Our Boosters are matching gifts up to $45,000. We have $32,417 to go. Your gift today will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

post-factum fearlessness

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 25, 2005

Announcements of the death of Rosa Parks put me in mind of Joseph Sobran's perceptive, if sardonic, remarks about one of her tardy admirers (from a May 2000 column):

Clinton is a perfect specimen of bogus courage -- the sort of guy who says things that are now safe and even fashionable with an air of jut-jawed determination that suggests he would have said them when they were not only unfashionable, but dangerous to espouse. In fact he has even told us that when he was nine years old, he and his little friends, in solidarity with Rosa Parks, rode in the backs of buses in Arkansas! Clinton is only a parody of many other liberals who want us to believe that their willingness to conform to today's fashions is proof that they would have had the courage to defy yesterday's fashions. Somehow I find it hard to believe that today's coward would have been yesterday's hero, if only he'd had the chance. More likely he would have been, like most people, a timid conformist in any circumstances.

One of the moral advantages to being a Catholic is that it makes one perpetually unfashionable. Because Catholic teaching is based on immutable truths, it will always bring those who profess these truths into conflict with the mutable world around them. Not all conflicts are life- or career-threatening, nor does the fashionable world always pick the same fights with the same doctrines. In one age the Church's teaching on duelling makes her suspect, in another age her teaching on labor, in another her teaching on marriage and sexual love. At all times, of course, some Catholics have tended to conformism, trying to shush the unfashionable teachings so as to become more acceptable to the people that count. Yet just as, after Hitler's defeat, many Europeans who submitted passively to Nazism "decided retrospectively that they had been in the Resistance" (David Warren's phrase), those invisible when a moral danger is present tend to become vocal when it is past.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($117,041 to go):
$150,000.00 $32,958.98
78% 22%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 25, 2005 3:05 PM ET USA

    We forget that in order to be truly effective, we are often called to be the ones who are 'out of step' even in our own parishes. The bottom line, I tell our teen leaders, is that we must tell the truth taught by our Catholic Church, even if it is not popular or received well, because they will not hear it anywhere else. It is only with sufficient fortitude (a gift of the Holy Spirit) on the part of those of us who are called, will souls be saved from following these icons of bogus courage. Pray

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Contentious Spirits, Beware! 16 hours ago
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28
Clarifying what it might mean for a pope to wish to change Catholic doctrine October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6