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 October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Christians shouldn't badmouth others, Pope warns Watch

Image of People are

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square this week, Pope Francis says that Christians must set a good example lest they drive people away into atheism. "How many times we've heard in our neighborhoods, 'Oh that person over there always goes ... continue reading


'Structural causes' of poverty must be dismantled, Pope tells activists Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a wide-ranging speech to activists, Pope Francis urged the gathered to join the fight against the "structural causes" of poverty and inequality, calling for a "revolutionary" program drawn from the Gospels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The poor no ... continue reading


God's existence does not contradict the discoveries of science, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

God remains the one who set all of creation into motion, Pope Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences this week. The pontiff reassured that the Big Bang theory, as well as the theory of evolution do not eliminate the existence of God. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Yesterday's Faith is Not Enough: How We Can Overcome Pride Watch

Image of Monks in prayer

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus continued to do what the Father had sent Him to do, in spite of opposition from apparently religious people. We are invited to follow his example. He will give us the grace to do so, if we ask Him. St Josemaria Escriva used a phrase to refer to the kind of ... continue reading


Christian rapper comes out of the closet --as straight Watch

Image of Jackie Hill-Perry is living testament to the power of God to change those who are willing to accept Him.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christian rapper, Jackie Hill-Perry has come out of the closet --as straight. Hill-Perry says she experienced gender confusion after being sexually abused as a child and sought same-sex relationships until she says God helped her to change for the better. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Every Christian is 'to create unity in the Church,' Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of This creating of unity in the Church, the Pope said, recounting the reading from Saint Paul to the Philippians,

By CNA/EWTN News

In his homily for Mass at the Santa Marta residence on Oct. 24, Pope Francis reflected on the call of Christians to perpetuate unity in the Church by being "living stones" built upon the "cornerstone of Christ." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - This creating of ... continue reading


Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... 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, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... 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