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The Solomon Option

by Fr. Jonathan Atchley

In wartime theory, there is a strategy called the “Sampson Option,” which basically means blowing up a relentlessly aggressive enemy with everything you’ve got. Supposedly, it is the last resort method to be deployed when nothing else works. Can you see where I’m going?

The world is admittedly in a terrible way. God’s graces are super-abundantly present, but faith leaders are too politically myopic to see and make them available. From the top down I hear more frequently about collaborative (read: divisive) policies than the integrity of traditional faith. “Synodality--the Church listening (but to who?); “open borders for pilgrims” (why aren’t the bishops vigorously clamoring for the rights of the unborn to immigrate from the womb?); “equity and diversity” (political priorities that infest the faith with evil like homosexuality and transgenderism). At some point, one wonders what it would take for the Church to declare a Sampson Option on evil: going nuclear, i.e., all out, to thwart Satan and the evils he promotes in society today. The proliferating (but unacceptable) attitude I find instead is, “meh, this too shall pass.”

Sampson is too controversial, and in part I agree, so instead, I propose a different approach to spirituality and salvation for souls: the “Solomon Option.” Recall the biblical story that established his wisdom: two prostitutes approach King Solomon over the claim that each is mother of a single child. Both can’t be right, so Solomon, with divinely inspired sagacity, offers to cut the baby in two and give each mother a half of the child. Of course, the true mother refuses that option, and Solomon thereby returns her child to her (1 Kings 3:16-28). Lordy! The Church is in dire need of Solomonic wisdom today.

In what would that option consist? First of all, it entails wisdom seeking God’s view over and above our own. Bishops, please leave the forum of politics to politicians and return to your prayers and prie-dieus of God’s word and Church teaching. Wisdom may be caused by the will formed in charity but it is essentially a gift from the Holy Spirit. If our leaders aren’t constantly beseeching the Lord for insight, they aren’t properly leading; rather they’re mindlessly motioning “this way,” like the crowd-control guides at Disneyland who would usher you onto the People Mover ride.

The Solomon Option may be reserved for crises (which now more than ever seem to be the norm), as it consists of the willingness to act for the common good in ways unthinkably contrary to socially acceptable standards. No mother would allow her child to be severed in two. Why then, are bishops (and even the pope?) squabbling over whether abortion, homosexuality and transgenderism are acceptable? Why aren’t our priests gripping the pulpit in grief, crying out to the faithful to abandon birth control and pornography, to remain faithful to their families and spouses, to baptize and raise their children in the faith, to pray the rosary and fast on Fridays? (Instead, priests I know discuss the merits of giving the Eucharist to the remarried and unbaptized.)

A Solomon Option calls believers to ponder the perfection God expects of his people and move with unwavering commitment to that sinless holiness the faith demands of us. Idle hand-wringing “dialog” does nothing to reverse a baseball team’s advocacy for anti-Catholic “sisters of perpetual indulgence.” But sadly, such compromise is common fare in the Christian’s cafeteria diet. Evil subverts the good until the good is no longer recognizable, and that happens because, frankly, it is too exhausting to fight endlessly for virtue and truth. Recall the story of Rome’s exorcist exhorting war on Satan, and a well-meaning priest asks, “but why do we want to provoke Satan?” The exorcist responds: “Because, Father, he is the one who has declared war on us!”

Oh, dear Lord, give us the wisdom of Solomon, leaders and faithful alike! Look down on the pitiable ignorance and folly of your puffed-up, self-righteous people whom you have consistently had to humble before they even turn to you for mercy and redemption. Look past our blindness that we might see! Jesus, we trust in you!

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Fr. Atchley, Thank you for your straightforward approach to dealing with the attacks on our precious Catholic faith, both from within and without. We need to pray, fast and take clear and courageous steps to expose and confront the evils of abortion/contraception, porn, trans-genderism, homosexuality, etc. I heard a good homily on the 3 steps in facing sin: Name it, Claim it, and Tame it! 😇✝️🙏


Student of Kempis
Student of Kempis
Jul 16, 2023

Father, regarding this post, I have a feeling if I had, indeed, been ordained a priest, I might be sidelined by now. I completely appreciate your words.


Our over-fed, over entertained people are so full of self indulgence and distractions, especially on Sport Sunday, that God can no longer get their attention. Our Lady revealed to a nun in Akita, Japan that "fire would fall from heaven." That's what got the attention in Sodom and Gomorrah. Sins crying to heaven for vengeance deserve no less.

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