese of the Infant Jesus, pray for us