For many, it must be difficult at times to profess our faith in a climate of anti-Catholicism:
What? You don’t support embryonic stem cell research?
You’re not "Pro Choice?"
You supported California’s Prop. 8 forbidding Gays and Lesbians from getting married?
You’re still a Catholic after what those disgusting priests did those children?
And so it goes.
The Church, all of us, have been an easy target of ridicule by the prevailing popular culture for a long time. How long? As far back as Jesus. He warned his followers who squabbled over who would sit as his side at his moment of his earthly messianic triumph:
"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,
and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests
and the scribes,
and they will condemn him to death,
and hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and scourged and crucified…"
They didn’t get it – at first. That’s kind of our story, too.
We wring our hands, demanding: We deserve some respect."
Sometimes perhaps we forget that a follower of Jesus is one who must eventually run counter to the prevailing popular culture and its values. This is no martyr complex. This simply is the cost of following Jesus all the way to Calvary: the mockery, the ridicule.
The Cross rarely gets respect. Why should it? It’s a scandal to the world.
Deacon Manuel Valencia is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.