For some time now, I have suggested that we had better start adding a new category to our catechetical instruction on Christian martyrdom: "Green Martyrdom" was the inadequate name I gave to it. Increasingly, it is likely to be the case that Christians in the course of their professional lives will face the choice between fidelity and professional advancement. This choice will probably have significant economic ramifications. The willingness to lose or forgo income in order to be faithful is something that it would be good for the Church to begin to valorize, providing at least the moral support and, where necessary, the material support for those who put their material interests in jeopardy for the sake of their Christian faith.
A case in point has just been reported by the BBC. Nadia Eweida, a British Airways employee, has just lost her appeal to the airline's determination that she could not wear a small silver cross while at her job. Whatever the details of this particular case, it undoubtedly represents cultural trends that are far larger and weighter than the particular policy of one Western corporation.
I have often remarked on how grateful I am to the selfless Sisters of Mercy who did their best to catechize me in my youth. It takes absolutely nothing away from them to say that for the most part they were unprepared for the task they could not have foreseen, namely the task of preparing their students for the upheavals of the 1960s. Perhaps we face a similar situation today; almost certainly we do. There are sufficient signs, however, which suggest that we need to prepare the young for a world that is a good deal less hospitable to Christian faith than was the world into which I was born.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
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