We’re Headed for the Catacombs

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“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.” — Francis Cardinal George

I had been looking forward to penning a reflection on directions Catholics should take in light of a Trump victory. As it turns out, I was hoping in vain, and now, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that we may not know the real results for months, due to massive voter fraud across the board, although Biden has (duiously) been declared the winner.

How, you ask, can this happen in the cradle of modern democracy? John Paul II referred to this phenomenon as the mysterium iniquitatis—the “mystery of iniquity.” Our Lord Himself observed that “the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light.” How else does one explain that someone can go to sleep on Tuesday night with all the battleground states in the Trump corner, only to wake up on Wednesday morning to find they had all miraculously switched columns?

Now, in spite of all the shocking and depressing news, I would highlight one piece of incredibly good news—namely, that anecdotal evidence informs us that a record number of American bishops and priests spoke with total clarity regarding the matters at stake in the election of 2020. Even if their counsel did not bear the hoped-for fruit, we should recall the wise and holy observation of Mother Teresa: “God does not call us to be successful, only faithful.”

All that said, let us proceed with the assumption that fake Catholic, Joe Biden, does prevail. What can the Church expect? All the pro-life gains of the past three years will be eviscerated. The Little Sisters of the Poor, EWTN, and a host of other faith-based groups will be back in court, doing a rear-guard action to defend their religious liberty—and ours. Not only will our Catholic schools have to be reconciled with the death of any and all parental freedom-of-choice initiatives; they must also count on massively intrusive regulations designed to make our institutions carbon copies of the godless government schools, especially as that relates to human sexuality. President Trump’s holding in abeyance of the so-called Johnson Amendment will be reversed immediately. Once more, the muzzle will be placed on the mouths of clergy as tax-exemptions will be in jeopardy for “violations” of neutrality and silence.

In short, be prepared for the Church’s exile into a catacomb existence, not unlike the Early Church under Roman persecution or the Church in China today. In addition to the initial steps I suggested above, what else could we expect?

The secularists will surely come gunning for us Catholics first, just based on simple logic: We present the biggest threat with our unwavering moral teachings and with our very large institutional footprint through our schools, social services, and media presence. (Once we’re gone as a public force, all the other faith communities will fall like so many dominoes.) The enemies of Christ’s Church will capitalize on the historical, now-somewhat-latent but always-ready-to-be-revived anti-Catholicism. The late former abortionist, Bernard Nathanson, documented how NARAL did just that in highlighting the Catholic bishops as the villains in the fight, precisely to ignite religious bigotry. As has been happening in Poland, priests and nuns will be assaulted on the streets and churches will be vandalized. They will capitalize on our own internal divisions, using much of the material that certain would-be “staunch” Catholics have circulated about the Church and her ministers. We should be careful that any legitimate criticism of our priests and bishops doesn’t become fodder for the anti-clericalist Harris-Biden regime.

So, what can and should be done? Obviously, pray up a storm. At the same time, use whatever means are at your disposal to press for a redress of grievances, which is to say, for the triumph of justice over fraud. However, if our prayers are not answered, the salutary reminder of the Letter to the Hebrews should ring loudly in our ears: “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.” Please understand, dear faithful Catholics and readers of Crisis: this is not an encouragement to complacency, only perspective. Only by understanding that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world can we persevere in the sure hope that His victory is assured.

[Image: The Martyrs in the Catacombs by Jules Eugène Lenepveu]

By

Fr. Peter M. Stravinskas is the founder and superior of the Priestly Society of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. He is also president of the Catholic Education Foundation and editor of The Catholic Response.

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