Typically first rate stuff from John Allen

Here he is talking about the global war on Christians:

It sounds strange to say it, but war on the Church is always a healthy sign that the devil is feeling very threatened. The Church is in the middle of the greatest period of expansion in its entire history. Bear that in mind and don’t get stuck in the tiny bubble of moaning and groaning on the internet. It turns out that not everywhere is suburban America. We need to roll up our sleeves and get on with the work of bearing witness to Christ and doing the works of mercy and not listen to the devil’s press releases about how nothing you do does any good so just give up. That’s Hell’s Axis Sally doing the agitprop thing on your inner radio in order to blunt your will to fight the good fight. The ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan is furious, because he knows his time is short.

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  • Paul

    This makes my concerns about the music at te 10AM mass seem petty …..because they are.

    I need to pull my head out of my ass and start being a real Christian. Pray for me.

    • Gary Keith Chesterton

      Okay. Pray for me too.

      • ds

        Dear Lord, may “Paul” and “Gary Keith Chesterton” please pull their heads from their asses. Amen.

        • Something tells me this isn’t going to find its way on a prayer card soon…..:-)

          • Ted Seeber

            Don’t be so sure of that one. It’s a nice short prayer, easy to publish, and universally applicable.

          • Noah D

            Hey, my head isn’t…yeah, better add ‘Noah’, too, please.

        • Anya

          Change that to “Lord, if it be thy will, may Paul and Gary…….” Or what ever name you wish to insert such as Anya.

  • Kirt Higdon

    “The Church is in the middle of the greatest period of expansion in its entire history. ”

    Quite true. We’ve also had some of the best popes in the history of the Church in the last two centuries and no really bad ones. Of course, we don’t want to be triumphalist or think that we can now just coast, but there is great reason for hope and Christian optimism as long as we place our faith in Christ and not in princes. Let’s joyfully tackle the work that remains to be done.

    • Ted Seeber

      Something tells me that Victor Emmanuel might have disagreed with you about Pope Pius IX….but other than that, spot on. Too bad we’ve been coasting on the power of great popes for over 50 years now.

      • Kirt Higdon

        Victor E and Blessed Pius IX may well be enjoying each other’s company in heaven. When Pius heard of Victor’s final illness, he removed the excommunication he had imposed for the latter’s crimes against the Church. Pius died about a month after Victor did.

  • Glenn

    Axis Sally, or the Satan character in Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” in the opening Garden of Gethsemane scene, persistently whispering into Jesus’s ear that “No man can bear this burden. Not ever. Never.” Always the temptation to give up and despair.

  • Love it! Especially that last line. It reminds me of a certain Iron Maiden tune that really gets the blood a-pumpin’!

  • ds

    I know you don’t endorse or approve the ads…but mormon.org

    • Mark Shea

      I have alerted the web elves.

      • ds

        Too late, I joined up. When you get back from Florida, do you have some time I could stop by and talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

    • Ted Seeber

      The adverts on this site are largely based on Google Adwords, which in turn are based on the great Google Angel Computer which monitors *every* search you do and *every* website you seek out, then attempts to tune the advertising you see to your personal profile.

      My guess is that if you saw an ad for Mormon.org, it’s because you’ve been reading a lot of articles about Romney’s faith lately.

  • dpt

    “It turns out that not everywhere is suburban America. We need to roll up our sleeves and get on with the work of bearing witness to Christ and doing the works of mercy and not listen to the devil’s press releases about how nothing you do does any good so just give up.”

    Amen, Brother Mark!

  • Marty Helgesen

    Speaking of the Church being attacked by Satan, after every Mass I attend I privately pray the Leonine Prayers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonine_Prayers
    I also pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel (which are part of the Leonine Prayers) every morning along with the prayer to my guardian angel I learned as a small child.

    Strangely, in light of the famed uniformity of the pre-Conciliar Church, the wording of the prayer in my pre-Conciliar daily missal is slightly different from the wording I learned from praying it with the rest of the congregation after every Mass. I’ve seen other variant wordings in other old missals and prayer books. I continue to use the wording I learned at Mass.


    The wrens came back, I heard them sing
    But could not see them chattering,
    Inside a room and they without
    I knew the wrens without a doubt

    And as I pass from life before,
    Will not be seen, a metaphor
    A lyric or a lyric’s trace
    Will come again and take my place

    A prisoner inside a cell
    Will hear the song, another tell
    And still another, then my verse
    Will be an angry tyrant’s curse

    He will hunt but will not find
    The body of a lyric mind,
    But those in rooms sealed up will hear
    That melody both loud and clear

    April 18, 2012

  • Yes, when he speaks of the suffering of Christians under the iron hand of other religions, he’s right on. However, he smuggles a few hobbyhorses as well. He all but directly says that the debate over the new missal translation were a waste of time. What he fails to understand is that Catholics are in a two-front war: On the one hand is exactly what Allen says–direct persecution of Catholics abroad. But on the other hand is the war here at home which is more subtle. I’d call it an anesthetic assault–that being the ongoing attempt to water-down, castrate, or otherwise render dead letters, sound doctrine and practice. It’s no surprise that Allen doesn’t acknowledge this because the org he works for is one of the main culprits for pumping out this anesthetic fog.

  • Connie

    Satan is tricky – he never tells outright, totally implausible lies. His lies seem to have truth in them, and are tailored for the hearer. In the USA, land of the (maybe, maybe not) free and home of the brave, the lies often appeal to those who believe in the “Rugged Individualist” ideal. The Individual is responsible for himself, so he steps out proudly, wrapped in the presumed infallibility of his own intellect. By so doing, he can take that a step further and isolate himself from the herd (congregation) and risk being picked off by the ramping and roaring lions. The culture and mythos of the USA encourages citizens, Christian and non-, to “think for themselves”, to shed all that is not modern and progressive. Unfortunately, we can end up trading our heritage for a mess of pottage by searching for that which is ultimately found to be dross, here (if we’re lucky) or in the hereafter.