The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holy Innocents

Tomorrow, December 28, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, those children of Bethlehem who were murdered by Herod in his bizarre attempt to thwart God's plan. Matthew briefly describes the event in his Gospel:
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.

Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: "A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation: Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more." [Mt 2:16-18]
Slaughter of the Innocents - Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Matthew relates this horror in just three short verses. How many children were killed? Just a few? Less than a hundred? Several hundred? We don't know. Matthew provides no details, and we can be sure that Herod wanted no records kept of this horrendous act. Today, of course, we keep detailed, accurate records of our killing. Since 1973 our nation has allowed the slaughter of over 50 million of our most innocent, our unborn infants. You don't have to believe me. The federal government proudly publishes the abortion statistics every year. 

Herod's killing of the innocents was met with "sobbing and loud lamentation." Today's killings of innocents are met with a collective shrug. As one woman told me after a Mass in which I had preached a pro-life homily, "You and the Church are wrong. I think the girls should have a choice." 

I didn't mind her calling me wrong. Lord knows I've been wrong time and time again. But not the Church, not when it comes to matters of faith and morals, and not about something the Church has taught consistently for 2,000 years. Her words are simply symptoms of the disease that has infected so many of our citizens. It is a most diabolical form of political correctness, a willingness to be completely absorbed by today's culture of death and to condemn those who champion life. It stems from one thing: an especially insidious form of selfishness that declares openly and without embarrassment, "I am the measure of all things." For unless I believe this, how else can I deny God's will in favor of my own?

A few months ago, during a conversation with a friend, who happens to be a Protestant minister, he mentioned a woman who had applied for an administrative position in his church: "She made a point of telling me she was strongly pro-life. Well, as you can imagine, that eliminated her from consideration." I know I should have responded more strongly, and used the incident as a teaching moment, but I was too flabbergasted that he had said this to me. So I just said, "As you know, I'm a deacon in the Catholic Church. And so I, too, am strongly pro-life. Send her to us."

Radical political correctness has also apparently commandeered our State Department. We hear little from our government regarding the growing persecution of Christians throughout the world. Communist governments, steeped as they are in radical atheism, have always persecuted Christians and will continue to do so. Persecution and oppression are the rule for Christians living in North Korea, China and Vietnam. But how often do we hear anything about this from either the mainstream media or the federal government? After all, China and Vietnam are trading partners, and North Korea? Well, we don't want to upset our diplomatic efforts to bring them into the fold of civilized nations. And so the barbarity continues.

And when it comes to the rapidly growing persecution of Christians in Islamic countries, we encounter a special form of political correctness that seems to say: Islam is good, Christianity and Judaism are bad. Well, pardon me! But I'm a Catholic Christian and I simply won't accept that.

This form of PC wants us to believe that the vast majority of Muslims disagree with the Islamist jihadist terrorists, aka Al-Quaida, Hamas, Salafists, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, et al. "Don't worry," we're told, "Islam will ultimately reject this aberrant behavior by a few extremists." And yet, as a result of the much praised "Arab Spring," a significant majority of the voters in Tunisia and Egypt voted for these "few extremists" who, among other things, intend to impose sharia law on their nations. It would seem the extremists have now become mainstream. When the governments of other nations with Muslim majorities are overthrown -- Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria... -- we can expect much of the same. Christians in these nations will have few options. They will either leave their homelands or they will suffer increased persecution.

Yes, today's innocents will continue to suffer, right here at home and throughout the world. Pray for them and for their oppressors.

No comments:

Post a Comment