A few years ago, something happened that many of us never thought we would see in the United States: Churches in several states were ordered to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other places, severe restrictions were placed on worship. For a time, thousands of U.S. Catholics lost access to the Mass and sacraments of salvation.
In some cases, the bishops closed the churches. In others, the government ordered them shut.
Catholics still debate whether these actions were necessary. Some argue that public health took precedence and the government had the right to intervene.
But no matter what side of the debate you’re on, know that this was a dangerous move.
Britain knows. During the pandemic, many British Catholics were told they could go into churches for secular tasks such as maintenance, but they could not pray while they were there.
Think about that. Your parish has a malfunctioning boiler, so you’re allowed to fix it, but if you DARE kneel before the altar and pray, well, you’re out of line!
That tells you a lot about the order of priorities in our once-Christian nations.
Here’s another example from across the pond. Isabel Vaughan-Spruce heads the March for Life UK. Police arrested her for silently praying in front of an abortion center. She was not speaking to anyone.
She was told that women have the right to have abortions without being harassed. Apparently, praying is now harassment.
Those of us in the United States should take this as a warning. We live in a post-Christian era. We cannot trust government officials to prioritize our spiritual welfare. In fact, many leaders are actively working against it.
There may come a point where we have to resist and exercise civil disobedience. Remember, our Catholic tradition teaches that an unjust law is not a law at all and we may be obliged to disobey. We’re not going to say we’re at that point yet, but be vigilant.
These are dangerous times we’re in. We need to wake up and pray to God for the grace to persevere through whatever challenges and persecutions come our way.
Our Lord is with us and He ensures us the final victory if we simply stay close to His heart:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you….But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” — John 15:18-19; John 16:33