“Sir Thomas More” by Hans Holbein, the Younger (1527)

Christians are being persecuted increasingly in different ways in Western society. Recently, ISIS-motivated extremists murdered Fr Jacques Hamel, a French Catholic priest, during Mass in his church. Christians in many Western countries are forced, sometimes under threat of imprisonment, to accept the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerships. The Christian voice in Australia is being silenced by radical-secularist media and those in government and academia with political ideologies hostile to religion and a view of the world through the lens of faith, thus preventing a balanced debate about the redefinition of marriage and the so-called “Safe-Schools Program” which promotes a gender ideology in our schools. These are troubling times.

What are Christians to do? Christians have “turned the other cheek” without realising that by this Jesus meant we must make a stand with non-violent resistance to all that attacks the common good, including the dignity of each human person and the family. Making a stand requires us to be informed of the issues and our Catholic faith. We must proclaim the truth of the Gospel into a world that is desperately in need of guidance.

To become informed of the issues we should read widely, not relying solely on the media. We should develop a well-formed apologetics in public discourse, based on a study the Popes’ social encyclicals dealing with the errors of Marxism and unregulated Capitalism. At root Marxism is an atheistic, materialistic philosophy that denies humans are persons with immortal souls. Marxism seeks to make the State the overarching authority that inserts itself into everything, even family life. In order for Marxism to thrive, all competing “ideologies” or self-identities must be silenced. This is why 20th-century communists in Russia and Poland sought to supress the Church. The Church today is likewise being silenced in public debate, while children are taught in schools that they are mere animals lacking the ability to master their sexual impulses.

The Church has much to say on these issues. First, our fundamental right is to religious freedom, as it enables us to recognise the God who created and redeemed us. Supressing this right snatches from us the ability to find meaning in our lives. Second, in knowing God’s existence and his love for us, we recognise the dignity of each human person, all of whom have an immortal soul with a vocation to love. Third, since God exists and the human person is more than a mere animal, the authority of the State is limited and cannot take away the parents’ right as first-educators of their children. The State has no authority to redefine God-given institutions like marriage and family.

Let’s pray for Christians throughout the world who are facing persecution. Let’s also inform ourselves of the issues in our own country and engage in well-formed apologetics in the public square.

(Copyright © 2016)