Monday, January 28, 2008

The Face of Persecution

(Mt 5)11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: 12 Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

We currently have a very good example of a bishop taking his lashes for the Lord in the conflict created by Catholic basketball coach, Rick Majerus. Several newspapers ran commentaries in their Sunday papers this weekend and, as you can guess, it wasn't Archbishop Raymond Burke whom they were defending.

One can only imagine how Jesus would have been treated by the media in the US. Let's look at a few excerpts. My comments in red, and in brackets.

From the Herald News in Chicago: Majerus well within his rights

He did not forfeit his rights [exactly, and it's called "non serviam" or "I will not serve". Pride is the root of all sin and that is what we are seeing in these statements. Not your will God, but mine and no matter what the Church teaches, I want abortion kept legal] . He should not be sanctioned for publicly supporting abortion rights during a recent rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, contrary to the belief of at least one Roman Catholic archbishop [hmmmm......this statement shows significant ignorance of the Catholic faith. If it is a teaching of the Church, that abortion is murder, then how can it not be the belief of all bishops, that abortion is murder. If there is any bishop out there who believes otherwise, then he is not aligned with Rome and is outside of the Church. Hence, is "view" would be invalid as a Catholic bishop].

It gets worse. The author goes from flinging pebbles to large rocks here.

Burke is the attention-getter here. He first thrust himself in the spotlight in 2004 when he said he would deny Holy Communion to John Kerry, then a Democratic presidential nominee, because of Kerry's support of abortion. Now, Burke wants to speak with St. Louis University president Lawrence Biondi about Majerus. Clearly, Burke is envious of Majerus' everyman's charm. Burke wants equal air time

That statement is so outrageous that I can't even begin to comment.

Majerus is a leader at a Catholic University. He has made views which are contrary to Catholic teaching public. Archbishop Burke is well within his rights, to ensure the faithful are properly taught the faith, especially in the face of such public contradictions by someone in Majerus' position. Perhaps a more accurate headline would have been, "Archbishop well within his rights to defend the faith"

At the end of the day one has to wonder if it is really Hilary or abortion that Rick Majerus is supporting. Is that really the cause of the vast majority of pro-aborts. Or, is it something else?

I believe it has more to do with protecting a sexually deviant culture - one that wants to be "Christian" while at the same time free to treat the 10 Commandments as the "10 Suggestions". Let's look closer at two of those (and remember that Jesus came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it so if you think the 10 Commandments are no longer relevant, you're wrong)

6: Thou shalt not commit adultery

9: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife

After all, if people were following the 6th and 9th Commandments, they wouldn't need to defend "their right" to break the 5th Commandment,

5: Thou shalt not kill.

To the author of the article in the Herald News: Archbishop Burke did not forfeit his rights, and duties to teach the authentic Catholic faith.

We can clearly see here, a need to pray vigilantly for our priests and bishops. We have to pray that they will not be concerned with how they are perceived in the media. We have to pray that they are not concerned with how well they are liked. "Let them who have ears hear". Jesus was liked only by those who had ears to hear. For the rest, he was not liked. That is how Jesus ended up on the cross and it is why every priest, bishop and Catholic lay person should go to the cross with Him. Jesus stood for something and he did not run the other way in the face of opposition to what was right and just. Jesus did not go with the flow or with what was popular. In fact, he encouraged us to be counter-cultural.

Pray that our bishops will endure, and even welcome, the persecution.

EDIT: I just received another Canon Law Update from Ed Peters on this topic. Go to his blog and read: Sports writers - A parallel magisterium?

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