by Thomas A. Droleskey
Why not write about baseball at a time when the boldness of the conciliarist apostasy becomes more and more manifest? Even though I walked out of William A. Shea Municipal Stadium on Tuesday, July 16, 2002, in utter disgust following the public advertising of a product that should never be mentioned publicly, no less in front of thousands of day-camping children, vowing then and then never to return, which I have not, I have still have an interest in what happens in the game. Although I follow internet reports of what goes on in the game, I did not watch a single, solitary inning of any game during the 2007. I might have seen a pitch or two on a television in Carrabba's Italian Grill in Brooksville, Florida, and Mitchell's Fish Market in West Chester, Ohio, while going to and from a lavatory. A whole inning? Not one. Oh, hold on here. All right. Honesty must prevail. I did watch half of an inning, the top of the ninth of a game between the not-so-amazin' New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds at Shea Stadium on Thursday, July 12, 2007, while at a Carrabba's Italian Grill in Mason, Ohio, after giving one of my sparsely-attended lectures at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester.
Look, I'm a Long Islander. Sure, sure, sure. I don't live there anymore, although we are are not all that far away here in Connecticut in our makeshift "camping" arrangement in our motor home. As I explained in There's No Cure for This Condition, growing up in the New York City metropolitan area in the 1950s meant that one was immersed in the baseball-rich environment of three teams, the incarnation of all evil, the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers. My late father, who was born in 1919, was a huge fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I was exposed to nonstop baseball back in those halcyon days of the 1950s, a decade in which one or two of the New York-based teams played in every World Series, save for the 1959 Series, which featured a transplanted New York team, the former Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that is still masquerading itself as the Los Angeles Dodgers. Indeed, there was not a World Series from 1949 through 1958, a span of ten years, that did not feature at least one New York-based team. (1949: Dodgers-Yankees; 1950: Yankees-Phillies; 1951: Yankees-Giants; 1952 and 1953: Dodgers-Yankees; 1954: Giants-Indians; 1955 and 1956: Dodgers-Yankees; 1957 and 1958: Yankees-Braves) With a turn of the dial on the radio or a turn of the knob on the television one could hear the legendary voices of Vin Scully, who has been with the Dodgers since 1950, a year after graduating from Fordham University, or Red Barber or Mel Allen or Russ Hodges describing games.
Long before the days when marketing departments conjured up the idea that the licensing of the manufacture of authentic replica caps and jerseys could produce hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental revenue for owners and players, extremely poor replica caps were manufactured as souvenirs. I had one of those replica caps for the Brooklyn Dodgers when I was in first grade at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York, in the September of 1957, the very month in which "Dem Bums," who had won their first World's Championship just two years before, were abandoning the "Borough of Churches" for Los Angeles, California. An eighth grader (eighth graders looked like veritable giants to a first-grader; eighth-graders in 1957 were born in the year 1944) sported a beautiful blue baseball jacket with the word "Brooklyn" with a white underline on a royal blue background, exhibiting his own following of the Dodgers. Ah, yes, there were a few who had the word "Yankees" on similar jackets on a Navy blue ground. These sorts of individuals were generally ignored and considered to be predestined for Hades.
Alas, the Dodgers and the Giants left their respective homes at Ebbets Field in Flatubsh, Brooklyn, and the Polo Grounds in Harlem in the Borough of Manhattan for the wrong coast, that, is the West Coast. This left a void for fans of National League baseball in the City of New York, a void that would not be filled until the birth of the New York Metropolitans, otherwise known as the New York Mets. The National League announced in 1960 that it would expand by two teams for the start of the 1962 season. The Mets were to replace the Dodgers and Giants. The City of Houston gained its first major league baseball team, the Houston Colt .45s, a team that changed its name in 1965 to the Houston Astros. I was "hooked," waiting throughout the 1961 season for the birth of the Mets, following with great interest news of the "expansion draft" held in the Sheraton-Blackstone Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, on October 10, 1961, that stocked the two expansion teams with their initial players. The first player selected by Mets' General Manager George Weiss was Hobart "Hobie" Landrith, a catcher with the San Francisco Giants. When asked why the Mets had drafted a catcher, the Mets' first manager, the fabled Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel, said, "Well, without a catcher you gonna have all them passed balls."
Oh, the charm and the innocence of the game back in those days was wonderful. Following the exploits of the woeful Mets in their early years was made a bit more bearable by the light-touch provided by their original "voices," Lindsay Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner (Lindsay and Murph are dead while the Hall of Fame home-run hitting slugger Ralph Kiner is still, as will be demonstrated at the end of this article, providing some color commentary on Mets' games now and again in the course of a season at age eighty-five) and by the candor of Casey Stengel, who provided many memorable quotes during the course of the three and one-half seasons that he served as the Mets' manager before he retired on July 24, 1965, at age seventy-five (actually, just six days short of turning seventy-five, to be precise). Here are some of Casey's quotes while managing the Mets:
"Look at that guy. He can't hit, he can't run, and he can't throw. Of course, that's why they gave him to us."
"My hitters have complained about the bad background here for three years and they've only played here one day." -First game at Shea Stadium, 1964
"The only thing worse than a Mets game is a Mets doubleheader."
"We are a much-improved ball club; now we lose in extra innings!"
"We've (62'Mets) got to learn to stay out of triple plays."
"We got the young people, twelve to fourteen years old, and some were eighteen, and their parents would have to come to hold some of the banners. And if a banner got in your way, you didn't mind missing a play because it was something bad happening and why would you want to see it?"
"Ninety-nine more like that and we win the pennant." -referring to the Mets first win in 1962 after losing their first nine games
- "This here team won't go anywhere unless we spread enough of our players around the league and make the other teams (terrible), too." -referring to the 1964 Mets 53-109 record
Ebbets-Field.com Preserving Brooklyn's Lost Shrine
There are some other great Casey Stengel quotes from his years with the Mets. One of them came when a Mets' outfielder named Danny Napoleon, who was not of French ancestry, hit a triple to win a game for the New York Mets against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park. Casey said after the game, "Vive le France! Vive le France!"
On May 31, 1964, as the Mets played the second game of a double-header against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium, Stengel came out to the pitchers' mound to talk to relief pitcher Larry Bearnarth, who was pitching in the top half of the fourteenth inning of a game that would end after twenty-four innings of play (with a Mets' loss, of course). Stengel said to Bearnarth, "Tra la la la, Tra la la la la, Tra la la la la," and then turned around and walked back to the Mets' dugout on the first base side of the field. Bearnarth thought Casey had lost it. The next pitch he threw, however, to batter Willie "Stretch" McCovey resulted in a triple play as McCovey hit a line drive to shortstop Roy McMillan, who caught the ball and doubled the runner who had taken a lead off of second base and threw to first baseman Ed Kranepool to triple Wilie Mays before he could get back to first base. When Bearnarth got back to the dugout after the triple play he asked Stengel what the "tra la la la la" business meant. "Triple play, man! Triple play!" Stengel replied.
Casey was asked in in the Mets' maiden season of 1962 why the team had traded its opening day third baseman, Don Zimmer, to the Cincinnati Reds after he had gotten only four hits in fourteen games after going hitless in his first thirty-four at-bats of the seasons. "Gotta move 'em while they're hot," was Stengel's response.
Asked about why he kept a 1962 September call-up from the minor leagues, Ed Kranepool, who had just graduated from James Monroe High School in The Bronx three months before, on the bench, Casey said, "He's seventeen but he runs like he's thirty." Stengel was asked three years later to compare Kranepool with catching prospect Greg Goossen. "That kid over there [Kranepool] is only twenty and in ten years he's got a chance to be a star. That over kid [Goossen] is twenty and in ten years he's got a chance to be thirty." (Goossen, unbeknownst to me, has become a movie actor.)
When President Lyndon Baines Johnson took in a ball game at Shea Stadium in its inaugural season in 1964, the same year that the World's Fair debuted across from Shea Stadium, Stengel remarked,
"He wanted to see poverty, so he came to see my team."
This could go on and on and on. This link (Stengel's testimony at Kefauver hearings) will take you to the full transcript of Stengel's "testimony" before Senator Estes Kefauver's hearings on major league baseball's exemption from antitrust laws. Stengel was in his managerial heydays then, 1957, managing the New York Yankees. Stengel had the senators mesmerized as he spoke his famous, patented "Stengelese" to deflect questions that he did not want to answer.
What is the point of all of this apart from attempting to amuse those of you who, like me, have had an interest in baseball over the years? Well, the point is this: baseball once had a charm and an innocence as a game that was meant to be a diversion, which is how it was viewed by most people who followed the sport. Long before the days of all-sports talk radio, which began with WFAN Radio in New York City on July 1, 1987, fans either listened or watched the games live or they read about games in their local newspapers. Those who wanted extra coverage of the game subscribed to The Sporting News, a weekly publication that was principally associated with baseball reporting in its early decades. Baseball was a diversion, and while it had its share of seedy characters in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century and the early part of the Twentieth Century, there was a time in the 1940s and 1950s and into the 1960s when many of the players were men of decency who came by their skills honestly without having to "enhance" them by means of illegal substances.
Fans could actually root for a Phil Rizutto, the late Hall of Fame Yankees' shortstop whom Stengel, upon first seeing him try out for the Brooklyn Dodgers (a team for which Stengel managed from 1934 through 1936), said should shine shoes rather than attempt to play baseball because he was so short. Fans could root for a Yogi Berra, who grew up on The Hill, the Italian-American section of Saint Louis, Missouri, with fellow catcher Joe Garagiola. Fans could root for Gil Hodges in his playing days with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 1950s.
Hodges, a faithful Catholic who was a daily communicant, was beloved by the fans of 'dem bums" from Flatbush, the Dodgers. Indeed, a priest in Brooklyn, Father Herbert Redmond of Saint Francis Church, told his parishioners one Sunday early in the 1953 season, ""It's far too hot for a homily. Keep the Commandments and say a prayer for Gil Hodges." Hodges, who would guide the Mets to their first World's Championship as their manager in that marvelous year of 1969, was so beloved that the mother of Milwaukee Braves' first baseman Frank Torre, the brother of future major league catcher/third baseman/first baseman/manager Joe Torre, was asked before the Braves played the Yankees in 1957 World Series to identify her favorite baseball player. The reporter, thinking that Mrs. Torre would name her son, Frank, said instead, "Gil Hodges." He was my favorite player, too, I should add. I remember Gil's soul every day in my prayers. (He died on April 2, 1972, just two days before his forty-eighth birthday.)
Most of the baseball players of yesteryear did not make a lot of money. Most of them had to work jobs during the offseason. Some delivered dry cleaning. Others, such as the Dodgers' Carl Furillo, worked construction jobs. They lived in modest homes in the neighborhoods near where they played. The Catholics among them went to Mass every Sunday, mixing with their fellow parishioners. The players knew that their careers would not last forever and that they would have to work for a living after they chose (or were forced by age or injury and lack of competitive performance) to retire.
Gil Hodges, who was one of the better ball players of his day and arguably one of the best fielding first basemen in the history of the game, appeared on the original Home Run Derby in 1959. The host of the program, Mark Scott, told Hodges and his opponent, whose name escapes me at the moment, that the winner of the derby would get a cash prize of one thousand dollars. Hodges's eyes lit up and he turned to his opponent, who was equally impressed with the amount.
A thousand dollars is real money to those who don't have much. (It's real money to us, folks! That's about what we've got left to our names at present after paying all of our bills as a result of the lack of donations to support the work of this site.) It's "chump" change to today's professional athletes. Ron Darling, who pitched for the New York Mets between 1983 and 1991 and serves now as a broadcaster on their telecasts, spoke derisively in 1990 about a $5,000 payment that he (along with every other major league player) had received as proceeds from the royalties of the sales of products authorized for sale by major league baseball and whose profits are divided between the owners and the major league baseball players' association, which then distributes royalties to the players. The players were then being "locked out" of spring training during one of the many work stoppages that have taken place in baseball since the Spring of 1972. Darling dismissed the five thousand dollar payment by calling it "dog track money." Hey, Ron, I've wanted to say this to you for over seventeen years: I wish I had some dog track money. Your dog track money would pay bills for my family for eight weeks or so.
Ah, there you have it, you see. As with most everything else, greed has ruined professional sports. While it is unquestionably the case that many, if not most, of the owners of yesteryear underpaid their players and treated them with contempt, it is also so that the pendulum has swung in the other direction, especially in baseball, as men who have a skill that entertains, to be sure, but does nothing to contribute one little bit to the eternal welfare of the souls of others are paid millions upon millions of dollars to pitch or to hit or to catch a ball. This distortion of the value of professional sports has made it the contemporary equivalent of the "bread and circuses" that the ancient Romans used to divert their citizens' attention from such things as needless foreign wars, bloated bureaucracies, excessive taxation and illegal immigration. Sounds sort of familiar, doesn't it.
Gone is the innocence and the charm of the baseball park, which has become a means to do only one thing: make as much money as possible as the atmosphere in which the game is played is coarsened repeatedly. "Rock" music, insidious, if not demonic, images are portrayed on giant television screens, foul-mouthed spectators who are absolutely oblivious to the presence of children around them spew the most vile invectives imaginable, sometimes as a way, it appears, of "cheering" their team on (yes, sadly, many children today speak in those same terms, having learned such language at home or in the school or from the television or motion pictures), immodesty of dress abounds. And for what? To watch overpaid, frequently under-achieving athletes preen and posture before each other and for the ubiquitous cameras. While there might be some players who have a sense of playing as well as they are capable at all times for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity, most of the players today have been spoiled by the money. A rookie fresh up from the minor leagues next year, 2008, will make $390,000 a season.
It is no wonder, therefore, that players with so much expendable income and immersed in a culture of religious indifferentism and naturalism have gotten into so much trouble in the past twenty-five years or so. As the influence of the Catholic Faith has waned in the lives of ordinary Catholics as a result of the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions wrought by conciliarism, the influence of paganism and barbarism and naturalism has been on the ascendancy. Sure, there have always been lots of ill-mannered, ill-tempered, ill-behaved players in the game of baseball. There was, however, that period between the 1930s and early 1960s, however, where one saw the influence of the Faith upon the Catholics who played the game. This is mostly, although certainly not entirely, gone now.
Men with millions upon millions of dollars and little or no Faith (and the Catholic Faith, remember, is the only Faith) will become so obsessed with money and what it can purchase that they will let their professional skills deteriorate (losing concentration during a game or during a season, failing to take correction from a manager or coach, refusing to work hard to correct mistakes) because they know that the "market" (thank you, John Calvin and Adam Smith) will be "there" for them once they had demonstrate at least a sufficient degree of proficiency so as to make it worth a team's while to employ them.It has become increasingly difficult, especially because of free agency and the ever-changing nature of team rosters from year to year that is produced by it and by the changed economics of the game that have forced owners and general managers to make roster moves based on payroll limitations rather than on competitive abilities in many instances, for managers and coaches to "motivate" men who are paid lots of money and who know that the players' association (the players' union, that is) will be always "be there" for them to indemnify them if they get into "trouble" of one sort or another.
How any right-thinking person can continue to economically support such a free fall into greed and barbarism is truly mystifying. Yes, I was "on the hook" for far too long. I should have withdrawn from the game after the players' strike of 1994-1995, retaining my season seat at Shea Stadium principally because I liked being at the park and enjoyed being with my fellow fans, also wanting to show support for the people who work behind the scenes at the games who get paid a pittance for their very hard work. One is supposed to learn his lessons in life. As noted before, I walked out in 2002 and will never return, no, not even to make a farewell appearance at Shea Stadium in its final season of operation in 2008 before CitiField is opened in 2009. For what? To encourage the overpaying of athletes who compete in an environment where one's immortal soul is being bombarded by sounds and sights from Hell itself? No, I did that for far too long.
More than a few baseball players with lots of expendable income "invested" much of their income in a white substance called cocaine back in the 1980s. It took the scions of baseball a long time to deal with this problem. Cocaine helped to ruin the career of Ferugson Jenkins and Steve Howe and and Jose Canseco and Dwight Gooden and to interrupt the career of Gooden's teammate with the Mets and Yankees, Darryl Strawberry. Saint Louis Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez was traded to the New York Mets in 1983 because Cardinals' manager Whitey Herzog was suspicious of what turned out to be Hernandez's cocaine habit (something that Hernandez said he quit "cold turkey" and never returned to). It damaged the performance of countless of other players. Owners did not want to admit that there was a problem. Players did not want to admit that there was a problem. Managers and coaches did not want to admit that there was a problem (with a few exceptions here and there). And the players' association did not want to admit that there was a problem. It took a trial in Federal district court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1985 to expose the extent of the problem, which still plagued the game into the 1990s (and perhaps to the present day).
Cocaine was used by athletes with expendable income for their personal "pleasure." After all, people who do not seek to do penance for their sins and to live penitentially as the consecrated slaves of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary have to seek "pleasure" at all times and at all costs. They cannot have any pain. They would rather die than to embrace the Cross of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to offer up their pains and sufferings and disappointments and humiliations to His Most Sacred Heart through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. Cocaine and alcohol serve as "escape valves" while bodies, which are supposed to be understood as the temples of God the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, are damaged and as souls are destroyed in so many instances.
Well, more than a few of the men with vast amounts of disposable income have "graduated" from using their money to purchase "pleasure" to purchasing anabolic steroids to "enhance" their athletic performance. Much has been made of this in news reports ever since it was suspected in 1998 that former baseball player Mark McGwire, then playing with the Saint Louis Cardinals, was taking steroids in his chase of the single-season home run record that had been set by Roger Maris, an exemplary Catholic, of the New York Yankees in 1961. Former Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants outfielder, Barry Bonds, was reportedly so envious of McGwire's feat of having hit seventy home runs while on steroids that he began to take them himself, according to A Game of Shadows, authorizing the Bay Area Cooperative Laboratory (BALCO) to manufacture "designer steroids" for him. Bond, who broke McGwire's single-season home run record in 2001, just three years after McGwire broke Maris's record, and broke Henry Aaron's career home-run record three and one-half months ago now, has been indicted for committing perjury in December, 2003, before a Federal grand jury in San Francisco when he denied ever having deliberately taken anabolic steroids.
Barry Bonds will have his day in court. What is interesting to note for present purposes is the conspiracy of silence in baseball as Bonds's physique changed. I mean, one's head does not enlarge grotesquely as a result of lifting weights and running on a treadmill. Bonds's manager for many years with the Giants, Dusty Baker, did not notice this? The owners of the San Francisco Giants did not notice this? No, they buried their heads in the sand. Bonds hit home runs and won games, putting fans in the seats and increasing advertising revenue for television and radio broadcasts. That's all that matters, right? Dusty Baker and other Giants' managers, including Felipe Alou, ignored the change in Bonds's appearance just as Tony LaRussa, who managed Mark McGwire with the Oakland Athletics and the Saint Louis Cardinals, must have ignored the changes in McGwire's physique over the years and as he must have been deaf, dumb and blind to what Jose Canseco admits he did in the clubhouse in Oakland as he says he administered steroid injections into himself and other players, including McGwire. No one wanted to see anything. "Winning" games was the only thing that mattered.
The officials of major league baseball really did not want to "see" anything until they were forced to do so. Home runs sell tickets. Why rock the boat? The players' association, ever seeking to protect its players from being forced to pay any kind of price whatsoever for engaging in criminal behavior, resisted any but the most ridiculously ineffective form of drug testing for steroids for the longest time, not agreeing to anything stiffer until public opinion and Congressional hearings in March of 2005 forced it to agree to mandatory, supposedly "random" testing for all players during the course of the regular season.
The "random" aspect of the testing, however, has been put into question as it was revealed during the course of the last season that teams are "tipped off' a day or so before those who do the testing arrive to do their work. A spokesman for major league baseball said when this was revealed that such tipping off is not an effort to cheat the tests as it would be impossible for anyone taking steroids to rid them from his body in a day or two. Others are not so sure that major league baseball does not want to know the extent of the problem it faces even though a pending report that will be issued by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine), who was hired by major league baseball to investigate the problem, will name names. The names issued will be only those of players, not those of team owners or general managers or trainers who may have known or abetted steroid use. Baseball Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig limited Mitchell's investigation solely to uniformed personel, meaning principally the players. Believe me, this Bud's not for you.
Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig and I crossed swords eight years ago when he refused to discipline Ted Turner, then the single largest shareholder in Time-Warner, the company that bought the Atlanta Braves and the Clinton News Network and Turner Broadcasting from Turner in 1996, for making anti-Catholic remarks while he had just forced Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott to sell her the team because of racially insensitive comments she was goaded into making by a a Sports Illustrated reporter. I even got about six or seven minutes on air with Shepard Smith on the Fox News Channel in March of 1999 about the matter. Mr. Selig brooks no criticism, however. In his world of relativism and positivism, all is well in baseball, which has just finished a season in which its teams and the entity known as "Major League Baseball" amassed over six billion dollars in gross revenue. What was it that Phineas Taylor Barnum was alleged (all right, all right, apocryphally) to have said about the propensity of people to buy tickets to things that they did not need? Hmmmm.
Some will protest that major league baseball did not begin testing for anabolic steroids until 2002. So what? Anabolic steroids have been classified as a Schedule III of the United States of America's Controlled Substance Act. Are players to be applauded for breaking a legitimate, thoroughly just law in order to cheat to give themselves what they believe to be is a competitive advantage to break records in order to win games and to make more money? So what if "baseball" did not ban steroids until 2002? So what? Does the major league players' association really, really want to say that its players have the right to break a just law and to avoid any professional repercussions from same simply because the officials of major league baseball shielded their own eyes from the truth for so long?
Sure, there are players who play the game of baseball who are not corrupted by the money or the drugs. One can look at the pure love of the game exhibited by recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Tony Gwynn, as good a hitter as I've ever seen play the game, or Cal Ripken, Jr. The sport in which they participate, however, has been corrupted by the corrosive effects of naturalism over the course of time. A world where people do not live to honor Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen will be one that degenerates over the course of time into greed and selfishness and barbarism. There is no other option.
Mind you, I have confined myself here solely to how baseball, once a legitimate diversion and a means of good, clean family fun, has changed as a result of the forces of naturalism without addressing myself to the freak show that is professional football or other sports that feature overpaid players with very bad attitudes. We have better things to do with our time than to continue to support slothful athletes and greedy owners and unscrupulous player agents, a class of people who represent one of the lowest forms of life on the planet as clients are milked for luxurious lifestyles and almost endless increase of personal wealth.We have better places to spend our time, starting by spending time in prayer before Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament and by making pilgrimages to Marian shrines to pray our Rosaries, than to be in an environment of rock music, profanity, obscene images and gross immodesty and indecency. (You can get enough of that for free at many conciliar parishes.) Maybe we might even pray a Rosary in front of an American killing center now and again?
Pope Leo XIII, writing in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900, explained that naturalism leads to disorder and crime. Although I have quoted these passages many times on this site, I will do so again in order to demonstrate that all aspects of national life, bar none, must revolve around the Catholic Faith:
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.
Just as it is the height of misfortune to go astray from the "Way," so is it to abandon the "Truth." Christ Himself is the first, absolute and essential "Truth," inasmuch as He is the Word of God, consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father, He and the Father being One. "I am the Way and the Truth." Wherefore if the Truth be sought by the human intellect, it must first of all submit it to Jesus Christ, and securely rest upon His teaching, since therein Truth itself speaketh. There are innumerable and extensive fields of thought, properly belonging to the human mind, in which it may have free scope for its investigations and speculations, and that not only agreeably to its nature, but even by a necessity of its nature. But what is unlawful and unnatural is that the human mind should refuse to be restricted within its proper limits, and, throwing aside its becoming modesty, should refuse to acknowledge Christ's teaching. This teaching, upon which our salvation depends, is almost entirely about God and the things of God. No human wisdom has invented it, but the Son of God hath received and drunk it in entirely from His Father: "The words which thou gavest me, I have given to them" john xvii., 8). Hence this teaching necessarily embraces many subjects which are not indeed contrary to reasonfor that would be an impossibility-but so exalted that we can no more attain them by our own reasoning than we can comprehend God as He is in Himself. If there be so many things hidden and veiled by nature, which no human ingenuity can explain, and yet which no man in his senses can doubt, it would be an abuse of liberty to refuse to accept those which are entirely above nature, because their essence cannot be discovered. To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity. Our intellect must bow humbly and reverently "unto the obedience of Christ," so that it be held captive by His divinity and authority: "bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians x., 5). Such obedience Christ requires, and justly so. For He is God, and as such holds supreme dominion over man's intellect as well as over his will. By obeying Christ with his intellect man by no means acts in a servile manner, but in complete accordance with his reason and his natural dignity. For by his will he yields, not to the authority of any man, but to that of God, the author of his being, and the first principle to Whom he is subject by the very law of his nature. He does not suffer himself to be forced by the theories of any human teacher, but by the eternal and unchangeable truth. Hence he attains at one and the same time the natural good of the intellect and his own liberty. For the truth which proceeds from the teaching of Christ clearly demonstrates the real nature and value of every being; and man, being endowed with this knowledge, if he but obey the truth as perceived, will make all things subject to himself, not himself to them; his appetites to his reason, not his reason to his appetites. Thus the slavery of sin and falsehood will be shaken off, and the most perfect liberty attained: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" john viii., 32). It is, then, evident that those whose intellect rejects the yoke of Christ are obstinately striving against God. Having shaken off God's authority, they are by no means freer, for they will fall beneath some human sway. They are sure to choose someone whom they will listen to, obey, and follow as their guide. Moreover, they withdraw their intellect from the communication of divine truths, and thus limit it within a narrower circle of knowledge, so that they are less fitted to succeed in the pursuit even of natural science. For there are in nature very many things whose apprehension or explanation is greatly aided by the light of divine truth. Not unfrequently, too, God, in order to chastise their pride, does not permit men to see the truth, and thus they are punished in the things wherein they sin. This is why we often see men of great intellectual power and erudition making the grossest blunders even in natural science.
10. It must therefore be clearly admitted that, in the life of a Christian, the intellect must be entirely subject to God's authority. And if, in this submission of reason to authority, our self-love, which is so strong, is restrained and made to suffer, this only proves the necessity to a Christian of long-suffering not only in will but also in intellect. We would remind those persons of this truth who desire a kind of Christianity such as they themselves have devised, whose precepts should be very mild, much more indulgent towards human nature, and requiring little if any hardships to be borne. They do not properly under stand the meaning of faith and Christian precepts. They do not see that the Cross meets us everywhere, the model of our life, the eternal standard of all who wish to follow Christ in reality and not merely in name.
God alone is Life. All other beings partake of life, but are not life. Christ, from all eternity and by His very nature, is "the Life," just as He is the Truth, because He is God of God. From Him, as from its most sacred source, all life pervades and ever will pervade creation. Whatever is, is by Him; whatever lives, lives by Him. For by the Word "all things were made; and without Him was made nothing that was made." This is true of the natural life; but, as We have sufficiently indicated above, we have a much higher and better life, won for us by Christ's mercy, that is to say, "the life of grace," whose happy consummation is "the life of glory," to which all our thoughts and actions ought to be directed. The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that "we being dead to sin, should live to justice" (I Peter ii., 24)-that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. "The just man liveth by faith" (Galatians iii., II). "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith. A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.
So great is this struggle of the passions and so serious the dangers involved, that we must either anticipate ultimate ruin or seek for an efficient remedy. It is of course both right and necessary to punish malefactors, to educate the masses, and by legislation to prevent crime in every possible way: but all this is by no means sufficient. The salvation of the nations must be looked for higher. A power greater than human must be called in to teach men's hearts, awaken in them the sense of duty, and make them better. This is the power which once before saved the world from destruction when groaning under much more terrible evils. Once remove all impediments and allow the Christian spirit to revive and grow strong in a nation, and that nation will be healed. The strife between the classes and the masses will die away; mutual rights will be respected. If Christ be listened to, both rich and poor will do their duty. The former will realise that they must observe justice and charity, the latter self-restraint and moderation, if both are to be saved. Domestic life will be firmly established ( by the salutary fear of God as the Lawgiver. In the same way the precepts of the natural law, which dictates respect for lawful authority and obedience to the laws, will exercise their influence over the people. Seditions and conspiracies will cease. Wherever Christianity rules over all without let or hindrance there the order established by Divine Providence is preserved, and both security and prosperity are the happy result. The common welfare, then, urgently demands a return to Him from whom we should never have gone astray; to Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,-and this on the part not only of individuals but of society as a whole. We must restore Christ to this His own rightful possession. All elements of the national life must be made to drink in the Life which proceedeth from Him- legislation, political institutions, education, marriage and family life, capital and labour. Everyone must see that the very growth of civilisation which is so ardently desired depends greatly upon this, since it is fed and grows not so much by material wealth and prosperity, as by the spiritual qualities of morality and virtue.
As was noted before, I had quite my fill of bread and circuses. I gave up the bread and circuses five years ago, hoping that doing so will help to pay back some of the debt I owe for the time that I wasted when I could have been doing more productive things with my life. Oh, I will always be remembered for my years at Shea Stadium, as a column written by one Bob Raissman of The New York Daily News on October 7, 2007, reflects:
Kiner's last licks
Lost in that final weekend of Mets misery was Ralph Kiner's last booth appearance of the season.
Happened on the Saturday when the Mets actually beat the Marlins. And it was memorable. When Kiner entered the Ch. 11 booth, he blamed Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling for the Mets' collapse.
"You all ought to be fired," Kiner said.
The highlight came in the second inning. Ch. 11 cameras focused on a fan wearing a Cowboy hat.
"Whatever happened to that guy who came here (Shea Stadium) dressed as the Lone Ranger all those years?" Kiner asked.
Cohen: "I think he retired."
Kiner: "No, I thought he might have been shot." Kiner's Last Licks
Is Ralph Kiner reading this site, knowing how many people would really love to see me cut down? Seriously, I know that my long association with the Mets and my entertaining of the fans in the stands is part of what I must take to my Particular Judgment. By withdrawing from all of this, however, I have tried--and continue to try--to show to God that I really do love Him more than I love the things of this passing world and that I really do want to make reparation for my many sins, which wounded Him once in time and have wounded His Mystical Body, Holy Mother Church, during my lifetime, which is four days shy of reaching the conclusion of its fifty-sixth year. (Yes, our birthdays mark the end of one year and the beginning of another. We are zero years old when we are born, entering into our first year of life after birth. Our first birthday marks the end of our first year of life. And so it goes for the rest of our years.) Sacrifices involve giving up legitimate pleasures that we like. Believe me, giving up going to games is something that has hurt. However, it is something that I should have done years ago for the reasons outlined above, and for that I have no one to blame but myself and much reparation to do as a consequence for failing to take the action earlier that I took in 2002.
Even the television and radio broadcasts are degenerating more and more from what I am told. Beer commercials openly flaunt immodesty and indecency and coarseness. WFAN Radio, which was turned on in the barbershop in Monroe, Connecticut, where I got my hair cut yesterday, Monday, November 19, 2007, the Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, featured an advertisement for a television show featuring dialogue that included a direct blasphemy against God's Holy Name. Then again, WFAN featured the serial blasphemer, Don Imus, as its early morning host from 1988 to his firing earlier this year (Imus and his regular blasphemous use of the Holy Name of God and that of the Divine Redeemer are returning to the airwaves in a few weeks, this time on WABC Radio.) Why watch such things? Why listen? Do you want to expose your children to such things? Well, why do you want to watch or listen to them?
Without imposing anything on anyone, I would like to propose that those who have shared my interest in baseball (or some other professional or collegiate sport) over the years consider the good to one's soul that can be had by withdrawing voluntarily from that those things that used to be legitimate diversions that were kept in their proper place but become in recent decades an enshrinement of all that goes wrong in a world where Christ is not confessionally recognized as the King of nations and where His Most Blessed Mother is not publicly honored with Rosary processions and pilgrimages as our Immaculate Queen. The rewards just might be Heavenly as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit to plant the seeds for the conversion of men and their nations to the loving and sure rule of so great a King and Queen.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us now and the hour of our deaths. Amen.
All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
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 Luke the Evangelist, 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 Felix of Valois, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us.
Saint Didacus, pray for us.
Pope Saint Martin I, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saints Vitalis and Agricola, pray for us.
Saint Hilarion, pray for us.
Saint John Cantius, pray for us.
Saint Peter of Alcantara, pray for us.
Saint Hedwig, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Francis Borgia, pray for us.
Saint Edward the Confessor, pray for us.
Saint John Leonard, pray for us.
Saint Dionysisus (Denis), Rusticus and Eleutherius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Placidus and Companions, pray for us.
Saint Bruno, pray for us.
Saint Wenceslaus, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Remigius, pray for us.
Saint Clotilde, pray for us.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Linus, pray for us.
Saint Peter Nolasco, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Pennafort, pray for us.
Saint Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us.
Saint Thecla, pray for us.
Saint Matthew, pray for us.
Saint Eustachius and Family, pray for us.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.
Saint Januarius, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Giles, pray for us.
Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
Saint Nicomedes, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, pray for us.
Pope Saint Zephyrinus, pray for us.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.
Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, pray for us.
Saint Bartholomew, pray for us.
Saint Philip Benizi, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Saint John Eudes, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us, pray for us.
Saint Agapitus, pray for us.
Saint Helena, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Irenaeus, 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 Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
Saint Turibius, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, 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 Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, 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 Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 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 V, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us.
Blessed Humbeline, 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.
Father Maximilian Kolbe,M.I., pray for us.
Father Frederick Faber, 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.