Kudos to theloveofwisdome for sharing this story with all loyal followers of WDTPRS.com
This took place over 20 years ago. I had the misfortune of being born in Saudi Arabia. My father, who was a seminarian in the Holy Land for much of his childhood- learned a plethora of languages as a part of his seminary curriculum and after 11 years, when he finally left the seminary, before being ordained a deacon, he ended up working for the Royal Saudi Family as an interpreter. Being born and brought up there for much of my early childhood, I remember going to mass in secret- in peoples homes, and sometimes at the American embassy there. There were many, many Filipinos there.
School was tough, I remember there was only one other catholic in the whole school- he was the janitor. I was often singled out and picked on and beat up for being an “infadel” [Infidel. Muslim radicals call people who are not Muslims, be it Christian, Buddhist or even, take this, ATHEIST, are called "infidels"]. In retrospect, I thank God for giving me the opportunity and grace to be persecuted for his sake.
[Now read this and decide if this is Dan Brown stuff or one that would baffle even the Rational Heroes (belch!)...]
Though I was young, to this day, I have a very vivid memory of the religious police forcing their way into a home and arresting a our priest, a Fr. Pascal. They confiscated everything- crucifixes, icons, ciboria, chalice, paten, vestments- and even the tabernacle. If our altar was not just a table with an altar-cloth, they would have taken that too. As I was very young, I did not understand the faith enough to pay any attention to whether or not the consecrated hosts where kept, consumed, or also confiscated. The priest was the only one arrested- for the same charges as the above article, “proselytism”. Fr. Pascal was incarcerated for a few months and no-one knew what had happened to him. Finally, my Father, having been on good terms and friends with some of the Royal Family there, made an inquiry and an appeal to them by means of their cordial business friendship. Several princes agreed to my fathers request, and my father was permitted to see Fr. Pascal.
When he saw him, he said he was unrecognizable. My father said he was horrified by the things he saw in the prison- there were chains with cuffs bound to cement walls and all kinds of strange torture devices- he said it looked like a modern version of a medieval torture chamber. [Calling Carlos Celdran!] Fr. Pascal was bald, they had shaved his head with a razor, and he was emaciated. My father told him he would get him out. My father spoke again with the princes, and explained to him that the charges against this priest were unjust- he was not “proselytizing” – everyone present at the mass was already catholic and no one had been a Muslim. [The Kingdom created this law against "proselytism" when in fact they do not want people of other faiths to practice their religion. Period.] Finally, at my father’s insistence, the princes gave the command for Fr. Pascal to be released on the condition that he never return to the country. When my father returned to the prison to have him released, one of the guards told my father he had gotten the priest out just in time- and that if he had waited a day or two later, he would have found Fr. Pascal chained into and hanging from some chains on the wall. My father said he was not sure if the guard was kidding or not.
We soon emigrated out of Saudi Arabia to the United States during the gulf war. When I arrived here in the united states, I soon realized that the faith is under attack here too- though instead of from without, it is attacked from within. I am convinced that being a Catholic is easier in a place where one can be martyred for having the faith than in a place where one is intoxicated/poisoned with a liberal-modernist atmosphere. [Attention Pinoy Jesuits, Bishop Chito Tagle!] God help us.
Its very hard to stop caring about ones faith or not take it seriously when one can die for professing it. Sometimes, I think that it will take another Catholic persecution for the “catholics” to wake up and be catholic again. [Sad but true!]
We are being attacked from all fronts... from rabid non-Catholics...and from Catholics who is anything but Catholic...
the question is...how Catholic REALLY are you?
Smorgasboard? Pick whatever doctrine or lifestyle you want (aka pro-choice, freethinking Catholic)as long as you go to Mass every Sunday?