Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us.
These words from Ecclesiastes 1:10 (Douay Rheims) came to mind as I listened to the reading from St Paul's letter to the Romans in this morning's N.O. Mass. It is easy to assume that the sarcasm and know-it-all dismissiveness of the likes of Richard Dawkins and Philip Pullman are a contemporary phenomena. That this attitude is a reflection of late 20thC/early 21stC disaffection with religion, fetishisation of knowledge and surrender to concupiscence. It's good to be reminded that the clever-clogs brigade has always existed: believing that they are too intelligent for God, mocking the faithful.
The anger of God is being revealed from heaven against all the impiety and depravity of men who keep truth imprisoned in their wickedness... such people are without excuse: they knew God and yet refused to honour him as God or to thank him; instead, they made nonsense out of logic and their empty minds were darkened. The more they called themselves philosophers the more stupid they grew, until they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for a worthless imitation...That is why God left them to their filthy enjoyments and the practices with which they dishonour their own bodies, since they have given up divine truth for a lie... (Romans 1:16-25 passim)I think that the opening words of today's reading - "I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith... as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith" set the tone for the Church Militant today... as they did 2000 years ago.