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What Pericles might say about the St. Patrick's Day parade

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 04, 2014

There are times when the public influence of Catholicism waxes, and times when it wanes. Sometimes everyone wants to participate in Catholic celebrations, and sometimes the majority wants to keep Catholics out of civic affairs.

Right now we’re living through a time when the public doesn’t want to hear the voice of the Catholic Church. That’s unfortunate, but it would be even more unfortunate if the Church fell silent. Eventually society will recover its senses, and begin listening again. But if we Catholics have stopped telling the truth,…

In the political world, any reversal is temporary—unless, from a position of weakness, you give up all your legal rights. Then it becomes permanent. Pericles, in an exhortation to his fellow Athenians (as recounted by Thucydides) during the early reverses of the Peloponnesian Wars, said:

You should know too that liberty preserved by your efforts will easily recover for us what we have lost, while, the knee once bowed, even what you have will pass from you.

Reading that passage today, I couldn’t help thinking of the news from New York. The greatest problem is not that the gay-rights movement has advanced, and the Catholic Church retreated, with the acceptance of an LGBT support group into the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The greatest problem is that the New York archdiocese will be perceived as endorsing a lie. Once you stop serving as a bulwark of truth, you can’t easily recover.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Sep. 05, 2014 10:46 AM ET USA

    Correction, Phil. The NY archdiocese will NOT be "perceived" as endorsing a lie, it WILL BE endorsing a lie.