In the first part of this article I examined the relentless pressure to apostatize that Christians are enduring from society and even from within the Church. This pressure takes a variety of forms, both crude and subtle: the negative caricatures of faithful Christians in the media, the juggernaut advance of militant secularists and the gender ideologues and the compromise and betrayal of the Faith by some bishops and priests.
Now more than ever, we need to spread the news of heroic Christians who are making a stand against these forces of compromise and defeatism. Some of these stories are hidden out of sight by the mainstream media, but once known are a great source of encouragement, such as the five German pro-family women and the Canadian pro-life great grandmother who feature in this second part.
German Play Incites Attacks Against Pro-Family Women
The Schaubühne theatre in Berlin is premiering a play by Falk Richter called "Fear" that advocates violence against pro-family politicians and activists who oppose gender ideology, same-sex marriage and the sexualization of children. During the play the photographs and names of five well-known pro-family women are displayed on stage, while they are represented by five "dangerous" zombies. Confronted by this mockery of the pro-family women the audience is told, "One cannot speak or discuss with zombies, one must get rid of them — drive them out, bring them under the earth, shoot them between the eyes."
The five women singled out for these violent threats were: Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry, members of the new political movement, Alternative für Deutschland, which is challenging the political elites' imposition of social engineering; and Birgit Kelle, Gabriele Kuby and Hedwig von Beverfoerde, who are prominent defenders of the family and children against attempts to impose gender and LGBT ideology on the German schools and colleges.
The day following the world premier of "Fear," Mrs. von Storch was physically attacked when her car was set on fire at her home. Four days after Falk Richter's incitement to attack these pro-family women, there was an arson attack against Hedwig von Beverfoerde's Magdeburg business office of "Demo für Alle," which campaigns against gender ideology in schools.
Dr. Josef Bordat, the Catholic blogger and philosopher, also received several death threats three hours after posting on his blog that these attacks were "pre-civilized acts of violence, which can never be justified." Dr. Bordat then posted the news of the death threats under the headline "That Was Fast," and included the threat he had received: "Don't be a nuisance, you Catholic conservative idiot ... otherwise a fire will soon be delivered to you. Your address is known." Writing on Facebook, Dr. Bordat observed, "The readiness to use force seems virtually limitless. Their goal is to achieve the total physical destruction of the 'enemy.'"
The playwright, Falk Richter, has not, as yet, distanced himself from these attacks or condemned them.
Canadian Great-Grandmother Imprisoned for Pro-Life Witness
Linda Gibbons is a 67-year-old great-grandmother of two who is Canada's longest serving prisoner of conscience. Linda has spent in total 11 years in prison for praying outside abortion industry killing centers. Not only has she sacrificed her freedom for unborn babies, she has also lost her employment with the Canadian military, and her home. Unable to get work for the past 20 years and denied social security, Linda is entirely dependent on the pro-life movement.
Linda is currently held in the Vanier Center for Women in Milton, Ontario, awaiting trial without parole for peacefully witnessing outside a baby-killing center with the poster "Why, Mom, when I have so much love to give?" Linda's "crime" is breaking a so-called "bubble zone" law that prohibits pro-life witness outside abortion centers. Toronto Catholic Witness reports that Linda walked quietly, without speaking, holding a life-sized model of a tiny 10-week-old baby for two hours outside the Morgentaler killing center. For this, the great-grandmother was arrested, handcuffed, charged and booked in the local police station. She was charged with "impeding, interfering with, blocking and obstructing" clinic patients; "distracting" or "attempting to distract" or otherwise "interrupting" the business of the clinic; "supporting or condoning" actions that might interrupt the business. But as the National Post newspaper observed: "I think you'd be hard-pressed to conclude Gibbons did any of that. She walked her solitary path in front of the entrance; she didn't chant, sing or pray; she didn't stop anyone."
As she was being arrested, Linda said to the police, "You arrest me while allowing the murder of babies? You have blood on your hands." When brought before the court Linda remained silent in solidarity with the silence of the millions of babies murdered by abortion.
During her 2012 imprisonment Linda explained why she is willing to go to jail in defence of unborn babies:
We will remain free in our love; we will not be coerced by the government to turn our backs on the unborn child. If that lands us in court, that's a gift, another providential opportunity to do the Lord's work. When hoping and praying become a criminal activity, where is our freedom?
Facing the loss of her job when she was first arrested, Linda called to mind the words of Our Lord during His Agony in the Garden: "'Can you not pray with me for one hour?' Anything I put before Christ is not where I should be at the moment. Doing the will of Christ is my first duty and the duty of the moment."
Explaining that she misses her family when in prison, Linda looks on the 11 years incarcerated as "a cost of doing business with the government. I'm trying to leave a legacy for my grandchildren, so they don't have to live in a society burdened by abortion."
The five pro-family German women and the Canadian pro-life heroine Linda Gibbons have refused to be mesmerized by the Serpent with its lies that we're powerless, insignificant and defeated. All of them have braced themselves against the riptide of the culture of death. The question is, do we have faith enough to join them in sacrificing ourselves for the civilization of love?
Whenever we feel ourselves falling asleep in our faith because we can no longer bear the agony of these times, listen to the voice of Our Lord beseeching us to stay awake and watch. If we do, we will see His countless victories over the Serpent in the lives of Christians all over the world. Then we will be able to keep to the right road of faith and walk there in safety.
This article originally appeared in the Catholic Voice newspaper and is republished here with permission. It has been edited for style.