Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Latest radio interview

Here is the most recent radio interview done in support of the book on the podcast for with host Chris Cash, who's a great guy:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

From today's Divine Office (aka, Liturgy of the Hours)

This passage from Psalm 81 (80) is reminiscent of Romans 1. Will we listen?

For I am the Lord, your God,
  who led you out of the land of Egypt.
  Open wide your mouth and I shall fill it.
But my people did not hear my voice:
  Israel did not turn to me.
So I let them go on in the hardness of their hearts,
  and follow their own counsels.
If my people had heard me,
  if only they had walked in my ways –
I would swiftly have crushed their enemies,
  stretched my hand over those who persecuted them.
The enemies of the Lord would be overcome with weakness,
  Israel’s would be the good fortune, for ever:
  I would feed them full of richest wheat
and give them honey from the rock,
  to their heart’s content.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why is the Diocese of Buffalo "confound[ed]"? Seems simple.

On Monday, the Buffalo News ran the story "Mass exodus confounds diocese." Frankly, and not to sound shrill, but I found the article pathetic on several levels.
First, the subhead was, "Nominal Catholics shun services, links to parish." That's news? That's what defines a nominal Catholic. They are, by definition, "Catholic in name only." It would be news--wonderful news--if nominal Catholics didn't shun Mass or links to their parish. It would be wonderful precisely because they'd move from being "nominal" or simply cultural Catholics (which really isn't Catholic at all, if you think about it) to being actual Catholics.

But the crux of the story is that actual Catholics are any more indistinguishable from those who are nominal. To whit:

Even though Catholicism requires weekly Mass attendance, Catholics by and large don't consider it sinful to miss Mass, [This hints at the crux of the problemaccording to survey studies by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University....

Priests say they see people all the time who lose their spiritual footing and gradually slip away.

That happens most frequently when a person or a family moves and doesn't quickly connect with a new parish community, said the Rev. Michael H. Burzynski, pastor of St. Mary of the Cataract in Niagara Falls.

"The first week they feel guilty. The second week they feel less guilty. The third week, it doesn't bother them at all," Burzynski said. [
So it is with all sin, isn't it? In any event, yet another clue given here.]

American bishops have been trying to get their arms around the problem for years, and the trend appears to be unrelenting, particularly in old Catholic strongholds in the Northeast. [
Partly, this is the fault of no one except the economy and those who have helped construct our probably inexorable slide into a service economy (as opposed to the manufacturing based economy that made us the great nation we have been). The fact is that people move where there are jobs, and a lot of Catholics have left their historic homes in the Northeast and moved to the South and other climes. Atlanta has seen a huge influx of such people, for instance.]

"We're getting more and more like the European church," said the Rev. Martin Pable, a Catholic author and the recent keynote speaker at an evangelization conference at Christ the King Seminary in the Town of Aurora. "The fall-off rate is not as much as the European church, but we're on the same track." [
At least Father recognizes this isn't a good thing, but yet another hint.]
Consider the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which encompasses eight counties in Western New York. The estimated number of Catholics in the diocese dropped by 12.7 percent from 2000 and 2010 -- more than four times greater than the region's general population loss. [
In other words, it's not just historic migration at work.]

Even worse, parishioners "registered" at parishes in the diocese declined by 19 percent.

Fewer than three-quarters of all of the area's Catholics -- 466,785 individuals -- now are registered in parishes, down from 578,088 in 2000. [
Yet another hint, folks.]

Registration at a parish is thought to be one indicator of participation and Mass attendance, although many registered parishioners don't attend Mass regularly, and some unregistered parishioners actively participate.

No one has a good handle on exactly how many people in Western New York are nominal Catholics, but "it's a huge number," said Sister Regina Murphy, director of research and planning for the diocese.

The diocese also tracks two other statistics: total registered households -- meaning two or more people -- and total households "practicing" the faith. Both numbers fell by about 16 percent over the past decade, with an estimated 139,209 practicing households last year, down from 167,387 in 2000.

Murphy said it still was too early to judge the impact of the diocese's restructuring of parishes on those numbers.

At this point, departures because of anger over church closings appear to be "relatively minimal," she said.

"We do know there was a loss, but it was not catastrophic," she said. [
This strikes me as about right. Most people understand what the sex abuse crisis has financially done to the Church. Even without that heinous situation, Catholics have had fewer babies in the last 50 years than was historically the case, thus contributing to declining collection plates and parochial school attendance figures (with the latter, so does the loss of low-cost religious to serve as teachers, thus driving up tuition, etc.). Plus, here's another thing: When it comes time to fill said collection plate, Catholics like to pretend it's still 1950 and that $1 will work just fine, Father, thank you very much. You should hear the stories of howling and screaming I've listened to priests and others tell when the subject is asking parishioners to be more generous. "WHY, THEY JUST WANT MY MONEY!!! FILTHY, MONEY-GRUBBING GOOD FOR NOTHINGS! I WORK HARD FOR MY MONEY! WHAT DOES THAT LAZY PRIEST/BISHOP DO?! HAS HE EVER DONE AN HONEST DAY'S WORK IN HIS LIFE!!! JESUS WAS POOR! HE OWNED NOTHING! WHERE IN THE BIBLE DOES IT SAY I HAVE TO GIVE MORE, HUH?!?! WHERE?!" Well, for a start, see Luke 10:6-7, Matt 10:10, 1 Cor 9:14, and 1 Tim 5:18.]

Besides, such changes in the profile of the American Catholic Church resulted from an increasingly mobile and secular society -- long-term trends spread throughout the country, Murphy said. [
Yep.]"There's something historic here," she said. "We're becoming more secular, less religious. It's a societal thing." [And thus doth Sister provide the final hint.]
So, let's put this all together, shall we?

Hint 1: Though the Church teaches that not fulfilling one's Sunday obligation (i.e., missing Sunday Mass) is a sin against the 3rd Commandment and thus a mortal sin, "Catholics by and large don't consider it sinful to miss Mass."

Hint 2: "The first week they feel guilty. The second week they feel less guilty. The third week, it doesn't bother them at all."

Hint 3: "We're getting more and more like the European church."

Hint 4: Fewer than three-quarters of all of the area's Catholics -- 466,785 individuals -- now are registered in parishes, down from 578,088 in 2000.

Hint 5: "We're becoming more secular, less religious. It's a societal thing."

What does all this add up to? Catholics don't think they have to go to Mass, which indicates they've received extremely poor catechesis (i.e., religious education). After all, the Sunday obligation is one of the most basic things and one of the first things all CCD students learn (or at least should learn). If they don't know this--and why this is, most importantly--then there's something crucially deficient in their religious formation.

At first they feel guilty. On some level, they know there's something profoundly wrong with missing Mass, but not really understanding why, they eventually shrug their shoulders, figure God will understand/it's just another Church/man-made rule, sleep in, and enjoy the Bills game on the tube.

And because missing Sunday Mass and holy days of obligation are mortal sins (under the normal conditions, of course), the compounding mortal sin darkens their intellects and consciences.

As a result (and probably without realizing just precisely what they're doing), they raise their kids to think it's no big deal, and also that they can pick and choose what doctrines/teachings of the Church to follow. After all, they pick and choose the most fundamental one, the one that tells us that God made us "to know, love, and serve Him in this life so as to be happy with Him in the next," and that worship is the foundational way of doing this. Why should all the rest be sacrosanct?

Thus we become more like Europe, modernist to the core, by and large (for a definition of the heresy modernism, see
here and here). Their churches have become museums or warehouses. So will ours (or, if you prefer, fraternity houses).

Additionally, beautiful, historic convents and seminaries are sold off for lack of sufficient numbers to fill them. Without seminarians and new priests and religious, and with many who are still around teaching horrible catechesis, should it surprise us that the number of registered--much less practicing--households is dropping precipitously? Should it surprise us that we are becoming more worldly or, in the words of Sr. Pat Murphy, "secular"?

Worldly, secular people don't care a whit about Church teaching, don't care for the Bible, don't care for objective truth, don't care for God. Why should they bother with Catholicism, which holds the first three sacrosanct precisely because they come from the Truth "who can neither deceive nor be deceived," that is, the Triune God?

Like most sees in the state of New York, Buffalo has been ruled for most of the post-conciliar period by modernists who got the nod from the apostolic delegate/nuncio precisely because they were modernists (important note: things are getting better). And where modernism thrives or is left unchecked by the ordinary, sadly, the Faith there whithers.

Why this "confounds" diocesan officials is the real news story, as well as the second pathetic part of the actual news piece.

Then again, if you think modernism is the way to go, and you can't believe there could possibly be something wrong with it, well, I guess it would be confounding.

Following up on the "Where are *our* friendly places?" post

Have you heard about this? A Christian in England, Colin Atkinson, 65, of Wakefield, has been ...

been called to a disciplinary hearing at the housing association where he has worked for 15 years.
His bosses at the publicly funded Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) have demanded he remove the eight inch long cross made from woven palm leaves that sits on his dashboard.

The organisation claims the cross may cause offence but says it strongly promotes "inclusive" policies and allows employees to wear religious symbols at work. (Wear them, just not display them. My question is this: Had he pinned the palm cross in question to his shirt, would it have aroused the same sort of ire?)

Mr Atkinson, who is a regular worshipper at church, said: “I have worked in the coal mines and served in the Army in Northern Ireland and I have never suffered such stress. (Think about that for a moment: Coal mines ... you never know if this day on the job will be your last because of a coal mine. Northern Ireland ... I'm old enough to remember sometimes daily reports of what the IRA did to the British soldiers there (and vice versa, not to the IRA but to citizens). “... and I have never suffered such stress.”)

“The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical. It is political correctness taken to the extreme. (Both points are quite right.)

“I have never been so full of resolve. I am determined to stand up for my rights. If they sack me, so be it. But I am standing up for my faith.” (God bless him. Hey, Colin: They don't call it Lent for nothin', mate.)
This is only the latest in a list of similar incidences. (I think I said last time, “a depressingly long list,” or was that about Canada? You'll forgive the confusion, I'm sure.) Where will it all end?

Just so you can see, here is what a public enemy looks like in the UK (tongue, of course, planted firmly in cheek, as if it needs pointing out).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

How many out there are like this priest once was?

Every day on the job, I speak with Catholic religious educators. So often I hear them say things like what this priest describes:

One day - I remember it so clearly – we were sitting in his office, shooting the breeze. At one point, I said, “well, you know, Father, the Eucharist is just a symbol”. “What?”, he said, with a look of total shock. Now, this was a man who completely believed in the Eucharist – that the bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass. “It’s a symbol?”, I said shakily. Then, he said something that changed my life: “Greg, this is my body means this is my body”.

After 21 years of going to Church every Sunday and after 12 plus years of Catholic education, this was the first time I really ever heard the teaching about the Eucharist.
When is this sort of thing going to change? What will it take to change? And how many souls will be lost in the meantime? There are many good things going on in the Church vis-a-vis religious education, granted. Generally speaking, it is much better than it was when I was a kid. My most vivid memory of my First Communion preparation was making felt banners. As far as the above goes, I was no different than Fr. Greg. But our experience should be the exception, not the rule. So I ask again:

When will our kids start to get good catechesis? What will it take to change?

Really interesting point (two actually)

Mark Shea had a whizbang of a column this week. It was on the poor and the close of Lent and the like, and I just found it intelligent, impressive, and thought-provoking. See what you think.
The first point I found interesting was this:

"It is worth noting that Mary's [i.e., Mary, sister of Lazarus, who annointed Our Lord's feet with perfumed oil and her tears of repentance] gesture is the sole moment in the entire ministry of the Christ—the Anointed One—in which he is actually anointed. That God chooses this humble woman to make manifest the truth of Who Jesus is reflects profound on the humility of God."
Shea doesn't state the second point explicitly, but it certainly follows from what he did write. Namely, Our Lord said, "The poor you will always have with you." He didn't have to make it this way. In a new order, He could have commanded Christians to not rest until they had eradicated poverty. He could have made it the greatest of all sins to not help the poor (and in a way, it is). And yet He didn't. Why?

Shea points to a possible answer when he writes:

In short, the poor are an opportunity to be generous and the rich shall be judged by their use of that opportunity. The poor constitute a permanent conemporary test of love and a reminder of God's generosity to us. God will withhold mercy from the merciless and generosity from the stingy, according the Old Testament ...
The popes over the last 100+ years have been very clear on this, none more so—and none more challengingly so—than the Servant of God Paul VI. While we have the right to private property, strictly speaking, our property is not our own. The popes and all the Magisterium teach that if God has blessed us with much, it is because He wants us to use those resources to help the poor. I often dream of having a hundred acre estate with a deep beautiful lawn and woods and an English garden. But would I need that much space? (Well, in my head I do, but that's only because I'm anti-social and don't like having neighbors who can see in on my property unless I invite them to do so; it's why I love living out in the country.)

Fr. Robert Barron has said that if you have the means to buy a $50,000 car, buy the $23,000 car and donate the other $27,000 to charity. Mother Teresa got a huge payment for winning the Nobel Prize (if memory serves, about $1 million). Think of how many houses for her order that cash could have built, or how many soup kitchens, etc. Or think how she could have used it to own more than one sari or have better food, a nicer bed, etc.

Instead, she gave everything to charity and went on living an impoverished life. Bernie Madoff used money he received for his own self-aggrandizement, bankrupting several charities that do serve the poor in the process.

There have been times when I have desperately wanted a better standard of living. I sit in my small home that houses eight people, and I long for a larger house so I can close a door and actually take an undisturbed nap. I occasionally wish I could afford a second car or the ability to regularly take my wife on a nice date or all my kids to the movies at once or to go bowling as a family on a regular basis. A family I knew—the father was a successful real estate lawyer—went out to breakfast as a family after church each and every Sunday. My father-in-law occasionally invites me out to breakfast on Saturday mornings with he and his brother, and one person ordinarily picks up the check: I've been able to do so maybe twice in the 15 years I've known him. I've never been able to pick up a dinner tab for a party when I've gone out. And if I buy a treat at the local convenience store during the pay period or buy more than than just the necessities when I shop for groceries, very often I'll be overdrawn by the pay period's end. So how many times have I wished I was better off? Ugh. Brother? More than you can count.

Then I think, however, God knows better than I do what's best for me. After all, if I was rich or even simply more affluent, might I come to rely on my own power and trust more and more on myself and rely/trust less and less on Him? Might I become even more selfish than I already am and thereby—because I didn't donate more sacrificially to the poor and thus fail that "permanent conemporary test of love and a reminder of God's generosity to us"—lose my soul?

Being rich is not a sin. It is not an automatic exclusion from heaven. Jesus didn't say, "Blessed are the poor." Rather, He said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." There's a huge difference. Indeed, rich women such as St. Emma of Gurk and Bl. Jacoba di Settesoli or rulers such as Ss. Louis IXGontram, and Wenceslaus show it is possible to be filthy rich and still enter heaven.

The difference is what do we do with that wealth? God was totally self-giving in His earthly ministry, in the Garden, and on the Cross. To enter heaven, as indicated in Revelation 21:27, we must imitate this same selfless, totally self-donating love. Otherwise, it seems that to enter into the Trinity without having done so (or without purification) would profane what cannot be profaned.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My talk after Benediction last night

For some reason, a fellow parishioner of mine thought I should give a talk to the faithful following Benediction last night. Here's what I said:

Every time we walk into a church, every time we pass by a church, every time we see a picture of a priest consecrating the Eucharist, holding it aloft—not just for our veneration, but our worship—yes, we see the supernatural miracle of bread and wine transubstantiated into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. But we also see—or should see—so much more.

We should see an answer to the third question in the Baltimore Catechism: “Why did God make you?” “God made me to know, love, and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next.”

You see, the Eucharist is a sign post. It points to our ultimate end: Eternal union with Him in heaven. And just as the marital act is the sign and seal of the nuptial union, so Jesus impregnates us with the graces each time we receive Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This, incidentally, is why there will be no need of marriage in heaven: Heaven is marriage. Heaven is a union of hearts where the two truly do become one. And the more we access the grace of the Eucharist here on earth, the more that eternal life to which all are destined—although only “many” achieve—is made present in us.

As Pope Benedict XVI has said, “Receiving Communion means entering into communion with Jesus Christ…. What is given us here is not a piece of a body, not a thing, but Him, the Resurrected one Himself—the person who shares Himself with us in His love…. This means that receiving Communion is always a personal act…. In Communion I enter into the Lord, Who is communicating Himself to me.”

Think of it this way: The more we have eternal life in us, the more we have God’s love in us.

And do you want to know how much God loves us? Look there at that tabernacle. Look to the cross, yes, but look there to that tabernacle. Our Lord not only died for our sins, but He did so in the most humiliating fashion, didn’t He? St. Paul tells us He humbled Himself to death, even death on a cross, the death of a criminal, the death of a slave. But it didn’t end there. He continues to humble Himself by being present to us.

Think of the Third Sorrowful Mystery, the crowning with thorns.

·         Describe the scene
·         What was His reaction?
·         Answer your question.

In a sense, the tabernacle is a perpetual Crowning with Thorns. For He is ignored. When people walk into church, some give Him a perfunctory act of reverence, others don’t do it at all. Some mock Him: “It” is only just a symbol, they say. And just as unworthy reception of the actual Host at Communion is a sacrilege and a mortal sin, this blasé anticipation of Communion, the coming before the tabernacle, is to a degree sacrilegious and thus sinful, if not mortally so.

Considering all of this, do you see why unworthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament is such a heinous crime that it calls for “condemnation,” for “damnation”? If one worthy reception of the Eucharist is enough to make each of us a saint, if it is enough to sanctify the whole world, think of the flip side. Think of the unworthy receptions.

Here’s why this is a problem: As the soon-to-be-beatified John Paul II taught, we were created in love and for love. We were created for the same sort of free, faithful, total, and fruitful union that is found in the Blessed Sacrament, which contains the entire Trinity, for God is one, indivisible. And just as the love between the Father and Son is so powerful the Holy Spirit “proceeds” from it, so the love between a man and a woman is so strong that nine months later, you have to give it a name. And what happens when we treat our spouse with scorn or derision? What happens when that love is violated in adultery? It is a rending asunder of what God has brought together. Well, if that’s true in the marital act, how much more true is it in one unworthy reception of the Eucharist?

The door to salvation for the Jews in Egypt was the blood of the lamb marked on the doorposts. The door to our salvation is marked by the blood of the eternal Paschal Lamb, the Agnus Dei, and the door is the door of our hearts. If our hearts are impure, what a pollution of that paschal sacrifice. If the salvation of the many, as the Ven. Pius XII wrote in Mystici Corporis, is dependent on the holiness of a few, then what will the unholiness of many do?

And so if you are concerned about the holiness of Holy Mother Church, if you are as bewildered as I am by the troubles that have beset her in the last 50 years, then look no further than this: The unworthy reception of Holy Communion, of Our Lord in the Eucharist. As author Brian Gail has noted, in many places we have done away with sin, we have done away with objective moral evil, we have done away with the need for confession. In some parish bulletins, we read “Confession by appointment only.” “Confession 15 minutes before Mass.” “Confess between 3:45 and 4:00 pm on Saturday afternoons.” Yes, priests are busy, they are few, they are overwhelmed and underappreciated, and, let’s face it, in many parishes, if they were in the box any longer, they would be alone for an awfully long time. But how much of that is borne of this false philosophy of sin, that it doesn’t truly exist?

And whatever its cause, the effect is that a disruption has taken place between the hearts of men and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For since we no longer circumcise our hearts through repentance and confession, there remains an insurmountable barrier for Our Lord to enter our hearts with His lacerated heart. If we are dismayed by a lack of commitment to the Gospel of Love and Life, we need look no further than a lack of devotion to the Bread of Love and Life. As Gail writes, “We cannot have a holy Church with unworthy and sacrilegious communions. We cannot have holy families with unworthy and sacrilegious communions. We cannot have a holy people with unworthy and sacrilegious communions. And make no mistake, America will not preserve its cherished freedoms unless we Catholics cherish and preserve the Eucharist.”

But what can we do? We do our best to not sin ourselves, yes, but how can we help our brothers and sisters? We need to live our devotion. We need to exemplify our devotion. We need to concentrate on our devotion, expelling any and all distractions as we approach the Sacred Banquet. If we have a scintilla of doubt our hearts are ready and worthy, we can always do as Bl. Mother Teresa did, who prayed as she walked up for Communion, “Lord, if my heart is in any way unworthy to receive You, please give me the Immaculate Heart of Your mother at this moment.”

We can preach, yes, but not in an overbearing, shrewish, unattractive way. Think of when someone has come off holier than thou to you. How appealing has that been? Do as the wise have done for centuries: Propose, don’t impose. Let it seem like their idea. Ask questions. “Oh, you think that. Hmmm. Well, what about this consideration?” Plant the seed. You don’t need to water, unless God makes clear He is calling you to do that. You don’t need to weed and tend. That is the Holy Spirit’s job.

But most importantly, we need to pray. First, we need to pray for mercy and the steadfast renewal of our own hearts. If we do not say with the publican, “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner,” how are our own hearts worthy? If we concentrate on how poorly some receive in terms of their mere outward, visible devotion, if we know of some sin or fault of someone in line, and our mind fixates on that, how are we any worthier than the Pharisee who boasted before God of his sinlessness? Qualitatively, it’s the same. So pray for purity of heart and mercy.

Then pray in reparation. We can only receive sacramentally twice each day, and then only under very particular circumstances. But we can receive spiritually as many times a day as we choose, and we can offer all of these for abuses against Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. Indeed, St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us, “At times, spiritual Communion brings the same graces as sacramental.”

We can do even more. When you go by a church, be sure to make some act of reverence for Our Lord, the Prisoner of the Tabernacle there. When you pass by a sign for a “Gentleman’s Club” on the freeway or an adult bookstore at an intersection or a sign for a politician who does not promote the Gospel of Life, or an abortion clinic, make an act of contrition. Pray three Hail Marys for those going up to receive Communion, that none would receive unworthily, and that if any do, that Our Lord would penetrate those uncircumcised hearts post haste in order to show them their fault and to thereby lead them to repentance and confession. But that is for Him and not us to judge.

We need to take back the world, and the way we do that is by taking back the Church, and the way to do that is by becoming holy, and the way to do that, my brothers and sisters, it to take back the Eucharist and exemplify with every fiber of our being and at every moment of the day its sanctity and its presence in our life as the “source and summit” of our Holy Faith.

In closing, let us pray with St. Faustina Kowalska:

O Jesus, concealed in the Host, my sweet Master and faithful Friend, how happy muy soul is to have such a Friend Who always keeps me company…. How happy I am to be a dwelling place for You, O Lord! My heart is a temple in which You dwell continually.

As it was and is with her, so may it be with us. Amen.

Where are *our* friendliest countries?

If you have Yahoo e-mail, you know that when you pull up their home page to log in, you see various intersting news stories. So as I logged in this morning, there was the article, The World's Friendliest Countries.

Now, as someone who--strictly based on the news that has recently come like a torrent--is starting to believe that Christians in the West--and, indeed, just about everywhere in the world--are facing a coming persecution, I read the article with some interest [Sidebar: The thought it will no longer be possible in the “Land of the Free” to be able to freely practice my religion some day is something beyond saddening. Yet from what I've read over the last two years week after week and sometimes several times a day, I must realistically address that possibility.], thinking, 'Maybe this will show me some places to which this possible.'

No such luck.

It seems that “friendly” isn't friendly in terms of the sort of freedom I hope to maintain in my life. Rather, it's the people who are friendly, as well as the culture's similarities to that of the US. From what I saw, only one might -- might -- qualify. 

Let's go down the list:


O Canada ... This nation popped up no. 1 on the list, and Canucks are known for their friendliness. However, in the last 10-15 years, they have become one of the most aggressively secular societies on the planet. A man was sued for merely posting an add with biblical citations in his local paper. The cites weren't quoted, mind you. However, since each one referenced scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality, his actions were seen as being discriminatory. It was considered to be something of a miracle when Stephen Harper, an unapologetic Evangelical, won election as Prime Minister. The Catholic bishop of Calgary has been sued simply for his outspoken proclamation of traditional Christian morality. And Marc Cardinal Ouellet, then cardinal archbishop of Quebec (once Canada's most Catholic region; now its least), raised a raging tempest of protest when he deigned to say what the Church has always taught, that abortion is a “moral outrage.” A Catholic priest and former parliamentarian who has never acted in the public square to promote a culture of life has sued for $500,000 for calling him “pro-abortion.” Given Canada's current anti-Christian climate, most observers believe he will win, which would shut down this valuable source of pro-life news.

United Kingdom

More popularly known as England or Great Britain, this nation, once known as “Our Lady's Dowry”--and arguably the greatest all-around Christian-nation-qua-Christian-nation until the Reformation--has seen a huge rash of discrimination against Christians lately. A Christian couple that owns a B&B was sued and lost because they refused to let to a homosexual couple. The owners argue their policy to not let to any unmarried couples. Too bad, the judge said. Your Christian views have no place in the public square. A Christian couple who were long-time foster parents were denied the right to be so again because they wouldn't promise to not witness to their views on homosexuality if they were given one to foster. People have lost their public sector jobs for saying, “God bless you” and “I'll pray for you.” Observing his nation's foreign policy, Keith Cardinal O'Brien of Glasgow has said it is an “anti-Christian” one.


The only majority Muslim nation on the list is also one with rising religious tensions. This is mostly spurred by anti-US sentiment as well as a reassertive Christianity there. For instance, the government blocked distribution of 35,000 Bibles rendered in the native language. There have also been recent calls for jihad against all Christians.


Religious praxy here has plummetted and, thanks to recent revelations of clergy sex abuse, “droves” have left the Church. But this is only the stated reason. If they were honest, they spiritually left long ago, given the high level of heterodoxy in this nation. If you want to homeschool your children there, you may have to apply for political asylum.


This is arguably one of the most aggressively secular countries in Europe. Were a French president to end his nationally televised speaches with, “God bless you, and God bless France,“ the negative uproar would be near complete and awesome to behold. As current French leader President Nicholas Sarkozy said in 2007, “Laïcité is to be affirmed as necessary and opportune, but laïcité should not mean negation of the past. It does not have the power to eliminate from France its Christian roots. It has tried to do so, and it shouldn’t have.” The biggest problem today, however, is not what the state does against the Faith, but rather the atrocious state of the Church in this country. It is not a coincidence that weekly Mass attendance is 8-12 percent (the lowest in Western Europe) and that the so-called Traditionalist and schismatic Society of St. Pius X is strongest here. Where modernism (i.e., theological liberalism and relativism) reign, such things inevitably result.

French atheist Bernard-Henri Lévy has said, “In France there is much talk about the desecrations of Jewish and Muslim cemeteries, but nobody knows that the tombs of Catholics are continually desecrated. There is a sort of anti-clericalism in France that is not healthy at all. We have a right to criticize religions,” but he said the scale of the criticism was “out of proportion.”[i]

[i] “French atheist defends Catholicism,” Independent Catholic News, September 28, 2010,


While France's aggressive secularist revolution was over with the passage of the 1905 law that pushed religion completely out of the public square, Spain's secularist revolution has recently begun in earnest. Since he took power in 2004, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez y Zapatero has launched a sustained assault on the Church and her role in Spanish society. This is aided by a society that--while officially 73 percent Catholic--only sees a Mass attendance rate of 15-19 percent, robust compared to its northern neighbor, but a drop of 25 percent since 1980.

As George Weigel recently wrote, “Textbooks were being rewritten to enforce the government’s leftist view of modern Spanish history; students aiming for admission to prestigious universities would be required to give the “correct” answers about such traumas as the Spanish Civil War in order to pass their entrance exams. Street names were being changed to eradicate the memory of the politically disfavored from Spain’s past. Marriage had been legislatively redefined so that any two people, of whatever gender, could be civilly “married.” (Shortly after I left the country, another law enabled a Spaniard to enter a civil registry office and “change” his or her sex simply by making a declaration to a government bureaucrat that she was now he, or vice versa. Some things are so absurd that they compel ridicule, and this one prompted me to a knockoff from “My Fair Lady”: “The dame in Spain is mainly in the name.”)

“In March, dozens of secularist student gangsters, armed with a megaphone and defamatory posters, crashed into the chapel of Madrid’s Complutense University while Catholic students were at prayer. The radicals shouted deprecations of the Church, Pope Benedict, and the Catholic clergy; several of their number, women, stood on the altar and undressed from the waste up; two of the striptease artists boasted of their lesbianism. This obscene spectacle in the Spanish capital came shortly after several Spanish churches throughout the country had been trashed.

“All of which suggests that Spain is now Ground Zero in the European contest between Catholicism and the dictatorship of relativism. And the latter is precisely what the secularist radicals of Spain are up to: imposing their concept of freedom-as-license through coercive state power and intimidation-through-violence. Bizarre legislation that rewrites history and redefines human nature is the first half of the equation; gang violence is its new and ominous complement. A different kind of war has been declared on the Church.

“It hardly seems accidental that these attacks against Catholic facilities have come in the months before World Youth Day 2011, which will be held in Madrid from Aug. 16 through Aug. 21. The gauntlet has been thrown down. A tremendous turnout at Madrid in five months will demonstrate that the challenge has been accepted.”


Except that it doesn't have a law like the one passed in France in 1905, the religious situation is very much like that in the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.” In few other places has the “Spirit of Vatican II” held so much sway and done so much damage. Priests feel free to change the formula of Baptism, “marry” homosexual domestic partners, change the words to the Mass, and at least one bishop engages in open dissent from the Church and her teachings. Australia's Catholic population is 26 percent (interestingly, it is the largest Christian confession), although only 14 percent or so fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation each week, a drop of 13 percent since 1996, which followed a drop of 10 percent between 1991 and 1996. There is the very good George Cardinal Pell, but at 70-years-old, his health is rumored to be in decline. No other Catholic diocesan ordinary stands out here.

In Australia, a competition was held to see which of two advertising agencies could make adverts that best made the case for compulsory euthanasia at age 80.

Overall, not a promising place to consider.

South Africa

This country is just over 6-8 percent Catholic, and the bishops here are uniformly liberal, with, the few South Africans I know report, the usual results. Although I couldn't find weekly Mass attendance statistics in South Africa, weekly church attendance amongst all adherents is 46-56 percent. Furthermore, this nation doesn't seem to have the same sort of persecution of the Church and other Christians we see burgeoning in places such as Canada. However, its laws increasingly reflect a relativistic, secular humanist worldview. Where this worldview increases, human rights decrease.


By the pictures and videos I've seen, this is a beautiful island paradise. Its population is 15 percent Catholic. Being a British colony, its citizens are conceivably subject to the same pressures as those in the UK.

United States

We live in a country where the number of non-affiliated citizens grows and thus does the number of unchurched, and thus does the number of relativists. One of the two major political parties, the Democrat Party, is predominantly made up of secular humanists or those who relativize the practice of their faith in the public square. Fealty to the anti-life doctrine (at least where it concerns the unborn) is almost de rigeur for politicians in the Party. Areas where such politicians predominate and hold the most power--the West and New England, in particular--are progressively becoming denuded of Catholics or any type of Christian who take historic orthodox Christianity seriously. As a result (and as only one example), California has in the last 10 years easily passed domestic partnership bills, homosexual marriage bills, bills preventing Christians from becoming foster parents if they believe homosexuality is unnatural, bills making assisted suicide and euthanasia a possibility, bills to foist radical sexual education curricula on schools and not give parents any say in this, and on and on and on have all passed the state's Legislature (and increasingly been signed into law).

With each victory, the far Left has increasingly demonstrated its virulence toward those who have are serious about their faith. As such, they have lamented that certain conservatives weren't aborted whilst in utero, they have organized boycotts of corporations and local businesses that exercised their freedom of political expression, and they have arranged for the firing of private sector employees who go against liberal orthodoxy (e.g., on abortion and same-sex unions). But this will all seem as annoying child's play given some of the very scary things prominent liberal activists are saying. For instance, in early 2011, US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) expressed his belief that pro-lifers don't deserve the constitutional protection of free speech.

Before he left office in 2011, US Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, introducing legislation that would have prevented faith-based organizations from receiving federal funds if they used their faith as a basis for hiring. He called such scrutinization “discrimination.”

President Obama has said our nation will no longer allow moral considerations to interfere with scientific decisions.[i]

A recent and laudatory documentary on Hugh Hefner raised hardly an eyebrow, whereas the issuance of a stamp bearing the likeness of Bl. Mother Teresa or lighting up the Empire State Building at night in her honor draw heavy controversy.
Each year brings a so-called War on Christmas,” where believers contest with secularists to either display or prevent items related with traditional Christmas celebrations--e.g., creches, certain greetings, religious seasonal songs, etc. Sometimes Christians win. More often, they lose.
Prayer in public schools or at school functions has been outlawed, and public employees have even been fired simply for their faith (e.g., for having a Bible on their desk).
In October 2010, an Indiana bakery was threatened with legal action because it had refused to make rainbow frosted cupcakes for a homosexual group at a local university. Since the owners had not refused to serve the homosexual students but only to decorate the cupcakes in the manner requested, it was later ruled the business’ owners had not violated any laws. But just the fact that they could be brought up on charges in the first place has to be sobering.

A Florida man asked his local City Council to stop prayers before PeeWee football games since games are played on public land. This despite the controlling organization is private and receives no public funds at all. Ironically, the gentleman, a league coach, claimed he was standing up for religious freedom, even though his actions threatened the religious freedom of others, not to mention a long-standing practice that provides comfort and hope for many.[i]

America as we have known it is gone. To think that it will return is Pollyanish. The question is: Where else would we go?

[i] “A man fights to stop prayers at Pee Wee football league,” Christian Telegraph,

[i] “‘Left-Wing Liberal’ Turns Embryonic Stem-Cell Opponent,” September 2, 2010,

If Ed Miliband, the leader of Britain’s Labour Party (the UK’s equivalent of the US’s Democratic Party) and an avowed atheist has his way, people of faith would not even have free speech rights. Writing for the homosexual website PinkNews, Miliband said free speech laws allowing people to opine about homosexuality in a politically incorrect way should go away.

But haven’t they already? A registrar in the UK named Lillian Ladele “was bullied at work and disciplined for her religious stance on homosexual civil partnerships.”[i]

The list goes on and is long and depressing.

[i] “Ed Miliband would scrap free speech safeguard,”