Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moving Forward

Today marked the first day of arguments on same-sex 'marriage' cases heard by the United States Supreme Court. First things (see what I did there! First Things is an ecumenical magazine founded by Fr Neuhaus.) first, we need to pray.

Second, we need to put things in perspective. This is not the end of the world, not yet anyways. We don't even know how the SCOTUS will rule. But, we should be aware that same-sex 'marriage' supporters are emboldened. In June, we will be one day closer-particularly if Proposition 8 is struck down- to the day where this is no longer illegal in any American state. We are also one day closer to persecution. Yeah, I said it. People have already been trying to neuter any influence of religion in the American political and economic sector for years. When the Church decides to avoid cooperation, elimination of the Church as a viable social institution is the next step.

In 2010, the Most Reverend Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, is first recorded as saying, "I will die in bed. My successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square." By 2012, he has added that the Catholic Church will soon lose her hospitals and eventually schools and universities, particularly because of the HHS mandate (and its probable expansion) and same-sex 'marriage.' But, he predicted an authentic renewal and flourishing of the Church would come from this, much as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger- now Benedict XVI, Bishop Emeritus of Rome- said:
The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning.
She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members….
It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. She may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but she will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”
Until the moment of assault actually comes, we keep on fighting the good fight publicly and prayerfully. There are small steps to do now:

  • Partake in the sacramental life in the Church, especially the Eucharist and Confession.
  • Work on our own holiness first. Then, fraternally correct others.
  • Bishops, please use the medicinal penalties available to you such as Canon 915. 
  • Invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We should chant the Marian antiphon after the sung Sunday Mass.
  • We should ask for the restoration of the Prayers after Low Mass, for Masses without singing of the propers and Canon. 
  • Start praying five decades-or more- of the Most Holy Rosary daily.
Life will be very different for me, I imagine, than it was for my parents, grandparents, etc. Normal parish life will end. Normal family life will end. The first: hey, not a bad idea. Cultural Catholicism is what has allowed this rot to progress so far. The second: well, I would like to get married, have children, and not be thrown in prison. But, God can't give us anything we can't handle. And, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. The Cross is for all time. The battle is won! We can be joyful, and even forgiving. Christ after all forgave his tormentors. Their desire for forgiveness is a different matter.

Ponder this: God is love, as Pope Benedict reminded us in his first encyclical. Love cannot be something outside His existence.

Sts. Magnus and Bonosa, ora pro nobis. God love you.


  1. This was a very interesting blog post to read, particularly with regard to the comments on what you term cultural Catholicism. I think that is a huge part of why many people distrust Catholic ideas on marriage: because we understand it as part of our culture rather than seeing where it fits in the broader tradition. I can definitely say it played a significant part in my departure from the Church (though I still hold Jesus Christ as an important philosophical influence).

    My opinion is that whether or not homosexuality is viewed as a sin, it is the responsibility of the government to move toward equal treatment, the absence of which runs the risk of impeding the process of absolution. I feel as though you hold similar views on this based on material you've shared on Facebook, and I worry that this, again, has been impeded by the perception of sin in society rather than in Catholic context.

  2. I don't know if the other part of what I was saying in response to this got published... but also, in response to the loss of power in the political and economic sectors: I'm not entirely inclined to agree.

    In my international relations class last year, we talked a whole lot about how power has been redistributed and rethought in the 21st century. While it is certainly true that state governments are acknowledging less and less the influence of religion (in the West, at least), the focus of power is also shifting away from federal governments and toward sub-state actors, NGOs, and transnational organizations. Those are likely the best avenues for the pursuit of global influence in a changing world, and especially in the Middle East, they are taking on a more religious identity, such as Hezbollah. (Maybe that's not the most reassuring comparison, but it's the one that first comes to mind.)

    And I think the whole idea of marriage equality is to prevent anyone being thrown in prison. If it does come to that, though, I'd support anyone being thrown in jail for Catholicism as well.

  3. Hey Nick,
    I moderate everything b/c Blogger gets a ton of spam...and I don't want nasty stuff published.
    On govt: I think it is beyond the capacity of courts and legislatures to make this decision, especially since we hold such an extreme view in the Enlightened tradition on what constitutes rights. I now have a right to my identity, at the expense of someone else's. This stretches from things like SSM to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Once the society moved away from objective morality and natural law as the foundation of government, I suppose SSM is the only logical outcome.

  4. *I'd support anyone who was thrown in jail for Catholicism as well.
    Yikes, I just realized how badly that could be misinterpreted.

    Though to your point, it's interesting that you bring up the Arab-Israeli conflict, because this reminds me of the views Orthodox Jews hold of the secular state of Israel. I've forgotten a lot about Catholic doctrine, but remind me: does it acknowledge historical relativism?

  5. What do you mean by your question, exactly?

  6. Well, historical relativism holds that philosophies should be viewed in the context of their time period. There was a huge schism in Judaism over whether or not that applied to the tradition.

  7. Hmm. I'm leaning towards that it is a yes and no answer, as are many things in the Catholic intellectual life. Yes, because certain developments only came about in certain times and countries, but no, because the merits of a school of thought are worth more than the time of origin. Thus, some try to dismiss Scholasticism simply because it is from the medieval era without giving much attention to how it actually works as a system of thought.