No finer time to be Catholic
AUSTIN RUSE writes that despite media outrage at the Church, this is our time . . .
Everyone knows there is a war going on in this country — a war on the Church, a war on religious believers, a war for souls: our individual souls and the soul of our country.
We grew up believing that we lived in a pluralistic society where Catholic, Protestant, Jew, believer and non-believer stood equal before each other and the state. Recent events have shown that this notion is now practically quaint. Not content with banning prayer in school, not content with chasing believers off of public land, the state now hounds religious believers in their personal and professional lives.
We may no longer live in a pluralistic society because now it seems we live under an official state religion. This official state religion does not allow pluralistic disagreement. This state religion pushes upon us a new god, a jealous god, an angry god who insists that our children take their pills, read and recite their sexual propaganda, and joyfully accept their dogmas — and that we should reach into our pockets and pay for it.
We look around and everywhere we see catastrophe. More than 1 million abortions a year. Marriage collapsing. The LGBT agenda on the march, including into our living rooms. Pornography exploding. And now we see the federal government encroaching dangerously on our freedom of religion, something guaranteed by our Constitution. Recent court decisions show that we may not practice our faith in ways once guaranteed to us. Now even nuns must pay for contraception.
But this makes sense. Writer William Gavin points out that ever since the French Revolution wherever the radical left has gained power, they have sought “to dismantle, destroy, marginalize, or make impotent the Roman Catholic Church,” the only institution in the world that has never waivered on protecting the unborn child and a proper understanding of marriage. The radical left cannot let this stand.
You may think my message is bleak and all that’s left to us is private devotion and despair. And none of that is my message. In fact, I say this is time for rejoicing. How blessed are we to be here now when everything seems lost. How blessed are we to be called by Him to defend his creation and Holy Mother Church right here, right now.
There is so much to be done and so few of us to do it. But in the present age of trouble I see haloes hanging from the lowest branches of the trees. All one need do is reach up and grab one!
There are models for us all around, for we have lived when great saints have walked the earth: John Paul II. Gianna Molla. Josemaría Escrivá. Mother Teresa. Padre Pio. Benedict Groeschel. We lived when they lived. You may not have noticed it, but we are living through an epoch unheard of in the history of our Church. In the span of only a few years, starting in 2004, this is what we saw:
We saw the release of The Passion of the Christ, a purely Catholic vision that literally swept the world. That same year, we saw a dissident Catholic running for president and a global debate broke out about the proper reception of the Eucharist. Within only a few months of that began the final sickness and death of our beloved John Paul the Great. His funeral was a global event. But that’s not all.
The world held its breath as we waited to know the new pope and the world celebrated the elevation of Benedict XVI. Not long after, our national debate over health care put the Catholic Church toe-to-toe with the president of the United States over the question of abortion.
And then Benedict stepped down, Francis was elevated, and practically everything he says is reported on the front pages around the world. I don’t believe we have ever seen the world gazing so intently and for so long upon our Holy Mother Church. The world is obsessed with us!
Some look at our present age of catastrophe and dream of other times, finer times, times where the faith was more widely lived, perhaps with torchlight processions through the streets. Some long for the 1950s. Some long for the Middle Ages.
But I say this: Never was there a finer time to be a faithful Catholic than right now. Our descendants will be envious that they could not be here with us when things may have looked bleak. But they will see this time was suffused with glory!
AUSTIN RUSE is president of the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam). This is an abridged version of the speech he gave at the 2015 Legatus Summit. To receive a copy of the talk, email him at: email@example.com.