The New Persecution
The New Persecution
Third Sunday of February 2012:
Quinquagesima Sunday

[Image: martyrdom.jpg]
The Obama Administration’s recent mandate that all employers provide insurance coverage that pays for the costs of abortion inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization is a striking example of the new persecution of the Church.

Although the world has, for the moment, laid aside the physical instruments of persecution, the beast of the Coliseum, the scaffold and cauldron of the hanging, drawing and quartering, or the Guillotine, persecution itself has not been laid aside.

Whereas, in the past the persecution focused primarily on the physical level of the pain of sense, today’s persecution focuses on the spiritual and moral aspect of Man’s nature. Rather than demanding that he offer incense to a false god or face death, today’s persecutors demand violation of the Natural and Divine Law or face loss of government funds and their largest weapon, fear of the loss of human respect.

These new persecutions are wrought by the point of a pen rather than the point of a sword, but their intent is as sharp as in centuries past. The desire is to force Catholics into contradiction. They must be forced to betray basic principles to be allowed to retain their little allotted space in the public square. The root desire of this new persecution is to force the Church and Catholics to abandon their tenacious grasp of immutable moral principles. Abortion, contraception and sterilization violate the Natural Law, as has always and everywhere been taught by the Church. To maintain the right to participate in the freedoms of American pluralistic public life, Catholic institutions must compromise these immutable truths. The nature of this compromise is most devious. Catholics may still prattle on in their little corner of the public square about their “private” belief that these unnatural practices are immoral but they can do nothing more. Their public hospitals and schools must comply with the public choices that declare these immoral acts to be basic freedoms. To stay in the public space, they must act contrary to their “private” beliefs in public. They must pay (either directly according to the administration’s original plan or indirectly according to their latest “accommodation”) for their employees’ violations of Natural Law.

Sadly, modern Church leaders have fashioned their own rod of persecution. The premise of the new persecution can be found in the Vatican II document, Digitatis Humani. One of the essential flaws of the document is its underlying treatment of religion as a private matter of conscience. DH proclaims a private right to practice whatever religious beliefs one’s private conscience might choose as long as in public you leave everyone else alone to practice his own choice. This novelty makes religion and religious belief purely private. It gives credence to the lie that Men can live double lives. They can have private religious beliefs but must be willing to abandon them in their public life. Catholic hospitals and schools can have their own private belief about abortion, contraception and sterilization but the new persecution demands that they respect the “religious freedom” of everyone else to believe the opposite. They must therefore provide access to these evils through the mandated insurance. If some members of the American hierarchy are to be commended for their strong words denouncing this regulation (and the strong letter of Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Oklahoma is noteworthy), it must not be forgotten that it has been their relentless preaching of this false dichotomy of public/private religious belief through their embrace of religious freedom that has resulted in the current crisis.

The chickens have come home to roost. The embrace of religious freedom has fueled the consolidation of a godless government and society which rejects an objective moral order. Now the whimpering cries for their own religious freedom go unheard in the bureaucracies of the new world order in Washington.

What are traditional Catholics to do in the face of such flagrant flouting of the Natural and Divine Law?  Our reaction must be on three levels: spiritual, social and political. Spiritually, we must offer prayer and penance to God first in reparation for our leaders’ flouting of the moral law. Secondly we must pray for the gift of fortitude for the bishops of this country that they may echo the words of the great popes “We have heard enough of the rights of Man and need to hear more of the rights of God.” May they be granted the fortitude to stay the course and continue to operate Catholic hospitals and schools without complying with the legal requirement, come what may.

Next, we have a social duty to our neighbor to live our religion publicly and privately. We must maintain that all Men are whole beings who cannot be divided into private and public dimensions. We must live consistently our whole lives, in our private homes and in our workplaces. We must not accept technical rationalizations to join in the sins of others through consent, assistance or encouragement.

Politically, we must boldly stand (hopefully behind the hierarchy) before our political leaders, whose authority comes from God, and defend the Truth. Like the martyrs of the past we must make clear that an unjust law, as this one, is no law at all. We must defend Catholic schools, hospitals and other institutions and make clear to our governors that they shall not close their public doors nor shall they compromise to buy the peace of this world.

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