THE SCANDAL AND THE MYSTERY
Michel De Jaeghere finally asks the great question: "Why has Catholicism been ostracized from society, when it is no longer in a dominant position and when it has lent itself through its official representatives, to so many compromises?"
"The real answer to this question is a supernatural one," he writes. "In spite of all the deviations and errancies of its bishops, priests and faithful, the Church remains the Church of God and the devil remains its enemy. The war against the Church originates with the devil.
"Contemporary ears cannot hear such a declaration. Yet it is a truth of faith. If Catholics are not aware of it, they condemn themselves to total incomprehension. In the Gospel, Christ told His disciples that He had come into the world as a 'sign of contradiction,' and persecution is part and parcel of the destiny of a Christian: 'Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and put them to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake,' but he who has persevered to the end will be saved.' (St. Matthew 10:21-22)
"Anti-clericalism is dead for lack of combatants," continues the author, "our priests in civilian clothes having melted discreetly into the crowd. But the devil's hatred for the Church is still intact. It is manifested with all the more virulence because ever since Vatican II, the Catholic hierarchy has thought it advisable to drop its guard by relinquishing its dominion over social life. The enemy redoubles his violence because he is galled over the fact that in spite of everything, he is still faced with a Christian remnant. He wants to give it the death blow ...
"Fifty years ago, we might have thought that the hostility of the world towards the Church could perhaps be explained by the abrupt manner in which the popes of the 19th and early 20th century, from Gregory XVI to Saint Pius X, condemned modem society. Now we know that this has nothing to do with it, since the Conciliar hierarchy, by relinquishing its heritage, has not deterred the enemy. What it wants, what it hopes for, what it pursues, is not the destruction of clericalism, it is the disappearance of the Christian name. What it hates is not only the priests, it is Christ Himself. The underlying motive of Christianophobia is sheer hatred for Christ. Christianophobia is a matter of Christ-phobia.
"Yet the devil would be powerless if he could not count on our collaboration. He is not content to utilize it and to whet our enemies' hatred. He finds support in the state of societies that have been denying the social kingship of Christ for two centuries, as well as in the crisis that is reducing the Church's capacity for resistance."
Courage, Faith and Hope
"Charles Péguy writes: 'The future will teach you that unfortunately, it is not enough to be Catholic; you must also work in the temporal realm if you want to snatch the future out of the hands of temporal tyrannies. It is a great mystery that it does not suffice to be Catholic but that you must work all your life in the temporal realm besides. But Jesus, the prince of the spiritual realm, founded a Church which has never stopped fighting in the spiritual and temporal realms, and which will never stop doing battle. This is the very mystery of the human condition, the very mystery of the Incarnation.'
"Over the last forty years we have lost just about every battle," says De Jaeghere. "We Catholics are isolated, mocked, caricatured, divided. But we must love these trials, because we are suffering them for Christ: it is an immense grace offered to our times.
"We know that our defeats are mysteriously preparing His victory, and all that is being asked of us is to be faithful. We weep over Christian society as the Jews of Bethany wept over Lazarus. It is dead, it already stinks. But we also know that nothing is impossible with God.
"We the laity, who have not chosen the best part like Mary, should at least have the faith of Saint Martha when Jesus said to her, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, even if he dies, shall live. Do you believe this?' (St. John 11:25-26)
"Like her, we must make our public profession of faith and say with her, Yes, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, the One Who is to come.' (Cf. St. John 11:27)
"We must not let ourselves be discouraged by appearances. Let us continue to make Christianity emerge wherever our situation permits: parish, school, religious community, family, association, enterprise, political movement. Let us defend the Holy Church against its enemies without letting ourselves be troubled by our little number, our insufficiencies, without letting ourselves be shaken by the betrayals of those who sometimes appear to us as unworthy servants ...
"Let us hold the flickering light of Catholic truth preciously in our hands, knowing that with it, with the Sacraments, we are the heirs of treasures that give meaning to our life. Let us form our children and make them true witnesses of Christ. Let us desire to give vocations to the Church, accepting them when they occur in our families. Let us rally round our priests and support them against a hostile world.  Let us work unrelentingly at rebuilding Catholic institutions. Let us serenely await the day that God has appointed to dispel the wicked winds of History, knowing with a steadfast faith that in the end His victory will come, because He promised us that it will. And if insults, sarcasms and mockeries rain down upon us, let us consider it an honor to suffer for Christ."
22. There are many good priests here and there who may be somewhat discouraged or hesitant, and who may need only the support of a few Christian families or laymen to bring back into honor in their locality certain holy practices that would help revitalize the Faith: catechism courses, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi, recitation of the Rosary and others.
Author's choice of texts and presentation:
Extracts from Michel De Jaeghere, Enquête sur fa Christianophobie (Renaissance Catholique: Oudin, 2006 --- 3rd ed.), 228 pages. Also consulted: Lecture et Tradition (Chiré-en-Montreuil), No. 346, Dec. 2005; Jacqueline Picoche, on the Librairie Catholique website.