Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

7/20/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If Cardinal George is right that he will die in his bed, his successor in jail, and his successor a martyr--and it is certainly plausible, even likely, from the way the straw blows in the wind--then Catholics better get used to saying in response to our secular liberal interlocutors, "Christianus sum!" and "Christiana sum!" 

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/20/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: martyrdom, Christian witness, secular liberalism, Andrew M. Greenwell


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - During the Roman persecution of the nascent Christian Church, to proclaim oneself a Christian was to invite the wrath of public authority, persecution, torture, even martyrdom. 

Even in the face of a hostile government, Christians saw their loyalties to Christ and his Church as being above everything else.  Being Christian was more important than attachment to the Roman empire, to their tribe, to their family, to their occupation. 

Being Christian was their essence, everything else was secondary.

Christian was who and what they were, not something added on to who and what they were.  It was their fundamental identity to which they had to be faithful.  So attached were they to Jesus that to deny Jesus would be equivalent to denying who and what they were.

As Tertullian chastised the pagan rulers in his Apology, by saying Christianus sum! the Christian was telling them what he was.  But the pagan rulers did not want to hear this, instead they wanted to hear what the Christian was not.

Christianus sum! men would answer.  Christiana sum! women would answer.  I am a Christian! was the answer given to the Pagan judges or interlocutors.  It is all over the early Church records.

For example, in the account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, Polycarp answered his interlocutors: Christianus sum!

In the Letter of Lyons and Vienne to the churches in Asia and Phrygia which describe the bloody and vicious persecution of Christians where more than 20,000 lost their lives, there is an account of a certain Deacon Sanctus was asked to identify his name, his city, his tribe, his profession, to which he only answered Christianus sum!  This was his only identifying badge, as he suffered the most horrendous tortures.

In the account of the Scillitan Martyrs, a certain Speratus was asked by the Roman proconsul Saturninus if he wishes to persevere as a Christian and suffer to death, to which Speratus responds: Christianus sum!  His female companion Vestia answers similarly: Christiana sum! 

Tertullian recounts an event where a Roman soldier refused to wear the laurel crown, which would have implicitly recognized the divinity of the Roman emperor.  When questioned why he refused, he answered that he could not because he was a Christian.  Non facio.  Christianus sum!  I cannot.  I am a Christian.

In the Epistle of St. Clement, the martyrdom of St. Lawrence is related.  Non interrogatus coepit clamare, Christianus sum.  Without even being questioned, he began to cry out: I am a Christian!

In the Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas, the martyress Perpetua (who is included in the Roman Canon) says two phrases in response to the demand that she sacrifice to the emperor.  Non facio.  I cannot.  Christiana sum.  I am a Christian.

In the Acts of Cyprian, we learn about how Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, was brought before the Proconsul Aspasius Paternus, and in response, he answered, Christianus sum, et Episcopus.  I am a Christian, and bishop.

In the Martyrdom of Fructuous, bishop of Tarragona, it is related how Fructuosus defends himself against Aemilianus the governor with Christanus sum! 

There is an account of the martyrdom of one Maximilian in Africa in 298 who was haled before the Roman Magistrate who demanded why he refused military service:  No facio.  Non possum miltare.  Christianus sum.  I cannot do it.  I cannot be a soldier.  I am a Christian.

It is important to recall these ancient histories.  As the governments of Western secular liberal democracies have invested in their anti-life and morally relativistic political philosophies and have become neo-pagan, they have become more emboldened than ever and more hostile against Christians.  The spirit of anti-Christ is rising again.

So we see Christians and Christian institutions--most especially Catholic institutions--encountering social and legal pressures that affect their ability to practice their religion: no, to be Christian.

Currently, we are seeing the pressures on religious liberty on such policies as requiring the public funding of the intrinsic evils of artificial contraception, in vitro fertilization, abortion, and euthanasia.  We see the slow compulsion, by force of law, that homosexual sex or same sex "marriage" should be taught as normal, and any expressed resistance against that position as bigoted.

The natural moral law no longer means anything.  Reasonable discourse is no longer possible.  Any and every moral discussion has become intractable. 
 
We see demands (by what right?!) by public officials and the liberal media that faith ought not to be part of the public square, and that Catholics must abide by the false, immoral, and frankly unconstitutional view of strict "wall of separation of Church and State," which, in today's parlance means the State holds the trump card, can define the "public square" (which it defines every more broadly), and can elbow out all competitors by force of law, even, we may be sure, to the point of violence.

As Pope Francis recently pointed out in his encyclical Lumen Fidei, without faith, there will be no recovery of public reason, of the natural moral law. 

Foreseeing the rise in neo-pagan demands and its inexorable consequence to public life, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago famously stated: "I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."

If Cardinal George is right--and it is certainly plausible, even likely, from the way the straw blows in the wind--then Catholics better get used to saying in response to our secular liberal interlocutors, "Christianus sum!" and "Christiana sum!" 

I am a Christian!  It is who and what I am. 

And it will be who and what I am whatever you may do to me, whatsoever you call me, fine me, incarcerate me, howsoever you mock me.

We will have the consolation that we join in the canon of martyrdom uttered by the likes of Sts Polycarp, Sanctus, Speratus, Lawrence, Perpetua, Cyprian, Fructuosus, and Maximillian and hundreds of thousands, even millions more.

We may also be consoled in the age old law framed by Tertullian in his Apology:  The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.  Sanguis martyrum semen Christianorum.

It worked once.  It will work again.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Living Faith

Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... continue reading


Pope Francis to visit Mafia stronghold this weekend Watch

Image of Pope Francis' stance against organized crime is seen as remarkable; the Mafia and the Catholic Church have previously been seen by many as having

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Incensed about the loss of innocent life in his immediate surroundings, Pope Francis plans to travel to the Mafia stronghold of Caserta, near Naples this weekend in an effort to set things right. The murder of three-year-old Nicola "Coco" Campolongo, a boy who ... continue reading


Pope expresses regret with exodus of Christians from Mosul Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave. (CNA/EWTN News) - "They are persecuted; our brothers are ... continue reading


Your Catholic Voice Foundation delivers for Sisters of St. Joseph

Image of They're on their way, thanks to you.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An order for 350 Bibles for a Catholic school in Grenada has been shipped to the sisters free of international shipping charges, thanks to you, the readers of Catholic Online. The shipping charges stood at approximately $800, and was covered by donations. Now, Your ... continue reading


This is Ch__ch. What is missing?

Image of What's missing? You are!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What's missing from this church? You are! Are we mistaken? Show up and tell us you are already there and get your daily prayer and more for FREE as our thanks.Click here now to say you're there!Now you can share this question with your friends. Are they at church? continue reading


Unaccompanied migrant children need our help

Image of This is an image of immigrant children presently housed in conditions that would be unconstitutional for convicted felons. These children are without their families, alone and afraid and without control over their future, they are the victims of many culprits.

By Tony Magliano

Tens of thousands of children fleeing desperate conditions have entered the United States asking for help. And many more are coming. What kind of welcome is being offered to them? The answer to that question is still largely undetermined. According to Human Rights ... continue reading


Freedom, Choosing and Becoming: Moral Life and Truth Watch

Image of Our Moral Life in Christ.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

What we choose determines who we become. Choosing what is good changes the chooser, empowering him or her to proceed along the pathways of virtue and develop the habitus - or habits- which promote Christian character. The Catechism of the Catholic Church ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Corinthians 4:7-15
7 But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
1 [Song of Ascents] When Yahweh brought back Zion's ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came with her ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 25th, 2014 Image

St. James the Greater
July 25: For James there was no indication that this was the day that his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter