Sunday, 19 May 2013

What's the year: persecution watch!

Elsewhere I've linked to a brilliant satire of the doom and gloom over the current numbers in the Church, which takes us back to the dire straits the infant Church was in just after the Crucifixion  and reminds us of the rapid growth that occurred immediately after that first Pentecost.

But what really is the year?

The key question though is what year are we in now.

Is it truly AD 33, when, as Acts chronicles, the infant Church grew exponentially (albeit in the face of persecution)?

Is it instead AD 70, when, warned by the Spirit, Christians abandoned Jerusalem and thus escaped its razing to the ground by the Romans?

Or are we at some other point in history?

Last week we celebrated the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, under which the Emperor Constantine granted freedom of religion to his subjects.  Yet today freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience is greatly under threat in the West, with harassment and persecution seemingly becoming more intense every year.

Some of course, view the Royal Commission into institutional child abuse in this light.  Personally, I'm hoping it will prove more akin to the experience of the Church at the time of the Emperor Julian the Apostate.  Back then, you might recall, virtually every bishop was an Arian heretic.  But Emperor Julian's rejection of the faith he had been brought up in ultimately did the Church a favour, by deposing all of them, thus allowing orthodox ones to take their place.  God uses all as he will, even those who oppose him!

Persecution watch

Elsewhere around the world though, it has to be said that the signs are looking pretty ominous.

In New Zealand, barely a month since passing legislation to permit same sex marriage, an organization called Family First (no relation to the Australian political party) faces deregistration as a charity because of its opposition to the legislation.

In the US, the IRS (Tax Office) has apparently being specifically targeting and attempting to intimidate pro-life and conservative organisations.

And in the UK, Catholic institutions have apparently been under the hammer long enough to have developed Stockholm Syndrome, with a Catholic Primary School bringing in a homosexual lobby group to conduct 'anti-bullying' training allegedly in response to one five year old telling another that his shoes looked gay...

**Update: A reader has alerted me to the fact that some Australian Catholics schools are doing likewise, with a few subscribing to the pro-homosexual (State funded!) Victorian 'Safe Schools Coalition'.

There are many other such stories one could highlight of course, but on the face of it, the signs of the times suggest we need to be getting ready to flee!

Perhaps not literally.

But we do, I think, need to prepare our schools, hospitals and other institutions for the day when Government funding comes with too many strings attached (if it doesn't already!); for the day when we lose those exemptions from discrimination that allow the Church to employ (at least in theory) actually Catholic teachers for example; for the day when those institutions will be forced to close down operations such as adoption support and State recognised marriage celebration lest we be forced to support sin.

May the Holy Spirit strengthen us for what is to come!

1 comment:

Matthias said...

I hope and pray that the Royal commisson will be aRefiner's fire and ourge the church and hierarchy in particular .