Be Not Excited About Trees
Thomas A. Droleskey
Agitation is one of the principal tools of the devil to disturb us to such an extent that we become excited about each of his nefarious provocations, forgetting the larger picture of a world that is firmly in his grip at this point in time. It is thus important to keep the devil's continuous provocations in their proper perspective, especially when there is so much information so readily available to us from so many different sources.
Among the events of the past week that have agitated, understandably, more than a handful of people are two from the State of California. While we have many friends in the Golden State and cherish the time we spent assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Garden Grove, California, California is a state that is particularly in the grip of the devil. The culture there is so materialistic and naturalistic that it is not uncommon to find teenagers and young adults at traditional chapels throughout California speaking about motion pictures and television programs that no Catholic should be viewing. Parents who assist at the Traditional Latin Mass permit their children to wear immodest attire and to listen the horrors of all contemporary music without realizing how they are putting their own souls, no less that of their children, in jeopardy for being so liberal and permissive. You see, it's not simply assisting at the Traditional Latin Mass that defines a Catholic as traditional: it is how a Catholic chooses to live his life that defines the essence of one's commitment to Tradition. It is simply not possible to be immersed in the culture and to claim that one is committed to the defense of Tradition.
With rare exceptions, such as The Passion of the Christ, one cannot support Hollywood and its evils and claim one is a serious follower of Our Lord. One cannot claim to be impressed with the pursuit of riches as an end in and of itself and/or the luxuries provided therefrom and say that he is pursuing a life of detachment from the spirit of the world, the flesh, and the devil. One cannot be concerned about styles and fashions of dress that are in complete contradiction of the Fatima dress code and say that one is serious about the pursuit of sanctity. There must be an integration of the Faith into every aspect of one's life, which is what the Social Reign of Christ the King is all about, you see.
Sadly, many in California do not see the necessity of restoring Christ as the King of all nations. They put their faith not in the defined teaching of the Church concerning the Social Reign of Christ the King but in various secular, Americanist organizations that may have some interesting things to say about the "trees" of various problems but are ultimately harmful because these organizations specifically and categorically reject the necessity of restoring Catholicism as the confessional religion of each and every nation on the face of this earth. Thus, the gods of "conservatism" and "constitutionalism" and "states' rights" become paramount, to the absolute and total exclusion of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Whether or not Catholics who adhere to these organizations realize it, they are active dissenters from the received teaching of the Church, believing that there is some secular or non-denominational or inter-denominational approach to ameliorate the problems besetting our nation. There is no such approach. As I have written endlessly, one cannot fight secularism and all of its attendant, multifaceted evils with any variant of secularism. One can only fight secularism with Catholicism. Period. End of argument.
One of the supreme ironies in all of this is that the very same traditional Catholics who are rightly critical of the errors of conciliarist ecumenism are advocates of religious indifferentism insofar as public policy and electoral politics are concerned. An imitation of the zeal of the Apostles, for example, who rejoiced because they were deemed worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name, is considered to be "impractical" in the midst of the pluralistic realities of the United States of America. This is, whether or not these people realize it, an abject denial of the power and the efficacy of the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. Such people trust in their own cleverness to work without speaking frankly as Catholics more than they trust in the ability of Our Lady to use whatever offerings we give to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart by professing her Divine Son's Holy Name and the totality of the Deposit of Faith He has entrusted to His true Church to convert men and their nations. It is an easy thing to lose sight of the larger picture and to become agitated by the provocations of the devil once one believes that the truths of the Faith must be buried in order to "devise" "practical" "solutions" to the problems of the world.
To wit, the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Sodom of the West, that is, San Francisco, California, ruled last week that parents have no right to control the educational content of what is taught to their children in public schools. This has agitated, again understandably, a lot of people. Unfortunately, though, the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which may or may not be reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States, is the logical result of a constitutional system that rejects the Sovereignty of Christ the King as it is exercised by the Catholic Church. A nation that does not submit itself to the authority of the true Church becomes the slave over the course of time of whoever happens to hold the levers of civil power. It is that simple. The process can be retarded now and again. However, the process itself is inexorable and irreversible absent a conversion of a nation to the true Faith.
Public schools in and of themselves, for example, are illegitimate. They have no right to exist. The state has no right to to mandate a particular curriculum that must be followed by all students. Pope Pius XI wrote about this at great length in Divini Illius Magistri in 1929, citing the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) that overturned an Oregon law compelling all children to attend public schools. Yes, even the Supreme Court of the United States has gotten a few decisions right over the course of its history. Pierce v. Society of Sisters was one of those instances, as Pope Pius XI pointed out:
This incontestable right of the family has at various times been recognized by nations anxious to respect the natural law in their civil enactments. Thus, to give one recent example, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in a decision on an important controversy, declared that it is not in the competence of the State to fix any uniform standard of education by forcing children to receive instruction exclusively in public schools, and it bases its decision on the natural law: the child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty, to educate him and prepare him for the fulfillment of his obligations.
[Footnote 28 in Divini Illius Magistri provides the text of the relevant passage from Pierce v. Society of Sisters: 28. "The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only. The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right coupled with the high duty, to recognize, and prepare him for additional duties." U.S. Supreme Court Decision in the Oregon School Case, June 1, 1925. ]
One can see that the decision in Pierce v. Society of Sisters is at odds with the recent decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Such a contradiction, though, is part and parcel of a constitutional and legal system founded upon the false moorings offered by a reliance upon the ultimate authority of a Constitution that admits of no higher authority above its own words. A confessionally Catholic state would recognize the truth that the state has no right to run any schools of general education of the sort that have developed in the nation since the early Nineteenth Century. Indeed, state control of "public" education in this country began in 1837 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when the "reformer" Horace Mann sought to provide a standardized system of schooling so as to propagandize the children of Catholic immigrants from Ireland into the ways of American religious indifferentism and cultural pluralism and political egalitarianism.
Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri that schools founded on a rejection of the Faith are dangerous and must be avoided:
Hence every form of pedagogic naturalism which in any way excludes or weakens supernatural Christian formation in the teaching of youth, is false. Every method of education founded, wholly or in part, on the denial or forgetfulness of original sin and of grace, and relying on the sole powers of human nature, is unsound. Such, generally speaking, are those modern systems bearing various names which appeal to a pretended self-government and unrestrained freedom on the part of the child, and which diminish or even suppress the teacher's authority and action, attributing to the child an exclusive primacy of initiative, and an activity independent of any higher law, natural or divine, in the work of his education.
If any of these terms are used, less properly, to denote the necessity of a gradually more active cooperation on the part of the pupil in his own education; if the intention is to banish from education despotism and violence, which, by the way, just punishment is not, this would be correct, but in no way new. It would mean only what has been taught and reduced to practice by the Church in traditional Christian education, in imitation of the method employed by God Himself towards His creatures, of whom He demands active cooperation according to the nature of each; for His Wisdom "reacheth from end to end mightily and ordereth all things sweetly."
But alas! it is clear from the obvious meaning of the words and from experience, that what is intended by not a few, is the withdrawal of education from every sort of dependence on the divine law. So today we see, strange sight indeed, educators and philosophers who spend their lives in searching for a universal moral code of education, as if there existed no decalogue, no gospel law, no law even of nature stamped by God on the heart of man, promulgated by right reason, and codified in positive revelation by God Himself in the ten commandments. These innovators are wont to refer contemptuously to Christian education as "heteronomous," "passive, 'obsolete," because founded upon the authority of God and His holy law.
Such men are miserably deluded in their claim to emancipate, as they say, the child, while in reality they are making him the slave of his own blind pride and of his disorderly affections, which, as a logical consequence of this false system, come to be justified as legitimate demands of a so-called autonomous nature.
Pope Pius XI noted later in Divini Illius Magistri:
From this it follows that the so-called "neutral" or "lay" school, from which religion is excluded, is contrary to the fundamental principles of education. Such a school moreover cannot exist in practice; it is bound to become irreligious. There is no need to repeat what Our Predecessors have declared on this point, especially Pius IX and Leo Xlll, at times when laicism was beginning in a special manner to infest the public school. We renew and confirm their declarations, as well as the Sacred Canons in which the frequenting of non-Catholic schools, whether neutral or mixed, those namely which are open to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, is forbidden for Catholic children, and can be at most tolerated, on the approval of the Ordinary alone, under determined circumstances of place and time, and with special precautions. Neither can Catholics admit that other type of mixed school, (least of all the so-called "ecole unique," obligatory on all), in which the students are provided with separate religious instruction, but receive other lessons in common with non-Catholic pupils from non-Catholic teachers.
Public schools are dens of iniquity. They impose an ideology upon students that comes straight from Hell. So steeped in relativism and the methodology of social science and psychobabble, public schools are incapable in many instances of graduating students who can read and write intelligibly, which, truth be told, is part of the goal so as to enslave unthinking robots into accepting whatever they are told by political leaders and/or the "voices of reason and authority" in the mass media. Nothing should thus surprise us about public schools. They are evil. They should not exist. Catholics must have nothing to do with them. There is no need to be agitated about what happens there. We must convince more and more parents to home-school their children, thus discharging their responsibilities as the principal educators of their children. Period.
What is true of public schools has become true of Catholic schools for the most part in the past forty years since the close of the Second Vatican Council. Catholic schools mirror the state-mandated curricula that are to be found in public schools, providing a "veneer" of Catholicity so as to recruit students and satisfy parents that a Catholic looking building and some modest attempts to enforce student discipline are adequate to compensate for the wholesale warfare waged against the Deposit of Faith by these schools and their teachers. Diocesan and parish Catholic schools must be avoided. At all levels. At all costs. The errors of conciliarism, which enshrine the errors of Modernity, are taught in these schools. The innocence and purity of children are undermined. Evil is promoted under the guise of "compassion" and "toleration" and "diversity." The same ideologies that prevail in secular schools are taught in Catholic schools, albeit with an attempt to "baptize" these ideologies with Catholic terms. False religions and false spiritualities, such as the New Age movements and the religions of pagan superstitions, are taught as being superior to Catholicism. And on and on and on. Want to lose your child's soul for all eternity and yours for the bargain? Send him to a diocesan or parish school.
Thus, the recent episode in Sacramento, California, involving a "Catholic" high school, run by the Sisters of Loretto, that employed a woman who worked as an "escort" at an abortuary should come as no surprise whatsoever. Catholic schools have been aborting souls for the past forty years. I know. I taught the products of these schools in my formal college classroom teaching career between January of 1974 and July of 2003. With very few exceptions, most of my students who graduated from Catholic schools knew nothing about the Faith, and the little that they thought they knew was simply wrong. With all that has been written on the harm of Catholic schools in the past forty years, my friends, what responsible parent is going to want his child miseducated in any of these dens of iniquity?
The Bishop of Sacramento, the Most Reverend William Weigand, who criticized then Governor Gray Davis's support of the killing of preborn children under cover of law in early 2003, ordered the dismissal of the teacher who served as an "escort" at a baby-killing mill. The administrators of the high school "did not entirely agree" with the bishop's decision. They retaliated against the student whose parents complained by expelling her from the school. Once again, many people were agitated by the expulsion. I ask a simple question: Why? Why in the world would any parent want his son or daughter enrolled in a school that saw fit to employ a person who assisted in one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance and disagreed with a bishop's decision to terminate that person's employment?
A failure to realize how support for legalized baby-killing, whether by surgical or chemical means, disqualifies one from employment in any capacity by the Catholic Church or by any religious community recognized by the Church scratches but the mere surface of a panoply of related problems. It is a relatively easy thing, for example, to be diffident about the support of baby-killing when the inerrancy of Scripture is denied, when Special Creation is denied, when the very historicity of the Gospels is denied, when articles contained in the Deposit of Faith are denied or put into doubt, when the history of Christendom is distorted and the Church presented as a "patriarchal conspiracy" against the "empowerment" of women. Each of these problems---and many, many more that time and space do not permit to be recounted fully here--are commonplace in one Catholic school after another. Once again, the answer is home-schooling. Keep your children out of Catholic schools just as much as you would keep them out of public schools.
The recent events in the cultural mess that is the State of California, therefore, should come as no surprise. The decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the product of the errors of Modernity. The scandal caused by the "Catholic" high school in Sacramento is the product of the influence of the errors of Modernity into the human elements of the Church under the guise of Modernism. It is no accident that California features some of the most Modernist bishops in the world, men who embrace the errors of Modernity with gusto and consider it to be their privilege to bestow honors upon those who promote those errors, such as "reform rabbis" whose congregations have been in the vanguard of promoting baby-killing under cover of law and "special rights" for those steeped in lives of unrepentant acts of perversity against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments.
Thus, my friends, do not get excited by trees. Individual issues such as the ones cited above are the result of the spread of the errors of Russia, which are the errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church. There is no piecemeal approach to resolve these errors. There is only one solution: the proper consecration of Russia to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart by a pope with all of the world's bishops.
In the meantime, I have some unsolicited advice for those traditional Catholics still living in the People's Republic of California: Move! Get out of there. Now. Protect your children's souls. Protect your own souls. Give up the luxuries, for those who have them, that is. Make the sacrifices you need to make. There are places where Catholics are gathering to escape the culture, as far as is possible, obviously, and to insulate themselves from the agitation that comes from the activity of the demons in a state where devils are the object of intense interest by means of occult practices and by means of a morbid fascination with the occult on the part of those who think themselves to be immune from its influences. Sure, the problems we face are everywhere. There are places, however, where one can insulate oneself better than others. This involves a lot of sacrifice and self-denial. As one who has spent a lot of time in California in recent years--and who really enjoys the weather, believe me, a little material inconvenience and climatological frigidity are a lot better than a lot of time Purgatory and all of its pains and sufferings.
Remaining steadfast in unswerving devotion to the fullness of the Traditional Latin Mass and the Eucharistic piety that flows therefrom, may each us, as consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, so regulate our lives in complete conformity with the Catholic Faith that we want to experience nothing that takes the eyes of our souls off of our eternal destiny, striving always to yearn more and more for the things of Heaven and to truly despise the comforts of this passing world, imitating Saint Therese of Lisieux's contempt for the world and her desire to give her all solely for God without for one moment desiring to be considered acceptable or popular in the eyes of the world.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Blessed Junipero Serra, pray for us.