Red martyrdom, as our friend and mentor Gil Bailie mentions, is becoming a more realistic possibility these days for prominent and nonprominent persons of faith. The saint whose feast day we passed yesterday, Saint Cecilia, and recent events in Lebanon bear witness to this fact.
Not having visited the catacombs of Saint Callistus, I haven't enjoyed seeing the magnificent sculpture of Saint Cecilia in Rome. But I see a living sculpture, one provided by Our Lord, in the personage of our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
At Regensburg, he did what nearly no one in the leadership of old dreary, ashen Christendom has done within recent recall: he spoke for the Body of Christ and named good and bad, sin and evil, reason and unreason.
For the ghetto-dwellers and hedonists and relativists of old Christendom, it came as something incomprehensible. For foes whose holy writ was written in sand, blood and the patriarchy of the 7th century, it brought howling hysteria. For some, it was tonic: a heady draught and a memory of some long-forgotten trumpet call to arms.
Not a military call to arms; no. But a blessing mixed with pain and joy saying, "Remember! Remember who you are!"
This kind of witness - martyrdom - is what our king and Lord sends us in Peter's 265th successor. Who will listen?
Oh, I think many a feeble and trembling arm will feel around a chest and find a blade and mail and helm; not for battle, but identity.
"Remember who you are!"