Si Deus pro nobis quis contra nos? If God is for us, who can be against us? In English that doesn't really make sense. Lots of people can be against us. We glance over the word 'be.' In this case, it has a profound operation. What it really means is, if God is for us, then what else is there? None can contend with the will of God and succeed.
It's so important to remember simple things, like the fact that we are to be doing His will, bringing about His kingdom. " No one will say,' Lo, here it is!' or ,' Lo, there it is!' for the Kingdom of God is within you..." When we say the 'Our Father,' we say," ... Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..." The kingdom of God comes through obedience, purity, and uprightness of heart. And when it does come, it brings with it all the benefits of a kingdom," But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Before Christ said the latter, he had been talking about the cares of life. He wasn't talking about the wants of life, he was addressing basic human needs saying," Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." What would Christ say to the Catholic Church in America? What would he say about our fiscal dependency upon the federal government that makes us beholden to the point of moral dereliction? What would he say to a Church that values its tax exempt status over its sacred, God given mission to denounce evil and propagate righteousness?
When the clergy conscientiously fails to denounce politicians who support the institutionalization and protection of evils like abortion, homosexual marriage, pornography because it would imperil the finances, the rights, and the privileges of the Church, what do you imagine Christ ought to say? Is it too much to think about? Is it not your problem? Not your business? The same Church that does this is the same Church that teaches that you may not do evil to accomplish good. Is this a real case of the clergy saying, "Do as I say and not as I do and all will be well?" Or is it quite simply what it appears to be... cowardice?
"But we could lose our parishes, our schools, our hospitals, our cathedrals...," So? We should do evil, or fail to do good, then, so that we might obtain the privilege of existing from the wicked? I think not. All who offer this argument are like Peter when he took Christ aside and began to rebuke him, when He told them that He must go to Jerusalem and all the things that He would suffer. Peter had a worldly mind, in which the preservation of what was already was the highest goal. As St. Thomas Aquinas said," If the highest goal of a captain was the preservation of his ship, it would never leave port." In essence, that is the philosophy of the coward. It's very similar to the philosophy of hedonism, which is also the voice of the world, which says that pleasure and convenience are the chiefest goods. Christ rebuked him for it," But he turned and said to Peter," Get behind me Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
"But we could literally and radically cease to exist! We could find ourselves in a situation not unlike that of the 3rd and 4th century Church!" You don't say? You mean that bishops and priests and religious might have to work jobs like the early Christians did? You mean that the Catholic Church would have to pay its own way, as it once did? I'm reminded of the 'Fable of the Bees' whose hive through corruption grew to a size they would not have done had they not become corrupt, and how by God taking from them in a single hour that ill gotten gain and restoring to them that virtue lost, they found real happiness and true goodness, though they suffered greatly." Beware the leaven of the pharisees, which is hypocrisy!" That leaven which puffs up and expands, and makes things seem greater than they are. That leaven which has gotten into the Church, swollen it, bloated it, till it is distended and grotesque.
Now is better than ever for the responsibility of the Church, of the bishops, priests, and the religious to be realized, for them to stand up and say to the flock," Gird your loins... for you are a stranger here." So that the whole Church may say with Christ," I must go to Jerusalem..." For as St. Paul says," If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." And do you so quickly forget the words written to the Angel of the Church of Smyrna? " Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. be faithful unto death, and i will give you the crown of life. he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."
The Church has the responsibility of St. John the Baptist in this time. Its purpose is to be preparing the Church for the return of Christ. It's to be bearing fruit in season and out of season. Do not forget so easily the fig tree which the Lord cursed and upon which he found no fruit out of season. He spoke out against Herod, because of his marriage to his brother's sister. St. John spoke out against the same Herod from whom the pharisees received monies. Against that same Herod who gilded the temple in gold, and draped it in silk, and built up its colonnades. The same Herod who made the temple more glorious than it had been since the days of Solomon. And what did Christ say when the apostles marveled and pointed it out to him?" Truly I say unto you, there shall not be one stone left here upon another."
That is what the Church must do. At present, that is not what we are doing. At present it is we who are the pharisees. It's our religious institution taking the hush money." Take this and be quiet on politics. Take this money, and let society be the government's business. Take this money and provide the medical care we tell you to. Take this money and teach what we tell you to in your schools."
It is, it has become an adulterous relationship that the Church has with the government. That should make Catholics tremble in fear and with shame." I have seen thine adulteries... for I AM a jealous God." On the one hand we can make a clean break and experience a liberation of conscience unprecedented. Can you imagine? True freedom! Not that other sort contrived by men that the government distributes arbitrarily at its leisure. The freedom that Christ gives! On the other hand, we can be like Judas Iscariot, the traitor, and take the thirty pieces of silver.
All the succor, all the benefit, all the amicability, influence, wealth, and power in the world can not justify the silence the Church is selling to the government. It cannot. The Church sold its voice, and now wonders why the sheep have scattered. Where is the shepherds voice? Where is his crook? At the risk of ruining the literary flow of this letter, I want to quote from Braveheart when he addresses the nobles who are a type of the clergy in this case, specifically the bishops," Why is that impossible? You're so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank's table that you've missed your God given right to something better." This is precisely the situation we are in.
Make no mistake, if we were to ever be our true selves, it could only result in persecution. When you think of the dullness and banality of your own faith, do not wonder. When you wonder at the timidity of the Church, and you see how the government has us in a convenient little box with all other religions, hope shrinks away. When you wonder what happened, when you read the Book of Acts and you look at the Early Fathers, when you read the lives of saints and you wonder," What happened? Where is this Church? What changed? Why is the Catholic Church just another face in the crowd in the 21st Century?" You know in your heart the reason. It's because we asked for permission to exist. It's because we took their money. It's because we allowed ourselves to be subjugated, literally we became subjects, whereas our fathers would not tolerate such a yoke.
We have been called to suffer with Christ, who gave Himself for the life of the world. It is not always better that we should live. "Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for his friends." The Church must lay its life down for the sake of humanity... we were called to do this. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you. Are you persecuted? Are you really persecuted? Or do people just disagree with you? Or do people intermittently just not like you? Is your Church really challenging society with its godliness? Or is your Church merely a carping annoyance whose moral opinions are little more than an occasional gadfly that can be shewed away? The answer means everything.
The Church is called to be Christs. What do you think it means? You know what it means! Friendship with Christ is enmity with the world. That is not just a reality for the individual Christian, it is the reality for the Church. Pray for your priests to have moral courage. Pray for your bishops to stand in the day of temptation. Pray for the courage they need to seek first the kingdom of Heaven. Pray for the resolve necessary to accept what will be lost. Pray for them to have a vision of what will be gained, for," Where there is no vision the people perish." Pray for hope, for," He who keeps the law, happy is he." the law of righteousness.