I remember coloring in the lions on the paper my Catechism teacher had handed out. The lions in the coliseum were approaching a group of huddled Catholics.
My CCD teacher asked us if we too were willing to suffer for our faith the way the martyrs of old did? I remember looking at those cartoon lions and deciding that yes, I very much had the stuff to stare down a cartoon lion. Easy.
But it’s easy to answer in the affirmative when we’re talking about cartoon lions. It’s different when we’re talking real life. Real lions have teeth.
And make no mistake, real life is what we’re talking now. We have a government that mandates what pro-life counselors must say. We have a government now that mandates that Catholic institutions pay for things it considers sinful. We have a government that now says the cost of being an American is to abandon Catholicism.
Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska in response to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate said, “We cannot and will not comply with this unjust decree. Like the martyrs of old, we must be prepared to accept suffering which could include heavy fines and imprisonment.”
This scares me but it’s true.
Now is the time when decisions must be made by Catholic college presidents and hospital administrators and the heads of all sorts of Catholic institutions. Should I do what the government tells me or what the Church tells me is right? Some whom we have great hope for will choose poorly. Some will stand up unexpectedly and refuse to comply with the government. And they will pay a price for being Catholic.
We’re no longer talking about the slippery slope here. We’ve walked off a cliff. We’re in free fall. And we may land right back in the coliseum.
The lions are waiting. They may be dressed as lawyers and bureaucrats. But be assured, they will have teeth.