Fr. Joseph Esper
The Stages of (Church) Persecution
1. The targeted group is stigmatized; its reputation is attacked, possibly by mocking it and rejecting its values.
2. Then the group is marginalized, or pushed out of the mainstream of society, with deliberate efforts to limit and undo its influence.
3. The third stage is to vilify the group, viciously attacking it and blaming it for many of society’s problems.
4. Next, the group is criminalized, with increasing restrictions placed on its activities and eventually even its existence.
5. The final stage is one of outright persecution.
What stage are we in now ?
** Father Esper is a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit