Today was an incredible day for the Catholic Church in America and especially here in our great state of Kansas. As soon as the HHS mandate was created, Archbishop Naumann sought to have some kind of national event to oppose this unjust law. Finding that no “national” event was planned, Archbishop decided we would create our own right here in Kansas. Today that vision came true as thousands of people from all over Kansas gathered in Topeka at the state capitol to peaceably assemble in opposition to the HHS mandate. Governor Brownback pointed out that today’s event was the largest rally ever held on the lawn of the Statehouse.
The 100+ temperatures no doubt kept many away, but also strengthened the witness of those that were able to brave the heat. “We’re not going away” as Archbishop Naumann put it so forcefully. In his talk, the Archbishop chose to focus on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul today and a story of St. Peter encountering Jesus on the road outside of Rome. Upon seeing the Lord heading into Rome from which St. Peter was trying to escape, Peter famously asked Jesus, “Quo Vadis” – “Where are you going?” Jesus indicated to Peter that he was going to Rome to give his life again for his people since Peter would not.
Archbishop took these famous words and posed them as a question to America. “Quo vadis America?” – “Where are you going?” In so many ways it seems that we have lost the vision of the founders that created our country. Many seemingly no longer believe in the values that have made us who we are. Who would have thought 200 years ago that we would become a country hostile to religion? The very reason for the existence of our country is inseparably intertwined with freedom of religion.Where are we going? If something is not done to reverse our present course then our country will not long survive.
For this reason, today’s rally was not just a fight for religious freedom, but a fight for the very soul of our nation. Throughout our history, Catholics have made this country great. Perhaps it now falls to us especially to play a key role in saving our nation.
Yet we are not alone in this fight. This isn’t just an attack on the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is simply the most visible target of the anti-religious forces at work in our society and government. The HHS mandate is an attack on all people of faith in our country and all those who believe in the founding principles established in our Constitution. It was such a blessing today to see so many of the rest of our Christian brothers and sisters gathered together in solidarity. One of the keynote speakers was a Baptist pastor and I was surrounded by many non-Catholics. I pray that this will be a great cause for working and praying together.
Where are you going America? Looking into the future feels a bit like Scrooge being confronted with the “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.” The future can look dreadful from here, yet Scrooge himself prayed that these are “but shadows of what might be and not what will be.” Scrooge was given a chance to change, and change he did. Let’s pray that America can do the same, before it’s too late. Days like today give us all great cause for hope. Thanks to all who made the pilgrimage from the 4 corners of the state. The media won’t cover it, but today we showed that we’re not ready to give up on our country. May God multiply our efforts and let us see the fruit of our prayers.