Curing apathy

It is difficult to read the murky reports of anti-Catholic bigotry which have become a feature of “the world as it is.” I do not mean that it is hard to read calmly, but even with cognizance of fact. In Canada, for instance, all news media of any scale are committed to an account of Catholic history, in which the motivation of all Catholic religious is consistently criminal. It is the kind of propaganda designed to create a seething hatred for any living Catholic, and to inspire crimes against them; or more practically to make believing Catholics shut up, and hide.

The burning out of at least four Catholic churches on Indian reservation land in Western Canada has been almost welcomed. The police have said they are unaware of any motive, and have made no arrests. The Indian faithful who have had their churches destroyed by arsonists have received no official sympathy (many remain among the few faithful Catholics); and indeed when one Mississauga priest dared to hint that positive things could also be said about Canada’s residential schools, he was quickly suspended by his archbishop.

But this is a token of what is happening all over the world. In Italy, for instance, a new “hate law” will put people who espouse traditional Catholic doctrine under fine or in jail. It isn’t necessary to go to Communist China to find examples of perverse tyranny against the Church.

Why am I so hopeful? The worst the authorities can do, anywhere, is to kill us, perhaps painfully, and this they have often done before. Indeed, Christ told us to expect this, and it would happen to him. And when they have tortured Christians, they have unintentionally contributed to a religious revival. Perhaps it is the very thing that will stir the Church back to life: putting us in memory of what she is, and what she means.

It is worth remembering that the great majority of people, Catholic as well as non-Catholic, are awkward, simpering cowards, who will sell out their souls to avoid inconvenience, let alone trouble. But they do not hate us. They are simply waiting for the winds to change, and then they can be friendly again.