Our Catholic faith is under attack. Some say that we are at war.
But this is nothing new. For hundreds of years, our Catholic mothers and fathers who carried on the faith have been subject to ridicule, scorn and derision. It is well documented that Catholic immigrants, those who sacrificed everything to cross oceans and help build this great country of ours in the 19th and 20th centuries, were thought of as second-class citizens.
Some have described anti-Catholicism as the last acceptable prejudice in the United States. While we do not see stories about Catholics in the United States suffering physical violence or segregation — thanks be to God — it’s not difficult to feel the stones being hurled at the Holy Church in other subtle, and not so subtle, manners.
These shots come from all angles — primarily the entertainment and corporate-run news industries, just to name a couple — with the goal of discrediting the Church and her role in leading us to salvation.
Let’s look at the mess that President Barack Obama now finds himself in with Catholics. The president’s decision to ride roughshod over the Catholic Church’s constitutionally guaranteed right to religious liberty — by forcing the Church to fully subsidize the costs of contraception, sterilization and abortafacients — has effectively declared it open season on the Church.
Here’s the latest result: the New York Times on Friday carried a despicable anti-Catholic advertisement calling on women to leave the Church. It’s titled “It’s time to consider quitting the Catholic Church.”
Freedom from Religion Foundation, the husband-and-wife team behind the ad, blame the Church for “acute misery, poverty, needless suffering, unwanted pregnancies, overpopulation, social evils and deaths,” as noted by the Catholic League.
It goes on: “Apparently, you’re like the battered woman who, after being beaten down every Sunday, feels she has no place else to go.”
Is this truly how Freedom from Religion Foundation feels about domestic violence? What about the New York Times? Tragic.
And the kicker? It prominently features the sensationalistic editorial cartoon that graced the pages of the Feb. 12 Arizona Republic.
Instead of screaming about the government’s breach of the First Amendment and its effect on Americans of all faiths (or none at all), most of the entertainment news media nobility have turned this into an attack on the Church’s teaching about the Pill. Those with a platform and a voice who have turned this into a “contraception controversy” and a “war on women” continue to provide a great disservice through their thinly veiled attempts at waging a divide-and-conquer strategy.
We know things are down in the dumps for newspapers these days, but the New York Times should be ashamed of itself for accepting this advertisement. One has to wonder if they would accept a similar ad calling on congregations to turn their backs on any other faith, or if this is just another example of acceptable anti-Catholicism behavior in the 21st century. (Don’t bother, we already know the answer.)
Putting this in perspective, what better time than now, in the midst of this holy penitential season of Lent, is there for Catholics to suffer these attacks? Are these attacks not our cross to bear? Are we not called to suffer and pray during these 40 days of Lent, just as Christ did?
For 2,000 years our ancestors have been criticized and ridiculed. Still today, there are places in the Middle East where Catholics are tortured, maimed and killed for their faith.
Some say that we are at war with a culture that values nothing. But the truth of the matter is that what we face today is just one more battle, just one more cross to bear in our journey to eternal salvation. Will we be strong enough in our faith to carry this cross and stand up for the truth against those who seek to tear us down?