Wednesday, 26 December 2012

On the second day of Christmas: remembering our (white) martyrs

Today , on the second day of Christmas, the Church places before us the feast of St Stephen, the protomartyr, to remind us that the life of a Christian is not just about earthly joy.

God and Caesar in Australia

In Australia today we are fortunate that no one has (yet) suffered the martyrdom of blood for their faith.  In this we stand in stark contrast to many other countries around the world, including some of the near neighbours our Governments are seeking to cosy up to.

Nonetheless, we do live in a country that has more than a few immoral laws in place, such as those permitting abortion, which Catholics are bound to disobey, and where aggressive secularism and extremist Islam have long since made Christmas more about self-indulgent consumerism and cricket than anything to do with Christianity.

It is fitting then, that today we might particularly remember those in our midst undergoing the white martyrdoms of persecution, of opposition that come from opposing those committed to immoral agendas such as homosexual marriage, abortion, euthanasia or integrity in the political process.

There are many in this country who have campaigned hard over the last year on these issues and more, and many have incurred a high cost for their beliefs.

Within the Church...

Yet persecution is I think, always much harder to bear when it comes from those who we see as our won, from those who should be our friends, our brothers in faith.

I'm thinking here firstly of those who have suffered from being whistleblowers in the abuse crisis.

But we should also remember all those who have suffered simply for attempting to uphold orthodoxy and orthopraxis.

There are many priests in this country who have been persecuted for their desire to say the Traditional Latin Mass.  Many who have been sidelined or worse for attempting to uphold faith and morality in the face of bishops and others who have pursued error and immorality.

There are seminarians, religious and laypeople who continue to suffer at the hands of authorities who are actually duty bound to support them.

Are things on the improve?  I hate to be a pessimist, but I'm not seeing much evidence of it at the moment!  Rather people keep sending me stories of some of our newer bishops being pressured to toe the party line by the 'liberal' thugs of certain dioceses; of long standing injustices that no one will take action to fix.

So let's give thanks for the willingness of our brothers and sisters in faith to suffer for what is right.  Let's give thanks for the merits they are earning that benefit the rest of us.  Let's pray that they may yet see justice in this world; but if not, be rewarded in the next.  And let's pray for strength for ourselves to emulate them if we are called to do so.


Gervase Crouchback said...

The white martyrdom could in the near future become red martyrdom.I pray God will find me faithful-but will those Hierarchs who have hidden childabusers and oppose the Latin Mass be faithful?

R J said...

Well, exactly, Gervase Crouchback - I would happily go to prison for my Catholic faith, and please God, I would die for it if need be; but the thought of sharing a cell with any of Australia's more reprehensible bishops does make me blanch.

Mal said...

Even reprehansible people, with all their human weaknesses and failings, can enter heaven. We must be willing to forever live with them there if we are to enter God's kingdom.

PM said...

And the abuse inquiry should be only part of a wider reckoning and examination of conscience.

Take, for example, the collapse of catechesis and RE and their replacement by the vacuous feel-good pop psychology that fuelled the crisis. A personal example: a young relative told me over Christmas that, despite his 'Catholic' schooling, he had only ever known what the biblical name of God (Exodus 3) meant thanks to an Indiana Jones movie! Some episcopal mea culpas and firm purpose of amendment would be in order.