Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/9/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

We are the soul of the world in this age. That vocation has never been comfortable. That's why we have as our sign a cross.

We are the soul of the world in this age. That vocation has never been comfortable. That is why we have as our sign a cross. Intolerant Secularism is on the rise. We must not cower when confronted by those who attempt to silence us. Our message is not our own. It is for the whole world and it still sets the captives free.

The Roman Colliseum

The Roman Colliseum


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

12/9/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: secularism, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, Rome, Diognetus, establishment clause, free exercise clause, free speech, HHS mandate, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - On January 11, 2012 the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Though the case dealt with the ministerial exception, it was a rare moment for the High Court to speak favorably about religious institutions and their rights.

The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment (the first part) was intended to protect against the establishment of a National Church and a forced adherence to its doctrine by all citizens. It was more aptly understood as an Anti-Establishment Clause.

Poor judicial decisions have contributed to the erosion of the protections which were supposed to be associated with this clause. They have also led to an interpretation of a Church/State separation which is hostile to religious institutions, discriminates against people of faith and seeks to censor religious speech and expression in the public square.

The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment (the second part) was intended to protect religious institutions and people of faith in their vital role in speaking and acting with freedom in an authentically pluralistic society - in order to serve the common good.

Yet, the Free Exercise of Religion is now routinely violated. The unconstitutional Edict issued by the Health and Human Services through which the Affordable Care Act will be applied is a recent example. The current US Administration seeks to compel the Church, in her institutions of care, charity and service, to violate her deeply held religious convictions. 

For the longest time in our history it was presumed in the United States of America that the values informed by religious faith - and the active participation of religious institutions - were to be welcomed because they serve the common good.

Now, both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment clause have been turned on their respective heads. They are used to silence the Church and the religious speaker and actor - or in an to compel the Church to act in a way which she cannot and will not.

The Free Speech clause of that same First Amendment has also been subverted. When the message and the messenger being examined under its increasingly hostile scrutiny is determined by the State to be speaking what it considers to be a religious or moral message, the Amendment's protections seem to no longer apply.

Religious or moral speech is censored and locked behind the four walls of a Church. The once robust American vision of the free exercise of religion is being reduced to a freedom of worship. The right to speak freely and contend in the public square is in danger.

In a culture which claims there is no objective truth, those who claim otherwise are now perceived as a threat.

Given this hostility, the Supreme Court's reaffirmation of the rights of Churches and religious institutions to follow their own internal doctrine in Hosanna-Tabor was a welcome decision. However, one decision is not enough to turn the tide.

The establishment clause has been twisted into a permutation which the American founders would not have even recognized. 

One has only to look at the treatment of the poor senior citizens in this story. They have been told they must remove their Christmas tree in a private facility. Or, the edict of the Governor of Rhode Island to call the Christmas tree a "Holiday tree".

Or, the 9th Circuit Justices ruling last year that the Mount Soledad cross, which had stood on Mount Soledad since 1913, had become a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because they said so.  

Too many Federal Judges make up their own rules by which they decide whether a religious symbol, especially a Christian religious symbol, will be allowed to stand on public land or in a public building. There is not even a pretense that the actual words of the Establishment Clause have any precedential value.

The Establishment Clause was once properly understood as an "anti-establishment" clause. It was intended to prohibit the "establishment" of one particular religion - in the sense of a Federal or State sponsored Church which mandated adherence from unwilling citizens.

The American founders fled coercive approaches to religion which compelled adherence to a particular sect. Yet, they were certainly not anti-religious. They were also not against religious symbols or religious expression. Our history is filled with them.

Or, more accurately, it once was. Religious symbols are no longer seen as a wonderful sign of the history of the West and the American founding by the new Judicial Oligarchs or the secularist ideologues that hold some public offices.

Rather, they are seen as a threat in an increasingly intolerant secularist order. When they are allowed they must be demonstrated to have been eviscerated of any religious meaning and somehow thereby rendered "secular" and acceptable.

We will make it through this challenging time. We have done so in the past. However, we need to recognize what is really at work. We need to remember our history not only as American citizens but, even more importantly, as Christians.

The early Roman authorities charged the Christians of that era with "odium humani generis" [hatred of the human race] when they arrested them. Some in Rome had lost respect for the dignity of all human life while still claiming to be enlightened and progressive.

They practiced primitive forms of abortion as well as exposure, the killing of unwanted newborns. The Emperor Nero was overt in his promiscuous homosexual behavior. Some historians note his having taken a male "wife".

The history of ancient Rome shows a correlation between the growth of hostility toward the Christians and the spiraling moral decline of the Republic. The Romans of that age did not want hear the Christians oppose abortion and the practice of "exposure" (the killing of newborns).

Their hedonism was threatened by the Christian witness and lifestyle. They accused those Christians of intolerance and upsetting the public order.

One of the ancient Christian manuscripts from that age, written to a pagan inquirer into the Christian faith, is entitled a "Letter to Diognetus". It spoke of the distinctly different practices of the Christians:

"They reside in their respective countries, but only as aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their home, and every home a foreign land. They marry like all others and beget children but they do not expose (kill or abandon) their offspring. Their board they spread for all, but not their bed."

The insistence of those early Christians on defending all human life and the witness of their faithful monogamous marriages - eventually - transformed ancient Rome. But it was not without opposition, hostility and, sadly, persecution. So it may be in our day.

Out in front in our own age, speaking truth and refusing to worship the new false gods are faithful Catholics. Fortunately the government has not (yet) charged us with "hatred of the human race."
However, there seems to be a growing effort to brand us as extreme or intolerant.

The letter to Diognetus also contained these words:"what the soul is in the body that the Christians are in the world." Those who insist on remaining faithful as Christians (Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox) must not retreat.

We are the soul of the world in this age. That vocation has never been comfortable. That's why we have as our sign a cross.

Our position is the opposite of hatred of the human race. It is borne out of a love for the dignity of all men and women in their person, their bodies, and their families. It expresses our hope to see all men and women experience authentic human freedom and flourishing.

Intolerant Secularism is on the rise. We must not cower when confronted by those who attempt to silence us. Our message is not our own. It is for the whole world and it still sets the captives free.


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

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'No more baby parts': How will Congress deal with the alarming Planned Parenthood shooting? Watch

Image of


A shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado that left three people dead last week is only expected to inflame passions of both sides of the political spectrum - as well as giving lawmakers, returning from their holiday break, ... continue reading

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN UTAH? You won't believe what happened to the Body of Christ when it was placed in water (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of


A miraculous bleeding communion wafer has presented itself at a Utah Church. Followers from the St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Salt Lake City have claimed the sacrament bled for three days after it was placed in water following communion. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the United States Watch

Image of Mexican drug lord,


Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán leads the Sinaloa drug cartel, which the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports has the most influence of all gangs in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The DEA released an unclassified report that indicates the ... continue reading

MIRACLES DO HAPPEN: Days-old baby girl buried alive pulled to safety in California Watch

Image of Following the child's muffled cries, police eventually found the girl in a crevice along the biking path. Wrapped in a blanket, covered with a layer of rocks and rubble, the girl was cold - but alive.


While much still needs to be learned - authorities here in Compton, California are gratified to learn that miracles still happen. A days-old baby girl, estimated to be only two to three days old, has been pulled to safety from a riverbed after a passerby heard ... continue reading

Who Needs Advent? I do! Watch

Image of The candle is a symbol of Advent because it is a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, who is always coming to those with the eyes of living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Jesus Christ is not just a memory to the Christian with living faith. He is alive in our midst and living His Life in and through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. The redemptive mission of the Lord Jesus continues until He returns. As Christians, we ... continue reading

BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big and so powerful, you won't believe this MASSIVE SHOCKING fact about it! Watch

Image of Obama is the titular head of the world's most nefarious terrorist organization, a title he may have inherited from his predecessor, and that will be passed to his successor.


If you were asked, what is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated in human history, how would you answer? Global warming? Vaccines? The Moon Landing? Entire religions?  (Not that we agree with these). But what would you say? In a moment, we're going to offer an answer ... continue reading

'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for best deals Watch

Image of Sales for pricey items such as electronic devices erupt into violence on


Everyone has had their turkey leftovers from the previous day's Thanksgiving Feast - and now it's out the door to the nearest "big box" store in a mad scavenger hunt called "Black Friday," where shoppers trample each other for the best deals then can get just before ... continue reading

President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in Thanksgiving address Watch

Image of The president then went on to say that, all Americans must open their neighborhoods, their homes, and hearts to Syrian refugees.


United States President Barack Obama called on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees this Thanksgiving season, who - like the pilgrims that set sail on the Mayflower, were likewise fleeing persecution in their native land. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving Day: Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart Watch

Image of Around tables throughout America, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gather with mothers and fathers, Grandpas and Grandmas, extended family, neighbors and friends to thank God and one another. And then, we feast; not only on the food, but even more importantly, on the gift of the love which informs all family relationships and true friendships, the real source of lasting joy, the love of the God who gave us life and liberty.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be a day for love and gratitude. No matter how difficult the challenges we face as a Nation, we have much to be grateful for. As we give thanks, we will find the strength we need to love even more fully. As we practice regularly ... continue reading

New ISIS video taunts United States to 'bring it on' Watch

Image of While the video is pumping up Islamist State, the fact of the matter is is the group is suffering heavy losses on the ground form allied bombardment, especially since Russia began bombing the group


A new video from the Islamic State is highlighting the high number of U.S. soldiers who commit suicide, in effect to tell the world's last remaining superpower to "bring it on." U.S. President Barack Obama has since dismissed ISIS as "a bunch of killers with ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Christmas Presence vs. Presents
  • Opium, heroin or cocaine: What drug is YOUR country known for?
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Prayer For Faith HD Video
  • 'Body lifted from the ground': Young Central American woman dies ...
  • Parents' Prayer For Their Children HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 11:1-10
1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17
1 [Of Solomon] God, endow the king with your own fair judgement, the son ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:21-24
21 Just at this time, filled with joy by the Holy Spirit, he said, 'I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 1st, 2015 Image

St. Eligius
December 1: Eligius (also known as Eloi) was born around 590 ... Read More