In the nineteenth century, Cardinal Newman warned that naïve Catholics would fall into "mass apostasy" through lack of preparedness in spiritual combat: "Do you think (the Prince of Lies) is so unskillful in his craft, as to ask you openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the Truth? No; he offers you baits to tempt you. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform.[Acknowledgements: The full text of Fr. Rutler's column is available at the Catholic Education Resources Center post linked above. The excerpted portions were reprinted by the Christmas, 2008, edition of the newsletter of the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, with thanks to the November 27, 2008 issue of The Wanderer from Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column, November 16, 2008, in his parish bulletin.]
This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination, -- he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his."
We are about to witness many outrages against the dignity of life by politicians who have taken advantage of nominal Christians. For starters, we may expect removal of the present administration's ban on destructive embryonic research, and rejection of the Mexico City accords which restrained abortion and eugenics....
... [W]e are learning that there is no place for amateur soldiers in the army of the Lord. A short time from now, many will say: "We should have listened to the warnings." The hard response will be: "Why didn't you?"
Monday, December 22, 2008
Apostasy by way of unpreparedness for spiritual combat
Fr. George William Rutler, "Unprepared for spiritual battle" (Catholic Education Resources Center, via Weekly Column, November 16, 2008):