An Embarrassment of Martyrs

March 2002

Liberal Catholics don't like to talk about those who've been martyred for the Catholic Faith, probably because they just don't understand why anyone would be willing to die for the Faith. However, if a Catholic is killed for political reasons (uh, make that the correct political reasons), that is intelligible to liberal Catholics, and the martyr will be praised to the skies.

But to be martyred for the Faith as such? That's baffling. After all, liberal Catholics believe that all men go to Heaven, so dying for the Faith is quite pointless.

Even more pointless is being martyred for distinctively Catholic teachings. Liberal Catholics believe that Catholicism is just one variety of Christianity which is no better than any other, and that doctrinal differences among Christians are, if not basically misunderstandings that can be resolved through dialogue, then just historical curiosities that should be ignored.

When confronted with a Catholic who was martyred for distinctly Catholic reasons, liberal Catholics will try to spin the story in a different direction. Consider St. Thomas More. He was martyred by King Henry VIII for defending papal primacy. But liberal Catholics will tell you that his greatness was that he was martyred for the sake of his conscience — and, hey, aren't Catholics being persecuted these days by the papacy for the sake of their conscience?

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New Oxford Notes: March 2002

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