But, but, but, but. . . .but Nothing!
Thomas A. Droleskey
As has been noted in each of my two previous commentaries (Heaven Knows Anything Doesn't Go, Take No Chances), most of us have made compromise with this or that prevailing cultural trend during the course our lifetimes. I have explained how I, a baby-boomer who was plopped down in front of a television from my earliest days nearly fifty-five years ago, accepted uncritically much, although not all, that was being "sold" to us on the airwaves, coming to believe that one spends free time during the day and evening watching television. The hours wasted on television and sports and thinking about television and sports are something that I will have to suffer immensely for in Purgatory, please God I die in a state of Sanctifying Grace and have not by the time of my death done enough penance to make reparation for all of those wasted hours, all of those wasted, empty thoughts and imaginings.
Some would contend, however, that it is an "overreaction" to the evils propagated by our pluralistic, religiously indifferentist, at times overtly anti-Catholic culture to take the measures that I have suggested in other commentaries. Some throw out the phrases "Jansenism" and/or "Manicheanism" to throw a wet blanket on what appears to be the over-inflamed ardor of one to point out the dangers to our own immortal souls and those of our children that are extant in the world today. My retort is simple: the saints never compromised with the world in any way. They aspired to love God as He has revealed Himself exclusively through the Catholic Church and to rid themselves even of legitimate pleasures, to say nothing of avoiding anything that they knew displeased God and offended His greater honor and glory, in order to be prepared to take possession of Heaven itself upon their deaths.
This sensus Catholicus has been lost in the midst of our materialistic, consumer-oriented world of nonstop pleasure-seeking and instant gratification. This sensus Catholicus has been lost because so few bishops around the world, including here in the United States of America, saw these dangers clearly in the Twentieth Century, fewer now see these dangers as a result of conciliarism's "opening up" to the spirit of the world. We must recapture the sensus Catholicus as we seek to form our our souls and those of our children by immersing them in a world where the Catholic is first, second, third, fourth--indeed, always--in their thoughts and in their words and in their actions and in their desires.
Thus, I would like to propose some very practical suggestions so as to drive home the points that have been made in the two most recent articles (and in several others over the last thirty-three months on this site:
Little by Little,
Be Not Excited About Trees,
By Way of Amplification,
Let the Shoppers Consume,
Keep It Catholic All of the Time, America's Concentration Camps, In Full Communion with the Golden Calf):
First, we must indeed keep things traditionally Catholic all of the time. No Novus Ordo influences. No Protestant influences. No concessions to Talmudic Judaism. No concessions to the spirit of Judeo-Masonry. No concessions to liberalism or conservatism or libertarianism or secularism or utilitarianism or positivism or relativism or pragmatism or socialism or communism or any of the other secular 'isms, being careful also not to exalt the economic farce called "capitalism" that actually makes us slaves of those who believe that the false god of "profit" is "creates" the "better world." The list that follows was contained in Keep It Catholic All of the Time nearly a year ago now:
Mention the Holy Name of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in public without shame.
Wish others a Blessed, Holy Christmas, taking time, if possible, to invite to the Traditional offering of Christmas Midnight Mass.
Correct anyone and everyone who says "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" to you.
Send Mass cards to your friends and relatives instead of Christmas cards. They are the best gifts to send. They keep giving unto eternity.
Take time to honor Our Lady and Saint Joseph by praying their respective Litanies during this final week of Advent
Give merchants and others you meet Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars
Promote the fulfillment of Our Lady's Fatima Message at all times and in all places.
Read more of the encyclical letters of Popes Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XI.
Start the habit of reading of Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.
Invite fallen away Catholics back into the Church and Protestants and Jews and others into the Church.
Remember how the events of the Incarnation and Nativity of Our Lord are meant to change everything about your lives and the life of the world.
Remember that we have nothing to learn from Protestants and Jews and Masons and their apologists. We pray for them. We seek their conversion to the true Faith. However, we have nothing to learn from them.
Remember that we must protect our children's immortal souls from the rot of the culture in which we live. The means, shutting off and throwing out the television, turning off the radio, throwing out whatever music or videos from your own youth that are offensive to God and could corrupt your own children, and taking your children to shrines that honor Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and the other saints. Immerse your children in the Faith, not in our "popular culture."
Learn more about distributism (see IHS Press Catalogue - Main.)
Learn more about the harm of "rock" music (see Michael Matt's GOD’S OF WASTELAND).
Stay away from conciliarism in its entirety (see Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas's The Doctrinal Errors of the Second Vatican Council).
Think supernaturally, not naturally, at all times and in all circumstances, asking your Guardian Angel and the Poor Souls in Purgatory to help lift up your mind to the contemplation of First and Last Things at all times.
Familiarize yourselves with Pope Saint Pius X's
Acerbo Nimis, April 15, 1905, and Pope Pius XI's
Rappresentanti In Terra (also known as Divini Illius Magistri), December 31, 1929.
Renew and then promote your Total Consecration to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, offering to her all of your prayers and crosses and sacrifices as her freely consecrated slaves.
Keep it Traditionally Catholic all of the time and without compromise. Live simply. Embrace the Holy Poverty of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
Waste your time and your soul on television or radio or motion pictures or contemporary "music." [There are a few exceptions. The Passion of the Christ is one such exception.]
Visit Novus Ordo or Protestant web sites.
Use Novus Ordo or Protestant "educational" materials of any type, including such things as "Veggie Tales."
Ever, under any circumstances, pray with Protestants or unbelievers.
Waste your time or your money on professional sports. If I can give up the Mets in particular and baseball in general, you can give up your own attachments in this area.
Support anything but truly Traditional Catholic causes.
Look to partisan politics for "solutions" to domestic or world problems.
Trust in the "insights" of people who know nothing about the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Watch the Eternally Wishful Television Network (EWTN) and their spin-doctoring for all things conciliar. (see Christopher Ferrara's
EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong )
Support our Protestant/Judeo-Masonic economic system of commercialism and materialism. Read books about distributism
Read anything but books that will help you get home to Heaven by explaining more and more about the Catholic Faith from the perspective of her authentic Tradition.
Worry about the future. We are in Our Lady's loving hands. We are the beneficiaries of Saint Joseph's watchful protection.
I would also add to this list the following admonition: don't ever take your eyes off of your child. We live in a very dangerous world. This is not the 1950s when children were permitted to walk or to ride their bicycles unsupervised by their parents. An age that has accepted the contraception and abortion of preborn children has given rise to a new breed of monsters that think nothing of preying on our children. No area of the country is exempt from this danger. Indeed, the dangers might be more pronounced in rural areas where drug and alcohol addiction are higher on a per capita basis than in urban areas, which are, of course, dangerous in their own right. Eyeball your children at all times. This is not overprotection. This is a simple exercise of common sense in the world in which we live. Parents who have a large family can delegate this responsibility now and again to older children who have demonstrated their maturity and alertness to danger. The responsibility to watch our children, however, belongs to those of us who are parents or grandparents or aunts or uncles. We cannot be casual about the spiritual and temporal safety of our children, never be so absent-minded as to think we can leave our children unattended in an automobile as we "dash" into a store for "just a moment." We must be ever vigilant in the spiritual and temporal protection of our children.
We must also take particular pains to avoid all of the various influences of the "New Age" movement that has woven its way into the fabric of practically every single aspect of popular culture--and is so much a part and parcel of the life of many dioceses and parishes and universities and colleges and convents and monasteries in the conciliar structures. Of special importance in this regard is to recognize the horrors by such things as "Harry Potter" and "magic shows" that feature blasphemous mockeries of the words of Consecration in the Roman Canon as well as featuring immodestly dressed women, smoke and mirrors and incantations designed to conjure up evil spirits.
Michael D. O'Brien wrote the following in his 2001 critique of Harry Potter Lifesite - The Trouble of Harry Potter - Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children's Culture):
When the meaning of the human person is reduced to a strictly natural definition, evil will be considered no more than erroneous abstractions or problems in the dynamics of the psyche. In his book, An Exorcist Tells His Story (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999), Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist of the archdiocese of Rome, warns that modern men are losing their sense of the reality of supernatural evil. As a result, he says, many have made themselves more vulnerable to the influence of evil spirits who seek to corrupt and destroy souls.
I can state that the number of those who are affected by the evil one has greatly increased. The first factor that influences the increase of evil influences is Western consumerism. The majority of people have lost their faith due to a materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle...it is a well-known fact that where religion regresses, superstition progresses. We can see the proliferation, especially among the young, of spiritism, witchcraft, and the occult.
Amorth does not hesitate to say that cultural influences such as film, television, music and books play no small part in the lowering of spiritual vigilance. "I was able personally to verify how great is the influence of these tools of Satan on the young. It is unbelievable how widespread are witchcraft and spiritism, in all their forms, in middle and high school. This evil is everywhere, even in small towns." (pp. 53, 54)
Speaking of the growing phenomenon of diabolical possession and other forms of bondage to evil, Amorth points to sorcery as the most frequent cause. (p. 57) He warns that ultimately there is no real difference between "white" and "black" magic. Every form of magic is practiced with recourse to Satan, he says-either knowingly or unknowingly, the practitioner of magic exposes himself to diabolic influence. (p.60) "Scripture warns us that witchcraft is one of the most common means used by the devil to bind men to himself and to dehumanize them. Directly or indirectly, witchcraft is a cult of Satan." (p. 143)
The spread of occult activity, and the resulting increase in the number of exorcisms performed by Catholic priests, has been noted by secular commentators as well. Articles on the subject have recently appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. An article in the November 28, 2000, edition of the New York Times reported a ten-fold increase in the number of official exorcists in the United States during the past decade. These, however, are still few in number, and a majority of dioceses have yet to implement the directives of a 1999 Vatican document that instructed every ordinary in the world to appoint an exorcist for his diocese. Fr. Amorth laments that many bishops still do not realize the scope of the problem. If he is right about this, it is no wonder that many lay people also consider the danger to be so remote that it has no bearing on their lives. . . .
Philosopher Thomas Molnar in his seminal work on the rise of modern Gnosticism The Pagan Temptation, writes, "Today the occult penetrates the lowered defenses of Christian tradition, and those whom it persuades are the masses of men and women who miss the sacred symbols that used to be present everywhere as identifying signs of their civilization....the entire symbology of Christianity yields to other, sometimes older, symbologies with their underlying creeds and doctrines." (p.167)
But why has it become so difficult for us to discern the penetration? Psychiatrist Paul C. Vitz, in his Psychology as Religion: the Cult of Self-Worship, discusses the psychology at work in our lack of resistance:
...the heterogeneity of American culture, with its increasingly complex mosaic of different religions and cultures, is a social-structural analogue to the intellectual world of New Age. Just as the act of rejecting a person because of his or her beliefs is considered antisocial or undemocratic, so also to reject religious or spiritual understandings is interpreted in the same way....When tolerance is the primary accepted social virtue, commitment to a particular faith is viewed as fundamentally antisocial and even threatening. (2nd edition, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994)
Mr. O'Brien's analysis is quite sound, even if he does not recognize how the conciliar popes have compounded the problems caused by the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King in the world by their embrace of the heresy of "religious liberty." John Paul II, whose references to the "culture of death" are noted in Mr. O'Brien's article, actually praised a voodoo "witch doctor" during one of his pilgrimages to Africa for the "contributions" he made to his people. Conciliarism has made Catholics more susceptible to the culture, having sought to "inculturate" novelties into what purports to be offerings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Why should a Catholic oppose in the popular culture the very trends that are incorporated into the context of the "liturgy"?
Dr. Marian T. Horvat's analysis of the Harry Potter phenomenon is also quite sound and should help Catholics across the ecclesiastical divide to divorce themselves from the harm of the popular culture and to remove themselves once and all from the culture's ally, conciliarism (see: Harry Potter and the Problem of Good and Evil by Marian Horvat @ TraditionInAction.org). Here is a brief excerpt:
Magic is presented as a funny thing, a game. Spells are “cool.” Books are being published on the subject, such as Spells of Teenage Witches, described by its author as “a self-help book for young people.” A witch and officer of the Pagan Federation wrote The Young Witches Handbook, which includes spells for passing school exams or attracting a partner. Apparently there is no reason for concern. No one talks about the fact that what starts as silly spells can lead to spiritual and psychological damage, and even demonic obsession or possession.
What is most dangerous about the Harry Potter novels? It is precisely this: they don’t appear dangerous. Harry Potter and his friends cast spells, read crystal balls, and everything is fine. The author takes very serious matters that the Catholic Church has always condemned and cautioned her children to stay far away from – magic, charms, spells, sorcery, palm-reading, Ouija boards, etc. – and treats them in a trivial, and even jesting fashion. In today’s climate, charged with invitations to experiment with the occult, it is too much to open the door even an inch to the Prince of Darkness, “who prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Books that make sorcery and spells and charms seem so amusing and harmless are deceitful. At best, they certainly encourage children to take a smilingly tolerant New Age view of witchcraft. In my view, already that is too much.
Non liceat Christianis to even dabble in magic or sorcery, says St. Thomas Aquinas: “Man has not been entrusted with power over the demons to employ them to whatsoever purpose he will. On the contrary, it is appointed that he should wage war against the demons. Hence in no way is it lawful for man to make use of the demons’ help by compacts - either tacit or express” (II-II; q. 96, a. 3).I find it lamentable that the exorcism was taken out of the Baptismal ritual, and almost criminal that the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, which used to be recited after every Mass, has been eliminated after Novus Ordo Masses. And I think there will be many mea culpas to be made by those sophisticated parents who find critiques like this of the Harry Potter series “just too serious,” even when the author herself is warning them that her works will become increasingly dark and potentially disturbing.
It is necessary to consider that even the innocent souls of children, under the influence of this kind of darkness, without habitual recourse to the Faith and the assistance of grace, can lead in the near or distant future to serious disorders and horrendous crimes. As I consider the series of adventures of Harry Potter, which presents sorcery and all kinds of spells and divinations as normal, I am reminded of the condemnation made by the prophet Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” (5:20)
Another fine article on the evils of magic can be found at CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Occult Art, Occultism. The dangers to the souls of our children posed even by the images of ghouls and magicians and sorcerers and witches and warlocks are not to be underestimated, which is one of the reasons I remain adamantly opposed to attending Major League Baseball games, where all manner of disturbing images are played on the gigantic television screens during rallies by a home team (or to hector the opposing team). These things go deep into our immortal souls. Would Our Lord let His Holy Eyes be polluted by such images? Then why should we? Why should we let anything of the wickedness of Halloween, including "party favors" that might decorate the tables an All Hallows' Eve gathering, enter into the immortal souls of our children?
Some would interject with a "but, but, but, but" what about this "exception" or what about that case. My response is quite simple: BUT NOTHING! We must be Catholic at all times and in all places and with all people. Our mission is to help to restore all things in Christ. Saint Paul noted this in his Epistle to the Ephesians:
Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved son. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins, according to the riches of his grace, Which hath superabounded in us in all wisdom and prudence, That he might make known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in him, In the dispensation of the fulness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in him. (Ephesians 1: 6-10)
The Pope who took it as his papal motto to reestablish all things in Christ, Saint Pius X, told us that social order cannot be premised upon anything other than the Catholic City, a city that starts in our own hearts and our own homes, as he wrote in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. omnia instaurare in Christo.
We must fly unto the patronage of Our Lady at all times as the consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. She and her chaste spouse, Saint Joseph, the Patron the Universal Church, fostered the virtues of obedience and poverty and simplicity in the Holy Family, whether they were in Bethlehem or in Egypt or in Nazareth (or returning from Jerusalem when they realized that their Child was missing). It is as the humble supplicants of Our Lady and Saint Joseph that we must attempt to cooperate with the graces won for us on Calvary by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady herself. True happiness in this passing, mortal vale of tears comes from accepting with serenity the will of God just as readily as each member of the Holy Family accepted it at every moment of their lives. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were not immersed in the vanities and vane amusements of popular culture. Why should we? They will help us to detach ourselves from anything and everything that prevents us from scaling the heights of sanctity, from viewing ourselves and all of the events of the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith.
Trusting, therefore, in Our Lady and Saint Joseph as we keep their Divine Son company in His Real Presence and pray as many Rosaries as our states-in-life permit, may we, whose homes have had the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary enthroned within them, live in the true joy that comes that from the Faith, which must permeate the entirety of everything we do and say and think so that we know an everlasting joy of blessedness in the glory of the Beatific Vision in Heaven.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady, August Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gregory Lalamont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.