A Blessing, a Curse
... and a Choice
you partake of the sufferings of Christ,
rejoice that when His glory shall be
revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached
for the name of Christ, you shall be
blessed: for that which is of the honor,
glory, and power of God, and that which
is His Spirit, resteth upon you.”
(1 St. Peter 4.13-14)
you be reproached for the name of Christ ...”
was the last time
that you were, that I was, reproached, rebuffed,
censured, suffered, for the name of Christ?
In order to suffer for it, you must be identified
with it. And if you are identified with the name
of Christ, you are identified with His Holy Body
the Church since — despite the protestations of
those who have never read Scripture but are perfectly
prepared to make competent pronouncements on it
– the two are inseparable. Right? Christ,
the Head of the Church, and the Church His Body.
Hence, when Jesus threw St. Paul down from his horse
on his way to Damascus to persecute the Church,
Saul, why persecutest thou me? ... I am Jesus whom
So ... when was the last time we were persecuted
for being part of His Church?
Until fairly recently — that is to say, until the
violent re-emergence of Islam — the most likely
source of persecution and suffering for the sake
of the Name probably came to you from ... the Church!
If you suffered, very likely it was not the consequence
of departing from Church teaching ... but
for holding to it. Increasingly the Church
became cozy with the world, and largely it was that
segment of the world that was
and "socially correct”...
on largely abhorrent issues, that is to say, the
(i.e. unconstrained, uninhibited),
(i.e. unprincipled), and intolerant of intolerance
If it was in vogue, it found a niche in the Church,
however inimical it was to the Church. The one remaining
mortal sin, fidelity to authentic Church teaching,
was systematically rooted out in seminaries and
schools of theology — in Catholic colleges at large
— and the remaining adherents, as much as possible,
stamped out as the last vestiges of the contagion
of Christ and the scandal of objective morality.
The once persecuted, became the persecutor, predating
not another's fold, but its own.
It is a perverse paradox that a Catholic faithful
to the Magisterium of the Church is more
likely to be tolerated by non-Catholics and non-believers
... than by fellow
especially those in any position of responsibility
within the Church (stipend or salary included) and
in the vanguard, not of spiritual, but of social
within it, particularly in the area of sexual ethics
and moral theology.
Ask yourself this: when was the last time you were
reproached for your ... accommodating views
on abortion, contraception, gay marriage, advocating
women's ordination, pornography as a privacy issue,
obscenity as free speech? And who reproached you?
The answer is brief: respectively, never and no
it is not so!
It is far more likely that it was a priest, a
a deacon, a theologian, a teacher at a Catholic
college, even a Parish Councilor, who scathingly
reproached you for your
to the teachings of the Church. You were marginalized
as an anachronism, a by-product of a time gone by
who lacks the perspicacity to recognize that such
fidelity is defunct.
Some will — indeed, do — receive the blessing St.
Peter promises in his first Epistle. I do not think
that he would be surprised at the source of this
inverted rancor ... after all, Christ promised that
ones most vituperous enemies would be within one's
own House. I do, however, think that he would be
surprised, if only in the way of contrast, by the
tolerance of the world without toward those
not tolerated within.
Without, within, it matters not. The promise still
they hate you, know that they hated me before they
Do you still seek God’s blessing?
Will you pay that price?
Inevitably you must choose: either the benediction
of the world or the blessing of God. The one
will cost you the other — despite the carefully
nuanced pretensions and long-cherished illusions
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
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