Why Are Traditional Christians Under Attack?
Why is the pope turning his back on his own Church? Why is the FBI violating the guaranteed right of Americans to religious freedom?
Since I witnessed Catholic worship long before the church was changed in the 1960s, I can offer some insight into the what and the why of this issue, from eye-witness information recorded in my autobiography. (This is from the perspective of a resident of New York City.)
Before proceeding, I need to remind that the church I speak of is the Church founded by Jesus Christ [ref. Matthew 16:18].
I begin with a view through the eyes of a child. Entering the Church, it was understood that you entered as a child of God, regardless of age. It was a relation connecting you with a power greater than every self and greater than everything in the world – a power that inspired stained glass windows, great architecture, organs, beautiful music, stunning paintings and sculptures . . . the power behind all good things in life. In my childlike way I understood that the prayers and rituals, the echoing altar incantations in Latin – the global language of the Mass – the celestial music from the choir loft, all formed part of the human way of being in the presence of God.
During Lent, a time to reflect on the passion and crucifixion of Christ, when worship was muted and purple cloth shrouded iconic statuary, a sense of mystery wrapped everyone in a sense of anticipation that grew to an almost unbearable intensity. Then, on Easter morning, the pent-up energy burst forth in glorious music, in flowers, in joyous singing and celebration over Christ’s victory of life over death.
It was a triumph from God who, though almighty, entered the lives of the faithful to sustain them, guide them, and assure justice in a wicked world – not just in talk and symbols and tones but in comm-union with God.
In the glory of the Mass – in the tonal richness of a pipe organ, in the air scented with incense, in the resonant chanting of the priest at the altar – in singing from a trained choir that lifted you outside of yourself – the choir sometimes drowned by the people singing with all their hearts the Tantum Ergo Sacramentum – I felt at home.
After many years since that time and many reasons to doubt the faith along the way, my mind has not changed regarding the validity and the power of that faith. For it is where you, Creator, heritage, past, present, and future merge and focus – an integration with one’s ground of being as essential to life as breathing.
During the well-known phase of adolescence when you think you know more than everybody else, including all who came before you, I wandered from the church. When I finally admitted my mistake and was ready to return, a Second Vatican Council (1962-65) had turned the church on its head and driven many away. The priest now stood at a table, facing the people, where before, and for centuries, he faced God at the altar. The sanctity that once prevailed in church was gone. In homilies the Gospel became less the Word of God and more the word of “the times.” Sin was no longer mentioned or even an issue because God’s forgiveness was unconditional, meaning “automatic.” These are some of the “improvements” to the Church that I was expected to embrace, in the belief that Christ had changed his mind about his Church.
But among the reasons why I could not fall-in with the “new church” is that during my time-out from church I learned that “progress” in America had been redefined to mean turning to the political left. The smell of it was strong after 1960, particularly in the mass media. But what had politics – whether of the left, the right, or the “muddle” – to do with a church that, against all previous attempts at subversion, stood its ground for 2,000 years?
During my time in limbo after Vatican II, I took advantage of my musical training and experience to fill the position of organist in some Protestant churches. I was acquainted with Protestant services, something easy to be in New York City, where friends of different denominations invited each other to weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc. I was even at the wedding of a Jewish friend, where I wore a yarmulke.
As organist in a Protestant church, I witnessed changes to Christian doctrine that were clearly at variance with the Gospel and with my earlier experiences with Protestant worship. (I will keep a long story short.)
It began with guest speakers coming to announce that changes were coming to the church and it was necessary for the congregation to be prepared for it. Soon hymnals were purged of pronouns referring to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Talk on “social justice” sounded more like it came from Marxist “liberation theology” than from the Gospel. Masculinity was smeared with toxicity in church literature. Feminist and Marxist principles had obviously found their way into the service.
In the basement where Sunday school was held and where the choir assembled before the service began, I could overhear the children being told that Jesus was an especially nice person, “like you and me,” with not a word about his divinity or relationship to God.
Such “improvements” to Christian doctrine were for me red-flag alerts that Christians were being turned away from their faith and in time away from their best interests. This fed my resolve to join a brewing culture war.
So, again I ask, why should people faithful to Christ and to biblical teaching be under attack by the pope, and lately by the FBI, and by globalists hell-bent on “resetting the world”? Why the rush to a global mega-dictatorship that, as in communist China, calls for turning Christians into enemies of the state?
Is it because Thou shall have no other gods before me [Exodus 20:1-3] is a commandment that requires loyalty to a higher authority than all others? Is that an existential threat to the power of today’s Herods, currently identifying as Masters of the Universe? Are the attacks against the faithful driven by fear that “the Great Reset” might become “the Great Reject?” Is Christianity so great an obstacle to “world progress” that it was necessary to “update it,” “improve it,” make it ready to support, not impede, the establishment of a Godless world order?
Sanity of mind and heart instructs that there is no better type of world order than one based on loving care of human life. This is a given of Christian doctrine. It is why Jesus Christ established a Church for the spiritual nourishment of people, informing all that “I am the way, the truth, and the life” [John 14:6]. This divine heritage will never be surrendered by faithful Christians.
Anthony J. DeBlasi is a veteran of the Korea War and the Culture War.