In 132 AD Emperor Hadrian punished a Jewish insurrection by leveling all of Jerusalem. His engineers selected Calvary as the site of the Forum and capital of the new city Aelia Capitolina. He erected a statue of Jupiter over the Holy Sepulcher, and of Venus over the spot where Christ was crucified. In Bethlehem, Hadrian built a temple to Adonis over the site of the Manger.
There will always be something in man eager to bury Christ’s victory over Satan. Whether it be Roman emperors building cities over Calvary. Or, Jacobin fanatics enthroning the Goddess Reason on the high altar of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Or, Joseph Stalin exploding 72,884 churches in Russia.
It must not be thought that this fever is restricted to the more obvious enemies of the Church. They are too easily recognizable, leaving us to a deceptive somnolence.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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The most formidable enemies of Christ are the ones who bear His title and anointed privileges.
Their betrayals are far more lethal, for they are more unexpected. Invested with trust by God’s ‘little ones”, they are more easily led away to bury Christ’s victory. Their naivete serves the aims of the trahison de clercs.
No Roman emperor could bury Christ more effectively than one cleric who preaches a Christ without the Cross or a religion of sentimentality, rather than redemption. Outrages against Christ don’t come principally from blowing up churches but refashioning the exacting moral teaching of Christ. Can anything more securely bury Christ’s victory than this proposition of the German Synodal Way, winning their bishop’s vote by a majority 176-14:
“(we call for) the blessing of same-sex couples on the basis of a reevaluation of homosexuality as a norm variant of human sexuality.”
Christian-loathing Roman emperors could never outdo this.
Permitting divorced and re-married to Holy Communion is more insulting to Christ than a hundred persecutions from Communist governments. Theatricalizing Holy Mass delivers more Catholics into the jaws of a sterile faith than all of Stalin’s gulags. Trading the stringent balm of Christ in the holy sacrament of Confession for the therapeutic babble of ‘accompaniment’ is to become the ‘friends of sin’, not the ‘friends of sinners” (Mt 11:19).
When Successors of the Apostles maintain a safe silence in the face of LGBTQ+ propaganda, they are burying the victory of Christ more effectively than Hadrian burying the Holy Sepulcher under the statue of Jupiter. Permitting pro-abortion Catholic politicians to receive Holy Communion is far more malicious to Christ than building a pagan temple to Adonis over the manger at Bethlehem. Of course, decades of dissimulating ‘theological debate’ over the issue only aggravates the offense. Aren’t clerics such as these terrified by Hebrews 10:19-39:
If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there is no longer remains sacrificed for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? We know the one who said:
vengeance is mine: I will repay.
The Lord will judge his people
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
St. Columbanus of the fifth century swept down from Holy Ireland into the darkness of Western Europe identifying himself and his towering, ruddy and fearsome monks, Revolutionaries of the Cross. They were fearless in challenging the regnant paganism, not announcing a détente with it. They happily destroyed pagan temples and sacred pagan totems so that the bright fires of the Cross’ Revolution could blaze for all the world to marvel.
These herculean priests traveled pagan Europe with the Revolution of the Cross which would never leave men’s souls the same again. Their apostolic work calls to mind the laments of an Anglican cleric in the nineteenth century, who groaned, “When St. Paul entered into towns, there were riots. When I come into a town, they invite me to tea.”
Easter is the unleashing of the Revolution of the Cross. It should be unsettling, like an earthquake. Wondrous, as the explosion of galaxies. Penetrating, as the sound of a thousand marching armies. Easter is the unleashing of the Revolution of the Cross. It should be unsettling, like an earthquake. Wondrous, as the explosion of galaxies. Penetrating, as the sound of a thousand marching armies.Tweet This
Under the deadening hand of secularism, Easter has become a genteel rapprochement with the world; a time to go-along to get-along. Easter’s raw and transformative divine power has undergone a vicious reductio ad absurdam. It is now a mincing wide-eyed bonhomie. For all intents and purposes, Easter has been reconfigured to mean the nullification of the Passion. Useless is the Cross. In the anthem drone heard in most parishes and pasted on cheap felt banners: We are an Easter People.
Nowhere is this more painfully obvious than in the theatrical burlesque now being passed off as the Mass of Christian Burial. Through this disfigured funeral rite, most Catholics have been bullied into believing that everyone who dies has already won the palm of heaven’s victory. Consequence? No prayers and suffrages required for the deceased, severing one of the bulwarks of Catholic piety and soteriology. Any wonder why the offering of Mass cards for a happy repose is a thing of the past? Look no further than here.
This re-booting of the Easter Mystery camouflages its blinding grandeur in a shroud of lifeless grey. It renders its majestic impact a mere cartoon: All are saved by the fact of merely being human. Or, in the argot of the day, ‘being a good person.’ Calvary is rendered a fussy historical curiosity. For man now lives his life without God. This is full-court Pelagianism. Detestable in the time of St. Augustine; even more detestable now.
The ancient aspiration proclaims Ave Crux, Spes Unica (Hail the Cross, Our Only Hope!). How much that aspiration makes ‘reimagined Catholics’ squirm.
But the Resurrection confirms this! No merit accrues from the Resurrection; only the Crucifixion saves us from our shipwreck.
Easter makes of us all the Revolutionaries of the Cross. Without that sweet Revolution, other dark, very dark, revolutions will triumph.
And they already are.