No longer may a well-instructed Catholic lay the flattering unction to his soul that he has done all his religion demands when he takes a seat in the bark of Peter, paying his fare, and lets someone do all the rowing.

J. J. Cantwell, in Address

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Yes, Catholic life offers no “passes,” provides no excuse to remain silent when the truth is attacked, evil is spread and man, woman, child and family are diminished by the institutionalization of corruption and godlessness, or by the craven acts and lies of those governed by selfishness, and a lust for wealth, power and control.

Catholic writer Rosalind Murray wrote in The Good Pagan’s Failure this: “The essence of Catholic Christianity is the acceptance of a Supernatural Order, here and now, at every point and turn of daily life, impinging as it were on all we do, breaking through, always at hand, always real.” (Emphasis added.)

These words are no less true today in this political climate than they were in 1939.

Catholics do not “take a day off.”  They do not “have a time-out.”  Being a Catholic is an all-time, all-day, all-encompassing, forever reality.  There are no convenient vacations, no compromises as to what we believe and have been given as a gift.  This is our tradition. This is how we live.  This is who we are. This is our way of life.  This is how The Body of Christ prevails over the centuries. Yes, Christ lives in us and what we do.

Alas, we now see those among us who think that they are “above the fray,” that they can sit about when the Church, its believers, and Christ are attacked, belittled, condemned, exiled, dismissed, subverted.

Yes, we have among us “in the bark of Peter” those who ignore the fight that has been brought to them.  They do so (as they explain) to remain “pure.”  They might do well to remember the words of Jacques Maritain when he wrote of purity …

“Of this word itself an impure use has been made. It has become an equivocal word, dragged about everywhere.”

Friends, there is no free passage in the bark of Peter.

It is time to be counted.  Fear not.  Stand tall.  No excuses.

Shalom.

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