It’s Time to Speak Up

It’s been one of those weeks. They don’t happen very often, but when they do happen, we all become more aware. This is a countercultural life we lead and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to swim against the tide.

There was the baseball coach who insisted that a parent must be present for the entirety of every practice and every game. When it was pointed out that he was making baseball inaccessible to any child with a sibling (or eight) playing other sports, he just repeated the policy.

There was a basketball coach who was clearly “disappointed” we were unavailable for a tournament Easter weekend. There was a frank conversation about the way Christian young ladies behave when we were confronted with young ladies who clearly hadn’t had such a discussion. Everywhere I turned it seemed, the big, Catholic family was sticking out like a sore thumb. I felt it and so did my children.

Those are the times my husband and I genuinely smile all the brighter and remind ourselves that this life is a blessing — that the crosses, though real and rough and heavy, are our privilege to carry. I want to run for the hills, to build a house on the mountain and gather my children around me.

It’s a lot of work to interact with so many people who touch the lives of my many children and don’t understand why we live the way we do. Instead, I try mightily to smile and give an authentic Christian witness with my entire being. Those are the teaching opportunities, the chances to show the children by example that being Catholic isn’t something we do for an hour on Sundays, nor is it something we do when it’s convenient. Being Catholic is who we are, all the time.

I think that’s why it was particularly disturbing to me this week when Georgetown University shrank from its Catholic identity. Instead of proudly being Catholic for the world to see, instead of proclaiming itself Christian, the prestigious Catholic university cowered in the corner like Peter before the cock crowed. True, they didn’t honor the president with a degree the way Notre Dame plans to do. Instead, they just obliterated Christ.

According to news reports, President Obama asked that the “IHS” inscribed behind where he was speaking be covered. The White House made it clear that the monogram, which stands for the Greek translation for Jesus Christ, not be visible to cameras. It was covered over with a piece of black painted plywood, which remained in place even the next day. As a parent who teaches her children to be authentically Catholic every day, I am dismayed at Georgetown’s decision. I don’t take down my crucifix or hide my statues when non-Catholics come to visit.

From a purely secular perspective, I might even understand why Obama would ask to have the IHS covered. It’s a politically-motivated, misguided communication strategy. Such a request is disrespectful to the host, but I understand it.

What I don’t understand is why Georgetown would agree. To remove the ancient symbolism of Jesus Christ Himself from a Catholic institution in order to placate one of the most extreme anti-life, pro-abortion-under-any-circumstance politicians in the history of the our country shows a clear lack of character.

They could have said, “No, we won’t deny Jesus at the nation’s oldest Catholic university. Respectfully, Mr. President, you’ll need to find another place to deliver your speech.” We practice responses like that with our children all the time. Perhaps if the folks who make decisions at Georgetown were made to practice authentic Catholic responses, they, too could answer readily in defense of the Faith.

Perhaps Catholic University spokesman Victor Nakas would coach them. He said, “I can’t imagine, as the bishops’ university and the national university of the Catholic Church that we would ever cover up our religious art or signage for any reason. Our Catholic Faith is integral to our identity as an institution of higher education.”

On Good Friday, when I talked with my children about Peter’s denial of Christ, and then we prayed the Stations of the Cross, my 8-year-old’s eyes filled with tears.

“Why,” he cried, “why didn’t anyone step in? Why didn’t the Apostles stop them? Why did everyone just let Jesus die?”

In this country, He’s dying again and again and again. It’s time to speak up before the cock crows.

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  • MICHAEL

    Perhaps because it’s the end of a long week, but more likely at the end of the First 100 days of the new President I feel defeated. I feel we have spoken out in many cases both the ones that have gained national attention and similar local situations with coaches and yes even other Catholic parents and we have gotten reactions ranging from apathy to almost violent disagreement. I mean even with the Notre Dame situation there are now I believe somewhere in the neighborhood of 30+ bishops against Obama coming to this University and an on-line petition that now has in excess of 330,000 signatures. Yet what is the result of all this activity- teh Catholic priest President of NG is still “proud” to have Obama come to the school and over 70% of the students have same opinion. Other Catholic colleges have invited other pro-abortion speakers, including VP Biden to speak at Georgetown.

    Maybe I’ll be recharged again after the weekend, but on this Friday in a sea of bad news, I am tired already

  • goral

    …..Mercy Sunday at my daughter’s college, the one up on Troy hill which converted a beautiful white stone church to a computer repair facility.
    Since the computer giant is in the area, IHS became IBM. The stained glass windows are still set but the white dove now means the magical WWW that moves where it wills and no one understands its awesome, supernatural force.
    IT is allowing me now to blaspheme its benign being while benefiting from the space that IT owns.

    I did catch one field hockey game of the seven team tournament and then with a bite of guilt made a drive down to the Divine Mercy Shrine for the three hour celebration. Blank expressions from the fans was the result as I stated my reason for the premature departure.
    The icon in my mind was that this is our culture and I’m an anomaly.

    Fiat! As the Romans would say. The culture will not change, especially now that the messiah arrogantly proclaims and reinforces our emasculated mission. The bottom will continue to push up making the watershed shallower until the dry bed shows its parched seams.
    The picture of the maggot infested cadaver of a beast as we saw in the Passion film will be more common.

    It is my belief Mrs. Foss, that the last cock crow was the one-two punch that knocked out our front twin tower teeth.
    Now we have to cover-up our beaming smile and our Christian images.
    We are ashamed of Him.

    A guest at my house who requires that I cover up displays on my walls is an intruder and an enemy. Majority of catholics now bow to the initials-
    B+H+O

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    The living, breathing, dynamic witness of a big, Catholic family is more potent than any symbol on a wall. Be encouraged.

    Lucky

  • tomdundee

    While I agree that a big Catholic family is important, how long before that is banned? I was always taught that it was not the symbol that mattered, but what it represented. So Christ doesn’t matter? Are we ashamed of something?

    Who is BHO worried about offending? Does that person or those people even vote in the US?

  • goral

    It’s going to take a lot more than the arrogance of BHO to discourage me.
    That symbol on the wall, Mom of 7 was important enough for the president of all to remove. Why is it not important for us Catholics to retain?

    I would prefer that no moms advertise their motherhood nor their family size in these posts because it itimidates me. I’m kidding, the member of the other family is not.

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