Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Coming Persecution

To my dear Christian friends, but especially to my Catholic friends,

The picture I am about to paint is very dark, and I pray to God that I am wrong, but just as when one hears the thunder one knows the storm is coming so I too have been hearing the thunder and counting the minutes between that and the lightning strikes and I know the storm is very nearly upon us.  I would be remiss in all things if I did not say something to you now.  Perhaps these words may yet help avert a tragedy, or at least help to prepare you for what is coming.

For decades before the Holocaust, the Germans laid the blame for their every woe at the feet of the Jew.  Every economic trouble, every sin, every hardship they found a way to blame the Jew for it.  This blame created anger, and the anger allowed them to excuse themselves for passing laws that struck against them.  First, laws were passed requiring them to wear identification marks whenever going out.  Then, laws were passed limiting how much money they could have on them at any time.  Then, laws were passed restricting when they could go out and where they could go when they did.  Then, laws were passed relocating them and forcing them to live only in certain areas.  Then, laws were passed that allowed them to be rounded up and shipped to labor camps.  Finally, they were slaughtered and all because of their ethnicity.

Perhaps all of the Jews might have been saved if the largely Protestant nations of Europe, Canada, and the United States had been willing to offer them asylum, but they failed them.  Protestant England took in many of their children, but refused the adults because they feared that the Jews would take over their country. The United States, rather than opening up its doors, shut them more tightly allowing in only a half million of the refugees which begged to come in during that time.  Canada offered no refuge for any of them.  The tiny country of the Dominican Republic did offer them asylum, but this only saved the lives of three thousand out of the millions who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany - perhaps because of the $500 per person tax that was placed in order to prevent those who had no money from coming in to the country.  $500 in that time was the rough equivalent of a little more than $6,000 today.

The Catholic Church did much to save her Jewish brethren under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. The Pope directed monasteries and convents to hide them among their number in spite of the dangers; priests of the parishes were directed to issue false certificates of baptism in order to pass Jews off as Christians; and Catholic families were charged with doing whatever was necessary to offer refuge to the suffering Jews. Those who did so put their lives and the lives of their families in great peril, but the result was that many Jews were saved by the bravery of these men and women.  If, during the War, there were not many speeches against the Nazis given it was not because the Catholic Church approved but because she learned early the price that would be paid for being so outspoken.
 
"In one tragic instance, the Archbishop of Utrecht was warned by the Nazis not to protest the deportation of Dutch Jews. He spoke out anyway and in retaliation the Catholic Jews of Holland were sent to their death. One of them was the Carmelite philosopher, Edith Stein." Joseph Lichten, "A Question of Moral Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews" in Graham, 30.

The point in all of this that I am making is that the tide of public opinion was being stirred up against the Jews for decades before the first law against them was enacted.  I see the same thing happening in our world today.  Christians, and especially Catholics, are being blamed for every evil in the world.  Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hawkins, and other popular writers like them have stirred up hatred in the hearts of many for all things religious - blaming us for the problems of the world today.  Blame is easier than taking responsibility for your own faults and sins, after all.  Our own governments have participated in this blame game, with socialists and communists laying blame at the feet of the Church for her opposition to their policies even though such opposition is justified by a close examination of the policies she opposed.

Schools are teaching children to blame Christians, but especially the Catholic Church, for the various ills of society during the middle ages without any examination at all of the facts. The Crusades are trumpeted as proof of the bigotry of the Catholic Church when the facts show that it was self-defense against an invading army that would not stop slaughtering, enslaving, and terrorizing the lands it encountered.  Galileo is trotted out as proof that Christianity, and especially the Catholic Church, is an enemy of science when in point of fact the Catholic Church is directly responsible for the creation of the Scientific Method and has a long, proud history of scientific development and discoveries to her credit. Schools are further teaching children to hate the Church for her "backward" stance on abortion, birth control, sterilization, contraception, sexual purity, and the importance of marriage to the health of society at large - yet the science backs up the church and not the school.

Suffice it to say, brothers and sisters, that a very ugly and very false portrait of the Church is being painted to the youth.  She is being shown to them as the reason for all their unhappiness with the only obvious solution to exterminate her, and this has been going on for more than four decades now.  Already we are sued at every turn for attempting to live our faith in the open.  When America's economic circumstances go from bad to worse and the present shortages of jobs become shortages of food as well, when the Obama administration's health mandates fail to be the panacea he has promised the public it would be, when Christians continue to refuse to give in to demands that they cooperate with evils that go directly against the teachings of Christ, the persecutions will begin in earnest.

First, we will be forced to identify ourselves by wearing signs that mark us as Christians.  Then, we will be restricted in how much we can buy, when we can go out, and where we can go.  Then, we will be relocated to areas selected by the government.  Finally, we will be put to death.  Only this time, who will speak out for us? Who will be the voice to stand up for us, as we did for the Jews?  Where will the leader come from who will offer us shelter?  Brace yourselves, brothers and sisters, for I doubt there will be such a group or person.  I think we are facing dark times.  Our hope, of course, lies in the fact that if we die for Christ so also we will live for Him.  Be brave, be strong, and above all remember the words of Christ:

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew 10:28

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