Fortnight for Freedom: Do we really believe?

Fortnight for Freedom: Do we really believe?

Probably most of our readers understand that the Obama Administration has imposed restrictions on the freedom of religion, forcing Catholic institutions to provide health insurance plans which pay for contraception and abortion drugs.  This of course is contrary to Church teaching, and after it all blows over, the Church will be the one left standing.  It always is. Compared to other persecutions, this period is relatively mild.  So far we have no mass martyrdom, priests are not being imprisoned or dragged out into the street and shot.  However, the unborn are being slaughtered at breakneck pace, and the Catholic Church is being compelled to pay for it. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have had occasion to attend Mass at a handful of Catholic parishes.  At two of the parishes, the Creed was omitted.  I do not know the intent of the priests or whether the omission was deliberate or accidental.  At one of the parishes, omitting the Creed is commonplace to make room for non-liturgical events during the Mass, such as a post-communion speech on mission work, or a video presentation of the new church design.  While there exists a debate among Catholics as to whether or not these events are liturgically appropriate, one thing is certain, the Creed is not to be omitted.In certain instances, the profession of faith takes a different form through a renewal of Baptismal promises During this time of persecution, Catholics are challenged and charged with the duty of living our faith and not cowering at the slightest chance of confrontation.  If we are to stand up for what we...
Movie Review: For Greater Glory

Movie Review: For Greater Glory

Three Catholic friends and I had the great fortune of seeing For Greater Glory on opening night.  Of course, this is no great feat considering we live in the middle of Baptist country. For those of you who are unfamiliar, For Greater Glory is based on real life events during the Cristero’s War, a rebellion against persecution of Christians by the atheistic Mexican government resulting in over 100,000 deaths.  The movie follows various characters in the rebellion, primarily General Velarde and his young little friend, Jose, as well as various other members of the Cristeros. After returning home from the movie, I found an anti-review by Frank Weathers titled Why I Won’t Be Seeing “For Greater Glory”, in which the blogger bases his entire refusal on a movie critic site Metacritic, which gave For Greater Glory a 35.  (For a little perspective, Metacritic awarded the blasphemy-laced Dogma a 62.) Last Sunday, while folding laundry, I watched a documentary called FUBARIf you don't know what FUBAR means, go watch Saving Private Ryanabout WWII.  At one point, an interviewee recounts going to the theater and the audience erupting with applause when John Wayne shoots down the Japanese pilots in Flying Tigers, not because the quality of the movie-making was unsurpassed, but because the audience related to and celebrated the triumph of good over evil.  The nation was at war, Japan was the enemy, and the audience loved it because they could relate to the story. The same is true with For Greater Glory.  Certainly it’s not Oscar material, but the characters were endearing and the message of the movie is certainly...
Red and White, Sacred and Immaculate

Red and White, Sacred and Immaculate

Given the events the last few weeks, it’s been relatively easy to find mention of martyrdom in the Catholic blogosphere, whether one looks to Francis Cardinal George’s statement that “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square” or my own previous mentions of it. What is not easy to find is a clear distinction between the different types of martyrdom. A martyr, from the Greek μάρτυς, meaning witness, is typically defined as a person who dies for the faith. To be declared a martyr, one must be murdered in odium fidei, that is, out of a hatred for the faith, or some variation thereof, such as in odium Ecclesiae (out of a hatred for the Church). In its broader meaning, you and I are martyrs anytime we testify to the faith. In a more strict sense, we have two kinds of martyrs: red and white. How can you tell the difference? Here’s a quick cheat sheet: Red Martyrs White Martyrs Give their lives to God… Give their lives to God… …by dying for Him. …by living for Him. Both types of martyrs give their lives for the faith, but in different ways. Red martyrs shed their blood, glorifying God by their deaths, while white martyrs, also called confessors, glorify God by their lives, confessing the faith in the face of persecution and suffering greatly for their fidelity to the the Church. Thus, we would call all of the Twelve Apostles (except John, who died a natural death, and Judas, for obvious reasons) red martyrs....