Reemergence of the Church Militant: HHS Mandate Calls us to Spiritual Battle
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.(Eph. 6:11,12)
"We see evil wants to rule the world and it is necessary to go into battle against evil. We like it does in so many ways, bloody, with various forms of violence, but also disguised with good and thus destroying the moral foundations of society" (Pope Benedict XVI) Most of us could not have foreseen this turn of events just a few years ago. Oh, we knew the culture was decaying and we were doing all we could to not only stem the tide but effect its renewal. However, now we find Catholic Colleges and other institutions, which so clearly serve the common good, having to find "safe harbors" to win more time to fight the unjust actions of an American Administration.
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - As the August 1, 2012 date for the initial implementation requirements of the HHS mandate draws closer, an opinion from the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) is advising Catholic Colleges of a "temporary one year safe harbor" which might enable some non-profits to delay the consequences of non-compliance for one year.
The details were contained in an opinion from legal counsel which can be read in its entirety here. This opinion was sent to that outstanding guardian of Catholic identity at Catholic Colleges, the Cardinal Newman Society, one of many great resources marshaled together for the struggle ahead.
The lawsuits filed by numerous Catholic Colleges and institutions have revealed a silver lining in the cloud of this repression - the emergence of an unparalleled cooperation among Christians, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic, in defending religious freedom.
On Wednesday, July 18, 2012, the evangelical Protestant College filed a lawsuit adding their resistance to the growing resistance forged by this unjust mandate which violates the Free Exercise of religion. The suit was filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and can be read in its entirety here.
However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that we are living under an ominous cloud of oppression. At its center are the unconstitutional actions of a Federal Administration which is growing increasingly hostile to the Catholic Church - as she seeks to be faithful to her mandate to proclaim and live the fullness of the Gospel in a Nation which she has served so well since its founding.
Most of us could not have foreseen this turn of events just a few years ago. Oh, we knew the culture was decaying and we were doing all we could to not only stem the tide but help to effect its renewal. However, now we find Catholic Colleges and other institutions, which so clearly serve the common good, having to find "safe harbors" to win more time to fight the unjust actions of an American Administration.
I contend that no matter what happens as this all unfolds, it is challenging us to deeper prayer, reflection, preparation and reasoned action. We need to relearn how to live in spiritual battle mode. This is a part of a larger intense spiritual warfare which we must understand properly if we hope to properly participate in.
On Monday, May 21, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI held a luncheon with members of the College of Cardinals. His purpose was to thank them for their kindness in wishing him a Happy 85th Birthday on April 16, 2012. In addition, he wanted to thank his friends for wishing him a happy seventh anniversary of his election to the Chair of Peter on April 19, 2012.
Vatican News reported that the Holy Father reminded his brothers upon whom he relies upon for advice and counsel that "The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil."
In what was reported to have been a warm yet quite candid luncheon, Pope Benedict XVI shared many of his moments of joy during his apostolic ministry as the successor of Peter, as well as insights into the struggles. European sources indicate that the Pope told the Cardinals,
"(I) especially thank the Lord for many years has given me, years with many days of joy, wonderful times, but also dark nights. But in retrospect it is understood that the nights were necessary and good."
"We see evil wants to rule the world and it is necessary to go into battle against evil. We (see) it does in so many ways, bloody, with various forms of violence, but also disguised with good and thus destroying the moral foundations of society."
"We're in this fight and (in) this fight it is very important to have friends. I am surrounded by friends of the College of Cardinals: they are my friends and I feel at home, I feel safe in the company of great friends who are with me, together."
The use of the phrase "Church Militant" for the Church on the earth used to be very common in the Catholic Church. However, for lots of reasons, including a possible misunderstanding of the term, the term has fallen out of use since the Second Vatican Council.
In 1953, the Pope who had led the Church through two decades of darkness in a world besieged by war, Pope Pius XII stated, "We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on ...
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