“Where Are The Catholics?” | Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | Catholic World Report
Is Christianity the measure of modernity or is modernity the measure of Christianity?
On the morning after Thanksgiving, I was driving over to Frederick, Maryland with one of my nephews. On the car radio, he was listening to a talk radio program from WMAL in Washington. The host of the program was a man who described himself as a conservative Jew. He was talking of the increasing religious persecution within the United States. Several times throughout the program he pointed out that it was the Catholics who are more and more being singled out and discriminated against. The First Amendment on religious freedom seems almost a dead letter when it comes to Christians in general and Catholics in particular.
The host noted that if any similar criticism is directed toward other religious groups and religions, especially Islam, the whole world knows about it. And in some cases the world is threatened. Churches are burned in Islamic countries, Christians killed, and nothing much is said either by our government or in the press. Almost the only voice that seems systematically to defend a Catholic position, he remarked, is that of Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. The host went on to wonder why this silence is the case. Part of it, he thought, is because Catholics themselves do not seem to care too much, or else they are not aware of the dimensions of the issue. They think it will just go away.
Many writers and voices have pointed out that the present administration is by all odds the most anti-Catholic regime in this country’s history. That did not prevent some 50 percent of Catholics from voting for it. But that may be a clue about the problem. Often the leaders of those measures and decrees most against officially stated Catholic positions are formulated and carried out by those who are Catholics. Several other writers have argued that so long as these high-profile Catholics carry out anti-Catholic policies and remain in apparently good standing in the Church, many Catholics will conclude that, whatever the noise about these issues, it must be all right to be a Catholic and take positions contrary to what the bishops and Church seem to hold.
Why Catholics do not defend themselves against such attacks on their religion and their place in public life has long puzzled many sympathetic citizens.