How Not to Kill Catholicism
Catholicism is in the crosshairs. There's little doubt about that. The secularist elites of the West are intent upon driving Catholicism from the public sphere and perhaps out of existence altogether. But on the other hand there's really nothing new about that. So many people have put killing Catholicism on the top of their to-do list throughout the centuries.
Catholicism has, of course, outlived all these attempts. But that doesn't mean some will not continue trying.
You see, Catholics have a guarantee from no less than Jesus himself that the gates of Hell will not prevail over the Church. But those hellish gates always seem to want another crack at it, that's for sure.
Many in power now seem to want to eradicate the Church from public life entirely. As we're good Christian types, we like to help people out so let's just go over some of the most insane ways some have attempted to destroy the Church and failed miserably. Kinda' like offering some cautionary tales so they know what not to try.
The Roman Empire - The Romans crucified Jesus Christ. And then things got even worse form there, if you can believe it. Not happy with just killing Christ, they went after his followers, persecuting and killing them for hundreds of years. Emperors came and went and all sorts of policies and goals changed but one thing they all had in common was that they all seemed to think killing and persecuting Catholics was a pretty awesome idea. Hey, lions gotta' eat. But a funny thing happened. The more the Church was persecuted, the more people wanted to know what the Church was about. And on and on it went.
That is, until, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, converted to Christianity. And that put a damper on all the fun everyone was having killing Catholics.
The Roman Empire eventually dissolved. The Catholic Church survived.
Saul - Heh. How'd that work out.
Saul, was vigorously anti-Catholic. As the Bible says, "Saul approved of the killing" of Stephen.
Scripture continues by establishing Saul's bad guy bona fides, "Saul then began doing great harm to the church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison. Once they had scattered, they went from place to place preaching the good news." So, Saul went on his way to go capture himself some Christians. That is until, a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Stuff got real sideways after that. He went blind for a while, got healed, and then became Paul, one of the greatest evangelists the Church the world has ever known.
Saul wins. The Church wins. Win. Win.
The Protestant Reformation -Hey, they got Joel Osteen and we got Pope John Paul II. Catholic Church Win.
The Cult of the Supreme Being -The attempted dechristianization of France, beginning with the French Revolution in 1789, was a horror show upon Catholics with no less an aim than the erasure of the religion itself from France. The French attempt to destroy the Church included confiscation of Church lands, destruction of statues and crosses, as well as making all priests and all those who hid them liable to death. And boy did they kill them some Catholics. They really wanted the Church gone.
But Robespierre, concerned that people needed something different in which to vent their religiosity introduced in 1794 the Cult of the Supreme Being, which he believed would act as a new state religion. While anti-Catholic, he was wary of atheism in that it offered no reason to people to act morally. He hoped the Cult of the Supreme Being's acknowledgement of some form of deity would encourage moral behavior. You see, Robespierre wanted virtue from the people but not from the government. He actually said, "virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent."
Robespierre established the Festival of the Supreme Being in June of 1794 as an event of great spectacle, especially in Paris where Robespierre spoke to the crowds after reportedly descending down from a mountain like Moses. One of his colleagues, Jacques-Alexis Thuriot, was reportedly heard to say, "Look at the bugger; it’s not enough for him to be master, he has to be God".
Unfortunately for Robespierre he turned out to not be God and was guillotined in 1794. The Cult of the Supreme Being was not guillotined but suffered the same fate after losing its head. The Catholic Church lived on.
China - The government of China has long persecuted the Catholic Church by destroying Churches, removing crosses, and arresting or simply "disappearing" Christians. But China took another interesting step by creating a pretend Catholic Church under its own control. Soooo....they wanted to get rid of the Catholic Church so they created an impostor Catholic Church. Did they get this idea from an old episode of Get Smart?
Sadly, for China this hasn't really worked. Because after years of murderous persecution and creating an impostor Church there are still millions and millions of Catholics. And the number is still growing.
The New York Times -The newspaper has done everything it can in recent years to attack the Church. Just a few years after the Times asked "Is Anti-Catholicism Dead?" they really answered that question themselves. After rejecting an ad for being "anti-Muslim" the Times ran a full-page ad by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against the Catholic Church in response to the Hobby Lobby decision. The Times doesn't mind churches that much but when they refuse to take part in the sexual revolution and abortion, they have to draw the line.
There have been gushing reviews of any art exhibit that mocks Catholicism including one by ACT UP, a virulently anti-Catholic organization, that features a picture of the late John Cardinal O’Connor resembling a condom. Times opinion writer Nicholas Kristof called the Church "rigid, dogmatic, out of touch." He has condemned the ‘patriarchal premodern’ Vatican as an "old boys’ club.” Kenneth Woodward, former religion editor of Newsweek, wrote that the NY Times has not been unfair in its “drive to implicate the pope in diocesan cover-ups of abusive priests."
So how's the Times doing? The Times laid off 21 workers just last year and offered early retirement to about 80 others. The Church is growing all around the world.
Islam - For centuries and centuries, some proponents of Islam have sought to destroy the Catholic Church. They tried killing Catholic pilgrims to the Holy Land.
In the 16th century, they opted for full scale assault. But a small coalition of Catholics defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire despite being badly outnumbered. That improbable victory has been noted as one of the major turning points in human history. Now, radical Islamic terrorists have returned to their kill-every-Christian-they-can-find strategy. The world has essentially remained silent during this genocide. But still the Catholic Church stands.
The Catholic Church continues to spread the gospel of love throughout the world. So, I guess all I can say to those who wish to destroy the Catholic Church is...take your best shot.