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An inspiring call to arms during a grim and challenging time

Austin Ruse’s Under Siege: No Finer Time to Be a Faithful Catholic is a useful book in describing the evils of our times and what we can do to oppose them.

It is easy for a Catholic to feel discouraged in our times. The culture appears to have decisively turned against Christian values and shows signs of constantly getting worse. In this context, Austin Ruse’s new book, titled Under Siege: No Finer Time to Be a Faithful Catholic, is an inspiring call to arms.

Ruse argues that we should be glad to live in such troubled times because of the opportunity they provide to become saints. Ruse summarizes his book’s thesis in the following way:

In His great providence, God has allowed a great evil to come upon our land. But He has also sent us, in His great providence, to do something about it. What an honor that is, an honor that we should accept. We should not accept that the situation is lost; we should not hunker down and wait for better days. We are the Lord’s hands and feet on this earth, and better days rely upon us. We must charge the sniper’s nests now lodged in the government, the academy, the corporations, the media, Hollywood. We must charge with joy in our hearts that this is the mission that He gave to us.

However, if we are to engage in this titanic battle, we must understand the nature of the evils that we face. Ruse paints a grim picture of the state of our times. One the chief evils is ‘transgenderism’,  which Ruse describes as follows:

At its base, the idea is that God or nature made a mistake with some people and gave them the wrong reproductive organs. But on top of that is piled the assertion that the failure is not actually God’s, or nature’s, but rather ours for failing to perceive this unusual color of the rainbow.

The trans movement has increasingly targeted children, and clinics have prescribed ‘gender confused’ adolescents with puberty blockers and other body altering medication. In some US states, taxpayer’s money now funds sex change operations for those as young as 15. Ruse cites the particularly tragic case of six-year-old James Younger ‘who is being forced by his mother to wear dresses as a girl named Luna’:

When he is with his dad, James is all boy. He chooses boy clothes and boy toys. But the mother has custody, and so James is being pushed toward puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and perhaps surgery. The boy’s father went to court to fight what was happening to his son. The court sided with the mother. Now the father is required by court directive to refer to his son as a daughter and to use his female name and pronouns. If he refuses, he will lose all contact with his son.

Sex education and pornography have also become huge problems. Ruse describes how his own local school board in Fairfax County, Virginia ‘requires children to experience eighty hours of sex ed’:

Sixth graders get lessons about “sex partners.” Seventh graders get more lessons on “anal sex.” Eighth graders are subjected to twenty-two references to “anal sex” and twenty references to “oral sex.” Tenth graders get lessons promoting abortion and about how to get one without telling their parents. 

The family of pornographic websites known as MindGeek makes more money than Netflix and has a greater bandwidth than Facebook or Amazon.

Then of course there is abortion. While there has been a massive increase in the number of Americans who describe themselves as pro-life, now equalling those who call themselves pro-choice, and more than 200 pieces of pro-life legislation have been passed by state legislatures, perhaps in reaction to this the abortion lobby has now dropped all pretense of being ‘pro-choice but not pro-abortion’. Groups like Shout Your Abortion now openly celebrate the practice and the National Women’s Law Centre describes abortion as an act of love, an act of compassion, an act of healing, an act of selflessness.”

The new religion

Ruse traces the development of what is known as America’s ‘wall of separation’ between church and state. In American terms, secularism meant a belief in religious pluralism but today it has come to mean being without religion. In the 1960s the Supreme Court imposed this latter form of secularism on America, banning prayer and Bible reading in public schools. Subsequent Supreme Court decisions have enshrined contraception, abortion, sodomy, and same-sex marriage as constitutional rights.

The numbers of Americans who describe themselves as Christian has declined from 90% to 65% since the 1970s and there has been a dramatic rise in those who declare themselves as having no religion from 7% to 22%. Yet Ruse argues that we do not in fact live in a secular age and that even the ‘nones’ are profoundly religious. Practices like Yoga and concepts such as ‘wellness’ have taken on a strongly religious nature. There has been a massive increase in belief in reincarnation, ‘spiritual energy’ in physical things, psychics, and astrology. One study found witchcraft to be America’s fastest growing religion. During the Brett Kavanagh hearings a group of witches gathered to cast a spell on him, and 10,000 people registered for an event called ‘Hex Kavanagh’.

While the decline of Christianity has led to an increase in occult and New Age spirituality, the new secular religion which Ruse calls ‘the State Church’ is as dogmatic and intolerant as any other. One of its chief dogmas is that of LGBT rights, to dissent from which risks personal and professional exclusion. The LGBT agenda has penetrated every area of life from education to the military to corporations. The LGBT movement has a massive hold over wealthy corporations. 10% of top executives at J P Morgan Chase bank define as LGBT. The movement has infiltrated the human resources departments of major corporations and their philanthropic arms which donate hundreds of millions of dollars to the cause. Ruse describes how the big corporations have become beholden to the leading LGBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):

When Big Gay winks, corporate America smiles. More than 1,000 corporations have voluntarily participated in the HRC questionnaire, including almost all of the Fortune 500. Fully 91 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have gender-identity protection enumerated in their nondiscrimination policies, and 98 percent of those businesses offer such protections. Eighty-nine percent of reporting businesses offer “sex-change” coverage. Indeed, 686 of the companies reporting, or 64 percent of the total, have achieved a score of 100 percent.

Ruse asks:

What happens when all of corporate America gets a 100 percent score on the HRC’s Equality Index? Will Big Gay organizers go quietly back to their lives? Unlikely. Power is attractive, and there’s always more to do, more pockets to pick, more heretics to harass. The HRC owns a spectacular building in downtown Washington, D.C., only a few blocks from the White House. They bring in fifty million dollars a year. This gay cash does not grow on trees. It is shaken out of scared individuals and major corporations who originally paid protection money for peace but now are genuinely committed to the gay agenda.

To avoid falling foul of the censors of the new religion many people simply self-censor. Self-censorship has become particularly strong on university campuses where bad ideas often have their origin. Ruse cites the results of a study on self-censorship at one university:

In 2019, researchers studied free expression at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They asked students “how many times during the semester they kept a sincere opinion related to class to themselves because they were worried about the consequences of expressing it.” Surprisingly, they found that even 23 percent of self-identified liberals self-censored; 68 percent of self-identified conservatives self-censored.

Embracing the challenge

Yet despite so many terrible problems afflicting our society, Ruse argues that today is a great time in which to live. We are living through the one of the greatest debates of all time, one that concerns the very nature of the human person. Ruse believes we should feel privileged to live through this debate and future generations will ask us what we did.

Ruse sees three barriers to decisive action: fear, nostalgia, and entertainment. There are constant temptations to hide ourselves away from the danger, to long for a time that is long gone or to engage in long and pointless arguments about forms of society that we would like to see implemented but which are highly unlikely to materialise. Finally, there is an inclination to lose ourselves in entertainments, social media, and other escapes from reality.

Ruse believes we should take heart from the fact that the Church has never compromised on marriage and family. He states:

Consider…that abortion, contraception, and sexual perversion are all sacraments of the sexual Left, and now of the established State Church. The Catholic Church stands against all of them.

The United States has several excellent Catholic publishing houses, TV and radio stations, and universities. While vocations may be down, they are up in traditional orders such as the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter and Institute of Christ the King. Many orders of nuns that retain the habit and are faithful to Catholic teaching are oversubscribed.

Ruse gives practical suggestions as to what a Catholic can do to oppose the dominant culture. He says Catholics should not speak the enemy’s language, for example, avoid words like ‘gender’ and use ‘sex’ instead. You can donate to pro-life or pro-family groups, let friends and family know your views and remove your children from public school and let people know why.

This is a useful book in describing the evils of our times and what we can do to oppose them.

Under Siege: No Finer Time to Be a Faithful Catholic
by Austin Ruse
Sophia Institute Press/Crisis Publications, 2021
Hardcover, 208 pages


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About Piers Shepherd 6 Articles
Piers Shepherd is a freelance writer based in London, England. He has had articles published in the Catholic Herald, Christian Order and the Catholic Medical Quarterly among others. He obtained an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and currently works as a researcher for a trust defending traditional marriage and family in the UK.

23 Comments

  1. Indeed, perhaps these are the times we had childhood visions of being courageous for the Faith. How many of us contemplated what we would have done had we lived during Jesus’s time and saw him carrying his cross to Calvary. Surely, we would have offered some help without fear of the Roman guards.The Roman guards are still present but with different names, so can we take a stand for righteousness and against evil? Let’s also not be confused by causing division. The division between right and wrong existed well before our times. We just need to take a stand and decide which side we want to be on and where we want to spend eternity. Take a stand against abortion and sign the declaration for life pledge at “declaration-for-life.org”

  2. Piers Shepherd embraces Austin Ruse’s disquieting grasp [for most of us recliner chair Christians] of our remaining option, the very best option which is exactly what Christ wants of us. A call to spiritual arms. Ruse so well points out the recliner chair Christian, driven by fear, nostalgia, and entertainment. Recliner chairs are great for one thing, although we can’t dismiss needed relaxation. That is for silent prayer day or night, the last the best moment of the day. Austin Ruse is no ‘ruse’. “When Big Gay winks, corporate America smiles”. That is the make or break challenge of Christians, to remain silent and be complicit with the greatest moral decline ever. A true inversion back to Sodom and Gomorrah. Or resist overtly. Ruse and Shepherd give us excellent guides, although each of us has to fight in his own unique capacity and gifts, but fight he must to emerge victorious even if evil prevails globally and the End arrives upon us. From this writer’s perspective calling out error while remaining silent as to who or what is the cause is a loser’s tactic, remaining manipulated and deflecting criticism from the source. That source holds supreme authority within the Church. Nevertheless, it’s not the abuse of legitimate magisterial authority, rather it’s the abuse of the ordinary magisterium, quips, singular comments, actions, writings primarily Amoris Laetitia that strongly suggest though not quite definitively turn good on its head making evil a virtue. Both for penitent and priest. Historically the most sweeping subversion ever of the corpus of Catholic doctrine. That’s what we’re up against, leaving judgment of conscience to God but requiring we repudiate the fomenting of errors. We will save our own souls and that of others if we have the faith to be direct and similarly avoid personal acrimony.

  3. So glad to see this.

    Mr. Ruse is absolutely right. This is a war, not a debate.

    As Jesus Himself said, “Fear is useless. What is needed is faith.”

    Plus some bishops with spines, He might have added.

    Thank you for publicizing this work, CWR.

    Catholics, be strong and take heart.

  4. I recently finished this book. Even though I’ve been following the “culture wars” pretty closely over the years, he presented facts which were entirely knew to me, especially the stats on porn distribution and how deeply many corporations are involved in the ‘”LGBTQ” movement. His examples of modern-day saints were particularly edifying. I also found his suggestions for how faithful Catholics can fight back against societal rot to be both practical and refreshingly realistic. It’s a well-written, engaging and very quick read.

  5. I am not so sure the Catholic Church is doing enough and strongly enough. Opportunities exist everyday and worldwide. A large percentage of clergy, priests, bishops and even some cardinals have capitulated in favor of “social justice”. Satan has made that offer very tempting and it needs to be completely rejected and loudly by all Catholics.

  6. God created a Church on earth to teach His followers right from wrong. Our best action to fight the man-made government’s nonsense is to fill our churches with our neighbors so they can hear the word of God. Let our priests and bishops lead by teaching. We should wash our hands of politics in the man-made government world. Playing politics is a no win situation. Our man-made government has become a golden calf.

  7. In this excellent review, if the list at the end of “practical suggestions” were longer, it could include a specific encouragement to the BISHOPS in the United States. Specifically, the importance for the USCCB to NOT blink in dealing with Eucharistic Coherence and with unity within the Church.
    As an historical parallel, we might be reminded of fractured politics in the decades before the Civil War…

    One of the blunders was that of Catholic Chief Justice Taney who presided over the DREAD SCOTT case (often compared to our abortion issue). In a sweeping judgment, he not only rejected the individual Scott’s elementary plea for freedom, but he went further to decree that the now-repealed but still-venerated 1820 Missouri Compromise forbidding slavery north of a certain parallel (read abortion after some arbitrary number of weeks) was unconstitutional. Slavery now could be extended into the territories regardless of the voted verdict of the people living there (read Roe v. Wade which swept aside anti-abortion legislation in some twenty-two states).

    Enter, now, BIDEN AS THE REINCARNATED TANEY! In his own and also-sweeping edicts Biden seeks to codify Roe v. Wade, to further impose the mentality of gay “marriage,” and to drag the nation into transexual/gender theory, all the while claiming to be the “president of unity.”

    On some points, tragically, 60% of (unformed) Catholics seem to agree with Biden. But the lesson from history is that Lincoln, in the election of 1860, also had only 40% of the popular vote (1,866,452 out of 4,680,193: with the rest divided between Douglas, Breckenridge and Bell). Lincoln had every electoral vote of the free states except for 3 of New Jersey’s 7 votes (for a parallel modern threesome, read Cardinals Cupich, McElroy and Gregory who oppose USCCB action).

    The awaited teaching on elementary Eucharistic Coherence is challenged to rise to the level of Lincoln’s venerated and unifying Gettysburg Address. An historic and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! CARPE DIEM!

  8. Austin Ruse is hated by the writers at Patheos and National Catholic Reporter, bloggers like Mark Shea and journalists like Jenn Morson, et al. That tells you he is really speaking and writing from an authentically Catholic perspective.

    • From following Ruse’s twitter feed, I think they dislike him because he comes across as a jerk on social media, not because they disagree with his points.

    • The eBook edition is only $9.95 at the Sophia Institute Press page linked above. Change the Format menu from Hardback to eBook.

  9. The Catholic Church in society once had a great influence on Faith and Morals. That ended during and after the Second Vatican Council. The Modernists took over not only the Church but society in general. They know their mistakes but deliberately sleep through them. Modernists are filled with the pride of satan, as satan will never repent its a wonder if Modernist’s heretics will ever repent of the destruction they have caused. They haven’t finished. News now is that Francis plans to strike a blow to Summorum Pontificum. By doing so he will cause damage to society. But I have read Traditionalists are saying, “He can strike Summorum Ponticum but we have Quo Primum from St. Pius V”. Quo Primum contains a grave warning, “anyone who adds or removes from this Missal, let him be Anathema… they will incur the wrath of Sts. Peter and Paul”. As an example of this, look at what happened to Annibale Bugnini, banished from Rome to his great and tortures regret. St. Pope Paul Vl who promulgated the Novus Ordo, saw the destruction of the Mass, so much that he lamented, “My crown of thorns is the way priests are acting today”. Francis believes in nothing but if he causes damage to the Mass of all ages there is no doubt there will be consequences from Heaven. I for one have no access to a Tridentine Mass, but as an act of reparation, I will start inserting prayers from the 1962 Missal of St. Pope John XXlll. St. Pope John Paul the Great asked that this not be done but today there is “a case of necessity”. If all faithful Catholics did this what will be the response of the heretics. I will stop waiting “until things get better”. They will get better now, I won’t wait for the Modernists to act, I will act now and take my Catholic Fath back!

    • Andrew,
      Thank you for your spirited resolution. I hope you follow through. As a TLM attendee (FSSP parish), I was heartened mightily to read of your respect for it. Francis needs a lot of prayer. As does Benedict.

      We have an absolutely saintly pastor at my parish. We had a glorious Corpus Christi procession all around Church property with outdoor altars set in every compass direction. We all prayed for (beginning the First Friday, Mass of Reparation to the Sacred Heart) for good weather. We GOT IT.

      Bells, incense, chant, chorus and devotees were in full and joyful outstanding array. No parking space anywhere. The first real parish social followed. Sans masks, government ‘mandate’ be damned.

      Praise the Lord and His glorious Church. Praise the Holy Ghost. Blessed Be Our Father who loves us all so very much. Would that the worldly sinners (within the church and outside it) could know what they’re missing today and will miss tomorrow and forever unless they strip their minds and hearts of the dross of nonsense, stone, and sinful horror.

      • Meiron, What you described about your taking part in a great Feast of Corpus Christi gives me spiritual envy. I have longed to take part in the Traditional way of such a great Feast. It is something I have longed to experience. Thank you and God Bless! and may the Immaculate Herat of Mary always be with you and yours,

  10. I’m conflicted.
    From reading the reviews of this book. I think Ruse brings up many good points (especially that America is a truly religious nation as shown by the LGBTQ dogma being forced onto us all).
    However, I cannot purchase this book because I cannot support Ruse. I follow him on twitter, and he does nothing but troll his opponents. His comments targeting gays, blacks, and women serve no purpose other than inflating his own ego. I do not know how he can be an effective messenger for the Catholic faith this way and cannot support him by purchasing this book.

    • So don’t read Ruse on Twitter. {Why does ANYONE read ANYONE on Twitter??} And/or don’t buy his book–your loss. Or borrow it from the library. But if you don’t read it, you may not be prepared to survive the blast of wrath, not from Ruse but from the enemies of the Christ and His Church.

      • Meiron, The enemy of the Church is the Modernist Heresy and that includes the LGBTQ scourge on humanity. They are spreading errors from hell itself. Their satanic fallacies forced on us, just like the evil of the Modernist heresy forced on us during and after the Second Vatican Council. The errors of Modernism caused so much destruction to society as a whole. Stop the LGBTQ quickly before it causes such damage as did the Council.

    • Tim, It sounds like your not supporting Ruse for the wrong reasons. Now I don’t know what he says about Blacks and women. But him targeting the LGBTQ is a good thing. This group teaches young people how to ruin their lives and how to become an embarrassment to society. The LGBTQ should be charged with crimes against humanity and given a just punishment. Scripture tells us what that punishment should be. But with Our Lord Jesus Christ’s redemption, I don’t think it would be necessary to go that far. But some Justice must be done against such wickedness. According to St. Catherine of Sienna, from such people, a stench rises to heaven.

      • Andrew,
        I cannot support Ruse because his technique is ineffective. He spends hours making inane posts about whether or not Biden ever stuttered and instead of discussing the problems with CRT, he calls George Floyd a drug abuser. I want an effective messenger for the Catholic faith, not someone who wastes his time in stupid fights.

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