There is a prevailing view, especially among those living on the coasts, that the country’s heartland is still a bastion of sanity. They imagine the area filled with idyllic Americana towns inhabited by salt-of-the-earth people and filled with mom-and-pop shops.
Marketers like to exploit this imagery. Such a scene was recently chosen as a symbol of unity in the famous (or infamous) jeep commercial from this year’s Super Bowl.
Our Lady Defaced
Some parts of this picture may still exist, but, as the old saying goes, “the devil was also in paradise.” There is no escape from modern-day tragedy affecting society and the Church, even in idyllic rural settings.
On February 23, a small church called Saint Mary of the Knobs tucked in Southern Indiana’s hills suffered a horrendous and blasphemous attack against the Mother of God and the Catholic Faith.
Local sources report that a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was vandalized with red paint. Someone sprayed a vile insult against the perpetual virginity of Our Lady on the front of the statue. Some paint was sprinkled on its head, appearing like a crown of blood. The parish chapel’s doors also had the word “hell” sprayed on them.
In online comments, local Catholics expressed horror and outrage. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis assured parishioners that they will be taking measures to ensure the safety of the parish church and school. However, many express doubts about the future. This sentiment is justified by a national trend of increasing blasphemy and sacrilege.
A Larger Trend
Roughly half an hour from Saint Mary of the Knobs church, a man broke into Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church last October. The parish is home to Louisville’s Ordinariate and Diocesan Latin Mass communities. The intruder smashed the altar.
A similar attack against the Faith happened at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Princeton, Indiana, where an outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Fatima—an Eagle Scout project of a young man of the parish—was targeted. A statue of one of the seers was destroyed.
An America Needs Fatima team in the area with a traveling Pilgrim Virgin statue reports on an increasingly vocal consensus about the need for action. Indeed, when assaults on the Holy Catholic Faith are public, public acts of denunciation and reparation should be the responses.
Sacrileges are happening more often in the heartland. Francis Slobodnik, ANF’s National Rosary Rally Coordinator, is constantly organizing rosary rallies of reparation and protest. He says that “It used to be that every couple of years there was a public blasphemy, then it became annual, then it became bi-annual, then it became monthly, weekly, and [now] it’s almost becoming a daily occurrence.”
A Call to Combat
Of course, blasphemies and sacrileges have happened since the earliest days of the Church. Eastern-rite Catholics hold the Anathema Service, which marks the Iconoclast heresy’s defeat, which promoted the destruction of statues and icons.
More recent examples of resistance might include, for example, the Catholic Legion of Decency, which fought the trend of obscene and perverse content coming out of Hollywood. Even the rising tide of Satanists today has had to bow before the effectiveness of Catholic action.
Adam Daniels, the Oklahoma-based Satanic group leader, complained to the press about Catholic protesters, who he blamed for low ticket sales to his Black Mass. “When you have the whole Roman legion out there, how likely are they to come and buy tickets?”
No Benedict Option
This increasing number of incidents in the heartland should serve as a message to Catholics: No “Benedict option” solution will avert the problems permeating society at large. No matter where one goes, one will eventually be impacted by the growing culture of anti-Catholic persecution. Catholics need to live up to the graces they received in the Sacrament of Confirmation when they became soldiers of Christ.
Only then can Catholics effectively defend their faith and eventually reconquer the culture for Christ the King, thus creating a social environment that will aid in the salvation of souls. This calling is something that all Catholics should relish. As Pope Leo XIII sagaciously remarked, “Christians are…born for combat.”
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