The original constitution of 1937 recognised Catholicism in Ireland as the official religion of the State, having a ‘special position’ above all other religions.
Unfortunately, in 1972 the constitution was amended and Catholicism was placed on the same level as all other religions. This conciliar idea which emanated from the error of religious liberty promoted by Vatican II, infected Ireland and has been one of the leading causes of a former Catholic country becoming ever more secularised in recent years.
Secularism was a term coined by George Holyoake in 1851 to describe his view of separating the social order from religion. In theory, it is indifferentism to religion; but in practice religion is rejected and has no right to exist in such an environment. Somehow, secularists think that breaking with traditional values which have sustained previous generations will have a positive effect on society. It is the ultimate emancipation of modern man – to be independent not only from society, but also the society of the past which has shaped the very world we live in.
In a secularist society, the sense of the sacred is obsolete; this extends first of all to natural realities such as the family. The notion of family today is under attack by the very society which is meant to protect it. Even the most fundamental sacred reality of life in a mother’s womb has been repealed. Is it any surprise then that supernatural realities are attacked?
The attack on the Church these days is more subtle than in the past. Ridicule is a very effective means of undermining a belief, and once it becomes a right to publicly mock the Church, certain factions will doubtlessly seize on this opportunity. If the ridicule is directed towards God, it is defined as blasphemy. This consists of any word of malediction, reproach, or contumely pronounced against God. Because it offends the majesty of God and detracts from the honour which is due to Him, it is normally a grave sin. In the Old Law, the penalty for blasphemy was death (cf. Lev. 24:15).
Ridicule, directed toward the true religion is blasphemy. However, it would be against charity to mock other religions since, as St. Francis de Sales said, “you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”!
A secularised society, devoid of Christian charity, weakens even the natural social virtues which make community life pleasant and allow for society to flourish. But this will only be fully realised and can only be realized when Christ is recognised as king not only in our personal lives, but also in the life of society. Oportet eum regnare! Let us pray to hasten the day of Christ’s reign in Ireland once more.