People of God have always refused to kneel and abandon truth. Catholics have gleaned seeds of wisdom from the words of St. Augustine: “An unjust law is no law at all.”
The faithful have taken their angst to social media, signed petitions and supported the bishops in their public denouncements of the Obama administration’s breach of religious liberty.
The president and CEO of our EWTN family and publisher of the Register, has stated, with resounding clarity, “We will not kneel.” In a bold, decisive move of faithfulness to the teachings of the Church and opposition to the clear assault against natural law and religious freedom, EWTN has filed a lawsuit against Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What is the average rank-and-file Catholic supposed to do? What all Catholics should be doing: kneeling to the Truth, praying fervently, and then taking up the battle in whatever way we can. With respect to prayer, the Rosary should be our first recourse in this fight. As Blessed Pope Pius IX said, “Give me an army saying the Rosary, and I will conquer the world.” Of course, the aim is the authentic conversion of souls, not the power of nations.
Holy Mother Church has historically had great recourse to the power of prayer.
One such event is Lepanto. On Oct. 7, 1571, the Holy League of Europe had gathered under the vigilance of Don John of Austria to meet the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. In what has been called the most significant naval battle since the birth of Christ, a collision of more than 400 ships and 100,000 men ensued. If the Holy League lost, all of southern Europe was lost to the Ottoman Turks.
As the battle raged, Pope St. Pius V called the faithful together to pray the Rosary — a lesser-known devotion at the time. After the Ottomans were crushed in a stunning defeat, Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory in honor of the grace the Marian prayers had gained for the military forces.
In fact, the rise of the Rosary within the Church can be charted according to military victories and their corresponding feast days. Almost two centuries later, an embattled and strife-ridden Europe was called upon by the papacy to defend itself from the Turks. On the feast of Our Lady of the Snows in 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy won a decisive victory over the Turks.
Like Pope St. Pius V, Pope Clement XI was convinced the victories were a manifestation of prayer, and he declared that the feast instituted after Lepanto would become the universally recognized feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
In times of despair, various popes have led the Church in prayer and called upon the protection and favor of the Queen of Heaven and of Christ, the King of Kings. The history of Catholicism demonstrates that when we are fighting upon the literal and/or figurative battlefields and the greater Church militant joins in prayer, entire civilizations are saved.
What the Obama administration needs to understand is that Catholics do not kneel to idols, we do not break rank before the hordes, and we do not fear the consequences of an unjust law.
The Pope’s army prays. The Pope’s army fights. The Pope’s army endures.
The Pope’s army does not kneel to the command to sin and abandon the Truth.
Pray for EWTN and the Register. Support us in this fight. The liberty and conscience of all Americans is at stake.
Dan Burke is the Register’s executive director.