23 February 2015

The Church Sends Us into the Desert, That There We May Learn from Jesus How to Fight. That Goes for bloggers, too.

I wanted to write a post for a few days now on the news making headlines in much of the Catholic blogosphere (the part that isn't bought and paid for, that is) and even in the secular press: that Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt + Light TV, who is the English language assistant to Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi and thus speaks at times in a public capacity for the Vatican, has sent (via his attorneys) a threatening letter to the blogger who writes Vox Cantoris, demanding that he pull comments critical of Fr. Rosica's statements and public actions in the last Synod against on the Family, or face legal action.

This is of course quite distressing to faithful Catholics.  Whether the action is bullying a critic into silence, or whether it is a colossal mistake, or whether it is justified, it is unseemly and not in line with a Catholic way of thinking.  Somebody at least looks bad out of this. We may assume this is his own action alone, and not with the pre-knowledge or, God forbid, at the request, of the Vatican. But we can ask the Vatican to send him the message to stand down.

Considering the matter as a Catholic blogger, well, you can see how this can get one's attention.  As many have noted, lowly bloggers were part of the phalanx of opposition to altering the Church's Christ-given teachings on marriage and the reception of Holy Communion by public adulterers.  The bishops who stood with Christ have been, and are, under attack.  So now who is next? 

Enter Vox Cantoris.  What struck me immediately is the reach of his blog.  It is not large in terms of hits-- not tiny, but not large.  In fact, until this fracas, it averaged the same or perhaps fewer daily hits than this blog.  

So, I think, this could have been me.

Why pick on a blog of this size?  As Rorate mused, and I agree, this is a family man, without great financial resources or a legal team.  He makes no money off of the Church by blogging-- unlike some.  The enemies of Catholic teaching on marriage and Communion want to quiet the blogs of all us little folk who are not bought and paid for. They WANT us to think:  This could be me!

OK, great, why write on it now?  Because I want to be faithful to my Lenten resolution to focus on the positive and the joyful.  This to me is an occasion of joy. Bloggers are called to the cross like anyone else.  If we are persecuted for standing with Christ, so be it. Lots of bloggers are weighing in, and I feel compelled to do so, too.

Reading at Mass on Sunday Dom Gueranger's entry for the first Sunday of Lent brought home to me what is expected of the faithful Christian.  He gives the epistle below, and then comments.  I add my emphases in orange

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
II. Ch. VI

Brethren, we exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For he saith: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prison, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand, and on the left: by honour and dishonour: by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things.

"These words of the Apostle give us a very different idea of the Christian Life from that which our own tepidity suggests. We dare not say that he is wrong, and we right; but we put a strange interpretation upon his words, and we tell both ourselves and those around us, that the advice he here gives is not to be taken literally now-a-days, and that it was written for those special difficulties of the first age of the Church, when the Faithful stood in need of unusual detachment and almost heroism, because they were always in danger of persecution and death. The interpretation is full of that discretion which meets with the applause of our cowardice, and it easily persuades us to be at rest, just as though we had no battle to fight; whereas, we have both: for there is the devil, the world, flesh and blood. The Church never forgets it; and hence, at the opening of this great Season, she sends us into the desert, that there we may learn from our Jesus how we are to fight. Let us go; let us learn, from the Temptations of our Divine Master, that the life of man upon earth is a warfare [Job, vii. 1], and that, unless our fighting be truceless and brave, our life, which we would fain pass in peace, will witness our defeat. That such a misfortune may not befall us, the Church cries out to us, in the words of St. Paul: Behold! now is the acceptable time. Behold! now is the day of salvation. Let us, in all things comport ourselves as the servants of God, and keep our ground unflinchingly to the end of our holy campaign. God is watching over us, as he did over his Beloved Son in the Desert."

Now is the time to wake from sleep, as St. Paul elsewhere says. When necessary, we have to be ready to stand for and with Christ and His Church.  It is that simple.  Yes, we should not pick a fight, but that doesn't change the fact that we may be called to suffer and die.  We have to stand with Christ.  What else is there?


Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful post. Certainly it must be a similar joy that the Apostles felt after being flogged for the sake of the Name.

It's one thing to have Gestapo tactics like this coming from the State, but when it comes from clerics from within the Church, there is a measure of sorrow that is company to it.


Jane Chantal said...

Bracing words -- most timely, appropriate, and needed by us all. Thank you, Timman.

Mary said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting in to words what I have felt in my heart.

The Bear said...

St. Paul in his 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, 6:1-7, had some very harsh words for Christians who utilize the pagan courts to sue other Christians. He condemned the practice and reminded plaintiffs that they should one day be judging angels.

We bloggers are like Hobbits of the Shire, heretofore overlooked or thought to be powerless. Now the forces of darkness are just waking up to the stones we can be in the shoes.

Hopefully lawyers can be found for these cases who will offer a pro se defense, although it is sort of a specialty.

thetimman said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words.

May Jesus Christ be with us always and we with Him.

Cindy said...

Can we "crowd fund" for this blogger? That would send a message in return so that they may think twice about threatening people people in the future. Pull back the curtain...

This should get more media attention.