Bruce Fingerhut in South Bend called my attention to Father George Rutler’s essay in crisismagazine.com (July 13), entitled. “Post-Comfortable Christianity.” Father Rutler is the well-known pastor of the Church of Our Savior in New York City. He is a man of many, many talents, a witty and insightful lecturer, often on EWTN. With his Scot origin, he has been known to appear in the kilt version of the Roman Collar at the Highland Games. Rutler is a convert Episcopal priest who speaks the King’s English, speaks it well and clearly.
The title, “Post-Comfortable Christianity,” Rutler explains, is not used in place of “Post-Christian,” since “nothing can come after Christ,” a profound theological observation in itself. We have lived as Catholics in relative peace in recent times. We think we belong and are accepted by this culture. Indeed, we have sometimes bought an easy version of our faith that requires little sacrifice and no Cross.
We have not had to worry, or so we thought, about ourselves being discriminated against or persecuted. Such despicable activities were, we thought, against the law. They were events that happened “elsewhere.” We never thought that our law could itself be “against the law.” The Third Millennium began with fireworks and Ferris wheels, Rutler commented, but is now “entering a sinister stage.” We have not anticipated that so many Catholics, often public leaders, when it came to a choice between God and Caesar, would opt for Caesar in his worst form.
Rutler puts it this way: “If their (Catholics) influence is not decisive, and the present course of federal legislation accelerates, encouraged by a self-destructive appetite for welfare statism on the part of ecclesiastical bureaucracies, the majority of Catholics with tenuous commitments to the Faith will evaporate.” This analysis is the European fate now applied to the Church in the States.
We should be clear, as writers like Paul Rahe have pointed out, that this subjection of Catholicism to the control of the state is being carried out by officials that many of them voted for in great numbers and with enthusiasm. We have not been able to imagine that the Catholic Church in its essential moral teaching would come to be seen as an enemy of democracy and human “rights.” Yet, these new versions of democracy and human “rights” embody positions that diametrically oppose human life, marriage, basic morality, and the nature of transcendence. No one who cannot accept this new version of “rights” will be a member of the new state that has come to exist before our very eyes. The “inversion” of morals is almost complete. It is “sinister.”
Will we wake up to the threat?
Or will we continue to be distracted?
Lord help us see.