Refuse to Speak Now, Refuse to Act Later
Thomas A. Droleskey
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ spoke quite directly about a refusal to defend Him and His doctrine before men.
And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence. And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house. And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles: But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?
Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. (Mt. 10: 11-40)
The organized forces of naturalism in the world, forces which were "re-born" in the Renaissance of the late-Fourteenth and early-Fifteenth Centuries, have combined with their allies in the Modernist world of conciliarism to convince even believing Catholics that it is a virtue to remain silent about the Holy Name of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the midst of a pluralistic, "multicultural" world where the dictates of "religious liberty" and"freedom of speech" require "sensitivity" to the beliefs of those who deny the Sacred Divinity of Our Lord and/or the beliefs of those who differ from the Catholic Church's proclamation of His Received Teaching. All manner of self-serving rationalizations are offered to defend silence about the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and to defend silence about His Sacred Truths as the only foundation of personal and social order. Most common among these rationalizations is the belief that "we have to wait" for the "people" to be "ready" to "listen" to us.
Thus, it is said, that it is inopportune to be confessionally Catholic in our speech. We must "reach the people where they are," which is, of course, on the level of naturalism. This self-serving rationalization is at the foundation of the naturalistic approach to civil politics and governance. It is also at the foundation of what is called "pre-evangelization" in the counterfeit church of conciliarism, a device used to try to forge a "consensus" with others in an inter-denominational way insofar as politics and governance are concerned that never seeks to convert men or their nations to the Catholic Faith. Indeed, it must be remembered (and I hope that considering an ill-fated association with heretics and apostates are reading this) that "proselytism," as it is referred to disparagingly in conciliar circles, is forbidden among Protestants, Jews and the Orthodox. Indeed, the Balamand (Lebanon) Statement, agreed to in Lebanon during a joint meeting of
Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, June 17-24, 1993, stated as follows:
Pastoral activity in the Catholic Church, Latin as well as Eastern, no longer aims at having the faithful of one Church pass over to the other; that is to say, it no longer aims at proselytizing among the Orthodox. It aims at answering the spiritual needs of its own faithful and it has no desire for expansion at the expense of the Orthodox Church. Within these perspectives, so that there will no longer be room for mistrust and suspicion, it is necessary that there be reciprocal exchanges of information about various pastoral projects and that thus cooperation between bishops and all those with responsibilities in our Churches can be set in motion and develop.
23) The history of the relations between the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches has been marked by persecutions and sufferings. Whatever may have been these sufferings and their causes, they do not justify any triumphalism; no one can glory in them or draw an argument from them to accuse or disparage the other Church. God alone knows His own witnesses. Whatever the past may have been, it must be left to the mercy of God, and all the energies of the Churches should be directed so that the present and the future conform better to the will of Christ for His own.
24) It will also be necessary—on the part of both Churches— that the bishops and all those with pastoral responsibilities in the Churches scrupulously respect the religious liberty of the faithful. In turn, the faithful must be able to express themselves for this purpose. In fact, particularly in situations of conflict, religious liberty requires that the faithful should be able to express their opinion and to decide without pressure from outside if they wish to be in communion either with the Orthodox Church or with the Catholic Church. Religious freedom would be violated when, under the cover of financial assistance, the faithful of one Church would be attracted to the other, by promises, for example, of education and material benefits that may be lacking in their own Church. In this context, it will be necessary that social assistance, as well as every form of philanthropic activity, be organized with common agreement so as to avoid creating new suspicions.
25) Furthermore, the necessary respect for Christian freedom— one of the most precious gifts received from Christ—should not become an occasion for undertaking a pastoral project which may also involve the faithful of other Churches, without previous consultation with the pastors of these Churches. Not only should every form of pressure, of any kind whatsoever, be excluded, but respect for consciences, motivated by an authentic exigency of faith, is one of the principles guiding the pastoral concern of those responsible in the two Churches and should be the object of their common reflection (cf. Galatians 5:13).
Just as a slight aside here, this "agreement" condemns by implication the "proselytizing" work of Saint Josaphat
Kuncevyc, the Archbishop of Krakow, who was killed by the Orthodox on November 12, 1623. It is thus no wonder that Saint Josaphat Kuncevyc who spoke out fearlessly in defense of the necessity of all men converting to the Catholic Faith is held in such disdain by the counterfeit church of conciliarism that his authentically incorrupt body has been removed from right transept of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City and replaced by the artificially preserved body of the Rosicrucian named Angelo Roncalli.
Indeed, the entire ethos of conciliarism seeks to eliminate all that is too "triumphalistic" and confessionally Catholic in the ecclesiastical and civil realms. Annibale Bugnini said this about the very "ecumenical" goal of the construction of the Protestant-Masonic service known as the Novus Ordo Missae was
"to create a worship service that any Hindu, Buddhist, or Protestant could attend and fell perfectly at home." Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II condemned "triumphalism" quite directly in an address to Catholic educators at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., on October 7, 1979, at which I was in attendance and serving, I am ashamed to admit, as quite a little "papal" cheerleader (whose visage evidently was shown quite a lot during the NBC-TV news coverage of the address; oh, do I have much to answer for, ladies and gentlemen). The Modernist way of conciliarism is one and the same thing as the naturalist way of of Modernity, seeking to do nothing that will "divide" the world needlessly along denominational lines. This naturalist marriage between Modernism and Modernity has produced a world steeped in all manner of delusions, not the least of which is that we can refuse to speak today about the fullness of the Catholic Faith in order to "act" tomorrow in a way that "unites" people of different beliefs.
Describing the Sillon's anticipation of the conciliarism adoption of the naturalism of Modernity, Pope Saint Pius X condemned this madness in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
The same applies to the notion of Fraternity which they found on the love of common interest or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the mere notion of humanity, thus embracing with an equal love and tolerance all human beings and their miseries, whether these are intellectual, moral, or physical and temporal. But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the whole human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting.
Indeed, we have the human experience of pagan and secular societies of ages past to show that concern for common interests or affinities of nature weigh very little against the passions and wild desires of the heart. No, Venerable Brethren, there is no genuine fraternity outside Christian charity. Through the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ Our Saviour, Christian charity embraces all men, comforts all, and leads all to the same faith and same heavenly happiness.
By separating fraternity from Christian charity thus understood, Democracy, far from being a progress, would mean a disastrous step backwards for civilization. If, as We desire with all Our heart, the highest possible peak of well being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress towards the ideal civilization. . . .
There was a time when the Sillon, as such, was truly Catholic. It recognized but one moral force - Catholicism; and the Sillonists were wont to proclaim that Democracy would have to be Catholic or would not exist at all. A time came when they changed their minds. They left to each one his religion or his philosophy. They ceased to call themselves Catholics and, for the formula "Democracy will be Catholic" they substituted "Democracy will not be anti-Catholic", any more than it will be anti-Jewish or anti-Buddhist. This was the time of "the Greater Sillon". For the construction of the Future City they appealed to the workers of all religions and all sects. These were asked but one thing: to share the same social ideal, to respect all creeds, and to bring with them a certain supply of moral force. Admittedly: they declared that “The leaders of the Sillon place their religious faith above everything. But can they deny others the right to draw their moral energy from whence they can? In return, they expect others to respect their right to draw their own moral energy from the Catholic Faith. Accordingly they ask all those who want to change today's society in the direction of Democracy, not to oppose each other on account of the philosophical or religious convictions which may separate them, but to march hand in hand, not renouncing their convictions, but trying to provide on the ground of practical realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions. Perhaps a union will be effected on this ground of emulation between souls holding different religious or philosophical convictions.” And they added at the same time (but how could this be accomplished?) that “the Little Catholic Sillon will be the soul of the Greater Cosmopolitan Sillon.”
Recently, the term “Greater Sillon” was discarded and a new organization was born without modifying, quite the contrary, the spirit and the substratum of things: “In order to organize in an orderly manner the different forces of activity, the Sillon still remains as a Soul, a Spirit, which will pervade the groups and inspire their work.” Thus, a host of new groups, Catholic, Protestant, Free-Thinking, now apparently autonomous, are invited to set to work: “Catholic comrades will work between themselves in a special organization and will learn and educate themselves. Protestant and Free-Thinking Democrats will do likewise on their own side. But all of us, Catholics, Protestants and Free-Thinkers will have at heart to arm young people, not in view of the fratricidal struggle, but in view of a disinterested emulation in the field of social and civic virtues.”
These declarations and this new organization of the Sillonist action call for very serious remarks.
Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. The new Sillonists cannot pretend that they are merely working on “the ground of practical realities” where differences of belief do not matter. Their leader is so conscious of the influence which the convictions of the mind have upon the result of the action, that he invites them, whatever religion they may belong to, “to provide on the ground of practical realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions.” And with good reason: indeed, all practical results reflect the nature of one’s religious convictions, just as the limbs of a man down to his finger-tips, owe their very shape to the principle of life that dwells in his body.
This being said, what must be thought of the promiscuity in which young Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study so that they may have more and more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal faith, certainly do not intend to silence others nor do they intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades who, “dreaming of disinterested social action, are not inclined to make it serve the triumph of interests, coteries and even convictions whatever they may be”? Such is the profession of faith of the New Democratic Committee for Social Action which has taken over the main objective of the previous organization and which, they say, “breaking the double meaning which surround the Greater Sillon both in reactionary and anti-clerical circles”, is now open to all men “who respect moral and religious forces and who are convinced that no genuine social emancipation is possible without the leaven of generous idealism.”
Alas! yes, the double meaning has been broken: the social action of the Sillon is no longer Catholic. The Sillonist, as such, does not work for a coterie, and “the Church”, he says, “cannot in any sense benefit from the sympathies that his action may stimulate.” A strange situation, indeed! They fear lest the Church should profit for a selfish and interested end by the social action of the Sillon, as if everything that benefited the Church did not benefit the whole human race! A curious reversal of notions! The Church might benefit from social action! As if the greatest economists had not recognized and proved that it is social action alone which, if serious and fruitful, must benefit the Church! But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, "the reign of love and justice" with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions and of no religion, with or without beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide them - their religious and philosophical convictions, and so long as they share what unites them - a "generous idealism and moral forces drawn from whence they can" When we consider the forces, knowledge, and supernatural virtues which are necessary to establish the Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of martyrs, and the light given by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice of all the heroes of charity, and a powerful hierarchy ordained in heaven, and the streams of Divine Grace - the whole having been built up, bound together, and impregnated by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Word made man - when we think, I say, of all this, it is frightening to behold new apostles eagerly attempting to do better by a common interchange of vague idealism and civic virtues. What are they going to produce? What is to come of this collaboration? A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.
We fear that worse is to come: the end result of this developing promiscuousness, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a Democracy which will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, so the leaders have said, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men become brothers and comrades at last in the "Kingdom of God". - "We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind."
And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer.
We know only too well the dark workshops in which are elaborated these mischievous doctrines which ought not to seduce clear-thinking minds. The leaders of the Sillon have not been able to guard against these doctrines. The exaltation of their sentiments, the undiscriminating good-will of their hearts, their philosophical mysticism, mixed with a measure of illuminism, have carried them away towards another Gospel which they thought was the true Gospel of Our Savior. To such an extent that they speak of Our Lord Jesus Christ with a familiarity supremely disrespectful, and that - their ideal being akin to that of the Revolution - they fear not to draw between the Gospel and the Revolution blasphemous comparisons for which the excuse cannot be made that they are due to some confused and over-hasty composition.
We wish to draw your attention, Venerable Brethren, to this distortion of the Gospel and to the sacred character of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, prevailing within the Sillon and elsewhere. As soon as the social question is being approached, it is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, whilst Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them. Whilst He called to Himself in order to comfort them, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. Whilst He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. Whilst His heart overflowed with gentleness for the souls of good-will, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross. These are teachings that it would be wrong to apply only to one's personal life in order to win eternal salvation; these are eminently social teachings, and they show in Our Lord Jesus Christ something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism. . . .
However, let not these priests be misled, in the maze of current opinions, by the miracles of a false Democracy. Let them not borrow from the Rhetoric of the worst enemies of the Church and of the people, the high-flown phrases, full of promises; which are as high-sounding as unattainable. Let them be convinced that the social question and social science did not arise only yesterday; that the Church and the State, at all times and in happy concert, have raised up fruitful organizations to this end; that the Church, which has never betrayed the happiness of the people by consenting to dubious alliances, does not have to free herself from the past; that all that is needed is to take up again, with the help of the true workers for a social restoration, the organisms which the Revolution shattered, and to adapt them, in the same Christian spirit that inspired them, to the new environment arising from the material development of today’s society. Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.
Who speaks this way as a Catholic in public life any longer? Who even thinks this way in public life any longer? Oh, no, the path wrought by the organized forces of naturalism that paved the way for the superhighway of the conciliarist worldview (see Gaudium et Spes), which is a fundamental rejection of the entire patrimony of the Catholic Church, summarized so eloquently by Pope Leo XIII in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900:
Those who go astray from the road wander far from the goal they aim at. Similarly, if the pure and true light of truth be rejected, men's minds must necessarily be darkened and their souls deceived by deplorably false ideas. What hope of salvation can they have who abandon the very principle and fountain of life? Christ alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John xiv., 6). If He be abandoned the three necessary conditions of salvation are removed.
It is surely unnecessary to prove, what experience constantly shows and what each individual feels in himself, even in the very midst of all temporal prosperity-that in God alone can the human will find absolute and perfect peace. God is the only end of man. All our life on earth is the truthful and exact image of a pilgrimage. Now Christ is the "Way," for we can never reach God, the supreme and ultimate good, by this toilsome and doubtful road of mortal life, except with Christ as our leader and guide. How so? Firstly and chiefly by His grace; but this would remain "void" in man if the precepts of His law were neglected. For, as was necessarily the case after Jesus Christ had won our salvation, He left behind Him His Law for the protection and welfare of the human race, under the guidance of which men, converted from evil life, might safely tend towards God. "Going, teach ye all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew xxviii., 19-20). "Keep my commandments" john xiv., 15). Hence it will be understood that in the Christian religion the first and most necessary condition is docility to the precepts of Jesus Christ, absolute loyalty of will towards Him as Lord and King. A serious duty, and one which oftentimes calls for strenuous labour, earnest endeavour, and perseverance! For although by Our Redeemer's grace human nature hath been regenerated, still there remains in each individual a certain debility and tendency to evil. Various natural appetites attract man on one side and the other; the allurements of the material world impel his soul to follow after what is pleasant rather than the law of Christ. Still we must strive our best and resist our natural inclinations with all our strength "unto the obedience of Christ." For unless they obey reason they become our masters, and carrying the whole man away from Christ, make him their slave. "Men of corrupt mind, who have made shipwreck of the faith, cannot help being slaves. . . They are slaves to a threefold concupiscence: of will, of pride, or of outward show" (St. Augustine, De Vera Religione, 37). In this contest every man must be prepared to undergo hard ships and troubles for Christ's sake. It is difficult to reject what so powerfully entices and delights. It is hard and painful to despise the supposed goods of the senses and of fortune for the will and precepts of Christ our Lord. But the Christian is absolutely obliged to be firm, and patient in suffering, if he wish to lead a Christian life. Have we forgotten of what Body and of what Head we are the members? "Having joy set before Him, He endured the Cross," and He bade us deny ourselves. The very dignity of human nature depends upon this disposition of mind. For, as even the ancient Pagan philosophy perceived, to be master of oneself and to make the lower part of the soul, obey the superior part, is so far from being a weakness of will that it is really a noble power, in consonance with right reason and most worthy of a man. Moreover, to bear and to suffer is the ordinary condition of man. Man can no more create for himself a life free from suffering and filled with all happiness that he can abrogate the decrees of his Divine Maker, who has willed that the consequences of original sin should be perpetual. It is reasonable, therefore, not to expect an end to troubles in this world, but rather to steel one's soul to bear troubles, by which we are taught to look forward with certainty to supreme happiness. Christ has not promised eternal bliss in heaven to riches, nor to a life of ease, to honours or to power, but to longsuffering and to tears, to the love of justice and to cleanness of heart.
From this it may clearly be seen what consequences are to be expected from that false pride which, rejecting our Saviour's Kingship, places man at the summit of all things and declares that human nature must rule supreme. And yet, this supreme rule can neither be attained nor even defined. The rule of Jesus Christ derives its form and its power from Divine Love: a holy and orderly charity is both its foundation and its crown. Its necessary consequences are the strict fulfilment of duty, respect of mutual rights, the estimation of the things of heaven above those of earth, the preference of the love of God to all things. But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor selfdevotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's "Way"; the Church also is his "Way"-Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.
As with individuals, so with nations. These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from "The Way." The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both individually and collectively. "And He gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him" (Daniel vii., 14). "I am appointed King by Him . . . I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psalm ii., 6, 8). Therefore the law of Christ ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree, and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at.
Yes, we must think and speak and act at all times and in all places as a Catholic. No one should take refuge in believing that a "prudent silence" about the Social Reign of Christ the King in the world and/or the apostasies of Modernism within the counterfeit church of conciliarism is in the service of the temporal or the eternal good of the souls for whom Our Lord shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross.
How sad it is, therefore, that there are even traditionally-minded Catholics across the ecclesiastical divide who serve as apologists for naturalist careerist politicians, most of whom do not even dare speak of the daily surgical slaughter of the preborn and who would be aghast at even thought of having to address the chemical slaughter of the preborn by means of chemical abortifacients. We are told that "we must wait" for "good men" to get into office so that they can "act." However, no man who knows what the truth is and who refuses to speak it no matter the consequences is "good." He will never act. There is always the "next election" and the "next election" and the election after that. There will always be some rationalization used to excuse silence and inaction.
To wit, a former friend of mine from my undergraduate days at Saint John's University was trying to rebut my criticism of then President Ronald Wilson Reagan in a telephone conversion in early-1982. I had explained that Reagan was doing nothing other than giving lip-service (and lip-service premised on the embrace of immoral exceptions to the inviolability of innocent preborn life) to the babies. My friend disagreed, saying that "They'll give him [Reagan] anything he wants as soon as he gets the economy going again." I told him that he was wrong. Naturalists are only interested in material gain. They will never give up their "pleasures," shall we say, in the cause of subordinating to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as these have been entrusted to and infallibly explicated by the Catholic Church. Is it any different today? How many more millions of babies have been killed, both chemically and surgically, since that time?
Similarly, those who take refuge in "silence now, action later" in the realm of conciliarism delude themselves into believing that they have no obligation to oppose error and that it is indeed "imprudent" to do so. No "priest" or "religious" in the Diocese of San Jose, for example, can publicly oppose the diocese's de facto relationship with DignityUSA as described in the following article (http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=93afdae7-e2d6-47b8-90d0-e6863dc3d784), not that there are any likely candidates among the clergy or religious in that diocese who would be willing to do so. No, silence must prevail. Perhaps "things" will get "better" in the future.
As Pope Pius VI noted in Inscrutabile, December 25, 1779, errors must be opposed. We cannot remain silent, which is why I am still outraged four months and one day after the fact by a indult "priest's" assertion that he has no responsibility as a priest to oppose error. This is Catholicism. No, this is surrender, as Pope Pius VI wrote in Inscrutabile:
Therefore, since you know that the Church's chief good derives from admitting only those who are fully qualified into the clergy, We do not have to remind you to observe carefully the sanctions established in this matter by the canons. Prevent from entering the Church's service all who lack exceptional moral holiness, who are uninstructed in the law of the Lord, and who give little or no promise of becoming energetic members of the clergy. For instead of proving helpers to you in feeding and guiding your flock, they will increase your toil and troubles. They will hinder you from ensuring that the Lord receives from his workers the fruits of the vineyard which Christ in strictest justice will expect from you at the final judgment. A man who is going to be a priest should excel in holiness and learning. For God rejects as priests those who have rejected knowledge, and only the man who unites moral piety with the pursuit of knowledge can be a suitable worker in the Lord's harvest. Since this cannot occur without careful education, it has been decreed accordingly that each diocese should establish a college for clerics in accordance with its means; if such a college already exists, it should be carefully preserved. For how would young men, whose age impels them down the easy path, persevere in ecclesiastical training or make such progress in humane and sacred studies unless they were instructed in piety and religion from their early years and practiced in the interpretation of literature?. . . .
We thought it useful to speak to you lovingly on these matters in order to strengthen your excellent resolve. But a much more serious subject demands that We speak of it, or rather mourn over it. We refer to the pestilent disease which the wickedness of our times brings forth. We must unite our minds and strength in treating this plague before it grows rife and becomes incurable in the Church through Our oversight. For in recent days, the dangerous times foretold by the Apostle Paul have clearly arrived, when there will be "men who love themselves, who are lifted up, proud, blasphemous, traitors, lovers of pleasure instead of God, men who are always learning but never arriving at the knowledge of truth, possessing indeed the appearance of piety but denying its power, corrupt in mind, reprobate about the faith." These men raise themselves up into "lying" teachers, as they are called by Peter the prince of the Apostles, and bring in sects of perdition. They deny the Lord who bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. They say they are wise and they have become fools, and their uncomprehending heart is darkened.
You yourselves, established as scouts in the house of Israel, see clearly the many victories claimed by a philosophy full of deceit. You see the ease with which it attracts to itself a great host of peoples, concealing its impiety with the honorable name of philosophy. Who could express in words or call to mind the wickedness of the tenets and evil madness which it imparts? While such men apparently intend to search out wisdom, "they fail because they do not search in the proper way. . . and they fall into errors which lead them astray from ordinary wisdom."They have come to such a height of impiety that they make out that God does not exist, or if He does that He is idle and uncaring, making no revelation to men. Consequently it is not surprising that they assert that everything holy and divine is the product of the minds of inexperienced men smitten with empty fear of the future and seduced by a vain hope of immortality. But those deceitful sages soften and conceal the wickedness of their doctrine with seductive words and statements; in this way, they attract and wretchedly ensnare many of the weak into rejecting their faith or allowing it to be greatly shaken. While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than the very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful. The prophet prays that his soul may be delivered from such deceitful tongues. In this way these men by their speech "enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret." This results in great moral corruption, in license of thought and speech, in arrogance and rashness in every enterprise.
When they have spread this darkness abroad and torn religion out of men's hearts, these accursed philosophers proceed to destroy the bonds of union among men, both those which unite them to their rulers, and those which urge them to their duty. They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.
Everyone must understand that such ravings and others like them, concealed in many deceitful guises, cause greater ruin to public calm the longer their impious originators are unrestrained. They cause a serious loss of souls redeemed by Christ's blood wherever their teaching spreads, like a cancer; it forces its way into public academies, into the houses of the great, into the palaces of kings, and even enters the sanctuary, shocking as it is to say so.
Consequently, you who are the salt of the earth, guardians and shepherds of the Lord's flock, whose business it is to fight the battles of the Lord, arise and gird on your sword, which is the word of God, and expel this foul contagion from your lands. How long are we to ignore the common insult to faith and Church? Let the words of Bernard arouse us like a lament of the spouse of Christ: "Of old was it foretold and the time of fulfillment is now at hand: Behold, in peace is my sorrow most sorrowful. It was sorrowful first when the martyrs died; afterwards it was more sorrowful in the fight with the heretics and now it is most sorrowful in the conduct of the members of the household.... The Church is struck within and so in peace is my sorrow most sorrowful. But what peace? There is peace and there is no peace. There is peace from the pagans and peace from the heretics, but no peace from the children. At that time the voice will lament: Sons did I rear and exalt, but they despised me. They despised me and defiled me by a bad life, base gain, evil traffic, and business conducted in the dark." Who can hear these tearful complaints of our most holy mother without feeling a strong urge to devote all his energy and effort to the Church, as he has promised? Therefore cast out the old leaven, remove the evil from your midst. Forcefully and carefully banish poisonous books from the eyes of your flock, and at once courageously set apart those who have been infected, to prevent them harming the rest. The holy Pope Leo used to say, "We can rule those entrusted to us only by pursuing with zeal for the Lord's faith those who destroy and those who are destroyed and by cutting them off from sound minds with the utmost severity to prevent the plague spreading." In doing this We exhort and advise you to be all of one mind and in harmony as you strive for the same object, just as the Church has one faith, one baptism, and one spirit. As you are joined together in the hierarchy, so you should unite equally with virtue and desire.
The affair is of the greatest importance since it concerns the Catholic faith, the purity of the Church, the teaching of the saints, the peace of the empire, and the safety of nations. Since it concerns the entire body of the Church, it is a special concern of yours because you are called to share in Our pastoral concern, and the purity of the faith is particularly entrusted to your watchfulness. "Now therefore, Brothers, since you are overseers among God's people and their soul depends on you, raise their hearts to your utterance," that they may stand fast in faith and achieve the rest which is prepared for believers only. Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error. The holy Church is powerfully refreshed in the truth as it struggles zealously for the truth. In this divine work you should not fear either the force or favor of your enemies. The bishop should not fear since the anointing of the Holy Spirit has strengthened him: the shepherd should not be afraid since the prince of pastors has taught him by his own example to despise life itself for the safety of his flock: the cowardice and depression of the hireling should not dwell in a bishop's heart. Our great predecessor Gregory, in instructing the heads of the churches, said with his usual excellence: "Often imprudent guides in their fear of losing human favor are afraid to speak the right freely. As the word of truth has it, they guard their flock not with a shepherd's zeal but as hirelings do, since they flee when the wolf approaches by hiding themselves in silence.... A shepherd fearing to speak the right is simply a man retreating by keeping silent." But if the wicked enemy of the human race, the better to frustrate your efforts, ever brings it about that a plague of epidemic proportions is hidden from the religious powers of the world, please do not be terrified but walk in God's house in harmony, with prayer, and in truth, the three arms of our service. Remember that when the people of Juda were defiled, the best means of purification was the public reading to all, from the least to the greatest, of the book of the law lately found by the priest Helcias in the Lord's temple; at once the whole people agreed to destroy the abominations and seal a covenant in the Lord's presence to follow after the Lord and observe His precepts, testimonies and ceremonies with their whole heart and soul."For the same reason Josaphat sent priests and Levites to bring the book of the law throughout the cities of Juda and to teach the people. The proclamation of the divine word has been entrusted to your faith by divine, not human, authority. So assemble your people and preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. From that divine source and heavenly teaching draw draughts of true philosophy for your flock. Persuade them that subjects ought to keep faith and show obedience to those who by God's ordering lead and rule them. To those who are devoted to the ministry of the Church, give proofs of faith, continence, sobriety, knowledge, and liberality, that they may please Him to whom they have proved themselves and boast only of what is serious, moderate, and religious. But above all kindle in the minds of everyone that love for one another which Christ the Lord so often and so specifically praised. For this is the one sign of Christians and the bond of perfection.
In proclaiming the truths of Our Lord without fear of the consequences we are simply performing the Spiritual Works of Mercy and remaining faithful to these words of Our Lord, spoken to the Eleven before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory on Ascension Thursday:
All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Mt. 28: 18-20)
In proclaiming the truths of Our Lord without fear of the consequences we are simply doing what the Apostles did once they left the Upper Room in Jerusalem following the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them and Our dear Blessed Mother on Pentecost Sunday:
Then went the officer with the ministers, and brought them without violence; for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, Saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you should not teach in this name; and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and you have a mind to bring the blood of this man upon us. But Peter and the apostles answering, said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging him upon a tree.
Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. And we are witnesses of these things and the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to all that obey him When they had heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they thought to put them to death. But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while.And he said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men.
For before these days rose up Theodas, affirming himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all that believed him were scattered, and brought to nothing. After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the enrolling, and drew away the people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as consented to him, were dispersed. And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. And they consented to him. And calling in the apostles, after they had scourged them, they charged them that they should not speak at all in the name of Jesus; and they dismissed them.
And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus. And every day they ceased not in the temple, and from house to house, to teach and preach Christ Jesus.(Acts 5: 26-42).
Yes, we must reject the anti-Incarnational naturalism of the world and conciliarism's "reconciliation" with the principles of naturalism, done in the name of that previously mentioned slogan of "pre-evangelization." We must remember and take to heart and then implement these stirring words of Pope Leo XIII, contained in Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890, that are rejected resolutely by the organized forces of naturalism and by the organized forces of the counterfeit church of conciliarism:
But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: "Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.'' To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: "Have confidence; I have overcome the world." Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace.
The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent.
Trusting in Our Lady's intercessory power during these troubling times, may we offer to her Divine Son's Most Sacred Heart all of our prayers and sufferings and penances and mortifications and humiliations through her own Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. God will let His Most Blessed Mother manifest the Triumph of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart in a time of His choosing. We must go about our own daily business patiently, showing that we have complete and total confidence in Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother. This is the time that God has known from all eternity we would be alive. These are the problems that God has known from all eternity would be ours. The graces He won for us by the shedding of His Most Precious Blood on Calvary and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, are sufficient for us to lift high the crosses of the present moment and to prosper under them as the consecrated slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Spending time in prayer before Our Lord's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament and saying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, may we give some little bit of consolation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, never refusing to speak the truth in Charity or to act courageously in its defense.
Viva Cristo Rey!
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 Norbert, pray for us.
Saint Boniface, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Angela Merici, 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 Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, 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 Anthony of Padua, 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.