Some thirty years ago the then Cardinal Ratzinger recalled how the title “Christians“, which appeared for the first time in Antioch around 44 AC, had been coined by the Roman authorities to identify those persons who belonged to a gang of criminals, the followers of someone who had been condemned to death as a felon. “In this manner the title or name ‘Christian’ became grounds for criminal indictment: whoever bore this name did not have to be proven guilty of other crimes, and by that selfsame fact was condemned to death”.
This historical evocation appears all the more germane when considering the sequence of laws regarding human and family rights that have been forged throughout the world over the past few decades. Divorce, abortion, same sex matrimony, education to the gender ideology, the abolition of legal safeguards regarding matrimony and the placing of any form of cohabitation on the same level, euthanasia. In the future there will also be laws regarding pedophilia and the use of any drugs, thereby completing the road map of flights from reality.
In line with the general corruption of customs and mores, laws are today being adapted to a society in the throes of change. From an institutional framework founded on Christian principles (Europe’s authentic contribution to the progress of humanity), the movement underway is heading in the direction of a non Christian context, a more tolerant context, as some people will assert. In fact, however, it suffices to read the Essay concerning Toleration by J. Locke (1685) to understand how this applies for everyone except Catholics.
Legislation in total contrast with the precepts of Christ does not merely construct an a-religious system; it imposes an anti-religious one. License for any and all conduct that conflicts with the most sacred precepts of the faith, and insofar as in contrast with common sense, goes hand in hand with the prohibition of any dissent in both deeds and words, both of which are subject to penalties. This means a society in which Christianity – and Christians – no longer enjoy right of citizenship.
Here are a few examples of what I mean. In an ever increasing number of countries, now being imposed upon Catholic institutions working in the realm of social services is the obligation to fund abortion for their employees and accept the employment of homosexual managers. In India, the sisters of Mother Teresa have had to close orphanages in order not to have to entrust the children – whom they themselves had rescued from sure death – to homosexuals. The problem is also very acute in Great Britain and Ireland. The young generations constitute the main target: Christmas has been abolished, no Nativity scenes may be mounted in public premises, religious songs and hymns have been banned from school shows, and compulsory in schools have become courses that are immoral and scientifically senseless in anthropological terms. Moreover, people have not only deeds in their sights.
In fact, laws against so-called “homophobia” introduce the crime of opinion, a hangover of the darkest times in modern history. For example, this means that no public or private employee will be able to remain faithful to the principles in which he believes without being subject to discrimination, dismissal, or imprisonment. The very refined plan now underway is sponsored not by chance by organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, etc., which are bereft of any democratic legitimacy. Evidently arising is the problem of national, group and individual liberty; the liberty Christ came to announce to the children of God.
In France, the ostentatious display of religious symbols is forbidden. Forbidden is the cross in the parvis of churches. Forbidden is the wearing of a cross any larger than the bare minimum. Forbidden is the wearing of the veil for Muslim women. Forbidden is the freedom of speech: according to the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, a priest, who – in his church – dares to criticize a law risks 3-9 months in jail. So much for “non discrimination”.
On the contrary, denigrating divine law is considered to be a sign of broad-mindedness (consider CharlieHebdo), and this to the point that the profanation of places of worship is validated by magistrates. The obscene intrusion of the Femen in the basilica of Notre Dame in Paris was deemed unworthy of note in the court of first instance and in the court of appeals. The malicious mischief was declassified as a crime. On the other hand, the security personnel of the basilica were convicted of using excessive zeal while ousting those possessed women from the premises. By the way, the foreign legion of the Femen is based in Paris, just like the Red Brigades in the past. What strange coincidences!
Threaten, silence, annihilate Christianity in both words and deeds seems to be the programme, and Italy should align with it in order to avoid making a bad impression on so-called ‘civil’ countries. This is a new version of eighteenth century “enlightened despotism”. It would be better to call it “deviated despotism”.
Criticizing and mounting opposition against ways of behaving and laws that conflict with the word of God is very much part of the DNA of Christian witness. The beginning of Jesus’ preaching in public was marked in a less than casual manner by the execution of the last prophet of Israel, His cousin John, who was killed after having spoken out against the sovereign’s immoral conduct in public. In fact, John had reproached him by saying: “You are not permitted to take your brother’s wife”. An awkward step for the so many “broad-minded” Christians.
We have always been warned about what is now underway. In fact, St. Paul writes: “You may be quite sure that in the last days there will be some difficult times. People will be self-centered and avaricious, boastful, arrogant and rude; disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, etc.” (2Ti 3:1-2). It is not consoling for us to note how these are unequivocal signs of the imminent collapse of western civilization. Doesn’t anyone know how to read the stock market indexes? Just like Christ before the passion, we have to cry over the ruins of Jerusalem. Let us listen once again to the words of the pope emeritus: “Accepting the name of ‘Christian’ is confession and witness. It is therefore the expression of being prepared to accept martyrdom. ‘Christian’ and ‘martyr’ mean exactly the same thing”. In this manner each thing demands its price.