By Elizabeth Westhoff
Director, Marketing and Mission Awareness
Given my age, I will admit it is surprising I’m aware of the titular phrase I’ve used for this blog entry. You see, the phrase, “Now Is the Time…” was once a typing drill taught by a teacher named Charles E. Weller (I really have no idea why I know the teacher’s name, but those who know me will vouch for the fact that I have millions of generally useless tidbits careening around in my brain.) Mr. Weller used that particular phrase because it exactly fills out a 70-space line if you put a period at the end. My use of the phrase is surprising though, because—I’ve never used a typewriter. I have no idea of the relevance of a 70-space line. I could no more set the tabs on a manual typewriter than rebuild a car engine, and yet, as an English major and communications professional, my entire academic and professional careers have both necessitated my ability to type—and to type well. The thing is, my parents taught me the phrase, “Now Is the Time…” as a kid and today as a 38-year-old woman, it sticks with me still.
There are other things, of course, that my parents taught me that have stuck with me that are, perhaps, a bit more useful in my day-to-day life as a productive, responsible adult. (I’m sure they’ll be happy to read that.) Nothing they taught me, however, has proven more useful, more meaningful, more encouraging, and more important than what they taught me about my Catholic faith.
As a child of the 1980s, I am smack-dab in the middle of a generation of Catholics that, in my opinion, was provided with what I would describe as “less than robust” catechesis in school. My parents, understanding the importance of sending me to a Catholic school did so and, in their wisdom and with their responsibility as my Catholic parents who were passing along the faith to their children, took it upon themselves to see to it that my sister and I were both given what I would describe as a “particularly robust” amount of catechesis in our home.
What is more, all matters of discussion were always on the table at my house growing up, and my sister and I were encouraged to participate in the many discussions around the kitchen table. We grew up understanding politics, history, religion, and what my parents knew and thought about such topics. We were always encouraged to read and learn as much as we could so that, as we grew into adults, we would be able to intellectually form our own opinions on matters that would be facing us.
I remember my dad relaying a story to us that included the notion that, no matter how bad things got in the world, no matter how confusing society and culture became, if we wanted the truth—we should “look to Rome.” Of course, what he meant by this was that the Church would always point us in the right direction, regardless of what was coming at us from the rest of the world.
Here we are, now, in 2012, facing an issue that none of us, I think, ever thought we would have to face. We are facing the issue of having to defend our right to religious liberty as Catholic, Christian Americans. Despite how the media portrays the issue, despite what our friends, family or co-workers might think about this issue, despite what the culture at large would have us believe, the fact of the matter is—one of our most basic rights is being trampled upon.
I look at some of my fellow citizens—and even some of my fellow Catholics—and I am amazed that they seem to truly not understand the gravity of issue that is facing us and what is at stake. Well, either they don’t understand, or they don’t care. It’s easy to be apathetic about something you either don’t understand or about which you know nothing.
We are now in the midst of the Year of Faith. During this Year of Faith, the Holy Father has called upon us as Roman Catholics to both evangelize and catechize. My only concern is that we are, perhaps, entering into this time of evangelization and catechesis a bit too late to make any real difference as far as our lives as Catholic Americans are concerned.
Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke once wrote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Thankfully, my parents, and other parents of their ilk, did do something. They provided us, their children, with an understanding of our history as Americans, the knowledge of what it means to be a faithful Catholic, and how, as an American Catholic one must always understand the issues and our responsibility as faithful, Catholic, American citizens to defend and uphold our beliefs. Some issues of faith are non-negotiable and it is our responsibility as Catholics to not only know what they are but to defend them accordingly.
So, Mr. Weller’s typing exercise seems to have more importance to me now than just as a useless piece of trivia. Now IS the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country, I just hope there are enough of them out there who truly understand what is at stake and who, at this critical and pivotal moment in our history as a country, are willing to do what is necessary to prevent the triumph of evil.