Thursday, January 20, 2011


The story of Saint Sebastian (patron of my parish and whose feast day it is) is a great story. You can read more about it here if you wish. But the best part of the story was his clinging to Christ and His teachings despite social pressure not to. The emperor Diocletian would have just been the tip of the iceberg though that was quite enough to get you killed alone. Imagine the social pressure among his fellow soldiers, among the citizenry and clergy who wielded power in his day and would apply pressure to try to get everyone to conform to the present day social norms. At work, about town, probably even among his acquaintances there would always be the constant threat to His love of God and the Eucharist save for that bit of time he had with like minded persons in prayer and sacrament. Yet through it all he stood as a strong and sure peg in a storm.

He is a model not only for us but for the Church in general – particularly in this country. Go back five hundred years and the Christian world (consisting almost entirely of Catholics and Orthodox) would have been in agreement on social and doctrinal issues to the greatest extent. Today, sadly, the Christian Church is divided more than ever. In 2002, 82% of persons in the United States declared themselves Christian. Approximately 24% of all Christians in the U.S. consider themselves Catholic. 76% of that number consider themselves Protestant or that part of the Christian world that is not Catholic. It is difficult to say how many Protestant denominations there are because some Protestants do not consider themselves a denomination and many ecclesial communities come and go on a regular basis. That being said there are approximately 217 denominations but somewhere between 300,000 and 600,000 church communities.

Keeping that in mind, in 1930 the Anglican community divided from the commonly held belief that contraception was a sin for married couples to use. Since that time the Catholic Church has come to stand virtually alone in U.S. concerning the combined topics of contraceptives, abortion, premarital sex, the indissolubility of marriage, masturbation, marriage between one man and one woman, and the dignity of every single human being. ALONE! Like St. Sebastian it matters not what the government says, what our entertainment world says, what our friends (other Christian ecclesial communities) say, what today’s experts say, the Church, and she alone stands alone with truth not caring what arrows are thrust at her. Why? Because she believes that it is true and best for all her people spiritually, mentally, and physically, and will not tell you otherwise because that is what you may want to hear.

Someone once said, “Why do dissenters stay in the Church? That is a mystery. It is also why you need a pope and a teaching magisterium.” When the waves of public opinion, the winds of change, the storm of controversy hit she stands firm on her rock foundation with the teachings that have been hers for 2000 years – hers alone – and though her standard is perhaps a bit frayed at the edges, the colors remain true and like St. Sebastian she will stand firm even through the threat of barbed arrows.


Anonymous said...

I read a book in the 1980s about dissenting nuns. The book was well-researched, using their own words and documents to make the author's case.

If I'm not mistaken, the dissenters said that they stayed in the Church to change Her from within. Thus, they worked on obtaining the credentials to work in chanceries, parishes (DREs, gradeschool teachers etc.) and universities, to teach their "wisdom" and shape upcoming generations.

Anonymous said...

you said it, father. that's why I am a member of the catholic church

r m kraus sr