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Stand your ground, don’t water down the faith

Fr Cornelius Phillip interacts with southerners Beatriz Ramoutarsingh and Joyce Mungal on the closing day of the conference. Photo: Elmo Griffith

Catholics at the National Conference of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal were called to stand their ground against mainstream culture and society and develop a countercultural way of life.

To become countercultural is to stand your ground against the current trend of trivialising matters of faith and Catholic teachings. “They want to make the Catholic Church and its teachings user-friendly so people would like you to bend backwards and go with the times…. The teachings of the Church and the teachings of the Bible are unchanging and will never be changed….” Fr Cornelius Phillip FMI said in his talk ‘Stand your ground with truth buckled around your waist and integrity for your breastplate’, Saturday, January 5.

The Dominica-born parish priest of St John the Baptist RC, San Juan and The Church of the Holy Family, Mt Lambert acknowledged, “They would have loved to hear you say ‘It’s ok to have an abortion’, but the Church says no way, abortion is wrong… stand your ground and don’t water down the faith,” he urged participants gathered at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

Fr Phillip said that standing your ground is to stand for what you believe. He asked how many were willing to die for what they believed, like the saints. “If we don’t stand for something, we’re going to be falling for everything in the world in which we live…. By definition, the life of the Christian is to stand his or her ground, standing not for standing sake but standing because of Christ,” he said.

He observed the pervading culture of death and the blatant disrespect for the dignity of human life. He encouraged all to recognise their responsibility to promote life. He referenced a popular US slogan ‘If you see something, say something’, one he hoped will be inculcated in the culture of Dominica and T&T.

“But many times, in the culture we live, Catholics and non-Catholics hush their mouths…. This is unchristian as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

To become countercultural is to also reject lawlessness in society. Fr Phillip asserted, a society without order is a society that is chaotic. When that society is chaotic, it is on the brink of being a collapsed society.

He believed that Christians ought to stand against individualism and the ‘me’ culture in the Church. “You cannot serve God in isolation,” he said.

Fr Phillip further encouraged all to allow their joy to be contagious. “Don’t you think our Church could do with people who feel more joy?” he asked, to a thunderous applause from participants.