Pope Benedict XVI visits the UK and arrives on the Memorial of SS Cyprian and Cornelius. The lives of these two shed light on the role of our bishop and especially the Pope in every age. In the third century the church was divided over the Novatian heresy. Cyprian and Cornelius stood up for the truth against false teachers within the church. For this they were hated. They also stood up against the world, and the world hated them for it. Spitting, vile, violent, murderous rage.

When you stop to read some of the hatred being spewed in Britain against the Holy Father (go here for a sample) you see that when it comes to the spiritual life nothing changes. The gospel for today says clearly, “The world will hate you as it hates me.” What I find exciting is that this goes with the territory. You stick up for the truth. You stick up for beauty. You stick up for goodness and somebody somewhere will hate you sure enough. Don’t be surprised when the world persecutes and reviles you.

It doesn’t trouble me when this happens. What troubles me is when this does not happen. Woe to you when all men speak well of you…Something’s wrong there. Yet, in our American Catholic society this is so often exactly what we seek. We buy into the Alpha, American, Achievement culture and seek all the big ‘P’ words: Power, Prestige, Privilege, Pleasure, Prosperity. But this is the way of the world, not the way of the Kingdom.

Set out to challenge those values–set out to undermine the expectations–set out to do something radical–set out to do something beautiful for God and then be prepared for the battle.