Christian Persecution and a Catholicism of Resistance

I have admired for some time Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver. He is an outspoken shepherd who is not afraid to stand up for true orthodox Catholic teachings. He recently addressed the Canon Law Association of Slovakia where it was apparent that he has also become a prophetic voice for our times.

A Catholicism of Resistance: Archbishop Charles Chaput's Prophetic Voice

In the article above, Deacon Keith Fournier highlights Archbishop Chaput's speech. I strongly recommend that you read the entire article, as it is well worth the time. The Archbishop's words are powerful as he boldly describes the growing threats to Christianity, in particular, a "state-encouraged atheism". He also suggests what we as Catholics can do to truly live our faith and oppose this "secularization" and "de-Christianization" in our society. At the end of the article, there is a link where you can read his entire address. It is a lengthy read, but very eye-opening and worth the time. I pasted below two excerpts from Archbishop Chaput's speech that I thought were brillant and extremely accurate.
 We face an aggressively secular political vision and a consumerist economic model that result - in practice, if not in explicit intent -- in a new kind of state-encouraged atheism. To put it another way: The Enlightenment-derived worldview that gave rise to the great murder ideologies of the last century remains very much alive. Its language is softer, its intentions seem kinder, and its face is friendlier. But its underlying impulse hasn't changed -- i.e., the dream of building a society apart from God; a world where men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves, satisfying their needs and desires through their own ingenuity. This vision presumes a frankly "post-Christian" world ruled by rationality, technology and good social engineering. Religion has a place in this worldview, but only as an individual lifestyle accessory. People are free to worship and believe whatever they want, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and do not presume to intrude their religious idiosyncrasies on the workings of government, the economy, or culture.
We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things. Only the Truth can set men free. We need to be apostles of Jesus Christ and the Truth he incarnates.   

Of course I fully expect some people to read Archbishop's Chaput's words and accuse him of overreacting or trying to create a "theocracy". But let's look at the facts. In the U.S., which was founded on the concept of religious freedom, we are witnessing as the Archbishop described, a "state-encouraged atheism" which is growing slowly and subtly. Just look at how state and federal governments have cut funding for abstinence programs and other faith based community programs. Religious freedoms are also at stake in the fight over same sex marriage. Homosexuality is being introduced into the curriculum in public schools. Parents who object on religious grounds are being denied their rights to have their children opt out of these classes. In the past year, a federal judge and even the President himself have stated that traditional marriage is rooted in archaic stereotypes and harmful religious prejudices.  Then there is this interesting article I came across just this morning:

Over 100 religious groups protest Patrick Kennedy bill 

The following is an excerpt from the article:
The Christian Post reports that over 100 religious groups are protesting a piece of legislation that would ban faith-based groups from receiving federal funds if they use religion in their hiring practices.
The language can be found in HR 5466 – a bill introduced in the House in May by Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI). The bill proposes to "reauthorize federal substance abuse treatment funding that is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration."
Kennedy calls faith-based hiring "discrimination," but many religious organizations say this bill allows Congress to tamper with their religious freedom. 
Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy, a member of what was once the most prominent Catholic family in America, is now showing his true colors. His bill is yet another attempt to marginalize Christian beliefs and make them nothing more than a "lifestyle accessory" not to be shown in public.

These are only a few examples of the "de-Christianization" of our society. The choice now is ours. To paraphrase Archbishop Chaput, will we "delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things"? Or will we choose to be part of a Catholicism of resistance where were truly live our faith and embrace the Truth that is Christ?




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