Not Blending Well
Thomas A. Droleskey
Sister, I am a notoriously bad patient. Man and boy, I have caused two nurses to quit their hospitals and one to quit the profession!"
Thus spoke the fictional Chief Robert T. Ironside, played so well by the late Raymond Burr (yes, thanks for all the e-mails I received last month; I know all about Burr's very sad descent into perversion; he was still a fine actor who never flaunted his private immorality or sought special privileges because of it) in a two-hour episode, "Split Second to an Epitaph," which aired on Thursday, September 26, 1968, to Sister Agatha, played by Lilia Skala, of Saint Mary's Hospital in San Francisco, California. "The Chief" was refusing to take two pills for pain while awaiting exploratory surgery to determine if he could walk again some eighteen months after having been paralyzed from the waist down by a sniper's bullet. As it turned out in the episode, however, the Chief's refusal to take both pills saved his life as they were laced with
strychnine by a pharmacist's aide, played by Margaret O'Brien, who was covering up shortages in the pharmacy caused by her supplying drugs to her boyfriend, played by Don Stroud, Ironside insisted on taking only one pill, thereby limiting the effects of the poison, which was pumped out of his system. Oh, in case you are interested, the exploratory surgery (all right, all right,"performed" by Dr. Ben Stern, played by the late Joseph Cotten) on Ironside was unsuccessful, thus keeping the fictional character in his wheelchair for the rest of the series, which ended on Thursday, January 16, 1975, and through the reunion movie on May 4, 1993.
Well, man and boy, ladies and gentlemen, I have been the scourge of motel clerks and, within the past six years, proprietors and/or managers of campgrounds concerning the maintenance of some semblance of quiet and decency during the hours when most human beings are trying to sleep. My late parents were not the most observant Catholics, something I understood all too well as I learned the Faith at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York. However, they had a great deal of residual Catholicism, which they did not recognize as such, within them concerning how to treat others. Apart from teaching their two sons to be polite, courteous and respectful to others, my parents taught us to be considerate of the need of others for rest and sleep. That is, we were taught to be quiet in the hallways of hotels at night as we were returning from some restaurant for dinner and not to make noise in our rooms at night. The same applied if we had to get up early in the morning to get on the road.
Indeed, what applied in hotels and motels applied in our home. My father would take off from his veterinary practice in Queens Village, New York, on Wednesdays. Thus, we were very careful to let him sleep (he kept morning, afternoon and evening hours every weekday except Wednesday, finishing his office hours on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.). We turned doorknobs and then closed the doors gently, twisting the doorknobs so that the infernal "click" or a slamming noise would not be made. And even though our noisy beagles were pretty sleepy in the morning, we tried to hush them as best we could if they began to bark, something that beagles are notorious for doing.
The lessons learned in childhood and adolescence carried over to the time I move out on my own in January of 1973 to pursue my graduate studies for the Master of Arts degree in political science at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. The property manager of the Village Terre apartments on Rosemary Lane in South Bend, Indiana, a Mr. Bernard Merlander of Portage Realty, was very reluctant to rent an apartment to a twenty-one year old college graduate. I convinced him, however, that I did not play "rock" "music" and that I would be quiet and respectful of the rights of others. The only real problem I had in that apartment complex during the eleven months I lived there as I started and completed my master's program at the University of Notre Dame was the occasional tenant who would use the laundry room late at night after hours.
My first real encounter with noisy, inconsiderate neighbors came when I lived in an apartment complex on Morrison Avenue in Troy, New York, from March of 1974 until July of 1977 as I was pursuing my doctorate at the State University of New York at Albany. There was no effective management of the apartment house, leading to a lot of sleepless nights. The pampered baby-boomers were coming of age, and no one was going to interfere with how they wanted to live and how much noise they wanted to make.
A reprieve from those battles with noisy neighbors in Troy, New York, was had in the 1976-1977 academic year as I taught full-time at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York, while completing and defending my doctoral dissertation. The apartment complex on Candlewyck Lane in Utica had mostly older residents who were blissfully quiet and went to sleep at most reasonable hours without disturbing their neighbors. In God's Holy Providence, however, the year of respite was more than made for with a truly penitential year in an apartment complex on Greenbriar Drive in Normal, Illinois, during the 1977-1978 academic year, having moved on from Utica to teach at Illinois State University. Every weekend was a battle. A battle. And while I tried to offer up the inconvenience and the assault upon my senses that took place each weekend, the lack of sleep took its toll even for a man in his late twenties. No one in the management seemed the least bit concerned. The tenant who wanted to sleep was the problem, you understand.
Once again, however, Our Lord granted a reprieve for a period of one year, 1978-1979 when I lived in a four-plex development on the west side of Normal. It was the nicest place I've ever rented, costing $250 a month for a two-story apartment complete with a full basement. And there was no noise, only field mice that invaded my apartment in the winter.
It was back to the apartment wars again in the 1979-1980 academic year when teaching for one year at what was then called Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. Indeed, I had to move in December of 1979 from one apartment to another in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to get away from the incessant noise made by two nurses in an adjoining apartment who were partying pretty hard whenever they were home, which was usually at night. The final eight months of my stay in the Lehigh Valley was pretty quiet.
Future battles over noise and order, those in the 1980s an 1990s, dealt not so much with fellow tenants (as I lived mostly in apartments in private homes in those decades) but with neighborhood noise on weekends. It is no accident, I believe, that the loss of the sense of order and respect and courtesy and consideration for others in our ordinary lives followed in short order as a result of the loss of the sacred and the introduction of the profane in what passed for the "worship" of God in the Novus Ordo Missae, introduced in 1969 after a decade and one-half of liturgical innovations. Why should Catholics be respectful of others when what purported to be the worship of God in the Mass introduced such disorder and chaos into their lives, convincing them that it was appropriate to dress casually for "Mass" and that one could talk and act inappropriately before, during and after the celebration of the community "liturgy."
Oh, sure, yes, I know. There were cultural forces (naturalism, pluralism, materialism, hedonism, relativism, positivism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, capitalism, socialism, statism, feminism, environmentalism, egalitarianism, majoritarianism, conservatism, liberalism, nihilism, libertarianism) at work during these years that had their own nefarious influences on the state of the world. Granted. It would be wrong, however, to discount the adverse, deleterious social consequences wrought by the Novus Ordo on the behavior of ordinary Catholics in the midst of the world. The sons and daughters of men and women who would never act like barbarians or tartars began behaving in the most vile and indecent and vulgar manner possible. Each succeeding generation has gotten worse and worse and worse. Just take a look at the goings-on at "World Youth Day," which will resume its promotion of scandalous dress, speech, music and behavior next year in Sydney, Australia, to see how the creme de la creme of the youth in the counterfeit structures of conciliarism behave in the midst of something considered, albeit falsely, to be associated with being a "Catholic."
We see this all of the time in our travels around the nation, especially in the campgrounds where we park. Mind you, there are some campgrounds that are very orderly, forbidding the playing of radios or other sound equipment outside of one's motor home (or camper or fifth wheel or tent) at any time. Some campground owners are good about policing their grounds. Others are not. We have had experiences on both ends of the scale.
One of the best is Orangeland R. V. Park in Orange, California, where we stayed whenever were in southern California, thinking, wrongly, as it turned out, that we were assisting at the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, something we just did not know or could accept at the time. Anyhow, Orangeland R. V. Park is very professional. They keep a "tight lid" on things, knowing that their customers, most of whom park there to go to Masonland (otherwise known as D-land, shall we say, in nearby Anaheim, California), need Orangeland R. V. Park more than its owners need them. There are not many campgrounds near Masonland's world of naturalism theme park, meaning that Orangeland R. V. Park can afford to enforce some strict rules about noise and the behavior of campers.
On the other end of the scale, however, have been some truly dreadful experiences, each of which has been given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. One particularly bad incident occurred just a little over a year ago when a nasty man who owned a campground in the Hudson Valley area of New York refused to give us a refund when we complained about horrible music emanating from his "entertainment barn" on a Saturday night. "I'm a pagan," the man told me. "I want my fellow pagans to run around and have fun here. Your 'opinion' about God and souls doesn't matter to me. I have your money. You can stay if you want. If you don't like my campground and what we do here you can leave and I get to keep your money." We left. We care too much about our daughter's immortal soul to subject her to the horror of contemporary music. We had to leave the campground and part with the money.
Ranking right up there with that experience was one we had this past weekend when we were evicted, as in thrown out, of a campground in Connecticut for complaining about hooligans who were hooting and hollering until past midnight on Saturday morning, June 23, 2007. Midnight on that morning was just five hours before we had to get up to drive to Lawrence, Massachusetts, for Holy Mass, offered by Father Benedict Hughes, CMRI, and my lecture on the Social Reign of Christ the King thereafter. The experience was dreadful.
Horrible music, loud noise, raucous behavior, no campground official to supervise rules (and a prohibition against calling the local police to enforce quiet time). Ah, yes, more rotten fruit of the naturalistic world of self-centered indulgence, a world that is the antithesis of Christendom, which had vestigial effects even as late as fifty years ago in our own country. It is no small accident, as noted above, that those vestigial effects of Christendom were eclipsed in the lives of most Catholics as noise and profanity entered into what purported to be "worship" in the Catholic parishes that slipped into the control of the revolutionaries of the 1960s and thereafter. Consideration? Courtesy? Simple manners? They are gone in the lives of most Catholics today, many of whom think nothing of being tattooed and immersing themselves in the horror of "rock" "music" and all other aspects of popular culture. A world where Christ is not recognized publicly as King and where Our Lady is not honored publicly as Queen degenerates into barbarism and actual worship of the adversary.
Things got worse upon returning from our 330 mile round-trip around 7:00 p.m. that Saturday, June 23, 2007. A veritable "weapon of mass destruction," namely, a boom box pointed directly at our motor home, blared its horrible noise at our immortal souls. Yelling and screaming went on and on and on for hours on end. There was no way to reach the management directly, although messages were left on the office phone (messages that would not be checked until the next day, the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sunday, June 24, 2007). Even though I had been told not to call the police, I had no recourse but to do so. Although I took advantage of the noise to draft an article that is being vetted at present and may not appear for several more days, if at all (yes, there are articles that never get posted, thank you), something had to be done to restore some semblance of order and decency. My family had had a long day. My daughter was entitled to some sleep. This did not sit well with the management.
Yes, it was while en route to give my talk in Newtown, Connecticut, on Sunday, June 24, 2007, that I received a phone call from the owner, a Catholic who has lost her sensus Catholicus as a result of the conciliar revolution. She said that "things weren't working out," that we could not expect people to be quiet after dark, that other people go to campgrounds to "have fun." Trying to appeal to her residual Catholicism, I asked if the behavior exhibited by her customers would have been tolerated publicly fifty years before when her mother, who is dying of cancer and in need of our prayers, was raising her. "You know," I told her very emphatically, "that the behavior you permit on your grounds would not have been tolerated publicly fifty years ago. Why has it become acceptable now?" She said, very honestly, "I don't know." However, she was in no mood to kick out the offending parties. We were the ones who had to leave. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Although the noise emanating from our immediate neighbors was truly loud and offensive (including profanities, the slamming of doors, yelling and screaming), the owner said that no one else reported "hearing" anything. Of course not. They are oblivious to noise. As Sharon noted a few moments ago as this article is being written, it is as though most people have been on an intravenous drip, if you will, of cacophonous noise throughout their lives. They are used to the noise. It doesn't bother them. Indeed, many of them can't live without constant "background" noise. Oh, no, we're the crazy ones for expecting others to be considerate and courteous. I know that I really scored a lot of points with the owner when I brought up Our Lady's Fatima Message and the necessity of modesty of dress, which is not enforced in the campground at all. American civil liberty, you understand. People have their "rights," right? We were out. The hooligans got to stay. Once again, no refund. Once again, we hope and pray, a bit of merit for standing fast for the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen despite our own sins.
Lest a casually informed Catholic out here in cyberspace think that such an attitude is "beyond the pale," perhaps it would be wise to consider the excellent of "Parental Pleas" issued at a traditional Catholic academy:
Although [our pastor] has said that certain of the following points were not serious sins when done in the privacy of one's home, NEVERTHELESS as parents and students of [the academy], you should strive with more than ordinary effort for the sanctification of your souls and the souls of your children. "To whom much is give, much is expected."
- The family should pray the daily Rosary together.
- Women and girls should wear modest skirts at all times.
- There should be very limited vanities (jewelry, cosmetics, etc.)
- Children should not be permitted the "fad" fashions and hair styles (usually immodest, vain, worldly and even ugly).
- Parents should not given their children into the care of non-traditional Catholics.
- Children should not have hired jobs outside of the home during school days.
- Children should not be allowed to play in public recreational sports leagues.
- Parents should be careful as regards playmates (who are not in the Academy) for their children.
- There should be no toys or books that may be immoral, immodest, vain or plain ugly.
- There should be very limited video game playing.
- There should be limited VCR watching.
- The children should not be permitted to see current movies, especially the new "Disney" movies.
- Parents should not consider public, private or novus ordo schools as an option.for some of their children while sending other of their children here.
Parents should/must inculcate respect for their own and all authority.
This list has been drawn up from the practical problems we have dealt with directly in the Academy over the last 10 years. We therefore believe, as does [our pastor] that there is at least remote occasion for sin either inherent in the things mentioned or from their immoderate use.
Structure and order. It is not to be a Jansenist or a Manichean to insist on structure and order, to assure that there are times when legitimate expressions of exuberance in outdoor activities, which a Catholic never frowns upon as long as the virtues, especially that of modesty, are maintained, yield to the simple rules of consideration for the needs of others to rest. No compromise with the spirit of the world. Ah, yes, the rest of the world, including many of our own relatives, may think the conditions above to be "too stringent" and "restrictive." However, they are just an application of basic Catholic principles in concrete circumstances, as Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri, December 31, 1929:
While treating of education, it is not out of place to show here how an ecclesiastical writer, who flourished in more recent times, during the Renaissance, the holy and learned Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, to whom the cause of Christian education is greatly indebted, has set forth most clearly this well established point of Catholic doctrine. He had been a disciple of that wonderful educator of youth, St. Philip Neri; he was teacher and Latin secretary to St. Charles Borromeo, and it was at the latter's suggestion and under his inspiration that he wrote his splendid treatise on The Christian Education of Youth. In it he argues as follows:
"The more closely the temporal power of a nation aligns itself with the spiritual, and the more it fosters and promotes the latter, by so much the more it contributes to the conservation of the commonwealth. For it is the aim of the ecclesiastical authority by the use of spiritual means, to form good Christians in accordance with its own particular end and object; and in doing this it helps at the same time to form good citizens, and prepares them to meet their obligations as members of a civil society. This follows of necessity because in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing. How grave therefore is the error of those who separate things so closely united, and who think that they can produce good citizens by ways and methods other than those which make for the formation of good Christians. For, let human prudence say what it likes and reason as it pleases, it is impossible to produce true temporal peace and tranquillity by things repugnant or opposed to the peace and happiness of eternity". . . .
In fact it must never be forgotten that the subject of Christian education is man whole and entire, soul united to body in unity of nature, with all his faculties natural and supernatural, such as right reason and revelation show him to be; man, therefore, fallen from his original estate, but redeemed by Christ and restored to the supernatural condition of adopted son of God, though without the preternatural privileges of bodily immortality or perfect control of appetite. There remain therefore, in human nature the effects of original sin, the chief of which are weakness of will and disorderly inclinations.
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction shall drive it away." Disorderly inclinations then must be corrected, good tendencies encouraged and regulated from tender childhood, and above all the mind must be enlightened and the will strengthened by supernatural truth and by the means of grace, without which it is impossible to control evil impulses, impossible to attain to the full and complete perfection of education intended by the Church, which Christ has endowed so richly with divine doctrine and with the Sacraments, the efficacious means of grace.
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. . . .
It is no less necessary to direct and watch the education of the adolescent, "soft as wax to be moulded into vice," in whatever other environment he may happen to be, removing occasions of evil and providing occasions for good in his recreations and social intercourse; for "evil communications corrupt good manners."
More than ever nowadays an extended and careful vigilance is necessary, inasmuch as the dangers of moral and religious shipwreck are greater for inexperienced youth. Especially is this true of impious and immoral books, often diabolically circulated at low prices; of the cinema, which multiplies every kind of exhibition; and now also of the radio, which facilitates every kind of communications. These most powerful means of publicity, which can be of great utility for instruction and education when directed by sound principles, are only too often used as an incentive to evil passions and greed for gain. St. Augustine deplored the passion for the shows of the circus which possessed even some Christians of his time, and he dramatically narrates the infatuation for them, fortunately only temporary, of his disciple and friend Alipius. How often today must parents and educators bewail the corruption of youth brought about by the modern theater and the vile book!
Worthy of all praise and encouragement therefore are those educational associations which have for their object to point out to parents and educators, by means of suitable books and periodicals, the dangers to morals and religion that are often cunningly disguised in books and theatrical representations. In their spirit of zeal for the souls of the young, they endeavor at the same time to circulate good literature and to promote plays that are really instructive, going so far as to put up at the cost of great sacrifices, theaters and cinemas, in which virtue will have nothing to suffer and much to gain.
This necessary vigilance does not demand that young people be removed from the society in which they must live and save their souls; but that today more than ever they should be forewarned and forearmed as Christians against the seductions and the errors of the world, which, as Holy Writ admonishes us, is all "concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life. Let them be what Tertullian wrote of the first Christians, and what Christians of all times ought to be, "sharers in the possession of the world, not of its error."
This saying of Tertullian brings us to the topic which we propose to treat in the last place, and which is of the greatest importance, that is, the true nature of Christian education, as deduced from its proper end. Its consideration reveals with noonday clearness the pre-eminent educational mission of the Church.
The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by Baptism, according to the emphatic expression of the Apostle: "My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you." For the true Christian must live a supernatural life in Christ: "Christ who is your life," and display it in all his actions: "That the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
For precisely this reason, Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of human life, physical and spiritual, intellectual and moral, individual, domestic and social, not with a view of reducing it in any way, but in order to elevate, regulate and perfect it, in accordance with the example and teaching of Christ.
The combined efforts of the organized forces of naturalism in the world (Judeo-Masonry) and conciliarism have robbed most people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike of the ability to even consider the possibility of First and Last Things, no less to think supernaturally at all times while refusing to cede any ground the to manifest falsehoods of naturalism whatsoever. Saint Paul tells us in his First Epistle to the Corinthians that the sensual man, that is, the man who thinks naturally, simply cannot understand the spiritual man, something that is so very true in our own era of unbridled licentiousness protected under cover of law and institutionalized in every aspect of what passes for "popular culture":
For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man.(1 Cor. 2: 11-15)
This passage from Saint Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians is a pretty good summary of why many of our relatives and formerly closest friends think us stark raving mad to object to such things as endless noise and commotion that prevents little children from getting to sleep as it bombards their immortal souls with "music" that comes from Hell and is played there for all eternity. This passage is a pretty good explanation as to why most people reject any mention of the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church, including that concerning the immutable doctrine of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Those steeped in naturalism, including many allegedly traditionally-minded Catholics, cannot believe everything in the world without exception is meant to be defined by the Catholic Faith and is thus to be marked by an abiding concern for the honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity and for the good of the souls for whom the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of the God the Holy Ghost shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. Those who do not understand the horror of sin and what is caused Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother to suffer during His Passion Death--and who are not intent on reforming their lives and doing penance for their sins--must consider people who think and act in supernatural terms to be stark raving mad.
Pope Leo XIII noted these exact points in Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888:
If We look into the kind of life men lead everywhere, it would be impossible to avoid the conclusion that public and private morals differ much from the precepts of the Gospel. Too sadly, alas, do the words of the Apostle St. John apply to our age, "all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life." For in truth, most men, with little care whence they come or whither they go, place all their thoughts and care upon the weak and fleeting goods of this life; contrary to nature and right reason they willingly give themselves up to those ways of which their reason tells them they should be the masters. It is a short step from the desire of luxury to the striving after the means to obtain it. Hence arises an unbridled greed for money, which blinds those whom it has led captive, and in the fulfillment of its passion hurries them madly along, often without regard for justice or injustice, and not seldom accompanied by a disgraceful contempt for the poverty of their neighbor. Thus many who live in the lap of luxury call themselves brethren of the multitude whom in their heart of hearts they despise; and in the same way with minds puffed up by pride, they take no thought to obey any law, or fear any power. They call selflove liberty, and think themselves "born free like a wild ass's colt. Snares and temptation to sin abound; We know that impious or immoral dramas are exhibited on the stage; that books and journals are written to jeer at virtue and ennoble crime; that the very arts, which were intended to give pleasure and proper recreation, have been made to minister to impurity. Nor can We look to the future without fear, for new seeds of evil are sown, and as it were poured into the heart of the rising generation. As for the public schools, there is no ecclesiastical authority left in them, and in the years when it is most fitting for tender minds to be trained carefully in Christian virtue, the precepts of religion are for the most part unheard. Men more advanced in age encounter a yet graver peril from evil teaching, which is of such a kind as to blind the young by misleading words, instead of filling them with the knowledge of the truth. Many now-adays seek to learn by the aid of reason alone, laying divine faith entirely aside; and, through the removal of its bright light, they stumble and fail to discern the truth, teaching for instance, that matter alone exists in the world; that men and beasts have the same origin and a like nature; there are some, indeed, who go so far as to doubt the existence of God, the Ruler and Maker of the World, or who err most grievously, like the heathens, as to the nature of God. Hence the very nature and form of virtue, justice, and duty are of necessity destroyed. Thus it is that while they hold up to admiration the high authority of reason, and unduly elevate the subtlety of the human intellect, they fall into the just punishment of pride through ignorance of what is of more importance.
When the mind has thus been poisoned, at the same time the moral character becomes deeply and essentially corrupted; and such a state can only be cured with the utmost difficulty in this class of men, because on the one hand wrong opinions vitiate their judgment of what is right, and on the other the light of Christian faith, which is the principle and basis of all justice, is extinguished.
In this way We daily see the numerous ills which afflict all classes of men. These poisonous doctrines have utterly corrupted both public and private life; rationalism, materialism, atheism, have begotten socialism, communism, nihilism-evil principles which it was not only fitting should have sprung from such parentage but were its necessary offspring. In truth, if the Catholic religion is willfully rejected, whose divine origin is made clear by such unmistakable signs, what reason is there why every form of religion should not be rejected, not upheld, by such criteria of truth? If the soul is one with the body, and if therefore no hope of a happy eternity remains when the body dies, what reason is there for men to undertake toil and suffering here in subjecting the appetites to right reason? The highest good of man will then lie in enjoying life's pleasures and life's luxuries. And since there is no one who is drawn to virtue by the impulse of his own nature, every man will naturally lay hands on all he can that he may live happily on the spoils of others. Nor is there any power mighty enough to bridle the passions, for it follows that the power of law is broken, and that all authority is loosened, if the belief in an ever-living God, Who commands what is right and forbids what is wrong is rejected. Hence the bonds of civil society will be utterly shattered when every man is driven by an unappeasable covetousness to a perpetual struggle, some striving to keep their possessions, others to obtain what they desire. This is wellnigh the bent of our age.
There is, nevertheless, some consolation for Us even in looking on these evils, and We may lift up Our heart in hope. For God "created all things that they might be: and He made the nations of the earth for health." But as all this world cannot be upheld but by His providence and divinity, so also men can only be healed by His power, of Whose goodness they were called from death to life. For Jesus Christ redeemed the human race once by the shedding of His blood, but the power of so great a work and gift is for all ages; "neither is there salvation in any other."Hence they who strive by the enforcement of law to extinguish the growing flame of lawless desire, strive indeed for justice; but let them know that they will labor with no result, or next to none, as long as they obstinately reject the power of the gospel and refuse the assistance of the Church. Thus will the evil alone be cured, by changing their ways, and returning back in their public and private life to Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of faith." Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the "fight proposed to Us," fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, "having joy set before him, endured the cross." Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. "They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences" -- so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ. By the infinite goodness of God man lived again to the hope of an immortal life, from which he had been cut off, but he cannot attain to it if he strives not to walk in the very footsteps of Christ and conform his mind to Christ's by the meditation of Christ's example. Therefore this is not a counsel but a duty, and it is the duty, not of those only who desire a more perfect life, but clearly of every man "always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus." How otherwise could the natural law, commanding man to live virtuously, be kept? For by holy baptism the sin which we contracted at birth is destroyed, but the evil and tortuous roots of sin, which sin has engrafted, and by no means removed. This part of man which is without reason -- although it cannot beat those who fight manfully by Christ's grace -- nevertheless struggles with reason for supremacy, clouds the whole soul and tyrannically bends the will from virtue with such power that we cannot escape vice or do our duty except by a daily struggle. "This holy synod teaches that in the baptized there remains concupiscence or an inclination to evil, which, being left to be fought against, cannot hurt those who do not consent to it, and manfully fight against it by the grace of Jesus Christ; for he is not crowned who does not strive lawfully." There is in this struggle a degree of strength to which only a very perfect virtue, belonging to those who, by putting to flight evil passions, has gained so high a place as to seem almost to live a heavenly life on earth. Granted; grant that few attain such excellence; even the philosophy of the ancients taught that every man should restrain his evil desires, and still more and with greater care those who from daily contact with the world have the greater temptations -- unless it be foolishly thought that where the danger is greater watchfulness is less needed, or that they who are more grievously ill need fewer medicines.
But the toil which is borne in this conflict is compensated by great blessings, beyond and above heavenly and eternal rewards, particularly in this way, that by calming the passions nature is largely restored to its pristine dignity. For man has been born under this law, that the mind should rule the body, that the appetites should be restrained by sound sense and reason; and hence it follows that putting a curb upon our masterful passions is the noblest and greatest freedom. Moreover, in the present state of society it is difficult to see what man could be expected to do without such a disposition. Will he be inclined to do well who has been accustomed to guide his actions by self-love alone? No man can be high-souled, kind, merciful, or restrained, who has not learnt selfconquest and a contempt for this world when opposed to virtue. And yet it must be said that it seems to have been pre-determined by the counsel of God that there should be no salvation to men without strife and pain. Truly, though God has given to man pardon for sin, He gave it under the condition that His only begotten Son should pay the due penalty; and although Jesus Christ might have satisfied divine justice in other ways, nevertheless He preferred to satisfy by the utmost suffering and the sacrifice of His life. Thus he has imposed upon His followers this law, signed in His blood, that their life should be an endless strife with the vices of the age. What made the apostles invincible in their mission of teaching truth to the world; what strengthened the martyrs innumerable in their bloody testimony to the Christian faith, but the readiness of their soul to obey fearlessly His laws? And all who have taken heed to live a Christian life and seek virtue have trodden the same path; therefore We must walk in this way if We desire either Our own salvation or that of others. Thus it becomes necessary for every one to guard manfully against the allurements of luxury, and since on every side there is so much ostentation in the enjoyment of wealth, the soul must be fortified against the dangerous snares of riches lest straining after what are called the good things of life, which cannot satisfy and soon fade away, the soul should lose "the treasure in heaven which faileth not." Finally, this is matter of deep grief, that free-thought and evil example have so evil an influence in enervating the soul, that many are now almost ashamed of the name of Christian -- a shame which is the sign either of abandoned wickedness or the extreme of cowardice; each detestable and each of the highest injury to man. For what salvation remains for such men, or on what hope can they rely, if they cease to glory in the name of Jesus Christ, if they openly and constantly refuse to mold their lives on the precepts of the gospel? It is the common complaint that the age is barren of brave men. Bring back a Christian code of life, and thereby the minds of men will regain their firmness and constancy. But man's power by itself is not equal to the responsibility of so many duties. As We must ask God for daily bread for the sustenance of the body, so must We pray to Him for strength of soul for its nourishment in virtue. Hence that universal condition and law of life, which We have said is a perpetual battle, brings with it the necessity of prayer to God. For, as is well and wisely said by St. Augustine, pious prayer flies over the world's barriers and calls down the mercy of God from heaven. In order to conquer the emotions of lust, and the snares of the devil, lest we should be led into evil, we are commanded to seek the divine help in the words, "pray that ye enter not into temptation." How much more is this necessary, if we wish to labor for the salvation of others? Christ our Lord, the only begotten Son of God, the source of all grace and virtue, first showed by example what he taught in word: "He passed the whole night in the prayer of God," and when nigh to the sacrifice of his life, "He prayed the longer."
The frailty of nature would be much less fearful, and the moral character would grow weak and enervated with much less ease if that divine precept were not so much disregarded and treated almost with disdain. For God is easily appeased, and desires to aid men, having promised openly to give His grace in abundance to those who ask for it. Nay, He even invites men to ask, and almost insists with most loving words: "I say unto you, ask and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you." And that we should have no fear in doing this with confidence and familiarity, he softens His words, comparing Himself to a most loving father who desires nothing so much as the love of his children. "If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?" And this will not seem excessive to one who considers it, if the efficaciousness of prayer seemed so great to St. John Chrysostom that he thought it might be compared with the power of God; for as God created all things by His word, so man by prayer obtains what he wills. For nothing has so great a power as prayer, because in it there are certain qualities with which it pleases God to be moved. For in prayer we separate ourselves from things of earth, and filled with the thought of God alone, we become aware of our human weakness; for the same reason we rest in the embrace of our Father, we seek a refuge in the power of our Creator. We approach the Author of all good, as though we wish Him to gaze upon our weak souls, our failing strength, our poverty; and, full of hope, we implore His aid and guardianship, Who alone can give help to the weak and consolation to the infirm and miserable. With such a condition of mind, thinking but little of ourselves, as is fitting, God is greatly inclined to mercy, for God resisteth the proud, but to the humble he giveth grace. Let, then, the habit of prayer be sacred to all; let soul and voice join together in prayer, and let our whole daily life agree together, so that, by keeping the laws of God, the course of our days may seem a continual ascent to Him.
The virtue of which we speak, like the others, is produced and nourished by divine faith; for God is the Author of all true blessings that are to be desired for themselves, as we owe to Him our knowledge of His infinite goodness, and our knowledge of the merits of our Redeemer. But, again, nothing is more fitted for the nourishment of divine faith than the pious habit of prayer, and the need of it at this time is seen by its weakness in most, and its absence in many men. For that virtue is especially the source whereby not only private lives may be amended, but also from which a final judgment may be looked for in those matters which in the daily conflict of men do not permit states to live in peace and security. If the multitude is frenzied with a thirst for excessive liberty, if the inhuman lust of the rich never is satisfied, and if to these be added those evils of the same kind to which We have referred fully above, it will be found that nothing can heal them more completely or fully than Christian faith.
Here it is fitting We should exhort you whom God has made His helpers by giving the divine power to dispense His Sacraments, to turn to meditation and prayer. If the reformation of private and public morals is needed, it scarcely requires to be said that in both respects the clergy ought to set the highest example. Let them therefore remember that they have been called by Jesus Christ, "the light of the world, that the soul of the priest should shine like a light illuminating the whole world. The light of learning, and that in no small degree is needed in the priest, because it is his duty, to fill others with wisdom, to destroy errors, to be a guide to the many in the steep and slippery paths of life. Learning ought to be accompanied by innocence of life, because in the reformation of man example is far better than precept. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works." The meaning of the divine word is that the perfection of virtue in priests should be such that they should be like a mirror to the rest of men. "There is nothing which induces others more effectively to piety and the worship of God, than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry: for, since they are separated from the world and placed in a higher sphere, others look on them as though on a mirror, to take examples from them. Therefore if all men must watchfully heed against the allurements of sin, and against seeking too eagerly fleeting pleasures, it is clear how much more faithful and steadfast ought priests to be. The sacredness of their dignity, moreover -- as well as the fact that it is not sufficient to restrain their passions -- demands in them the habit of stringent selfrestraint, and also a guard over the powers of the soul, particularly the intellect and will, which hold the supreme place in man. "Thou who hast the mind to leave all (says St. Bernard), remember to reckon thyself among what thou wouldst abandon-nay, deny thyself first and before everything." Not before the soul is unshackled and free from every desire, will men have a generous zeal for the salvation of others, without which they cannot properly secure their own everlasting welfare. "There will be one thing only sought (says St. Bernard) by His subjects, one glory, one pleasure -- to make ready for the Lord a perfect people. For this they will give everything with much exertion of mind and body, with toil and suffering, with hunger and thirst, with cold and nakedness." The frequent meditation upon the things of heaven wonderfully nourishes and strengthens virtue of this kind, and makes it always fearless of the greatest difficulties for the good of others. The more pains they take to meditate well, the more clearly will they understand the greatness and holiness of the priestly office. They will understand how sad it is that so many men, redeemed by Jesus Christ, are running headlong to eternal ruin; and by meditation upon God they will be themselves encouraged, and will more effectually excite others to the love of God. Such, then, is the surest method for the salvation of all; and in this men must take heed not to be terrified by difficulties, and not to despair of cure by reason of the long continuance of the evil. The impartial and unchangeable justice of God metes out reward for good deeds and punishment for sin. But since the life of peoples and nations, as such, does not outlast their world, they necessarily receive the rewards due to their deeds on this earth. In- deed it is no new thing that prosperity should come to a wrong-doing state; and this by the just counsel of God, Who from time to time rewards good actions with prosperity, for no people is altogether without merit, and this Augustine considered was the case with the Roman people. The law, nevertheless, is clear that for public prosperity it is to the interest of all that virtue-and justice especially, which is the mother of all virtues -- should be practiced, "Justice exalteth a nation; but sin maketh nations miserable." It is not Our purpose here to consider how far evil deeds may prosper, not whether empires, when flourishing and managing matters to their own liking, do nevertheless carry about with them, as it were shut up in their bowels, the seed of ruin and wretchedness. We wish this one thing to be understood, of which history has innumerable examples, that injustice is always punished, and with greater severity the longer it has been continued. We are greatly consoled by the words of the Apostle Paul, "For all things are yours; and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." By the hidden dispensation of divine providence the course of earthly things is so guided that all things that happen to man turn out to the glory of God for the salvation of those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ. Of these the mother and guide, the leader and guardian is the Church; which being united to Christ her spouse in intimate and unchangeable charity is also joined to Him by a common cause of battle and of victory. Hence We are not, and cannot be anxious on account of the Church, but We greatly fear for the salvation of very many, who proudly despise the Church, and by every kind of error rush to ruin; We are concerned for those States which We cannot but see are turned from God and sleeping in the midst of danger in dull security and insensibility. "Nothing is equal to the Church;" (says St. John Chrysostom,) "how many have opposed the Church and have themselves perished? The Church reaches to the heavens; such is the Church's greatness. She conquers when attacked; when beset by snares she triumphs; she struggles and is not overthrown, she fights and is not conquered." Not only is she not conquered, but she preserves that corrective power over nature, and that effective strength of life that springs from God Himself, and is unchanged by time. And, if by this power she has freed the world grown old in vice and lost in superstition, why should she not again recover it when gone astray? Let strife and suspicion at length cease, let all obstacles be removed, give the possession of all her rights to the Church, whose duty it is to guard and spread abroad the benefits gained by Jesus Christ, then We shall know by experience, where the light of the Gospel is, and what the power of Christ can do.
This year, which is now coming to an end, has given, as We have said, many signs of a reviving faith. Would that like the spark it might grow to an ever-increasing flame, which, by burning up the roots of sin, may open a way for the restoration of morals and for salutary counsels. We, indeed, who steer the mystical barque of the Church in such a storm, fix Our mind and heart upon the Divine Pilot Who holds the helm and sits unseen. Thou seest, Lord, how the winds have borne down on every side, how the sea rages and the waves are lashed to fury. Command, we beseech Thee, Who alone canst, the winds and the sea. Give back to man that tranquillity and order-that true peace which the world cannot give. By Thy grace let man be restored to proper order with faith in God, as in duty bound, with justice and love towards our neighbor, with temperance as to ourselves, and with passions controlled by reason. Let Thy kingdom come, let the duty of submitting to Thee and serving Thee be learnt by those who, far from Thee, seek truth and salvation to no purpose. In Thy laws there is justice and fatherly kindness; Thou grantest of Thy own good will the power to keep them. The life of a man on earth is a warfare, but Thou lookest down upon the struggle and helpest man to conquer, Thou raisest him that falls, and crownest him that triumphs.
We may not "blend" with others in this world of naturalism, with which conciliarism has made its "reconciliation." However, our goal in life is to lift high the standard of the Holy Cross that we, repentant sinners who seek to console the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus with our acts of reparation offered It through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, might be able to rise about the allures of the world, the flesh, and the devil in order to know an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Heaven in the Beatific Vision of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the company of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph and all of the angels and the saints. The only thing that matters is that we, faithful to the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of the ages and our daily Rosary, "blend" with those angels and saints in Heaven.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint William the Abbot, 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 Philip Neri, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saints Monica, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Antony of the Desert, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, 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 Gabriel Lalemont, 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 Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Genevieve, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, 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.
Juan Diego, 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.