Various Strategies, One Goal
Thomas A. Droleskey
Our ancient adversary, who prowls about the world like a roaring lion seeking to devour souls, employs many strategies to achieve his one and only goal: to dethrone Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as King of men and of their nations, thereby hoping to ensnare men individually in lives of despair and emptiness that will lead them to Hell for all eternity and to convince men collectively that their nations do not need to submit themselves to the Social Reign of Christ the King as it must be exercised by His one and only true Church, the Catholic Church. This is especially important to remember during Passiontide as most people in the world, including most baptized Catholics, go about their business without any thought as to the fact that these are the days in which we are to withdraw from the world to focus on the love that Our Lord had for us erring sinners by offering Himself up to the Father in Spirit and in Truth on the wood of the Holy Cross to redeem us from our sins, to liberate us from the power of sin and eternal death.
Custom-made strategies are devised by the adversary to deal with us on an individual basis. One of he chief strategies used the devil is to do with us exactly what he did with Eve--and through her with Adam: to appeal to our pride. Contingent beings, whose bodies are destined one day for the corruption of the grave, love to have their egos stroked and their "vanity" to cultivated. It has ever been so since the Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. Father A. J. O'Reilly pointed out how Catholics in the Third Century A.D.had returned to their pride and vanity following a period of peace, ushering in a period of renewed persecution from the Roman authorities:
The hour of sunshine and peace is now drawing to a close, and the year 250 opened, even on its first day with one of the most terrible persecutions that the Church had suffered. The blessings and repose of peace had relaxed the morals of the Christians, and it pleased Almighty God to purify them once more by the fire of persecution. The great Bishop of Carthage, who was secreted in exile during the few months that the storm raged, describes the sad causes that drew once more the terrible sword over the Christian community. “Almighty God,” says the great doctor, “wished to prove His family; for the blessings of a long peace had corrupted the divine discipline given to us; our sleeping and prostrate faith roused, if I may so to speak, the celestial anger. And although we deserved more for our sins, yet the clement and merciful Lord so acted that what has passed has been more a probation than a persecution. The whole world was wrapt in temporal interests, and the Christians forgot the glorious things that were done in the days of the apostles; instead of rivalling their brilliant example, they burned with the desire of the empty riches of the world, and strained every nerve to increase their wealth. Piety and religion were banished from the lives of the priests, and fidelity and integrity were no longer found in the ministers of the altar; charity and discipline of morals were no longer visible in their flocks. The men combed their beards, and the women painted their faces; their very eyes were tinted, and their hair told a lie. To deceive the simple, they used fraud and subtlety, and even Christians deceived each other by knavery and underhanded dealing. They intermarried with unbelievers and prostituted the members of Jesus Christ to pagans. They scoffed at their prelates in their pride, and they tore each other to pieces with envenomed tongues, and seemed to destroy each other with a fatal hatred. They despised the simplicity and humility demanded by faith, and permitted themselves to be guided by the impulses of worthless vanity; they contemned the world only in words. Did we not deserve, then, the dreadful horrors of persecution that have burst upon us?”
Father O'Reilly's recounting of the Bishop of Carthage's account of events in the Third Century could pass for a description of our own times. Consider some of the telling passages contained in the quotation above:
"The whole world was wrapt in temporal interests, and the Christians forgot the glorious things that were done in the days of the apostles; instead of rivalling their brilliant example, they burned with the desire of the empty riches of the world, and strained every nerve to increase their wealth."
Many Catholics today, including those who are scattered across the ecclesiastical fault lines of traditionalism, are wrapt up in temporal interests, placing their hope in money or politics, believing in the Calvinist lie that material success is a sign of divine election, of divine "predestination," eschewing the Holy Poverty of the Holy Family and of Saint Francis of Assisi, who exemplified the poverty of the Holy Family in his life of austere penances and deep Eucharistic piety and profound devotion to the Mother of God. Consider how favorably Father O'Reilly's discussion of temporal concerns in the year 250 A.D. compares to the period immediately after the First World War that was described by Pope Pius XI in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922:
Public life is so enveloped, even at the present hour, by the dense fog of mutual hatreds and grievances that it is almost impossible for the common people so much as freely to breathe therein. If the defeated nations continue to suffer most terribly, no less serious are the evils which afflict their conquerors. Small nations complain that they are being oppressed and exploited by great nations. The great powers, on their side, contend that they are being judged wrongly and circumvented by the smaller. All nations, great and small, suffer acutely from the sad effects of the late War. Neither can those nations which were neutral contend that they have escaped altogether the tremendous sufferings of the War or failed to experience its evil results almost equally with the actual belligerents. These evil results grow in volume from day to day because of the utter impossibility of finding anything like a safe remedy to cure the ills of society, and this in spite of all the efforts of politicians and statesmen whose work has come to naught if it has not unfortunately tended to aggravate the very evils they tried to overcome. Conditions have become increasingly worse because the fears of the people are being constantly played upon by the ever-present menace of new wars, likely to be more frightful and destructive than any which have preceded them. Whence it is that the nations of today live in a state of armed peace which is scarcely better than war itself, a condition which tends to exhaust national finances, to waste the flower of youth, to muddy and poison the very fountainheads of life, physical, intellectual, religious, and moral.
A much more serious and lamentable evil than these threats of external aggression is the internal discord which menaces the welfare not only of nations but of human society itself. In the first place, we must take cognizance of the war between the classes, a chronic and mortal disease of present-day society, which like a cancer is eating away the vital forces of the social fabric, labor, industry, the arts, commerce, agriculture -- everything in fact which contributes to public and private welfare and to national prosperity. This conflict seems to resist every solution and grows worse because those who are never satisfied with the amount of their wealth contend with those who hold on most tenaciously to the riches which they have already acquired, while to both classes there is common the desire to rule the other and to assume control of the other's possessions. From this class war there result frequent interruptions of work, the causes for which most often can be laid to mutual provocations. There result, too, revolutions, riots, and forcible repression of one side or other by the government, all of which cannot but end in general discontent and in grave damage to the common welfare.
To these evils we must add the contests between political parties, many of which struggles do not originate in a real difference of opinion concerning the public good or in a laudable and disinterested search for what would best promote the common welfare, but in the desire for power and for the protection of some private interest which inevitably result in injury to the citizens as a whole. From this course there often arise robberies of what belongs rightly to the people, and even conspiracies against and attacks on the supreme authority of the state, as well as on its representatives. These political struggles also beget threats of popular action and, at times, eventuate in open rebellion and other disorders which are all the more deplorable and harmful since they come from a public to whom it has been given, in our modern democratic states, to participate in very large measure in public life and in the affairs of government. Now, these different forms of government are not of themselves contrary to the principles of the Catholic Faith, which can easily be reconciled with any reasonable and just system of government. Such governments, however, are the most exposed to the danger of being overthrown by one faction or another.
It is most sad to see how this revolutionary spirit has penetrated into that sanctuary of peace and love, the family, the original nucleus of human society. In the family these evil seeds of dissension, which were sown long ago, have recently been spread about more and more by the fact of the absence of fathers and sons from the family fireside during the War and by the greatly increased freedom in matters of morality which followed on it as one of its effects. Frequently we behold sons alienated from their fathers, brothers quarreling with brothers, masters with servants, servants with masters. Too often likewise have we seen both the sanctity of the marriage tie and the duties to God and to humankind, which this tie imposes upon men, forgotten.
Just as the smallest part of the body feels the effect of an illness which is ravaging the whole body or one of its vital organs, so the evils now besetting society and the family afflict even individuals. In particular, We cannot but lament the morbid restlessness which has spread among people of every age and condition in life, the general spirit of insubordination and the refusal to live up to one's obligations which has become so widespread as almost to appear the customary mode of living. We lament, too, the destruction of purity among women and young girls as is evidenced by the increasing immodesty of their dress and conversation and by their participation in shameful dances, which sins are made the more heinous by the vaunting in the faces of people less fortunate than themselves their luxurious mode of life. Finally, We cannot but grieve over the great increase in the number of what might be called social misfits who almost inevitably end by joining the ranks of those malcontents who continually agitate against all order, be it public or private.
It is surprising, then, that we should no longer possess that security of life in which we can place our trust and that there remains only the most terrible uncertainty, and from hour to hour added fears for the future? Instead of regular daily work there is idleness and unemployment. That blessed tranquillity which is the effect of an orderly existence and in which the essence of peace is to be found no longer exists, and, in its place, the restless spirit of revolt reigns. As a consequence industry suffers, commerce is crippled, the cultivation of literature and the arts becomes more and more difficult, and what is worse than all, Christian civilization itself is irreparably damaged thereby. In the face of our much praised progress, we behold with sorrow society lapsing back slowly but surely into a state of barbarism.
We wish to record, in addition to the evils already mentioned, other evils which beset society and which occupy a place of prime importance but whose very existence escapes the ordinary observer, the sensual man -- he who, as the Apostle says, does not perceive "the things that are of the Spirit of God" (I Cor. ii, 14), yet which cannot but be judged the greatest and most destructive scourges of the social order of today. We refer specifically to those evils which transcend the material or natural sphere and lie within the supernatural and religious order properly so-called; in other words, those evils which affect the spiritual life of souls. These evils are all the more to be deplored since they injure souls whose value is infinitely greater than that of any merely material object.
The passage from Father O'Reilly's The Martyrs of the Coliseum also includes this quite telling sentence from the Bishop of Carthage:
"Piety and religion were banished from the lives of the priests, and fidelity and integrity were no longer found in the ministers of the altar; charity and discipline of morals were no longer visible in their flocks."
It does not take a reading of Mrs. Randy Engel's The Rite of Sodomy to recognize how piety and religion have been banished from the lives of the priests in the conciliar structures, although such a reading provides a documentation of the impiety and irreligion that have become so commonplace in the highest echelons of of those counterfeit structures. Indeed, conciliar bishop Robert Brom of the Diocese of San Diego, which filed for bankruptcy on February 28, 1990, admitted in a deposition taken on November 30, 2006, that he had been "investigated for allegations that I took part in a specific
orgy at the seminary that was connected with the cardinal." The "cardinal" was the late, nefarious Joseph Bernardin, the man who dared to claim that Saint John the Beloved was one of the "sources" of "anti-Semitism."
More than one commentator has noted the curious timing of the bankruptcy petition filed by the Diocese of San Diego, coming within days of a motion by an attorney for victims of perverted priests seeking to examine the records of the investigation into Brom's activities in the seminary in Winona, Minnesota (which had been detailed in a report issued by The Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., some years ago now; see AMDG Fall Winter 2002.pub (Read-Only)). A subculture of perversity has helped to feed a liturgical and doctrinal culture of betrayal and apostasy. The two are very much related even when one admits the obvious truth that the problem pre-dated conciliarism, which has sought to institutionalize aberrant behavior as "natural" and"normal." Even though men such as William Cardinal O'Connell and Francis Cardinal Spellman had their skeletons, an event such as the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Conference would have been unthinkable in their day. That's the difference that a lot of conciliarists don't want to admit. Sin and scandal there has always been. Sin and scandal there will always be. It has never before been the case, however, that men considered by most Catholics to be bishops have recruited and promoted advocates of perversity and encouraged them to teach "tolerance" for one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance from the pulpit and in "Catholic" "educational" institutions. Oh, yes, piety and religion have been banished from the lives of many priests in the conciliar structures.
Father O'Reilly's book noted that the Bishop of Carthage had observed that:
"Fidelity and integrity were no longer found in the ministers of the altar."
Indeed. The same is true in our own day. The Hegelian spirit of contradiction abounds, confusing believing Catholics into thinking that there a prelate can deny certain articles of the Faith one day as a "private theologian," you understand, but all is well because he affirms others on another day. Benedict XVI, for example, can call a schismatic and heretical Greek Orthodox "patriarch" a "pastor" in the "Church of Christ" (meaning that one does not have to believe in the Filioque and Purgatory and Papal primacy and Papal infallibility and the Catholic doctrine on Original Sin and the indissolubility of marriage and still be a "member" of the "Church of Christ") on November 30, 2006. All is "well," though, because he reaffirmed on March 27, 2007, that Hell is real and is eternal. One cannot be of a divided mind concerning the truths of the Holy Faith. One must believe in everything in the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted exclusively His true Church. Being "right" on some occasions does not redeem being wrong on other occasions, something that Pope Leo XIII pointed out in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896:
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition" (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).
The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. In this he first admonishes them to preserve with every care concord of minds: "Solicitous to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. iv., 3, et seq.). And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: "One Lord, one faith," and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: "that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only - "but until we all meet in the unity of faith...unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ." But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that - "He gave some Apostles - and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (11-12).
Fidelity and integrity are not be found in many "ministers of the altar" today, most of whom are not priests as the new rites. And fidelity and integrity are certainly not to be found in the synthetic, ever-changable concoction known as the Novus Ordo Missae, which has Protestantized the "liturgy" experienced by most Roman Rite Catholics to such an extent that most Catholics in the conciliar structures do not realize that thousands upon thousands of our spiritual ancestors gave up their lives in England and Scotland and Ireland and Acadia and elsewhere rather than subject themselves the Anglican and Calvinist precursors of the Novus Ordo Missae. These Catholic martyrs, including bishops, priests, consecrated religious and members of the laity, many of whom had their homes confiscated and their wealth given away to those who "worshiped" in the "new" way of Protestantism, died to preserve the same Immemorial Mass of Tradition that is being preserved by heroic prelates in the catacombs today, prelates who are torn to shreds by the "envenomed" tongues of the descendants of those who gave themselves over so easily to the "new way" in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
Father O'Reilly quotes the Bishop of Carthage's very pertinent question:
"Did we not deserve, then, the dreadful horrors of persecution that have burst upon us?"
Even though it is painful to admit, ladies and gentlemen, we deserve the dreadful horrors of persecution that are beginning to burst upon us. We should not be in the least surprised that we are seeing in this country what has become quite common in parts of Europe and in all of Canada: efforts to curb any criticism of perverse sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and any criticism of the taking of innocent preborn human life. We should not be in the least surprised that there is more agony being expressed over the deaths of some pet dogs (and I am the son of a veterinarian who spent many days in the 1960s helping my father as his veterinary practice in Queens Village, New York, and certainly do not take glee in the deaths of pets) as a result of some sort of poison in certain brands of dog food than there is over the daily carnage of preborn children by means of chemical and surgical abortions. We should not be in the least surprised that our Protestant and Judeo-Masonic political processes. founded in naturalism, are ill-equipped to retard the evils of the day for it is those processes that gave rise to the very evils of the day by overthrowing the Social Reign of Christ the King and replacing it with the religiously indifferentist civil state that is hostile to the fact of the Incarnation and to the Deposit of Faith that our King has entrusted solely to the Catholic Church.
Pope Leo XIII pointed this out in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900:
The greatest of all misfortunes is never to have known Jesus Christ: yet such a state is free from the sin of obstinancy and ingratitude. But first to have known Him, and afterwards to deny or forget Him, is a crime so foul and so insane that it seems impossible for any man to be guilty of it. For Christ is the fountain-head of all good. Mankind can no more be saved without His power, than it could be redeemed without His mercy. "Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved" (Acts iv, 12). What kind of life that is from which Jesus Christ, "the power of God and the wisdom of God," is excluded; what kind of morality and what manner of death are its consequences, can be clearly learnt from the example of nations deprived of the light of Christianity. If we but recall St. Paul's description (Romans i., 24-32) of the mental blindness, the natural depravity, the monstrous superstitions and lusts of such peoples, our minds will be filled with horror and pity. What we here record is well enough known, but not sufficiently realised or thought about. Pride would not mislead, nor indifference enervate, so many minds, if the Divine mercies were more generally called to mind and if it were remembered from what an abyss Christ delivered mankind and to what a height He raised it. The human race, exiled and disinherited, had for ages been daily hurrying into ruin, involved in the terrible and numberless ills brought about by the sin of our first parents, nor was there any human hope of salvation, when Christ Our Lord came down as the Saviour from Heaven. At the very beginning of the world, God had promised Him as the conqueror of "the Serpent," hence, succeeding ages had eagerly looked forward to His coming. The Prophets had long and clearly declared that all hope was in Him. The varying fortunes, the achievements, customs, laws, ceremonies and sacrifices of the Chosen People had distinctly and lucidly foreshadowed the truth, that the salvation of mankind was to be accomplished in Him who should be the Priest, Victim, Liberator, Prince of Peace, Teacher of all Nations, Founder of an Eternal Kingdom. By all these titles, images and prophecies, differing in kind though like in meaning, He alone was designated who "for His exceeding charity wherewith He loved us," gave Himself up for our salvation. And so, when the fullness of time came in God's Divine Providence, the only-begotten Son of God became man, and in behalf of mankind made most abundant satisfaction in His Blood to the outraged majesty of His Father and by this infinite price He redeemed man for His own. "You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver . . . but with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a lamb, unspotted and undefiled" (1 Peter i., 18-19). Thus all men, though already subject to His Kingly power, inasmuch as He is the Creator and Preserver of all, were over and above made His property by a true and real purchase. "You are not your own: for you are bought with a great price" (2 Corinthians vi, 19-20). Hence in Christ all things are made new. "The mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed to Him, in the dispensation of the fullness of times to re-establish all things in Christ" (Ephesians i., 9-10). When Jesus Christ had blotted out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, fastening it to the cross, at once God's wrath was appeased, the primeval fetters of slavery were struck off from unhappy and erring man, God's favour was won back, grace restored, the gates of Heaven opened, the right to enter them revived, and the means afforded of doing so. Then man, as though awakening from a long-continued and deadly lethargy, beheld at length the light of the truth, for long ages desired, yet sought in vain. First of all, he realised that he was born to much higher and more glorious things than the frail and inconstant objects of sense which had hitherto formed the end of his thoughts and cares. He learnt that the meaning of human life, the supreme law, the end of all things was this: that we come from God and must return to Him. From this first principle the consciousness of human dignity was revived: men's hearts realised the universal brotherhood: as a consequence, human rights and duties were either perfected or even newly created, whilst on all sides were evoked virtues undreamt of in pagan philosophy. Thus men's aims, life, habits and customs received a new direction. As the knowledge of the Redeemer spread far and wide and His power, which destroyeth ignorance and former vices, penetrated into the very life-blood of the nations, such a change came about that the face of the world was entirely altered by the creation of a Christian civilisation. The remembrance of these events, Venerable Brethren, is full of infinite joy, but it also teaches us the lesson that we must both feel and render with our whole hearts gratitude to our Divine Saviour.
We are indeed now very far removed in time from the first beginnings of Redemption; but what difference does this make when the benefits thereof are perennial and immortal? He who once hath restored human nature ruined by sin the same preserveth and will preserve it for ever. "He gave Himself a redemption for all" (1 Timothy ii., 6)."In Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians xv., 22). "And of His Kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke i., 33). Hence by God's eternal decree the salvation of all men, both severally and collectively, depends upon Jesus Christ. Those who abandon Him become guilty by the very fact, in their blindness and folly, of their own ruin; whilst at the same time they do all that in them lies to bring about a violent reaction of mankind in the direction of that mass of evils and miseries from which the Redeemer in His mercy had freed them.
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 con sequences 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.
Yes, the adversary has various strategies to convince us to deify ourselves and our naturalistic political processes. We, however, have the ability to crush his head by clinging to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with confidence, keeping her company each day at Holy Mass and in prayer before her Divine Son's Real Presence, Wherein beats His Most Sacred Heart. We must resist all forms of naturalism, whether personal or social, reject all attempts to compromise the truth in order to appear to "gain' some illusory electoral or cultural victory. The only way to vanquish the adversary is with the wood of the Holy Cross, upon which hung the Salvation of the world, and by which stood the New Eve, the Mother of the living.
Our own sins play a huge role in the sad state of the Church and the world at the present time. We need to be serious, quite serious, during this Passiontide to make reparation for our own sins and for those of the whole world. Our Lady asked us in Fatima to pray for the conversion of poor sinners. Well, that starts with us. And the conversion of sinners depends upon our worthy assistance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the prayerful recitation of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary. Father John Croiset, S..J., discussed the ingratitude of men towards the great treasure that is the Mass. Such ingratitude can have no part in our own lives:
It is strange that Catholics are found who feel wearied and who do not know how to occupy the time of Mass. They are like a sick person who gets annoyed at seeing someone working efficaciously to cure his malady, or like a man burdened with a heavy debt who does not know what to do in the presence of a powerful monarch who offers him all His treasures. Blessed Claude de la Colombiere expresses this thought very forcibly in his sermon on the Mass. He says: "What! Have you never received any favor from the good God? We all are actually surrounded with, laden down and overwhelmed with God's benefits, and we have never thanked Him as we ought; so many dangers averted, so many crimes overlooked, such an amiable and constant exercise of providence over us, such sweet and continual eagerness to draw us to Himself, to gain our hearts, and make us saints. The list of the graces which you receive in a single day would suffice to occupy you during the whole time of Mass. Do not all these favors deserve to be thought over again and again? Having then recalled to your mind all these benefits, say boldly to the Eternal Father: Behold the immense benefits which I have received from Thee; but look upon this Victim, this Divine Body, this Precious Blood, this adorable Sacrifice. Behold what I render to Thee for all Thy benefits; I can have no doubt that they are well repaid by such a magnificent Offering. But what I can offer Thee, O my adorable Master, for having given me the means by which I can requite Thy Heavenly Father liberally for all His benefits, and expiate my sins? I have but one heart to offer Thee. Wilt Thou deign to accept this heart disturbed by so many passions and sullied by so many sins? It is broken with sorrow; in this state I offer it to Thee. Thou dost open Thy Divine Heart to me, Thou dost give It to me, could I dare, O my adorable Saviour, to refuse Thee mine? O God of majesty, who am I that Thou shouldst deign to accept the sacrifice of my heart? It shall henceforth belong to Thee, creatures shall have no more share in it. Be, then, my amiable Jesus, my Father, my Friend, my All. Since Thou deignest to be content with my heart, how could it desire anything but Thee? Henceforth, I wish to live only for Thee; receive, then, my most amiable Saviour, the sacrifice which the most ungrateful of men offers to Thee, to repair the wrong which up to the present moment I have to do Thee by offending Thee?
"You say that you do not know what do during the Mass! Have you never offended God? Do you not offend Him every day and every hour of the day? Go over in your mind during the Mass all the faults of which you have been guilty since the previous Mass. Ask pardon of Jesus. But have you no favor to ask for? You are complaining every day of your relatives, your friends, your children; ask God to make this enemy of yours more reasonable, this daughter more modest, this husband less passionate, ask Him to change the heart of this son; ask for yourself greater meekness, more patience, more courage, and zeal for your salvation, but ask especially for the perfect love of God. And in order to obtain all these things, offer to Him Jesus Christ on the altar; it cannot be that He will refuse you, for what you offer is worth infinitely more than all you can ask for?"
It is strange that the Lord cannot fill His house, except by using threats, except by compelling (in a certain sense) people to enter; but it is still more strange that we enter so often into the house of the Lord, that we assist every day at the most august of all sacrifices, and that we derive no fruit from it, that we do not even know of the ineffable fruits which we might have derived. This want of knowledge is one of the things most to be deplored in the Catholic Church. What a misfortune to live in want, while we have an immense and inexhaustible treasure at our disposal, about which we are ignorant! But is it not a still greater misfortune if we know about this treasure and derive no advantage from it? (Father John Croiset, S.J., The Devotion to to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: How to Practice the Sacred Heart Devotion, TAN Books and Publishers reprint, pp. 216-218.)
Father Croiset also listed a prayer composed by Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, the confessor to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, and a champion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his own right:
In reparation for so many outrages and such cruel ingratitude, O most adorable and amiable Heart of my amiable Jesus, and as far as is in my power, to avoid falling into such an evil, I offer Thee my heart with all sentiments of which it is capable; I give myself entirely to Thee, and from this hour I protest most sincerely that I desire to forget myself and all that can have reference to myself, in order to remove the obstacles which might prevent me from entering into this Divine Heart which in Thy divine goodness Thou openest to me, and where I desire to enter in order to live and die with Thy most faithful servants. Penetrated and inflamed with Thy love, I now offer to Thy Sacred Heart all the merit and satisfaction of all the Masses, of all the prayers, of all the acts of mortification, of all the religious practices, of all the acts of zeal, humility, obedience and all the other virtues which I shall practice until the last moments of my life; not only will all this be to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Its admirable dispositions, but in addition, I most humbly beseech Him to accept the entire donation which I make to Him of them, and in favor of whomsoever it pleases Him; and as I have already given to the Holy Souls in Purgatory all that is in my actions capable of satisfying divine justice, I desire that it be distributed to them according to the good pleasure of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. [Father John Croiset, S.J., Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: How to Practice the Sacred Heart Devotion, pp. 60-61; 63.]
We must console the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary during this Passiontide, being ever mindful of rejecting naturalism in all of its forms so as to make short work of the devil's strategies to convince us to "go along" with the easy paths offered by secular political program and to "go along" with the syncretism of the counterfeit church of conciliarism which proceeds from and feeds into the anti-Incarnation foundation of Modernity.
As a priest said to me years ago now, "I wish I could spend the rest of my life in a monastery weeping for my sins." Well, those of us who live in the world cannot enter into a monastery. Such is not our vocation. However, we can make reparation for our sins as the totally consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart whose homes are consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son, planting a few seeds which, we hope and pray, will bear fruit to usher in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the restoration of the Faith in all of its glory, including the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Continue to pray and fast and give alms and make sacrifices during these days of Passiontide!
Vivat Christus Rex!
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 Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Jude, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint John Capistrano, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint John Damascene, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, 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.
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.