A book has been published recently, authored by Neil Strauss, entitled Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life. It is one of a number of such books to emerge since the Y2K scare, and the 9/11 tragedy, calling upon Americans to embrace self-reliance. This latest opus emerges amidst the increased dependency upon the Federal government by various key industries.
Catholics are being warned by a few good priests, of a coming persecution. It may not resemble that of Germany in the 1930s, when Jews were rounded up en masse. But just as what happened back then in the early stages, certain preliminary measures could be undertaken to make living the Faith more conspicuous and less comfortable on a daily basis. It won't be over abortion, as even so-called "pro-choicers" cannot bring themselves to use the "A" word. This would suggest an inner concession, if only in principle. No, the persecution will be over the refusal to sanction "same-sex" marriage. What has been presumed to be the norm for several thousand years, the forsaking of which is known to have contributed to the downfall of both the Greek and Roman civilizations, is quickly becoming just another option among many in "enlightened" circles.
There is a need for faithful Catholics to avoid a fortress mentality; the isolating of husband, wife, and children, tucked away in cul-de-sacs with high fences to keep out the philistines. The Church, unlike the Protestant construct of "me and Jesus," is a collective, a communion of souls on pilgrimage to Heaven. This goes not only for the pastoral and/or sacramental life of the Church. It pertains not only to the role of the laity in bearing witness to the Gospel to others, but in a special way, amongst themselves.
It is not enough to love our neighbor; we must learn to be a good neighbor.
In February of last year, I wrote a piece entitled "How Then Shall We Live?" This was a model proposal for intentional community-building among Catholics and others of like mind. Last October, I reported on such an endeavor well underway, in Hyattsville, Maryland. Their effort is of such a matter-of-fact nature, that they never bothered to give it a name. Not that anyone should care what I think, but I like to call it "Saint Jerome's Village" or "The Village of Saint Jerome" if you will, as the people center their lives, and their physical proximity, around the parish church. This would have been quite common before the 20th century and the rise of suburbanization (as would be naming a settlement for its parish church, and there are numerous examples in states like Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).
I submit that that time has come for all faithful Catholics, both families and individuals, to take measure in light of the coming tribulation. (I use that term somewhat guardedly here, as the visions of seers need not be our guide for this scenario.) The next several years could see a transformation of many institutions of American society, the stability of which we have taken for granted until now.
The alternative might be spending much of the next two decades, wishing that we had acted sooner.