Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Church's Trust in God

Last night when I was reading my Bible, I came across a psalm that struck me as being very appropriate for the time we are currently living in. If you have been keeping up with the news lately as I have, you're probably aware that the Catholic Church in the United States is under unprecedented, escalating attack from the forces of evil. And this, at a time when the "new springtime" in the Church foretold and prepared by Pope John Paul II, "John Paul the Great" of happy memory, is just beginning to blossom under the wise and holy pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. The major reason for this attack is that our Catholic bishops, both individually and as a body, have been speaking out powerfully and with notable effect against abortion, homosexual "marriage," and the whole culture of death that the Obama administration stands for. The Catholic Church--united with many other Christians and people of good will in America--has scored major victories against FOCA, "gay marriage" and federal abortion funding in health care, and as a result, direct attacks on the Church have multipled. Some senators and representatives would like to revoke the Church's tax-exempt status and forbid Catholic bishops from publicly criticizing national policy. In Connecticut, a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would have placed the Catholic Church in that state directly under government control. Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina is being sued for refusing to cover abortion and contraception services in its health plan for students, even though the students themselves are against such coverage. A majority of U.S. senators is still attempting to pass health care legislation that would legally force Catholic hospitals around the country to provide abortions. In all of these assaults, the enemies of the Church have shed all pretenses of tolerance and civility, taken off their masks and declared open war on the Catholic Church and the traditional values it holds dear. The battle is joined and the weapons of the enemy are flying thick at the Church, because the Devil knows that his time is short. He knows that he is going to lose in the end, so he is doing all he can to snatch temporary victory from the jaws of eternal defeat. As Jesus promised in Matthew 16:18, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church.

The psalm I found, is Psalm 45, which expresses the Church's trust in God amidst persecution. Note that this is Psalm 46 in the New American Bible and most other translations. I quote the following from my favorite translation of the Bible, the Douay-Rheims Version of 1752:

Deus noster refugium.
The church in persecution trusteth in the protection of God.

Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly.

Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea.

Their waters roared and were troubled; the mountains were troubled with his strength.

The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful: the most High hath sanctified his own tabernacle.

God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved: God will help it in the morning early.

Nations were troubled, and kingdoms were bowed down: he uttered his voice, the earth trembled.

The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector.

Come and behold ye the works of the Lord: what wonders he hath done upon earth, making wars to cease even to the end of the earth.

He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire.

Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.

The Lord of armies is with us: the God of Jacob is our protector.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Controversy over the 9/11 Trials

On Tuesday, December 3, I received the following communique from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:


The 9/11 Never Forget Coalition, a diverse group of 9/11 victims, family members, first responders, active and reserve members of the military, veterans, and concerned Americans, will hold a December 5th rally protesting the plan to bring the 9/11 terrorist conspirators to trial in New York City.

The Coalition formed to fight the decision of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to try the 9/11 co-conspirators in New York City’s federal court, effectively giving war criminals the same rights as American citizens while endangering the safety of all New Yorkers. Two weeks ago, we sent a letter signed by 300 family members of 9/11 victims to the President, Attorney General and Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking them to reverse course. The letter has now been signed by over 120,000 Americans and is posted at [such and such a website I do not wish to promote]. Please visit the site and add your signature.

What: Stop The Terror Trials in NYC Rally
Where: Foley Square, Manhattan
When: Saturday, December 5th
Time: 12 noon


Here is the letter I have sent to Catholic League president Bill Donohue in response:

Dear Mr. Donohue:

As a 23-year-old American Catholic author who has been on your email list for several years, I would like to express my gratitude for the existence and activity of the Catholic League. Although at times I may find your personal style a bit overbearing, I nonetheless appreciate your loyal defense of the rights of the Catholic Church in the United States; your robust leadership of this crucial organization; and your unshakable fidelity to the principle of fairness in representing Catholic interests in our radically secularist culture.

In virtually every case of anti-Catholic bias you have confronted in recent months, I have been heart and soul with the Catholic League's position and efforts, and have applauded your notable successes with Kentucky Christmas trees, Christopher Hitchens, and expelling abortion from a health care bill.

However, I must respectfully take issue with a press release I received yesterday from the League entitled, "RALLY IN FOLEY SQUARE STOP THE TERROR TRIAL IN NYC!" Here I feel the Catholic League has overstepped its bounds as the defender of our faith, since the issue in question has much to do with politics and little to do with the Catholic Church in the United States.

In the press release, you informed us that the 9/11 Never Forget Coalition will be holding a rally in New York City on December 5 to protest the trial of 9/11 terrorist suspects in a federal court there. You explained that the Coalition "formed to fight the decision of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to try the 9/11 co-conspirators in New York City’s federal court, effectively giving war criminals the same rights as American citizens while endangering the safety of all New Yorkers."

In my recently published book, America's Back-Door Enemy: Unmasking the Unknown Terrorists, I explain that terrorism--even on the horrific scale of 9/11--is a crime under U.S. law, not an act of war as the Bush administration contended. Therefore terrorist suspects remain noncombatants who have the same rights as other criminal suspects, including the right to a trial. This position is also in accord with international law, which our Holy Fathers John Paul II and Benedict XVI as well as our Catholic bishops have consistently urged us to abide by in confronting terrorism.

As for the second problem you raise with the imminent 9/11 trial, it is difficult to see how weaponless terrorist suspects who have spent eight years in the Metropolitan Detention Center, and who will now be transferred to a civilian U.S. court building, all the while under surveillance and maximum security of law enforcement, can pose a tangible threat to the safety of New Yorkers. I even argue in my book that if the United States ever finds Osama bin Laden, he should be captured, publicly tried and convicted before receiving his just punishment.

I have arrived at these conclusions about terrorism and terrorists through much prayer, study and research (America's Back-Door Enemy contains over 500 references). Our Lord has entrusted to me a stewardship--valuable knowledge and the responsibility to act on that knowledge. Thus I cannot in good conscience align myself with the Catholic League in this matter, support the 9/11 Coalition, or sign the online petition.

I feel that in this case, you have allowed emotional partisan fervor to overwhelm clear thinkng and good judgment, resulting in the inappropriate involvement of a religious advocacy organization in a political issue that the Church regards as subject to the prudential judgment of our national leaders and the individual lay faithful.

I would be happy to discuss this issue further or answer any questions you may have. For more information about international "Islamic" terrorism and America's response to it from a Catholic perspective, I'd encourage you to check out America's Back-Door Enemy from Tate Publishing, available on Amazon and through your local bookstore.

In the meantime, please be assured of my continued prayers and support for the Catholic League and its mission. God bless you.

Justin Soutar