I would like to develop of my post of yesterday, about the way words win culture wars, to make some additional considerations about the role of a Catholic in his environment.
I see around me – and see blogs around; some of them good Catholic ones – an attitude that seems to say: “I will show and say that I am a Catholic, but I will not engage or antagonise you in the matters in which we disagree”. I am afraid this is not sufficient.
We are called to be Catholic in season and out of season. Therefore, we must accept that confrontation will come to us, and we will have to accept – nay, to embrace – it. Particularly so, when confrontation is all around us.
There were times – particularly where I grew up – when Catholicism was so culturally dominant that discussions about Catholic values were almost never necessary. People simply shared the same values. Perhaps they did not go to church, but their Weltanschauung was pretty much the same of those who did. Almost no one would come out with outlandish, openly anti-Catholic ideas.
This changed little by little, whilst the silent Catholics kept “doing their thing” (penance, prayer etc), and renounced to antagonise those who showed worrying signs of detachment from the common system of values.
Millions of good Catholics did not become vocal about contraception. There was no “march for life” about it, though opposing contraception is undoubtedly about it. Next, you had divorce, and again the Catholic country decided to shut up and “spread the joy of Christ”, which consisted in shutting up when out of season. Next, you had abortion, and here things became a little more heated, but not really much, as Italy went on to abort more than 100,000 babies in the womb every year.
I do not doubt countless Catholics were faithful to the end. But were they really the salt of the earth? Forty years later we can say that no, the salt had already lost its saltiness, and it was no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
The trampling is happening now.
It is not enough to just “do your thing” in private. It is a very naive thinking that people will notice our “joy” (as I keep hearing in stupid V II homilies) as if Catholics were a bunch of Hare Krishnas whom people see on the street and say: “look, those three friends over there are are so joyful! They must be Catholics, then!” We must engage people, confront them if must be, do all we can to let the scales fall off their eyes.
That prudence must be applied in the process does not mean that the process is wrong; and by the way, prudence can dictate that one picks the time, but it does not dictate that one remains silent when his values are challenged.
I can try to engage an atheist friend in a smart way; I can never shut up if he professes his atheism. It is, in this case, my duty to warn him of hell. Not “next time”, and not “when the time is right”, but now. Silence makes us accomplices of the sins of others.
This goes, I believe, also and particularly for bloggers. If a blog deals exclusively with how to pray the rosary today, how to be a better Catholic wife tomorrow and how to provide for meatless Friday the day after tomorrow whilst a war for the soul of the West is raging, there is a lot of escapism in this Catholicism.
War rages around us. Even bathrooms are enrolled in an all-out attack against Christianity.
Telling others about meatless Friday, or the “joy of being Catholic”, truly is not enough.