Fighting (and Losing) the Culture Wars
Thomas A. Droleskey
The world in which we live is the antithesis of Christendom. We live not in the shadow of the Holy Cross. We live in a world held tightly in the grip of the devil himself, who seems to have become particularly active and triumphant in the forty years since the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church abandoned the Prayers after Low Mass, which included the recitation of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, in the Ordo Missae of 1965. There is hardly any place in the world where one can turn today and not see and/or hear the direct influence of the devil.
Take, for example, the Church herself.
One of the fruits of the Novus Ordo Missae is cacophonous noise. I took a look inside Mother of God Church in Covington, Kentucky, yesterday, July 23, 2005, to see if there was anything worth showing our daughter during our stay in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, prior to my talk in Louisville, Kentucky, at Saint Benedict's Church this afternoon, July 24. What I saw brought back so many bad memories: a priest chatting loudly with parishioners in front of the church after a Novus Ordo Mass. The priest was glad-handling people, many of whom were immodestly attired and talking very loudly. Although I never got used to such spectacles in my days as a regular Mass attendee in the new rite, I was too slothful to recognize that such behavior is produced by the anthropocentricity of the new rite itself. Having been out of that environment entirely in the past few years, though, I was struck by the casualness and frivolity prevalent amongst the people conversing right in front of Our Lord's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The church looked quite beautiful from the outside. I could not subject our young daughter to the sights and sounds going on in that church, sights and sounds that pleased the devil while they dishonored the reverence due God in His Holy House.
This reminder of the horrors of the new religion of emotionalism and community self-congratulations that have their origin in and sustenance from the devil came within an a hour after I had confronted the manager of a Kroger's supermarket about the horrific, diabolical noise pollution that is described by some as "rock music" that blared forth over their public address system. We try to take great strides to protect our own daughter's soul (and our own) from the rot of this evil assault upon our senses. Indeed, as I have noted in several other commentaries in the past few years, I have always understood "rock and roll" and/or any of its deviant, perverted variations ("rock," "rap," "hip-hop," etc.) as coming directly from the devil himself. I understood this at the age of four fifty years ago this year, thanks to listening to my parents discuss the evils associated with the music and gyrations of Elvis Presley. I understood it while in high school between 1965-1969 at the height of the mania associated with some mop-haired, dope-smoking fiends from Liverpool, England, who named themselves after a certain type of insect. The years have not changed my attitude about this rot one little bit. And knowing that I have many, many sins for which I must answer at the moment of my Particular Judgment, which could come when I least expect it, having to be forced to subject my daughter to this rot is not something that I am going to stand still for without registering one complaint after another.
Additionally, the Kroger's supermarket in question displayed all of the usual filth of magazines adorned with covers featuring human beings without much in the way of garments covering their natal features. In other words, invitations to sin against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments were everywhere. No thought was given at all to the innocence and purity of the immortal souls of children, who, it must be assumed, are thought to be inured to displays of immodesty and indecency from their avid, marathon watching of television programs that glorify all manner of immorality, both natural and unnatural, in the name of "love," "compassion," "diversity," and "tolerance." It is one thing to sin and to seek out the Divine Mercy of Our Lord in the Sacrament of Penance. It is quite another to persist in sin unrepentantly, worse yet to promote it in broad daylight in front of children whose innocence and purity God wants us to maintain at all costs. Indeed, I told Sharon to take Lucy out of the store as soon as we got to the checkout counter, which featured a particularly aggressive display of immodesty and indecency. We can never again take Lucy shopping in one of these stores. It is just that simple. She loves to push the little shopping carts, made for children just her size to use in stores, when we are shopping. She will have to sacrifice that little joy as we protect her soul from the diabolical sounds that the scions of corporate America see fit to impose upon us, their captive accomplices and dupes.
Oh, Kroger's is not alone. By no means. We have had this experience at Albertson's and Stater Brothers in Orange, California, in recent months. I have had it out with managers there. I did so again on July 23, 2005, recognizing that it might be an exercise in futility.
The store manager listened with a look of total disdain as I explained how rock music is designed of its nature (emanating from its roots as a variation of tribal music played in certain parts of the world by people whose immortal souls were captive to the devil by means of Original Sin and who worshiped the devil and engaged in the most barbaric practices against their fellow human beings) to agitate and disturb the soul, not to lift the soul up to the Blessed Trinity.
"I assure you," I told the store manager, "this music comes from Hell and is played there for all eternity. Gregorian chant is heard in Heaven, not the rot that you see fit to subject my daughter's immortal soul to as we attempt to do some shopping in your store."
I explained further that Our Lady had explained to Blessed Jacinta and Blessed Francisco and Sister Lucia in Fatima that more souls were going to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason, that certain styles of dress would be introduced that would lead many souls astray. The store manager shot back, "Christ never said anything about Cosmopolitan."
"Our Lord said that it is better for one to have a millstone placed around his neck and dumped into a lake that to lead one of his little ones astray, which is exactly what you are doing with your pornographic displays at your checkout counter."
"That's just your opinion. You are the first person to ever complain about this," he said, amazed that he was even having this conversation with a customer.
"Oh, no, it can't possibly be that the one voice is correct, huh? Look, sir, the majority cried out 'Give us Barabbas' on Good Friday. The majority cheered as the first Catholics went sent to their deaths in the Coliseum and other amphitheaters throughout the Roman Empire in the first centuries of the Church. The majority in this county favored chattel slavery and racial segregation in this country. The majority favors abortion now. Please, sir, spare me your righteous indignation over the fact that no one has ever complained about this. You are responsible for your actions in this store before God. And you won't be able to stand before God at the moment of your Particular Judgment by pleading ignorance of the truths you have just been told. You are going to learn that the crazy man who spoke to you on July 23, 2005, was correct."
Well, that incident was simply symbolic of what we would encounter for the next several hours before we returned to the safety of our motor home.
Wanting to give Lucy Mary Norma another treat before we got back on the road today, albeit for a shorter drive than some of the ones we have made since July 5, we drove over to the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio). We were bombarded immediately with loud, piercing, thumping diabolic sounds as we emerged from an underground parking garage into some kind of arena of consumerism and gluttony (a shopping mall) to try to make our way to the aquarium itself. We thought that the sounds would not stop once outside of the temple of material and eternal doom. It did not. It is really so symbolic of Hell itself, where the cacophonous noise of the devil and his minions is unceasing for all eternity. There is no escape from that rot in Hell. There was no seeming escape from that noise as we walked to the aquarium, which, please God, had too long of a line in ninety-two degree heat on which to wait to pay what probably would have been exorbitant admission costs. We showed Lucy the banks of the Ohio River and walked back, hurriedly, to our car to escape from the pollution of our senses that most every American citizen, including Catholics of every stripe and variety, seems to accept most passively with a "What can I do about it?" mentality.
Well, for what it is worth, ladies and gentlemen, this is what we can do about the diabolical pollution of our eyes and our ears: DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN IT. AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS.
Traditional Catholics have a special obligation to provide an example to others in this regard, recognizing that we are no better than anybody else and that each of us has to fight against a variety of sins and temptations, whether great or small, on a daily basis. After tending carefully to the garden of our souls to take out the weeds of our sins and vices, we must, fortified by Eucharistic piety and Total Marian Consecration, take a stand that might, please Our Lady and His Most Blessed Mother, make a difference in the lives of our fellow Catholics.
Look, most of our fellow Catholics live in the world of the Novus Ordo, which in some cases features the very diabolical noise that has polluted practically every precinct of our daily lives. Papal Masses themselves have featured "rock music." World Youth Day is a celebration of "popular culture," including the diabolical noise and gestures that have produced several generations of drug-addicted, self absorbed, narcissistic young people who are going to be deaf by the time that they are forty years of age (for those who have not committed suicide before then, that is). Many Catholic priests play this "music" for their own entertainment. They sponsor parish events for young people that feature this "music." High school and college dances revel in the "pluralism" and "diversity" of that which comes straight from Hell itself and is meant to lead souls there for all eternity. There is even a good that believes it can get young people to "rock for life." What good is a personal devotion to the Traditional Latin Mass, which is indeed a refuge from the world and a foretaste of eternal glories as the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross is offered by an alter Christus, if those who assist at it are oblivious to the daily dangers to our own souls and those of our children posed by the invasion of the devil's sights and sounds into every aspect of our daily lives?
Here, therefore, are a few practical suggestions, some of which I think I offered in "Little by Little," which was posted on this site in August of last year:
1) Throw out your television. You can live just fine without it. Take it from this one-time television addict of the 1950s and 1960s: life is much better without the noise of the devil's box. You can live without Fox News Channel. You can live without professional sports (more on that in a moment). You can live without The Weather Channel. And if you want to maintain the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down to us perennially, you must live without the Ever Wishful Television Network (EWTN).
The saints of Christendom got along just fine without television. So can we.
2) Stop listening to talk radio. Rush Limbaugh and Laura Schlesinger have nothing to aid your immortal soul unto eternity. Do they see the world as Catholics? Why listen to them? I realize that those stuck in commuter traffic might have need to listen to traffic reports that are offered on all news radio stations every ten minutes or so. Other than that, you are wasting your time on nonsense rather than praying Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary.
3) Do not support Hollywood. Yes, there are exceptions. The Passion of the Christ last year was one of them. The motion picture industry, which has always been bad, paid attention to Catholics when they mobilized under the banner of the Legion of Decency. Now, however, this industry, which is owned by people who hate the Catholic Faith, attacks the Faith with demonic fervor. Spend not one red cent in support of anything it produces, no matter its "historical" or "artistic" value.
4) Throw out anything (vinyl records, cassette tapes, eight-tracks, compact discs, DVDs) that contains "rock music." See above!
5) Do not patronize any establishment that plays "rock music" and explain your decision to store managers. This means restaurants and supermarkets and carousels (we have had to explain to Lucy at the St. Louis and Cincinnati Zoos that she could not ride the carousels there because of the bad music; she understood and said a "Hail Mary" for the people who were responsible for playing the bad music) and gasoline stations, some of which are the absolutely worst offenders in this regard. Where can you shop? Well, try to find a home-schooling Catholic family, if possible, in your area who grows vegetables and sells their own farm-fresh eggs. Grow your own vegetables, if possible. Find a local market which simply lets you shop in an atmosphere of peace even though you might be paying more for products because of the lower volume of goods sold in that store. Go out of your way to protect your soul and that of your children. Want to out to eat? Boycott those places with the bad music. It is that simple. That's what you can do about it: refuse to enable the rot with your own money while you pollute your soul and that of your children.
6) Do not patronize professional sports. I have written about this before. It's been three years since I walked out of Shea Stadium after having attended over 1600 games there (and the old Polo Grounds during the first two seasons of the New York Mets, 1962-1963) because of the advertising of a certain blue pill that was once advertised by former Senator Robert Joseph Dole. I should have walked out in 1980 when the blare of "rock music" replaced the melodious sounds of a live organ at Shea Stadium. I made a compromise as a single man with what I knew was wrong. It was not until Sharon's pregnancy in 2001-2002 that I recognized that I would have to make a decision about leaving the game for good because of the music issue alone if I wanted to be a responsible father. The advertising of the blue pill, which raises a subject that is to be discussed only in the context of a married couple's consultation with a physician in the privacy of the latter's office, made the decision for me. Oh, I dream on a fairly regular basis about being back in my season seat and/or "sneaking" back into a ball park to watch the game in person. Even if the advertising of the blue pill stopped, however, there remains the issue of the horrific "music" (each player has his own "theme song" now, usually coming from the genre of the noise described herein) and the commercial tie-ins with various motion pictures that are advertise on a stadium's giant television screens. Ultimately, you see, we have to ask ourselves this question: just how much dirt are we willing voluntarily to have poured on our immortal souls and those of our children in the name of "having a good time"? It is bad enough that we are subjected to billboards and to the booming pollution of noise coming from the speakers of automobiles next to us on the highway. Just how much pollution must we tolerate in the name of "having a good time"?
I, more than anyone else, realize that the issue of professional sports is a touchy one for a lot of Catholics, including those who go to the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. Truth is what it is, however. How can any parish that offers the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively promote the group purchase of tickets, whether for all parishioners or for altar boys, to a Major League baseball game, for example, when it is known that the evil of "rock music" will be blared over the loud-speakers and all manner of diabolical displays will be featured on the giant television screen? I mean, one of the last motion pictures I saw advertised at Shea Stadium was an alleged "spoof" of Goldfinger whose very title was vulgar and meant to "push the envelope" on what was publicly mentionable in the presence of children. Has the new Bewitched movie, which glorifies the old television show (which was one of the early efforts to make witchcraft acceptable in the eyes of the public; the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery replacing the image of the frightening Margaret Hamilton), been advertised in ball parks? Probably so. How can we be immune to this influence? How can we voluntarily place ourselves in situations where we will be subjected to these influences? Doesn't make any sense to me.
I would have a different attitude about this if just one owner of just one baseball team stood up and said, "You know what? We're going to forego our share of the revenue generated by the advertising income that has been allotted to us by Major League Baseball headquarters. We're not going to advertise motion pictures. We're not going to advertise inappropriate products. We're not going to offend our fans by playing music many of them find objectionable. We're just going to have organ music and leave it at that." Alas, there is no owner in any major professional sport who is willing to relinquish part of the advertising pie that is given to his team (most, although not all, of the major decisions involving advertising for motion pictures and products such as the blue pill are made by the sales managers in baseball's central headquarters ) for the sake of returning the watching of the sport to a more innocent era. No, even those who listen to games on the radio, no less watch them on television, have to be subjected to horrible music and indecent advertising. What are we gaining unto eternity by enabling such behavior with our own money? What is a traditional Catholic parish gaining by sponsoring a day of "fun" in the devil's own arenas?
What do we gain by giving up the things mentioned above? Merit unto eternity. That's all. If we are totally consecrated to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, as well we should be, then any merit we earn by giving up the passing pleasures of this world in order to stand fast in behalf of innocence and purity and decency will be used by Our Lady to make reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world. No unseen sacrifice of ours, no unpopular stand we take, no word of correction offered to others is ever made in vain. Our Lady uses everything we give her. Everything.
To be a Catholic is not to be a Manichean or a Jansenist. Not at all. There are so many ways to enjoy the world that God has given over to us for our proper stewardship. There are places like Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Beemerville, New Jersey, that feature a variety of wild animals and displays of old cars and toys and tools that truly fascinate visitors, demonstrating the wonderment of God's creative work and the ingenuity that God gave man to create inventions designed to improve legitimately the quality of human life on earth. There are parks with slides and swings. There are honest-to-goodness Merry Go-Rounds with old-fashioned pipe-organ music that truly uplifts the soul. There are walks that can be taken and games that can be played on fields or in sandlots. There is no dearth of legitimate pleasures to enjoy in this vale of tears, especially those to be found in an old-fashioned place known as "home," which we must insulate from the devil's nefarious influences and surround with Crucifixes and images of Our Lady and the angels and the saints to remind us that even our homes are but temporary abodes prior to the eternal dwelling place in Heaven that awaits the souls of those who die in states of sanctifying grace.
What we must do, though, as Catholics, is make special efforts to avoid places where the demons are particularly aggressive and where their presence has been accepted passively by the lion's share of even practicing Catholics, no less those who are not members of the true Church. We may fight and lose the culture wars here on earth. What matters more than anything else, though, is that we fight the demons desiring to drag us down into the muck and mire of the profanity and vulgarity of the world as it is at present so that we can, by cooperating with the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and relying tenderly upon Our Lady's maternal intercession, win the battle for eternal life!
When we find ourselves in the midst of diabolical sights and sounds it is good to pray the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer (below) and to pray the August Queen of Heaven prayer:
August Queen of Heaven, sovereign mistress of the angels, thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan: we humbly implore thee to send thy holy legions, so that under thy command and by thy power they may drive the devils away, everywhere fight them subduing their boldness, and thrust them down into the abyss. Who is like unto God? O good and tender Mother, thou willst always be our love and our hope. O divine Mother send thy holy angels to defend me and to drive from away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us and keep us.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.
Saint John Berchmanns, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.