Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/23/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction

One of the silverlinings in the ominous cloud threatening the freedom of the Church in America is the extraordinary way the hostility of the new Caesar has mobilized the faithful. Perhaps even more heartening is the way that this growing and open hostility has elicited such courageous leadership from so many of our shepherds. Most recently that kind of courage was demonstrated by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois.

Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria

Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/23/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Bishop Daniel Jenky, Diocese of Peoria, Anti-Catholic, Anti-Christian, religious persecution, courage, courageous Bishops, Caesar, Church State, religious liberty, religious freedom, Deacon Keith Fournier


PEORIA, IL (Catholic Online) - On Thursday, January 19,2012, Pope Benedict XVI  addressed the Bishops of Region IV in the United States (Baltimore, Washington and the archdiocese for the Military Services) gathered for their ad limina visit. He warned them of a "radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres". He further warned them that the "seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion."

One of the silverlinings in the ominous cloud threatening the freedom of the Church in America is the extraordinary way the hostility of the new Caesar has mobilized the faithful. Perhaps even more heartening is the way that this growing and open hostility has elicited such courageous leadership from so many of our shepherds. Most recently that kind of courage was demonstrated by Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois.

His excellency gave a tremendous homily on April 14, 2012, at a Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral during the annual "Call to Catholic Men of Faith" event. Over 500 men gathered and, on a rainy day, marched through downtown Peoria bearing witness to the ancient but ever new Catholic faith. During the event the Bishop presided at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where the men and many others joined him. I paid particular attention to the event because my wife is from Peoria and became a Catholic many years ago in that Diocese. 

In his homily this good Bishop did what all good homilists should do, he reflected on the readings of the day for the Liturgy. The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 4: 13-21), recounted the hostility faced by Peter, the first Pope, and the beloved disciple, John, as they exercised their apostolic ministry in another culture which had grown hostile to the Church and her message of genuine liberation.

Peter and John left an example which has been followed for over two millennia whenever the Church faces open hostility from the State. It is in this account that we find these often quoted words: " So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."

The Gospel for the day was a post resurrection account from St Mark's gospel (Mk 16: 9-15). Jesus tells the believers to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." The Apostles did just what the Lord said and they turned the world of their age upside down (Acts 17:6). So too have their successors. Bishop Jenky of Peoria did a good job of demonstrating the same kind of apostolic courage shown by Peter and John when he reminded all Catholics "We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction."  

The homily has been quoted in a piecemeal fashion by those who do not want Catholic Bishops to exhibit a backbone in the face of the growing hostility toward the Church in the West. Fortunately, their effort to intimidate is not dissuading our shepherds. The entire homily has been posted by the Diocese and can be read here. Our readers can also listen to this courageous Bishop on a podcast by visiting here We offer the homily in full context and complete below.  
------
Homily of Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois.

There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave. The disciples never expected the resurrection. The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message. He was dead, and that was the end of it. They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.

So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah. His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate. So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.

When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity. They simply could not believe their own eyes. Reality only very slowly began to penetrate their consciousness when Jesus offers proof of his resurrection. He shows them the wounds on his hands, his feet, and his side. Jesus even allowed them to touch him. He breaks bread with them and eats with them. And only then could they admit to themselves what had seemed absolutely impossible - the one who had truly died had truly risen! The Crucified now stood before them as their Risen, glorious, triumphant Lord.

His rising from the grave was every bit as real as his dying on the cross. The resurrection was the manifest proof of the invincible power of Almighty God. The inescapable fact of the resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken and every work Jesus had ever done.The Gospel was the truth. Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel. Jesus was the Savior of the world. Jesus was the very Son of God.

There is no other explanation for Christianity. It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.

Today's appointed Gospel reading for this Saturday in the Octave of Easter is taken from the 16th Chapter of Mark. It concludes with a command from the lips of Jesus, given to his disciples, given to the whole Church, given to you and me assembled here today: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."

We heard in today's Second Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus was amazed at the boldness of Peter and John. Perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they recognized them as companions of Jesus. They warned them never again to teach, or speak to anyone, in the name of Jesus.

But the elders and the scribes might as well have tried to turn back the tide, or hold back an avalanche. Peter and John had seen the Risen Christ with their own eyes. Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit. They asked whether it is right "in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."

And Peter and John and all the Apostles, starting first in Jerusalem in Judea and Galilee and then to the very ends of the earth, announced the Resurrection and the Good News to everyone they encountered.According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures, these Apostles had once been rather ordinary men - like you and me. Their faith hadn't always been strong. They made mistakes. They committed sins. They were often afraid and confused.

But meeting the Risen Lord had changed everything about these first disciples, and knowing the Risen Lord should also change everything about us. You know, it has never been easy to be a Christian and it's not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.

But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God's one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best. But think about it. The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions. The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads. The Church survived the age of revolution. The Church survived Nazism and Communism. And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith. The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work - like that very first apostolic generation - we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation. Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his "Kulturkampf," a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany. Clemenceau, nicknamed "the priest eater," tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century. Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama - with his radical, pro abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path. Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgement seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries -- only excepting our church buildings - could easily be shut down. Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the instrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry - and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries - can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

Now remember what was the life-changing experience that utterly transformed those fearful and quaking disciples into fearless, heroic apostles. They encountered the Risen Christ. They reverenced his sacred wounds. They ate and drank with him. Is that not what we do here together, this morning at this annual men's march Mass?

This is the Saturday of the Octave of Easter, a solemnity so great and central to our Catholic faith that Easter Day is celebrated for eight full days, and the Easter season is joyously observed as the Great 50 Days of Easter. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ - risen from the grave - is in our midst. His Holy Word teaches us the truth. His Sacred Body and Blood becomes our food and drink.

The Risen Christ is our Eternal Lord; the Head of his Body, the Church; our High Priest; our Teacher; our Captain in the well-fought fight. We have nothing to fear, but we have a world to win for him. We have nothing to fear, for we have an eternal destiny in heaven. We have nothing to fear, though the earth may quake, kingdoms may rise and fall, demons may rage, but St. Michael the Archangel, and all the hosts of heaven, fight on our behalf.

No matter what happens in this passing moment, at the end of time and history, our God is God and Jesus is Lord, forever and ever. Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat! Christ wins! Christ reigns! Christ commands!

---


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


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More U.S.

Wore out his welcome: Obama advocates withdrawing their support Watch

Image of A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll has yielded some most striking findings. The degree to which the president's approval has slipped among key parts of the Obama coalition, such as women, youth and Latino voters who put in him back in charge two years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. President Barack Obama's support has been rapidly dwindling stateside. The president, in particular has alienated women voters, especially those who re-elected him in 2012. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "He's been faced with a lot of challenges, and ... continue reading


Values Voters: What We Can Learn from Ted Cruz Being Booed at the In Defense of Christians Conference Watch

Image of Senator Ted Cruz from Texas was the keynote speaker at what was billed as a Gala Solidarity Dinner. Sadly, it certainly did not demonstrate solidarity between Christians. A small group in the assembly, rudely and loudly, reacted negatively to some of the words Senator Cruz spoke as he expressed his convictions concerning the persecution taking place in this land which is properly holy, precisely because of its role in God's loving plan of salvation for the whole human race.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The events of Wednesday, September 10, 2014, at the Inaugural In Defense of Christians Gala make abundantly clear that there is a serious and urgent need for values voters to meet and discuss the crisis in the Mideast and ways in which we can work together to ... continue reading


Democrats and Republicans stand together against the Islamic State at inaugural Christian summit Watch

Image of The Islamic State has continued to murder and persecute Christians in every region they have conquered, displacing millions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

California representative Anna Eshoo (D.) spoke at a special summit called In Defense of Christians (IDC) on September 10, commenting on the continuing persecution and slaughter of Christians at the hands of Islamic extremists in the Middle East, specifically by ... continue reading


War? Congress and administration agree on conflict, argue over who declares it Watch

Image of President Obama's speech on September 10 outlined continued conflict against the Islamic State, and so far responses among Congress and within party lines have been mixed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During a live address to the nation on September 10, President Obama promised to destroy the Islamic State, functionally declaring war without the support or approval of Congress. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This might be for the best, as a majority of ... continue reading


COMES TO LIGHT: Yahoo was threatened in 2008 with $250,000 daily fine if it didn't cooperate with NSA Watch

Image of Recently released documents, roughly 1,500 pages worth, outline a secret - and unsuccessful legal battle by Yahoo to resist the government's demands.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Would you capitulate if the United States government threatened to hit you with a quarter-of-a-million dollar DAILY fine if you didn't cooperate with them? Internet search engine Yahoo buckled to pressure back in 2008, and the dreaded National Security Agency ... continue reading


72-hour abortion wait period enacted in Missouri Watch

Image of Crowds gathered for rallies both in support and opposition of the legislation. Abortion rights activists wore purple shirts while abortion foes wore red. Both sides pointed to the personal experiences of women who had abortions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overriding a veto of legislation, Missouri lawmakers enacted a new law that requires women to wait 72 hours after consulting with a doctor before having an abortion. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The vote by Missouri's Republican-led legislature overrules ... continue reading


Feds take $100 million from cartel related businesses in California! Watch

Image of Federal officers seized $100 million from downtown Los Angeles businesses as part of an anti-cartel bust.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Federal officials announced that Los Angeles is now the nation's center for money laundering by international drug cartels, after a raid in downtown L.A. seized an estimated $100 million in cash and from bank accounts as part of an ongoing probe. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Patriot Day, September 11, 2014: Who Are We Becoming Thirteen Years After the Attack on Our Nation? Watch

Image of I will never forget when that cross emerged out of the rubble in the aftermath of the bombing of the World Trade Center by evil Islamist terrorists. We all knew it was a sign. Sadly, there was a lawsuit filed to attempt to remove images of that Cross from the National September 11 memorial and Museum in New York. It took an Appeals Court to stop that effort.That Cross, rising from the rubble, visually demonstrates the source of true freedom. It is time we got back to it.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

September 11, 2001 changed the United States of America. Every anniversary since is an existential moment, an invitation to reflect on who we are  becoming. The actions of those evil men and the heroic response of those ground zero heroes call us to such a ... continue reading


Security officials admit that Islamic State fighters could sneak through U.S.-Mexico border Watch

Image of The Islamic State has threatened to destroy the United States, and some analysts fear that the group could sneak fighters into the U.S. through the U.S.-Mexican border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A senior Homeland Security official revealed to Congress that terrorist members of the Islamic State are planning to enter the United States, via the U.S.-Mexican border. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Francis Taylor, the under secretary for the Department of ... continue reading


California becomes second state to guarantee paid sick leave Watch

Image of California's governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that grants hourly employees paid sick leave. The bill will come into effect in July of 2015.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The state of California has extended paid sick leave to millions of workers who would not normally have access to it, making it the largest expansion of its kind to date. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - California's Democratic governor, Jerry Brown signed the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 5:7-9
7 During his life on earth, he offered up prayer and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 31:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20
2 turn your ear to me, make haste. Be for me a ... Read More

Gospel, John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 15th, 2014 Image

St. Valerian
September 15: The massacre of the martyrs of Lyons with their bishop, St. ... 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