If "religio" is translated as being bound to a particular outlook on life, then everyone is religious.
The saints simply have bound themselves to true religion. Today that is a socially unacceptable assertion, but "political correctness" is itself a form of religion. Early Christians were condemned as atheists because they refused to worship the gods approved by the government. The term "agnostic," presumably coined by T.H. Huxley in 1869, is just a lazy form of atheism. But institutionalized atheism, which the Soviets called "gosateizm," has caused the deaths of hundreds of millions. In our own country, it has created a hollowness of spirit and consequent despair. It is not irrelevant to this case that the most impressionable age group in our society, adolescents, have had a 56% rise in suicides in the last ten years.
Saint Polycarp could have been spared death by burning had he renounced "Atheism," which meant Christianity, but he shocked the pagans in the stadium by shouting that they were the real atheists. Around 110 AD, Pliny the Younger, governor in northern Asia Minor, would exonerate Christians if they would worship the emperor Trajan as a god, along with the statues in the state pantheon, "which it is said bona fide Christians cannot be induced to do." Thus there were even then what we now call "CINOs" — Catholics in Name Only, not "bona fide," who claim to be Catholic only when politically convenient, or in order to get married in a pretty church.
"Secularism" is a religion with a non-creedal creed censuring those who do not believe in unbelief. Young people in the United States who claim to have "No Religion" — called "Nones" — now outnumber Catholics, and they have their own prophets, redefining morality and predicting apocalypse by carbon emissions. "Politically incorrect" thinkers are banned from universities as heretics. Attorney General William Barr recently exposed this in an address at the law school of Notre Dame University: The secular project "is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake — social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns."
Some church leaders have tried to cajole secularists by avoiding mention of true religion. By contrast, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, whose family suffered under Stalin's pogroms, has said that a dispirited Catholicism is "an extremely cunning method of Satan to take away the successors of the Apostles and priests from prayer and evangelization — under the pretext of a so-called 'synodality.'"
The Founder of what politically correct idolaters in every age have considered heretical atheism warned: "For he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his majesty, and that of his Father, and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).
Faithfully yours in Christ, Father George W. Rutler
Father George W. Rutler. "Censuring those who do not believe in unbelief." From the Pastor (October 227, 2019).
Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler. Photo by Daniel Photographie on Unsplash
Father George W. Rutler is the pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. He has written many books, including: The Stories of Hymns, Hints of Heaven: The Parables of Christ and What They Mean for You, Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943, 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 © 2019 Father George W. Rutler
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