The news is so uniformly bizarre and the world so amazingly insane and the storm clouds on the horizon so terrifying that I really would like to be a Catholic ostrich.
In other words, I want to put my head in the sand, hunker down, mind my own business, try to do what I can to be a good priest and a faithful disciples of Christ. That seems to be enough. I have my work cut out for me with just that demand.
I’m watching the odiously shallow Wolf Hall series about Thomas Cromwell, and in one scene Thomas More has just resigned as chancellor of England and Cromwell asks what he is going to do now. More say, “Write and pray.” Cromwell replies, “If I were you I would write less and pray more.”
It was a threat.
That’s the problem. Henry VIII and Cromwell weren’t content to let More put his head in the sand. They would have his head instead.
Can you put your head in the sand, hunker down and keep your mouth shut? Sure. More actually advised it. But he also said we must know in advance where our point of no compromise will be and then stand firm at that point.
For him it was to refuse to sign the Act of Supremacy which made Henry VIII the head of the Church in England. For the Christians in the Roman Empire it was that little grain of incense they would not offer to the gods.
As the darkness deepens in our own culture Christians should, on the one hand, be cheerful and optimistic. Things have been worse.
But we should also consider the possibility that things could get worse in our own country.
We can head to the hills, duck, be a Catholic ostrich, keep our mouths closed, but we should also decide at what point we say, “No more.”
Then, one day, God forbid, like More, we might have to pull our head out of the sand and put it on the block.
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