The Last Word
Today (April 24) three out of fifteen Catholic World News articles focus on the persecution of Christians. These articles touch upon a few of the many ways in which the faith and faithful are attacked in the United States, in England, and in Sudan.
In America, for example, Archbishop Wenski of Miami emphasized recently that “freedom of religion is under great stress if not under outright assault” as the result of “a reductive secularism that has more in common with the French Revolution than with America’s founding.”
In England, Catholic legal experts warn that, “If Great Britain recognizes same-sex marriages, churches will be compelled to solemnize such unions, regardless of the assurances that have been given by Prime Minister David Cameron.”
Finally, on the evening of April 21 in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, a mob of several hundred Muslims set fire to a Catholic parish. This is yet another sign of the escalating conflict between the country’s overwhelmingly Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south.
Archbishop Lefebvre, on numerous occasions, predicted that such aggression must happen sooner or later, and that those who embrace the faith in its integrity would be the main target of these persecutions. At the time, even some of the Traditional faithful suspected that the Archbishop’s bleak description of the future must be a pessimistic exaggeration. Now, twenty years later, the signs of an imminent persecution are manifest and alarming. Once more—and unfortunately for us—Archbishop Lefebvre has proved himself a prophet.
Let us face up to the facts: all those who wish truly to remain faithful to Christ and His Church will, without a doubt, have to suffer some sort of persecution for their faith. The quiet, peaceful days are over. Difficult times are upon us, and all signs indicate that they will only get worse.
Should we fear the future?
Yes ... and no. Yes, if we have become overly comfortable in the practice of our faith, confident in our well-furnished and smoothly running priories and chapels, forgetting that hard work and suffering are the sure routes to heaven. Too often we are content with a relatively superficial, even insufficient knowledge of the Catholic truth. Pleased, moreover, with a minimal prayer life, we run the risk of hearing the words addressed to the Christians of Ephesus: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity” (Apoc. 2:4).
No, if we seriously start to transform our lives. We must cultivate an outstanding knowledge of the faith and its application to the various situations in our lives through earnest and persevering study. No, if we stay true to the disciplined practice of daily prayer.
Our children, too, must be educated to ensure a bright future for the Church. The July-August issue of The Angelus will thus focus on “education” and will hopefully outline the basic principles for this important work, one upon which depends the salvation of our souls.
Father Jürgen Wegner