Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bl. Catherine Jarrige and the Underground Priest

The following comes from The Catherine of Sienna Institute:

One of my favorite stories is about Bl. Catherine Jarrige, whose feast day is July 4.   She lived during the French Revolution and the accompanying supression of the Catholic Church and demonstrated a level of inspired chuztpah that takes your breath away.

Priests who not declare their first allegience to the revolutionary government were known as "non-juring" priests and in November of 1791, they were suspect and to be arrested.  Most were arrested and the majority were kept in prison ships where the majority died within a few months from the appalling conditions.
Persecution evolved into active "de-Christianization" by 1793.  In October of 1793, a law was passed sentencing non-juring priests and those who harbored them to instant death.  Less than a month later, the Goddess Reason was installed on the high altar of Notre Dame Cathedral.
It was in this climate that Catherine, a lacemaker and professed third order Dominican, who was known for her great generosity to the poor "showed her quality".  Catherine created a priest underground that slipped clergy in and out of her area successfully, ensured priests were fed and safe, and that the sacramental needs of the community were still met.  No baby went unbaptized, no one died without confession.  She only lost one priest, whom she accompanied fearlessly to the guillotine.  After his execution, Catherine took some of the martyr's blood and smeared it on the eyes of a blind child who was instantly healed.  At seeing the miracle, the executioner began to cry "I'm lost, I'm lost.  I've killed a saint!"
One particularly amusing story about her exploits comes down to us.  Catherine was guiding a priest, disguised as a revolutionary peasant, out of the area.  To prevent discovery, Catherine has doused the disguised priest with wine and told him to walk as though he were drunk and let her do the talking.  As they walked along, they encountered a revolutionary soldier.  Thinking quickly, Catherine began to yell at her walking companion loudly as though she were scolding her husband.  The soldier sympathized with Catherine's 'husband': "Citizen, if I had a wife like that, I'd drown her in the nearest river."  The undercover priest is said to have passionately agreed. "Citizen, so would I!"
Catherine was instrumental in re-establishing the life of the Catholic community after the revolution and lived to be 82.  It was said that as a young woman, she loved to dance the Bouree - a local country dance but gave it up after she was professed as a Dominican to focus upon her ministry to the poor.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati: A commentary by Fr. Barron


The following comes from Frassati USA:

When the covering was removed from the image of Pier Giorgio Frassati draped on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome as he was newly proclaimed Blessed by Pope John Paul II on May 20, 1990, what became visible to those present was not the classic portrait of a saint. Surprisingly, it was the photo of a strong, young man wearing the gear of a mountain climber, leaning on a long ice-axe, with one foot resting sturdily on a rock.

"Toward The Top"
A month before his death at the age of 24, Pier Giorgio Frassati and some of his friends had been climbing in the Val di Lanzo, where some difficult points had to be overcome by climbing or by using a double rope. On the photo which shows him holding onto the rock gazing up toward his goal, he later wrote the words, "Verso l'alto"; in English, "toward the top." It is a short phrase which was the synthesis of his way of life: always seeking what enhances, that which carries us beyond ourselves, toward the best we can be as people, toward the best of ourselves. It is to strive toward perfection of life; in other words, toward sainthood. It means to strive toward the source of life: God. 

Rugged Mountaineer
The mountains were Pier Giorgio's favorite place: "With every passing day, " he wrote to a friend, " I fall madly in love with the mountains; their fascination attracts me." From his youth, he was accustomed to climbing the highest peaks. He was a member of the Italian Alpine Club and climbed the Gran Tournalin (3379m), the Grivola in the Val d'Aosta (3969m), Mon Viso (3841m), the Ciamarella (3676m), the Bessanese (3532m) and a large number of lower mountain peaks. He also lived through some critical situations, such as a sleepless night spent in a hole dug in the snow and a descent in a snow storm. For him, the mountains represented the pleasure of testing his athletic body, filling his lungs before the strain of a skiing competition or a difficult climb. He experienced the spirit of emulation always tinged with contagious joy. 

The Joy of Friendship
The mountains for him also meant the joy shared with his companions: either his dearest friends or perhaps more improvised companions for whom he expressed all his kindheartedness and generosity. He took upon himself the burden of those who were a bit slower or tired. At times, he would say his foot hurt and he needed to stop and rest, so as not to humiliate those who really needed to do so. Or he would go back and forth between the mountains and the plain in order to lighten the backpacks of those who were a little weaker. He did all this with a good spirit that nothing could destroy, not even fatigue. With a rather offkey voice he would start singing a song for the group or, in the silence of the camp, he would invite everyone to pray before going to sleep.

Everyone can draw some inspiration from the way in which Pier Giorgio Frassati lived. The mountains, his mountains, can be a school, a temple, a gymnasium to help each of us strive ever always toward the top.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Here's My Heart Lord by Crowder

Fr. Jozo Zovko speaks on the Holy Eucharist

The following comes from In God's Company 2:

Place your life upon this altar. You will witness how a priest will place a drop of water within a chalice full of wine. That drop of water intermingles with the wine and signifies you in the Holy Mass. You can become one, unite with and intermingle with Jesus. That is why the Holy Mass is called Communion ...union with God ...you and your God together ...that is the Holy Eucharist. All of us together and Jesus. That is the church, and that is where the one, holy Catholic apostolic church comes from.

"He who can separate you from the altar is your only enemy. There is no other" 

Every time we come into the church and celebrate the Holy Mass, that is our embrace, our hanging onto Our Lord and saying, "Lord where would we go, for you are the Word of Life." Where did the martyrs gain so much strength from? In the Church, where did the witnesses gain their strength from? To date, in this year, 23 missionaries have been murdered around the world in four months. That is a lot. How can a man give his life for Jesus simply, with delight? It is the Holy Mass that does this within us, so that for you I'm able to give my very eyes, my arms and my life, my everything as Jesus gave His all; and the same way the Christian must give his all.

Yes, once again, I must return to the Holy Mass and the Holy Eucharist. Why is it that churches and sects do not tolerate the Mass, do not respect Our Lady? Because they go hand-in-hand. Yes, they go together. Our Lady teaches to come to love Jesus, to fall in love with Him, and that is why she places us before the Holy Eucharist, and pleads with us to pray before this holy, blessed Sacrament, so from Jesus we may learn to become bread for others; so that I not have fear to say, "Take this, all of you, of me, and eat of it."

I know a lot of Anglican and Protestant priests, ministers, that were in Medjugorje.

I know of a Presbyterian bishop that I have met from Washington. He had sent a multitude of his priests to Medjugorje as well. When I was in Washington a few years ago, I visited him because he visited me and came to Medjugorje.

He had a problem, a cross, that was inflicted upon him. His son was shot in Vietnam and became paralyzed. When his son returned from the war, he said to his wife, "Let us make a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. I believe Our Lady will hear us." And Our Lady gave a miracle. The son was healed and converted the parents. The bishop desired that all of his priests come to know Our Lady. Eight of those priests to date have become Catholic priests, without any shouts, without publication, without media. Our Lady works in miraculous ways. She was always the sign, the sign of a better world, the sign of peace and unity in the Church, the sign of our salvation. May it also truly be the same in your city or town. Let us commence this Holy Mass by preparing ourselves and involving this great grace.

Saint of the day: Thomas the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities. At the Last Supper, when Christ told His Apostles that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas' unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday merited for him the title of "doubting Thomas." Eight days later, on Christ's second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his scepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded - seeing in Christ's hands the point of the nails and putting his fingers in the place of the nails and his hand into His side. At this, St. Thomas became convinced of thetruth of the Resurrection and exclaimed: "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus. St. Thomas is also mentioned as being present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus - at Lake Tiberias when a miraculous catch of fish occurred. This is all that we know about St. Thomas from the New Testament. Tradition says that at the dispersal of the Apostles after Pentecost this saint was sent to evangelize the Parthians, Medes, and Persians; he ultimately reached India, carrying the Faith to the Malabar coast, which still boasts a large native population calling themselves "Christians of St. Thomas." He capped his left by shedding his blood for his Master, speared to death at a place called Calamine. His feast day is July 3rd and he is the patron of architects.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Home by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert

Fr. Jozo Zovko: Our Generation Seeks and Needs its Apostles

The following comes from Medjugorje Today:

“Our time of trials and troubles – like floods, earthquakes and wars – has shown who is a Christian, and who is a man-humanist. This is the time of those who have the heart and the time for prayer, the time for good deeds. Such Christians have the eyes to see the wounds and pains, the sufferings and needs of their neighbors. And today only love – Christian, Jesus’ love – saves and that is why we must stop interpreting and making new theories why and from where problems and troubles come”. Fr. Jozo Zovko states.

“So many live unwisely, and many have lost the joy of life and are fighting against the forces of evil and darkness losing the last hope. Everything is contrary to their wishes and dreams and they simply are losing the will to live. In that night of ignorance and trial man needs God. He is the light. He is a new day. He is our safety.”

“Our generation seeks and needs its apostles. They are not the people who pride themselves on their diplomas and knowledge but the people who have changed their lives – converts. Today only true converts, or rather saints, have the opportunity to help neighbors. Today’s Samaritans watch how Levites and priests passing by the neighbors knowing they have nothing to give them because they have no time, because their time that should be devoted to the neighbor is lost” Fr. Jozo further notes.

“Such lost time makes man nervous and unhappy. Our wrong education makes the love for the neighbor difficult for us, and our conflicts make wounds on the body of the Church family. We are waiting for the good Samaritan, the Samaritan who wholeheartedly meets and helps the needy. He always has something to give and offer, and never walks without the indispensable oil and wine. He knows where the medical clinic is and to whom the patient should be taken to have his health restored.”

The Seven Sacraments

Remembering the Apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda



The above videos are from Kibeho, Rwanda. The first was taken during the time of the visions and the second is present day. It was 14 years ago that the Bishops of Rwanda approved the Kibeho visions as worthy of belief. Kibeho is a small town in south Rwanda, that became famous for reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary and Jesus between 1981 and 1989.

The Blessed Virgin Mary and Our Lord reportedly appeared to teenagers. These visions were accompanied by crying, tremors, and even comas. On August 19, 1982 the visionaries reported horrible sights (including rivers of blood) which many regard as an ominous foreshadowing of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.

To read more about these apparitions click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

After All (Holy) by The Digital Age

St. Padre Pio: "Jesus is with you!"

“Jesus is with you even when you don’t feel His presence. He is never so close to you as He is during your spiritual battles. He is always there, close to you, encouraging you to fight your battle courageously. He is there to ward off the enemy’s blows so that you may not be hurt.”  St Padre Pio

Saint of the day: Blessed Junipero Serra


Today we remember Blessed Junipero Serra. He is the great missionary to California and a great witness of apostolic zeal!
The following comes from the PBS site:

A priest in the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church, Junipero Serra was a driving force in the Spanish conquest and colonization of what is now the state of California.

Serra was born into a humble family on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Ocean. His parents sent him to a nearby Franciscan school, and his intellectual abilities soon caught the attention of his teachers. At age fifteen he enrolled in a prominent Franciscan school in the nearby city of Palma. The next year he became a novice in the Franciscan order and shortly thereafter was ordained as a priest.

Serra's intellectual acumen and enormous willpower secured his appointment as a professor of theology at the tender age of twenty-four. Six years later, in 1743, he moved on to a professorship at the prestigious Lullian University.

Despite his success as a pulpit orator and professor, Serra hungered for something more. In 1749 he secured permission to travel with some fellow Franciscans who intended to devote themselves to work at a mission near Mexico City. Serra took the long sea voyage to Spain's colonies. Despite ill health from the voyage, upon his arrival in Vera Cruz he insisted on walking all the way to Mexico City, a distance of over two hundred miles. This was the first of many feats of physical stamina and willpower which were to make the Franciscan a legend in his own time.

For some fifteen years, Serra worked in Mexico at much the same tasks as he had in Spain, although he took on missionary work to nearby Indian peoples in addition to preaching, hearing confessions, and helping to administrate Mexico City's College of San Fernando.

In 1767 the Spanish emperor's expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain's colonies led the government to ask the Franciscan Order to replace them as missionaries in Baja (lower) California. Serra was appointed head of these missions. The next year the Spanish governor decided to explore and found missions in Alta (upper) California, the area which is now the state of California. This project was intended both to Christianize the extensive Indian populations and to serve Spain's strategic interest by preventing Russian explorations and possible claims to North America's Pacific coast.

Serra spent the rest of his life as head of the Franciscans in Alta California. Already over fifty years old, dangerously thin, asthmatic, and seriously injured in one of his legs, the undaunted Serra led the founding of the Mission of San Diego in 1769, aided an expedition in locating San Francisco Bay, and personally founded eight other missions, including his lifelong headquarters, the mission San Carlos Borromeo at Carmel. His Herculean efforts subjected him to near-starvation, afflictions of scurvy, and hundreds of miles of walking and horse riding through dangerous terrain. Moreover, he was notorious for his mortifications of the flesh: wearing heavy shirts with sharp wires pointed inward, whipping himself to the point of bleeding, and using a candle to scar the flesh of his chest. His sacrifices bore fruit for the missionaries; by his death in 1784, the nine missions he had founded had a nominally converted Indian population of nearly 5,000.

Serra argued with the Spanish Army over the proper authority of the Franciscans in Alta California, which he thought should subsume that of military commanders. In 1773 he convinced the authorities in Mexico City to increase financial and military support for expansion of his missions, and to expand the authority of the Franciscans over both the army and the baptized mission Indians. He also urged Mexican officials to establish an overland route to Alta California, a suggestion which led to colonizing expeditions from New Mexico which established civilian settlements at San Francisco in 1776 and at Los Angeles in 1781.

Serra wielded this kind of political power because his missions served economic and political purposes as well as religious ends. The number of civilian colonists in Alta California never exceeded 3,200, and the missions with their Indian populations were critical to keeping the region within Spain's political orbit. Economically, the missions produced all of the colony's cattle and grain, and by the 1780's were even producing surpluses sufficient to trade with Mexico for luxury goods.

Despite the frequent conflicts between military and religious authority, for Alta California's Indians the missions and their Franciscan administrators were part and parcel of an enormously destructive colonization process. The Spanish, largely through disease, were responsible for a population decline from about 300,000 Indians in 1769 to about 200,000 by 1821. The strenuous work regime and high population density within the missions themselves also caused high death rates among the mission Indians. By law, all baptized Indians subjected themselves completely to the authority of the Franciscans; they could be whipped, shackled or imprisoned for disobedience, and hunted down if they fled the mission grounds. Indian recruits, who were often forced to convert nearly at gunpoint, could be expected to survive mission life for only about ten years. As one Friar noted, the Indians "live well free but as soon as we reduce them to a Christian and community life... they fatten, sicken, and die."

Junipero Serra is still a well-known figure in California, a virtual icon of the colonial era whose statue stands in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and in the U.S. Capital. In 1987 Pope John Paul II beatified Serra, the second of three steps necessary for the Church's bestowal of formal sainthood. Many Indians and academics condemned this decision, pointing to the harsh conditions of mission life and Serra's own justification of beatings. (In 1780, Serra wrote: "that spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of [the Americas]; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule.") Defenders of Serra cited the context of his times, his enormous personal sacrifices and religious zeal, and his opposition to punitive military expeditions against the Indians as exonerating factors. More than two centuries after his death, Junipero Serra is still a pivotal figure in California history and the history of the American West, this time as a flashpoint for controversy over European treatment of Indians
.

Palestrina- Missa Brevis

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Prayer to Our Lady, Queen of Peace

Most holy and immaculate Virgin, Mother of Jesus and our loving Mother, being his Mother, you shared in his universal kingship. The prophets and angels proclaimed him King of peace. With loving fervor in our hearts we salute and honor you as Queen of peace. 

We pray that your intercession may protect us and all people from hated and discord, and direct our hearts into the ways of peace and justice which your Son taught and exemplified. We ask your maternal care for our Holy Father who works to reconcile the nations in peace. We seek your guidance for our President and other leaders as they strive for world peace. 


Glorious Queen of peace, grant us peace in our hearts, harmony in our families and concord throughout the world. Immaculate Mother, as patroness of our beloved country, watch over us and protect us with your motherly love. Amen.

Learn to Preserve Inner Peace

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:
Sometimes you might fall into some sin or negligence in word or deed, such as disturbing yourself at anything which happens to you, or murmuring, or listening to murmuring, or falling into some dispute, irritation, curiosity, or suspicion of others, or into any other fault, whether it be one or many falls.
In such cases, you ought not to be disturbed or disheartened or saddened at the thought of what has happened, nor be confounded within yourself, at one time, believing that you will never be free from such infirmities, at another, that your faults and irresolution are the cause of them, or again, imagining that you are not walking in the spirit and way of the Lord, with a thousand other fears, pressing down your soul at every step with discontent and cowardice.
Otherwise you would feel ashamed to present yourself before God, or you would do so in a spirit of distrust, as though you had not preserved that faith in Him which is His due. And as a remedy, you would waste time in pondering over these things, scrutinizing how much you harbored the thought and whether you consented to it, whether it was voluntary or was at once put away. And, from taking the wrong road, the more you think of it, the less you are able to make up your mind about it, and the more your weariness, perplexity, and anxiety to confess it increase.
And so you go to Confession with a tedious fear, and, after having lost much time in making your confession, your spirit is even more uneasy than it was before it, for fear that you have not told all. Thus your life is one spent in bitterness and anxiety, with little fruit, and with the loss in a great measure of its reward.
All this comes from not knowing your own natural weakness and the way the soul should bear itself toward God. For after having fallen into all the faults we have enumerated, or into any others, we may more easily approach God by a humble and loving conversion, than by the spirit of grief and discontent at the fault itself, in the case of the examination of venial and ordinary sins, to which alone I now allude. For it is only into such sins as these that a soul that lives in the manner I am now supposing is wont to fall. And I am speaking only of those persons who lead a spiritual life and are striving to ad­vance in it, and are free from mortal sin. For those who live carelessly and in mortal sin, and are always more or less of­fending God, have need of a different kind of exhortation; and this medicine is not for them. Such persons should be troubled and ought to weep and to make their examination and confession with much thought, lest, through their own fault and indifference, they render the remedy that is necessary for their salvation unavailing.
To return, then, to speak of the quiet and peace in which the servant of God should ever abide, I will go further and say that this conversion must be understood to apply — in order that there might be entire trust in God — not only to slight and daily faults, but also to such as are greater and more grave than usual, if at any time the Lord should permit you to fall into such; even though they may be many together, and are not merely the effects of weakness and frailty, but of willfulness. For the contrition that only disturbed the soul and filled it with scruples will never lead it to perfection, unless it is combined with this loving confidence in the goodness and mercy of God.
And this is especially necessary in the case of persons who not only seek to rise out of their miseries, but would also ac­quire a high degree of sanctity and a great love for and union with God.
Many spiritual persons, from not wishing to understand this aright, ever bear about with them a heart and a spirit bro­ken and distrustful, which hinders their spiritual progress and capacity for the higher graces, which one after another God has prepared for them. These often lead a sort of life that is very wretched, useless, and pitiable, because they will follow only their own imaginations and will not embrace the true and wholesome doctrine that leads by the royal road to the high and solid virtues of the Christian life and to that peace which was left us by Christ Himself.
Such persons, whenever they find themselves in some dis­quietude through doubts of conscience, should seek the coun­sel of their spiritual father or of someone whom they think capable of giving them the advice they need, and should com­mit themselves to him and rest entirely in his judgment.

Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI

Humility During Times of Trials

Consider carefully, daughters, these few things that have been set down here, though they are in rather a jumbled state, for I cannot explain them better; the Lord will make them clear to you, so that these period of aridity may teach you to be humble, and not make you restless, which is the aim of the devil. Be sure that, where there is true humility, even if God never grants the soul favors, He will give it peace and resignation to His will, with which it may be more content than others are with favors. For often, as you have read, it is to the weakest that His Divine Majesty gives favors, which I believe they would not exchange for all the fortitude given to those who go forward in aridity. We are fonder for spiritual sweetness than of crosses. Test us, O Lord, Thou Who knowest all truth, that we may know ourselves. 

St. Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle"–Page 79 Hat tip to St. Peter's List

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fr. Robert Barron: Marriage and the Room of Tears

The following comes from Word on Fire:
Just last week, I had the privilege of spending four hours in the Sistine Chapel with my Word on Fire team. Toward the end of our filming, the director of the Vatican Museums, who had accompanied us throughout the process, asked whether I wanted to see the “Room of Tears.” This is the little antechamber, just off of the Sistina, where the newly-elected Pope repairs in order to change into his white cassock. Understandably, tears begin to flow in that room, once the poor man realizes the weight of his office. 
Inside the small space, there were documents and other memorabilia, but what got my attention was a row of impressive albs, chasubles, and copes worn by various Popes across the years. I noticed the specially decorated cope of Pope Pius VI, who was one of the longest serving Pontiffs in history, reigning from 1775 to 1799. Pius was an outspoken opponent of the French Revolution and its bloody aftermath—and his forthrightness cost him dearly. French troops invaded Italy and demanded that the Pope renounce his claim to the Papal States. When he refused, he was arrested and imprisoned in a citadel in Valence, where he died six weeks later. In the room of tears, there was also a stole worn by Pius VI’s successor, Pius VII. This Pope Pius also ran afoul of the French, who, under Napoleon, invaded Italy in 1809 and took him prisoner. During his grim exile, he did manage to get off one of the greatest lines in Papal history. Evidently, Napoleon himself announced to the Pope that he was going to destroy the Church, to which Pius VII responded, “Oh my little man, you think you’re going to succeed in accomplishing what centuries of priests and bishops have tried and failed to do!”
Both popes find themselves, of course, in a long line of Church people persecuted by the avatars of the regnant culture. In the earliest centuries of the Church’s life, thousands—including Peter, Paul, Agnes, Cecelia, Clement, Felicity, Perpetua, Sebastian, Lawrence, and Cyprian—were brutally put to death by officials of the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, St. Ambrose was opposed by the emperor Theodosius; in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII locked horns with the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV; in the nineteenth century, Bismarck waged a Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Germany, and in the twentieth century, more martyrs gave their lives for the faith than in all the previous centuries combined. 
Now why am I rehearsing this rather sad history? In the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage, a not inconsiderable number of Catholics feel beleaguered and more than a little afraid. Their fear comes from the manner in which the decision was framed and justified. Since same-sex marriage is now recognized as a fundamental human right guaranteed by the Constitution, those who oppose it can only be characterized as bigots animated by an irrational prejudice. To be sure, Justice Kennedy and his colleagues assure us that those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage will be respected, but one wonders how such respect is congruent with the logic of the decision. Would one respect the owners of a business who refuse to hire black people as a matter of principle? Would not the government, in point of fact, be compelled to act against those owners? The proponents of gay marriage have rather brilliantly adopted the rhetoric of the civil rights movement, precisely so as to force this conclusion. And this is why my mentor, the late Francis Cardinal George, so often warned against the incursions of an increasingly aggressive secular state, which, he argued, will first force us off the public stage into privacy and then seek to criminalize those practices of ours that it deems unacceptable.
One reason that this has been rather shocking to American Catholics is that we have had, at least for the last century or so, a fairly benign relationship with the environing culture. Until around 1970, there was, throughout the society and across religious boundaries, a broad moral consensus in our country, especially in regard to sexual and family matters. This is one reason why, in the 1950’s, Archbishop Fulton Sheen could find such a wide and appreciative audience among Protestants and Jews, even as he laid out fundamentally Catholic perspectives on morality. But now that consensus has largely been shattered, and the Church finds itself opposed, not so much by other religious denominations, as it was in the 19th century, but by the ideology of secularism and the self-defining individual—admirably expressed, by the way, in Justice Kennedy’s articulation of the majority position in the case under consideration. 
So what do we do? We continue to put forth our point of view winsomely, invitingly, and non-violently, loving our opponents and reaching out to those with whom we disagree. As St. John Paul II said, the Church always proposes, never imposes. And we take a deep breath, preparing for what could be some aggression from the secular society, but we take courage from a great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. The Church has faced this sort of thing before—and we’re still standing.