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  • David Martin | The Daily Knight

The Catholic Martyrs: Models for Today’s Church Under Siege

David Martin | The Daily Knight

The Martyrdom of St. Stephen - Rembrandt

Easter is a time to resurrect from the sepulcher of fear and to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Christ’s commission to His Church is to fearlessly witness for Him even “when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake.” (Mt. 5: 11)

The trend since Vatican II has been to sell out the Faith for gifts and worldly acknowledgement, and this way of cowardly betrayal unfortunately has set even many bishops onto the path of perdition. The way of God is to always place God first over man without respect to persons.

St. Stephen, the Church’s first martyr exemplified this beautifully when he reprimanded the Jews for their wickedness, saying, “You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you also. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who foretold of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.” (Acts 7: 51-53)

We read then how the Jews stopped their ears and rushed in upon Stephen in a violent passion and stoned him to death as he joyfully welcomed this with open arms. (Acts 7: 56-59) The martyrs down through history all suffered similar torments. Though the different accounts vary in detail they all follow the same classic pattern: their steadfast faith in Christ enraged their persecutors who threatened them with unheard of torments, to which they didn’t bat an eye until their tormentors consumed with envy finally unleashed their fury upon them. St. Lawrence of Rome was fried in a large frying pan for professing his faith, during which time he cheerfully called out to his persecutors saying, “You can turn me over now, one side is done.”

St. Thomas Becket’s Example for Today’s Bishops

St. Thomas Becket chose to be butchered to death in the Cathedral of Canterbury (1170) rather than allowing state officials to step in and infringe upon the Church. The Archbishop declared the Church’s autonomy and locked the state out of the Church until he was beaten to death by state executioners. His placing God over the state was a sterling example that should have been followed by our Catholic bishops during Covid but who instead buckled under threat and bribe by allowing state officials to come in and impose ridiculous restrictions and lockdowns, even permitting them to foist the sacrilegious practice of taking Communion in the hand – all done under the pretext of obedience and public safety. The bishops were tripping over themselves and couldn’t act fast enough to implement the dictates of wicked governors like Newsom and Whitmer, thus testifying to their cowardice in allowing themselves to serve as useful idiots for the state instead of as true servants for Christ.

The faithful should understand that they are never obliged to obey clergy who act thus. The rule of old is that when obedience is going to mean committing a moral fault one must never obey, since all obedience is to be rendered to God, not to man. Any obedience in the Faith, whether it’s priests to bishops, bishops to popes, laymen to priests, wives to husbands, or children to parents, must be done to please God otherwise it has no value.

St. Dymphna’s Example for Today’s Laity

On that note, St. Dymphna (650 AD) provides an encouraging example for tradition-minded Catholics who today are under siege by their clergy. Dymphna was the model daughter, the very picture of obedience – obedient to her parents, obedient to her priests, obedient to Catholic teaching – but with this same obedience she refused to capitulate to false obedience.

One day her father Damon, distraught over the death of his wife, was enticed by his friends to propose to his daughter Dymphna with the argument that she looked very much like her mother and would be a suitable replacement for her since she was now ‘of age.’ He told young Dymphna, ‘I want you to marry me,’ but she refused the offer. Displeased with her response, he persisted in his perversity, saying, ‘Come, come, now be obedient, I’m your father, you’re going to marry me.’ At that, she lectured her father, saying, “Don’t you dare offer me your lewd proposal because I will have no part with it.”

Damon gave her one more chance to consent but to no avail, whereupon she was forced to flee with her confessor to Geel, Belgium. Her father along with fifty soldiers eventually caught up with her at which time he tried to force Dymphna to return with him to Ireland, but she resisted. In an outrage of violent passion, Damon drew his sword and struck off his daughter’s head. She is said to have been 15 years old when she died.

The point being that Dymphna today is listed as a glorious martyr-saint because of her perfect disobedience to her father for the love of God. Dymphna put God first and wasn’t about to be misled by her father’s seduction, which tells the story of how we must deal with our errant Church fathers who are also trying to seduce the faithful with their errant proposals. Catholics have a duty to resist and rebuke such priests for attempting to impose on them sacrilegious practices like Communion in the hand, receiving from lay persons, receiving while standing, and must furthermore resist any clerical dictates to accept things like eco-enculturation, homosexuality, inter-faith unity, (ecumenism), modernism, women acolytes and lectors, the breaking of Commandments, the changing of doctrine, or involvement with aberrations like the Charismatic Movement.