I’ve been thinking of what Cardinal George wrote a few years before he died. It is about the future of the Catholic Church in our country. He surprised me with the idea that he foresaw that he would likely die in a hospital bed and his successor would die in a prison cell. Then, the next bishop would die in the public square. The following successor would work to restore the local Church.
In today’s WSJ (3/29/21), Josh Holdenreid of the ANAPA Legal Institute reveals that several media giants have censored and kicked out religious organizations which present moral stands which are these days considered politically incorrect. Opinions based on religious beliefs are simply censured because they oppose the prevailing woke culture. Never mind the first amendment. Forget respect for your neighbor’s opinion. Prevailing mores concerning transgender equity, homosexual marriage and abortion rights, for example, are sacred cows. Contrary opinions are not allowed by the woke culture.
I am waiting for the moment when someone stands up during a homily to challenge me concerning current beliefs on freedom. It could be about gender rights (I won’t be using socially correct pronouns), abortion, gayness or simply a confrontation, for example, about who can receive the Eucharist in our Church. “Why are you excluding other Christians from Holy Communion? Why are you against inclusion?” A scenario like this is going to happen.
I may be sued someday for refusing to marry two gay individuals. I may end up in jail for preaching sacred gender as presented in Genesis. My opinion — and the Church’s teaching — is that a man and a woman are made for one another and human life is reborn through family life. Some deranged person might decide to shoot me (since he has a right to carry) in the confessional because I represented Catholic Church morals opposed to the prevailing mores on marriage.
It’s Holy Week. Today’s stational church is St. Praxedes in Rome. St. Praxedes was a second century Christian woman who did all she could to rescue her contemporaries who were trying to live up to the Christian way of living at a time when the Church was suffering persecution. She hid Christians, fed them, ransomed them and finally gave her life for Christ. Her church is built on the ruins of her family home and is a reminder that we today might very well have to face persecution and death for beliefs. We, too, might have to die in the public square.