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Hard lessons from our ancient forebears in the Faith

Writing at the intersection of faith and politics is a dangerous business. Alexandra DeSanctis of the National Review is to be commended for the admirable acquittal she gave of herself in her recent foray into that fraught field, with her June 1 piece, “Ireland’s Pro-Life Movement Can Find Hope in the Story of Roman Christians”, in which she argued, “The [pro-life] movement has faced days grimmer than the morning that dawned last Saturday in Ireland. And, in the case of the Church, the very grimmest days fueled its future victories,” hence that, “the story of Peter and the early Roman Christians should infuse Irish Catholics and discouraged pro-lifers in the Western world with a great deal of hope.” She’s right.

Early Christians and Christians today

Things for Christians in what we call the West have been far, far worse than they are now: in other places, our brothers and sisters daily face real persecution. Even so, there is quiet and quite civilized shedding of blood underway in the West, on an appalling scale. As DeSanctis also rightly says, “[T]he blood being shed isn’t that of 21st-century pro-life people, but that of the unborn.” This speaks to the profoundly sick and twisted soul of a culture — ours — that has not put off its wicked savagery, but seen it wax ever more exquisite under the impetus of civilization.

When DeSanctis writes, “[E]arly Christian stories teach the pro-life movement that ostensibly crushing defeat could very well be the seed from which a movement derives its strength — depending on how it handles that adversity,” she is quite right, again. “Because of the courage of early Christians,” she continues, “ the brutal martyrdom of Peter furnished the entire history of Christian worship in the city of Rome, still the seat of Catholicism.” That is well said, and well worth remembering. “The pagan historian Tertullian was speaking quite literally when he wrote that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’,” DeSanctis goes on to say, again, rightly so.

Read more at Catholic World Report. 

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