Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Christian reclamation of Martyrdom

Just over a week ago, in Kuala Lumpur, I was having lunch with a friend who is an evangelical pastor. We discussed his forthcoming trip to Israel and the political and terrorist problems in the Holy Land and other countries, this being in the aftermath of 7/7 in London. I commented on how fanaticism for any cause - be it religion, or animal rights or political freedom - which would stop at nothing and even resort to violence to be heard was a terrible scourge...

Anyway, this led me to reflect on the use of the word 'martyrdom' which is often used with regard to suicide bombers and other fanatics who are prepared to die and kill for their beliefs. This is a dreadful abuse of the essentially Christian concept of martyrdom. I believe that words and etymology are important and help us to understand the very concepts expressed by these words.

It is time we understood the Christian roots of the word, martyr, and reclaimed it as our own. One who dies for a belief, even a religious one, is not a martyr. More accurately, the martyr witnesses to someone: Jesus Christ... and that is fundamentally a witness of self-emptying love.

Read on at Catholic Blogic's post on True Martyrdom which has said just about everything I wanted to say on the matter, and sooner than I myself was moved to write on the issue. I commend his blog and this matter of reclaiming the word 'martyrdom' to you.

The photo above is of St Stephen, the proto-martyr, as depicted in a stained glass window in St Stephen's Church in Skipton.


Anonymous Anselmus said...

In veritate quod scripsisti, scripsisti. Thanks for the link, Paul. I have reciprocated.

9:47 pm  

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