Let the Shoppers Consume
Thomas A. Droleskey
As a finite creature, man, whether or not he realizes it, is always in need of contact with things he believes are superior to him, things that are infinite and omnipotent. That is, man has the natural desire to worship that which is above him. Alas, if men do not have access to or belief in the Divine Revelation that has been entrusted solely to the Catholic Church, then they will invent demigods to worship and to follow. Indeed, men will become blind slaves of the blind demigods, following this or that fad or trend to the point of their complete and total destruction, both body and soul.
The post-Catholic and anti-Catholic world in which we live proposes all manner of false gods to be worshiped and obeyed. One of the chief triumphs of the devil in this anti-Catholic world is to use the confusion he was wrought within the true Church in her human elements to snatch souls from the bosom of Holy Mother Church in order to make them the blind slaves of their passions and desires. False messiahs are worshiped (entertainers, athletes, politicians, judges, talk show hosts) and obeyed reflexively. Adherents snap up all manner of "gear" to display the object of their affections, which objects are only too pleased to stuff their stockings with the cash derived from their status as Delphic oracles whose every word and action must be turned into some source of continued cash flow. Rush Limbaugh, Oprah Winfrey, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, Donald Trump, and Bill O'Reilly, among a plethora of others who have various degrees of followings and offer all sorts of personalized items (shirts, mugs, bags, buttons) for sale, have assistants who help to burnish their images and keep the cash registers ringing all year long. Even a jail term does little to stop personal industries from blossoming in our world of Calvinist consumerism. See Stewart, Martha, for example.
The false messiahs sometimes come in the form of sports teams, whose exploits define every waking moment of their fans' lives. Photographs of arenas and stadia and players and managers and coaches adorn walls and hang from automobile rear-view mirrors. Actual off-field criminal activity is excused, especially by the team owners who derive their income from the star power of their players and also by the representatives of players' unions, who, possessed of the American spirit of labor thuggery, want to indemnify their dues-paying members' every word and action by filing grievance and grievance. A veritable phalanx of lawyers and public relations representatives offers one excuse after another when their clients, who pay them hefty sums to get them out of trouble, run afoul of the law or are caught in scandalous situations.
Perhaps the most common false messiah, the one that most people in this country seek with amoral delight, is money and the material possessions that it can purchase. Human beings have a pronounced capacity to subordinate themselves to a piece of paper that has absolutely no real value at all but is said by the world to be the key to personal "happiness" and "security." Part of that "happiness" comes, it is said, from the ability to enjoy the things that can be purchased by large amounts of the pieces of paper that carries a "worth" assigned by the government that prints them up. Obviously, man has been making molten calves since the Jewish people thought Moses had abandoned them. However, we live in a world where the molten calf is indeed the demigod of choice for most of those with whom we know and meet during the course of a day. The pursuit of the worthless entity known as the dollar comes to define everything about everything aspect of life, including politics and government, whose policies are based on the collecting of billions upon billions of worthless pieces of paper by means of its confiscatory tax powers in order to empoverish more and more people so as to enfeeble them to do little about its profligate spending of additional sums of worthless pieces of paper on various programs, most of which are abjectly evil.
As I noted in Anticipating Advent a few days ago, this is the time of year in which people either spend hefty sums of worthless pieces of paper on various "gifts" and/or go into debt to do so, making the practitioners of usury worldwide more and more powerful over their lives and their ability to provide for the necessities of their own lives. It is frequently the case that people will actually stand in lines for hours and hours on end, sometimes for several days, to buy the latest craze that the marketing demons on Madison Avenue have determined should control peoples' lives and their illusory fortunes. It was "Cabbage Patch" dolls around 1982, a phenomenon that prompted me to remark to my students at Nassau Community College at the time, "We're killing 4,400 real babies every day by surgical abortion alone and giving names to make-believe babies. Don't any of you see something wrong here?" About a decade later, I believe, there was something called "Beanie Babies," that prompted long lines at certain dispensaries of so-called "fast-food." And there have been any number of "hand-held" devices about which I know, and blissfully so, I will add, absolutely nothing.
One of the latest of these hand-held devices is something called an X-Box. I have not the slightest clue what this wretched thing is. However, many other people are much more informed that I am about this product, probably made by slave labor in Communist China, to the delight and enrichment of the corporate robber barons in this country and their Communist compatriots in Red China. Here is a news report, which I received in an e-mail from Father Lawrence C. Smith, about a riot that broke out at a Wal-Mat in Maryland when this device was to go on sale six days ago, November 23, 2005:
Shopping 'hell' breaks loose, linked to Xbox
Posted 11/23/2005 1:11 PM
ELKTON, Md. (AP) — Shoppers waiting in line for the new Xbox 360 video game player scuffled outside a Wal-Mart Supercenter when a manager improvised rules for who would get the game first. It took more than 10 police officers to restore order, though no one was arrested.
A crowd of about 300 people were waiting late Monday for the game to go on sale at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Some of them had waited 12 hours when a night manager said the Xboxes would be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, instead of using a number system devised by customers.
"That's when all [expletive deleted] broke loose," said Ben DiSabatino IV, a 23-year-old Bear, Del., resident, who had been waiting in line since 4 p.m.
"It was like a mosh pit," 30-year-old Michael Pearman of Newark, Del., told the Cecil Whig.
Some customers were knocked down and trampled, though there were no serious injuries, said Elkton Police Lt. Lawrence Waldridge.
An Elkton police officer assigned to monitor the crowd called for backup. In all, it took more than 10 officers from Elkton, the state police and the sheriff's office to restore peace.
Then Wal-Mart decided to cancel the sale and police ordered everyone to leave. A store employee who wouldn't give her full name told the Cecil Whig that some Xboxes were sold later that night.
The Xbox 360 premium system includes a hard drive, wireless controllers and cables for high-definition TVs. It retails for $399.
Contributing: Cecil Whig
You will notice that no one was arrested despite mayhem that had taken place. Oh, no. Nothing must interfere with the ability of shoppers to consume. Wal-Mart generates jobs for many small communities around the United States of America. The highest deference must be paid to the corporations who have gutted the downtowns of small communities and forced the owners of small but very sustainable businesses to close their doors and look for other means to support themselves. Yes, let the shoppers consume even as they trample each other in their demonic quest to purchase an "Xbox" and then to worship at its altar for hours and days and weeks and months and years on-end. Well, actually, they will worship at the Xbox altar until the next version of the device comes along--or until some rival manufactures something that Madison Avenue determines must be advertised in such a way as to make people feel insecure, unloved and utterly worthless if they lack its possession.
What I find very interesting about all of this is that the pursuit of the false gods and the false pleasure they are supposed to provide results in a concomitant and relentless war against the true God and His true Church.
Politicians, for example, cannot invoke the Holy Name of the God-Man, no less subordinate their policy views to the Deposit of Faith He has entrusted to His true Church, for fear of running afoul of the Judeo-Masonic elite that control the popular media in this country and in most other places in the world. National and municipal officials speak of the "Holiday Season," although it is considered to be "politically correct" to speak the words "Hanukkah" and "Kwanza" publicly.
Corporations actually seek to suppress all mention of the Holy Name and of the Mass that commemorates His Nativity in Bethlehem, Christmas, as I noted in Anticipating Advent. Even Catholics, including traditional Catholics, are afraid frequently to mention the Holy Name and permit the inanity "Happy Holidays" to pass from their lips in a slavish response to what has just been expressed to them by a mindless employee of a corporation that wouldn't be making any money this time of the year were it not for the celebration of the Nativity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb.
Police officials let the shoppers shop after a riot in most places at the same time they seek after the most dangerous of all citizens, pro-lifers praying the Rosary in front of abortuaries, Over the years, for example, the police in Nassau County, New York, have sent as many as six squad cars full of officers to manhandle and arrest Father John T. Murphy of the Save the Babies Foundation on Long Island for merely stepping on a sidewalk outside of an abortuary while he is praying Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. Indeed, the Bush Administration argued three years ago, thankfully unsuccessfully, that pro-life hero Joseph Scheidler was a "bandit" under the Hobbs Act of 1946 because he deprive a "legitimate" business, a baby-killing center, of income that it could have derived if he had not deterred women from entering there to kill their babies. The full force of the "law" must be brought to bear on those seeking to save lives and souls in front of abortuaries while that same force is used to protect everything and everyone corrupted by the corrupting influence of Calvinist materialism and the atavistic capitalism it has spawned in the world. Oh, yes, let the shoppers consume and let the merchants make their money as we forget about the fact that every abortion is attack, as Father Murphy has noted, on the Incarnation itself. Too much to do, you understand, too many pleasures to be enjoyed, you see, to be concerned about the effects of overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King on our country and the world.
Pope Pius XI saw this all so clearly in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, his first encyclical letter, issued on December 23, 1922:
Men today do not act as Christians, as brothers, but as strangers, and even enemies. The sense of man's personal dignity and of the value of human life has been lost in the brutal domination begotten of might and mere superiority in numbers. Many are intent on exploiting their neighbors solely for the purpose of enjoying more fully and on a larger scale the goods of this world. But they err grievously who have turned to the acquisition of material and temporal possessions and are forgetful of eternal and spiritual things, to the possession of which Jesus, Our Redeemer, by means of the Church, His living interpreter, calls mankind.
It is in the very nature of material objects that an inordinate desire for them becomes the root of every evil, of every discord, and in particular, of a lowering of the moral sense. On the one hand, things which are naturally base and vile can never give rise to noble aspirations in the human heart which was created by and for God alone and is restless until it finds repose in Him. On the other hand, material goods (and in this they differ greatly from those of the spirit which the more of them we possess the more remain to be acquired) the more they are divided among men the less each one has and, by consequence, what one man has another cannot possibly possess unless it be forcibly taken away from the first. Such being the case, worldly possessions can never satisfy all in equal manner nor give rise to a spirit of universal contentment, but must become perforce a source of division among men and of vexation of spirit, as even the Wise Man Solomon experienced: "Vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit." (Ecclesiastes i, 2, 14)
The same effects which result from these evils among individuals may likewise be expected among nations. "From whence are wars and contentions among you?" asks the Apostle St. James. "Are they not hence from your concupiscences, which war in your members?" (James iv, 1, 2)
The inordinate desire for pleasure, concupiscence of the flesh, sows the fatal seeds of division not only among families but likewise among states; the inordinate desire for possessions, concupiscence of the eyes, inevitably turns into class warfare and into social egotism; the inordinate desire to rule or to domineer over others, pride of life, soon becomes mere party or factional rivalries, manifesting itself in constant displays of conflicting ambitions and ending in open rebellion, in the crime of lese majeste, and even in national parricide.
These unsuppressed desires, this inordinate love of the things of the world, are precisely the source of all international misunderstandings and rivalries, despite the fact that oftentimes men dare to maintain that acts prompted by such motives are excusable and even justifiable because, forsooth, they were performed for reasons of state or of the public good, or out of love for country. Patriotism -- the stimulus of so many virtues and of so many noble acts of heroism when kept within the bounds of the law of Christ -- becomes merely an occasion, an added incentive to grave injustice when true love of country is debased to the condition of an extreme nationalism, when we forget that all men are our brothers and members of the same great human family, that other nations have an equal right with us both to life and to prosperity, that it is never lawful nor even wise, to dissociate morality from the affairs of practical life, that, in the last analysis, it is "justice which exalteth a nation: but sin maketh nations miserable." (Proverbs xiv, 34)
Perhaps the advantages to one's family, city, or nation obtained in some such way as this may well appear to be a wonderful and great victory (this thought has been already expressed by St. Augustine), but in the end it turns out to be a very shallow thing, something rather to inspire us with the most fearful apprehensions of approaching ruin. "It is a happiness which appears beautiful but is brittle as glass. We must ever be on guard lest with horror we see it broken into a thousand pieces at the first touch." (St. Augustine de Civitate Dei, Book iv, Chap. 3)
This Advent season, therefore, provides us with a time not only withdrawing from the madness of consumerism and usurious money-changing but to do acts of penance for our own past participation, if any, in the madness and to pray that more and more of our family and friends will withdraw from it to live lives imitation of the Holy Poverty of the Holy Family. Doing so will help our own souls and will foster vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated religious life from the bosom of our own families.
Saint Joseph worked hard. He was a just man. He made quality products out of wood. It is said that some of the woodwork made by Saint Joseph and his foster-Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, were traded in Europe for over five hundred years following Our Lord's Ascension to the Father's right hand in glory. Although Saint Joseph made exemplary products, he did not make much money. He charged just enough to support his family, to earn what the Church has called in the 114 years since Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, "the living wage." Saint Joseph was content to earn enough for the necessities of daily living. So should we. Anyone who thinks he knows better than Saint Joseph is a fool.
Mind you, the Church does not condemn those who by the sweat of their brow and by the industry given them by God are able to make more than is needed for themselves and their families. Not at all. She simply reminds us that we must not seek to enrich ourselves as an ultimate end that justifies the cutting of corners and the charging of whatever "the market will bear" for our goods or services. And those who have been blessed with an abundance of material means have the obligation to assist those who are less fortunate than they, making sure to support the work of the Church as she serves the needs of souls, which translates in most instances today into helping chapels where the fullness of the Catholic Faith is offered without compromise and without any concessions made to the unjust and illicit conditions imposed upon the offering of the Traditional Latin Mass. In other words, we must never find ourselves on any lines to buy any product at any time or think that our lives would be enriched by having more and more of the goods of this passing world.
The season of penance that is now underway, Advent, is meant to strip us more and more of any attachment to the empty riches of the world. The four weeks given to us this year are meant to be used so that we are more enriched interiorly than we were when we ended the last liturgical year at sundown Saturday, November 26, 2005. We are to anticipate with eagerness Our Lord's coming to us every day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to prepare with trepidation for His coming for us at the moment of our Particular Judgments, and to make a straight path for a truly joyful celebration of the anniversary of His Nativity in Bethlehem, which season of joy extends to Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on February 2.
Let the world have its madness as it worships at the altars of its false gods. We must prepare for the Coming of the Lord Himself and be always prepared to worship fitting at His high altar of sacrifice, the Sacrifice of the Cross. Let the shoppers consume as we permit ourselves to be consumed the fire of Love that flows forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Love that keeps us united with the Heart that permitted itself to be consumed in a perfect communion with the Sacred Heart, the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Just another reflection on Advent as we journey with the Holy Family from Nazareth along the treacherous pathways, full of robbers and murderers, that take us from there to the cave in Bethlehem wherein Our Saviour was born for us in utter poverty and relative anonymity.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Lover of Poverty, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Brigid of Kildare, who gave away most of her father's possessions, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.
Saint Vincent DePaul, pray for us.
Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Rita, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Padre Pio, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas, pray for us.