There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators". But they went on with the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven", and had to obey God rather than man. They brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.
The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are.
[...] the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning [...] I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust.
Martin Luther King Jr in: Letter from Birmingham City Jail
There are a few good men (and women, no doubt) in the church:
PRIESTS WHO PROTESTED TORTURE POLICY RELEASED FROM PRISON
Franciscan Fr. Louis Vitale and Jesuit Fr. Stephen Kelly were
released today from California jails, after serving five month
sentences as federal prisoners.
The two were sentenced last October in Tucson, following their
November, 2006 arrests at Ft. Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, Arizona,
during a nonviolent protest of military involvement in U.S. torture
policy. After Magistrate Judge Hector Estrada forbid them to use
international law in their defense, the two pled no contest to
charges of trespass and failure to obey an officer on October 17 and
were taken into custody.
Both men plan to return briefly to Arizona, where supporters are
invited to join them in a peaceful vigil against torture from 2-3
p.m. Sunday, March 16, outside the main gate of Ft. Huachuca, at Fry
Boulevard and Buffalo Soldier Trail, Sierra Vista, Arizona.
For more information, including complete background on the case and
legal briefs about torture and international law, visit