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LANCASTER, South Carolina, January 7, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest is warning Americans who believe in God of the “dark” four years they have before them under a Biden administration that he says will commence an all-out assault on religious freedom that will especially target Christians, resulting in persecution.
“We have a dark four years coming as a Church, and we need to get ready,” said Father Jeffrey Kirby, a moral theologian and philosopher who is pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Lancaster, South Carolina, in a Dec. 29 homily.
Before warning how a Biden administration will affect Christians, Fr. Kirby chastised members of his own parish for voting for a leader who calls himself Catholic while supporting abortion among other evils.
“Some of you, I know, voted for someone who is now going to suffer (hurt) and persecute the Church for the next four years. That on top of the fact that he supports the utter slaughter of the unborn,” he said.
“What have you done? What have you done to your Church,” Fr. Kirby cried out with a loud voice.
“Look at and watch as our religious sisters will be dragged through the courts, as contraception will be set to be imposed upon them. Watch how our hospitals disappear, because we will not follow government dictates. Watch how our support of unwed mothers disappears because of constant and unreasonable regulations. Watch as mother Church shrinks. Watch how she is treated by this government, this coming administration. And those of you who voted for such an administration bear the responsibility of what you have done, because we are in for it, folks. And they're already getting ready,” he said.
“Have you seen the appointees? Some of the most aggressive anti-Catholic anti-organized-religion leaders in their various states. And this is what we're in for. To the righteous, to those who believe, also get ready because we're going to have a very difficult next four years,” he added.
While the priest warned that Christians are going to “lose so much” in the upcoming “time of darkness,” he also offered a path of hope forward.
“We are the children of light,” he said, “and we're going to keep fighting.”
Fr. Kirby put forward St. Thomas Becket as an example of how Christians should engage with the Biden administration.
Thomas Becket, a 12th century English martyr, rose from humble origins to become King Henry II’s most trusted and powerful subject after the King made him his chancellor at age 36. The King and his Chancellor had a deep relationship with one another that transcended their offices. It was said that they had “but one heart and one mind” and some describe their behavior as like two schoolboys at play. Beckett rose to become an archbishop (1162) and leader in the Church.
When Henry, in 1164, attempted to strike at the privileges of the Church through the Constitutions of Clarendon, Beckett refused to endorse the offending document, adopting a position of uncompromising resistance. There followed six years of persecution that climaxed in Beckett being brutally murdered by four knights on Dec. 29, 1170, while praying vespers in his Cathedral. When the knights stormed the Cathedral and asked, “Where is the traitor?” the saint is said to have calmly replied, “Here I am, no traitor, but archbishop and priest of God.”
President Donald Trump invoked Becket on the saint’s feast day last month, praising the martyr for opposing the king while asserting the rights and privileges of the Church.
“Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs,” said Trump in his Dec. 29 “Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket.”
“On this day, we celebrate and revere Thomas Becket’s courageous stand for religious liberty,” Trump said. “To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty,” he added.
Fr. Kirby in his homily said Becket’s life and death “exemplifies and emphasizes the utter importance of religious freedom, that a person can follow their conscience that they can worship God however he or she may understand him.”
The priest said the saint should inspire men and women of faith to stop being “wimps” when it comes to living out the faith without compromise.
“If we truly believe, I pray that we do, that Jesus Christ has given us the most powerful message ever given to humanity, I pray that we will be unshakable, immovable, uncompromising in our defense and explanation and sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in the rights of the Church,” he said.
Fr. Kirby said that by following the saint’s example of fortitude, Christians during the Biden administration “will be able to speak the truth even as they try to silence us.”
He warned that unless good men and women publicly witness to the truth, America will continue sliding into a demise of Communism where Christian views on “natural marriage, the personhood of the unborn, authentic religious liberty” will be no longer tolerated and stamped out.
The priest urged those who try to live righteously in the ways of the Lord not to fear the suffering that will surely come, but to see it as an opportunity for witness.
“It's going to be a glorious suffering, because with every suffering God will just be endowing his Church with more grace. And it will be precisely our sufferings that will inspire other believers, the lukewarm perhaps, to themselves find true faith, or perhaps those who have no faith to begin to ask what's different about these people, why are they so vocal. And they begin to ask questions to perhaps come into the faith,” he said.
Fr. Kirby called Saint Becket a “providential figure” for Christians regarding “what we are called to do” during the Biden Administration.
“It is now time for us to find our voice. It is once again important that we see the heroism of this martyr and find in our hearts the strength and the grace to speak the truth and to find that fortitude in ourselves,” he said.
“Never forget that the only thing evil needs to succeed is for good people to remain quiet. The only thing that evil needs to conquer is for holy people to remain quiet. So, find your voice. Say a few prayers to St. Thomas Becket. And then begin to speak the truth.”
The priest said that as “we walk through these next four years, I pray that we find the strength to give a glorious witness to the power of what the Church can be, because our enemies think they're going to destroy us. We will be here until the Lord returns. But, we have to suffer a little bit. We have to rely more on his grace and we're going to keep saying ‘yes’ and we're going to take that grace and every time they think they've knocked us down, we're going to turn back around and do even five more things more gloriously.”
“So, we ask for that grace. We ask for the intercession of his holy one that we might give as strong a witness as he did to speak the truth always, in season and out of season,” Fr. Kirby concluded.