Bishop Warns Against Creeping Anti-Christianism

The Catholic Bishop of Leeds has warned against creeping anti-Christianism after revealing he was "appalled" by anti-Christian TV programmes over Christmas.

Bishop Arthur Roche warned Catholics not to become complacent to the anti-Christianism infecting the nation's everyday life, reports Catholic newspaper The Universe.

In his New Year pastoral letter, the bishop said that he had been "appalled" at the abuse of Jesus' name on television over Christmas.

"It was as if my television set had been infested with anti-Christian and deeply disrespectful and derogatory sentiments," he said.

"Yet, as St Paul reminds us: God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He added: "There is an ease and a carelessness today in which it is possible, without any resistance, to ridicule Jesus, his Church and his followers.

"The very first commandment teaches us not to take the name of the Lord in vain and Jesus himself taught us in the Our Father to honour the name of the Lord as holy.

But Christians themselves must also guard against encouraging the use of such language by ensuring that they themselves do not fall into the same trap.

"The blasphemous abuse of the holy name of Jesus is something that can infest our own vocabulary because of it is so constantly and so flippantly used in every day speech," he added.

"It is so easy to imbibe something that is poisonous to our own love for Jesus and the respect due to his name as if it didn't matter. We should do all we can not to fall into that trap.

"It would be a timely New Year's resolution if we were to resolve to resist in our own everyday speech any abuse of his name. When many of us were at primary school we were taught to bow our heads when the name of Jesus was spoken.

"It would be a timely moment to re-establish that practice of reverence for the name, which is above all names. It would remind us of the honour and love due to the Saviour of the world who heroically died that we might have life."