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Revised on April 19, 2004

Believing in All of the Wrong Things

Man is a fallen creature. Even a baptized member of the true Church founded by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, outside of which there is no salvation, suffers from the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin: the darkened intellect and weakened will. It is thus possible that even a believing, practicing Catholic might find himself so influenced by cultural and political currents that are inimical to the Social Reign of Christ the King that he comes to believe in some type of political ideology or political philosophy as possessing remedies to domestic and international problems. Those who are outside of the true Church--or who have fallen away from her or who cling to some heresy while professing an outward membership in her--are particularly prone to believe in everything but the Catholic Faith.

Most of you, I am sure, have relatives who "believe" in astrology and consult the horoscope daily. This is not harmless. This is a sin against the First Commandment. However, there are people who really do put religious faith in the horoscope. They give unto a demonic activity the complete and total Faith that our wills are called to render undo God Himself as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. When people ask me what "sign" I was born under, I have a ready response: The Sign of the Cross.

Other people "believe" in the god of science. I know a man, who shall not be otherwise identified, who is a brilliant microbiologist. He is an expert in his field, publishing papers in various scientific journals and giving reports at major conferences in this country and around the world. This man has been gifted by God with a tremendous intellect. Unfortunately, science is his god. If something cannot be "proven" scientifically, then he does not believe in it, and he has no time, to say nothing of respect, for anyone who disagrees with him. This man does not understand that science is a tool given us by God to explore some of the mysteries of the visible world He created when He spoke the Word and it came into being, and that there can be no real conflict at any time between authentic science and the Catholic Faith. God is the author of all truth, including the truths found in the natural sciences, and any and all discoveries that fallen man makes about such truths must result in a benefits to the common good in complete accord with the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.

 

Other people believe "believe" in the god of sports. Although an upcoming article of mine on the Seattle Catholic site will review changes in the past decades in the great game of baseball, from which I continue to absent myself as a result of the coarseness of the atmosphere found today in major league ball parks, baseball was a diversion to me, never my entire life. There are people, though. for whom baseball (and other professional and/or collegiate sports) is the very means by which they define their daily existence. Everything else in the lives of these people is subordinated to their religious fervor for the sport and the teams of their choice.

Not a inconsiderable number of people "believe" whatever is told them by Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings or Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage or Dear Abby or Ann Landers or Laura Schlesigner or Al Franken or any other of their favorite secular columnists and commentators. Indeed, a lot of people live for the mindless blather that passes for information, education and discussion without realizing for a moment how uninformed anyone is who does not understand the necessity of referring all things at all times in all circumstances to the true Faith.

Yet other people "believe" in the god of political ideology and/or partisan politics. Communism is a perverse kind of secular religion (yes, I know that is an oxymoron), which proposes to possess the means to eradicate all injustice on the face of this earth, thereby producing world peace by the elimination of private property, the conversion or the liquidation of those who hold and control private property, and the redistribution of all wealth by the proletariat on the basis of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." Most forms of fascism promote the god of nationalism, usually accompanied by the myth of some sort of racialist/ethnic superiority, in which the state controls the economy and the popular culture for the greater honor and glory of the nation. Adherents to political ideologies are, generally speaking, dogmatic and inflexible, believing in the salvific power of their structures and programs even when all empirical evidence shows them to be founded in false principles and to have produced disastrous results.

Although most Americans are a-ideological in nature, the false underpinnings of our two party system have given rise to a "belief" that this or that election has never been more critical, that the differences between the two major political parties are more profound that they actually are, that any criticism of one's favorite candidate or public office-holder is tantamount to an unpatriotic act, if not high treason itself. This is common to both Democrats and Republicans, especially during an election year. Critics of then President William Jefferson Clinton were lambasted by Clinton's supporters with various slogans ("right wing conspiracy," "intolerant," "mean-spirited," "engaging in the politics of personal destruction"). Similarly, critics of President George Walker Bush are being lambasted at present as being "unpatriotic." Some of Bush's most fervent supporters give every appearance that they believe the President is infallible in all of his judgments, and that to criticize him for anything at all is to show one's self to be a supporter of his Democrat opponent in the general election this November 2, Senator John F. Kerry. The irrationality and convoluted nature of such demagoguery is truly astounding. Nevertheless, true "believers" in false currents have to resort to irrationality and convolution as the substitutes for recognizing that it is only the social teaching of the Catholic Church that provides the foundation for personal sanctity and hence all social order.

This has particular currency with respect to the situation in Iraq. There were people before the outbreak of hostilities in March of last year who contended that President Bush was absolutely right when contending that there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and that the United States would disarm Saddam Hussein if the United Nations did not do so itself. It turns out that United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix was right and that President Bush was wrong. A new book by Bob Woodward states that the Bush Administration began covert planning for war with Iraq in late 2001, using funds that had been earmarked for the "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan to do so. White House spokesman Scott McClellan confirmed that this was the case, justifying it by saying that "regime change" had been the policy of the Clinton Administration and that it was the policy of the Bush Administration. There's a little problem with this, you see: the conflict with Iraq was sold to the American people as a "last resort" because Saddam Hussein and his regime posed a real threat to American national security as a result of the possession of the weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that the truth of the matter is that President Bush wanted to finish the unfinished business of his father, former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Woodward's 2002 book Bush at War, quotes the President as saying immediately after the terrorist attacks on this country on September 11, 2001, that he felt in his "bones that Iraq" was behind the terrorist attacks. Foreign policy decisions and decisions to place American lives at risk in combat are not made on the basis of what one "feels in his bones."

Bush, though, is a true believer in the superiority of the American system. He, like Woodrow Wilson before him, believes that countries will be better off if only they adopt democracy and become havens of pluralism and "tolerance." These are false beliefs, to be sure. However, these false beliefs are held with sincere convictions and have led to one American foreign policy disaster after another, all while as the preborn are put to death with impunity under cover of law in this country--and as the supposedly "conservative, pro-family" administration increases funding for "family planning" programs both domestically and internationally. To believe in the "superiority" of the American system is the political equivalent in believing in the horoscope or the tooth fairy. How sad it is that many Catholics have succumbed to this belief, arrogating unto civil leaders a reflexive acceptance of all that is said and done despite empirical evidence proving what has been said and done has been founded in lies and misrepresentations.

The comparison of the Bush world view with that of Woodrow Wilson is beginning to get some traction in the secular media. An article in The New York Times on Monday, April 19, 2004, noted it quite explicitly:

"The continuing violence and mounting casualties in Iraq have given new strength to the traditional conservative doubts about using American military power to remake other countries and about the potential for Western-style democracy without a Western cultural foundation. In in the eyes of many conservatives, the Iraqi resistance has discredited the more hawkish neoconservatives a group closely identified with Paul D. Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, and William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard.

"Considered descendants of a group of mostly Jewish intellectuals who switched from the political left to the right at the height of the cold war, the neoconservatives are defined largely by their conviction that American military power can be a force for good in the world. They championed the invasion of Iraq as a way to turn that country into a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

"'In late May of last year, we neoconservatives were hailed as great visionaries,' said Kenneth R. Weinstein, chief operating officer of the Hudson Institute, a center of neoconservative thinking. 'Now we are embattled, both within the conservative movement and in the battle over postwar planning.

"'Those of us who favored a more muscular approach to American foreign policy and a more Wilsonian view of our efforts in Iraq find ourselves pitted against more traditional conservatives, who have more isolationist instincts to begin with, and they are more willing to say, "Bring the boys home,"' Mr. Weinstein said."

The fact that The New York Times has identified the neconservatives who support President Bush's policy as "mostly Jewish intellectuals" has ramifications beyond that which are intended by the "newspaper of record." A Jewish intellectual, obviously, does not believe in the Sacred Divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man nor in the Deposit of Faith He has entrusted to His true Church, no less His Social Kingship as exercised by that same Church. A Jewish intellectual believes in his own ability to use force to remake the world. As many others have pointed out, this false neoconservative view of the world dovetails nicely with the view of Protestant evangelicals who believe that the use of American force in the Middle East will produce a world conflict that will expedite "The Rapture," which is a total concoction of Protestant apocalyptic "visionaries" as a result of the misreading of The Book of the Apocalypse. Thus, you see the twin forces--Protestanism and the two-headed hydra of Zionism and Masonry--that have substituted themselves for the true Faith in the past 300-500 years coming to the forefront to "change the world" by the use of American force. The Times article noted also that the Wilsonian view of the world that prevails in the Bush administration has been criticized by the "mainstream conservative" National Review, which editorialized that  the current administration had "a dismaying capacity to believe its own public relations." Indeed.

The extent of the hatred of the Jewish neoconservatives for Patrick Joseph Buchanan, who was right about our invasion of Iraq from the very beginning, is revealed in an amazing public admission by William Kristol, the son of one of the pioneering neconservatives, Irving Kristol, and the editor of the thirty-third degree Mason Rupert Murdoch's The Weekly Standard. William Kristol was quoted in The Times piece as follows:

"Referring to the conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan, an outspoken opponent of the war and occupation, Mr. Kristol said in an interview on Friday: 'I will take Bush over Kerry, but Kerry over Buchanan or any of the lesser Buchananites on the right. If you read the last few issues of The Weekly Standard, it has as much or more in common with the liberal hawks than with traditional conservatives.'"

A reflexive believer in all things Bush, though, cannot admit that any of this is true. Those who continue to support the administraiton's failed policies, which have resulted in a needless carnage of American and Iraqi lives and depleted the United States Treasury while piling on the debt for future generations, have to think that the world has become safer as a result of our invasion and occupation of Iraq, ignoring that the world is not one bit safer for those who are most vulnerable, the preborn, and ignoring the simple fact that lies were told before the war and continue to be told during the occuption. Some of those supporters might want to dismiss Bob Woodward, for example, as a political partisan who has published his new book at this time to hurt the President politically, which may very well be the case. Even the administration, though, is confirming details in the book, as just noted above. Those who want to conform reality to their mistaken beliefs must of necessity claim that anyone who criticizes their political or cultural heroes has base motives, thus providing reflexive believers with an easy out to avoid being confronted with ugly truths that contradict what they want to believe in spite of all factual evidence to the contrary. It is far easier to attack a critic's person than to measure his words to judge whether they are true or false.

The ability of even believing, practicing Catholics to succumb to the irrationality and fraudulent basis of a political framework founded in a rejection of the Social Reign of Christ the King proves the wisdom of the warnings of Pope Leo XIII in Testem Benevolentiae, that Catholics will have the ability to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith undermined by the ethos of a culture that is religiously indifferentist and culturally pluralistic. Pope Leo's warnings were echoed by a Redemptorist priest, Father Cornelius Warren, C.SS.R., in his book The Loyal Catholic, published in 1912, which has been reprinted in part by the Saint Louis the King Catholic Education Center of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey (which produces marvelous tracts in defense of the Holy Faith). Father Ryan noted the following:

"In addition to all this, the press of our country can hardly be called Catholic. It is Protestant and heretical where it is not actually infidel. The countless book and reviews, papers and magazines, and the literature of all kinds that cover our tables and fill our libraries, are for the most part, to say the least, in their tone and sentiment. And it were to be wished that they were anything worse. But unfortunately much of our literature is openly anti-Catholic, the output of authors and writers who seem to think their calling in life is simply to misrepresent and vilify the Church. Now these things fall into our hands, or we procure them perhaps all unconscious of the danger; we hear and see opinions expressed, theories advanced, tenets defended, and perhaps with great parade of learning, beautiful language, specious reasoning, and, by and by, we begin to wonder if it is not true. How could it be false, we are apt to say, it is all so beautiful and plausible, and where is the harm? And thus unconsciously we are breathing in the vitiated atmosphere--and atmosphere charged with heresy and unbelief---an atmosphere heavy with the wisdom of the world, but we forget that 'the wisdom of the world is folly in the eyes of God.'

"And what is the result? Well, what could it be? Unless we are on our guard--unless we are careful to use an antidote to render ourselves immune--the result will be, must be, that we become tainted by our surroundings, infected by the noxious germs, and our faith will lose its vigor. Scientists tell us that it is the tendency of every organism, of every living being, to adapt itself to its environment. Every creature capable of alteration will little by little be influenced by the conditions of its surroundings. Thus, for example, fish and other creatures living in deep pools at the bottom of dark caves where the light of the sun never penetrates, are influenced by the gloom around them and gradually become blind, and in a few generations are without any serviceable organs of sight. The darkness in which their lives are passed robs them at last of even the power of seeing."

Father Ryan's words are truer today than they were when they were published ninety-two years ago. Even believing, practicing Catholics are blind to the evil influences of Modernity, founded in its rejection of a belief in the Incarnation of God as Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb and His Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross as relevant to individuals and nations. The only antidote to the blindness caused by the cacophony of false voices speaking authoritatively about the problems of the day although they are clueless about First and Last Things, to say nothing of the social teaching of the true Church, is to think and to speak as Catholics at all times in all places about all things, secular and religious. We must entrust ourselves entirely to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, continuing to pray and to make sacrifice that some pope will actually consecrate Russia with all of the world's bishops according to exact formula proposed by her without any deviation at all. This includes the daily praying of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary and constant acts of reparation offered to her Immaculate Heart. Those who are consecrated to the Immaculate Heart offer all of the fruits of their prayers, penances and sacrifices and good works as consecrated slaves, entrusting to Our Blessed Mother how they will be used for the greater honor and glory of God and for the sanctification and salvation of souls.

Saint Thomas professed unbelief in the Resurrection because he had not seen Our Lord. His unbelief was undone when he said, "Dominus meus et Deus meus," after seeing the Risen Saviour. We must believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. We must see in the Catholic Faith the only answer to the problems of the world, and we must be willing to judge the actions and statements of all officials, no matter what their political affiliation, only by the standard of Holy Cross. No false current or philosophy or program of "action" will ever produce anything other than disorder and chaos in a nation and in the world. (For those who have not read a related piece, please see "No Peace Without Christ" on this site.)

It really is, as Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen noted in 1931, "Christ or chaos."

Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, help us to have the same zeal of the Apostles themselves, always seeing ourselves and the events of the world only through the eyes of the true Faith.

 

 

 





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