Martyrdom and you.

Over at the National Catholic Register, Matthew Archbold has this sobering observation:

Preparing my Children for Martyrdom

I was looking at my children in Mass yesterday and a horrifying thought occurred to me. If I do my job well as a parent, my children may end up persecuted and/or in jail. That may be the best I can hope for at this point in 21st century America.
I prayed that their faith would be strong enough to resist a pro-death culture, a secular academia, an antagonistic media, and the pressure of a government out to separate faith from action.
Secularism isn’t just on the march, it’s positively doing a jig.
I’m not talking about troubled times ahead for my grandchildren’s children in some possible future. I’m talking about my kids. So revolutionary have been the recent changes in America that defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of holiness could very well lead to persecution in the very near future.
Are you in doubt?
In recent years:

[...]

You parents with children at home… what do you think of this?

I have often mentioned that we should all take care to be at least minimally prepared to make a move if we have to. I have also mentioned that I have been trying to get my head into a mental place wherein I may be able to deal with the circumstances of… well… let’s just say… being hunted down. While that may be the dimmest view of what is around the corner, I can’t help but think that things are -at the very least – changing really fast, and not in a good way.  Life as we know it is … not really as we knew it.  Is it?

And so, the question of martyrdom looms.

Each of us may be called on to give witness that brings suffering.

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170 Responses to Martyrdom and you.

  1. capchoirgirl says:

    After seeing how many people on facebook yesterday support gay marriage, and the vitrol aimed at those of us who don’t, I see this as a legitimate possibility. The fact that we believe what our religion teaches makes us bigots in their minds. For the first time I can clearly imagine a culture where any orthodox Christian is in deep trouble.

  2. Suz. from Oklah. says:

    I think about this every day and I know that this could be a reality for my family. Reading the lives of the Saints helps my kids to understand that they may be called to martyrdom. We are already feeling a financial martyrdom and my oldest daughter who will be starting college understands that there are certain fields that she cannot go into because of her faith (pharmacology, certain biological and science fields, etc.). We’re trudging along, but we have hope–hope that souls will be saved by whatever we have to endure.

  3. aladextra says:

    This is really difficult because it is challenging to both protect your children’s innocence and at the same time inoculate them against the culture which has accelerated its slide. It’s a tough balance.

  4. Pingback: The Narrow Way | Fr Stephen Smuts

  5. JacobWall says:

    Next step; “prove” that Christian persecutions were fabrications. This opens the door to justify further persecutions now.

    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-myth-of-persecution-candida-moss/1113746628

    “In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent …”

    This opens the door for them to tell us that current persecution is also a fabrication, simply another tool “employed … to silence dissent.” One day soon, a Christian in North America will land a lifetime in jail for refusing to deny his faith. The media will assure the people that the story is not true, but is only a distortion created as propaganda. The people will believe the media. And that’s when the fun begins …

  6. benedetta says:

    I think this is very accurate and I have the same worries. How to prepare, it’s a huge question. Do we prepare them to speak out and accept what comes, or to be prepared and know how to go underground?

  7. StJude says:

    I think about this often too.
    I was reading yesterday a town banned the word ‘Easter” because it may offend. Easter!.. the holiest day of our faith. Its already bad to say Merry Christmas.. I guess now Happy Easter will be bad and we will all be saying happy Egg and bunny day.
    Evil is on the prowl. Stay strong and pray.

  8. RosaMystica says:

    My fear is that my children will not have the freedom to bring up their children in the faith. They will be forced to allow them to be indoctrinated by the public school system. How will they raise the next generation of faithful Catholics?

  9. StJude says:

    Here is something else I read yesterday:
    “Florida Gov. Rick Scott is calling on the state university system chancellor to investigate a classroom lesson at Florida Atlantic University in which students were instructed to stomp on sheets of paper that had “Jesus” written on them.”

    Lord, I pray I am raising a son who would stand up to this.

  10. LarryW2LJ says:

    I read that post by Matt Archbold the other day. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking about for some time. In all my years, I never thought I would see society dragged down so far, so fast. It’s amazing how low we’ve sunk as a society in less than 100 years. We’ve gone from my parent’s generation – “The Greatest Generation” to simply ……. meh.

    I am in my mid-50s. Friends that I have known for a long time look upon me and treat me differently than they used to, because as my sister politely put it to me the other day, “You’re Conservative and you’re not shy about it”. I guess that’s true, but as I told her – it’s not so much that I’m Conservative as it is that I’m Catholic and not shy about it.

    I bought one of your “Catholic and Faithful – American and Free” car magnets, Fr. Z. Someone in my own parish parking lot came up to me and asked,”What is THAT supposed to mean?” My response was “What do you mean, “What is THAT supposed to mean? ….. you don’t know?” We started talking about the HHS mandate and how it’s an infringement on our Constitutional rights to Freedom of Religion. The amount of “low information” voters out there is truly astounding. People are willing to be spoon fed by the MSM and then just regurgitate it out. I owe a lot to the people in my life who taught me how to think for myself.

    My kids go to Catholic School – grades 6 and 7. God willing, we’re going to continue that on into Catholic high school. But their catechesis doesn’t begin or end there. I try to teach them what my mom taught me and what I learned from the good ol’ Baltimore Catechism, and the good Bernardine Sisters.

    As a family, we go to Mass every Sunday and all the Holy Days. I make sure they get to confession and receive the Eucharist as often as possible. I’m trying to get them into my habit of monthly confession, and thankfully, the school helps with that. They get exposed to sacramentals and know what some of them are. I do my best to “walk the walk” so that they have a firm foundation to reference to when times get rough in their lives in the future. It’s what my parents did for me; and now it’s my turn.

    The rest I have to leave in God’s Hands.

  11. Tim says:

    Candida Moss, whose book on the early Christian persecutions as an exaggerated myth is mentioned above, is a professor of theology at Notre Dame: http://theology.nd.edu/people/faculty/candida-r-moss/

  12. pfreddys says:

    WOW! What a great devotional picture. Where is it from? Who is the artist? Thank you.

  13. JacobWall says:

    As a parent, I believe the preparation that Matt Archibold describes is the best place to start; taking your children to mass, having them receive the sacraments, pray the rosary with them, etc. I’ve been taking my to pray the Stations of the Cross the Fridays of this lent.

    “You have died for love of me; / I will die for love of You and to please You.”

    What better preparation than this prayer? Even if physical martyrdom doesn’t come for them, they must learn to be spiritual martyrs (I’m not sure if “spiritual martyrs” is correct to say or not, but I think it gets the idea across.) And this will prepare them in the case that it does come physical martyrdom.

  14. An American Mother says:

    “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
    - Cardinal George

  15. Lisa says:

    I think about this often. My kids are still pretty little, so I can’t really even put them on their guard against all the filth out there, yet. All I can do is pray. And teach them about the saints, particularly those who suffered for their faith…

  16. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z, please tell us something about the image you used depicting Mt. 7:13-14. Who is the artist?

    I like to remind folks of that remark by Jesus. Unfortunately, most people today live as if the converse was true.

  17. DisturbedMary says:

    Candida Moss Curriculum Vitae: EDUCATION
    BA (Hons) University of Oxford (2000)
    MAR Yale Divinity School (2002)
    MPhil, MA Yale University (2004)
    PhD Yale University (2008)

    Do I smell a Protestant in the woodshed?

  18. jarhead462 says:

    I understand the sentiment expressed here, but as someone who volunteered to die for my country (as a U.S. Marine) I have no qualms about dying for my faith. However, I sense a bit of defeatism here. I am optimistic that while persecutions may be coming, we can still win the war.
    That being said, I’m willing to die. BUT I will not surrender of my own free will. The fight MUST be waged at all times, and in all places. I will not allow my children to be fed to the wolves without equipping them with not only the faith, but the ability to defend themselves, and the Church against all enemies of Christ by any means necessary.
    You must ensure that every inch of ground that the enemy takes extracts a horrific toll on THEM.
    If they come for the children, they will pay with their blood.
    But that’s me….
    Semper Fi!

  19. JayneK says:

    The trajectory in current events is pretty obvious to anyone with a basic knowledge of history. I have been telling my children for years that they are likely to face real persecution -as in their lives at stake – within their lifetimes. Even I might. Whenever we talk about the lives of martyrs, it is with a sense of “Pay attention; you could be in this situation some day.”

    Sometimes I encourage myself to face the minor fears, discomforts and inconveniences that I encounter from day to day by thinking of it as preparing myself for martyrdom. “If I get in the habit of turning to God now, in these small trials, perhaps I will do the right thing when faced with something harder,” I say to myself.

  20. cheerios in my pocket says:

    It is very sobering. As a parent of 4, ages 16-20, and knowing what was the single, predominant source in my life that nearly stole my soul from our Lord and our Faith–the media–my husband and I chose to not allow most of it through their 18th year. Tolkein was a prophet with his pallenteer (sp?)…Hollywood, recording artists (and I use the term lightly), tv, newspapers and reporters via tv, etc. 99% junk which is meant to distort their minds–they let us see only what they want us to see, perverting Truth. For our children, give them the good soil, ground them in the treasures of our faith, for once they know Truth, Goodness and Beauty, they will reject, for the most part, Satan. We were blessed to homeschool our 2 eldest through 9th grade, and then even more blessed to have The Lyceum School (within 45 minutes to an hour drive–not exactly around the corner but worth every sacrifice) for 3 high school years. It was provided by God at the right moment for their lives. They know they may someday stand completely alone among the throng…at that moment and every moment in between, I pray they remain steadfast for our Almighty God and His Church.

    I pray daily for them and for all souls. I pray daily for my younger 2 children with autism and other special needs. It appears that their martyrdom will come through denied healthcare because our culture equates dignity with utility/usefulness vs. dignity because they are created in the image and likeness of God.

    I also try to not remain silent especially in matters of Canon 915 (Fr.Z, remember that widow who will not leave that judge alone). Yesterday, ChurchMilitant.tv had a special report about Palm Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral where Cardinal Dolan distributed our Lord’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, to VP Biden. This is the Mocking of Christ.

  21. JacobWall says:

    It’s all to easy to forget that martyrdom is not a thing of the past. I think I read somewhere that the 20th century saw more martyrs than the 19 centuries before it combined. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, or if I’m simply remembering poorly, but in any case, persecution is alive and well.

    One of the most extreme cases was very close to home – the Mexican Cristero War. 99,000 dead. Not all are “martyrs” because, from what I understand, those dying in battle are not counted. But still, they went to war because they were being slaughtered. (Just wait for Candida Moss, our wonderful theology professor at a Catholic university, as Tim pointed out, to show the world that this too was a fabrication.)

    It’s also easy to forget that the Cristeros basically died fighting the very values that our current governments and society uphold. The difference was that the Cristeros had modern liberalism forced on them aggressively and suddenly. They fought back. We’ve had it introduced to us slowly and nicely, in schools, through media, etc. and so we’re quite comfortable with it.

    Religion only on Sundays, nicely closed up in the church, no public displays of faith, instituted anti-clericalism etc. The Cristeros were willing to take up arms and die to fight this. We as “modern” Christians seem to prefer things this way and choose it by our own free will.

    It’s not the governments that will make the first move. It will be when enough Christians wake up, see what’s happening and refuse to go along with it. Then the government will look to Plutarco Calles as an example. Of course, it will be the Christians who will be villainized; “They went along with it for so many decades. Obviously it was OK then, so it should be OK now.”

  22. C. Dupre says:

    The best way to proceed is in faith, hope, and charity! Whether we die as internal martyrs only, or external as well, the Most High will give us (and our children) the graces necessary, through Jesus and Mary, to accomplish whatever it is He wishes.

    But I can tell you this much; we’re not going down without a fight. The days of rolling over and taking it in the back are finished.

  23. rhhenry says:

    I have often thought about how I would react if called upon to be a martyr, and how that would affect my wife and our four children (three born, one unborn).

    But thinking about raising future martyrs? That’s a terrifying thought — it’s hard to “wish” that upon my children. This will require a *lot* of prayer . . .

  24. JohnE says:

    My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this summer and it got me to thinking about how blessed I’ve been to have been born into this family, to have a mom and dad, and to be given the gift of the Catholic faith. Despite their faithfulness and good example, my siblings have a lukewarm faith or have fallen away from the Church altogether. Same thing with most of my cousins who were also raised in the Catholic faith. It makes me wonder, if I have grandchildren, if they will be faithful and devout Catholics. I am increasingly striving to not only raise good children, but good parents for future grandchildren.

    Educational choice is threatened, removed, or made impracticable. The culture increasingly looks with disdain and mockery on religion and moral truths. It preaches acceptance of anything except moral truths and demands conformity. If the contrived emotional appeals do not convince you, since reason is not on their side, political means are used to enforce conformity.

    The enemy is powerful, but “where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” And we sure need it.

  25. jasoncpetty says:

    I have often mentioned that we should all take care to be at least minimally prepared to make a move if we have to.

    LOL, somewhere to go. That’s what America was invented for. Our Constitution has been trashed owing to our nation’s foundational sin, slavery (this gave us the Civil War, which wrecked the state-federal balance in favor of the latter), and its residual sin, racism (this gave us the Warren Court, which carried the imbalance even further)—the end result is not a laboratory of the several states, but a race to the bottom, a lowest-common denominator of morality in which state with the worst morals is federally-mandated the pattern for the other 49.

    Once we aren’t any longer permitted to be who we are in public, well, there will be nowhere to go, Father. Not in America, anyway. This is why the secessionists may sound crazy—and of course their chief rhetoricians largely are—but the idea is that people who want the freedom to live as they always have should have somewhere to go.

  26. HobokenZephyr says:

    I’m on the line with Jarhead462. Semper Fi!

    My kids are small, so my wife and I are working the basic building blocks right now. [Sidebar: The oldest makes his First Holy Communion on April 27 & I am amazed at how much more serious he has become about Mass et al since he made his first Confession last month!]

    They’ll be trained to defend the Faith, the Church, the weak and themselves — each with force as necessary.

    I almost pity the wolf who comes to my door. My father, my DI and my Gunny trained me very well. Remember Mattathias.

  27. Marie Veronica says:

    I’m so glad Pat Archibold put these thoughts in writing. I’m haunted by this also. The marriage debate has seeped into every crevice. Explicit, outrageous images are being fired at children constantly as part of this propaganda. My 7 year old son asked me, “What are those two guys doing?” in a poster that was on display in a local store. It is nothing but violence aimed at the soul and it is twisting so many minds along the way.

    I’ve openly talked to my two oldest kids about increasing Catholic persecution (abortion, and the abuse of marriage) in clear terms. I ‘ve told them the goal of life is to get to Heaven. Stay close to Christ in the sacraments. Pray the rosary. Pray for those who don’t know the Lord, to turn to Him. Witness the Gospel in your choices, actions, words. Show others God’s love. God is Love. People are deeply wounded by sin and do lots of things that are hurtful to themselves and to others.

    We center our lives around Catholic liturgical rhythms and I reinforce their Catholic schooling as best I can (books, devotional practices, parish activities for service and charity) They love the Faith.

    I warn them about the stupidity on TV, radio, the Internet. I am blunt, “We don’t watch that stuff because it’s idiotic, empty and ugly and it will hurt your mind, heart and soul. You have to protect those things like you’d guard your life. If some else is watching it, walk away. You have a brain and a will.”

    My heart is weighted down at times. I look at them and their bright, innocent faces. I know how ugly it will be for them. The people they will meet as teens and adults are being formed very differently. It’s already tense in workplaces,social settings, families, where the state approved double-think is “Catholic = bigot. You must assent. Be assimilated or….(fill in means of persecution).”

  28. JacobWall says:

    @jarhead426,

    ” I am optimistic that while persecutions may be coming, we can still win the war … If they come for the children, they will pay with their blood.” I believe this was the sentiment of the Cristeros!

    I agree with you that we can’t be defeatist. History shows that there are defeats and victories. We have by no means been defeated yet. We must be prepared to be defeated if it comes to that, but we must also be prepared to fight and for victory should it be given to us. We do have to be careful that simply seeing a battle coming (which is where we are no) doesn’t mean defeat is coming with it.

    This is not just about physical persecution. I know Catholics and Christians who are very critical of bishops who stand up against the government on issues like abortion. More dangerous than defeat is a complacent “going along with the flow,” avoiding offending anyone. Either victory or defeat is better than this. For victory or even defeat there must first be a battle. Otherwise we’re just joining the enemy.

  29. Jeannie_C says:

    I am reminded of a blog published by an ordered nun in the U.K. where many of her anglican “friends” often post negative comments of their opinion of Catholicism, where the belief that the Reformation hardly affected Catholics in that country at all, that life went on much as before with little fuss – and she doesn’t challenge their statements!!! In one such post a priest of the Ordinariate stated that the R.C. Church needed to come ’round to the way of thinking of anglicans (???) I believe there are often opportunities for persecution of our faith disguised as ecumenism, where on the one hand we are warned against relativism, yet urged to reach out to members of schism, their members in turn urging us to give up, give in. The pressure is there, the danger is real.

  30. pledbet424 says:

    May God grant me courage…that is what is lacking.

  31. Monica says:

    Marie Veronica, I’m with you.

  32. mamajen says:

    “Don’t Panic”, “Keep calm and carry on”, etc. the world can fall to pieces, but that doesn’t change my responsibility as a Catholic and as a parent. It may get very difficult, but if I let myself worry about the state of things, I can’t focus on finding a way to adapt and keep going. History has shown us that things have been as bad, if not much worse, before. There is nothing truly unique about the times we live in.

    I do hope that, if it ever came down to it, my sons would choose martyrdom over compromise. I watched “For Greater Glory” a few months ago and it tore my heart out and stomped on it, but I was so proud of the little boy. I have dealt with persecution in a rather mild sense myself in recent years. I have been treated in hateful ways by relatives and “friends” (in some cases being cut out of their lives entirely) for speaking out against President Obama, for example. I have also been saddened and disappointed to see so many of the people who raised me with such conviction just give up as they’ve grown older, and support others in their spiritually dangerous decisions. They tell me that I have to love everyone no matter what and I can’t judge, because that’s what Jesus wants. I hope that I never “mellow with age”.

    I won’t isolate my sons. When the time is appropriate, they will have the world’s problems explained to them in a matter-of-fact way, and they will be taught what the Church teaches about those issues. They won’t be taught to hate or fear people who make the wrong decisions. I hope that I can instill a love of God and the Church, and a healthy curiosity so that they always seek out the truth no matter what they encounter in the world. I hope they will be a good example and an inspiration for others who simply haven’t had the same love and guidance in their lives. And I hope, if ever faced with martyrdom, they would realize what is most important (but I also hope that they will have put up a fight first).

  33. ocalatrad says:

    I agree that the spectre of persecution is very real but why let it get to that point? We need to stand strong in our certainty and belief as Catholics and work hard NOW before things really go south. And that means telling the venomous secularists to take a hike. They’re all cowards. All they can do is cry to the Supreme Court to pass measures from above. Their ideology is sterile and incommunicable to sound minds and souls. I had my fill in university and realize more and more what an Alice in Wonderland atmosphere these enemies of God live in.

  34. Random Friar says:

    Perhaps we need to re-stress Confirmation as a kind of spiritual toughening, to make us miles Christi, giving us the grace to face our fears and enemies as Christians.

    In other news, in California, two people brought suit against the city of Lancaster, because they opened their sessions with prayer, and that they found praying using the name of Jesus, wait for it… “offensive.”

    The mayor pointed out that anyone can come and offer a prayer. That they’d had Hindus, Buddhists and Wiccans offer the invocation. This was not part of the suit.

  35. jasoncpetty says:

    I also like the standard response when normal people point out the likelihood of persecution for those standing in the way of today’s morality: “Oh, that is never going to happen, don’t be so concerned, just accept the changes! But, I mean, if it did happen, that’s what bigots like you deserve.”

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    Man is the only creature than can see what lies ahead and yet does nothing but wander forward.

    The Chicken

  37. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Russia will be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but “It will be late.” It has NOT happened yet, as Our Lady asked, but skirted around by various popes, even my beloved Pope Pius XII. Will it take martyrdom and the destruction of nations before we listen to the Blessed Mother and her Son’s Sacred Heart?

  38. Cranky Old Man says:

    Aeneid II.353-354

    moriamur et in media arma ruamus.
    una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem.

  39. Marie Veronica says:

    Correction to my post… Matthew Archibold, not Pat.

  40. AnnAsher says:

    I have two inspiring children (19 and 11) who openly express a willingness for martyrdom. Me? I’m trying to get my head around surviving and what needs to be done to survive.

  41. cheerios in my pocket says:

    Mamajen…dear one, I’m 56 years and I believe there is a lot unique in the world we live.

    The bombardment is non-stop. There has never been a time that communication could reach multitudes so quickly and in such different means — instantly! I recall a talk given perhaps 10 years ago of tvs having been placed in gas stations for people to watch while pumping. Bombarded! I have never watched Chris Mathews, yet I have heard his name mentioned more in the past year than Pope Benedict XVI. I don’t even watch tv.

    Why do I share this? You said, I won’t isolate my sons. Uncertain what you mean, I would say maybe not isolate, but rather protect them from the bombardment of evil. Additionally, I will share that those who chose to homeschool their children vs. those who sent them to not-so-Catholic schools, even though those families are faithfully and even profoundly Catholic, are struggling with children who have fallen away rather quickly. There is always hope for every soul to return, for I am living proof. But shield your sons who are innocents…that is giving them what Immaculate Mary gave to Jesus. Do not allow the evil that is rampant take their precious souls.

  42. ReginaMarie says:

    After having recently studied St. John Fisher with our children, the children were discussing where we might create a ‘priest hole’ in our home should the need arise to hide & fugitive priest…

  43. Genevieve says:

    Father, when I read Archbold’s piece yesterday, Matthew 24:19 kept running through my head. “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days!” Truthfully, I pray that Jesus will come and destroy the world before my two children, 2 and 10 months, are grown and are put to the test.

  44. mamajen says:

    @cheerios in my pocket

    I guess in some ways I do isolate my sons. One of them is still in the womb, so I don’t have a choice there, LOL! As for my four-year-old, well he isn’t allowed to watch the ridiculous TV shows that many other kids watch, I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, and we opted to skip pre-school. However he will be heading to kindergarten at our local public school this fall (for a variety of reasons), he will be allowed to have friends who are not Catholic, etc. People told my parents that I was “done for” when they pulled me from Catholic school in 2nd grade and sent me to public school instead. I was “done for” again when I went to a large state university rather than a tiny Catholic college. And maybe some people thought I was “done for” when I dated and married an Anglican (now a very good Catholic). The foundation I was given (and I am sure the guidance of my guardian angel and grace from God) saw me through, and I often think about the important experiences I would have missed had my parents attempted to shelter me from the world like some people pressured them to do.

    With all due respect, 56 years in the grand scheme of history is hardly a blip on the radar. You’re right–we have technology that has never been seen before, but society has managed to find ways to go very, horribly, wrong without it. The devil is very powerful, and he is nothing new. I don’t mean to dismiss the problems we face, which are very real and awful, but they’re not a reason to curl up and despair and wait for Jesus to show up. My sons will be trained for battle (hopefully only figuratively), and they will know the enemy well.

  45. Elizabeth M says:

    My children are 2 and 1. At their Baptism I had them consecrated the Immaculate Heart. My job is not to keep them from being martyrs, but to prepare them stand up for the Faith at all costs. We are not a family that runs away from a fight. Make the tools of our battle always at the ready. Read to them examples of modern Saints who shed their blood. For me, I pray that I have courage if I am asked to die for Christ. Only God knows what future he planned and I will not dwell on what I cannot control. Some of us are called to hide & pray. Pray for the rest of us who fight the battle daily and must encounter the enemy face to face in our neighbor. Pray for the priests that they set a good example for us. Their courage and sacrifice is what will keep the Church militant going.
    I was very disheartened to see a few of my Catholic friends post that they are supporting gay marriage. How do you tell them in a charitable way they are wrong? They clearly are not listening to the bishops.

  46. netokor says:

    No matter what happens, we are not alone. Jesus assured us He would be with us always til the end of time. The most difficult part of the battle for me will be trusting those words absolutely, especially when loved ones are threatened. But God will not deny us the Grace we will need. And we know Who is the Victor in the end. God bless everyone!

  47. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Just a few days ago, I mentioned on another blog that our opportunity for martyrdom is fast approaching. While we as Catholics live our lives for the next world, I feel especially bad for those of the faithful with children. No parent wants to see their children suffer chastisement, persecution and death. Many of you will see too clearly what our Blessed Mother and her Son endured, and experience the same trials as Christ did yourself.

    Among our worst enemies is the mainstream media. It’s deceitful, vicious and everywhere 24/7. Most people are without the smarts, caring or integrity to do anything more than swallow and regurgitate whatever the media feeds them without doing any due diligence, or thinking about issues any more deeply than their shallow emotions.

    Revisionist history and revisionist current events will continue to stifle the truth about our persecution, and of course, the Truth as well. When the March for Life barely gets any MSM coverage each year, and the little coverage there is is so distorted, when the pro-traditional rallies in France are largely not covered, how can we spread the truth, much less rally support? How long do you think Catholic and orthodox Christian and other pro-life, pro-traditional marriage blogs will be allowed to function? The day that this blog and many, many others will be shut down for being “hateful, ” the day that what Fr. Z shares on this blog will be considered criminal and so on is very likely coming. I’m not trying to be defeatist, I am simply being realistic based on recent past and current trends.

    Considering the liberal field in which I work, I’ve been – for me – surprisingly open about my faith. My co-workers know I attend church regularly. I made a point of getting ashes on Ash Wednesday prior to going to work, and when the co-worker who told me years ago, “I hate Christians,” (as part of a conversation and not directly specifically at me) told me that I had dirt on my forehead (she really did think it was dirt), I smiled and told her that it was Ash Wednesday. She laughed and said, “Oh, okay.” Perhaps my co-workers are more accepting of me, even aside from their personal beliefs, because we’re in a rural area where confrontation isn’t the norm. Perhaps they think that I’m a “liberal” Catholic. Or maybe they really do like me and are able to put aside any disagreements they have with my faith or my politics. (I’ve voiced my dislike of Obama, unusual in my field, and I did this after a co-worker told me he thought differently of two other co-workers who were going to vote Republican. Don’t give me any pats on the back. I am hoping I can keep this up under worse conditions.) It’s likely I’d have different reactions if I worked at our branch in a major city.

    I pray that wherever I move next, I will have the comfort, especially as a single person, of a faithful Catholic community with whom to see the darker days ahead, and, I, so poorly raised in the faith, be blessed with the courage and grace to accept persecution and martyrdom. There is an intangible natural balance and order in this world; evil regimes and their power eventually fade or are overthrown. I just don’t think I’ll see that in the next 30 years or so that I might have left.

  48. JKnott says:

    It’s good to know we are on the right side. Something I just read by Don Bosco:
    “I never gave up! I said to the boys: “The courage of the wicked depends on the fear in which others regard them. Be brave, and you’ll see how they wilt.” A French benefactor from Lyons sent me a holy picture with a phrase I’ve never forgotten because it served as a guide: “Be with God like the sparrow that feels the branch shake but still continues to sing, knowing that it has wings.” It wasn’t just a poetic expression, but an act of courageous confidence in the Lord’s Providence, because he alone “is the master of our hearts.”

  49. john_6_fan says:

    I have five young children, and think about this often. Things are happening so fast. I think my greatest fear is my children being forcefully taken from me, and put in “correct thinking” foster homes that will attempt to undo the “damage” my wife and I have done.

  50. StJude says:

    The latest on the Jesus Stomp: “A Florida Atlantic University student who filed a complaint against his professor after he was ordered to stomp on the name of Jesus has been brought up on academic charges by the school and may no longer attend class, according to documents obtained by Fox News”

    See what happens when you stand up for whats right? Pray folks.

  51. Joseph-Mary says:

    Many faithful young Catholic families are raising their children with an eye to the possibility of martyrdom. They are even naming their children after martyrs: Anastasia, Cecilia, Lucy, Peter, etc.

    I chose Agnes for my confirmation name at the age of 10. I wanted to be like her—brave, in love with Christ, and willing to die for her faith. I wanted to be like her then and I want to be like her now.

    The desire for martyrdom is a Franciscan charism, by the way.

  52. Lavrans says:

    I have very young children. When the hate and violence comes, I will stand my ground and protect my family with my life. It is my job as a Catholic husband and father. Christ never said it was going to be easy. I have to rely on His grace as we will not run, but we will not give in either. Turning the cheek does not mean surrender. It means standing firm in the truth, even if that costs us our earthly lives.

  53. The Masked Chicken says:

    I posted a link about the Florida student last week, sigh.

    http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2013/03/that_hideous_strength_comes_to.html

    The Chicken

  54. chantgirl says:

    Matthew Archbold has expressed my inner fear as of late. In prayer this Lent, I had the terrible feeling that perhaps I was raising lambs for the slaughter. What courage it takes to even bring a child into this world, knowing that the spiritual dangers are very real and that the eternal stakes are very high. I wonder if the Jews in Germany felt the same way in the 1920s and 1930s or if they were surprised at how quickly they went from the tolerated second-class citizen status to persecuted enemy. Faithful Catholics now fall into the second-class citizen category, and the descent into persecuted enemy could come for us as well. Yes, man has done horrible things in the past, but we now have the ability to do so much more damage, and we have less ability to go off the grid. If persecution comes for us, we will not have a safe haven to which to flee. I sense a sifting is coming, and I pray for courage, virtue and focus. Every Mass during the Offertory I bring all of my loved ones in spirit before the altar and beg God to save them.

  55. Lepidus says:

    Remember the words of Jesus as well: Luke 22:36. This one little phrase is often conveniently neglected by the Happy-Clappy-Jesus-Was-A-Hippie group. In fact, I once had to whip out a Bible to prove to priest that He actually said it.

  56. Priam1184 says:

    This society, all of Western Civilization, is in its death throes and those who lead it and those who love it have slammed their feet down on the gas pedal in the race toward the pit of destruction. I don’t know if this is prelude to the End of Days (only God the Father knows that so it is useless to speculate) but I do know that people’s love is growing cold, as my love had been cold as ice for most of my life. Just pray, and pray, and pray, and do works of heartfelt charity: charity, charity, charity. If that includes shedding one’s blood in order expiate the sins of one’s persecutors then it does, though I admit I do cringe when presented with that possibility. But I have more difficulty with the long period of rejection, betrayal, and loneliness that would precede any violent persecution. I am concerned that this is when the devil would lay his hands on me.

  57. timothyputnam says:

    Last night my family (children aged 5, 3.5, 2 & 1 mo) sat down to watch “A Man for All Seasons.” Afterward, I prayed, “Saint Thomas More, pray for us to the Lord our God, that in the time of public pressure, He would grant that we might have a measure of your shrewd speech and your stalwart faith, that we might escape entrapment and, when we have come to our end, that we might boldly profess the true faith, even unto death.”

    We instill as much faith into our little ones as we can now- reading the daily readings, attending mass often, modeling confession – because we know that at any moment they may be robbed of our influence by martyrdom or accident.

    For those that say it can’t happen here, how quickly did the tide turn against Catholics in Henry VIII’s England? “This isn’t Spain, this is England…” and yet, how quickly did martyrdom follow.

  58. Marcello says:

    Which is all the more reason why we need a forceful, strong, “in-your-face” Holy Father who will, to use a hackneyed cliche, “speak Truth to power” with all the influence, vigor and power of his office. We had that in Pope John Paul II, do we have it in Francis? I’m not so sure, but I am praying otherwise.

  59. MikeM says:

    In line with what Timothyputnam said, I’ve remarked before that I’m less concerned about being killed than about the steady exertion of soft pressure.

    Perhaps only because I’m a bull-headed contrarian, I suspect that if given the choice to renounce Jesus Christ or eat lead, I’d willfully insist on the latter option. It’s the steady marginalization, the flow of small moments where I think “well, it’s just a small compromise… And think of the benefits!” that make me worry about my strength. I hope that, amidst fear of the “worst,” we’re all able to stay on guard against the steady incremental advances of the “well, that’s not THAT bad.”

  60. RR says:

    I think the situation is worse. The cost of faith today is not necessarily martyrdom in the public square, a tremendous act of faith. Rather, it is small cuts here and there:

    Do I stick up for my faith today or be quiet about it?

    Do I wear my cross at work or take it off from now on?

    Do I teach my kids about the faith during the week or avoid the awkwardness given all the negative things they hear about Catholic teachings and just try to make it to Mass on Sunday.

    Do we take time out from our vacation to go to Mass on Sunday or just let it go because it would be uncool?

    These little cuts are how faith is tied down and crushed bit by bit, much more than hauling priests to prison and martyrdom.

  61. LarryW2LJ says:

    StJude (Jude is my middle name and St. Jude is my Patron Saint) and Chicken,

    Just heard on the radio that the governor of Florida stepped into the fray regarding the FAU student. The student has been given an apology, re-instated and will be allowed to finish the course with a different professor. Nothing will appear on his permanent record.

    In addition, the professor, (who is also the Vice Chair of the Palm County Democratic Organization – imagine that!) is under investigation and is liable to disciplinary action.

  62. Priam1184 says:

    MikeM is definitely correct. What we must be prepared for is the slow martyrdom of doing the right thing every day of the week without regard for the cost. And if we fail to live up to that on a given day (which we all will) then to have the courage to repent and start all over again. If we can do that then we will be much better prepared for the big one if that ever comes. Thank you An American Mother for that quote from Cardinal George. A nice reminder of the need to have hope.

  63. DavidJ says:

    As a parent of two boys and two girls, I admit much apprehension in the way things are going. I have faith that right will eventually prevail. I just don’t want to see my children as casualties along the way, that is, falling away due to the attacks on the faith. That scares me.

  64. jeremyschwager says:

    I am a father of a 22 month old son and an unborn daughter. The way things are going though, the martyrdoms may begin in my lifetime. Obviously I don’t want that, but I could see it happening. I think people are deluding themselves to think it couldn’t happen here because there is a Christian majority in this country. (If that is even still true). Being a majority didn’t save the Christian martyrs in Russia or France. We should be prepared.

  65. Dennis Martin says:

    For Jarhead462 and those echoing his thoughts.

    1. No, what I see on this thread is not defeatism. I think it’s hardheaded, dare I say, jarheaded, realism. When the signs are pessimistic it is imprudent to be optimistic. Hope we can and must preserve at all costs and at all times. But optimism and pessimism are rational matters and we are to be as clever as serpents and gentle as doves.

    2. Resisting militarily. Jarhead raises a very important issue, one for which I have no answer. But I will point out one thing: they want exactly the sort of response that Jarhead describes. They are salivating at the prospect of one of us fighting back with firearms. They already have had a half-dozen strategic reports drawn up p0rtraying conservatives in general and pro-life social conservatives in particular as mentally unbalanced violent aggressors.

    Never matter that it’s false. Some of them actually believe it, others are using it as a cynical ploy.

    Either way, the first time any of us fight back in that manner, it will be splashed all over the media to justify to the low-information voters the (false) claim that we are domestic terrorists and may be put down by any means (and I mean any means–the courts will not protect us) necessary.

    Therefore, while we still have a brief window to think and plan ahead, I urge those with the experience and knowledge of things military to help us all think through these things.

    But the first thing that has to be thought through is how to think it through. The data-mining technologies are escalating so rapidly and the political landscape is shifting so rapidly that it needs to be assumed that anything you write in these and other comboxes can and is being monitored. I’m old and useless and they already have a file on me as long as Nancy Pelosi’s Pinocchio nose.

    But we need to think about how we communicate off-the-grid and then also how best to resist.

    There will be riots in the cities. The beautiful churches like St. John Cantius will come under attack because there will be a Kristallnacht, sooner or later. How can we defend them? Is it even possible to defend them?

    Can our way of life be preserved to some degree in some states rather than others? Can, will some states band together to resist the Federales? Are they capable of resisting or, in our day, with armed drones and Big Brother monitoring of every move everyone makes, is that sort of resistance futile?

    None of the above means that we give up on electoral and judicial defense of our way of life and beliefs.

    It is, however, an attempt to be prudent. Those who have military experience have a very important role to play but right now their role is to help people think through what is possible, what is prudent, and how to do it.

    I have no answers. Only hope.

  66. Yes, Father, we are preparing our children (3 boys: 18, 15 & 13) for the real possibility of persecution and martyrdom; the idea of moving to/creating a ‘constitutional village’ has also come up recently.

    Here are a few of the ways we are trying to build up our spiritual muscles as a family:
    Continued frequent daily Mass (part of home school) with frequent confession. Reading good books. Discussing. My husband is reading the books of Maccabees aloud to us.
    He calls us together morning and evening for reading a Psalm, and we began praying our daily rosary together as a family, rather than privately as individuals.
    We wear our scapulars. Our holy water fonts are full, and visited often (nightly blessings for the boys now include holy water). Our TV is off. The (under 18) boys do not use social media. We limit other anesthetizing entertainment (video games) to rare occasions.
    We travel some distance to attend the EF Mass several times each month.
    We shifted the boys’ home school curriculum to include Great Books readings, on my husband’s inspiration.

    Many of these are relatively new practices. We have picked them up in ‘ones and twos’ as we sense and respond to God’s call to ‘be prepared.’ You, Father Z., are a great and a courageous voice for truth, and we pray God will continue to bless you in your ministry and protect you from harm. May we all increase our prayers, fasting and sackcloth, repeating, “Jesus, I trust in you!”

    “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.” ~Jesus (Mark 13: 37)

  67. jarhead462 says:

    HobokenZephyr : Hear, Hear!
    BTW- I was born in Hoboken :)
    Semper Fi!

  68. kford says:

    Sending my 18 year old son off to be a religious, and someday (God willing) a priest was like sending him off to war. But, I trust in God and His Providence, and I trust in the protection of Our Lady and the angels. And yet, sometimes I wonder who will have the more dangerous path– he, or the remaining kids who will probably not pursue a life as a formal religious, and who will have to traverse this blurry line between the sacred and the secular? In either case, martrydom (whether white or red) will most assuredly be a part of their lives.

  69. Gemma says:

    What ifs… So many what ifs are coming true lately. Having homeschooled all the way thru I encourage moms today to live in the present moment. Teach your children to love truth. Pray for that every day. Pray that they be everything God wants them to be. There are saints who have kept hidden and saints who have spoken out. That is a very personal thing. Always show your children the very best of their faith and start as soon as possible. But above all live in the now and do everything for the love of God and teach your children to do the same. Fr.Paul of Moll told a servant girl in Antwerp once “Before eating, sleeping, opening or closing a door, or any other action, always have the intention of doing all for the love of Jesus. In this way you will continually reap a rich harvest for heaven. ” This has kept me out of trouble many days when the future seemed grim. Another help as been Fr. Lasance”s prayerbook , “One Little Secret of a Happy Life” #8.

  70. Dennis Martin says:

    One additional thought:

    With Jarhead, I am hopeful we can win the war. However, one way that the war may have to be won is by martyrdom. It may perhaps be won without martyrdom, by a religious revival and reversal electorally and judicially of the trajectory we are on. May God grant us the grace of that way out.

    But it may also be that the only way out is through the fire. We don’t know and we have to prepare for either path.

    It is true that martyrdom was not constant the first 300 years. I don’t know exactly what Moss’s book is arguing. Some folks have the impression of constant, pervasive persecution. In truth, persecution was sporadic, local, often incited by mob violence and animosities and tensions in a given city or region, until 250 AD. The first systematic persecution began then and for the next 75 years it was intense, though even then there were lulls in it.

    If that’s all Moss is saying, then she’s right. But she may be saying something else.

    We need to be sure we understand that history. The 75 years of persecution (“only” sixty in the Latin empire) were terrible, for sure. So was 70 years under the Communists in Russia and approaching 70 years under the Communists in China and North Korea. And who knows what the next 70 years will bring in the Islamic Caliphate.

  71. lucy says:

    We are the parents of five children ages 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. We’ve home schooled them for the last 9 years. We teach them that martyrdom may be coming. They read the saint’s stories and I ask that they pay particular attention to those that were martyred. I feel the same things that many have stated in this post. It’s particularly frightening to think that the children could be taken from us. We’ve made some plans for bugging out if needs be, but really, where can one hide these days? I worry not only about authorities but also about gangs in our area. If civil unrest broke out the more than 100 gangs here would take over. It’s very scary, indeed.

    Pray and don’t worry. I have to live on that phrase by St. Pio. Teach them, raise them up as they should go and hope for the best.

  72. mamajen says:

    @Gemma

    I love your attitude! Very much agree.

  73. Giuseppe says:

    I know I am a naive optimist by nature (the Cubs can still win a world series, I just know it), I am schocked at the apocolyptic nature of the posts here re. inevitable martyrdom of Roman Catholics in the US.

    Yes, there will be gay marriage. No, Churches will not be forced to celebrate them or to water down theology to accomodate them.
    Yes, the US will still have some form of abortion. No one will be forced to have one.

    But yes, the number of Orthodox Christians will diminish steadily, not due to martyrdom, but due to the lure of secularism.

    Having lived as a foreigner in another country, being a minority in a society does not have to be catastrophic. The US is filled with such religious groups who are quite vibrant (Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Amish, etc.)

    This is a church that survived Rome. This is a church that survived the Ottomans. This is a church that survived Galileo. This is a church that surived Luther. This is a church that survived Darwin. This is a church that survived Nazism, Communism, and Stalinism. This is a church that will survive secularism. Frankly, the secularists already think the Catholic Church is passe. They will not martyr Christians, they’ll just ignore them.

  74. PA mom says:

    My children?
    When I was small, I used to be terrified of the end of the world. Now, I would welcome that to the persecution of my own children.

  75. donato2 says:

    The risk of persecution is high, and here’s why: the premise of the dictatorship of relativism is that ego (I think it, therefore it is true) and power determine truth. For those who accept this premise, it is logical to destroy opposition to what they desire. On top of this, there is the dangerous precedent of racial discrimination. We correctly ostracize racists. It is correct to do so because racism is objectively wrong. But if society is going to ostracize a group based on the group’s belief, society had better be right that the belief is wrong. If society makes a mistake in this regard, the result is a persecution. That is what is happening with the marriage issue. Proponents of marriage are being ostracized not for a maintaining a wrong, but for maintaining what is true. This is the recipe for a persecution.

  76. Charlotte Allen says:

    @ Jacob, Tim, and Mary: What Candida is saying is actually something to which nearly all historians of early Christianity agree, including Rodney Stark, in his wonderful “Rise of Christianity” that Pope Benedict XVI praised: That the persecution of Christians was sporadic, local, and relatively rare until about 250 A.D. It was technically treasonous on the books (why exactly is a matter of scholarly dispute, but the consensus seems to be that Christianity presented a threat to the Roman state), but few emperors got actively involved until the reigns of Decius, Valerian, and finally, during the early fourth century, Diocletian, when the number of Christians (still a relatively small minority in the empire) reached a critical mass. Then you started to see large-scale persecutions aimed at eliminating Christianity as imperial policy. For that reason, the actual number of martyrs was always small. It was no fun to be a martyr in any event (although you were revered after–and even before–your death), so most Christians just lay low or signed whatever they had to sign to attest that they weren’t Christians, then repented later. But during the long periods between Roman persecutions, Christians built churches, wrote books, and steadily increased their numbers.

    I think that the “myth” of persecution to which Candida is referring is a commonly held myth that persecutions steadily rained like hail upon Christians until Constantine’s Edict of Milan, forcing them to practice their religion underground–in the Catacombs, literally–and in strict secrecy on pain of arrest and death, so that for nearly 300 years the Roman Empire was like Mexico at the time of the Cristeros. This is certainly what I believed as a child, my head filled with the heroic tales of the martyrs that the nuns at our parochial school used to tell.

    Where I would disagree with Candida is in her conclusion that modern-day American Christians like to invoke that myth in order to portray themselves as victims of government policies. But I don’t think they’re invoking ancient Rome so much as the very real efforts to stamp out Christianity that occurred on a massive scale in communist countries during the twentieth century and that continue in Islamic countries right now. Those are persecutions that Candida herself agrees are quite genuine, so I’m not sure why she has felt it necessary to revisit ancient Rome in order to construct an argument, except maybe to suggest by analogy that the fears of today’s American Christians are overblown. Only time will tell if this is the case.

    My own feelings about martyrdom are summed up in this quotation from one of Flannery O’Connor’s stories: “She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.”

  77. RR says:

    The death by a thousand cuts problem also must somehow be resisted by priests and bishops.

    Instead of insisting on discipline, talking about hard issues, and making tough decisions, why not sweep it under the rug when the capital campaign is coming up? Wouldn’t want to have a lot of parishioners leave and be reassigned to the backwater parish as a result.

    This too is how faith erodes. The Anglican Communion priests and bishops already tried the “don’t rock the boat too much” approach and heresy became so rampant that little was left of theological rigor. In the long run it led to empty churches and a fatally divided communion.

  78. netokor says:

    Cheerios, thanks for mentioning Voris’s special report on Biden receiving Holy Communion under Cardinal Dolan’s undutiful watch. That’s why I admire Voris so much. He is one who is forcefully–if “distastefully” leading the battle. Every day I pray for courageous apologists like him. Those are the kind whom satan despises. Giuseppe, I respectfully disagree with you. The truth is already branded as “hate” speech. We aren’t far from being jailed for upholding it. Yes, the Church has survived many persecutions, but many have suffered and shed their blood. Our best preparation for battle is the Holy Eucharist. We are ready to suffer with Christ so that we can rise with Him. Never take your eyes off our promised Heavenly home.

  79. transparent2one says:

    Blessed Miguel Pro pray for us. Blessed José Sanchez del Rio pray for us. Our Lady of America pray for us and pray that our bishops will process your satue to the basillica of the Imaculate conception.

  80. Bea says:

    I have long felt that the TRUE Church has gone “underground”
    We are in the Church but invisible. (I’m talking about Novus Ordo Mass parishes, TLM parishes are a whole new other Holy “ballgame”)

    The Modernists and Kumbaya Masses, women at the altar, clickity clackaty heels, pant suits have taken over and altar girls with swinging pony tails and world youth days AKA “Catholic Woodstock”.
    It’s all so much “fun”. We, mantilla- wearing people are just not “with-it” We are “medieval” It’s to cry for.

    The picture you posted, Father, is so apropos.
    Satan’s “sing-along” at a kumbaya Mass and everyone so happy because “we are all going to heaven” (as in the wide gate). With the Charismatic raising of happy hands.
    While the “underground/invisible” Church is suffering (as in the narrow gate) as we see this foolishness and nobody knows that we must suffer, because “suffering” is so passe. Suffering is not part of the “times” We are “enlightened” now.

    Our grown children are aware of the dangers. It is our grandchildren that we worry about. They are being brought up properly but we wonder what dangers they will have to face and are they FULLY aware of the possibilities.

  81. Jacob says:

    So revolutionary have been the recent changes in America that defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of holiness could very well lead to persecution in the very near future.

    While I agree with Mr. Archbold’s sentiment, I think this use of classical liberal terminology to describe what values one may be martyred for is a misunderstanding of our Christian Faith.

  82. donato2 says:

    In his (wonderful) book “Christianity, The First 1,000 Years,” Robert Louis Wilken also notes that the persecutions in the Roman Empire were, generally, sporadic (although there were a few periods of widespread and intense persecution).

  83. Andy Lucy says:

    Jarhead 462 and HobokenZephyr… Hooah!

    From an old Army guy.

  84. Ralph says:

    Some thoughts as a father of 5 children:

    1. Would we have the faith of the mother in Macabees who encouraged her sons to be strong in defending the faith in the face of certain death? I spoke with a friend about this a few days ago. I pray I am never tested.

    2. We need to talk to and study with Christians who are currently living (or have lived in the recent past) under real persecution to see how they survived with the faith. From the Cristeros in Mexico to the faithful Catholics in China, people are dealing with this in our modern times. We need to learn strategies from them so we are prepared.

    3. We need to learn how to be a community again. I believe that we are going to have to count on our fellow Christians for survival. Our parishes are going to have to function like families once more and look out for one another.

    4. We should start preparing to hide and safely transport priests. I know that sounds radical, but look back into history, some very recent, and you will see that priests are high up on tyrannical governments’ hit lists. Those with large homes or rural location should think about quietly preparing “priest holes” and the like to safeguard those who bring us Jesus.

    5. Pray.

  85. SwanSong says:

    Erm . . . I came late to this one and confess I haven’t read all the comments but I couldn’t help noticing that in the picture it’s only men getting into Heaven. I want to state categorically that if there aren’t any women in Heaven I do not wish to go….

  86. Andkaras says:

    I for one am putting a lot of my eggs in the “holy infusion ” or “illumination of consciences”,basket. Many I am acquainted with have been met as late with responses which are disproportionately rageful when simply attempting to explain the faith . The saying “thou doth protest too much” comes to mind.

  87. LarryW2LJ says:

    Giuseppe,

    I respectfully agree/disagree:

    “Yes, there will be gay marriage. No, Churches will not be forced to celebrate them or to water down theology to accomodate them.”

    I agree that there will be gay marriage. That is the way our culture is declining. Even our Supreme Court Justices appear to be wobbly about the issue.

    I diagree with your point that Churches will not be forced to celebrate them. There’s already been a petition presented before the White House to label the Roman Catholic Church as a “Hate Organization”. We’re seeing the federal government actively attempting to force Catholic organizations to provide/pay for sterilization, abortion and abortion inducing drugs. Catholic agencies are being excluded from government funding/grants (which may in the end be a good thing) because of our belief that it is wrong to place a child with a family headed by same sex parents.

    What makes you think that is beyond the realm of possibility that the Roman Catholic Church will one day be forced to perform same sex weddings?

    The current administration and their MSM henchmen are doing everything they can to diminish our role in American society. They are performing a masterful campaign of marginalizing us and depicting us as “outmoded, irrelevant and out-of-touch”. I guarantee that they will not be satisfied with just ignoring us. They will not rest until we conform and affirm their ideology.

    I hope they’re ready for a long battle. They really don’t know Who they’re up against.

  88. Gaetano says:

    We pray in the Salve Regina that “To Thee to We cry, poor banished Children of Eve: to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears,” we should, therefore, not be surprised when this world brings suffering.

    We are already living in the days of white martyrdom, where we must defend the Church’s teachings on abortion, marriage and ordination. I do dread the day, which will come, when my daughter comes home from school crying that her teacher ridiculed her for holding fast to these beliefs. I remember that children are resilient, and that I was confirmed in my beliefs because of the adversity I faced and the sheer ugliness of the people who afflicted me.

    I also remember the words of St. Thomas More to his wife and children: “We may not look at our pleasures to go to heaven in featherbeds; it is not the way, for our Lord Himself went thither with great pain, and by many tribulations, which was the path wherein He walked thither, and the servant may not look to be in better case than his Master.”

  89. Kathy C says:

    Swansong, I was going to note that also. I haven’t been a feminist since I started looking at the actual effects of our actions instead of at what the intended effects. But this does raise a question. Does anyone know of a Christian philosophy that says women will have a harder time getting into heaven? That kind of flies in the face of most people’s assumptions that women’s nature gives them a better shot.

  90. Anabela says:

    Very good video http://gloria.tv/?media=116849

    Though I do not attend the Latin Mass, I will aim to as soon as I possibly can. Our Church is surely going through its Passion now and in the months to come. All I can do is pray, hope and put my trust in the Lord.

    This little insight which I thought was appropriate in the times we are living in, was given to a Mother Superior of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim in the 1800′s. Mother St. Joseph was her name. In the 1970′s though the Order changed and became part of the Poor Clare Federation.

    ‘Our Divine Lord also spoke about the Churches of Ireland — that poverty prevented the Blessed Sacrament being reserved in the Tabernacle [in many cases]; but He wished His priests to be zealous for the adornment of the Sanctuary, and that they would thus minister to Him personally. No heed should be paid to those who murmured against what they would term ‘this waste,’ as the Pharisees had murmured that the price of the precious ointment was not given to the poor — adding that the multitude see and compassionate the wants of the Poor, but the enlightened soul of the consecrated spouse best discovers the needs of her Lord!’

    You can find the full post on the above on the following link in Dom Mark Kirby’s blog Vultus Christi
    http://vultus.stblogs.org/2010/06/from-a-new-found-friend-in-ire.html

    God bless you. Have a very holy Triduum and a joyful Easter

  91. cheerios in my pocket says:

    Mamajen…dear one, I wasn’t trying to compare 56 years with history…I was trying to explain to a young woman that I have seen a nation in those 56 years do a 180 degree turn. I have watched my babyboomers (I’m on the end of this group) torture their parents into accepting just about anything. My folks and many, many their age were worn down and out … well, divorce may be necessary in … how many children could they afford, so what else to do but contra … our music still plays in grocery stores intermingled with the ugly music of today…ours was bad, todays is far worse. I look around saying, “Why are they tolerating this perversion? This music? This, that, so on?” They have given up and just want to live out their lives without all this fighting, disagreeing.

    Also, I’m so glad you made it through the public schools. I would say from what I’ve seen that they are not public schools any more…they are government run schools…they indoctrinate not educate. They have same sex books from kindergarten on. It is naive to see what is out there and believe a child could come through it untainted at this point in time in our nation. You are so right to choose to be a stay at home Mom because that’s where Moms belong. Our nation would be far better off if Moms did what they are called to do, stay home, raise their children, love their husbands with a depth that almost matches their love for the Savior of the world. “I don’t wish you luck. I wish you SENSE!” (Boris, from Balto)

    Bridget-Theresa mentioned the great books…YES! That is an education to which our Catholic Schools need to revert. They will learn how to think for themselves vs. a text that is watered down to 3rd grade level for high schoolers in public schools and telling them what to think.

    Guiseppe…you’ve missed what is said here…All faithful Catholics know the end of the story, Christ Jesus Victor! But, we don’t know when the end of the story will come AND God never promised the Church of the U.S. will prevail, nor the Church of any “location” … so now do you see the concern expressed here?

    Finally, one more to mamjen…a week or so ago you expressed why some were so concerned about Biden and Pelosi receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ at the enthronement Mass of Pope Francis since dignitaries don’t receive or something to that idea, yes? I’m sure you have seen how they did receive (even though some of us tried to call the Cardinals of the U.S. about this to prevent it). That was obviously the wrong path since our Cardinals are doing it with ease.

  92. rhhenry says:

    Another small detail about the accompanying image: the men on the left are all carrying their crosses the “harder” way — rather than dragging the crosses behind themselves, they are “pushing” the crosses forward. Makes a tough journey all the more difficult!

  93. APX says:

    I have thought about this, but since it doesn’t appear that marriage is my vocation (at least not conventional marriage), I have thought about it more in terms of myself. I anticipate having to live a white martyrdom, but after spending 22 years of my 27 years of living suffering various things be it emotional, psychological or physical, I’ve come to expect a life of suffering, and I’m starting to get worried when things start to go good that I am doing something wrong and displeasing to God. I don’t fear jail, as my country rarely sends people to actual jail, and our jails are like a Hilton with extended medical insurance (I don’t even have that now).

    If it should come that I am called to a red martyrdom, I know God will provide the graces to endure it. I just pray I can be faithful to those graces.

  94. rkingall says:

    That was a sobering article, indeed.

  95. HobokenZephyr says:

    Jarhead462: Glad to hear you’re in the fight! I went to Stevens when my time with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children was over & met my wife there.

    The good news is that there are more of us than people know. The better news is that we’re much better shots than them because we practice! LOL

  96. Augustin57 says:

    The moral demise of a nation always precedes its ultimate demise. God chastises every son (and daugther) whom He loves. We will be persecuted far worse than the Nazi’s persecuted the Jews. It’s coming, and inevitable, as night follows day. Offer up your sufferings to Christ in reparation for sin. Offer Him up your will in everything. Make your will, His will. Decrease, so that He may increase in you.

  97. OrthodoxChick says:

    cheerios,

    I think you’re correct in your assessment of public schools. Some of my children are in public schools. For financial reasons, homeschooling simply isn’t an option right now, nor is Catholic school for all of them, though I desperately wish it could be. But, I agree with mamajen that public school doesn’t have to be a disaster for our kids. I think it depends on the parenting the kids receive. When my oldest came home in 6th grade telling me that in his history class, he learned that time is divided in half; ancient time was referred to as something stupid like B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and time after that period to the present day is referred to as C.E. (Common Era), I hit the roof. I called the teacher and told her in no uncertain terms that we are devout Catholics, my child will be referring to points in history as B.C. and A.D., and she will NOT mark him off for it or no one at the school will hear the end of me. Then it became a teachable moment for my son about how most people treat Jesus horribly and how as Catholics, we do not and will not, do any such thing. He was embarrassed to have to use different terms than the rest of the kids in the class, but he got used to it.

    There is more than one way to prepare children for white matyrdom (en route to preparing for red) and these days, it can start in childhood whether the children are homeschooled or not. All that is required is for parents to know and revere their Catholic faith, be involved in their children’s education, and be ready to teach them how to handle whatever is thrown at them.

  98. Long-Skirts says:

    jarhead462 says:

    “… I sense a bit of defeatism here. I am optimistic that while persecutions may be coming, we can still win the war.”

    …you’re absolutely right jarhead but unfortunately with the majority of our American Hierarchy, i.e. :

    “Vice President Biden joins the Palm Sunday service and takes communion, despite pro-choice position. Dolan’s predecessor did not give communion to those who strayed from church dogma.
    BY CLARE TRAPASSO AND STEPHEN REX BROWN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”

    …we won’t get much help except where you find True Catholic Clergy…we have 2 sons in an SSPX Seminary and a daughter in a Traditional Convent. I have tried to prepare my children for years. My father was a Marine, my brother and we come from a long line of Quinns, McRees & Malarkeys, Fighting Irish!

    THE
    LILY
    (“The martyrs were bound, imprisoned, scourged, racked, burnt, rent, butchered – and they multiplied.” St. Augustine)

    No burning tearing
    Scourging skin
    It’s psychological
    All within.

    No rotting flesh
    Or putrid blood
    It’s sterile clean
    No rancid crud.

    For butchered
    Tortured bound up skins
    Reveals the Truths
    Of Bishops’ sins.

    They want it nice
    They want it hushed
    With veins of ice
    Good souls are crushed.

    The silent cold
    Is better yet
    Frozen solid
    Can’t beget.

    For martyred blood
    Reveals the Church
    Blind souls see Truth
    And end their search.

    “We can’t have that!”
    The Bishops say,
    “So let’s ignore…
    They’ll go away.

    Enlightened men
    Don’t scourge the skin
    Enlightened men
    Keep blood within.”

    But they forgot –
    The woman bleeds
    And monthly makes
    A bed for seeds

    Where nice and hushed
    They’ll grow to men
    And seize the oars
    From wrists that bend…

    On Peter’s Barque
    Where blood still flows
    From woman’s womb…
    The Lily grows!

    That being said, I’m willing to die. BUT I will not surrender of my own free will. The fight MUST be waged at all times, and in all places. I will not allow my children to be fed to the wolves without equipping them with not only the faith, but the ability to defend themselves, and the Church against all enemies of Christ by any means necessary.
    You must ensure that every inch of ground that the enemy takes extracts a horrific toll on THEM.
    If they come for the children, they will pay with their blood.
    But that’s me….
    Semper Fi!

    “Vice President Biden joins the Palm Sunday service and takes communion, despite pro-choice position. Dolan’s predecessor did not give communion to those who strayed from church dogma.
    BY CLARE TRAPASSO AND STEPHEN REX BROWN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS”

  99. Bill Foley says:

    A suggestion. Please read Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus and then pray to these martyrs to give you the grace to become a true friend of the crosss. Many of the Japanese martyrs were children who died in the arms of their mothers.

  100. Giuseppe says:

    LarryW2LJ,
    While I agree that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that Roman Catholic priests could be forced to perform same sex weddings, but I think it is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. There will be a whole cottage industry of Catholic-like churches where gays will be able to marry (c.f Episcopal Church USA). Otherwise, I do take seriously your comments, although I still think that American secular society is more likely to ignore rather than persecute orthodox Christians.

  101. BLB Oregon says:

    The first generations of Irish Catholics called monastic life the green martyrdom and missionary work that would take them away from Ireland the white martyrdom. They’d have gone for the “old-fashioned” red martyrdom, but there was no one in Ireland trying to kill them to prove their faith. IOW, they were most afraid that they’d reach their dying day having lived a life that was not laid down for anything.

    We can’t assume that a society that won’t persecute our children is a “safe” one for their souls. It may be that the part of society that has so much contempt for people who follow religion and a moral life that they simply ignore it or treat it flippantly pose a greater threat to the souls of Catholics than those who are rabid opponents but who treat the faith seriously. After all, what did our Lord say? “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Matt. 10:28.

    Meanwhile, if we do not live as Christians and raise our children as Christians, the kind who make life uncomfortable for those who want to forget God or neglect their neighbor, think of how many souls will be lost! Our own children cannot be our only concern! Christ thirsts for every soul, and so many know only falsehoods about Him. If they remain oblivious because we have remained silent, that will be on our heads, will it not?

    Still, I would not be in any hurry to provoke someone into making me a martyr, if for no other reason than that they might lose their own souls by that sin, since they might know very well by virtue of the natural law written on their hearts that the murder they freely chose to commit was a serious moral offense. We need to live so as to win souls, also but try not to tempt our enemies into sin while doing it.

  102. heway says:

    While praying for friends and families, pray for those who are already suffering martyrdom.
    Chaldeans in Iraq, Coptics in Eygypt , Catholics in Nigeria, and China are crying out for our prayers and help. I believe there is a Chaldean group, plus a Bishop in El Cajon CA. They escaped from Iraq. I remember in the 50′s when the Red Army took over China, that if a priest could get away from his monitor, he would celebrate Mass in a rice paddy with his congregation.
    Read the lives of the North American martyrs to your children. The beauty there is that these young Jesuits came to embrace martyrdom, not escape it. Their letters to the folks in France are beautiful treasures. Let us keep our eyes on the Cross of Christ and also try to embrace it.

  103. jarhead462 says:

    Dennis Martin: I think you misunderstand me somewhat: My battle imagery is mostly allegorical. I am not endorsing taking up arms unless arms are used against me. I am talking about all of the resources available to us. To lead by example, to know our faith, to contribute to the public discourse. To show our faith, and our reason that comes from the mind of the Church. To subvert the evil ones from within. Discredit them at every turn.
    The “big lie” strategy works both ways. If you proclaim the truth loud enough, and often enough, people will start to see through the smoke and mirrors.
    Utilize the electronic media. The fourth estate are quislings for Satan, and their power and influence are waning. They know this- less and less are buying their papers, or watching their news broadcasts. More and more get information from the internet, or other sources. This is why they dropping the visage of objectivity. They are being backed into a corner, and they will be even more dangerous, but also more transparent.
    The shedding of blood in the streets is not what I desire, nor envision, but should it come to that (and I do not think it will) I shall take up the cross like the crusaders. Like Patton said: “spill THEIR blood…shoot THEM in the belly”.
    You say that they are waiting for that response? So be it. Give it to them in spades.
    Remember: When they say,”What would Jesus do?” Remind them that freaking out and flipping tables is a viable option.
    Sorry for the rant, but my ranting gets raves ;)
    Semper Fi!

  104. jarhead462 says:

    Hoboken Zephyr:
    Who needs full auto?? Gun control is being able to hit your target!
    Andy: Thank you for your service in the Big Green Machine.

    Semper Fi!

  105. keithp says:

    I may be the only one but I for one don’t see a great violent martydom ala imprisonment and death. I think many of us could face up to those things for ourselves.

    What I am fearful of is the soft martyrdom where our culture slowly marginalizes us thru MSM and our public schools. The student who was required to stomp on the paper with Jesus written on it, for example. Note how this is in our schools and how the MSM has ignored. Coupled with continued abortion/contraception on demand, numbing violence in the media, over medicated children, were in a gradual yet accelerating decline.

    I wish I could have the strength for the continued battles but I am having a tuff time of it.

  106. dominic1955 says:

    While one can never presume that a full on persecution cannot happen, I think we have to worry about the day to day “martyrdom” that we get by being made fun of, called “haters” and “bigots”. Pray (of course) but also educate yourself and grow a thicker skin.

    I concur with Charlotte Allen about Candida Moss-she is not “wrong” per se, it is more what she concludes with the information. Of course, I would assume (I know…) that an educated Christian would know that there weren’t thousands upon thousands being massacred by the likes of Nero. A Perpetua and Felicity are enough, though. We do ourselves no good being “low information” on our own end. What I mean by that is having an infantile faith based on things like pious legends and schmaltzy devotionals. Truth will set us free, the intellect must control the passions-including those that we like and don’t cross our personal “ick” factor.

    We also cannot fall back to a circle the wagons posture. The Early Church didn’t convert the Empire by acting like some kooky cult, it was protective of what was truly important but was not closed off to the world. Catholicism triumphed, not Donatism or any other rigorist nonsense. While most of us who comment here probably do not have to worry much about going “soft”, not everyone is tempted in the same way. Our problem is the temptation to go off the other side of the boat.

    What I mean is that it does no good for us to try to be “fundie” Catholics, which translates into a goofy cartoon of the greatness that Catholicism really is. Catholicism is not some dry imitation of the ’50s, sprinkled generously with Little House on the Prairie costumes, abysmal understanding of theological and liturgical history, and weak “conservative” (so-called) politics that I see with some “Trads”. We need people to can live a strong and vibrant faith, and raise kids who can do the same. We don’t need to churn out awkward people who have a faith made up of misconstrued Chesterton quotes and misinterpreted papal documents.

  107. Lorenz says:

    Much has been said on this thread and I relate to many of the people here. I would like to add that we may have to prepare for a different type of persecution. When a family member is taken away and executed or sent to the gulag for the faith, it only tends to anger and infuriate the remaining family members and community. When the persecution is violent and severe, it tends to stengthen the faith and rally the faithful. Here in Canada we have to endure a different type of persecution. If you practice your faith in private they will leave you alone. If you are vocal about it (either verbally or in written form) there is a danger that you could wind up in front of a Human Rights Commission where the defendent is responsible for his or her own legal fees and the accuser does not pay a thing. If convicted, you can be charged with a Human Rights offense and carry the reputation as a public bigot. Whether you are charged or not, the process can bankrupt you, can result in loss of employment, and push you and your family into poverty. For these reasons, many are afraid to speak out. While the Bishop of Calgary was threatened by these commissions a few years back, for the most part the church has not been vocal in rallying the faithful against these persecutions.

  108. Dennis Martin says:

    Giuseppe at 4:07 pm.

    I think you’ve missed something crucial. Yes,there will be plenty of Episcopal and other churches where gays will get “married.”

    But having sufficient churches for all the gays who want to marry to get married in is NOT at all the reason why the attempt WILL be made to force Catholics to do it. It NEVER ever was about freedom for gays to do this or that. It was always about silencing all voices that continue to declare that same-sex attraction is disordered. (So too is a lot of present-day heterosexual inclination–disordered in the form of lust, increasingly perverted and heinous heterosexual lust).

    Those who refuse to knuckle under and normalize same-sex orientation must be silenced. As long as their voice is heard, victory is incomplete.

    It’s never been about actions, it’s been about a struggle for truth. Is it normal to be attracted to the sex or is it not? Is “nature” whatever we declare it to be or is Nature truly objectively real.

    Those are the issues. They will try to force us to ratify as normal and natural what we insist is not normal. “Disorder” will be considered hate speech.

  109. Kathleen10 says:

    It’s comforting to come here and be assured we are not alone in our concerns, anyway. If not fellowship in our neighborhoods, we have it here. Thanks, Fr. Z.
    As we watch and wait for the decision of, as Rush called them, “seven exalted lawyers” to decide the virtual fate of America, it is a sobering moment. It feels like a pinnacle, and we all sense it. Whichever way this goes, goes the future of our nation. I too perceive an absolute onslaught of gay support, and it is coming from just everywhere. Lots of people putting fingers up in the air and, seeing the direction, have jumped on that bandwagon of support. Not too late to get on! Then you can apparently claim you are certifiably clear of the disease of “bigotry”, apparently the most unwanted and toxic disease state of the 21st century.

    I can’t say this with enough frustration, angst, and years of apprehension behind it, and it gives me only pain, no pleasure: If ONLY people had heard much, much more about the true nature of man and woman, husbands and wives, from our pulpits, in the last twenty years or so. If only people had been much more thoroughly and courageously taught that freedom is not license, and we have a responsibility toward God to follow Him and Him alone, even if that means we sacrifice our “personal choices”. If only, if only…

    Children are the big losers in this social experiment, and that is the most unfair aspect of all. There are no fantastic studies that really show the effects of the children locked in these situations, there simply has not been time, but, we already know children born in relationships where one person is not related by blood to a child makes the likelihood of neglect or abuse much higher statistically. Despite photo ops by the fireside, domestic violence rates are also much, much higher in same-sex relationships of BOTH sexes, and that does of course does children no good at all. This whole “marriage” thing is a misnomer anyway. Many gays want nothing to do with marriage. This is more about “control” and lawsuits, despite the emotional plea for people to be allowed to simply love who they want. That argument has been enough however, to win over young people, not prepared and not inclined to consider God in the equation at all, but only the culture at large. Full indoctrinated by our public schools into supporting the supposed underdog in a civil rights battle, that has been latched onto by savvy activists, who never seem to make a wrong move. Guess what, it worked beautifully.
    There is a tsunami. It is not coming, it is here. I will turn more to prayer, as for everything else, I just don’t know. God must help us.

  110. Dennis Martin says:

    Jarhead,

    Thank you for the correction. I did not see “markers” to indicate you did not mean what you wrote literally. There are those out there who talk like you and mean it literally (though it may be mostly bluster). Since you did not, my criticism does not apply to you but to those who are considering literal action of this sort.

    My main point is that they are eagerly hoping that we deliver some kind of justification for stripping us of our civil rights and protections under the law. Convincing the low information populace that we are violent terrorists is one way to do it. We need to beware of delivering the rope to hang us–they already have plenty on hand. Last I heard, 1.6 billion rounds. Oops, sorry, Big Sis says they don’t yet have all that ammo stockpiled but merely ordered a bunch at one time to avoid a second trip to the grocery store.

  111. Kerry says:

    jarhead462, Oorah! “IHS”. Kerry.

  112. Dennis Martin says:

    The charge of defeatism is an interesting one. In Bolt’s A Man for All Season, Bolt has Alice More telling her husband, while visiting in the Tower, that she was afraid after he was dead she’d hate him for it. She goes on to say, “I don’t believe it had to come to this.” Or words to that effect (to quote Richard Rich at the trial).

    In other words, like the Howard, the Duke of Norfolk, some believed that More had brought persecution on himelf by being stubborn and unwilling to compromise.

    So too, whether some of us are defeatist, merely resigned to the worst possible outcome, or not, admits of divergent judgment. One can have concluded that the trend, the momentum requires a conclusion that, humanly speaking, a reversal is very unlikely without at the same time giving up on fighting with every ounce of strength. Or one can fight with all one’s energy believing that reversal of trends is possible. Both are defensible conclusions at the present time and both should be honored. We must beware of bickering over these sorts of prudential reading of the signs of the times.

    In every instance of totalitarian rule, in hindsight, people ask, “how could it have ever come to that kind of evil?” Well, of course, not everyone saw it coming but some did but their warnings fell on deaf ears, for a variety of reasons. And sometimes we Cassandras do exaggerate, overinterpret our evidence, fall into ruts of unwarranted pessimism. But sometimes Cassandra is right. I believe the original Cassandra was vindicated.

    The reason I do not hold out much hope for reversing the trend (and I’ve been saying this now for about 15 years) is that the battle is over the fundamental meaning of nature and the fundamental meaning of human sexuality. The turning point was losing the battle over contraception. The separation of procreation from sexuality and sexual identity, barring a miraculous religious revival, could have been predicted to lead to greater and greater dishonesty about reality, to a greater and greater artificially constructed world.

    And when that happens, and when the powerful and elites of the world embrace that artificial and false view of something as basic as maleness and femaleness, anyone who contradicts them becomes an existential threat who must be eliminated.

    This started at least 100 years ago, perhaps 150, when the Western elites adopted this way of thinking, about nature being whatever we want it to be. It reached the streets in the 1960s.

    Now even many libertarian “conservatives” have embraced this Promothean view of sexuality. That leaves the defenders of the ancient understanding of maleness and femaleness a minority in a way that they have not been for a long, long time, if they ever were.

    The trend has been established for centuries, one can go back 400 years or more for its roots. We happen to be granted the privilege of living at the point where it has gained a solid footing in the majority. It is not so true outside of the first and second worlds and perhaps global Christianity may prove the anchor of the defense. None of us knows, but the trends, while shifting rapidly in the US in the past five years or so, shifted decades ago in parts of Europe or the Soviet Union.

    The Truth about maleness and femaleness, about sexuality and procreation will in the end reassert themselves because Nature is real and the Truth does prevail. But for two generations or so, the Lie can prevail and can do great damage. It’s our turn, after Russia and China and North Korea. We’ve lived with the Lie about abortion on a mass scale for 40 years now. It would have been amazing if that Lie alone had not sharply accelerated the trend. Contraception is the Grandma, abortion the son, and same-sex normalcy advocacy is the grandchild of the two.

  113. cheerios in my pocket says:

    OrthadoxChic,
    I would have agreed with you completely. However, as I said somewhere up there before, the families I know are very strong, faithfilled Catholic families who struggled once those children hit a certain age…and, prior to that they were called upon to be strong when their peers let’s say didn’t see their perspective. They have struggled so much more than those who chose to homeschool and sacrificed doing so (not the children, but the Mom…and yet not that all homeschooled children are superior or any of that rot, bad choices can be made at any point in life).

    I’ll give you one of my favorite near quotes from about 15 years ago. It was by a friend of ours, Dr. Ray Guarendi, child psychologist (profoundly Catholic). He and his wife adopted about 10 children and have homeschooled all as far as I know. Anyway, he was asked by some well meaning morning show person, “But, don’t you think that your children would make great witnesses to the other children, and schooling them at home prevents their evangelizing?” Ray’s eyes opened as wide as possible and said, “No! Not when they’re 5, or 6, or 8, or 10!” Give them a strong foundation, give them roots, and, when ready (all children mature differently) give them wings!.

    The school where you are sending your children may not be at the level that I am witnessing. I hope and I pray not.

    God bless you in all your sacrifices and decisions for your beloved children. And God bless mamajen with her little ones as well.

    Oh, one last great quote from a Priest, “The world has it backwards. A child is born, and they say I wonder what they will be when they grow up?” -occupation- “Then, perhaps in their early 20s, the growing person says, maybe I want to get married.” -vocation- “Then somewhere in their 50s or 60s says, my faith has been lost, perhaps I need to start looking at that more seriously.” -destination- Whereas, we should look at our children and teach them destination (you were made to spend eternity with God in heaven!)…teach and give them faith…. Let them see the beauty of your marriage and read about the saints, ask priests over to dinner and to enjoy one another, and when they are ready have them pray about their -vocation- called to marriage, religions single for the Lord? Then, should a man decide he is called to marriage, study in college as to how he will provide for his wife and children. -occupation- (or single life, how to live that out–need a degree?, etc.) Basically, give them that destination first because if they haven’t got it to shoot for, they will aim for nothing.

  114. Marcello says:

    I think we cannot as Catholics withdraw from the world and be content to live our faith in the ghetto. We must keep our faith in the public square and defend to the death (literally) our right to be there. I am old enough to have grown up in New York City in the 1950s and 60s and vividly recall that the ethos of that era was totally different than today. New York in the 50s and early 60s was “our” city, a seminarian rarely had to pay for his meal in a restaurant—someone always picked up the tab, even it was the owner–nuns and sisters were everywhere in their habits, diocesan priests too, Franciscans in their brown habits at baseball games, a monsignor or two in full house cassock at basketball games. The Catholic presence was visible and palpable in all the public places, and the clergy and religious were respected by all New Yorkers, regardless of their own faith. All that is but a memory for a host of reasons we need not examine.

    That Catholic presence could not have been effected without a strong hierarchy committed to the Catholic faith and its propagation. That has been lost in the squishy, feel-good kumbaya post-Vatican II hierarchy. My point is that while we toil as workers in the vineyard of the Lord, we need a hierarchy of steel-spined men willing to accept martyrdom. If the secular authorities understand anything, it is power, and the Church’s ability to influence and shape debate in the public square has been horribly diminished to virtual insignificance. No one in the secular world fears the Catholic Church and the consequences that flow from ignoring or upsetting her. Ask the leaders in the Kremlin and the other Eastern European leaders of the 1980s if they feared the power of the Church and particularly of the papacy. They trembled at the onslaught John Paul II unleashed with the cooperation of the Western powers.

    I guess what I am getting at in this rambling down memory lane is that we need someone at the top—the Pope—who exudes strength and power in the face of the world, to be an example for those under him, someone who will cast a bolt of lightning at the unjust, not a Rodney King-like “can’t we all just get along” pontiff, who toes the PC line, makes no claim of the unique position the Church holds in the world, gauges every word and gesture so as not offend anyone’s sensibilities, until Holy Mother Church is reduced to just another do-good NGO. We have seen the Church at its moral zenith in the 1980s and 90s. Where is she now and does our new Holy Father have what it takes to lead in the coming years? The last 2 weeks have not inspired confidence.

  115. MouseTemplar says:

    Yes. I could go on for paragraphs. I’m 55 with a 6 yr old son. This quote from Father Alfred Delp [executed by Nazis himself] is the backbone of our plan:

    “Bread is important, freedom is more important, but most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration.”

    Not for nothing did we name our little boy Maximilian. We wanted him to have a patron saint for the times we know he’ll live in.

  116. bookworm says:

    For me this issue has an added and even more troubling dimension. My daughter is 17, but she is autistic and developmentally disabled, and functions intellectually more on the level of, maybe, a 6 or 7 year old. (She’s never even shown any awareness of the issue of gay marriage that I know of; perhaps her being enrolled in special ed protects her from some of the indoctrination typical kids are subjected to.) I do not know if she will ever be truly capable of making decisions on her own; plus, she will have no family to protect her since I was never able to have more children. I do my best to raise her as a good Catholic, but the thought sometimes occurs to me: is it really fair or just for me to saddle her with all the “baggage” of the Catholic faith — especially if that faith becomes an occassion for her to be mistreated in the future — when she never has been and may never be able to truly decide for herself whether she wants it? If she were a typical child with the ability to make her own decisions then I could see trying to train her to be prepared for martyrdom, but when I think about trying to do that to her, it somehow seems wrong. After all, don’t we usually react with horror when adults use young children or mentally handicapped adults as pawns to advance their pet causes (e.g., by having them participate in teacher’s union rallies, or by persuading developmentally disabled group home residents to vote for Obama?) How would it be any different if I tried to tell her she should endure ridicule, attack and potentially death for a faith that she may or may not even truly understand? What am I missing here?

  117. GregH says:

    All I know is that I want Long-Skirts on my side!

  118. BLB Oregon says:

    –”I do my best to raise her as a good Catholic, but the thought sometimes occurs to me: is it really fair or just for me to saddle her with all the “baggage” of the Catholic faith — especially if that faith becomes an occasion for her to be mistreated in the future — when she never has been and may never be able to truly decide for herself whether she wants it?…What am I missing here?”–

    I would look at it as I would look at choosing baptism for an infant: that is, does a developmentally disabled person have a right to the sacraments? Does that person have a right to live according to the truth? Does the person who is protected by a religion that defends every life as equally worth living have the same right to be a full member of the Body of Christ, or should she be deemed unworthy because “she can’t understand”? Maybe she can’t. Or maybe she is actually capable of a closer “understanding” than any of the rest of us. But that is not really our call, because the Lord was very clear about whether he wants those people with the mental capacity of a child brought anywhere near him:

    And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them. Mark 10:13-16

    (Note that Our Lord became indignant….that’s a strong response. This is a big deal to the Lord!)

  119. cheerios in my pocket says:

    Blessings upon you Bookworm! An abundance of blessings upon you. My daughter is 17, autistic, developmentally disabled and functions fluctuate from emotional level of 4 to a reading level of maybe 10. I would not worry about indoctrination with your daughter if she seems to be receiving what she needs most where she is enrolled. My son is 16, autistic, non-verbal, and cute as a button. Neither child has any understanding nor do I ever expect them to have an understanding of homosexual disordered behavior. This isn’t what the sharing is about. It is about preparing those who are equipped to remain steadfast in their faith and not shy away. We are to raise Saints! Your job (and mine) is for our special children to come to know, love and serve God to the best of who God made them, for He has a perfect plan for their lives. Know God’s peace through prayer and sacrificial love for your daughter. Bless you with grace upon grace every moment of every day.

  120. I once wrote the first chapter of a novel that would perhaps be titled, “Pope on the Run.” The notion of even a Pope fleeing from a tyrant or possibly a tyrranical society bent on his destruction is not at all far-fetched. A voice within me has always echoed, “travel light.” Some day I may just need my college Spanish or French.

  121. donato2 says:

    I agree with Dennis Martin. The problem probably traces back to the subjectivism that Descartes introduced into Western philosophy. It surprises me not one whit that Republicans are turning on gay marriage. The contraceptive mentality is shot through the entirety of our society. Evangelicals who are not fundamentalists will also likely fall in line on gay marriage.

  122. Geoffrey says:

    “I have often mentioned that we should all take care to be at least minimally prepared to make a move if we have to”.

    I agree 110% with this. Everyone should have their passports. And research your genealogy and see if you have any legal claims to a second citizenship.

    Meanwhile, some edifying food for thought:

    “This is our goal, our great ideal: let us advance towards a Catholic civilisation to be born from the ruins of the modern world, just as medieval civilisation was born from the ruins of the Roman world” (Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, 1908-1995).

  123. Gail F says:

    I would like to say you people are nuts… but I don’t think you are.

  124. Choirgirl says:

    May God give me sufficient grace if I must be a martyr, but has no one heard of Our Lady of America? Cardinal Burke, while still Archbishop of St. Louis, blessed the statue and wrote an opinion letter to the USCCB that this devotion had been given canonical approval by Archbishop Leibold of Cincinnati.

    http://www.ourladyofamerica.org/pdf/OpinionLetter-May-2007.pdf

    I have seen this statue twice, and according to what I’ve seen, I am sure Our Lady *will* perform greater miracles in Washington, DC than Lourdes, just as she promised…if only the US Bishops fulfill her requests.

    The website:

    http://www.ourladyofamerica.org/

  125. BLB Oregon says:

    “I would like to say you people are nuts… but I don’t think you are”

    Having a passport is not difficult to do if you have time, but it can be impossible if you don’t. Since there are reasons a prudent or just person might have for travelling to another country on short notice, it is just prudent to have one. Many Jewish families survived because they had the option to travel available on short notice, after all. It is not expensive or paranoid for non-travelers to have one, and it is very high-quality identification, too.

  126. moconnor says:

    As for you, Father, and all other clergy, the Ancient Order of Hibernians remains dedicated to its original purpose: the protection of priests from persecution. When the time comes, look for the Irishmen. We’ll be there.

  127. Carpe Jvgvlvm says:

    We forget so much. It’s always been like this; parts of the West have experienced brief periods of respite, but the rise, decline, and fall of civilizations is nothing new at all. In fact, a good percentage of the world is probably shocked that we’re just now “catching on”. Many in 3rd World countries (or war-torn countries) have felt blessed if their child makes it into his/her teens.

    But likewise, God’s always retained a remnant. The remnant of Elijah’s day, living in the filth of Ahab’s [northern] Israel, didn’t try to fight it. Not sure if they didn’t [i]want[/i] to fight it, or if the fight was too big for them, but when Elijah despaired, God comforted him that there was yet an unseen remnant (7000? 700? Can’t remember) that didn’t bow the knee to Ba’al; and Elijah was surprised.

    So yes, it’s ALWAYS been dangerous to have children, but no, fearing for their future is not something new. Martyrdom is great, but most just have to keep quiet and keep their noses clean.

    Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto
    Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

  128. netokor says:

    I wonder if this nation will split officially into 2 or more independent countries. I would hope for the establishment of the CSA, the Catholic States of America. The PAPQSNS, pro-abort, pro-queer, socialist nanny states, can keep Obama and all of his lapdogs, with a nice Berlin-wall style border separating us. I’m getting sleepy, thus silly. Good night, y’all and God bless!

  129. Kathleen10 says:

    ah, we’re all tired. Life today is one thing after another. I agree with all of you. So many good points, and yes, Dennis, that was a good analysis of the origins. To all the moms, don’t worry, our God is a faithful God, and He has your children in His sight. Your beautiful children are worth more than many sparrows…
    I’m not minimizing. This is a great, big, fat, hairy deal. It’s just amazingly, a bit of a shocker. I doubt very much groups like the National Organization for Marriage and others will just give up and blow away. So it will continue, probably as a state’s rights battle. And then, might we all agree to move TO that state that successfully fights it off and….oh…someone’s going to say that’s isolationism. Well I’m up for a bit of that right now.
    May God give us all courage, strength, and wisdom. We’ll stick together in some way, and, we’ll keep marching and praying.
    Remember Lapanto!

  130. Giuseppe says:

    Gail F: “I would like to say you people are nuts… but I don’t think you are.”

    I think some are. Being mocked for beliefs is not martyrdom. It’s called “life” or “college.” Being made irrelevant in mainstream secular society is not martyrdom. It’s called “Europe” or “New York City”. I’m confused about the colors of martyrdom, but unless one is killed while defending one’s faith, it is not martyrdom of any color. I do not see anyone being killed by the federal government for being a Roman Catholic. I will happily (and, of course, sadly) stand corrected.

    The US has too many historical roots to Christianity to completely abandon it, but true belief will be in a fringe group of Orthodox Christians, Mormons, and ultra-Orthodox Jews. The rest will use their Episcopal Churches for christenings, communion, weddings, and funerals, until they abandon those church-ish structures for even more materialistic pursuits in party venues.

  131. Priam1184 says:

    Giuseppe,

    Being mocked for belief in Jesus Christ is most definitely martyrdom in its own fashion, though the Church will not classify an individual as a martyr publicly save if one sheds his or her blood for the Name of Jesus Christ. And also, the United States abandoned Jesus Christ a very long time ago though it is only now that this fact is becoming starkly clear and the consequences have become impossible not to feel. And without Jesus Christ the sole factor in governing a society will be what it was in ancient pagan days: the naked pursuit of power which always and everywhere must lead to violence and slavery.

  132. iowapapist says:

    As the father of four ages 17-26, I can tell you that my kids’ persecution started in our Catholic school. Being opted out of sex ed, yoga and other spiritually dangerous activities marked them (and their parents) as crazy fundamentalists. My advice to parents of young children is to catechize them at home. Do not think that you can drop them off at a Catholic school, or send them to CCD, and be content knowing that they will be armed with the truth. If you have to, arrange to prepare them for confirmation yourself. We did this and, even though our efforts were far from perfect, my kids have at least been exposed to true Catholic doctrine instead of the New Age mumbo jumbo that can be found in books complete with imprimatur. Lord, give us the strength to endure the test.

  133. JonPatrick says:

    Marcello said “I guess what I am getting at in this rambling down memory lane is that we need someone at the top—the Pope—who exudes strength and power in the face of the world, to be an example for those under him, someone who will cast a bolt of lightning at the unjust, not a Rodney King-like “can’t we all just get along” pontiff, who toes the PC line, makes no claim of the unique position the Church holds in the world, gauges every word and gesture so as not offend anyone’s sensibilities, until Holy Mother Church is reduced to just another do-good NGO. We have seen the Church at its moral zenith in the 1980s and 90s. Where is she now and does our new Holy Father have what it takes to lead in the coming years? The last 2 weeks have not inspired confidence.”

    Marcello I think we may just have the man you are looking for in Pope Francis, based on his record in Argentina, as a Jesuit superior, and from what I have seen so far. Pray for him, he has his work cut out.

  134. The Masked Chicken says:

    This is a difficult topic. Dennis Martin is correct, in my opinion, and I have been saying so, for years, to deaf ears. The battle was lost when the lie about contraception among the pew sitting Catholics was accepted.

    Instead of severely training Catholics, all Catholics, to explain why contraception was wrong back in the 1960′s, sinful or misguided priests told their flock it was all a matter of, “conscience,” even though they knew, knew, I say, that it wasn’t. They had to know because of the stir that Humanae Vitae caused (and Casti Conubii, before that). They just didn’t accept the teaching from Rome, even then. This was in 1967, just after Vatican II. Most of these priests were formed before or during Vatican II, so they were not a product of Vatican II. No, these ideas were in the air even while Vatican II was going on, which leads me to ask just how loyal the rank and file clergy really were back then, in contradistinction to what many people nostalgically remember. I have a book written by a liberal Catholic laymen from the eve of Vatcan II that could have been written yesterday.

    In times past, when priests have gone astray, the laity stepped in and took on the mantle of the prophetic message for a time until things resolved themselves, but with contraception, the whole ability to protect the Church’s teaching was undercut from them when they were told, sinfully, stupidly, that this was all a matter of conscience – this is exactly the same damnable (and I mean this, literally) thing the Supreme Court would say in Doe vs. Bolten and Row vs. Wade: these decisions are private matters. Liars! Marriage is and must always be a public act and so is the responsibility that goes with it or else the whole concept of marriage means nothing (as, indeed, it has come to be). Using contraception is sinful and sin blunts the moral sensibilities. The laity, many steeped in such sin, has quietly surrendered to accept whatever new disorder in human relations that can be, “compassionately presented,” because they no longer have a sense of outrage at sin. It has become a scandal to be scandalized.

    This state of affairs, coupled with the growing infiltration of psychology into everyday life (now, that’s a topic I could go on about for days – if you only knew how suspect most psychological theories are from a scientific point of view) blunted the perception of sin, especially as something to be avoided, to the point where no moral correction was even possible. The American Psychological Society DSM-III manual classified homosexuality as a disorder (and rightfully so,), but removed the diagnosis in the DSM-IV, not because of science, but because of politics. Cover after cover has been provided for sin and do we wonder why we are in the mess we are?

    There are two ways to predict how things are going to go. The historian in me says that all of this talk of martyrdom is premature. The country will split long before that happens. It is a matter of simple demography. Eventually, one in-group will reach a large enough population leverage to, essentially, command the law, forcing other groups, still powerful in themselves, to split, away. Most likely, the commanding group will be composed of people who are fast reproducing non-native immigrants who have no loyalty to tradition, while the old party will be indigenous. You can already see this happening in places like California.

    The realist in me says that any persecutions will be blunted by the fact that there is still a large population base of Christians in the country and they can’t arrest us, all, nor throw us out of work, so for the foreseeable future, accommodations will be the name of the game. This can all rapidly change, however, if Christianity makes even one or two more missteps.

    The correct approach, I fear, is that a small portion of Catholics have to be willing to stick their necks out and be willing to go to jail in order to challenge the groupthink going on in society. Most, here, have little idea just how advanced the tactics of persuasion have been developed to. It might help forearm some to check out the Asch Conformity Experiments:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments

    It is known that all it takes is a small group of vocal, trusted, dissidents, to break down groupthink. We could still win this thing, but not without at least some suffering. Perhaps this is one use that may be put to the sizeable group of single Catholics who never married because they bought into the, “Save the planet,” mentality of years past (or never married for other reasons). If even only these people (mostly older and respected) got really well-trained in Catholic teaching and in argumentation and continually, vocally, and visibly confronted society, knowing that they would lose all material support in the process, there would be enough to turn society around. Homosexual activists have, essentially, been doing this for years, except, they present themselves as victims and count on sympathy. To turn this around, this small group of Catholics would have to do the same, but present themselves as being virtuous and reasonable. The mob psychology undergirding all of the changes in society is certainly understood by the enemy. We cannot afford to be naive about it, either.

    Secondly, I am afraid that clear, unmistakeable teaching has to be given from the pulpit. Make it clear that contraception is not an option and not a matter of conscience – or, simply be removed from public preaching duties. This is a matter for Bishops. I hate to say this, but we will win or lose America, right now, by the actions of the Bishops. They did not put the fear of God into Catholics in the 1960′s and early 1970′s and if they don’t do it, now, all will be lost. Your Excellencies, you have a window of opportunity. Don’t blow it.

    I am just a poor, naive, chicken, so I have no idea if we have the will to move back from the moral cliff we are on. History say, no, but God is sneaky and if America is to survive, he may just raise up a St. Joan of Arc, although, these days, I fear most people might just wonder if she forgot to take her meds.

    The Chicken

  135. The Masked Chicken says:

    One more thing – Catholics and Baptist, combined, make up somewhere between 48% – 52% of the electorate in the United States. These are supposed to be conservative religious groups (as in still believing in religion). In theory, they are in control and yet, we are falling into a moral abyss. Figure out why and you will have the answer to what to do.

    The Chicken

  136. eben says:

    @the chicken; I agree with much of what you have posted. Ultimately, this thing will split to pieces. As for those who have small children, I can only recommend 2 things. First, keep them close, keep them in a Catholic school if at all possible; keep them away from the Television and the Internet and chose their playmates very, very carefully. The media, (all forms of it) is the instrument of the “set up” for those who have chosen evil over God’s plan. Its insidious, its compelling and addictive and its freely and intentionally laced with indoctrination in and to the “agenda” of the anti-christ. And have no doubt about this fact, the t.v. is scientifically designed and manipulated to numb the mind while programming it at the same time. My second recommendation would be to heed Fr. Z’s words relative your children’s future: “I have often mentioned that we should all take care to be at least minimally prepared to make a move if we have to.” You must insure your children become at a minimum, bi-lingual. And if at all possible, perhaps through student exchange programs, try to educate them to facility in travel to foriegn countries and expose them to education overseas. Its going to get really ugly in the U.S.
    Pax et Bonum

  137. Lucas Whittaker says:

    No. Father: You have to go down with the ship, so to speak. You have to make certain that the sacraments are available to good Catholics especially if there is a danger of impending death. :-D

    My take on the evil in the world is that we overcome evil with good and so we just go on doing good in the face of evil. We are servants of the truth, and as such, if the time comes for us to be “asked” to renounce Jesus for the gods of the the state, then it will be impossible for us to deny what we know as the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. It is as servants of the truth that we find true freedom and peace: even in the face of martyrdom. “If God is with us, who can be against us?” (Rm 8:31). Authentic love attains victory in the end.

  138. mamajen says:

    Just wondering how many of you recommending high-tailing it out of the US should things get bad have ever actually traveled yourselves? Where exactly would you go that is so much better? I can’t think of a single place, unless there’s some island somewhere that nobody has messed up yet.

  139. SwanSong says:

    Cathy C. I’m no theologian and I know little about other religions. But the truth is that certain elements in other faiths (Muslim, Hindu, Judaism, etc) seem to regard women as second class citizens here on earth. Catholicism excludes them from key roles in the faith, whilst depending heavily on their loyalty and support to keep the show on the road. When I was a teenager (the sixties) the rector of our High-Church Anglican parish told me – without a trace of irony – that women only entered the Sanctuary to clean it and arrange the flowers. My guess is that in Heaven women will outnumber men about 9 to one.

  140. Absit invidia says:

    I read my children martyrdom stories frequently. They need to familiarize themselves with the notion that we must live for the next world, not for this world anyways. Jose Luis, Blessed Miguel Pro, St. Thomas More, St. Thomas Becket, and Sts. Perpetua and Felicity are just some of the stories they know.

  141. Lucas Whittaker says:

    SwanSong, May I suggest that you misunderstand the dignity that women have over most men? Women are [usually], by nature, spiritually receptive in a way that most men would struggle to adapt to throughout their entire lives. I see the key to deep conversion and transformation in Christ lying with becoming more receptive. Some have referred to this as being docile to the Holy Spirit. Alice von Hildebrand wrote a short book that you might enjoy reading, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

    The Catholic faith in no way sees women as second class citizens in the same as Islam’s Koran does. Rather, we recognize that without the Virgin, Our Lady’s receptivity toward God, Jesus never would have become incarnate and become man for our sake. From what I understand priests represent Jesus when they administer to sacraments to us. Because Jesus was a man, priest must be men. But the role of women can be seen as a higher role in many ways. The reality that receptivity is requird for growth in the indwelling life of God within us applies equally to men. But as I mentioned, it is much more of a struggle for men to put down their egos in an effort to grow close to Jesus by rceiving from him all that is truly good for them.

    Since we are looking forward to Easter this weekend maybe I can leave a quote here from Cardinal Balthasar’s book on the mystery of Easter: “To receive into me the One who was sacrificed for me means to grant him space in, and power of disposition over, my whole existence, both spiritual and physical, and thereby to follow him — at a distance, since it is he (in a masculine fashion) who decides, whilst I (in a receptive, feminine fashion) let him act, but also in unity, since, through my letting him act, he will decide in me only in accordance with the meaning of his own disponibilite (French for availability).” This rule for the spiritual life applies equally to men as it does to women, but as I say, women have a decided advantage over men by their natural tendency to be receptive. Men rely on women in a sense to show them the way to allow God to take hold of their lives so that he can reveal the image of his divine Son within them. At least that is how I view the way that Mary, the Queen of the Martyrs, teaches us to follow her son to the place of the Cross. And that is a place at which we all must arrive i order to become useful to the Church in helping others to find faith and become strong during challenging times. I am sorry that other men in your past have made statements that seem condescending on their face. They were, simply, wrong: without women man would be lost in so many ways.

  142. JuliB says:

    Chicken: “There are two ways to predict how things are going to go. The historian in me says that all of this talk of martyrdom is premature. The country will split long before that happens.”

    Perhaps the events surrounding this possible split wouldn’t qualify as martyrdom, but it sure as heck would be violent and bloody.

  143. BLB Oregon says:

    “… the truth is that certain elements in other faiths (Muslim, Hindu, Judaism, etc) seem to regard women as second class citizens here on earth. Catholicism excludes them from key roles in the faith, whilst depending heavily on their loyalty and support to keep the show on the road…”

    Does this mean that the laity in its entirety are “second class citizens” who are “excluded from key roles in the faith”? After all, if excluding women from the priesthood makes the priesthood a racket by which the few profit from the “loyalty and support” of the many, then that is what it is, because the vast majority of Catholics will never be priests. Admitting a fraction of the women in the Church into that racket will not make it something else. It will simply mean that a few women are to be allowed in on the racket.

    If, OTOH, the priesthood is one of many places that one of the baptized might have in the Body of Christ, then what problem is it that some places in the Body are masculine in nature and some are feminine in nature? “If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.” 1 Cor. 12:19-20

  144. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Dennis Martin, that was an excellent history of how this precipitous fall started long ago, though the other arguments I’d read previously traced it back only to 1930 or so when the Episcopalians decided that it was okay for married couples to use artificial contraception. I’m going to bookmark this discussion for future reference.

    Mamajen, you are correct. Where can those persecuted for their religion go now? The answer used to be the U.S. Forget the UK and Ireland, and most of Europe. I think Supertradmum said on a post last year that even Malta, where she had lived, was showing signs of falling.

    I feel awful for any veteran who risked his or her life to see our country fall to the level it has, and the level to which it will fall.

  145. netokor says:

    SwanSong, Catholicism excludes no one, nor does it demean anyone. But don’t expect it to affirm evil. The secular feminist agenda is evil. The product you want is already available in many pseudo churches. If you are hinting that women should be priests you have no clue as to what the priesthood is. Neither do you know that each gender has a unique–and holy–role to fulfill in the faithful Catholic family.

  146. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Just wondering how many of you recommending high-tailing it out of the US should things get bad have ever actually traveled yourselves? Where exactly would you go that is so much better? I can’t think of a single place, unless there’s some island somewhere that nobody has messed up yet.”

    Micronesia :)

    The Chicken

  147. JuliB says:

    Giuseppe – What do you call financial ruin, threats and national ridicule made against Christians who don’t wish to provide services (wedding cakes, wedding photography, etc)? A walk in the park?

  148. Imrahil says:

    From back in the days when even Freemasons could, or thought it worth the effort to, write Catholic dramas (not saying that these were, then, entirely unproblematic),

    What is violence? Enticement, that is the more violent violence!

    – Emilia Gallotti to her father, G. E. Lessing –

    For which reason emigration to Saudi-Arabia might be an idea, or any other place where we they’ll at least kill us outright. Only the question is how much such a move, even if, say, with a determination of not taking unneccessary danger, could be morally forbidden as sort of suicide.

    As for the place to go, we were promised we would have one. India looks promising, and so does, depending on how the struggle now going on with the European central powers will end, Hungary. There is, I think, a private revelation about Portugal never losing the Faith. Were it not for the European central authorities, I’d without hesitation add Spain, Italy, Croatia, Slovaky, Czechia (despite its atheistic majority), and Austria (not for being a relevant group, only for “live and let live, if you’re a friend of a friend of a friend”).

    Russia might be an idea, too. Sure, Catholics are treated unfairly there, and there’s this lack of civic freedoms, and the danger from classical crime, but still… they at least do not follow the general modern politically correct, in English language called “liberal” ideas.

  149. happyCatholic says:

    Lucas Whitaker,

    What a lovely explanation. I do not personally struggle with my role as a woman in the Church, but I find what you wrote very fruitful for reflecting upon. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

  150. Gail F says:

    Giuseppe: I think you’re wrong. America will not be content to ignore Catholics. Americans will insist that Catholics “get with the program,” because the current secular philosophy can’t stand anyone disagreeing with it. You will have to go along with all sorts of things to have a job in medicine, law, counseling, social work, teaching, and who knows what else. Disagree? Get another job somewhere else. Look at how the military is now adapting to gay “marriage” — it’ll be transgender next. Are you a “male” in a female body? Things won’t be fair until you can serve in the military as a man. Don’t want to room, shower, etc. with a “male gendered” female? Don’t join the military.
    It’ll be like that — not out and out persecution. And it will demand a lot of integrity from people who could have a better job, live in a better house, get more respect from others, etc. if they just go along, as practically every Catholic Democratic politician has. A lot of people won’t be up to it. A lot of Catholic laypeople clergy aren’t up to it now! That’s what I mean by persecution coming. I think the more far-out predictions here are false. But you never know.

  151. OrthodoxChick says:

    M. Chicken,

    But how long do you think it would take for our government or another to bomb Micronesia off the map, or cut off their supply of imported necessities (economic and practical isolation) if they (the government) were to become aware that it had become an underground haven for trad Catholics? I’m no expert in anything covert, but my hunch is that the better strategy would be to develop and perfect a system of hiding in plain view now – while we still have time.

  152. Giuseppe says:

    “Giuseppe – What do you call financial ruin, threats and national ridicule made against Christians who don’t wish to provide services (wedding cakes, wedding photography, etc)? A walk in the park?”

    It’s not martyrdom. Maybe I am being too literal, but I don’t see that store owner being executed or lynched. What you describe is true suffering, but it is not martyrdom.

    You are right that the store owners you mention will have to decide if the cost of selecting clientele is worth the public and financial criticism. I do not think it would be unreasonable (or illegal, but I defer to the attorneys) for a wedding business to advertise that their business is a specialty business that photographs or caters only sacramental ceremonies at Roman Catholic and Greek/Russian Orthodox sacraments. (Heck, I work with a guy who only DJs at Bar Mitzvahs and refuses to do run-of-the-mill birthday parties.) Indeed, the RC and some orthodox churches could even make this as part of their wedding planning and form a community of providers.

    There is going to have to be some creativity on the part of all orthodox Christians in an increasingly secular society. Orthodox Christians are a wily group that has survived for 2000+ years. Didn’t Jesus promise us this?

    Every Christian suffers the faith (that’s what my Bishop meant when he slapped my face at Confirmation). Martyrs die for the faith.

  153. The Masked Chicken says:

    ” I’m no expert in anything covert, but my hunch is that the better strategy would be to develop and perfect a system of hiding in plain view now – while we still have time.”

    This was considered in the 2nd best Catholic science fiction story, ever. It is by Anthony Boucher and called, The Quest for Saint Aquin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Quest_for_Saint_Aquin

    The Chicken

  154. BLB Oregon says:

    “But how long do you think it would take for our government or another to bomb Micronesia off the map, or cut off their supply of imported necessities (economic and practical isolation) if they (the government) were to become aware that it had become an underground haven for trad Catholics?”

    Even during the Last Persecution of them all, the powerful who persecute will not be allowed to become all-powerful. When the persecuted scatter, some of them find a stone that remains unturned, an Egypt, as it were, until the most recent incarnation of Herod dies. Still, the faithful cannot be so presumptuous of divine care that we do not do our part to be prepared, in case we be asked to stand ready “with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand”. As Our Lord said, “So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind.” Luke 17:30-31. Some version of that could be asked of any of us, because it has happened before.

  155. Matt R says:

    Giuseppe, what some are going through, and more will go through in the future, might not be red martyrdom given by the sword, but it is certainly white martyrdom.

  156. JuliB says:

    Giuseppe,
    From Wikipedia (I know), but sourced from JP2:
    “Also along these lines are the terms “wet martyr” (a person who has shed blood or been executed for the faith) and “dry martyr” which is a person who “had suffered every indignity and cruelty” but not shed blood, nor suffered execution.”

    I guess your comment: ” I do not think it would be unreasonable (or illegal, but I defer to the attorneys) for a wedding business to advertise that their business is a specialty business that photographs or caters only sacramental ceremonies at Roman Catholic and Greek/Russian Orthodox sacraments. (Heck, I work with a guy who only DJs at Bar Mitzvahs and refuses to do run-of-the-mill birthday parties.)’ offends me as an American.

    They shouldn’t have to limit their business to the Church, but rather be allowed to live out their lives without having to act against their conscience. That is America.

    So, perhaps martyrdom is too strong a word, but you did agree with persecution.

    But persecution can lead to martyrdom. Given that 10 years ago, we had so such persecution, and that 10 years ago it wasn’t hate crime in Canada to preach Biblical beliefs, why should we not expect the trend to continue? Certainly the actors driving this turn of events show no sign in stopping?

    To explain my concern in a different way, if faced with a small cut and minor infection, do you attend to it with concern, or wait until there’s a case of full blown sepsis?

    “It can’t happen here”, while a phrase associated with Nazi Germany, probably has been bandied about before all preventable tragedies.

    This suffering is very new to the US and Canada, and I see no reason to believe it won’t accelerate.

  157. JuliB says:

    Giuseppe, I guess a shortened version is ‘please don’t be so dismissive’.

  158. OrthodoxChick says:

    M. Chicken,

    I’m not sure how to interpret your link to “The Quest for Saint Aquin”. Was that intended to be serious, or tongue-in-cheek? I mean, a novel staring a robotic theologian named “Rob*ss”? Seriously??

    What was the sequel called…”Lost In (Aquinas) Space”????????????

  159. Therese says:

    All this reminds me of something that passed on Twitter this morning regarding the latest decrees for causes of new saints. One in particular had caught a tweeter’s eye, and I went digging for the rest. I think you’ll find the story of fourteen-year-old seminarian Rolando Rivi and the testimony of the bloody cassock compelling reading:

    http://www.clerus.org/clerus/dati/2010-05/11-13/The_Testimony_of_the_Bloody_Cassock.html

    Rolando was only a boy and suffered terribly before his death, yet still he refused to take off the cassock these Fascists hated so much. Something mysterious takes place in the soul of a martyr in his final struggle. Perhaps we ought to take Our Lord at His word, that the Holy Spirit will give to the faithful, young or old, what they need when the time comes.

  160. Giuseppe says:

    JuliB – point well taken. I hear you re. glib. I apologize for both tone and content.

  161. catholicmidwest says:

    160 replies. Wow!

    This is the religion that in the midst of the Roman Empire at its most pagan and corrupt and powerful, was able to go from 12 people to millions; the religion that was able to conquer the known world and bring civilization to a ravaged Europe. This is the religion that has not changed any of its central teachings and still holds them, and by this I mean the deposit of faith, which has not changed.

    So have you ever asked yourself honestly and carefully and truthfully why Catholics are so hated now?

  162. PA mom says:

    Catholicmidwest-yes, but since humanity has “evolved” so much, I am not sure of the answer.

  163. Blog Goliard says:

    @catholicmidwest: I thought it was because we were told, on good authority, that we would be hated.

  164. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Blog Goliard,

    no.

    We are not hated because we were told we would be. We are hated for some other reason, and were told we would be.

  165. Felicia says:

    I am in agony that my two children, ages 11 and 18, are in the process of drawing away from the Church, and nothing that I say or do is turning that around. If you read this comment, please pray for them.

  166. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Felicia, You have my prayers. Can you give the first names of your two children? Thank you.

  167. bookworm says:

    Something else to think about, for those of us looking for a “refuge”. Most of you seem to be writing off the entire United States if present trends continue; and it may well be that the kind of freedom and respect observant Catholics enjoyed in the past will not be fully available anywhere in the country in the future (especially if federal authority is brought to bear).

    That said, there are significant differences between various states, or even regions within states, with regard to culture and to enforcement of laws regarding homeschooling, self-defense, etc. Surely being able to move from, say, New York City to Texas, or from San Francisco to Salt Lake City would make quite a difference even if it didn’t solve everything. so it might be possible to at least mitigate or lessen the level of persecution/harassment/intrusion one experiences simply by moving to another state or region, if moving out of the country is not feasible. With that in mind… any suggestions?

  168. BLB Oregon says:

    “…Surely being able to move from, say, New York City to Texas, or from San Francisco to Salt Lake City would make quite a difference even if it didn’t solve everything…With that in mind… any suggestions?”

    Based on the experience of the Chinese when it comes to effective resistance of a totalitarian government, I’d say to find an area where the local populace has firm and long-standing pockets of Catholicism, and the more physically removed from the centers of power and the less populated, the better. I’m thinking the little towns in the Midwest originally settled by Catholic farmers.

  169. Lucas Whittaker says:

    I like the idea of buying a remote island [somewhere warm] on which Catholics could live. My wife and I recently bought a small home in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where a nearby family is Catholic and are now friends. I can only imagine what it would be like if every neighbor were to be Catholic!

    But it seems to me that scripture points out that the wheat and the weeds are allowed to grow up together, and, as you know, the wheat is called upon to become a leaven. It is difficult to be misunderstood and to suffer various things for the faith, but it is a part of God’s plan–a plan that I hope will become clearer to us one day in the eternity to which we all look so forward.

  170. Ame E. says:

    Possible martyrdom in whatever form certainly is not news to anyone who is a parent trying to raise their kids in the faith these days. We are living in the moral American equivalent of the decline and fall of Rome… It is interesting that persecution of Christians started within the Roman empire… we are in the pagan equivalent of the Roman empire now via the secular state.

    One way to prepare is by being willing to let go of selfishness and some of our creature comforts, engage in physical labor, and put limits on entertainment. Another way is for parents to take responsibility for their children’s catechesis (by teaching and living the faith at home) and exposing them to good liturgy and faithful priests. And by trying and being willing to make Christ the center rather than ourselves the center of our lives. Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have talked about this recently.

    We also need to pray for endurance; however weak slothful and indolent I may be as a parent, that God will give me and my children the strength to be faithful and be given the strength to endure whatever it is we are called to endure. (An example of heroic endurance is at the very end of Roberto Rossellini’s film Open City through the words and actions of Giorgio and Don Pietro). We also need to somehow mysteriously understand that this is part of God’s will, and that a greater good will come out of it. which means to stay recollected (see the book, To Quell the Terror by William Bush about the French Carmelites, who were martyred during the French Revolution as a good example of this).

    Also, something to pass on to our kids that persecution is by its very nature irrational; so that sometimes it is in vain to argue with one’s persecutors because argument assumes that they are rational.