Sunday, December 9, 2012

When Discreet Faithfulness Will No Longer Suffice

Archbishop Carlo Vigano, (Papal Nuncio to the US), spoke at a forum on religious freedom and persecution at Notre Dame last month. It's pretty clear and succinct speech and definitely worth the 15 minute reading investment

In our modern culture, the prudent and the sane might sometimes experience the temptation to give a wide berth to an opposing view. There is an inclination perhaps, to attempt to live and let live, particularly in a democratic society that espouses some vague sort of pluralistic openness with room for all sorts of personal and ethical diversity.  And if someone does have to cede at some cultural or ethical impasse, let it be the one who preaches a turning of the other cheek and all that. Except that will rarely suffice for long. The State in particular, is greedy.
However, when [John] Fisher and [Thomas] More remained resolved in their fidelity to the Church’s teachings about the validity of the marriage but discreet in how they did so, the state mechanisms designed to bring them and their views around were ratcheted up so as to increase the pressure on them. When they resisted the increased pressure, statutes were enacted and amended to make non-compliance a treasonable and, therefore, a capital offense.
Cardinal Vigano demonstrates that the state is less and less satisfied with passive obedience but ultimately will demand full and active cooperation. How long will American democracy be content to allow for religion to freely express itself? Catholics are forced to pay for abortion inducing drugs. America has already ceased to allow the free expression of religion. And what exactly is religious freedom? Again, Cardinal Vigano's speech is clear and direct, "religious freedom is the exercise of fidelity to God and His Holy Church without compromise."

Without compromise.

Shakespeare's Falstaff from "Henry the Forth" seems to be the patron of the contemporary American Catholic professor or Catholic politician.
"To die is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man; but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life."

In the end however, we know that our true patron is likely to be Sir Thomas More. 
"I am the King's good servant, but God's first."

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