Religion Under Attack (April 2012 Reflections)

Christianity is under siege in America.  God is being marginalized.  Religion is being banned from public expression.  The sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life are being trampled upon.  And now there is a pitched battle over sovereignty of conscience and religious liberty.

Cloaked under the guise of freedom of expression, artistic license, toleration, multiculturalism, separation of church and state, and the recognition of new “rights,” there are regular and continuing attacks on Christianity.  This not something that has just occurred.  It has been underway for at least 50 years.  It began as specific restrictions on religious expression, which were bothersome, but tolerable.  But with the acceptance of each limitation, the movement against religious liberty continued to grow and expand.

First, there were acts of repression.  Nativity scenes were banned from public grounds.  Public school children were not permitted to sing traditional Christmas carols or coaches to offer a general prayer with their teams.  Military chaplains were instructed to say only non-denominational prayers.  Memorials to veterans of World War II — a cross erected on public desert land, a statue of Our Lord on a mountaintop — which are more cultural than religious, were decried.  Repeated attempts have been made to remove “Under God” from the pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” from the nation’s coinage.

Then, there was distortion.  Language has been twisted to dilute and weaken traditional mores.  In the name of art, a crucifix was placed in a jar of urine and exhibited in a public museum, while blasphemous plays are staged frequently on college campuses.  Abortion is considered a woman’s right, and marriage between couples of the same sex is gaining legal status in more and more states.  The ramifications of warping the definition of marriage can only be guessed, for every law, every regulation, every policy dealing with marriage will now cover homosexual unions.

And currently, there is coercion.  Catholic social agencies are being forced to provide adoption services to homosexual couples.  Pharmacists are being required to dispense abortifacients and nurses to assist in abortions, even when it violates their consciences.  Religious clubs on public college campus have been directed to allow people of other faiths to join and even hold office.  And on January 20, there was perhaps the most egregious act of all – a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services that employer-provided health plans must cover contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization.

Catholics, as the largest religious denomination, in the country carry a lot of the blame.  They have been too submissive.  Alluring materialism, coupled with weak formation in the Faith, have made them apathetic toward religion and accepting of societal trends.  The attitudes, values, and behaviors of too many Catholics mimic those of the population-at-large.  They no longer have the conviction or will to stand up for their professed beliefs.

Catholicism is not only a dogma to be believed, but a way of life.  We are called to be defenders of the Faith, to confront the evils of the world, involve ourselves in the public square, and bring the tenets of our Faith to bear on issues that impact on our religious values and teachings.

Christianity in America is at a tipping point.  Hostility toward religion, especially Christianity, has become acceptable and commonplace.  If the forces of secularism are not turned back, our nation will become a godless, antichristian state, and the Faith of future generations of our children will be at risk.

The way to ebb this tide is through public action and prayer.  The “weapon” of choice should be the Rosary.  In 1571, the Mohammedan Ottoman Empire sent an armada to attack Christian Europe.  The fleet opposing it was much smaller in number.  Pope Pius V called for a Rosary crusade.  The people responded, the enemy was defeated in the Gulf of Lepanto, and Christendom was saved.

In 1683, Christian Europe again was under assault by Turkish Muslims; this time by land.  The invading army had Vienna under siege.  Pope Innocent XI called for a Christendom-wide recitation of the Rosary.  The people responded, the Turks were routed by a smaller, less battle-tested army, and Christendom was saved.

Now religion in our nation is under siege.  We should once again turn to the Rosary.  Jamie Cardinal Sin, the former Archbishop of Manila, speaking of the effect of that prayer said: “All the ends of the earth have seen the Power of the Rosary, the Power of prayer, the Power of GOD…when we give our best to the Lord, and leave the rest to His Providence, the Lord always responds.”

The Knights of Columbus in Maryland, in collaboration with the three diocese that serve the state, recently completed a drive to have people pray for the unborn.  Catholics throughout the state pledged to say more than 157,000 Rosaries.  There is no reason why Catholics throughout the nation cannot pledge to pray 10 million Rosaries for the preservation of religious freedom and the restoration of public virtue in our nation.  With an outpouring of Faith of that magnitude, our Blessed Mother and her Divine Son would not refuse our plea.

Remember Vivat Jesus!

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