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Friday, September 12, 2014

Cardinal George Urges Catholics to "Swim Against the Tide"

In his September 7th column in Chicago's Archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New World, Francis Cardinal George warned Catholics that they increasingly need to "swim against the tide" of a culture hell bent on secularism (my words, not the Cardinal's):
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. 
A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society. 
How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people. 
Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.
Cardinal George speaks here as a prophet, although it doesn't take much of Daniel to see what's coming. Any Tom, Dick, or Mary with open eyes could say the same thing. But his words do spur me to say it would be good for all of us to practice swimming against the tide while it's still possible. May I suggest a few ways to do that? Join 40 Days for Life, pray or sidewalk counsel outside an abortion mill, testify at state legislative hearings on bills related to moral issues like same-sex marriage, Common Core, protection of the unborn, etc. And, of course, pray like everything depended on God! In the end it does, but he has no hands here on earth but ours. So go forth and convert all nations (or at least your family and friends).

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