Before the days of liturgical renewal and Vatican II Catholics only celebrated mass in the morning and faithful members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament prayed that evening communions would soon come to an end.
As a young curate in those far off days, I remember vesting for a solemn high mass at 6.30 in the morning when all of us were still only half awake, and hearing the incumbent exclaim: “O my God, wouldn’t it be awful if none of this were true!”
If none of this were true we could all have had a lie-in. If Jesus was not really born in a particular Jewish town at a unique moment in the history of the Roman Empire, then we could sell all our churches and give the money to the poor. If anyone ever discovers the bones of Jesus then the clergy will have to quit their jobs and start selling life insurance. Our Faith is a Faith built upon Facts. If the Facts go so does the Faith
The Facts of the Faith have been under attack for at least a century, first from the new scientists, then from the biblical critics and now by many of our own bishops and theologians. Though no-one ever found the bones of Jesus, and though no-one-today seriously questions that Jesus died on the cross, yet the seeds of doubt have been planted and clergy and laity still fear that the bones may someday be found and that the story of Jesus may prove nothing more than an ancient myth.
The Critics have offered us a vague Belief without Faith and the rest of us are now left with a Faith without Facts.
Clergy have tried to find ways of keeping their jobs whilst questioning the facts and bishops have been made out of men who have heaps of faith in their own ability but too little belief in the facts of Christ.
This supplement is based upon a Belief nurtured by Faith and committed to a Faith built upon Facts. Month by month we will be presenting the Historic Faith of the Catholic Church. We will be looking at new resources for teaching the Faith. We will be telling the stories of former Defenders of the Faith. We will be examining the Facts of the Faith and exposing those who try to undermine them. We will be focusing in on individuals, parishes and other institutions who are experimenting with new methods of passing on this Faith to others.