The election in the United States of America is over and the Church lost. At least half of the Catholics voted for candidates who openly advocated grave evil when there were other options available. The requirement of the Faith, even the requirement of logic, should have yielded a different result. As I wrote in my last post, I do not say that the votes of Catholics necessarily should have gone to Romney, but they definitely should not have gone to Obama. Yet, they did.
There are those who will use this fact to claim that the Church is “out of touch” and needs to change her positions to match the opinions of a growing number of those who call themselves her members. The opposite is the truth. It is those who call themselves Catholic while openly rejecting the Faith who are out of touch. They are, at best, deluded; at worst, they are outright liars. They have armed the enemies of the Church with a powerful weapon, which they will use to try and force the Church to subject itself to the state, or to force her out of the public realm altogether. So, what are we, who strive to be truly faithful, to do in the face of this? We are to imitate the martyrs, for we may be forced to join their ranks.
What we should not do is give up even one aspect of the Christian mission to the world. That mission is to spread the Gospel, not merely in word, but also in deed. Our charities are not philanthropic institutions, they are Christian ministries, and we are called to fulfill and defend them even in the face of persecution – and persecution appears to be well on its way.
There is a lot of talk about the need for our charities to shut down because we cannot comply with the mandate. That is an absurdity. Yes, as Christians we are called to be obedient to the laws of our government, but the Christian Tradition also states that laws which are unjust are not really laws at all. It also states that we are to obey the laws of God over those of man.
God's law requires – REQUIRES – that we fulfill both the corporal and the spiritual works of mercy. In other words, even in the face of government persecution, we cannot cease from feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the needy, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead, giving counsel to the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing sinners, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offenses, bearing patiently the troublesome, and praying for the living and the dead. All of these are integral parts of spreading the Gospel, they are part of how we exercise our religion. Just because the government has decided to make a “political stand” on some topic, like abortion or contraception, does not mean that it ceases to be a religious issue for us. Both of these practices pre-date Christ, and Christianity has opposed these things on religious and philosophical grounds since the beginning. Therefore, there is no basis for the claim that a government, which is barely 200 years old, somehow has the authority to override a religious teaching that has been around for 2,000 years, just because it has decided to politicize some moral issues in recent years.
There has been a lot of talk about how we cannot comply with recent (or future) government demands that we directly support things which are contrary to the Christian Faith. There should be no talk of shutting down our charities, hospitals, or even our businesses because of the way the government will persecute us. If we do, then the government will successfully portray us as not really caring for those in need. It is not the Christian ministries that want to stop serving those in need, it is those in government who want the Church to be completely subject to their will or force us to stop. These institutions must continue to run and do so in accordance with our Faith. The rest of the faithful must do everything they can to support their continued operation.
What if the government goes through with its threat to shut them down or fine them out of existence? Well, then the people will see the truth; it is the government who cares more about subjugating the Church than about the needs of its citizens. If Catholic hospitals, hospices, soup kitchens, and the like are to close down because of the HHS mandate, it should be publicly seen that the government has marched in and forced it to happen. I mean this literally. Keep working until agents of the government physically march in and shut us down. If they use a less visible means, like seizing assets, then make that publicly known. Even if the mainstream media outlets won't report it, there are a lot of independent outlets made possible by the Internet who will.
Our resistance must be peaceful, but we must not forget that we are the Church Militant. We are engaged in the war over our souls and the souls of those around us over our eternal end. While Christ has won this war through His victory on the Cross, we are still living it, and we must continually strive, as St. Paul taught, to work out our Faith in this life. Yes, we must render to Caesar what is Caesar's, but Caesar cannot make a claim to that which is due to God for God is and always will be above Caesar. The heavenly kingdom is greater than the earthly countries. Therefore, we must always be faithful Christians first, and good American citizens second.