Part 9




"There will be no arenas, no lions. But the persecution of Christianity is still being readied; it looms behind the 'witch-hunts' that have already been directed against a certain number of resistors: a curious concoction of judicial proceedings and media lynchings, a cocktail that consists of defaming you in the press as they haul you into court."

The author cites many examples of people who have been insidiously persecuted because of their Christian Faith. Referring to one of them, Patrick Sabatier writes without a trace of shame in Libération:

"What is important is to designate the secular nature of democracy in Europe, as opposed to all the fundamentalists who invoke the ALLEGED superiority of divinely inspired moral laws over human rights to impose upon all citizens the precepts of a few. It is vital for the survival of Europe that faith --- Catholic or other --- should remain confined to places of worship and to individual conscience. And let God  finally stop substituting Himself for Caesar." [21]

"This is a tremendous admission," says De Jaeghere, "and in this profession of faith we find the very definition of the yoke which henceforth the thought police want to impose upon Christians ... (The crux of the problem is that they will not tolerate Divine law being set above human laws.)

"Patrick Sabatier defines what would be, in his view, an acceptable Christianity: a faith confined to places of worship and to personal conscience, with no moral consequences, no public manifestations. A faith confined to individual conscience, a personal philosophy, an art of living, which leaves society in the hands of Caesar alone. A Church that is tolerated, subservient. Christianity taken back to the era of the catacombs.

"There will be no arenas, no lions; but for all Catholics, these witch-hunts are an example of what they can expect, what they had better get ready to undergo because of hatred for the Faith."

If Christianophobia has any merit, Mr. De Jaeghere concedes this one: "It comes to jostle us out of the false peace in which modern society is keeping us. Without it, we might simply fall comfortably asleep."

"Without it," he continues, "the appearance of freedom that is officially permitted to every form of worship might finally result in our indifference. Christianophobia comes to shake us out of our stupor and remind us that the essence of Christianity is contained in these deeply moving words found in the diary of Blessed Charles de Foucauld after his death: 'Imagine that you are going to die a Martyr; divested of everything, lying on the ground, unrecognizable, covered with blood and wounds, violently and painfully killed, and desire that it should happen today.'
"The martyrdom that presents itself to us, who do not have the heroism for it, is not the cutthroat's knife, it is the 'little way' of daily persecution with which they want to make us, in our weakness, consent to deny Christ. This little way is already open by the harassment to which a certain number of Christian institutions, persons and groups are being subjected (and only because they are truly Christian).

"We must also expect that the Christianophobes are not going to limit themselves to such harassment. That the day is coming when they will want to go even further."

Here the author addresses the question of the fight against the "sects," a thorny subject if ever there was one. Conducted under the pretext of protecting the people from certain potentially dangerous movements, this fight conceals far less commendable motives. Without any reason, in total contempt for religious freedom, anti-sect groups are generally just as ready to attack inoffensive minority groups, especially Catholic Christian groups that will not go with the mainstream.

"For the last ten years or so (in France)," says De Jaeghere, "an active mobilization has been deployed against sects ... But behind a screen of attacking the regressive manifestations of uncontrollable religions, this campaign actually goes much further. For the word 'sect' poses insoluble problems of definition, since it carries an immediately infamous connotation.
"In the eyes of a Catholic, any religious group outside of the one and only Church is considered a sect. But in the eyes of the State? What are its criteria for distinguishing the 'great religions,' with which it associates as partners, from sects that merit only its suspicion and malevolence, ending in repression? Will it not eventually pin the label of 'sect' on any group that is refractory to a profession of faith in which religion must be, to use the term of the editor of Libération, confined exclusively to TEXT BOXindividual conscience? On any religion that refuses to yield to revolutionary demands and the philosophy of the Rights of Man? To bend the knee before secularism promoted to the rank of a State religion?

"Thus we can legitimately wonder if we are not witnessing the surreptitious stockpiling of a legislative arsenal that may be employed tomorrow for the 'vassalization' of Catholicism ... As Pastor Jean-Arnold de Clermont pointed out, 'There is a danger that the State may be induced to define what we must believe and think, and to establish religious correctness and thought police.' ...

"Can we avoid the hypothesis that this stiffening of the secular stance may someday be turned against the Church, or at least some part of it?" asks De Jaeghere. "That it may be employed to denounce religious and monastic communities, whose superiors would be depicted as so many gurus because members make a vow of obedience, because those who enter them make the donation of all their goods, because they impose dietary restrictions upon themselves, the privation of food and sleep? The museum in Correne, next to the Grande Chartreuse, presents the lifestyle of its monks in a very clear, educational manner. During a recent visit, however, I was surprised to overhear a group of visitors wondering, without any ill-will, 'Really, doesn't all of this look an awful lot like a sect?'

"It is not hard to trace the lines of repression that might someday put the crowning touch to these developments ... Am I exaggerating? Yes, but barely. We may think that such deviations are a thing of the past, that our societies have given up police violence once and for all. But the society of the Enlightenment was one of the most refined that ever was, and it gave birth to the horrors of the French Revolution. And modern communications technology is providing those who govern us with means of propaganda and ways of demonizing their enemies such as the most criminal tyrant never had at his disposal."


21. Hatred makes him incoherent. God has never wanted to substitute Himself for Caesar. On the contrary, He is the One Who taught, "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" but also, "Render to God the things that are God's."


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