Letter by Father John Echert
|Fr. John Echert, Ministering to the Souls of Soldiers in the Mideast|
Editor’s Note: Whenever I hear it said that Catholic priests who continue to serve our war-torn Church from within the establishment are playing the part of the coward for not joining a traditionalist fraternity or society, my blood begins to boil. The following is the transcript of a sermon delivered a few weeks ago by a diocesan priest here in St. Paul. Father Echert has been providing daily Traditional Latin Masses in this archdiocese ever since 2007, and before that he opened his church willingly and enthusiastically to the TLM shortly after he was made pastor of the Church of St. Augustine in South St. Paul. A relatively young military chaplain who has served in Iraq and in various dangerous locations in the Mideast, Father’s courage seems to recognize no limits, unquestionably loyal to the Church but utterly unafraid to speak the truth no matter the personal costs. So the next time you’re tempted to claim that only priests trying to “save their skins” stay on and serve within our occupied Church, please remember Father Echert and the many good priests just like him who cannot find it within themselves to abandon their flocks to modernist priests during the present siege, and so have determined to stay on and hold the Catholic ground come what may. And as you read the following sermon, please consider the courage in the face of evil that is required of a priest first to deliver this sermon in the present climate and then to give the “rad-trad” Remnant permission to publish it. God bless you, Father! And, for what it’s worth, when they come for you, which now begins to seem almost inevitable, we’ve got your back! Father Miguel Pro, pray for us and for our courageous priests. MJM
My Friends in Christ,It has now been one week since the diabolical Supreme Court decision which now makes same-sex marriage a universal right for Americans. How ironic that in the days leading up to this national holiday that celebrates the Independence of the United States, the highest court in the land should abuse its power in such a blatant act against true human liberty and rights as determined by God.
None of us should be surprised by this ruling, as it is consistent with the sorts of legal determinations that have been made by this and other courts for decades, not only here in America but in many other nations and places as well.
Even while homosexual activists are celebrating their self-serving victory in the streets and the American White House is bathed in the colors of moral perversion, we are all the more sober and cognoscente that far from celebrating the birth of our nation this weekend, we are observing her steady decay and terminal demise. With this most recent ruling, we have now firmly and formally enshrined in our national policies and practices two of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance: murder of the innocent (through abortion) and the moral perversion of sodomy.
As for scoffers who might argue that “two out of four aren’t bad,” this nation is guilty of the other two damnable sins as well: oppression of the righteous and defrauding the laborer his wage. For just as true religion and the Israelites were oppressed in ancient Egypt, so too true religion and the Catholic faithful face increasing oppression in modern America. As for defrauding laborers, just ask bakers and photographers and florists who have been sued and fined and have had to shutter their shops and lose their livelihoods for their moral stands against same-sex marriage.
This past week, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, a national poll was taken to assess support among Americans for same-sex marriage. While not a fan of polls, this one is revealing, for it shows that by a slight majority Americans now support the right of same-sex couples to enter into marriage. One year ago, an identical poll showed that by a similar slight majority, Americans were opposed to same-sex marriage.
Imagine that, in a one year period, the majority flipped from opposition to moral perversion to support for it. Going back even farther in time, ten years ago polls were showing that only a relatively small minority of Americans supported same-sex unions or marriage. How is it that a small minority became a majority, and in so short a span of time? The Apostle Saint Paul warned the Christians at Corinth of this danger of widespread acceptance of moral perversion with the image of a small bit of leaven, which eventually leavens the entire loaf. Corinth, by the way, was known as a “Sin City” of the ancient world with widespread immorality and pagan temples. Modern America deserves a similar title.
But we do not have to go back to ancient Corinth to find an example of a minority becoming a majority. We can look back five hundred years or so to the reign of King Henry VIII in Catholic England. In the face of the Protestant revolt against the Church which was raging like a fire across much of Europe, King Henry stood firmly with the Church and was even declared the “Defender of the Faith” by Pope Leo X. But as we know the Defender of the Faith eventually turned and became an Enemy of the Church over the issue of marriage. He had himself declared by the English Parliament as “the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England.”
Henry never counted himself among the Protestant heretics but he went into schism with the Catholic Church and brought a majority of his court and subjects with him. So it is that a minority of one in this case—a monarch—was able to turn the majority of an entire kingdom of people.
Though we are not a monarchy we should anticipate the same—and are already witnessing it; namely, that a perverse and immoral minority that remains unchecked soon enough becomes a majority. This year the majority favoring same-sex marriage is 52 percent, next year it may be 62 percent, another year after 72 percent and so on until we are left with only a remnant minority which has not submitted to the rest.
We should also anticipate that just as a corrupt monarch misused the power of his office to advance his self-serving cause upon his own people, so too a republic that has become corrupt in all three branches of governance will continue to do the same to its own citizens, with increasing intensity and consequences.
So what are we to do, as citizens of this nation and as members of the Church? Follow the example and the principles of Saint Thomas Moore, who lived and died in the reign of King Henry VIII. History has recorded not only the great works and life of Saint Thomas More but even his final words. As Thomas placed his head upon the chopping block he drew aside his beard, saying “This hath not offended the king.” But much more to our point, the brave and noble statesmen Saint declared, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
Granted, we are not accustomed in this country to describe ourselves as servants of our government or leaders but the principle still applies: We should seek to live as good citizens of this nation but we remain citizens of Heaven first. If and when this dual citizenship comes into conflict, as is increasingly the case, then the demands of our citizenship in Heaven must trump any earthly citizenship.
Saint Thomas More enjoyed the privilege of a very high position as lord chancellor within the royal court but when circumstances changed and he could no longer continue to serve his earthly king in good conscience he showed himself by his life and death to be a servant of God above all. Whatever our own station in life and particular circumstances we are called to do the same: servants of God above all else.