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CHARTRES, France, June 3, 2015 ( –The intellectual forces of the 21st century have taken aim at the Christian faith, Bishop Athanasius Schneider told pilgrims to Chartres on Pentecost Sunday, and especially at the Christian family. But the family must resist because it is the Church’s mightiest contingent.

The auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan chose the setting for his homily well: Chartres Cathedral marks a high point in the monastic movement that led Christian resistance to barbarism and laid the foundation for the European Christendom that fought Islam to a standstill, then forced its retreat.

When the Holy Spirit descended on the faithful on the first Pentecost, the bishop said, according to a translation provided by British pilgrim and blogger Ben Trovato, he brought “above all, the fire of Divine love in our soul [which] gives us the virtue of fortitude. That virtue of fortitude has, for two thousand years, given the faithful the capacity to prefer death to the betrayal of their baptismal promises, to prefer to die rather than to sin, to die rather than to betray their priestly vows, to die rather than to betray their religious vows.”

Bishop Schneider went on to name the Church’s enemies in the West: the “neo-Marxist ideology of gender,” and “the cult of the earth and the climate.” These ways of thinking had “marginalised, ridiculed and persecuted… families, young people, priests and bishops” for remaining true to their faith in Jesus Christ.

Schneider said the faithful suffered persecution not only in secular society, but “sometimes even in the ecclesiastical domain, because of their fidelity to the integrity of the Catholic Faith, and to Divine Worship according to the tradition of the apostles and of our ancestors.”

The “natural family” is a form of the Christian Church, which began at Pentecost, the bishop said, and this “domestic church” was the principal point of the attack on Western civilization being mounted by “the neo-Marxist gender ideology.”

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The family must rise to the peril, he urged, defending not only itself but Christianity: “It is today that the family is called to witness to the Divine beauty of its essence and of its vocation.” First, the Catholic family must gather together in prayer daily “to implore God’s blessing, and to honour the Immaculate Virgin by a rosary in praise of her, for all those who will go to sleep under the same roof.”

But the family must do more, he said, than strengthen its own members in their struggle against sin and “neo paganism.” It must raise up more priests and sisters.  “The most urgent necessity of our times is to have authentically Catholic families, which become the first seminaries for priestly and religious vocations.”

But it must also raise up young men and women in purity and fortitude to form new families and carry on the Faith. “What a beautiful vocation it is to be a true Catholic! What a beautiful vocation to fight for the integrity of the Faith, and the commandments of God! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a Catholic family, a domestic Church! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a chaste young man, or a chaste young woman! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a seminarian and a priest with a pure and ardent heart!”

Armed by the Spirit, strong in their virtue, the bishop promised, Catholics need not fear the “Goliath” of anti-Christian ideology, but can bring him down with “the five stones of David.”