I’ve been wondering, of late, why congregants mark July 1 by singing “O Canada” at the end of Mass. I haven’t noticed legislators mark Dec. 25 by singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” at the end of their proceedings.
I realize the dates are not strictly comparable. Although Canada Day celebrates the birth of the State, Christmas day doesn’t celebrate the birth of the Church, but of its founder. Pentecost Sunday celebrates the birth of the Church. However, I haven’t noticed legislators singing “Come Holy Ghost” to mark that day either.
Maybe legislators don’t sing hymns because the State is at war with the Church. Maybe congregants sing the national anthem because they don’t realize the Church is under attack. If they did, their patriotic warbling would be like Confederates chanting “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as Unionists invaded the American South.
When he said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” Christ pointed out that State and Church complement each other. Both aim at securing human happiness, the State, temporal, the Church, eternal. You might say that Christ also cautioned them to mind their own business.
As it is obviously of a higher order than the temporal, the eternal takes precedence when State and Church are in direct conflict. Unfortunately, the State no longer knows this, and refuses to mind its own business. It acts as though Christ said, “Surrender unto Caesar” full stop.
I don’t know how else to explain Canadian legislative and judicial assaults of more than half a century. The assailants have struck down the Lord’s Day Act; emboldened secularists to banish Christian practices, symbols and utterances from the public square; ruled against religious exercises and recital of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools; compelled all schools to be open to homosexual and gender ideology; legalized contraception, in vitro fertilization, group sex, and assisted suicide; liberalized abortion and possession of child pornography; introduced no-fault divorce and same-sex “marriage”; and pressured Christians who refuse to co-operate in the changes to violate their consciences.
Oh yes, and the assailants have introduced a slippery distinction between freedom of religious beliefs and the right to act on them; trashed the Christian counsel of hate the sin but love the sinner; broadened the notion of hate speech in ways that could include quotations from the Bible; violated Catholic social teaching by allowing the welfare state to usurp from subsidiary organizations and individuals what they are able to accomplish on their own initiative; and in the Charter of Rights and freedoms demoted God from supreme in the preamble to subordinate in the rest of the document.
The State seems to think that faith and reason are opposed. They’re not. When the assailants attack faith, reason suffers collateral damage. Hence, widespread contradictions like the following: gays and lesbians can’t change their sexual orientation because they’re born with it, but males and females can change their sex even though they’re born with it; when appetite and digestive system are out of sync, or the esophagus malformed, it’s a regrettable disorder, but when sexual inclinations and organs are out of sync, or genitalia ambiguous, it’s a celebrated identity; pro-choice means no choice for the unborn, who aren’t human until they completely exit the birth canal; doctor-assisted suicide protects the right to life.
I suppose I could have misjudged congregants who sing “O Canada” at the end of Mass. Maybe they know full well that the Church is under attack, but put their faith in the line “God keep our land glorious and free.” It would be a persuasive possibility if, mentally, they replaced “keep” with “make.” They could be praying for a future liberated from an inglorious and licentious present.
If so, they had better hope that the God they are praying to is the one who is supreme in the Charter, not the one who is subordinate. I fear, though, that if the assailants can demote God in the Constitution, they can easily remove him from the national anthem. Just as they can change “all our sons” to “all of us” in the second line, they should have no difficulty changing “God” to “Let’s” in the seventh.
Our assailants seem to enjoy genuflecting to political correctness. All they need is someone to mount a lobby, a legal challenge or both.