Our religious freedoms are being gutted, and increasing pressure is being placed on our shepherds to simply bow out to "modern logic."
This must've been how Jews felt when Rome decided to force itself upon their culture. Rome demanded sacrifice to Caesar, Rome stipulated who got to be high priest (and for how long), Rome decided which religious customs could be tolerated and which could not.
Welcome to Rome, my friends. We, too, are experiencing audacious governments that shamelessly criminalize religious beliefs and expression, establish laws effectively eliminating charitable missionary work (I'll give you two on this one), threaten the Sacramental foundation of our faith, and label us as traitors simply for defending our right to practice our religion freely.
There are those in our hierarchy who, much like the Sadducees of Jerusalem, are going along with these malicious and disgraceful persecutions (whether through silence or even direct disobedience). However, there are also many others (WDTPRS for starters) who are decrying this outright attack on religion. Catholics need to figure out which side they intend to stand on.
We're called the Church Militant for a reason - our job is not to remain silent. Our job is not to remain complacent and oblivious to the obvious signs of persecution our brothers and sisters are enduring throughout the world. We are the Church MILITANT. Our job is to actively fight this evil. Our call is to decry such indignation... to rise up and alert others to the injustice. Our mission is to bear forth the Truth, even in the face of political pressure and man-made law.
Our Archbishop said it best in his recent address at the University of Pennsylvania:
"... people have a right to bring their beliefs to bear on every social, economic, and political problem facing their community. For Christians, that’s not just a privilege. It’s not just a right. It’s a demand of the Gospel. Obviously, we have an obligation to respect the dignity of other people. We’re always bound to treat other people with charity and justice. But that good will can never be an excuse for our own silence.
Believers can’t be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time. Actively witnessing to our convictions and advancing what we believe about key moral issues in public life is not “coercion.” It’s honesty. It’s an act of truth-telling. It’s vital to the health of every democracy. And again, it’s also a duty—not only of our religious faith, but also of our citizenship."
We are called... COMMANDED... to bear forth the Truth, and as citizens of a democratic world, it is our DUTY to uphold so basic a right.
So again... we need to truly ask ourselves where we stand. As the Gospel from this week suggests, we need to take stock. Are we ready? Are you?