Do you feel there is great unrest and division in our country right now and that it is out of control? What began in February as anxiety and fear from the pandemic has now transformed into immense social unrest and division. We have only to look to the disturbing news of riots in certain cities, violent protesters burning or damaging businesses, and climbing murder rates in many major cities. Then we began witnessing attacks on Catholic churches across the country and Black Lives Matter violent protestors burning bibles. As Catholic News Agency points out:
“Recent weeks have seen acts of vandalism and destruction at Catholic churches across the United States, including arsons, decapitations, and graffiti. In addition to the most recent attacks, in the last two weeks statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary have been attacked in Florida, Tennessee, New York, and Colorado. Other Catholic religious statues in California, Missouri, and other places have been toppled or vandalized by protestors, including several of St. Junipero Serra.”
If you’re like me, you might be asking yourself:
‘How did we make the leap from protests against police brutality and racial injustice to attacks against Catholicism?’
At the surface, it is hard to understand how these events digressed into seemingly unrelated vandalism against statues of saints, but if we dig deeper we can see exactly why this is happening. The BLM Global Network Foundation has stated they are against the nuclear family, promote LGBTQ ideology, and one of their activists, Sean King, even called for tearing down statues of Jesus. Does this sound like a movement that is going to be in favor of the founding principles of our country and society, let alone Christianity? While BLM may not be directly responsible for the attacks on our churches, we can see how their activists and their ideas are inspiring individuals and groups to commit these acts of anti-Catholicism. It is clear that these groups want to tear down not only certain elements of what they perceive to be a corrupt and oppressive system, but the very system itself. Instead of trying to improve the parts that need improving, they want to throw the whole thing out and start anew. What exactly is this system and who created it? If you want to find source of the founding principles and virtues of western civilization, then you need not look further than the Catholic Church. This is why, in attempting to bring down the whole system, these groups have turned their attention to the source: Christ and His Church.
What do we see in our own communities? Facebook friends arguing and “unfriending” each other over views on BLM and perceived white prejudice. People being canceled because they don’t quite fall in line with the ‘correct’ ideology. Disgraceful. How does this uphold our Catholic beliefs that we are to defend the dignity of every human person? Would Jesus cancel out another human being? Isn’t this what happened to Fr. Ted Rothrock who was silenced for speaking truth? I believe that time will tell how truly fitting Fr. Rothrock’s words were on BLM, Antifa, and other groups. Like a good Catholic priest should, he wasn’t afraid to warn his parishioners about the evils they could fall into by supporting and promoting these groups. He was able to see that many of the beliefs that they had adopted were not only in contradiction to Church teaching but that many Catholics were being fooled into holding these beliefs themselves or at least being sympathetic towards them. If a priest can’t speak out against false ideas that are infecting the minds and souls of his parishioners because he is afraid of being cancelled, then our churches will be reduced to nothing more than social clubs that bow down to the latest protest or movement. We know that Jesus was not afraid to be canceled while calling sinners to repent.
With all of this going on, we look to Jesus and say “how can we console your sorrowing heart?” His heart is surely broken BECAUSE PRAYER AND DIALOGUE ARE ABSENT. It’s a sad state of affairs when prayer and dialogue shut down. We have to pray God grants us the moral courage and love to pray with and discuss all of these issues openly with one another. Our nation, our state, our own communities need to heal. We believe that the pathway toward unity and peace is through prayer and inspiring Catholics to speak out and uphold beliefs of Holy Mother Church against any group or ideology that is contradicting the teachings of the Church. The pathway also includes entering into dialogue, but this requires those that are violently protesting to unclench their fists and instead use their words so that we can come together and begin to heal. It requires that we listen and seek to understand as St. Francis’ prayer of peace so eloquently echoes to heaven. While we may not agree with those that oppose our Catholic beliefs, it does not mean that we cannot learn to forgive and pray for and with them.
We ask that in this time of uncertainty to call out to Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with the help of all the angels and saints. Give the anxieties and worries of your heart to the Prince of Prince and pray for:
- All Church Leadership
- Our Priests
- The Faithful
- Our Families
- Our President
- Our Nation
- Our Catholic Church
- Conversion in the hearts of those that attack the Catholic Church and all violent protestors