Most Christians are familiar with the catacombs where the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and other prayer took place in the first age of martyrs. Less familiar perhaps, particularly in 17th century Ireland, was the necessitated use of “Mass Rocks” in fields far from the prying eyes of British troops, when Catholic faith and practice was banned.
We need to pray, be vigilant, and courageous truth-speaking
witnesses in our day that such necessary precautions will not be needed again,
for the only remaining and acceptable discrimination is anti-Christianity, a
potential gateway to concentration camps and martyrdom.
One of the powerful scenes in the film THE KING’S SPEECH, is
when the about to be crowned King shouts: I HAVE VOICE!
Every human being has a voice, but not every human being is
heard, because totalitarian governments suppress opposition voices either by
imprisonment, shutting down media, while ersatz democratic governments use
other less drastic but no less effective means to stifle dissent, such as the
Liberal party of Canada banning all pro-life people from running as candidates
for the party, giving so-called ‘financial help in these difficult times’ to pro-Liberal
media outlets, by giving press passes mainly to those media who agree with the
current government, while social media, in the main, eviscerates solidly
Christian, pro-life, pro-family voices, even banning people outright, whose
posts are not in line with the outlets leftist agenda and doing such banning with
no process of adjudication.
So much for freedom of speech, so much for ‘I have a voice’,
nope, not unless you join the chorus of the pro-death, anti-family,
anti-Christian culture. A choir whose only ‘music’ echoes the banshee screams
of the damned.
A minor example of political correctness run amok is the
moment I typed “damned’ up pops a message, imbedded in Microsoft Word, advising
me that word ‘damned’ might be offensive to some of my readers. Really?
Reminds me of the 1998 film: Enemy of the State. Not just
totalitarian regimes but even western democracies through the symbiosis of
leftist politicians, media, special interest groups, have made the state
sacrosanct, treating any dissent as ersatz blasphemy.
It is extremely urgent we Catholics, indeed all Christians,
rediscover the courage of martyrs, should things keep heading in the direction
where martyrdom becomes a fact of life. Even more urgent is that we Catholics
and all Christians have the courage to be Confessors of the Faith, no matter
Doing anything less means not even noticing the smoke of
satan, which pervades within this time it history, and, as Pope St. Paul VI
noted, having also penetrated the Church, has become so thick that breathing in
and exhaling the True-breath of the Holy Spirit becomes well nigh impossible.
If we choose to ignore the smoke of satan we will suffocate through cowardice. Wildfires
in summer are a common occurrence and the smoke contains numerous chemicals,
gases, and particulate matter such as burning embers and soot.
The main components of satanic smoke are: hedonism, secularism,
relativism, humanism, atheism, a disdain for the sacredness of life from the
womb to the tomb, and most pernicious of all: pride.
Breathing in wildfire smoke damages the body. Breathing in
satan’s smoke corrodes the intellect, heart, and soul.
Equivalent to the winds that spread wildfire smoke thousands
of kilometers from the source, ideas uncritically embraced by human beings and
passed on to others, often globally, are the lies and pseudo ‘truth’ that
originate with satan and his minions.
Ideas matter; but ideas that matter most are taken for
granted…….Eventually one side of ideas or another comes to be accepted as what
“right-thinking” or “realistic” people accept. These fundamental presuppositions
are the environment in which the Church has to function…….I do not think enough
care has been shown by churchmen in understanding and evaluating these ideas
that shaped the modern world, and, as a result, it is the modern world that has
begun to determine our understanding and preaching of the gospel, to the
detriment of our common Christian tradition. 
…….a truth which the Church has always treasured: in the
far reaches of the human heart there is a seed of desire and nostalgia for God.
The Liturgy of Good Friday recalls this powerfully when, in praying for those
who do not believe, we say: “Almighty and eternal God, you created mankind so
that all might long to find you and have peace when you are found”. There is
therefore a path which the human being may choose to take, a path which begins
with reason's capacity to rise beyond what is contingent and set out towards
the infinite……..People cannot be genuinely indifferent to the question of
whether what they know is true or not. If they discover that it is false, they
reject it; but if they can establish its truth, they feel themselves rewarded.
It is this that Saint Augustine teaches when he writes: “I have met many who
wanted to deceive, but none who wanted to be deceived”. It is rightly claimed
that persons have reached adulthood when they can distinguish independently
between truth and falsehood, making up their own minds about the objective
reality of things. 
The attempt to set freedom in opposition to truth, and
indeed to separate them radically, is the consequence, manifestation and
consummation of another more serious and destructive dichotomy, that which
separates faith from morality. This separation represents one of the most acute
pastoral concerns of the Church amid today's growing secularism, wherein many,
indeed too many, people think and live "as if God did not exist". We
are speaking of a mentality which affects, often in a profound, extensive and all-embracing
way, even the attitudes and behaviour of Christians, whose faith is weakened
and loses its character as a new and original criterion for thinking and acting
in personal, family and social life. In a widely dechristianized culture, the
criteria employed by believers themselves in making judgments and decisions
often appear extraneous or even contrary to those of the Gospel. 
There are groups, of no small influence, who are trying
to talk us out of kneeling…..” It’s not appropriate for redeemed man – he has
been set free by Christ and doesn’t need to kneel any more.”…..Kneeling is not only
a Christian gesture, but a Christological one…..there is a story that comes
from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was
compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and
ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but, most strikingly, he had no knees.
The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical. 
There we have it, for the dominate poison in the smoke of
satan is pride.
It we are to be true Confessors of the Faith, have the
courage of martyrs, dwelling in truth and radiating the light of Christ to hold
back the spread of the darkness and smoke of satan poisoning the human family
with lies, the culture of death, the desperation that flows from unbelief, the
result of surrendering to the smoke of satan, then we must heed the words of Micah:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of
you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
 THE MASS AND MODERNITY, Jonathan Robinson of the
Oratory; pps. 40-42; Ignatius Press, 2205 [italics are mine]
 FAITH AND REASON, John Paul II, paras. 24/25; [italics
are mine] https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091998_fides-et-ratio.html
 THE SPLENDORS OF TRUTH, John Paul II, para. 88, [italics
are mine] https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor.html
 JOSEPH RATZINER COLLECTED WORKS THEOLOGY OF THE LITURGY,
pp.115, 120-21, Ignatius Press, 2014 [italics and emphasis are mine]
© 2021 Fr. Arthur Joseph