Pastor’s Message December 4th, 2016

There has been much discussion lately about the way our central government may swing in a direction different than where it has been in the past eight years. The public outcry for a real “change” has resonated throughout the land, and the result of elections nationwide is but just one indicator of the desire to do so. Another factor is the tiring of the ‘status quo’ quality of life that engenders this outcry. The levers of power in government, education, entertainment, and media have been enforcing a kind of “public creed,” a “fake church,” that requires all citizens to approve of gay marriage and related sexual anomalies, or be punished by the State, just as Jews and Christians are fined and otherwise punished for practicing their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

Our America, despite social frictions at certain times, had always strived to ensure religious freedom and respect for different religions. The State, in the past, had kept its promise to protect all religions and not become a rival to them, a fake church. But that has now changed. The question to be raised, “will it change again?”

In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered sinful. Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the Church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to ‘live and let live’ has now become a demand for approval. The ‘ruling class’- those who shape public opinion in politics, education, entertainment and communications – is using civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone.

We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the ‘official religion’, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.

A prime example: Americans who objected on religious grounds to the Obamacare mandate on contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, were chastised by many in the media, including the liberal Huffington Post, which co-led the opposition; and the six Catholic judges on the Supreme Court raised concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen. This was not the anti-Catholic voice of Nativists, or the Know-Nothing Party, or the Ku Klux Klan; rather it was the self-righteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as ‘progressive’ and ‘enlightened.’ The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics.

Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or be instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the ‘powers that be.’ This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes almost no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to ‘swim against the tide,’ as Pope Francis encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect.

Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the ‘official religion’, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the ‘official religion’ or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

In recent years, U.S. civil law has done much to weaken and eventually destroy the family, which in turn has forced the State to impose more and more restrictions on people and their activities that are unloosed from the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches. Many of the ‘tenets of the official State religion’ are largely dictated by elements of a certain social class, noting that ‘same-sex marriage’ – as a case in point – is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.

How the situation may end is unclear, because there are many Americans, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. Catholics and traditional Christians know by faith that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead and the Church will be there to meet Him. However, there is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this age or any age. God wills the salvation of all; but we must learn His ways and make them adaptable, working it out each day, day-by-day.