In the years following the Second Vatican Council, the Church in America and, throughout the world had taken a very soft position on every issue. It was not that we changed our teaching, or did not believe in the teachings of our Church, but it was felt that we need to be more loving. The time of “spare the rod, spoil the child” was a thing of the past.
Much of it began after Pope Paul VI’s landmark encyclical on the dignity of human life – Humane vitae. A good number of theologians, priests, religious, laity and even some bishops publicly denounced the teaching. Many said it was inhumane and “the Pope should stay out of the bedroom”. Cardinal O’Boyle tried to discipline dissenting priests, only to have his measures rescinded.
Anyone in the seminary during the 70’s, 80’s and even the early 90’s can tell of the rejection of Humane vitae and other dogmatic and moral teachings. There was a culture of moral apathy among some of the students (and faculty) who were living a double life. And, there was an outright disdain for “Roman interference”. Good men were being sent off for counseling, persecuted, and put out of the seminary, because of their fidelity to Rome.
All of this has led us to the current situation. The Obama administration now seeks to deal the death blow to the Catholic Church. They know if they succeed at crushing our conscience, they can then silence our voice. The good news is that a good number of Bishops are speaking out as never before. But, is it too late? It will take much more than the voices of our Bishops to overturn this attack against our religious liberty and the great tide of evil that is overwhelming our society. The current situation demands all the Baptized stand up for the truth, regardless of the consequences. It will oblige the fidelity and perseverance of people like St. Thomas Moore and St. Gianna Beretta Molla. We will need to have the courage and trust of Sadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were delivered from the fiery furnace. All we have to do is look to the courageous example of the thousands of martyrs who put Christ before self
Are the Bishops, priests, and the lay faithful ready for the fight? All of us must finally get out of our slothful state and become the men and women that God calls us to be!