A couple of years ago, I wrote about Father Franciskus Urban, a Benedictine priest-monk of the Nordic Catholic Church, an “Old Catholic” communion, and his work trying to bring a Benedict Option to Sweden. I received the following letter from Father Franciskus today, and publish it with his permission:
In hope that you are all well, I would like to re-connect since our mails in 2017 regarding the Benedict Option. About the same time, you were interviewed by Raymond Arroyo on ‘World Over’. There you prophesied that Christians will have trouble finding (or holding) jobs and positions. “It is coming”, you said.
Well, that time just hit me yesterday!
Just back home from England, where I was invited to lead a retreat on the theme “Christianity in the Trenches”. I had four talks/sessions on isolation, language and objective reality, truth and what hardships we will encounter as Christians ahead. A few days later, on August 1st, I went back to the Folk Highschool where I have been teaching philosophy, ethics and leadership since 2017, and was called in to the Headmaster who served me with: “I can see no possibility for you to stay on your position at the school” / “Your [orthodox] ‘values’ do not meet with the schools ‘value foundation’”. The school is said to stand up for democracy, inclusion, diversity, and equality.
Apparently, some are more equal than others, as Orwell put it.
You might remember that I serve as a priest in Karlskrona (Sweden) and that I belong to a Monastic Order as professed monk, living by the Benedictine Rule (Cistercian). Since 2017 the Order has erected a Priory here that was inaugurated and consecrated last year. And as a way to serve the city (and for my livelihood) I’ve been teaching at this school, being extremely careful to separate my belief and my teaching.
Of course, this gives me much more time for the monastic herbal garden and to look after our beehives, et cetera. But it also shows that the time you talked about (and that we knew was coming) is here. And moreover, that the students will learn nothing about virtues. Not even in Ethics class.
I’m still in Kansas City at the annual Chesterton conference, which just wrapped up. I’m about to have some beers with some of the folks here. Just before I headed up to post this, I was talking with a grad student in a particular field — I won’t mention more here, because I don’t have his permission — who spoke in detail about this kind of thing in his intended profession. It is harsh. I asked him to send me something I can use on this blog later, when he can do so without putting himself at risk. We both agreed that so many people want to believe that it’s not going to happen to them, and that I am exaggerating the threat. I’m not, he said; this is real. I told him that the more stories from people like him, on the front lines, the easier it will be to wake people up in time to do something, perhaps, to protect religious liberty.
By the way, I met another student today who recently graduated with a degree in Classics. He would have liked to have gone to get a master’s in the field, but said the open hostility towards heterosexual white males within field — including the move to deny them jobs and the opportunity to publish in scholarly journals — is a real thing. I wrote about it here back in January. This young man said he decided to go to law school instead, because he saw no hope for himself as a Classics scholar in a profession dominated by progressive bigots.