A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”
Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.
The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.
Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.
For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.
Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.
Some liberal and secular scholars seem perplexed or even miffed as to why Jesus mentioned hell more than he mentioned heaven in the New Testament, and why he also brought up the sin and punishment for Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus did this because His supreme love wants to save us all from sin and live in a way that would cause us to live up to our full potential. Instead of thanking God as did the early faithful, many today just refuse to believe that which they don’t understand, as if they knew more than God. This is exactly what got the human race off to a bad start in the Garden of Eden, but it appears for all of their wisdom, some repeat the most basic of mistakes.
This leads us to the question: Would Jesus and his early followers face arrest today? It would appear so and it seems from recent statements by some that they would arrest whoever condemned same sex marriage. It does seem more than a little odd for religious believers that all three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) would have to have been involved in a greater conspiracy than even the farfetched DaVinci Code to oppress same-sex marriage.
It is easy to forget that in the dying days of Rome while some of the elite went to Sunday Mass, they longed for the debauchery when Christianity was illegal and the family was just a charade. They wished for a time when orgies took place in the homes of the well heeled and bloodshed took place in the coliseum. In other words, with nothing to tame their inhibitions all sorts of sexual practices along with blood sport violence was used to fulfill their desires. Christianity and it’s emphasis on modesty and celibacy before marriage rescued the world from this sort of debauchery, and now we are told this saving way of life is really repressive and hateful?
This line of thinking would have seemed astonishing to the faithful one thousand years ago. They know corruption existed in the Catholic Church, yet they hung on to every word of the few who could read and write and tell them about the mysteries and glories of the Bible and lives of the saints. Though their lives were full of toil and drudgery, God and the Church was the center of their lives. They longed for the opportunity to slip into town just long enough to see the priest lift up the Host at the Consecration of the Mass. At noontime, while working in their fields, they all paused in gratitude for what they did have, as the Angelus bell tolled.
Today, the Catholic Church is the only Church who is universal, can speak with one voice and has conservative based social views. This coupled with the fact that she, unlike far too many Christian churches, has never lost her belief in the mystical-i.e. the Eucharist, miracles, apparitions etc. However, the biggest reason some in the mainstream media attack the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI is that despite all of these “non modern” views, the Catholic Church continues to grow. Young people in particular are draw to devotions like the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration, which gives them a sense of understanding in a world where anything goes.
The fact that the Catholic Church continues to grow is bad enough for many mainstream media’s religious writers. They see fit to attack the Catholic Church and Evangelical churches whenever the opportunity arises. However, their own church darlings (the liberal Protestant mainstream churches) continues to plummet. Many mainline American Protestant churches have lost nearly half of their members in the last fifty years-some went to Evangelical Churches, some to the Catholic Church and others stopped attending any church.
It would appear that in the latter case, they took the relativistic sermons they were hearing to heart and, like those delivering the sermons, they felt they knew better than the teachings of orthodox minded Christianity. It is much worse in Europe, where it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at Britain’s mosques than attend Anglican Church services on Sunday morning. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI.
In the last few years we have seen a resurgence of orthodoxy in the Church to counter the Dictatorship of Relativism that our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has prophetically warned us is occurring in our modern world. This term makes the hair stand on the neck of most liberals, for numbers bare out the truth in Pope Benedict’s statement. In African and Asia, the Catholic Church has grown by leaps and bounds precisely because it holds to her teachings and biblical truths. Because of this the Africans and Asians are patronized and told they will come to see the fruits of the modern world once they are “properly educated.”
As I noted before, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers. In African and Asia Catholic seminaries are bursting at the seams. In the United States the numbers 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year,) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. Los Angeles and Rochester were led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver were led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.
Recent events have shown us that some could care less what God thinks. There are some like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins who mock those who believe in God. Recently, a new category seems to be attracting some, Apatheist. In this belief system the individual doesn’t care if God does or doesn’t exist, they will continue to go it their way. This group, which includes the likes of popular comedian and talk show host Bill Maher, seems to suggest that if there are signs warning you of the dangers of driving over the edge of the Grand Canyon, you should continue on with your journey, a sobering analogy of our modern world.
It does seem more than a little perplexing that some would discount the biggest influence on the western world, the Judeo Christian ethic, for the likes of Voltaire, Marx, Engels and Alinsky, individuals who lived troubled lives and who advocated the destruction of the family as we know it. These same men advocated a world without organized religion. Sadly, those experiments were conducted in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. Tens of millions of people lost their lives to those regimes who had no use for organized religion.
God is love and He draws everyone who will listen inward. Some have always been attracted to rebellion. Earlier this year I wrote two columns called The Coming Open Rebellion Against God and If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments Look At What It Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters.) These articles discuss the rebellion man has made against God from the earliest of days until the present.
Pride always comes before the fall and we are seeing it before our eyes. In Rome’s dying days, no one knew that it was the end. They were literally partying like there was no tomorrow when the Barbarians were literally at the gate. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier for Catholics, despite what the mainstream media is reporting, the tide is turning. A battle may be looming but Christ promised that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:15-20.)
This is something that all believers should take to heart in the coming days, weeks, months and years. We may be under attack, but the Spiritual Works of Mercy remind us that we are to admonish and correct the sinner, just as we love and pray for them. It may not be easy, but it is simply what we are called to do. St Paul commands us to hold fast to what was taught to us by letter or by word (2 Thessalonians 2:15.) Love and truth will prevail, just as it did countless times in the last 2,000 years when the Faith that Christ gave us was under attack.