Many of us know that the Church will shortly enter into a time of great persecution. The powers of evil, both seen and unseen, which hate the one, true, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church will have their day. God is allowing these forces to purify the Church, to cleanse the tares out of the wheat. For over one-hundred years, saints have shared this knowledge with us. More recently, Our Lady of Akita has warned us of a great catastrophe which will envelope the earth. Our Lady’s warning included hope that if the faithful pray, these tragedies could be avoided.
However, people are not praying, because they have lulled themselves to sleep, or because they are so full of anxiety, they do not want to face the coming reality.
Some in the past lived under the growing cloud of persecution and responded by moving from those countries where their people were to be targeted for death. Sadly, most of the western countries now lack freedom of religious expression to the point where it is in those very nations which opened their doors to Catholics and Jews, for example, in the past, no longer exist as welcoming ports.
It is in the nations where Christianity was born and thrived in ancient times that the persecution now rages. It is in the nations where the missionaries spread the Gospel to your people and mine that the persecution will be enshrined in law. This all happened before, in England, under Henry VIII and his daughter, Elizabeth I, as well as under other kings. Persecution occurred in Germany, during decades of wars between Protestants and Catholics. Saints and martyrs dot the landscape of history with their witness and blood.
In the New World, persecution will come soon. Again, such times of tribulation, as in Mexico, will result in martyrdom, especially of priests and religious.
What Catholics do not examine are the millions of their own brethren who were not saints while on earth and who did not become martyrs, but apostatised, or worse, aided in the persecution of the saints. Great Britain’s history, marred by collusion and those becoming wealthy, given the lands and buildings of the monasteries, still has laws on the books pertaining to persecution, as common law nations do not have a written constitution, as in the States, but build up laws, by consent. Only some of the laws against Catholics have been abrogated by laws, but not all.
The vast majority of Catholics in Great Britain fell away. So, too, did the majority of Catholics in certain parts of Germany, making Protestant enclaves under certain kings and dukes. The vast majority of Catholics in the Middle East, the cradle of Catholicism, were either killed by the Muslim wars, or fled to Catholic countries. And, so on.
However, the greatest tragedy is not martyrdom or heroic virtue of fortitude while living under persecution.
The two greatest tragedies are, in my mind, the following.
The first is the apostasy of the majority of Catholics and their collusion with the powers of persecution.
The second is the dying of charity among practicing Catholics, unwilling to be open in helping those who are persecuted.
The first is a sin of commission, while the second is a sin of omission, and both sins lead to hell.
Recently, I met a woman who lived her entire life under the rule of the former Soviet Union, in a nation which had been taken over by the communists. She was old enough to have had some Catholic teaching as a child, and to have had the ability to get to Mass, until this particular nation was gobbled up by the Soviets. She told me she had to make a decision. She had to give up going to Mass on Sunday for twenty years in order to keep her job. Her husband died young and she was left for several children. Her decision was to work, as those who went to Church on Sunday lost their jobs immediately when the spies reported this event to the police. Her faith collided with the powers of evil. She chose to work and feed her children. However, others chose differently. Some chose to take their children to Mass and face either deportation to Siberia or death by starvation. This woman, now a practicing Catholic, has one child who is practicing. Of course, this state of affairs is common in families which have not been persecuted. One wonders if the other children would have kept their smouldering faith if their mother had chosen the route of suffering, instead of the path of less resistance.
She did not help the authorities persecute, but she went along with their rules and did not stand up for her faith. She knows people in her town who were sent to Siberia and died there. Entire families were sent to the labour camps, and all of this occurred in my lifetime and the lifetime of the majority of the readers of this blog.
The second sin of omission manifests itself today in the so-called free nations of the world. This sin is that of not helping the cause of Catholicism, being passive, and worse, ignoring those on the front lines, who already have been persecuted. I am not writing about giving to charities, such as Aid to the Church in Need, or Persecution Watch. I am talking about the quiet disdain of comfortable Catholics towards those who for some reason or another have and are being persecuted for their faith, and refusing to help them in the communities.
God will judge Catholics harshly for not being charitable to the person at the front door, at the persons who have been fired from jobs for standing up for the faith, and yes, this has happened for over twenty years in the United States and in Europe. For example, if a midwife refuses to do an abortion in Great Britain, she can be fired. If a doctor in Canada in some of the provinces refuses to abort babies, he or she can be “let go” out of the system. If a college or university instructor teaches the truth of Catholic history, or morality in hundreds of academic settings, he or she will be “let go” and absolutely never get tenure.
The complacent majority, like the colluding majority under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, or under several leaders in Mexico, starting in 1857 and renewed in the new constitution of 1917, allowed these crimes against the faith, such as fines, stealing of Church and private property, torture and death, to happen.
I have noticed in the past thirty years, in both Great Britain, and in the United States, a cooling of personal charity. This is the greatest tragedy of all. Catholics have become more bigoted against the poor and the outcast, and the usual Midwest hospitality, which was so obvious when I grew up, is dead. In Britain, the fear culture dominates. Recently, a person high up in the Church tried to find housing for rent for a consecrated woman. This man phoned every convent in London, and all the orders, most with bags of empty rooms, said they do not open their doors, even for rent. This person was shocked, as he is older and remembers happier, more open days. He told me, the consecrated woman, that the Church was now part of the fear culture in Great Britain.
Fear kills charity. Fear leads to both Communist and Fascists governments. Socialism has killed charity and openness in Great Britain, and greed has killed it in the United States.
What will happen when the real, harsh persecution occurs? People who are afraid do not care about others dying around them.
I give an example of true charity. I met a woman years ago, who was a survivor of the Holocaust. All of her family died in the death camps. The round-up of Jews in her town happened on a day she was walking to school. She was about ten years of age. She saw the police and the soldiers down the street taking the children out of the Jewish school and herding them into trucks. She thought quickly ran down a street and knocked on a door, a stranger’s door. A middle-aged woman opened the door. This child asked to be let in. The woman let her in and the girl told her of the arrests and transportation happening around the corner. The woman responded by not only letting the girl stay, but adopting her as a niece, thus saving her life. The Jewish girl lived because of the charity of one Catholic woman in the.town. This girl and the woman came to love each other. Of course, the Catholic woman was taking a chance, but she decided to open her door and save one Jewish child.
I have to admit that most Catholics today would not act in such charity. Charity is dead, or only used when one does not have to be personally involved.
The orders which are not charitable will die, as these have lost the original love of Christ, the Bridegroom. Fear distorts reality, the reality of the Cross and Resurrection.
I pray that I may always be charitable and open. I pray that the Church of the persecution will survive in some areas because of charity. Fear will dictate that in some places, Catholics will die for the lack of charity.
There are many roads to hell, and one is collusion. I have to state that I would have not given up the Mass in order to work. I would not, as many Catholics women in Great Britain have done in the past seventy years, take contraceptions to save a marriage to an Anglican man. I would not have kept a job where I had to deny my faith in the classroom. I left a job where I was asked daily to lie to various political groups. Lying is a sin. It was the highest paying job I ever had. I could not cooperate with the corporate evil of that office. I live in poverty but I would never change a decision based on living my faith.
Some of us have been given graces to endure and to be clear as to choices of conscience. I pray that the majority of Catholics in the soon approaching days to come will not falter and give up. Yes, there is always repentance, but people die while others turn the other way.
Sadly, I know the vast majority of Catholics, including priests and religious, will not be open to the persecuted ones. Fear reigns supreme. Faith has become merely a Sunday visit to God, or even the reciting of old prayers covering up a cold heart.
“The foxes have dens, the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to lay His Head.” Christ was persecuted long before Holy Week. Only a handful of woman provided for His and His Apostles upkeep. They slept outside, or at times at places, such as the house of Lazarus and his sisters. How interesting that we only have the name of that one family which offered hospitality to the Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords.
St. Paul writes of a handful of people who held out hospitality to him and others. Again, the list is limited.
For years, and my friend Jay knows this, for some reason, God has allowed me to see and experience the future of the Church. Events have occurred in my life which point to the persecution to come. Some are so painful or need to be kept private, that I cannot write about these. These happenings allow me to share with you today the reality of what is to come. Years ago on my blog, I wrote about the four (or sometimes five) stages of persecution organised by psychologists and sociologists after the Holocaust, those academics who wondered how such a horrible event to be passed into law by a democratically elected government. On my blog, I wrote that we were already in the second to the last stage of persecution. For those who want to see, this is obvious. For those caught up in the culture of fear, this reality is denied.
St. Paul should be our example, working when he could and evangelising the known Gentile world. Without his many beatings, imprisonments, times of hunger and thirst, shipwrecks, and the constant hatred of those fearful of his message, most of us would not be Catholic. I pray to St. Paul for charity not to die, but I am sure it is cold and buried already in most Catholic communities.
Let your community, your house not be one which closes its door to charity. When Christ returns, will He find any faith on earth, as He asked us in ? If it is not living and practicing faith, He will judge us all accordingly. Luke 18:8….I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them. But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?
Faith is not faith unless in action.