From the Pastor – October 20, 2019

USA Perpetual Adoration Chapels“But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:8)

Only eight years ago, in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia, a Catholic priest and more than a dozen Filipinos were arrested and charged with proselytizing.  An easy Internet search can help you find the story.  What were they doing?  Were they engaged in a Eucharistic Procession?  Were they handing out Bibles on street corners?  Were they running an illegal radio program trying to convince Muslims to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?  No.  None of the above.  They were attending Mass in a small Riyadh rest house. Filipinos comprise the vast majority of the more than one million foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.  And they are almost exclusively Catholic.  There is no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia; the practice of any non-Muslim faith is against the law.  Nevertheless, these Catholics – responding to a genuine human right engraved on their hearts – broke the law so that they could celebrate Mass.

So what happens when the case goes to trial?  How can the Saudi Arabian government make the case that these people were proselytizing?  Undoubtedly, they’ll need to present evidence.  Perhaps they have some photographs of the accused at Mass.  Perhaps they searched the accused and found them in possession of Catholic symbols, like crucifixes and Rosaries.  Perhaps, they’ll go to their homes and search them to see if they can find copies of the Holy Bible or sacred images on their walls.  Perhaps they’ll question their friends to see what they talk about or whether they have any “Christian tendencies.”  Perhaps they’d examine their bank statements to see if they had given any of their money to a Catholic church.  And once all of the information is assembled, the arresting officers will make a case before a judge and try to get these Catholics convicted of “proselytizing.”  At that point they’ll lose their jobs and being imprisoned or deported from the country.

Suppose – let’s just suppose – that Islamic extremists took control of the United States government.  Suppose – let’s just suppose – that they outlawed the practice of any religion except the Muslim religion.  Suppose they started assembling evidence . . . against you.

If you’re reading this article after picking up a bulletin at Mass, there could be photos of you in a church.  But if they searched you, would they find you in possession of Christian symbols, like a crucifix or a Rosary?  If they searched your home, would they find copies of a Bible that had been read?  Would they find sacred images on your walls?  If they questioned your friends, would they find that you had “Christian tendencies”?  Would they be able to search your bank statements and find that you’d given money to a Catholic church?  Bottom line:  Is there enough evidence for you to be convicted of being a Catholic?  When Christ comes, will He find faith on the earth?

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty