Most little lads never became Knights of course. Second sons had a better 'push' than first sons, and the farm boys rarely made it to high rank. Many from high family and low went to the Monastic life, or trade or profession, farming, fishing etc: only a few fought for Good; there were even those who went to the dark side. . But we needed those 'Good warrior' sorts. We still do.
Because the idea, the practice, the life-changing positivity of Christ's Church was, is and for a while yet will always be countered by dark forces. It would be no exaggeration to say that Christianity has always been put to the test - and the whip - by both secular and supernatural forces. And often those corrosions operated right within the Church.
The recent American elections shone light onto some dark corners of the battlefield. There the corruptions apparent when the Church does the State's bidding or where in Thrall to State operators, were made clear to any with eyes to see and a mind acute enough to understand.
And America is not alone, or even ahead. It used to be said that where America goes, Oz follows. That is barely the case anymore what with the speed of communication and the ubiquity of socialism's mendacities and downright lies. And not just socialism - itself a mean, skanky, deceptive shadow of proper Christian cooperation and help to one's neighbour : feminism, atheism, 'humanism', communism, Islamism and the plethora of isms that water-down 'truth', demean and diminish life, abound.
We had two fine folk in the Tavern yesterday, shine more light. My good friend Mishka Gora for one. And a double-act of Jason & John. Mishka was lamenting the Oz situation and asking hard questions. Jason and John gave some hard and frankly depressing answers from the other side of the Pacific.
They all needed good Ale to lubricate their throats.
A Crying Shame“How did we get into this mess?”
That is the question that has plagued and paralysed me these past few months.
You see, my archbishop is currently embroiled in a legal and political controversy. He’s got better things to do – he knows he is responsible for the souls of so many and he shepherds his flock accordingly – but the laws of the state have made it illegal for one person to offend another.
Whooda thunk, eh?Predictably enough, someone has felt offended by the Church’s teaching on marriage.
In effect, the jobs of the archbishop and all his priests have become illegal.In the midst of this turmoil, I came across a photograph of a priest and a little girl at her First Communion. I was just after a suitable picture for my own daughter’s upcoming First Communion, but my focus was drawn to the priest each time I looked at it, and I recognised it was exactly what I had been looking for, a picture that emphasised the priest acting in persona Christi rather than the pretty white dresses of most First Communion snapshots. But the historian part of me wanted to know more.It turns out the priest in the picture was Blessed Andrés Solá y Molist, a Catalonian-born Claretian priest martyred in Mexico on the 25th of April 1927 at the age of thirty-two.
He was executed by the state, merely for being faithful to the Church and continuing to do his job. His so-called crimes were to hear confessions, conduct marriages, baptise children, and administer Communion.
And once again the question popped up: “How did they get into such a mess?” How did a Catholic country get to the point where priests were shot for doing their job?Now, Mexican history is not my area, and I have no intention of delving into it in any depth, but even a cursory glance at 'what happened' reveals that it was all legal.
The Mexican Constitution of 1917 forced secular education of Mexican children. It didn’t allow Church officials to vote or comment on public affairs. Public worship was only permitted within Church buildings by government-registered priests (who were often forced to ‘marry’), and institutional buildings such as schools and hospitals were handed over to the state. Monasticism was prohibited. These anticlerical articles were not amended until 1991.It’s eerily familiar, but it is not at all like the persecution of Christians we’re seeing in the Middle East. There, the pattern is ‘the Saturday people, then the Sunday people’.
First, they came for the Jews, and now they are killing and expelling the Christians.
The warnings are clear. Things in Australia hardly bear comparison, and yet there are hints of persecution more along the lines of the Mexican Revolution… ‘in the wind’.
We have state-sanctioned indoctrination of our children into transgender experimentation (masquerading as an anti-bullying campaign). A retired brigadier has been arrested for praying the Rosary outside an abortion clinic. My archbishop has been taken to a tribunal for commenting on marriage (within a Catholic school).
All this has been legal.
Indeed, all of these developments were enabled recently by either the election of legislators – practising Catholics among them, alas – and/or the passage of legislation.Obviously, laws matter. The buck stops with the legislators. They make the laws, and they are the ones who can undo the laws. But why don’t these restrictive laws stop at merely containing the Church within certain bounds? What is so threatening about the job priests do?The answer to this can also been seen in the photo I mentioned –
Solist’s ‘crime’ was to act in persona Christi.
It is through the Eucharist that we have Communion with God – we receive Him physically as well as spiritually. It is a foretaste of Heaven. In my daughter’s catechism, there is a picture of a ladder leading to Heaven and on each of the rungs the names of the Sacraments are inscribed.
If the state has the power to take away our priests, they can pull out that ladder from underneath us.
And this is why the story of one hundred children receiving Communion for the first time in Alqosh, an Iraqi town near the ISIS front line gives us such hope. The last Jew was expelled in 1948, but Christians still guard the synagogue and its tomb of the prophet Nahum. These children and their parents have not given up the good fight.So where does all this leave us, Western Catholics who face a different sort of threat? No doubt there are a multitude of ways in which we will be called to defend the Church, but what can each and every one of us do?
I registered an answer to that question as I listened to my archbishop on the radio. He had answered the host’s questions with clarity, insight, and humility, but the host ended the conversation with an attempt to undermine everything he had said by bringing up the topic of sex abuse.
And I realised that the attacks on our Church rely so much on us being too ashamed to defend ourselves, too ashamed to defend our priests who are the lynchpin of our future as Catholics.
Daily we pray to Jesus “lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy”, but do we extend our own mercy to those who need it most?There is a direct correlation between the clergy and the faithful. If we are so faithless as to be ashamed of being Catholic, there will be fewer and fewer babies to baptise, fewer and fewer children making their First Communion, and fewer and fewer boys called to the priesthood.
|Not just decorative|
We need to ‘come out’ rather than avoid telling people we are Catholic. We need to wear crucifixes; display them in our homes, schools, and hospitals; and never be ashamed of “Christ crucified”.
We cannot fulfil Our Lord’s great commission while acting ashamed.
To quote His Holiness, Pope Francis: “The Church is holy because it proceeds from God who is holy. It is not holy by our merits; we are not able to make her holy. It is God, the Holy Spirit, who in his Love makes the Church holy.”
Mishka goes right down to the farm-boy and girl in us. We may not be powerful, or in the news, nor do we exercise Legislative Power, but we can show the world that we are Christians.And that is something of which we must not ever be ashamed.
For example (I would not have you do what I would not), you will rarely see me around the Tavern or the Town without my Rosary clearly visible. Not ostentatiously, but 'there'.
But we do have some matters to be ashamed of.
Perhaps not so much of what we, individually, have done (commission) but of what we have not done (omission). We have not spoken out to and at the leadership. Just as we all too often do not turn out to vote in civil elections, so to do we act in a lacsidaisical manner with our Bishops and priests. We allow tham to let the Church fall into disarray and do not stand with the sound and fearless ones when the firing sqauds are formed up.
Jason Jones and John Zmirak helped us look at the 'political' situation in America.
Bishops and politicians: God or Mammon; you cannot have both.
The taxpayer is taken for a ride so that bishops have 'influence', but strings are attached. If bishops are to command votes, they need to be damned careful lest they be damned. And they need to be clear.
Catholic AmericaCould the Democrats’ Anti- Catholicism Teach Bishops to Stop Feeding the Crocodile?
The recent batch of emails released by Wikileaks reveals that leaders in the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, are engaged in a high-level conspiracy to
infiltrate and corrupt the Catholic church.
These high-level Democrats speak of the church as if it were a murderous Arab dictatorship (like Gaddafi’s) which must be overthrown in a “Catholic spring.”
They hope to help that project along by crafting hand-puppet organizations of pro-choice, anti-marriage activists with Irish or Italian last names, whose leaders claim (as Tim Kaine claims) to be Catholic.
Those groups act in the media to counter and discredit the moral teachings of actual, faithful Catholics, including our shepherds, the bishops.
Back in the 1930s and 40s, the Democratic Party in America used to act like the Catholic bishops’ friendly pet iguana — and the Church was able to do enormous good in the public square, rebuking evil elitists such as Margaret Sanger, defusing sympathy for Communism among Catholic union members, and inserting family-friendly policies into Roosevelt’s New Deal. (Back in this time, the Catholic bishops could also cripple a Hollywood movie they deemed to be immoral by issuing a boycott via the nationwide Legion of Decency.)Catholic bishops’ influence has nearly vanished in recent decades, and the Democratic Party has grown up to be something quite different:
an abortion-hungry secular crocodile that wants to devour Americans’ liberty — including our First Amendment rights.
But Catholic bishops have never been willing to face this ugly fact.
They’re still hazily dreaming about the decades when they walked the corridors of power, chit-chatting with President Kennedy or Mayor Daley. They imagine that handing the lizard one tasty snack after another will make the Democratic Party once more the friendly pet they remember.Instead, they need to heed Churchill, who said:
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”Hillary’s campaign chairman hopes to usurp the authority of Catholic bishops, who are obliged under pain of hellfire to repeat the Church’s 2,000-year teaching on such fundamental doctrines as the sanctity of life and of the family.
Earlier this year, we learned that billionaire leftist (and Democrat party donor) George Soros tried to hijack Pope Francis’ visit, and turn it into a campaign tour for pro-choice Democrats.Combine this revelation with:• the fact that Hillary Clinton told the United Nations that Christian churches must be forced to change their beliefs about abortion, in the name of women’s “fundamental rights” guaranteed by international law.• the fact that President Obama’s solicitor general implied that church institutions that won’t recognize same-sex marriage are equivalent to white supremacists, and could have their their tax exemptions revoked.• the fact that California Democrats tried hard to close every faithful Christian college in that state by revoking routine federal funding.This adds up to just one thing: The Democratic Party wants to persecute the Catholic church, and every other Christian church that has stayed faithful to core biblical principles.So Long, and Thanks for All the FishWe were glad to see Archbishop Charles Chaput respond with outrage to the latest Democratic attack on Catholics’ religious liberty. But we have to ask Chaput and other American bishops —
what took you so long?
But it gets worse. I have seen this all too often. Some Catholics confuse socialism with Christianity: Marx with Christ. They see 'community' where communism and the boot exist. They ignore Christian fellowship and 'Love they Neighbour', unless it comes with a State (Taxpayer) hand-out and the inevitable strings.Why have you appeased the Democratic party for so many decades by fudging Catholic social teaching, distorting its core principles to skew to the political left, making it appear to any uninformed observer that the Democratic party is in line with Catholic teaching on every major political and economic issue — except for that party’s curious blind spots on abortion and sexual politics?
They forget 'sell your coat and buy a sword'.Catholic bishops have given the false impression that the Democratic Party is “more Catholic” than its conservative opponents on a long list of issues:• Immigration, where the GOP platform is much closer to the Catechism of the Catholic church than the Democrats’ call for virtually open borders and generous welfare for illegal foreign residents. But bishops have pretended that the Church somewhere (not in the Catechism, certainly) demands virtually unlimited immigration.• Gun rights, where bishops have repeatedly claimed that advocacy of Americans’ fundamental right to self-defense is somehow a violation of the “seamless garment” of Catholic concern for innocent life.
• Health care, where Catholic leaders such as New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan implied that the church demands something close to socialized medicine, and backed Obamacare — then were shocked, shocked to discover that when a secular government gains control over 1/6 of the U.S. economy, it will impose its own secular values — including abortion and contraceptive coverage.• Economics, where Catholic bishops routinely back the extreme demands for raises in the minimum wage, pretending that Pope Leo XIII’s call to deal justly with starving factory workers in 1880 requires that every employee in America, at every age and level of expertise, receive a so-called “living wage” that can support an entire family.
In two books, The Race to Save Our Century and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism, each of us has gone carefully through the actual texts of binding Catholic social teaching, and refuted these politicized claims.
Instead, we presented the core (Whole Life) principles of historic Christian teaching on politics and economics, and applied them carefully to contemporary conditions.
We invite all Christians to read them, and see which party’s platform is more Catholic, more Christian.As conservative Catholics — also demeaned in Clinton campaign emails — have argued over decades, it is no accident that the same Democratic Party that supports abortion and sexual license also backs big government and secularism.
The lockstep support of every important Democrat in the U.S. for abortion on demand in fact flows from the same core premises that yield every other plank in the Democratic platform:.......................
Human life is not dignified, not sacred, not informed by the order of divine creation which we can know by the same natural law that tells us of our political rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.No, life is cheap, and short, and kind of sad, so it’s our job to make people as comfortable as we can. To yield the greatest number of pleasurable moments for the greatest number of voters, we need a big state that protects us from ourselves, guarantees our sexual “freedom,” and doesn’t rely on discredited virtues such as thrift, diligence, self-control or prudence.A party that believes that, and forms all its social and economic policies accordingly, will never let bishops graft onto it extraneous claims that unborn life is somehow sacred, and religious liberty more important than sexual liberation.
The left knows better — as John Podesta and company have made painfully clear. The progressive left cannot be appeased with support for open borders, big government, even actual socialism.
You will have to surrender marriage.
You will have to back abortion and like it.
We are in dire need of Muscular Priests. Warrior Bishops. Lay people willing to stand and 'Hold the Line'.You will have to worship the emperor.
We, and I include all people of good will and unsullied hearts, need to arm-up, practice their Holy Warcraft skills, and take back the City.
Here we had three in the Tavern showing us the way.
Drinks for each.