Feasting with Caesar

FATHER GEORGE W. RUTLER

In the wake of the recent hurricane, a sibilant television commentator said, "I'm so glad we had that storm."

Apologies aside, his words betrayed a view: people are expendable for the sake of promoting a political program.  In this instance the program was a form of socialism that has brought so much sorrow to other nations.

When free people vote against their own freedoms, they knock down the columns of a free society on themselves, the way Samson brought down the temple on his own head.  The first column to collapse will be the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.  Naïfs who thought this could not happen will be startled when the Church has to close charities, hospitals and schools, and even parish churches if they are subject to tax intimidation.  This will be far more disastrous to our civilization than the looming fiscal chaos and international instability.  Although certain areas on November 6 reported massive voter fraud, the election results cannot be blamed just on corruption.  Voters deliberately rejected warnings clearly made by moral and political leaders.

At least we have a beacon of honesty shining on the Catholic Church in the United States.  The 70 million or so Catholics were a Potemkin village, and the numbers of faithfully practicing Catholics are a small portion of that.  Long before he became pope, Benedict was a prophet who said, "The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning."  As the state's lions begin to roar, the nominal Catholics will skip out of the arena.

For a long while Roman Catholicism became for many a nervously self-conscious kind of Cute Catholicism, with leprechauns, mariachi bands and Santa Claus instead of confession, prayer and fidelity to doctrine.  But behind each leprechaun St. Patrick stares, and behind every mariachi band Our Lady of Guadalupe weeps, and behind every Santa Claus, Christ Himself judges.

Catholics could have saved the best in America, and they can only blame themselves for what has fallen down: marriage breakdown, contempt for chastity, a record low birth rate, and destruction of infants.  Looking at his own decadent empire, Cicero wrote:

"Do not blame Caesar; blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions.  Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new, wonderful, good society' which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean: more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious."

We can feast with Caesar, but he will soon feast on us, and we can laugh with him, but he will soon laugh at us.  "Risus abundat in ore stultorum."  There is much laughter in the mouth of the foolish.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Father George William Rutler. "Feasting with Caesar."  From the Pastor (November 17, 2012).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.

THE AUTHOR

Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001. 

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses — Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2012 Father George W. Rutler




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