Some thoughts on the five stages of religious persecution.

It is rare that a respected segment of American life would become vilified and hated overnight. The usual transformation from respect to vilification goes in stages which grow in intensity. And hereby the Church, once a respected aspect of American life, along with the Protestant denominations has become increasingly marginalized and hated by many. It may help us to review these stages of persecution since it would seem that things are going to get more difficult for the Church in the years ahead. Generally there are distinguished five basic stages of persecution.

By way of giving due credit I want to say that these stages were recalled to me by Johnette Benkovic, of Women of Grace EWTN. She spoke at a recent fundraiser here in DC for WMET 1160 AM, Our Catholic Radio Station in the Guadalupe Radio Network. She gave a wonderful talk and a summons to courage. And among the things she set forth was a sober vision of how we have come to this current place where the culture is increasingly hostile to Christians and to Catholics particularly. The stages are from her talk, the commentary is my own.

Here then are the Five stages:

I. Stereotyping the targeted group – To stereotype means to repeat without variation, to take a quality or observation of a limited number, and generalize it of the whole group. It involves a simplified and standardized conception or view of a group based on observation of a limited sample.

And thus as the 1960s and 70s progressed Catholics and Bible-believing Christians were often caricatured in the media as Bible thumpers, simpletons, as backwards, mentally simple, haters of science, hypocrites, self-righteous, old-fashioned and so forth.

Catholics in particular were also accused of having neurotic guilt, hatred or aversion of sexuality, of being in a sexist institution. of it being stuck in the past, with too many rules, being authoritarian, of having clergy who were sexually repressed, homosexuals or pedophiles.

Basically as the stereotype goes, Catholics and Bible believing Christians are a sad, angry, boring, backward and repressed lot. To many who accept the stereotyping we are a laughable, even tragic group, caught in a superstitious past, incapable of throwing off the shackles of faith.

To be sure, not everyone engages in this stereotyping to the same degree, but here are the basic refrains of it. And the general climate of this sort of stereotyping sets the foundation for the next stage.

II. Vilifying the targeted Group for alleged crimes or misconduct, – As the stereotyping grows in intensity, Catholics and Christians,  who did not toe the line in the cultural revolution were described as, close-minded, harmful to human dignity and freedom, intolerant, hateful, bigoted, unfair, homophobic, reactionary and just plain mean and basically bad people.

The History of the Church is also described myopically as little more than bad and repressive behavior as we conducted crusades, inquisitions, and hated Galileo and all of science. Never mind that there might be a little more to the story, or that the Church founded universities, and hospitals, was the patron of the arts, and preached a Gospel that brought order and civilization to divided and barbarous time in the aftermath of the Roman Empire. Stereotyping will hear little of that, or, if it does, it will give the credit to anything or anyone but the Church and the faith.

In writing this, I fully expect to get a bevy of comments saying in effect that this is exactly what we are. And not only will they feel justified in saying this, but even righteous as they say so, so ingrained has this vilifying become in the wider culture.

As with any large group, individual Christians and Catholics will manifest some negative traits, but stereotyping and vilifying, and crudely and indiscriminately presuming the negative traits of a few to be common to all in unjust.

Yet all of this has the effect of creating a self-righteous indignation toward believers and of making anti-Catholic and anti-Christian attitudes a permissible bigotry for many today.

III. Marginalizing the targeted group’s role in society – Having established the (untrue) premise that the Church and the faith is very bad, and even harmful to human dignity and freedom, the next stage seeks to relegate the role of the Church to the margins.

To many in secularized culture, religion must go. They will perhaps let us have our hymns etc. in the four walls of our churches, but the faith must be banished from the public square.

In this stage it becomes increasingly unacceptable and intolerable that anyone should mention God, pray publicly or in any way bring their Christian faith to bear on matters of public policy. Nativity sets must go, out with Christmas trees, even the colors green and red at “holiday time” are banished from many public schools.

Do not even think of mentioning Jesus or of publicly thanking him in your valedictorian address, you could very well have a Circuit Court judge forbid you under penalty of law. You can thank the Madonna, but only if you mean the singer.

The LGBT club is welcome to set up shop and pass out rainbow colored condoms at the high school, but Christians better hit the road, no Bibles or pamphlets better see the light of day anywhere in the school building…separation of Church and state you know.

IV. Criminalizing the targeted group or its works – Can someone say HHS mandate?

But prior to this egregious attempt to violate our religious liberty there have been many other times we have had to go to court to fight for our rights to openly practice our faith. Increasing litigation is being directed against the Church and other Christians for daring to live out our faith.

Some jurisdictions have sought to compel Catholic hospitals and pro-life clinics to provide information or referrals for abortion, to provide “emergency contraception” (i.e. the abortifacient known as the morning after pill), Several branches of Catholic Charities have been de-certified from doing adoption work because they will not adopt children to gay couples. The State of Connecticut sought regulate the structure, organization and running of Catholic parishes in 2009. And recently a number of Christian valedictorians in various states have suffered legal injunctions when it was discovered that they would dare to mention God, and Jesus in their talk. (More HERE)

Many of these attempts to criminalize the faith have been successfully rebuffed in the courts, but the frequency of lawsuits, and the time and cost involved with fighting them is a huge burden. It is clear that attempts to criminalize Christian behavior is a growth sector in this culture and signals the beginnings and steady erosion of religious liberty.

Many indeed feel quite righteous, quite politically correct in their work to legally separate the practice of the faith from the public square.

V. Persecuting the targeted group outright – If current trends continue, Christians, especially religious leaders, may not be far from enduring heavy fines and jail.

Already in Canada and parts of Europe Catholic clergy have been arrested and charged with “hate crimes” for preaching Catholic Doctrine on homosexual activity.

In this country there are greater provisions for free speech but, as we have seen, there is a steady erosion in religious liberty and many Catholic dioceses are well familiar with having to spend long periods in courts defending basic religious liberty. The trajectory points to suffering, lawsuits, fines, desertification, and ultimately jail.

Unlikely you say? Alarmist? Well, stages one through four are pretty well in place. One may wish to whistle past the graveyard but it looks like we’re pretty well set for Stage V. You decide.

Maybe a heavy post requires a light video. Paul and Silas land in jail. It’s so bad its good: 🙂

137 Replies to “Some thoughts on the five stages of religious persecution.”

  1. I think President Obama should have the guy that made this video arrested and thrown in jail before the Christians find out about it and riot or possibly attack an embassy.

      1. Light? Hardly.
        Strange? undoubtedly.
        Good laugh? I’ll pray for you.
        So bad it’s good? So bad it is completely offensive to anyone with respect and love for the Living God and His Word.

        Aside from the video, the post was good and thought provoking. The answer to it is to use the weapon the Blessed Virgin gave us. Her Most Holy Rosary. Use it well and use it often.

        1. How can we be expected to respect someone with no sense of humour? Unless he laughs at drowning babies in floods?

        2. Hey brah! Chill! Jesus is, like a totally Coolaphonic Dude. The Big Kahuna reminds each and every one of us, “First take the surfboard out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your bro’s eye.” …I’m sure that JP II would approve of a little tongue-in-cheek humor for the New Evangelization. “Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears”, we need a little laughter. The video is funny. Cowabunga.

          1. David, your lack of humor is one of the reasons people don’t want to be Catholics or any kind of Christians for that matter.

        3. David, you are so right. Our best weapon is the Holy Rosary and devotion to our Lady.

    1. robertlifelongcatholic you’re doing exactly what this post is talking about in points I & II.

      true religion doesn’t lead to bombings and embassy attacks, blind religion does.

      don’t put christians in the same boat as people from other religions that *directly* teach that those who do not submit to their world view must be put to death.

  2. Great post! Makes me wonder if you were reading my post on local bar that is having a party to give donations to a group of Komen. I’ve received nothing in arguments back to me except the abuse crisis, Galileo, I have the tendacies (b/c all religious people have this apparently) of a serial killer, & blanken wierd. Nothing but Alinsky like stuff to attack the Church.

  3. We’ve certainly seen the beginning of stage IV. Consider:

    –The Brooks Brothers incident: Brooks Brothers manager gets one of those “marriages” to her lesbian lover, starts cajoling an employee about it. The employee tries his best to maintain a kind of Aquinas silence about it, but finally breaks under the needling and confesses what he really thinks. Employee is fired. Much of the world including Catholics take the attitude that “He’s young. He’ll find another job.” The Lesson: Silence might work for awhile, but evil demands full-throated approval, so it is not a long term solution.

    –The Shawano School incident–A Wisconsin high school paper decides to do a pro/con article on gay marriage. Student was ASKED to write the “con” side. He did. He was hauled before the assistant principle and berated for hours on end. The Lesson: Despite the outbreak of “anti-bullying” campaigns in schools across the nation, it is clear that advocates for true marriage need not apply.

    –Speaking of “anti-bullying” campaigns, google Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” campaign. It’s code, and not very deep code, for homosexual normalization. The Lesson: While one might be tempted to say who cares about yet another celebrity being silly?, it’s not so silly when you consider that the campaign is backed by Harvard, a 28-billion dollar endowed school that long ago stopped pretending it wasn’t a social engineering factory as opposed to an institute for higher learning.

    –The Lisa/Isabella Miller case. This is actually a Stage V incident. Lisa “marries” Janet in Vermont. Lisa has a child via artificial means. Lisa converts to Christianity and appropriately wants Janet to hit the road. After a court battle, judge insanely awards custody to Janet. Lisa flees the country with child with law enforcement on her heels. Pastor who helps her escape is arrested. The Lesson: Many called Lisa a criminal, but when pressed, I’ve seen one commenter admit that not only would he hypothetically return a slave to his master under the Fugitive Slave Act (because, you know, it was the law), he would also support a law that took newborns from heterosexual parents and give them to homosexual couples in the name of “family diversity”. Talk about “We have no god but Caesar!”

    That’s just a sample.

    1. Re your second example…I’m always surprised that any practicing Catholics and Christians even consider public schools an option anymore. Shrug.

      1. Have you looked into the cost of sending a kid to a Catholic or private school? Some people simply can’t afford it. You might suggest homeschooling, but (once again) not every family can afford to have one parent stay home to homeschool. It’s a tough situation, but some families don’t really have any other option.

        1. I didn’t mean to sound flippant, cost is obviously a real concern.
          I guess I meant to say I am always surprised when people seem horrified at the stuff that goes on in public schools.

        2. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to afford it, but thankfully today my husband and I are making huge sacrifices and sending our kids to Catholic Schools. I am terrified we won’t be able to afford high school. I pray that the church encourages more to try and maybe we can bring down the cost. Also, good Catholics need to insist that their schools really are Catholic. We have a super great young priest who must have been well raised by his parents because he actually talks about things like praying, reading your bible, abortion and purgatory. Our school is run by a great group of young Domincan sisters of St. Cecilia. God bless you all.

      2. The reason is, that they probably can’t afford the tuition and against their better wishes, have to send their children to a public school. Not everyone is qualified for a scholorship.

        1. Also, many areas of the country have few or no Catholic schools. Non-Catholic, private schools are often insanely expensive. Public school is the only option for many. And others (I’m one) had no real idea what today’s public schools were actually like until they had children in them.

          1. Some of the Catholic schools are worse than the public schools morally and spiritually. Not every Catholic school is indeed Catholic and there are many principals who can’t even tell their priest the basic tenants of Catholicism for they don’t know them.

          2. This might have been true for a few schools out there, I dunno. But today, no one can convince me that even the most watered-down Catholic school isn’t better than a public school.

          3. I have sent 3 kids to our neighborhood public high school because we couldn’t afford the Catholic school that was not in our neighborhood. The funny thing is, that the State of Indiana will pay for other kids to go to the Catholic school whether they are Catholic or not through a voucher program. But we are not “poor enough” to receive a voucher. Spending over $25,000 this year to help our kids attend college in Indiana this year is not considered part of the eligibility requirements. So if anybody doesn’t think the middle class is not getting squeezed, they don’t have a clue. As parents, we are taking the primary responsibility of educating our kids in the Catholic faith, but we wouldn’t mind a little help from a school.

          4. It has always amazed me what people will pay for their children’s secular education but are unwilling to pay for their eternal salvation! It is not going to matter much how successful we were in this world when we get to the next.

  4. I don’t really see persecution coming per se. I see irrelevancy, political and social.

    There will be forced continual withdrawal from many areas (healthcare, social services, education, etc).

    Therefore, we will become smaller and smaller, perhaps down to just Mass and parish life at the end.

        1. The Amish are being persecuted. They are even being arrested and fined for making and selling non-pasturized milk and cheese products.

          1. That is not what I personally consider persecution, as everyone is subject to that law and it has a basis in public health.
            My point is that we do have stronger religious protections here in the U.S. compared to other countries, even Canada.
            But we will be made irrelevant, politically and socially irrelevant, that I do believe. Just like the Amish.

          2. It is the Amish livelihood that is being threatened by Gov’t intrusion and regulation. Heck yeah, the Amush are being persecuted. So are Catholics, but that didn’t prevent them for re-electing Obama.

      1. No, I don’t see possible martyrdom on the table. In fact, I think thoughts like that are outright ridiculous. Our religious protections are still there.

        Now, will we lose all of our government privileges and access unless we acquiesce to various things, which we won’t….YES.

        The Catholic Church’s status in the broad American life will become diminished. Some may see that as persecution, I do not. We have had a good run of enjoying our influence on policy, and we have done a lot of good things through our social services, schools and programs. That will all be stripped from us.

        But again, that is not persecution, that is becoming irrelevant. Again, look to the Amish.

        1. How about a less “ridiculing” word than ridiculous. Perhaps you could have said, “unlikely” or “improbable” but ridiculous may over state the case Ann. Who would have dreamed that the highly intellectual and advanced German culture would have undertaken the pogrom it did in WWII? Corruption began with the flesh in Weimar Republic darkening their minds and dulling sensibilities. Add to that economic struggle and the cauldron reached boiling. That may seem unlikely in the US, but calling such a concern ridiculous may be too strong.

          1. I bet 40-ish years ago if someone would have said that by the end of 2012 there will have been 55 million abortions, someone else would have said ‘ridiculous’

          2. I agree Msgr., ridiculous is a harsh word and I apologize for that. However, I do think that full out persecution leading to martyrdom is unlikely, for many reasons. However, I am starting to think that perhaps I have a different idea as to what real persecution is, compared to some other comments on this thread, so that could be where I differ as well.

          3. Respectfully, there are several types of martyrdom. Effectively blacklisting someone might as well be taking the food from their mouths or those of their children. Enforcing certain educational practices may ensure that Catholics receive what is considered a ‘lesser education’ than their peers and become less likely to have a good paying job.
            Around one year ago, my husband almost didn’t get his job because his employer was concerned that a private Catholic university graduate would be too pretentious to be a ‘team player’ or a good worker. Luckily, she was open-minded enough to give him an interview and see that he is a personable worker. Today, he is one of her most valuable employees.
            I agree that it’s unlikely that Catholics will be literally thrown to lions or whipped. This is an enlightened age of genteel punishment, which would rather force someone from the workforce so that they effectively starve or crawl back on their knees to ‘enlightenment’.
            It reminds me of a story in which a ship-wrecked sailor, who having endured chase of cannibal natives, arrived at a beach in which there were men, women, and children in a public hanging. He fell to his knees and thanked God that he was in ‘civilized country’ at last.

          4. You have to remember that even in countries where they openly persecute people for their faith, they still maintain a pretext of law that makes it seem perfectly legitimate to outsiders. So if the Amish are being arrested because of what seems to be health laws, that may not actually be the case, only a cover that no one will really question. After all, the probably deserved it, and the authorities are always reasonable, so we assume. Also, some of the worst persecution came in Communist countries where the law stated they had religious freedom. You have too much faith in the actual meaning of words among people who are willing to twist things to suit their purposes. Perhaps you should look up subjects like “overprosecution” and see how vague and overblown many laws at both federal and state level are to allow for all kinds of broad interpretations.

            Also, if people were being killed for the faith, why would you believe the media would tell you openly about it? Would that make the headlines? Would the churches really stand up for that? Have they really been that into defending and leading the way on stopping persecution abroad? Not usually. No, often it is more likely that they would hide that or recast it so it looked like a political murder or some other reason for the death? These things happen regularly abroad, yet you expect complete transparency here? Why would it be unlikely Christians could be really persecuted? Because this is America and you hope it would be different? What’s that old saying that people never think it can happen to them, right? I think that’s just wishful thinking that it can’t. You never really know what may come in the future. Did you even imagine we would be where we are today?

          5. Actually, come to think of it, the Jews didn’t really know what was happening to their community during the time of Hitler, either. They thought all of the stories of the death camps were exaggerations. I seem to recall a story of a rabbi who tried to tell some of them being loaded into the cars to go to the death camps not to bother to take their belongings. He took a file in a loaf of bread or something instead. He was the only one to make it out alive. So no, it’s better not to make too many assumptions about who or what will protect you. When a society suffers from moral disorientation, you never really know how far things may go.

  5. Sometimes I think we are being slightly paranoid…it’s not as though we are being slaughtered in an arena. But then, last night, I took a walk through the Constitution of the European Union and it jolted me out of my stupor. That is a document that has stripped the Catholic Christian heritage from memory in Europe and only really tolerates the existence of churches, while making clear they are only to be viewed the same as any other secular organization that wants to gather. The emphasis is placed squarely on a morally relativistic tolerance. I looked at our own constitution with more appreciation and surprise at its continued existence.

    1. If you don’t think we’re not being slaughtered in an arena you must be oblivious of abortion clinics. They are slaughtering unborn martyrs everyday.

  6. Monsignor, thank you for speaking the sobering truth & not remaining silent. This year the faithful have been called by Pope Benedict XVI to participate in a “Year of Faith”. I encourage everyone whose hearts are aligned with his to do their part everyday. There’s no excuse not to. TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG & EVERY EFFORT WE MAKE FOR THE GLORY OF GOD COUNTS!!!

  7. Are we to blame? Nobody stood up against Roe vs Wade. Bad priest were terrible examples on pedophilia and homosexuality. A popular Catholic priest cohabiting with a woman, now turned Anglican. Only a handful of Catholics and Christians practice their faith. We need Faith, a renewal of Faith. We need modern day Saints worthy to be emulated. I believe these persecutions are due to us that we may have martyrs whose blood will become the seed of Faith. There is faith and there is Faith. Let me look within me, ‘i’ think there is lacking within me.

    1. Drop the “we” stuff. If you feel personally responsible for Fr. Cutie shacking up with a cutie and leaving the Church, just say so. You might also want to explain this, since I don’t see how you are responsible for it.

      As for “nobody stood up against Roe vs Wade” — I am at a loss. Actually, a lot of people have stood up against it. Not enough, certainly; and some of the most prominent Catholics, whether laymen or clerics, have either ignored the problem or even supported “abortion rights”. Finally, I think many pro-life people are politically naive and are too willing to accept empty promises. To say that “nobody stood up” is a blatant lie, though.

      1. Howard,

        Cut Edacruz some slack. To say “nobody” stood up is obviously hyperbole. On the other hand it’s always wise to look humbly at ourselves first and not just point the finger at other factors.

        It is obvious that “we” (as a Church) have done too little too late and that all of us will have to work smarter and harder to change the culture from the inside out.

        1. Thanx Scott. Yes, nobody is an hyperbole. Yes, ‘we’ (as a Church) as The Body of CHRIST.

          Thanx Howard. I never said I was responsible for Fr. Cutie. What I felt was spiritual pain in that part of the Mystical Body of CHRIST. I believe the Church is now providing pastoral support to our priests with regular seminars and fellowship. I offer my pains and sufferings and prayers for our priests.

          GOD bless you both and Monsignor, too.

          1. No, not quite. For one thing, the Church *as such* — as the Body of Christ — is sinless, though we Her members are not. Secondly, you mean “we” up to the point where actual blame is distributed, at which point you back off. You apparently want everyone who reads this to be saddled with the blame you refuse. Let’s just cut the gimmicks and let everyone be responsible for his actions and inactions. There is a reason that the Confiteor is first-person singular, not first-person plural.

    2. My father would tell us that the downfall of the Catholic Church happened the day the Bishops aligned with FDR and Liberal politicians to help with the poor and needy, was the church failing the poor at the time no, as he was of a poor catholic rural family during the depression. wahlah we have a populace that has been given fish their entire lives and never once wanting to learn how to fish. If I had my way we would all bow and proclaim our allegience to GOD, our FAITH and the Pope. Liberal followers are not true to the faith or GOD’s word, they only have faith in secular politicians, I know first hand as I live in Minnesota and it appears a very large number (polled number 40%) of CINO (catholic in name only) in the St Paul/Minneapolis area voted down our constitutional marriage amendment to protect the sanctity of marriage, Gods law, natural order. All of our children should be taught the Theology of the Body.
      GOD BLESS.

  8. Thanks for the lesson. And, thanks for the video, too. I needed the laugh — especially enjoyed the demon leaving on the jet plane. 🙂

  9. I weep for our nation, and for the future of our children. I am a new grandmother, and it breaks my heart to think what my 3 month old little granddaughter will face..what a different nation from the one I raised her mom in. So much change, in so little time! And people are so blind, laughing at us openly when we raise the specter of what is to come…yet, who would have believed ten years ago we’d be where we are now?? So sad.

  10. “Many indeed feel quite righteous, quite politically correct in their work to legally separate the practice of the faith from the public square.”

    “They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.” — John 16:2

  11. I notice a lot of hogwash written in blogs about Canada.Usually these are political blogs but in the above story Canada is accused on jailing Catholic priests.This is simply not true.There is no Catholic nor any other minister of religion in jail for preaching against sexual sins.It would be good if the writers would do a little homework instead of copying non-truths from other sources.The same cannot be said of the US.I do not know of any priest or religious in Europe jailed either.
    How about your sources please.

        1. Charlie, you need a reality check!

          More on Canada, read closely. Be sure to read all the way down to California’s SB 543!

          2 Timothy 3 (New American Standard)

          “Difficult Times Will Come”
          1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power ; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress ; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also. 10 Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra ; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! 12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness ; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  12. If current trends continue, Christians, especially religious leaders, may not be far from enduring heavy fines and jail.

    Then comes the shooting war.

    1. All we need is for some hothead to decide that “the shooting war” has already started to give our adversaries the excuse they need to really crack down harshly on us.

        1. Yeah. That’s also what David Koresh said, and allegedly what Eric Rudolf said. We’ve already had nuts blow up abortion clinics. What do you think — has that helped discredit abortion, or helped discredit the pro-life movement? If we start talking about a “shooting war” and somebody says, “Dang it, if it’s a shootin’ war they want, I’m gonna get my shot in when it counts” and kills somebody, what will your story be?

          Words have meanings. High-ranking members of the Bush administration talked about “taking off the kid gloves” then later denied any responsibility for the abuses in Abu Ghraib. Sorry, but “taking off the kid gloves” MEANS exactly what went on in Abu Ghraib; that is WHAT THEY MEANT when they said it, wanting to sound tough, only they didn’t want to take responsibility when it became public that their irresponsible and juvenile boasting had been acted upon. Likewise, if you are calling for a “shooting war” and someone acts on it, *YOU* will share the responsibility both for their action and for the consequences we will all suffer.

          Just sayin’.

          1. The sad reality is that, the USA is so badly is divided, it is a miracle that we do not have a second American civil war, much more worse then the first.

      1. I am afraid Michael is correct. Do not be surprised if oppression against Christians will increase in time.

  13. In the West the struggle lies between Humanitarianism and Catholicism (Protestantism is dead; I’m not sure what will become of Islam or other eastern religions). The Catholic Church is the only church which claims supernatural authority (with all its merciless logic) and perhaps, while there is time, ought to orientate itself to claim allegiance of all Christians who have any supernatural belief left.

    The secular State has long recognised that a supernatural Religion must necessarily involve absolute authority and so, to cut to the chase, must restrict ‘freedom of religion’.

    In the last century materialism and socialism, without religion, was too crude and rapidly descended into barbarism; the echoes of which remain. The new humanitarianism is become an actual religion, although anti-supernatural. It is pantheism and its creed is; God is man, etc. It has a real food of a sort to offer to man’s religious craving; it idealises, but makes no demand upon the spiritual faculties. You could call the new religion, Sentimentalism. At the rate we’re going, I think that the state will establish their ‘religion’ legally in the next ten years, encompassing further horrors.

    “The God problem is God. He dared to tell us that His idea of our “flesh and blood” was better than the one we are concocting for ourselves. We dare not admit that He was right. Therefore, He is a problem, a reality to be denied existence. Such is what is beneath the surface of the increasingly bitter activities of our polity.” (ref. needed)

  14. Some years ago, the Catholic church (bishops) “got in bed” with the current party in power. The reason, as I see it, they keep saying they are for the little guy, citizenship for illegal’s, free food and healthcare for all. Gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia had not surfaced, at least in the party platforms. Now, the church is trying to get the “voters for abortion etc.” back in line, or maybe back into the fold would be better. Still the Catholics vote 50% for all the bad, abortion etc. I believe what the church is doing now is too little, too late. Only a few bishops spoke out “bluntly” about the just past election. Somehow we have to get back to where we were about 60 years ago, I was in grade school learning my faith. Yes, Sr. Superior had a rubber hose to keep the kids in line. We somehow have allowed the persecution to start and now take place, it is just not happening.

    1. On second thought, the last sentance in part should read ………. It did not just happen.

  15. How come muslims are allowed to pray publicly – even on public streets? How come they get exempt from the HHS mandate? How come it is a hate crime to ask that? – Rene

    1. Gee Mrs. O’Riodan,
      The answer is simple. You cross them, they attack you with intent to kill. Our owners love this, and want to make them our new straw bosses. Problem is, once we christians are either dead or in chains, the muslims will turn on the communists and eat them alive. Once you are on the back of the tiger, getting off is usually fatal.

      1. Yet the good news is that in the “global south” countries, the Christian faith is growing and spreading thankfully as well.

  16. I’m in complete agreement with you Monsignor. I’ve already told my husband that I refuse to send our kids to public school. We are fortunate to be able to afford sending them to an amazing Catholic school, but in the future if we cannot afford it we’ll home school. Catholics and Christians are marginalized in the school system and taught that their beliefs are wrong, i.e. the normalization of homosexual behavior and contraception.

    1. why can’t catholics get up and do something without the religious sacrificing themselves? you, with other like-minded parents can start your own school.

      1. What do you mean sacrificing? That is what Catholic schools are for….why create our own? We just have to make sure they stay true to Church teaching.

  17. “You can thank the Madonna, but only if you mean the singer.”–very funny and, to a certain extent, true.

    I still get Galileo thrown at me sometimes. My response is that in over a 2,000 years having only Galileo to throw at us over science is greater evidence of support for science from the Catholic Church than intolerance.

    I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank EWTN for teaching me , yes, I do have to go to Mass, and yes, if I commit serious sin, I do have to go to Confession.

    I whole-heartedly support keeping one’s sense of humor intact.

    1. Do some research from a Catholic perspective on that Galileo thing. He was a favorite of the Church. But Protestants were up in arms about the Sun being the center of things, and the Church asked Galileo to tone down his presentation so as to not rile up the Protestants. Instead of toning down, he amped things up. Anti-Catholic historians have painted the Church in the worse possible light.

  18. My fantasy is that every believing Catholic begins to wear a noticeable crucifix at all times, then strives to be the most loving, helpful person in the room in all situations. We would listen, and comfort, and find help for those in our immediate circle to the point of sacrifice. Since becoming Catholic ten years ago, I have been struck by how often my new Catholic brothers and sisters want only to fit in with the culture and SAY NOTHING about their religion in every day life.
    2000 years ago, a very small group of Christians, under threat of torture and death, made huge inroads into the Roman world by being conspicuously loving to each other and to those around them. Early Christians did not try to change pagan behavior until entrance into the catechumenate. Christians won through care and love. We could absolutely do the same thing if we cared enough to do so.

    1. B,

      I totally agree. I have observed the same phenomena, especially among the younger Catholics that are sadly inundated with the pop culture. Even the homeschoolers I have encountered on a large scale and those raised in solid Catholic families are under such tremendous pressure to fit in.

      One of the things that I have seen little mentioned in most Christian circles is how to respond to this whole Crisis in the Church and in the World not only in how we treat our neighbor but how we conduct ourselves in all spheres of our existence. Not merely spiritually but economically, physically, emotionally, and what have you.

      John Horvat II is offering a unique book with a vision that I find strikingly similar to G. K. Chesterton’s Outline of Sanity which many other popes and Catholics of the twentieth and early twenty-first century have analyzed and written about. What I find unique about this book, which comes out in January (which gives you a chance to read Outline of Sanity if you haven’t and whet your appetite) is that it contains not only an analysis of what is going on now but a reflection on where we have been and where we could and must go if we are to survive as a species on this planet. It is quite sobering in its breakdown of the current socio-economic conditions that we are living under in our society and provides a realistic response to dealing with it. The site is and there are blog posts that give some food for thought and also the option of downloading the introduction, first chapter, and the bibliography. No, I don’t work for them, I am just relieved that someone, anyone, is addressing our economic response to this besides me having to read all the old stuff. I know there is a lot more out there but truly I think that today people fail to see that we cannot truly engage the culture unless we have a comprehensive, strategic plan of recovery and response to the culture in addition to our prayerful, devotional, and sacramental commitments and responsibilities which I believe are meant to give us the fuel to act not sit around and wait for the “other guys” to do it. I understand people’s frustrations deeply and I have suffered from the sad lack of authentic leadership in our Church and Society just as much as the next guy but when are we going to get off the fence and ACT? Books like these give us the perspective and tools to do that. We can’t change a thing in our lives unless we know who we are, where we’ve been, and a clear sense of where we are going. This begins at the personal but extends out into all layers of our lives in the world at large.

      Also, I recommend IHS Press for their perspective on what can be done to at least attempt to restore some order in our own lives and in our communities while there still is time.

      “Pray. Hope. Don’t Worry.” – P. Pio

      Might I add… All for the Immaculata, nothing for us! – Fr. M. Kolbe

    2. Yes, lead by example, be noticed by our actions following the Ten Commandments, be honest, and kind, not loud nor pushy. Peope are pushed away when we “push” our faith on them…

    3. B,
      I share your vision. You’ve put words to something that has been on my mind for a long time. Thank you so much for your inspiring thoughts.

  19. My advanced combat skills and experience is ready at moments notice in defense of the Catholic Church. I pray she never needs to call.

  20. I would take a Catholic’s claim to stand for religious liberty a tad more seriously if it were aimed at Poland’s conviction of blasphemy conviction of Adam Darski, instead of at the pretend criminalizing of Catholicism here in the US.

    1. Definitely the right approach. Find one example where the Catholic Church might not have been perfect. Make it the whole center piece of your argument. That way you can deflect all attention from any larger issue. One example of failure wipes out all authority for the entire Church. Perfect example of the point of the post. Cleverly done.

  21. Regarding stereotyping, the BBC recently put out a programme in which a nun was referred to as ‘a penguin’ and described by a character as a ‘tough customer’ (not meant in a complementary way). A boy in the same episode complained that if he did not go to church he might be ‘burned at the stake’ and when the boy’s mother hit him because she disproved of his behaviour the nun said, “You had good reason.” Just the thing to get the viewers to view the Catholic Church in the appropriate way.

  22. Did anyone else notice this irony in the opening paragraph?

    “And hereby the Church, once a respected aspect of American life, along with the Protestant denominations has become increasingly marginalized.”

    In one sentence, the author complains about marginalization while he excludes all Protestants both from being once-respected and from being part of the Church, the body of Christ. Cleverly done.

    1. What are you talking about and who taught you English. I say very plainly that Protestants and Catholics have together lost respectability. Please cease being uptight.

  23. This is EXTREME food for thought! And I DO NOT mean EXTREMIST! You, Msgr Pope, have articulated for me what I have been SLOWLY, FOREBODNGLY, feeling in my SPIRITUAL BONES ever since the dreadful DEBACLE called the 2012 election occurred. And I definitely believe that we as a nation are @ STAGE IV of this incipient persecution. There is one PARTIAL REMEDY that you’ve not mentioned, however. And it has to do with the TENTH AMENDMENT to our U.S. CONSTITUTION. Before the ’12 election happened, it was mentioned in the news that Texas was seriously considering WITHDRAWING from the U.S. union. And I believe that Louisiana recently mentioned that she might want to do the same. Now with the potential tyrant Obama now ensonced for a second term as President, this might be a possible fall-back position for all loyal to the concept of God and Country; Catholics, evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews, ehtical, moral seculars, i.e., ALL people of good will. For I’m afaraid the GAME IS UP and as Msgr.Pope MORE than intimates, DIABOLICAL PERSECUTION is IMMINENT. Make no mistake, HUSSEIN OBAMA is a very realistic porotype for the ANTICHRIST or he quite possibly is the REALTHING. Only time will tell. May the Holy Immaculate Virgin May pray for us unceasingly, she who is the CO-REDEMPTRIX of the human race. GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE

  24. Thank you so much for this! All of these are still prevalent today! I fear for the future of this country. There is so much anger and division out there. What is going to happen? I do fear physical martyrdom in our future. Although the election was not exactly a landslide, the fact that so many Catholics could vote for a man that is so anti-life and anti-religious freedom is indeed scary! What is the answer Monsignor? What do we do to turn this around?

  25. About 10 years ago I worked a county job and went to a mandatory diversity training. most of the training was spent attacking the Catholic Church. I was told by a senior manager that if anyone complained about me being a member of an organization that discriminated against “gays”, such as Catholic Church or Knights of Columbus, i could be required to resign from such organization or be terminated from my job. My response was I would not cease to be Catholic or KofC. i was glad to leave that county employment about a year later. So I agree that the danger of persecution is greater than most realize.

    1. Tom, has it never occured to you at any point in your life that if you did not seek to persecute others (such as discriminate against gays) then you and your fellow Catholics might find yourself treated with the same respect as everyone else?

      What makes you think that Catholics have a right to persecute others yet remain immune from persecution themselves?

      1. How is it “hateful” and “persecution” to teach that homosexual ACTS are wrong, but that the person with homosexual inclinations is still made in the image of God, and is therefore to be treated with love and respect, wherein one recognizes that he or she (like the rest of us) has an innate dignity that cannot be taken away from him or her? How is teaching that those with homosexual inclinations can still attain eternal salvation, just like the rest of us, “hateful” and “persecution”? It is not hateful to see that the person with homosexual inclinations needs love, because everyone needs love, but also like the rest of us, the person can look for it in all of the wrong places. The Church therefore invites us all to see where real and true love can be found. And frankly, I generally fail to see how and why the Catholic Church needs advice on love, sex, and marriage from a popular culture that fails miserably at all of those things.

        Real love and respect can never be divorced from the truth about the human person. Love is not a mere feeling, but an act of the will that wills the best for the other as other. It is not something we look for in order to have and possess, but what we are called and commanded to do here and now. And not all nice feelings, and expressions of affection, sexual desire and pleasure are necessarily loving, and love can never be reduced to any and all of those things as “it.” We need look no further than adultery, fornication, and contraception in this regard, all of which the Church most assuredly condemns as disordered acts (anybody who thinks that they’re in the clear because they’re “straight” can therefore think again). Romantic relationships are not “it” when it comes to love. Not even marriage is “it” when it comes to love in Church teaching and practice: not everybody, after all, is even called to marriage, so Catholicism does not understand it as the “default” position. And even when one is married, one should not think that one is somehow entitled to grow old with one’s spouse, either (is one miserable and without love should one’s spouse die?). God is Love, and all that is not disordered necessarily is ordered to that. Thus, sex is a great good, and the body is not dirty. But sex, while pleasurable, has a specific purpose whose highest good is not mere pleasure. It is not “hateful” to point that out, and it is not hateful to point out that abuse of that good by anyone at all, regardless of inclination or orientation, hurts other people.

        People are more than the sum total of their actions. But it is also true that their actions can hinder them from being all that they truly can be. Simply because one has such an inclination does not mean that one is compelled to act upon it, or is predetermined or “doomed” to act upon it. No more or less than any person who is “straight” might find themselves tempted to fornicate or to hop into the sack with someone not their spouse. Temptations are just that: temptations. And the Lord gives us all sufficient grace to battle and overcome them, from which He does not exclude those with homosexual inclinations (so those Christians fond of singing songs like “Ain’t no Homos in Heaven” can likewise think again). He wants them in Heaven with Him, too. And He gives them, like the rest of us, as many chances and invitations and graces as they need to return to Him. He calls them, just as He calls all of us, to live in Him. It is the Sacramental Life of the Church that enables and strengthens any and all who seek it and partake in it. It is not easy, but nothing in life that is worth doing is ever easy, and it is the work of a lifetime.

        So they are in the same boat and in good company in the Church: the Church teaches that everyone is called to chastity appropriate to their state in life– marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, and the Church condemns sex outside of marriage across the board. She also condemns lust, period, inside and outside of marriage (so it is simply not true that within marriage anything goes). The fact that way too many Catholics deliberately blow off Church teaching in this regard and try to make excuses for themselves and their favorite sins does not make Church teaching false or old-fashioned. It just makes individual Catholics lazy and self-serving, just like each and every other sinner that ever lived, which only goes to show how much we all need prayers, patience, forgiveness, and grace. The Christian is called to carry his or her cross, but he or she also knows and should know that we do not carry them alone. Salvation, after all, is participating in the life of God, which means cooperating with Him.

        1. P.S. sorry about the length, but I also want to point out in summary that the Church teaches that the homosexual inclination is not sinful in itself. It’s acting upon it– i.e. the act– that is sinful.

          1. I was responding to Tom’s comment, in which he indicated he wanted the right to discriminate against gays, which I view as a form of persecution. He certainly didn’t give any indication that he wanted to treat gays with love and respect.

            I appreciate the effort you made with your long reply explaining your beliefs, but as I don’t believe in your god (or any other) the arbitrary rules attributed to your god about which kind of sexual activity is “right” or “wrong” is of no interest to me. There is not a shred of evidence that there is such a god, and no sense or moral reasoning behind some of the rules attributed to him. Just saying something is “sinful” doesn’t make it so. You’re free to voice your opinion, and live your life by your rules, but you can’t expect anyone else to do so when they don’t share your beliefs and can see no logic behind them.

          2. There are of course natural law arguments against homosexual behavior as well. A basic view of the design of the body indicates that homosexual behavior is contra-indicated. Hence one does not need to reference Theistic arguments per se to hold the view against such behavior. To argue as well that there is no shred of evidence that God exists is a debate for another day, but as a general rule it would seem, at least in your world of empiricism that one should avoid such absolute statements, especially since you seem to seem rules and concepts such as right, wrong and sin to be as offensive to your antinomian views. Hence, you should avoid absolutist right vs. wrong (nomian) notions in announcing there is no shred of evidence. For you it might be better to say there is for you (since things are just opinions as you say) there is no compelling evidence.

          3. I do not believe I said I wanted the right to discriminate against gays. In fact, I believe that all people are created in God’s image, all people are loved by God, and if I really want to live my faith I must respect persons. I do not believe any discrimination against anyone is in line with my faith. My point was that most of the training was bashing the Catholic Church and, by the trainer’s definition, Catholics and Knights of Columbus discriminated against gays, and that any county employee could be terminated if anyone complained that those organizations discriminated and if I remained a member. Then a senior manager told me that if anyone complained about me being a Catholic or a Knight of Columbus, I could be terminated as an employee.

  26. It’s really hard to fight the culture, especially here in the liberal East. My kids go to a good Catholic High School, but they still get an earful from other kids who claim to be gay and bi-sexual. I get called homophobic by my own daughter, and I feel like I have taken great pains to set a good example and explain our teachings.

  27. “The LGBT club is welcome to set up shop and pass out rainbow colored condoms at the high school, but Christians better hit the road,…”

    Speaking as a gay Catholic who loves the Church, your words here are themselves stereotyping a group.

    Doing the same thing you complain about others doing has been given a rather nasty name by our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself.

    1. Well of course the essential negativity of the remark is directed at the school not the club. It is the duplicity that is critiqued. That said, condom distribution has been a very strong “outreach” of the Gay community – one of their signature projects – and most of the outspoken in the Gay community are very proud of that. Do you deny that?

      1. I do not speak for anyone but myself. I have said, however, that if a high school student is not ready to take responsibility for his or her own sexual behavior, he/she is not ready to indulge in it. In other words, provide your own condoms, and don’t look for anyone else to give them to you for free.

        Gay extremists no more speak for the average gay person than clinic bombers and assassins of abortionists speak for the pro-life movement.

        1. Well, I am not so sure if your analogy is balanced here. Gay activists are far more out there on a daily basis than clinic bombers. Further, they seem a lot more “mainstream” to the wider Gay community than clinic bombers to the pro-life. I am sure that there are also many, such as yourself but I am not so sure that the gay community is as remote from the activists as you seem to presume.

          1. I notice, Jennifer, that you totally ignored the question I asked you: How have YOU, Jennifer, suffered for your faith? Merely being disagreed with is NOT suffering. If you want to know about Christians suffering for their faith today, just look at what Christians of all stripes undergo every day in predominantly mahometan countries.

            And even now, Beligium is banning Christians Trees and creches in public, lest muslims be offended.

          2. This got put in the wrong place–don’t know how. Father, you know more gay people than you realize. You just don’t know who they are, as they live quietly and mind their own business.

        2. Pazuzu:

          High schools students are usually not married Pazuzu.
          Hence they should not have sex at all.
          Hence they do not need condoms.

          But this you know, Pazuzu. You know it all too well.
          Nice try, though!

          “The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien,..”

          The Exorcist (1973)

          1. Gabriel, my God increase your heavenly treasure as much as your ugly name calling and abuse have surely enriched mine, according to our Savior’s promise in the Beatitudes.

            And I’m also sure that your words will edify many, and lead others to want to be exactly like you.

    2. Your “gay” community brought those stereotypes on themselves. No one is forcing you to agree or obey by the teaching of G-D, that is YOUR CHOICE. I for one am SICK of you militant homosexuals attacking & FORCING everyone else to agree with your twisted morals. No one has to agree with you on anything! And if I can’t be allowed to say homosexuality is wrong, then you shouldn’t be allowed to say Christianity is evil. Plain & simple.

      I don’t agree nor approve of your lifestyle. In my eyes, it’s just as twisted & sick as accepting smoking crack as “healthy”. Not to mention the amount of STDs associated with the homosexual lifestyle. Riiiight, but I’m a “bigot” or “homophobe” for stating the stating the obvious.

      If you don’t like what the someone has to say, then either (1) ignore them & get over it or (2) find another church who would gladly embrace your deviant lifestyle.

  28. Makes you wander how the church got this far?Persecution has always been with those who follow Christ.We are not of this world!Take up your cross daily!Thank God the Holy Spirit is with us always even in times of persecution.

  29. “Stereotyping the targeted group – To stereotype means to repeat without variation, to take a quality or observation of a limited number, and generalize it of the whole group. It involves a simplified and standardized conception or view of a group based on observation of a limited sample.”

    E.G. Original Sin.

  30. French Revolution, Italian Risorgimento, German Kulturkamp, Mexican Cristero War, Soviet Union, and today China, Nigeria, etc. Why should we be surprised that America may also slip into persecuting Christians? Christ reminded us that no earthly kingdom can save the world, and Augustine reminded us that all earthly kingdoms pass away into the sands of time.

  31. I say we dump the spiritual nuclear bomb on them and really teach them a lesson. When they heap on us every suffering, we need to say out loud to them, “I offer all the suffering you have caused me as reparation for your sins.” Then we call on the Holy Spirit to descend on us and we pick up our cross and we bear it by the grace of God. Now that’s what’s amazing and cool about our faith and our Lord Jesus Christ!

    1. Just what suffering is being cause you personally, Jennifer? Can you be specific?

      And there is only ONE suffering by One Person that can possibly offer reparation for sins–and neither you nor I are that Person.

      1. That’s kind of a strange question don’t you think. I was offering suggestions for future sufferings. Also, I would say you don’t know our faith very well based on your last comment. We are all part of the body of Christ and called to suffer with Him and to offer that suffering for the redemption of souls.

        1. One more thing…what is the aversion to what I suggested? Don’t you think people would want to be forgiven for the things they did wrong that caused others to suffer?

      2. However, we are part of the Body of Christ if we are in the state of grace and as such we can make up in our bodies what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, as St. Paul said in Colossians 1:24.

    2. Blessed Luis Magana Servin told his torturers/murderers he would pray for them first when he got to heaven. That’s one of the reasons I admire him so much.

  32. Simon, you’re being tone-deaf here, and the sooner you realize it, the better off we’ll all be. The Catholic Church teaches that the GAY LIFESTYLE that always includes the practice of SODOMY and other deviant pracitices that I’m sure you’re well aware of, don’t be disingenuous, are to be CONDEMNED. But having the affliction of S.S.A. is NOT to be condemned. it is to be OVERCOME through frequent confession, fasting and prayer. Just as I, a practicing heterosexual, am to do if I have fallen into a promiscuous heterosexual way of life; Jesus died and rose from the dead for ALL of us, Simon, the homosexual and the heterosexual. This is so basic, Catholic sexual morality 101, that I’m ASTOUNDED you don’t GET IT. Stop MARINATING in self-pity and do what you ought, Simon, just as I should do, as well. And please STOP your HATING of Catholics who don’t agree with your views, then turn right around and accuse Catholics who understand the many dangers of the active gay lifestyle of ‘HATING’, when it’s not; Also, you might want to look into COURAGE, it’s a great group!! GOD BLESS ALL, MARKRITE

    1. Not all gay people are promiscuous, or even sexually active. There is no more a gay lifestyle than there is a straight lifestyle. Without getting into explicit detail, there is nothing a same-sex couple cannot do in bed that a heterosexual couple cannot do.

      And to obsess about the sexual behavior of other people, even to say how awful are the things they do, is to sin against chastity, if only in your mind.

      1. Yes, I think it is important to remember that many live chastely and celibately. However, it is an oddity of modern times that people like often to identify themselves publicly based on certain very selective qualities. For example “Hi, I’m John and I’m an alcoholic…” Really John, is that all we should know about you? And so we are also in a situation like this with the homosexual “community” wherein a person wants to be publicly known for what (or whom) they sexually desire. Thus, in saying some are “obsessed” with the sexual behavior of others, I am not sure if this is fair. Frankly most people would rather this topic not come up at all. But the “activists” in the Gay “community” sort of insist on being in your face about this and have insisted on making this whole matter a thing of public discourse, along with acceptance and promotion of things and behaviors that most people would wish be kept private and out of the public square. So I am not sure that obsession is a fair word here, or if there is obsession I don’t think it is on the part of the average Catholic. I do appreciate your insistence that not all Gay people subscribe to the approach of the activists, and thus I put the word “community” in quotes.

  33. Interesting , if not provocative article and comments. In my opinion, I do not see the church (in general) preparing believers for what is coming.. I was hoping for more leadership from the church in the last election. Not who to vote for, but a call to remember virtue and values of candidates. But everything seems to be reduced to the right to sin is now a “civil right” and that is a tough argument to counter. I didn’t vote for Romney becuse of his “exception” to abortion. No excuses, but I am a 100%/no exception pro life voter. The circumstances of conception do not change the humanity of the unborn. Plus a recent article by a group of doctors said there is no condition connected to a woman being pregnat that is not treatable, thereby making abortion unnecessay in that case. Christians must get prepared for what is coming. God will not be mocked.
    To God be the glory.

  34. Thank you, Monsignor for presenting the 5 stages: sterotype, villify, marginalize, criminalize, and persecute. When we have such useful terms and definitions, we can think more clearly about where we are and what we may want to do to preserve our Freedom of Religion. I think religion is more than just worship by the willing, but also social services to any who are in need, and reaching out to others to explain their relationship with God in the spirit of love, not recrimination.

    I read that some 20% of Americans admit to not being religious at all. 20% is enough to turn any election away from the moral principles America was founded on when those who profess some alligence to moral principles are divided. I read that 50% of Catholics voted this time against the tennets of our Catholic Faith. That’s a small imporvement from the 54% who did in 2008, but not enough.

    It seems to change the vote, we need to change CURRENT thinking; to reteach the principles of our Christian Faith. Individual Catholics can reach other individuals, but we do not speak with authority – that’s just your opinion. The same might be said of indivdual Bishops.

    Is there any nationwide wide program that teaches, yet does not argue, that we can support? United we stand, divided we fall.

    1. Fred: I too hold ideals like this. It boggles my mind how ineffective teaching is these days. I have come to draw a few conclusions for myself that help me to understand the crisis better and what I as an individual can contribute to it all in my short time on this planet.

      First of all I have found that looking outwards to change CURRENT thinking as you say is nearly quite impossible these days, in my opinion, unless we first start to examine our OWN thinking and how WE are contributing to the problem, instead of the Solution.

      You specifically asked if their was a nationwide program that we can support. There are a few that I know about but you must discern one for yourself through Much Prayer. For the laity, I have drawn much inspiration from & for Marian devotion and Theology from a unique perspective, that while it is Franciscan, discusses things ranging in too many topics to list here like homilies, pro life, Knighthood, chivalry, and a host of others. As far as an informative apostolic site that contains matters specifically geared towards the laity there are a few but lately I have been getting a lot of good information and positive direction from (see my previous reply to B, above, about

      It is ironic, in fact. I would have to say that most of the people I have met in my entire life, (I’m 38,) from childhood, to adolescence, to young adult and now to, well, still young adult, but with higher ideals than when I was college age, we’ll say… To spare you the details but provide a little perspective I was rather like an Augustine in even more horrible ways, sadly… but back to my point… Of all the people I have met in my travels from East to West Coast and many places in between, I have met some of the most high-minded and Good Willed people in the so called US of A & Canada as well. That being said, after my conversion and then after hanging on the fence for two years, I received a gracious light one night approximately 10 and a half years ago. I was listening to a college radio station from one of the most athiestic, liberal minded Universities that I have ever known of in this country. And when I started my car that night I heard a man’s voice speaking. Gently but very seriously. Later after listening to him and being Confirmed that now I knew, with absolute and no doubts left to speak of, that the Roman Catholic Church was the One True Church of Jesus Christ. My search was over but the first of many crossroads was to come.

      The reason I describe this moment to you is not to merely share personal and autobiographical data with you or anyone else for that matter. It is merely to make this simple point:

      That night the HOLY SPIRIT used a college student, a young woman whose name I do not know, to play an old radio show of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen that she will probably, at least most likely, never know here on Earth, exactly what She did for the entirety of my life as I took My Road Less Traveled, Which Has Made All The Difference.

      In my opinion All Efforts of Evangelization including Pro Life Activism, Civil Action, Catechesis, Religious Formation, Community Awareness, Study of our Faith, Politics, and ANYTHING & EVERYTHING only, and I repeat ONLY has impact on changing hearts and minds for God under the

      Umbrella of Prayer…Directed through the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Mother & Queen of the Angels and The Holy Spirit Himself.

      Without the Supernatural Grace, which of course, so many people say, well yeah, duh, no kidding, I mean we’re Catholic after all, etc… But I ask you, not only you but anyone including myself as well. If this is so obvious and so simple and so easy… Then Why on God’s Green and Blue and Other Colors Good Earth are we even talking about this so-called Crisis after all?

      We have a serious, serious, and this I do believe is an understatement, lack of education and understanding FOR OURSELVES of the Power of the Gifts, Fruits, & Charisms of the Holy Spirit and specifically How To Cultivate Them and Cooperate With His Graces Effectively in Order To Actually Enact Our God-Given Mission on Earth That We Received in the Sacrament of Confirmation Which is To PRACTICE the Beatitudes. Period.

      And in addition to that, as if that’s not enough to assist us, (Mary and Holy Spirit) we have 9 choirs of Angels, whom I prefer to refer to as an Armada, though I like Legion, and Squadron too, to Fight With Us and For US. Not to shake a stick at the fact that we have our own personal angel. Sort of like our private teacher, director, counselor, enlightener, healer, shepherd, and one I made up… Secret Agent Body Guard Extraordinaire! There is not enough authentic Catholic teaching on the efficacy and responsibilities to Our Angels. One such resource that has opened my eyes tremendously is which is largely an Archive of the teachings of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, who died in 2000 and whose cause is being investigated. He has so much good and enlightening information on this website. Here is the link to the archives: Enjoy!

      Enough talk, in my humble opinion, about all this fearfulness and anxiety and despondency, et al. The general attitude I seem to be picking up on these days in my family, and surfing the net and in my local community and church seems very defeatist, like we’ve already lost or something far worse. I speak in broad terms, not singling you or anyone else out, for I myself have been there and done that and surely earned my stripes in that regard, I assure you.

      I think that essentially to, wrap up, we need to reflect and ponder more deeply what our next moves will be very carefully but Absolutely Not unguided. The reason I say this is because it is far too easy, believe me I speak from personal experience, to follow every thread of thought and what we sometimes imagine to be holy inspiration when in fact we don’t always know just where these thoughts that are going through our mind are coming from considering how much data and information and media we from this MultiMedia Generation have already consumed in our past and how reliant we are on it today, in the present, (even though we are concerned Catholics or concerned Citizens from any culture or religion for that matter) and we don’t really and fully comprehend the historical differences between what a man’s or woman’s mind is going through these days as opposed to a century ago and ALL AGES prior to the 20th.
      I am not an authority on the subject and I am sure you’ve had thoughts and done your own reflections on this in your life-journey as well as others but reflecting on the fact that so many people are consuming data and information so very much these days, it makes me wonder, is all… How, without the Light of the Holy Spirit does Anyone in a Infinite Number of Years Imagine that They Can Just Merely Figure Things Out For Themselves…

      I will leave you with that to reflect or respond to if you’d like. I would be interested in what your comments in reply would be but in case this thread dies, here are some Saint’s and Other Writings that Have Helped ME Get a Grasp on Things in a Clear Way Through the Foggy Darkness: 1. The Hobbit, (book not movie please) 2. Joseph Pearce, Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, 3. Cardinal Newman’s Writings and Biography (Great way to understand Protestantism and Liberal Catholicism and its effects on the average American citizen, including yours truly.) Also, and especially his Prayer, Lead, Kindly Light. 4. St. Augustine’s Confessions (seminal text for understanding how to deal with the Gnostic and Manichaen thought patterns and ideologies that have been thrust down our throats by modern mass media and propaganda) If you think you haven’t been tainted, Think Again.

      Greetings to the Monsignor who created this blog. Thank you for taking your role and the dignity of your Holy Orders seriously. I pray for those who were not taught to do the same.

      Pax in Maria et Jesus to all.

  35. I am alarmed at the increasing vehemence of some of my supposedly educated peers with which they condemn the Church for all that is wrong in the world. It seems aethism isn’t eough any more it has gone from a somewhat passive belief to an increasingly active phase which seems to foretell a coming persecution.My Priest is a very circumspect and sensible man, his response is deceptively simple; Know God, love God, serve God with all your heart your mind and your Spirit. This will be your best protection if we are indeed on the cusp of persecution

  36. Msgr Pope, thanks for the article, great radio interview. My only comment is that I have been reading the news and stage 5 is already taking place in several countries in Europe where Catholic Doctrine has been criminalized. Thanks, and God Bless

  37. No, NOT ultimately to jail. ULTIMATELY to DEATH.

    Don’t you DARE say it couldn’t happen here!

  38. The 5 steps remind me of the rise of and work of the German National Socialists. The following significant steps in the process, listed in were these:
    1. the growth of a powerful women’s liberation movement 
    2. a massive increase in abortions 
    3. the extermination of 300 000 handicapped Germans 
    4. the seizing of a disproportionate amount of power by homosexuals 
    5. the rise to power of a ruling elite 
    6. the extermination of 12 million people who failed to comply with the plans of the ruling elite. 

  39. Thank you, Father, for highlighting this. I have put your link on my blog,. I have been writing about this since January. For some of us, this has been an obvious collision of secularism and the lack of adult faith.

    The more people who write on this theme the better. I began my perfection series in order to help people get ready for many types of martyrdom. Some of us have experienced such things already, a losing jobs for standing up to key truth in situations which could not be avoided.

    Some have lost being promoted in jobs as they are too Catholic. Some are estranged from family members for being a real Catholic.

    The five stages were written in a book many, many years ago, based on a study after World War II. People choose to ignore warning signs.

    If we do not cooperate with grace, we shall not withstand the storm which is coming soon, Some naive Catholics think that God will spare them. That is not how punishment or consequences of sin works. As the prince says at the end of ” Romeo and Juliet”, when both families are grieving over the loss of their son and daughter. “All are punished.” The mystery of evil has a name and his time is now.

  40. apologies for typos.. i am using a European keyboard which I am not used to using.

  41. Not to stuff the combox, but America is ahead of the persecution game, not Europe. Europeans are not organized. They do not have an apostate military presence as we do (look at my article on the gay marriage at West Point). They do not have government laws in effect for the confiscation of gold, land or the means for a huge movement of martial law. America does. Europe will fall to the more organized forces of the Islamists, Russians (still with Soviet mindsets) and perhaps China, whose two million man army has too much energy and nothing to do.

    America with the new executive orders passed in the last four years, which no one notices, is positioned to become a total communist style tyranny. Do not stock food, stock grace.

  42. You can bet Step VI is where they round us all up & throw us in the concentration camps, very much like what Hitler did to the Jews

  43. Thanks Msgr. Pope — I know a holy priest who is in his 90’s and he has been warning us in him homilies that we are right next door to a persecution in our country — he says: Are you ready to be put in jail? Are you even ready to be martyred — don’t say it couldn’t happen to you. Are you prepared? That’s what he says to us and I asked him one day — Father are you really serious about this. And he said YES! If you look throughout history people have had their countries changed in less than an hour. We would be arrogant at this time or very naive to think it can not happen to us.

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