Of Witness and the Only True Safety
Popular processions and pilgrimages are among the most beautiful Catholic practices all over the United States and the world. (I myself, along with 300 others, walked the thirty miles of an Order-of-Malta-sponsored Advent Pilgrimage from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, Florida, last weekend – about which more, much more, in the future.) These types of events have a long history and great spiritual value, properly done, because they differ from the demonstrations and marches for specific causes, important as those are. They simply witness that the Church – and God – are present in the world, not only within the walls of church buildings but in our common public life.
Of course, opponents and outright enemies of that presence don’t like it. At all. Though religious voices have a right to exist in the public square as much as secular voices, we see increasing efforts to curb religious expression, as if, by its very nature, it doesn’t belong in civil society – or is even dangerous. And that’s true not only of America, but many other places in the world.