When Told To Do So
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Take a good look at this graph, which comes from Quantcast - Open Internet Ratings Service:
Monthly US Uniques
See that graph? As of April 30, 2008, ladies and gentlemen, this website, which has received the attention of perhaps more critics than it has supportive readers, has a readership of 2,718 monthly "unique" visitors. It appears as though this site "peaked" in early February, at the height of the Republican presidential primary process, declining pretty steadily ever since. One would think, however, from the level of interest paid to this site by its critics that it has substantial influence over events in the Church and the world.
As I have noted so frequently, my work is fair game for comment and criticism. Even a thirty-third degree Mason gets things right now and again, at least on the natural level where he lives. And it was the thirty-third degree Mason named Harry S. Truman who said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." Those who give heat should expect to take heat. Fine and dandy.
It is also most virtuous to refrain from defending one's work. I was told years ago that the Catholic writer Mrs. Solange Hertz, who has done such excellent work in critiquing The Star Spangled Heresy that is Americanism, has never once responded to any of her critics, preferring to let her writing speak for itself. This example of turning the other cheek is indeed most admirable. It is also quite practical. One has better things to do with one's time than to defend one's work constantly. Let the critics have their say. Readers can judge for themselves were the truth resides.
There are times when one is tempted by disordered pride to defend oneself and one's work. There are people who can "rub" one the wrong way. I am reminded in this regard of an incident that took place at my late father's veterinary hospital in Queens Village, New York, on July 3, 1969.
A man, whose name I remember but will not mention here, was arguing with my father over a three dollar charge for treatment given to his dog by my father. My father, who was a kind and generous man but who also had quite a temper, got very upset, blowing cigar smoke into his client's face. A challenge was made by the client to engage in fisticuffs. My father, who would turn fifty years of age in three months and seven days from that date, was up for the challenge. Although my father had been an amateur boxer in college and in the United States Navy, I did not want to see blows exchanged, stepping between the two men prevent a physical altercation. The situation was diffused as the man walked out without paying the three dollars.
"Dad, why did you get so angry with Mr. So-and-So?" I asked plaintively.
My father, reflecting on the foolishness of the moment, smiled and said, "He just rubbed me the wrong way."
Imagine what would become of us if Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had such a view of us! We certainly rub Him the wrong the way by means of our sins and our indifference and our lukewarmness, if not actual coldness of heart. We are so proud and blind and haughty that we do not see Him in the souls of those who are right in front of us, starting with our own family members. We flee from some people at the mere glance of them out of the corner of one eye without for one moment considering that we are fleeing from a brother or a sister in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. How slow we are to show tolerance and forbearance to people here in the Church Militant on the face of this earth.
Oh, yes, there are people who certainly flee from the sight of us. We had an incident about two and one-half months ago when it was in God's Holy Providence for me to recognize at a gasoline station in Connecticut the husband of a former student from Saint John's University in the 1984-1985 academic year. We had a pleasant enough exchange of greetings, although I saw the pained expression on his face when he learned of our going to Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe. A little more consternation was visible when he realized that our motor home is parked within a stone's throw of where he lives, quite literally "down the street." We exchanged e-mail addresses before going on our separate ways, noticing, however, in the Trail Blazer's rear view mirror that he was taking the same route back to his residence that we were taking back to the property on which we are parked. I saw the gentleman pull off just before a bend in the road, plainly not wanting me to know exactly where it is that he lived. An e-mail I sent later that evening on Thursday, March 13, 2008, was not returned.
Friendship is a free gift. No one can force anyone to be his friend in this passing, mortal vale of tears. If the circumstances of life and the events of our ecclesiastical situation make us unacceptable in the eyes of others, so what? We pray for them. We will their good. We commend them to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, praying for a good reunion in Heaven for all eternity, please God that each of us dies in a state of Sanctifying Grace. So what if people with whom we were once friendly think ill of us, think us a little "daft," think us "schismatic" or "disloyal" or simply are just sick and tired of us and want nothing, humanly speaking, to do with us for the rest of their lives. So what? We must remember that nothing anyone does to us or says about us is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death and that least Venial Sin caused Our Lady to suffer as those Seven Swords of Sorrow were thrust through and through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We must consider it a privilege to be calumniated and rejected by others.
As noted above, most of us are just as capable as fleeing from others as others are in fleeing from us. Some of the worst advertisements in behalf of the canonical and doctrinal truth of sedevacantism--and that such truth applied in these our times--were some of the people we met who had embraced this truth, people who had no "human sense" at all and did not know when to leave well enough alone and let us decide the matter for ourselves. Mind you, this does not excuse any possible rudeness that we might have exhibited from time to time in fleeing (sometimes rather quickly, as in "Let's get out of here now!") from the sight of such people. It is to note that the frailties of fallen nature are such that we find that others of our brothers and sisters in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ difficult to "swallow" on a personal level.
Our predilections in this regard might prompt us, quite wrongly, I should add, to react in a figuratively analogous way to how my late father reacted to the protestations of Mr. So and So over that contested amount of three dollars on Thursday, July 3, 1969. Our pride gets the better of us. We want to "defend" our "honor," as we see it in a much disordered, narcissistic way. How few and far between are there souls such as Mrs. Hertz who have never written a word in their own defense!
Is it permissible to defend one's work? Yes, it is as permissible to do so as it is to defend one's own life with the use of the amount of physical force that is commensurate with and proportionate to the level of the threat with which one is faced. Thus it is that I want to spend a few moments responding to a mischaracterization of my efforts to encourage those who read this site to withdraw voluntarily from those aspects of the popular culture that expose ourselves and our children volitionally and unnecessarily to the near occasions of sin.
One reader, a man who took me to task eleven years ago for criticizing Always Our Children, a pro-perversity manifesto issued by American conciliar bishops' Committee on Marriage and the Family, in the pages of The Wanderer, has written to a number of prominent conservative and traditional Catholics to lobby them to urge me to shut down this website. Apart from his rejection of my arguments concerning the state of apostasy and betrayal that we face at this time, the gentleman misrepresented my exhortations for voluntary withdrawals from certain aspects of the popular culture, stating that I have declared that Catholics "must not," for example, attend major league baseball games. "Must not"?
Look, as I noted before, my writing is far game for comment and criticism. Wonderful. It's nice to see that people have hobbies. It is incumbent upon those who want to comment and criticize to represent my work accurately. Although I have made mistakes and have indeed changed positions in the past two years, I have tried to make proper Catholic distinctions in matters of prudential judgment.
Hey, you want to get all worked up about the naturalistic political process? Please, go right ahead. All I can do is an offer a perspective such as that contained in When Lesser is Greater, which people are free to accept or reject. And it appears, judging from the decline in the readership of this site, that such a perspective has been rejected. Wonderful. Fine and dandy. I'm not going to lose any sleep about whether my work is accepted or rejected.
You want to go to a baseball game and expose your soul and the souls of your children to the horrors of rock music (which is, of course, evil in se and cannot be justified at any time, in any place or for any reason) and the horrible images on the gigantic television screens and the immodest attire and the indecent speech of many of the fans? What am I going to do? Drive down to the parking lot at Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York, and denounce you?
All I can do is what I have tried to do: to exhort people--after years of making needless compromises of my own!--to look beyond our world of naturalism and to strive with greater assiduousness and ardor for the things of Heaven above. Here is just one example?
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. . . .
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.
This Bud's Not for You
Even the article I wrote when I walked out of Shea Stadium nearly six years ago (in the middle of promoting my book about the early years of the Mets) stressed the volitional nature of my decision to absent myself from baseball games, making a personal sacrifice to show God that I do love Him more than love the passing pleasures of this mortal world:
As Catholics, we know that sacrificing legitimate pleasures in this world can help us love the Blessed Trinity more fully, becoming more and more attached to the things of Heaven than the things of this passing world. I am not "punishing" myself as some well-meaning friends have suggested. No, I am giving a sacrifice to Our Lady so that she can use it as she sees fit. It is a small way to show her that I love God more than I love the pleasures of this world-and that I am serious in trying to make reparation for my own sins. I also hope and pray that Major League Baseball will have the good sense to withdraw its association with the drug in question, providing a better, cleaner, purer environment for those parents who want to continue to attend games with their children.
While I will miss the ambiance of Shea and the people who I have come to know there, my goal in life is to gain my season seat in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise by cooperating with the graces won for us by the shedding of our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary.
Out of the Old Ball Game
The gentleman who wrote to the cast of thousands of well-known conservative and traditional luminaries also raised the issue of my opposition to attending most motion pictures. So? Rigorism? Hardly. Can anyone in his right mind imagine Our Blessed Lord and Saviour spending money to pollute His Holy Eyes and His Holy Ears by sights and sounds that blaspheme Him and His Blessed Mother and His Holy Church and/or incite viewers to commit one sin after another? The death of the old Legion of Decency has given the Talmudic naturalists who run the entertainment industry a carte blanche to produce and distribute the most vile, vulgar and sacrilegious fare imaginable. Only a handful of conciliar pastors will even attempt to dissuade their parishioners from being complicit in the sins of those Talmudic naturalists by by assenting to their evil while paying for the privilege of partaking of it.
His Excellency Bishop Donald A. Sanborn, the Rector of Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville, Florida, explained this in the manual for Queen of All Saints Academy:
1.2.8. Modern culture. Modern culture is hostile to Catholic Faith and morals, and to the extent that one embraces it, to that same extent will the virtues of the faith, hope and charity in the soul be weakened. In fact, they will entirely disappear if one should embrace the modern culture totally. Modern culture is based on subjectivism and relativism, which repudiates all notion of fixed and supernatural dogmas. It denies original sin and its effects, and holds out as man's ideal the attainment of merely worldly happiness and some natural virtues. It considers impurity to be a virtue, and encourages the pursuit of sexual pleasure, whether moral or immoral, as one of the most important goals of men. Modern culture is obsessed with sex. Modern culture furthermore encourages worldliness, avarice, and disrespect for authority. It condones and even encourages divorce, adultery, abortion, birth control, fornication, and sodomy. Its music and art are sick and perverted, laden with overtones of sex, morbid violence, and devil worship. In short, the modern culture could be described as the pomps of Satan, which we all forswear as a condition for our baptism. For this reason, Queen of All Saints Academy utterly rejects the modern culture, and seeks not only to protect the children from it, but also to give them a truly Catholic culture. Since the primary sources of exposure to modern culture are the media and bad friends, the Academy insists that its students, even in the environment away from the school, be detached from the modern culture. Parents who fail do so will be asked to remove their children from the Academy. . . .
1.5.3. Conditions which must be observed in the home in order to enroll children in Queen of All Saints Academy. In order to enroll their children in Queen of All Saints Academy, parents or guardians must observe the following rules in the home:
Rule no. 1. All broadcast and cable television must be banned from the home.
Explanation of the rule. Television is not intrinsically evil. But since 95% of television programming is morally objectionable, and corrosive of Catholic Faith and morals, it is necessary that families detach themselves from this programming. Since it is nearly impossible to sift the good material from the bad, it becomes necessary to avoid it altogether. It must be banned from the home. The rule does not mean that one can never look at television, but it is saying that it must be out of the home, in order to preserve the children, especially, from its corrosive influence. The rule envisions broadcast TV, i.e., normal programming which comes over the air waves, and cable TV, what you buy from a cable company. It does not ban the watching of clean videotapes. Nor does it ban the recording of decent broadcast and cable television shows, which could be watched later if the indecent commercials could be removed.
Rule no. 2. All forms of rock music must be banned from the home and the automobile.
Explanation of the rule. This means that all forms of rock music are banned, not merely the "hard" or "acid" variety, but also what is known as "soft rock" or "light rock" or "oldies." In short, it includes anything which has the unmistakable rock rhythm, and which any average person would call rock music. The ban does not include forms of popular music which are not rock, e.g., folk music, Celtic music, even Broadway shows, provided that they are clean.
Rule no. 3. All impure "Country Western" music and similar types must be banned from the home and the automobile.
Explanation of the rule. While there is some legitimate Country Western music which, if not very polished, is at least clean and culturally acceptable, most modern Country Western music is a serious occasion of sin to the listener, since it very explicitly speaks about sexual escapades. This, of course, is banned. The term "similar types" refers to groups who sing folk music apparently, but whose title is so dirty that you would not listen to them even if they were singing Gregorian Chant.
Rule no. 4. All objectionable video games must be banned from the home, and acceptable video games must be used in moderation.
Explanation of the rule. Video games are not evil in themselves, obviously, and good ones can even be a good source of creation. However, there are many which are bad for one reason or another, either owing to impurity, or occult overtones, or morbidly violent themes, or because they use rock music. Furthermore, the children must not become addicted even to the good ones, and hence there is the rule about moderation.
Rule no. 5. School children may not access the Internet except with special permission from the principal.
Explanation of the rule. The Internet is, clearly, not intrinsically good or bad, but becomes good or bad according to what is brought up on it. Since positively the most dreadful pictures can be easily accessed, as well as the most hellish websites and chat rooms, it is necessary that students access the internet for only serious reasons. This rule also holds for e-mail exchanges. Idle time spent on the Internet is the devil's workshop, and in most cases the student can access whatever information he needs in a relatively short amount of time.
Rule no. 6. It is forbidden for students to belong to sports leagues, or anything of a similar nature.
Explanation of the rule. Years ago, before Vatican II, Catholic students were never permitted to play sports with public schools. Rather there were the Catholic leagues, like CYO, etc. The reason is that interaction with public school students was considered a danger to faith and morals. If that was true in the 1950's, how much more is it true today? Since we cannot organize our own Catholic leagues, our young people will simply have to forego the possibility of playing sports in that environment. The words "anything of a similar nature" refer to any environment or circumstance in which students, without sufficient reason, are exposed to danger in faith or morals. The school reserves the right to make a determination of these cases.
Rule no. 7. It is forbidden that students recreate in places where rock music is played.
Explanation of the rule. This rule specifically excludes skating rinks and sports arenas where rock music is being played. The rule says, "is being played,"since it may be possible to get the establishment to turn it off. It is true that it nearly impossible to avoid rock music, since it is heard in rest rooms, restaurants, dentists' offices, etc., but in these cases there is a proportionate reasons, that is, a necessity of being there. But there is no necessity to be in a skating rink or sports arena.
Rule no. 8. It is forbidden that students enter a theater without the permission of the principal.
Explanation of the rule. Owing to the indecent posters and frequent, dirty previews, a student does not have a proportionate reason to enter a theater. A movie in itself is a very low form of recreation and does not qualify as a sufficient reason to expose oneself to such indecency. A proportionate reason would exist, for example, in the case of entering a supermarket which posted dirty magazines. You have a proportionate reason to be at the supermarket owing to the necessity of buying food. But such a necessity does not exist in going to a theater.
A similar set of rules, issued as "parental pleas," have been established at a traditional Catholic adademy::
Although [our pastor] has said that certain of the following points were not serious sins when done in the privacy of one's home, NEVERTHELESS as parents and students of [the academy], youu should strive with more than ordinary effort for the sanctification of your souls and the souls of your children. "To whom much is give, much is expected."
- The family should pray the daily Rosary together.
- Women and girls should wear modest skirts at all times.
- There should be very limited vanities (jewelry, cosmetics, etc.)
- Children should not be permitted the "fad" fashions and hair styles (usually immodest, vain, worldly and even ugly).
- Parents should not given their children into the care of non-traditional Catholics.
- Children should not have hired jobs outside of the home during school days.
- Children should not be allowed to play in public recreational sports leagues.
- Parents should be careful as regards playmates (who are not in the Academy) for their children.
- There should be no toys or books that may be immoral, immodest, vain or plain ugly.
- There should be very limited video game playing.
- There should be limited VCR watching.
- The children should not be permitted to see current movies, especially the new "Disney" movies.
- Parents should not consider public, private or novus ordo schools as an option.for some of their children while sending other of their children here.
Parents should/must inculcate respect for their own and all authority.
This list has been drawn up from the practical problems we have dealt with directly in the Academy over the last 10 years. We therefore believe, as does [our pastor] that there is at least remote occasion for sin either inherent in the things mentioned or from their immoderate use.
Too much for you? Well, that's just peachy keen swell. You want to expose yourself and your children to horrible motion pictures and to the horror of "rock music" (there's no "rock for eternal life" in Heaven, I can assure one and all, including those with highly placed contacts in the conciliar Vatican)? That's on your soul. Many are the parents, however, across the entire vast expanse of the ecclesiastical divide (sedevacantist, resist and recognize, Motu maniacs, Novus Ordo "conservative") who go to great lengths to protect their children from the influences of the world, the flesh and the devil. Rigorism? Try simple Catholicism.
Father Frederick Faber explained this all so wonderfully in All for Jesus:
Life is but a very little while, compared with eternity, and throughout eternity, we shall be infinitely happy, and yet have but one occupation--to give glory to God. We shall literally have nothing else to do. And this single task will contain in itself such treasures of bliss that there will be nothing left that we can desire. Why not begin this work on earth? Why not try even now to fall in love with that dear glory of God which will be our joy and worship in the life to come? The character of God's goodness is to be communicative. He is always communicating Himself to His creatures, in nature, in grace, in glory. We must copy this example. There is such a thin as a selfish goodness, thinking only about our own selves and our own souls. Indeed, this does seem a great matter, when we see so many thousands round about us who hardly realize that they have souls at all. Yet it is dangerous to dwell exclusively on this. And who can have the Precious Blood, and know what It is, and fell what It does, and yet no long to pass It along to other souls? I would we could always do all thins for the sole glory of God; but this can hardly be. Yet may may all do, without effort, much more than we have done, if we will only try to sorrow over sin, over the sins of the whole world, because our Blessed Lord God is so deeply offended by them.
Neither is this devotion without immense blessings to our own souls. What hinders us most, when we have once set to work to serve God in good earnest, is not so much sin as worldliness and self-love. Now we see how both these miseries, which so hang about us, keep us down, and adulterate all the good we do; see how both of them are kept in check by this devotion. The characteristic of the world is that it ignores sin. Things are right or wrong as it pleases, and according to its own canons; but as to a secret stain upon the immortal soul because the invisible God is offended, this it will not hear of for a moment. It is reckoned a doctrine to unman people, an idle bugbear, a priestly superstition. A man who sees everything as sin or not sin, who seeks everywhere the secret glory of the hidden Creator, who follows unearthly standards, and uses unearthly weights and measures, who strives to do the commonest actions from supernatural motives, and who can love what he does not see until he loses the power of loving, or at least of loving vehemently what he does see, can hardly be possessed either by the spirit of worldliness or or self-love. His life is a protest against the world, and also against himself. Yet this is only a description of what a man would soon become who took up this devotion. He who looks long and lovingly on God will soon cease to see any loveliness in himself; and thus his practice would deliver him from the two greatest enemies in the spiritual life. . . . .
10) As God is especially offended on these days [in Lent] by excesses in eating and drinking, to mortify our appetite somewhat more than usual either in quantity or quality.
11) As God is also especially offended at such times by immodest conversations, to agree with some pious friend to meet and spend a short time daily in spiritual conference, simply to give pleasure and consolation to our good God.
12) As men are especially guilty at such times of sinful idleness, to take more than common care about the spending of our time, so that apart from innocent and proper recreation, no part of it should pass in idleness and inutility, but rather to be more industrious than usual.
13) Those who under any vows should on these days renew them with fresh acts of love to God, a devotion to suggested to us by Our Lord's fixing the Thursday before Quinquagesima for espousing St. Catherine of Siena.
In England the place of the Carnival would be, of course, supplied by the days following the three feasts of Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. There are none whose work lies among souls who do not know by painful experience the horrors of these three seasons among us; and it is so difficult to speak strongly against cheap excursions, railway trips, and such like miseries, that no remedy seems left but prayer and reparation. To pray for rain on such days sounds ill-natured, yet it may hinder multitudes of sins. Many a ruin of modesty and innocence dates from a cheap trip, and many a soul has been shipwrecked on the harmless river between London Bridge and Rosherville.
There are three very beautiful revelations by which God has been pleased to make known how acceptable to His Divine Majesty is this reparation at the Carnival. One is to the Blessed Henry Suso, the Dominican; the other two to St. Gertrude. I will quote one of these last, as embodying the spirit which I am anxious this treatise should convey. It is from the fourth book of her Insinuations of Divine Piety.
At the time of the Carnival, the Lord Jesus appeared to her sitting upon the throne of His glory, and St. John the Evangelist was sitting at Our Lord's feet, writing. The Saint asked him what he was writing and Our Lord answered for him. "I am having every one of your devotions your congregation offered to Me yesterday, and all those they are goin to offer these next two days, carefully noted down in this paper. And when I, to whom the Father has committed all judgment, shall faithfully render to everyone after his death, "good" measure for all the labors of his pious works, and shall add moreover the measure 'pressed down' of My most salutary Passion and death, whereby all man's merit is marvelously ennobled, I will take them with this paper to the Father, that He also, out of the omnipotence of His paternal kindness, may super-add them to His measure of 'shaken together and running over,' for these benefits kindly done to Me in this persecution by which worldly men on these days harass Me. For, as none are equal to Me in faithfulness, muss less can I omit to recompense My benefactors, seeing that even King David, who all his life through never omitted to heap kindnesses on his benefactors, yet, when he came to die, and committed his kingdom to Solomon, said to him, 'Thou shalt show favor the sons of Berzellai, the alaadite, and they shall eat at thy table, for they came to meet me when I fled from the face of thy brother Absalom. A kindness shown to men in the time of adversity is more acceptable than in the time of prosperity; so I the more gratefully accept this fidelity which is shown to Me when the world is especially persecuting Me with sin." (Father Frederick Faber, All For Jesus, written in 1854, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 62-63. 66-67.)
The "carnival" spoken of Father Faber is now a continuous, 365-day-a-year event (366 days in a leap year such as this one). The "carnival" is not the path to Heaven. It is the path to the commission of many sins in thought, word and deed.
The path to Heaven does not run through a motion picture theater. The path to Heaven does NOT run through a baseball stadium. The path to Heaven does not run through "rock music." It is not an immersion in the ways of the world that gets to Heaven, especially when the "world" is steeped in the promotion of the very thing, sin, that caused Our Lord to suffer during His Passion and Death and which wounded His Blessed Mother's Sorrowful land Immaculate Heart, under cover of law and in every aspect of popular culture. Holy Mother Church has counseled us in the laity to avoid being of the world while we work in the world. Countless saints and holy priests, such as Saint John Marie Vianney and Father Faber himself, have counseled us to eschew worldliness as we make reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world. Saint Philip Neri, the saint of joy and cheerfulness, would never counsel his directees to make light of the near occasions of sin.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori put the matter this way in Sermon XXV (for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost):
Such were the attractions of our Divine Saviour, and such the sweetness with which he received all, that he drew after him thousands of people. He one day saw himself surrounded by a great multitude of men, who followed him and remained with him three days, without eating anything. Touched with pity for them, Jesus Christ said to his disciples: "I have compassion on the multitude; for, behold! they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat"--Mark, viii. 2. He, on this occasion, wrought the miracle of the multiplication of the seven loaves and a few fishes, so as to satisfy the whole multitude. This is the literal sense; but the mystic sense is, that in this world there is no food which can fill the desires of our souls. All the goods of this Earth--riches, honours, and pleasures--delight the sense of the body, but cannot satiate the soul, which has been created for God, and which God alone can content. I will, therefore, speak to-day on the vanity of the world, and will show how great is the illusion of the lovers of the world, who lead an unhappy life on this Earth, and expose themselves to the imminent danger of a more still unhappy life in eternity.
"O ye lovers of men," exclaims the Royal Prophet against worldlings, "how long will you be dull at heart?" Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying?"--Ps., iv. 3. O men, O fools, how long will you fix the affections of our hearts on this Earth? Why do you love the goods of this world, which are all vanity and lies? Do you imagine that you shall find peace by the acquisition of these goods? But how can you expect to find peace, while you walk in the the ways of affliction and misery? Behold how David describes the conditions of worldlings." "Destruction and unhappiness in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known."--Ps., xiii. 3. You hope to obtain peace from the world; but how can the world give you that peace which you seek, when St. John says that "the whole world is seated in wickedness"?--I. John, v. 19. The world is full of iniquities; hence, worldlings live under the despotism of the wicked one--that is, of the Devil. The Lord has declared, that there is no peace for the wicked, who live without his grace. "There is no peace to the wicked"--Isa., xlviii. 22.
The goods of the world are but apparent goods, which cannot satisfy the heart of man. "You have eaten," says the Prophet Ageus, "and have not had enough:--Ag., i. 6. Instead of satisfying our hunger, they increase it. "These," says St. Bernard, "provoke, rather than extinguish hunger". If the goods of this world made men content, the rich and the powerful should enjoy complete happiness; but experience shows the contrary. We see every day that they are the most unhappy of men; they appear always oppressed by fears, by jealousies and sadness. Listen to King Solomon, who abounded in these goods: "And behold all is vanity and vexation of spirit"--Eccl., i. 14. He tells us, that all things in this world are vanity, lies, illusion. They are not only vanity, but also affliction of spirit. They torture the poor soul, which finds in them a continual source, not of happiness, but of affliction and bitterness. This is a just punishment on those who instead of serving their God with joy, wish to serve their enemy--the world--which makes them endure the want of every good. "Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joy and gladness of heart,..........thou shalt serve they enemy in hunger, and thirst, and nakedness, and in want of all things"--Deut., xviii. 47, 48. Man expects to content his heart with the goods of this Earth; but, howsoever abundantly he may possess them, he is never satisfied. Hence, he always seeks after more of them, and is always unhappy. Oh! happy he who wishes for nothing but God; for God ill satisfy all the desires of his heart. "Delight in the Lord, and he will give thee the requests of thy heart"--Ps., xxxvi. 4. Hence St. Augustine asks: "What, O miserable man, dost thou seek in seeking after goods? Seek after one good, in which are all goods". And, having dearly learned that the goods of this world do not content, but rather afflict the heart of man, the saint, turning to the Lord, said: "All things are hard, and thou alone repose". Hence in saying "My God and my all", the seraphic St. Francis, though divested of all worldly goods, enjoyed greater riches and happiness than all the worldlings on this Earth. Yes; for the peace which fills the soul that desires nothing but God, surpasses all delights which creatures can give. They can only delight the senses; but cannot content the heart of man. "The peace of god which surpasseth all understanding"--Phil., iv. 7. According to St. Thomas, the difference between God, the sovereign good, and the goods of the Earth, consists in this, that the more perfectly we possess him, the better we comprehend his infinite greatness, and therefore the more we despise other things; but when we possess temporal goods, we despise them, because we then see their emptiness, and desire other things which may make us content. (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Sermon XXV, For the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, On the Vanity of the World, Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori, republished in 1982 by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 262-264.)
Pope Leo XIII made much the same point in Exeunte Iam Anno, December 25, 1888:
Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of faith." Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the "fight proposed to Us," fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, "having joy set before him, endured the cross." Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. "They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences" -- so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ. By the infinite goodness of God man lived again to the hope of an immortal life, from which he had been cut off, but he cannot attain to it if he strives not to walk in the very footsteps of Christ and conform his mind to Christ's by the meditation of Christ's example. Therefore this is not a counsel but a duty, and it is the duty, not of those only who desire a more perfect life, but clearly of every man "always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus." How otherwise could the natural law, commanding man to live virtuously, be kept? For by holy baptism the sin which we contracted at birth is destroyed, but the evil and tortuous roots of sin, which sin has engrafted, and by no means removed. This part of man which is without reason -- although it cannot beat those who fight manfully by Christ's grace -- nevertheless struggles with reason for supremacy, clouds the whole soul and tyrannically bends the will from virtue with such power that we cannot escape vice or do our duty except by a daily struggle. "This holy synod teaches that in the baptized there remains concupiscence or an inclination to evil, which, being left to be fought against, cannot hurt those who do not consent to it, and manfully fight against it by the grace of Jesus Christ; for he is not crowned who does not strive lawfully." There is in this struggle a degree of strength to which only a very perfect virtue, belonging to those who, by putting to flight evil passions, has gained so high a place as to seem almost to live a heavenly life on earth. Granted; grant that few attain such excellence; even the philosophy of the ancients taught that every man should restrain his evil desires, and still more and with greater care those who from daily contact with the world have the greater temptations -- unless it be foolishly thought that where the danger is greater watchfulness is less needed, or that they who are more grievously ill need fewer medicines.
But the toil which is borne in this conflict is compensated by great blessings, beyond and above heavenly and eternal rewards, particularly in this way, that by calming the passions nature is largely restored to its pristine dignity. For man has been born under this law, that the mind should rule the body, that the appetites should be restrained by sound sense and reason; and hence it follows that putting a curb upon our masterful passions is the noblest and greatest freedom. Moreover, in the present state of society it is difficult to see what man could be expected to do without such a disposition. Will he be inclined to do well who has been accustomed to guide his actions by self-love alone? No man can be high-souled, kind, merciful, or restrained, who has not learnt selfconquest and a contempt for this world when opposed to virtue. And yet it must be said that it seems to have been pre-determined by the counsel of God that there should be no salvation to men without strife and pain. Truly, though God has given to man pardon for sin, He gave it under the condition that His only begotten Son should pay the due penalty; and although Jesus Christ might have satisfied divine justice in other ways, nevertheless He preferred to satisfy by the utmost suffering and the sacrifice of His life. Thus he has imposed upon His followers this law, signed in His blood, that their life should be an endless strife with the vices of the age. What made the apostles invincible in their mission of teaching truth to the world; what strengthened the martyrs innumerable in their bloody testimony to the Christian faith, but the readiness of their soul to obey fearlessly His laws? And all who have taken heed to live a Christian life and seek virtue have trodden the same path; therefore We must walk in this way if We desire either Our own salvation or that of others. Thus it becomes necessary for every one to guard manfully against the allurements of luxury, and since on every side there is so much ostentation in the enjoyment of wealth, the soul must be fortified against the dangerous snares of riches lest straining after what are called the good things of life, which cannot satisfy and soon fade away, the soul should lose "the treasure in heaven which faileth not." Finally, this is matter of deep grief, that free-thought and evil example have so evil an influence in enervating the soul, that many are now almost ashamed of the name of Christian -- a shame which is the sign either of abandoned wickedness or the extreme of cowardice; each detestable and each of the highest injury to man. For what salvation remains for such men, or on what hope can they rely, if they cease to glory in the name of Jesus Christ, if they openly and constantly refuse to mold their lives on the precepts of the gospel? It is the common complaint that the age is barren of brave men. Bring back a Christian code of life, and thereby the minds of men will regain their firmness and constancy. But man's power by itself is not equal to the responsibility of so many duties. As We must ask God for daily bread for the sustenance of the body, so must We pray to Him for strength of soul for its nourishment in virtue. Hence that universal condition and law of life, which We have said is a perpetual battle, brings with it the necessity of prayer to God. For, as is well and wisely said by St. Augustine, pious prayer flies over the world's barriers and calls down the mercy of God from heaven. In order to conquer the emotions of lust, and the snares of the devil, lest we should be led into evil, we are commanded to seek the divine help in the words, "pray that ye enter not into temptation." How much more is this necessary, if we wish to labor for the salvation of others? Christ our Lord, the only begotten Son of God, the source of all grace and virtue, first showed by example what he taught in word: "He passed the whole night in the prayer of God," and when nigh to the sacrifice of his life, "He prayed the longer."
Many are the parents who take seriously the teaching of the Catholic Church to avoid compromising with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Mind you, this is not the spirit of the counterfeit church of conciliarism, where a "priest" can be found "blessing" a Hooter's restaurant in Waco, Texas, or engaged in open promotion of the grave mental disorder of perversity in violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments or encouraging his parishioners to see a particular R-rated motion picture or to plan the weekly "rock" Mass to "reach the young at their own levels." You want religious liberty? By all means, go right ahead and practice the "joys" of conciliarism. Don't begrudge Catholics, however, who want to practice the true Faith, Catholicism, and voluntarily withdraw more and more from the world and the near occasions of sin that it presents in order to long more perfectly for the possession of Heaven for all eternity. One can have loads of good, clean fun without being immersed in the world of naturalism and its attendant vices.
Being serious about the pursuit of Heaven, despite our own sins and shortcomings, many of which are quite visible to those who know us well, is not going to make us popular in the world. Although the gentlemen who believes that it is "rigorism" to withdraw voluntarily from places which are truly the near occasions of sin contends that I could find employment rather easily in my chosen field of teaching political science if this website were "shut down," the truth is, of course, as I noted in my recently posted Donations letter, I was persona non grata in the world of academe long, long, long before I took seriously the canonical and doctrinal truth of sedevacantism and understand that it applied in this era of apostasy and betrayal. Simply teaching political science as a Catholic is unacceptable.
Indeed, as I think that I have noted in the past, feminists at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa in July of 1992 approached the then president, Dr Miles Tomeraasen, to have my signed contract for the 1992-1993 academic year canceled because they had learned that I had run for lieutenant governor of the State of New York on the Right to Life Party line six years before. I was treated as a veritable "non-person" by some of my colleagues for the one year that I taught there. And the senior administration officials at Long Island University turned down an offer of a fully-funded position in Catholic social teaching eight years ago (and turned down the unanimous vote of the political science faculty to hire me full time for the 2000-2001 academic year) due in no small measure to the criticism I had leveled in the pages of The Wanderer against the late John Raymond McGann, the conciliar 'bishop" of the Diocese of Rockville Centre from 1976 to 2000. One of "Bishop" McGann's favorite "priests" was very associated with the university's senior administration officials. Anyone who believes that "shutting down" this website would get me employed in academe fails to understand that I was a "marked man" long before I embraced sedevacantism two years ago.
As noted before, readers are free to accept or to reject the commentary offered on these pages. My work is monitored by true bishops and true priests, men who will tell me if I get out of line. And some of my articles are actually vetted by these bishops and priests. This site will be "shut down" when my shepherds tell me to do so, not because someone who likes "rock music" believes that it is "rigoristic" to seek to shield one's daughter's immortal soul from rhythms and words that are composed by the devil and played in Hell for all eternity.
Want to try to reconcile conciliarism with Catholicism? Go right ahead. I will be an "anti-reconciler," if you will, for as long as God gives the strength to do so and as long as my work has the support of the true bishops and true priests who have sacrificed so much to provide us with the true sacraments in this time of apostasy and betrayal. The principle of non-contradiction is what it is, and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's lifelong warfare against the nature of truth must be demonstrated time and time again for those who are open to recognizing that such warfare is a denial of the very nature of God Himself and thus represents in and of itself a defection from the Catholic Faith, anathematized by the [First] Vatican Council. Those who want to justify this denial of truth--and to contend that it is simply a "minor" matter that does not get the heart of Modernism itself--can have at me as they want. I will continue to point out that two mutually contradictory statements cannot be true simultaneously, that, simply put, God the Holy Ghost cannot contradict Himself.
As happened in the winter intersession of 2006-2007, when I taught as an adjunct at Long Island University (adjuncts get paid per course and have no faculty rank or full-time salary or benefits), the number of articles on this site shrank considerably. This would happen again if it is in God's Providence for me to be hired once again on a full-time basis somewhere. I would always try, however, to write some articles now and again after fulfilling whatever happened to be my principal duties as a professor.
Barring that--and assuming the support of true bishops and true priests, I will do my best in cooperation with the graces won for us on Calvary and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to continue the work until I die--or until I am physically or mentally unable to do so, offering it all to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary in reparation for my sins and those of the whole world.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now, especially for our relatives and friends and critics who think us daft for taking seriously these words of the late Mario Francesco "Cardinal" Pompedda and that they apply to the revolutionaries in the Vatican at the present time?
It is true that the canonical doctrine states that the see would be vacant in the case of heresy. ... But in regard to all else, I think what is applicable is what judgment regulates human acts. And the act of will, namely a resignation or capacity to govern or not govern, is a human act. (Cardinal Says Pope Could Govern Even If Unable to Speak, Zenit, February 8, 2005.)
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 John 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.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Philip Neri, pray for us.
Pope Saint Eleuthrius, pray for us.
Saint Bede the Venerable, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints