I am travelling to Rome this week to attend an ecumenical conference with Cardinal Francis Arinze. Please pray for all of us there that we may move toward that authentic unity of the Church that Christ desires and the world needs. The truth will set us free…
TRUTH is never inconsequential. It can never be optional. And therefore, it can never be subjective. When it is, the result is almost always tragic.
Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Polpot and countless other dictators did not necessarily wake up one day and decide to eliminate millions of their population. Rather, they embraced what they believed was “the truth” regarding the best approach to the common good for their nations, if not the world. As their ideologies took form and they took power, they saw those who stood in the way as dispensable—unfortunate “collateral damage” in the building of their new paradigm. How could they have been so wrong? Or were they? And is their political opposites—capitalist countries—the answer?
BEHIND THE POLITICAL BATTLES
The battle between the “right” and the “left” today is no longer a mere disagreement on policy. It has now become a matter of life and death—a “culture of life” vs. a “culture of death.” We are just beginning to see the “tip of the iceberg” of the underlying tensions between these two visions of the future.
…we witness daily events where people appear to be growing more aggressive and belligerent… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Pentecost Homily, May 27th, 2012
On an economic-political level, one can reduce the division ultimately between a capitalist versus a communistic world view. Capitalism takes the view that the markets and free enterprise should drive the economic prosperity, growth, and quality of life of a nation. The Communist viewpoint holds that the government should equally distribute the wealth, goods and services for a more just society.
The left increasingly holds that the right is wrong and vice versa. But could there be truth on both sides, and hence, the reason for such sharp division at this hour?
Communism, or rather, community-ism is a socio-political form of the early Church. Consider this:
All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. (Acts 2:44-45)
Isn’t this precisely what Socialist/Communist ideologues propose today through greater taxation and redistribution? The difference is this: What the early Church accomplished was based on freedom and charity—not force and control. Christ was the heart of the community, not “dear Leader,” as dictators are often called. The early Church was founded on a Kingdom of love and service; Communism is based on a kingdom of coercion and ultimately slavery to the regime. Christianity celebrates diversity; Communism imposes uniformity. The Christian community saw their material goods as a means to an end—communion with God; Communism sees the material as an end unto itself—a “utopia” whereby all men are materially equal.
In principle and in fact, materialism radically excludes the presence and action of God, who is spirit, in the world and above all in man. Fundamentally this is because it does not accept God’s existence, being a system that is essentially and systematically atheistic. This is the striking phenomenon of our time: atheism… —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Dominum et Vivificantem, “On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World”, n. 56; vatican.va
So you see, even though the “idea” is the betterment of the “common good,” the truth of the human person is neglected in the Communist’s vision. On the other hand, Christianity places the person at the center of the economy, whilst in Communism, the authoritarian leader becomes the center; everyone else is a mere cog or gear in the economic machine.
In a word, the Communist leader deifies himself.
Is Capitalism, then, the antidote to Communism? That depends. Human freedom can never be used toward a selfish end, in other words, it cannot lead to the individual deifying himself. Rather, the “free economy” must always be an expression of our solidarity with others that puts the welfare and benefit of the common good at the heart of economic growth.
For man is the source, the center, and the purpose of all economic and social life. —Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Gaudium et Spes, n. 63: AAS 58, (1966), 1084
If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative… But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative. —ST. JOHN PAUL II, Centesiumus Annus, n. 42; Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n. 335
So why do we see a literal revolution against Capitalism today? Because the “freedom” of individuals, corporations, and banking families has been grossly misused to generate wealth either for themselves, their stockholders, or a handful of the powerful while creating a rapidly widening gap between the rich and the poor.
For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains. (1 Timothy 6:10)
Today, the cost of living, education, and basic needs is so high, even in developed countries, that the future of our youth is bleak indeed. Moreover, the use of the “military complex”, the abuse and manipulation of the stock markets, the unchecked invasion of privacy by technocrats, and the unfettered pursuit of profit has produced a grotesque inequality within First World nations, kept developing nations in a cycle of poverty, and turned individuals into a commodity.
No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, On the occasion of Christmas Greetings, December 20th, 2010; http://www.vatican.va/
A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power… In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 56
Here again, the essential truth of the dignity and intrinsic value of the human person has been lost.
…without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family… humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, n.33, 26
WHY WE ARE NOW ON THE PRECIPICE
Humanity is heading for the abyss of destruction that men have prepared by their own hands. Repent and return to Him who is your Sole and True Savior. Take care of your spiritual life. I do not want to force you, but what I say should be taken seriously. —Message of Our Lady Queen of Peace to Pedro Regis, Unaí / Minas Gerais, October 30, 2018; Pedro enjoys support from his bishop
So you see, there are indeed certain truths within Communism and Capitalism that the Church can affirm (to an extent). But when those truths are not rooted in the entire truth of the human person, they both, in their own way, become a “beast” that devours entire nations. What is the answer?
The world is no longer willing to hear it, nor is the Church able to credibly present it. The answer lies in the social doctrine of the Catholic Church that is a development from Sacred Tradition and the Gospel itself. The Church takes no economic/political position other than that of the truth—the truth of who we are, who God is, and our relationship to Him and one another and all that implies. From this comes the light to guide the nations to authentic human freedom, for all.
However, mankind now stands on a dangerous precipice overlooking an abyss. The Enlightenment period with all its “isms”—rationalism, scientism, evolutionism, Marxism, Communism, radical feminism, modernism, individualism, etc.—has slowly and steadily separated “Church from State”, effectively driving God from the public square. Moreover, vast portions of the Church herself, seduced by the spirit of the world, the embrace of modernism, and the revelation of sexual abuse by clergy, is no longer a credible moral force in the world.
It is a particularly serious sin when someone who is actually supposed to help people toward God, to whom a child or a young person is entrusted in order to find the Lord, abuses him instead and leads him away from the Lord. As a result, the faith as such becomes unbelievable, and the Church can no longer present herself credibly as the herald of the Lord. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times: A Conversation With Peter Seewald, p. 23-25
A Great Vacuum has been created that the nature of man begs to fill. Thus, a new beast is rising from the abyss, one that embraces the communal truths of Communism, the creative aspects of Capitalism, and the spiritual desires of mankind… but dismisses the intrinsic truth of the human person and the Savior, Jesus Christ. We have been warned, and I pray, prepared:
Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 675-676
We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, of Christ and the anti-Christ. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up… a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II), from a 1976 speech to the American Bishops in Philadelphia
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A scene from The Apocalypse Tapestry in Angers, France. It is the longest wall-hanging in Europe. It was once 140 meters long until it was vandalized
during the “Enlightenment” period
When I was a news reporter in the 1990’s, the kind of blatant bias and editorializing that we see today from mainstream “news” reporters and anchors was taboo. It still is—for newsrooms with integrity. Sadly, many media outlets have become nothing short of propaganda mouthpieces for a diabolical agenda set in motion decades, if not centuries ago. Even sadder is how gullible people have become. A quick peruse of social media reveals how easily millions of people buy into the lies and distortions that are presented to them as “news” and “facts.” Three Scriptures come to mind:
The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies… (Revelation 13:5)
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
First published January 27th, 2017:
IF you stand close enough to a tapestry, all you will see is a portion of the “story”, and you can lose the context. Stand back, and the whole picture comes into view. So it is with the events unfolding in America, the Vatican, and all over the world which, at first glance, may not appear connected. But they are. If you press your face up against current events without understanding them in the larger context of, really, the past two thousand years, you lose the “story.” Fortunately, St. John Paul II reminded us to take a step back…
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through… We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, of Christ and the anti-christ. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up… a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II), from a 1976 speech to the American Bishops in Philadelphia
When he became Pope, he elaborated on what this “greatest historical confrontation” consists of:
With tragic consequences, a long historical process is reaching a turning-point. The process which once led to discovering the idea of “human rights”—rights inherent in every person and prior to any Constitution and State legislation—is today marked by a surprising contradiction… the very right to life is being denied or trampled upon… This is the sinister result of a relativism which reigns unopposed: the “right” ceases to be such, because it is no longer firmly founded on the inviolable dignity of the person, but is made subject to the will of the stronger part. In this way democracy, contradicting its own principles, effectively moves towards a form of totalitarianism. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 18, 20
I have explained elsewhere how, with the birth of the so-called “Enlightenment” period, philosophers and intellects, deceived and deceivers, began to separate themselves from the “mythos” of faith, and create an alternate world view that restricted itself to the material, to science, and reason alone. As we know from the warnings of several popes, this was driven largely by the self-described “illuminated”—those “secret societies” such as the Freemasons, whose goal has been to undermine and overthrow the entire order of things, particularly through the ideas behind Communism.  Indeed, few realize that Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Karl Marx, who wrote the Communist Manifesto, were on the payroll of the Illuminati. 
Communism, which so many believed to be an invention of Marx, had been fully hatched in the mind of the Illuminists long before he was put on the payroll. —Stephen Mahowald, She Shall Crush Thy Head, p. 101
Russia [was considered] the best-prepared field for experimenting with a plan elaborated decades ago, and who from there continue to spread it from one end of the world to the other. —POPE PIUS XI, Divini Redemptoris, n. 24; www.vatican.va
That’s the big picture—now fast-forward to today. Speaking to Dr. Robert Moynihan, who is a contributor to Inside the Vatican magazine, an unnamed retired Vatican official said:
The fact is that the thought of Freemasonry, which was the thought of the Enlightenment, believes Christ and his teachings, as taught by the Church, are an impediment to human freedom and self-fulfillment. And this thought has become dominant in the elites of the West, even when those elites are not officially members of any Freemasonic lodge. It is a pervasive modern worldview. —from “Letter #4, 2017: Knight of Malta and Freemasonry”, January 25th, 2017
That is to say that the goals of Freemasonry have been achieved, largely today through the media. The final stage has been set.
…few people are aware how deep the roots of this sect actually reach. Freemasonry is perhaps the single greatest secular organized power on earth today and battles head to head with the things of God on a daily basis. It is a controlling power in the world, operating behind the scenes in banking and politics, and it has effectively infiltrated all religions. Masonry is a worldwide secret sect undermining the authority of the Catholic Church with a hidden agenda at the upper levels to destroy the papacy. —Ted Flynn, Hope of the Wicked: The Master Plan to Rule the World, p. 154
Those who look to this or that election, or to this or that leader—such as Donald Trump—and believe that the “night is over” are standing too close to the tapestry.
This revolt or falling off, is generally understood, by the ancient Fathers, of a revolt from the Roman empire [upon which Western civilization is based], which was first to be destroyed, before the coming of Antichrist…—footnote on 2 Thess 2:3, Douay-Rheims Holy Bible, Baronius Press Limited, 2003; p. 235
I don’t believe this has changed, even as Trump has issued gutsy and laudable executive orders to start reversing abortion funding, defend religious freedom, resist “gender ideology”, etc.. For one, this Revolution is not solely an American one… it encompasses the entire world. Second, it has more to do with the Church than politics.
Nonetheless, what is just as significant as Trump’s first edicts is the hardening of the progressive left that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. It has taken on a tone of unprecedented anger and hatred where verbal threats to destroy the White House or assassinate the President and his family are not uncommon; where people are reporting mental breakdowns and exhibiting strange public behavior. As I said in The Storm of Confusion, there is a bizarre and disturbing spiritual pall hanging over the protests. Here is the warning: it is the kind of violent anger that seethed in the populace before the French Revolution broke out, overthrowing the establishment, destroying Church property, and massacring thousands of priests and religious in the streets. One gets the impression that if progressives gain control again, they will never let this “catastrophe” of the “right” gaining power to ever happen again.
Accusations are flying back and forth from both the conservative and liberal media that the other is guilty of “fake news.” While the term “fake news” originally referred to fabricated stories like “Pope is Visited by Aliens!”, it has quickly evolved to mean news that is decidedly biased—ie. missing facts or distorting details.
If you step back a bit from the tapestry, it becomes apparent that there is indeed a deliberate and coordinated effort to advance a progressive and decidedly anti-Gospel narrative. As far back as 1936, the popes had already recognized the emergence of “fake news”, ie. propaganda.
Now all may easily discern that the more wonderful the increase of the technique of the cinema, the more dangerous it has become to the hindrance of morals, to religion, and to social intercourse itself… as affecting not only individual citizens, but the whole community of mankind. —POPE PIUX XI, Encyclical Letter Vigilant Cura, n. 7, 8; June 29, 1936
There is another explanation for the rapid diffusion of the Communistic ideas now seeping into every nation, great and small, advanced and backward, so that no corner of the earth is free from them. This explanation is to be found in a propaganda so truly diabolical that the world has perhaps never witnessed its like before. It is directed from one common center. —POPE PIUS XI, Divini Redemptoris: On Atheistic Communism, n. 17
Pius XI noted that the advance of these ideas was also abetted by a ‘conspiracy of silence on the part of a large section of the non-Catholic press of the world. We say conspiracy, because it is impossible otherwise to explain how a press usually so eager to exploit even the little daily incidents of life has been able to remain silent for so long….’  This “conspiracy” was apparently confirmed by American banker, David Rockefeller:
We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries. —David Rockefeller, Speaking at the June, 1991 Bilderberger meeting in Baden, Germany (a meeting also attended by then-Governor Bill Clinton and by Dan Quayle)
Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina said:
“We not talking about isolated incidents”… but rather a series of simultaneous events that bear the “markings of a conspiracy.” —Catholic News Agency, Apr. 12, 2006
Both Pope Francis and Benedict XVI have been unsparing in their criticism of these “elites” operating behind the scenes. Francis referred to them as…
Masters of conscience… Even in today’s world , there are so many. —Homily at Casa Santa Martha, May 2nd, 2014; Zenit.org
We think of the great powers of the present day, of the anonymous financial interests which turn men into slaves, which are no longer human things, but are an anonymous power which men serve, by which men are tormented and even slaughtered. They are a destructive power, a power that menaces the world. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Reflection after the reading of the office for the Third Hour this morning in the Synod Aula, Vatican City, October 11, 2010
I was working in a newsroom in a major Canadian city as a business and consumer reporter and producer in the 90’s. It was at a time when newsrooms were very picky about standards, whether it was how the footage was shot or the type of personnel they’d put on camera. But that all seemed to change overnight when some “consultants” paid a visit. Long-held standards were veritably tossed out the door. Videographers were ordered to take their cameras off their tripods and deliberately make footage look “live” by being shaky, shifting in focus, etc.. It was okay to be “sloppy” so long as it seemed real enough. But of course, it was fake drama.
What happened next took me by surprise. Suddenly the veteran reporters in the newsroom began to quietly disappear. In their place, young, beautiful and inexperienced faces filled their chairs—anchors and reporters who looked pretty and could read, but without the credentials and training that were nearly obligatory on the networks until then.
Philosopher Marshal McLuhan once said “The medium is the message.” How true that’s become in our shallow world. The shift toward ultra-sensationalism in both look and content has all but disintegrated the credibility of the mainstream media today. The tripe that passes for “news”—entertainment gossip, political negativity, and base human behavior—is in the truest sense “propaganda,” as it not only denigrates and distracts from what is truly important, but it largely defines the culture. The media do set a tone. They do create a narrative. And today, it is overwhelmingly anti-Gospel and even anti-human.
I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news’… This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil. —POPE FRANCIS, January 24th, 2017, usatoday.com
There is very little in the mainstream media today that is not ideologically driven with a clear agenda to advance anti-family ideologies or maintain a preoccupation with scandal, gossip, sex and bizarre human behavior that desensitizes and poisons the culture. Many were shocked and appalled when Pope Francis compared these obsessions to the medical disorder of coprophilia—arousal from excrement or feces. But to be honest, that’s exactly how I see the ordure that passes for “information” today.
The media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey… to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true. —POPE FRANCIS, in an interview with Belgian magazine Tertio; from money.cnn.com, December 7th, 2016
The mainstream media is controlling this agenda by either ignoring the “culture of life” or reporting—as if it is a given—that immoral behavior is acceptable, inevitable, and obligatory for every nation. Recalling the “perverse roots” of those who broke the Covenant in the Old Testament, Pope Francis called it “a spirit of adolescent progressivism.”
It is not the beautiful globalization of unity of all Nations, each one with their own customs, instead it is the globalization of hegemonic uniformity, it is the single thought. And this sole thought is the fruit of worldliness. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, November 18th, 2013, Zenit.org
FILLING YOUR HEART WITH PEACE
The point is this: there is a veritable deluge of “fake news” in our world for the reason that very little of it is actually “news” and is really “agenda.” There is a spirit operating behind much of it—the spirit of antichrist—and that spirit is only getting stronger. While the Vatican continues to discern the apparitions of Medjugorje, I have no problem discerning with them the messages coming from there, such as the one recently.  Our Lady allegedly said:
Dear children! Today I am calling you to pray for peace: peace in human hearts, peace in the families and peace in the world. Satan is strong and wants to turn all of you against God, and to return you to everything that is human, and to destroy in the heart all feelings towards God and the things of God. You, little children, pray and fight against materialism, modernism and egoism, which the world offers to you. Little children, you decide for holiness and I, with my Son Jesus, intercede for you. Thank you for having responded to my call. —to Mirja, January 25th, 2017
Television, social media and Hollywood are spewing a narrative of “materialism, modernism, and egoism.” 
The serpent… spewed a torrent of water out of his mouth after the woman to sweep her away with the current… (Revelation 12:15)
This fight in which we find ourselves… [against] powers that destroy the world, are spoken of in chapter 12 of Revelation… It is said that the dragon directs a great stream of water against the fleeing woman, to sweep her away… I think that it is easy to interpret what the river stands for: it is these currents that dominate everyone, and want to eliminate the faith of the Church, which seems to have nowhere to stand before the power of these currents that impose themselves as the only way of thinking, the only way of life. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, first session of the special synod on the Middle East, October 10th, 2010
And so, brothers and sisters, we need to be prudent about our exposure to the media (and dads, as the spiritual head of the family, need to guard what enters the home). I am not one to see the devil behind every door, but I do believe without a doubt that there are powerful spiritual forces at work in the media. It is saturated with lust, violence, division and despair, and these in turn can rob us of peace, if not lead us into sin. Remember what Jesus said:
The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be. (Matt 6:22-23)
If you find your heart restless and disturbed and your peace reduced or robbed after spending time in the news, social media or entertainment, take note of that! As fascinating as the election of Donald Trump has been, the ongoing fighting, disrespect, and distortions in the media are continuing to polarize people beyond their borders. I’ve heard more than one American news commentator suggest that the United States is drawing towards civil war. I call it “revolution.”
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand. (Matt 21:7; 12:25)
What is paramount is that you and I keep our peace… keep custody of our eyes, ears, and mouths. In this way, we can better be vessels of grace and light in the growing darkness and division.
With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
There is no obligation to read the daily news; no obligation to see what’s on your Facebook wall, read the latest tweet, or hear the latest editorial (there is this wonderful little invention called the “Off” button). But there is a duty to keep custody of our eyes, to guard our ears against evil, and to keep our lips from spreading gossip and darkness. Here’s St. Paul’s advice:
Have no anxiety at all… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:6, 8-9)
There is no fake promise there!
…many forces have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church, from without as well as within, but they themselves are destroyed and the Church remains alive and fruitful… she remains inexplicably solid… kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations, ideologies, powers have passed, but the Church, founded on Christ, notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins, remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith shown in service; for the Church does not belong to popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful; the Church in every moment belongs solely to Christ.—POPE FRANCIS, Homily, June 29th, 2015; www.americamagazine.org
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When natural law and the responsibility it entails are denied,
this dramatically paves the way
to ethical relativism at the individual level
and to totalitarianism of the State
at the political level.
—POPE BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, June 16th, 2010
L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition, June 23, 2010
I feel the United States has to save the world…
—Servant of God Maria Esperanza
The Bridge to Heaven: Interviews with Maria Esperanza of Betania,
by Michael H. Brown, p. 43
Abraham, the father of faith, is by his faith the rock that holds back chaos,
the onrushing primordial flood of destruction, and thus sustains creation.
Simon, the first to confess Jesus as the Christ…
now becomes by virtue of his Abrahamic faith, which is renewed in Christ,
the rock that stands against the impure tide of unbelief
and its destruction of man.
—POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger)
Called to Communion, Understanding the Church Today, Adrian Walker, Tr., p. 55-56
THERE are essentially two things holding back a tide of chaos from engulfing the world. One is political in nature, the other spiritual. First, the political…
THE POLITICAL RESTRAINER
There is a tendency at times for my American friends to see the universe revolving around their country. But if what is written in Mystery Babylon is true, then America and the Western nations are indeed key actors at the end of this age. For St. John speaks of not only how the world is intoxicated with the wealth, perversity, and consumerism of Babylon, but when its system finally collapses, it ushers in a brief period of the kingdom of Satan, a “beast.”
The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, On the occasion of Christmas Greetings, December 20th, 2010; http://www.vatican.va/
Since the election of 2016, there is something about the American news that is riveting. Why? Because we are watching the battle for America’s soul, and really, the entire Western world’s soul. The U.S. dollar has been the “currency of trade” throughout the world. America’s economic and military might, the commodity of oil, and her demand for goods has played a key role in the prosperity, poverty, wars, and political landscapes that have shaped vast portions of the rest of the world in one way or another, particularly over the past century. The “imperialism” of the West has brought both oppression and democracy, darkness and light. It is true that at this moment—setting aside the controversial personality of President Donald Trump—the last defence of true democracy and authentic freedom of speech and religion in the world is the present administration of the United States (though Russia has made surprising but mixed strides in defending the above: see Russia… Our Refuge?).
I need to let that sentence sink in for a moment.
The reason is that Europe has buried its Christian identity, despite the warnings of the last three popes. It’s fatally low birthrate and open border policies have virtually crushed its Christian heritage. In North America, Canada has entered a post-Christian era under its current leadership while Mexico descends into further criminal lawlessness. The Islamic Jihad in Africa and the Middle East continues to displace and empty those lands of Christian families and clergy. And most notably, China is quietly, stealthily rising as a military and technological superpower as it enters into a new era of social experimentation, Christian persecution, and enforced atheism upon its helpless population.
There is arguably no real candidate left to hold the balance of freedom in the world (as we know it) than America. But her present stability is as fragile as a house of cards. The debt of the United States continues to soar, pushing it to the brink of bankruptcy, even as its GDP and job force grows. Economists have been warning for years now that a catastrophic collapse is coming when credit catches up to cash reserve.
But far more significant is the rise of a “new Communism” in the United States—unthinkable only ten years ago. The babyboomer’s grandchildren—who have been fed revisionist history, leftist propaganda, and the new religion of “tolerance” that tolerates nothing but its own ideas—are beginning to welcome Marxist ideology to fill the vacuum where capitalism has failed. Indeed, the youth who are the future are always the target:
Thus the Communist ideal wins over many of the better minded members of the community. These in turn become the apostles of the movement among the younger intelligentsia who are still too immature to recognize the intrinsic errors of the system… When religion is banished from the school, from education and from public life, when the representatives of Christianity and its sacred rites are held up to ridicule, are we not really fostering the materialism which is the fertile soil of Communism? —POPE PIUS XI, Divinis Redemptoris, n. 78, 15 78
Why do you think St. John Paul II began World Youth Days? To counter the attack on the family and its children.
Moreover, much was set in motion by former presidents to undermine Christianity, particularly with the overturning of the natural law. As Johnathan Last stated after the redefinition of marriage:
…last week’s [Supreme Court] decisions weren’t just post-constitutional, they were post-law. Meaning that we no longer live within a system of laws, but under a system governed by the will of men. —editorial, Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard, July 1st, 2015
That is, a time of lawlessness. That’s precisely the warning Pope Benedict gave over and over again until at last compared our times to the collapse of the Roman Empire:
The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over an entire world. Frequent natural disasters further increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation of the power of God: the plea that he might come and protect his people from all these threats… For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing… In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010; catholicherald.co.uk
It can be said that the political “left” has rapidly become synonymous with anti-gospel ideologies that promote not only abortion on demand, assisted-suicide, gender ideology, gay “marriage”, etc. but now socialism, communism, and the unabashed suppression of freedom of religion and speech—even encouraging “incivility” to enforce it. Lori Kalner survived Hitler’s regime and had this to say to an America that is now being torn apart along an ideological divide:
There are so few of us left to warn you. I have heard that there are 69 million Catholics in America and 70 million Evangelical Christians. Where are your voices? Where is your outrage? Where is passion and your vote? Do you vote based on an abortionist’s empty promises and economics? Or do you vote according to the Bible? …I have experienced the signs of the politics of Death in my youth. I see them again now…. —wicatholicmusings.blogspot.com
Servant of God Maria Esperanza felt that the United States “must save the world.” But now, it must save itself.
The United States republic is really an extension of the Roman Empire, which never totally collapsed. But if and when it does collapse, that may be when “the beast” rises to reign.
I do not grant that the Roman empire is gone. Far from it: the Roman empire remains even to this day… And as the horns, or kingdoms, still exist, as a matter of fact, consequently we have not yet seen the end of the Roman empire. —Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), The Times of Antichrist, Sermon 1
But when that capital of the world shall have fallen, and shall have begun to be a street… who can doubt that the end has now arrived to the affairs of men and the whole world? —Lactantius, Church Father, Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 25, “Of the Last Times, and of the City of Rome”; note: Lactantius goes on to say that the collapse of the Roman Empire is not the end of the world, but marks the beginning of a “thousand year” reign of Christ in His Church, followed by the consummation of all things.
THE SPIRITUAL RESTRAINER
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed… (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
The times and seasons, we do not know. But the signs of the times we must. St. Paul VI saw them clearly:
There is a great uneasiness at this time in the world and in the Church, and that which is in question is the faith. It so happens now that I repeat to myself the obscure phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke: ‘When the Son of Man returns, will He still find faith on the earth?’…I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging. —POPE ST. PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
The late pontiff places the collapse of faith in God as one of the key sign of the “end times.” For it is Christ’s Church—the “salt and light” of the world—who are to stem the tied of evil.
The Church is always called upon to do what God asked of Abraham, which is to see to it that there are enough righteous men to repress evil and destruction. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 166
As mentioned at the start, Pope Benedict saw Simon Peter as the first or prime “rock” that plugs the dam of iniquity.
Two things can be said at this hour of the present pontificate. As I revealed in Pope Francis On…, he has certainly taught every major tenet of the faith and upheld the moral law. At the same time, the appointment of several progressive advisors, the handing over of Church powers to Communist China, the ambiguities present in Amoris Laetitia, and the exploitation of these, not only by individuals but entire bishop’s conferences, has led to a certain crisis of trust in the Holy Father. Moreover, the sexual abuse scandals and cover-ups that continue to rock the Church and that have begun to engulf Francis himself, are pushing the Church toward schism.
God will permit a great evil against the Church: heretics and tyrants will come suddenly and unexpectedly; they will break into the Church while bishops, prelates, and priests are asleep. —Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser (1613-1658 A.D.); Ibid. p.30
Be careful to preserve your faith, because in the future, the Church in the U.S.A. will be separated from Rome. —St. Leopold, Antichrist and the End Times, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, St. Andrew’s Productions, P. 31
In a word, both democracy and the Church have lost the confidence of a large portion of the populace. It is the fertile soil for a revolution… a Global Revolution. This is the Great Chaos the world is poised to pass through….
In the final analysis, healing can only come from deep faith in God’s reconciling love. Strengthening this faith, nourishing it and causing it to shine forth is the Church’s principal task at this hour… I entrust these prayerful sentiments to the intercession of the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Redeemer. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010
Freedom’s flame may be extinguished for a time… but not hope:
I will free this world darkened by hatred and contaminated by the sulfurous and steaming lava of Satan. The air which gave life to souls has become suffocating and deadly. No dying soul should be damned. My Flame of Love is already lighting up. You know, my little one, the elect will have to fight against the Prince of Darkness. It will be a terrible storm. Rather, it will be a hurricane which will want to destroy the faith and confidence of even the elect. In this terrible turmoil currently brewing up, you will see the brightness of my Flame of Love illuminating Heaven and earth by the effusion of its effect of grace I am passing on to souls in this dark night. —from the approved revelations of Our Lady to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: The Spiritual Diary (Kindle Locations 2994-2997)
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Time to Rediscover the Idea of the Soldier of Christ
Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war (Psalm 144).
During the 1970s, the United States Army descended into chaos. Discipline, tradition, morale—all were lost during, after, or because of the Vietnam War. I do not mean to argue here for or against the justice and strategic prudence of that war. I do not mean to argue here to support or to oppose the Army’s leadership during the morally and politically frenetic challenges of the late 1960s and the 1970s. I do mean to argue here, however, that there is, or may be, a remarkable consistency between the remedies chosen by good and dedicated Army officers in the 1980s, as they sought to save the Army from the depredations of ignorant and evil officers, and the remedies which might be employed by good and holy bishops in the 2020s, as they seek to save Christ’s Church from the depredations of ignorant and evil bishops (and their minions).
When Rick Gabriel and Paul Savage wrote Crisis in Command (1979), they described an Army which could hardly function as a reliable military force. So much had happened (massacres, theft, lies, deceit, mismanagement of all kinds, officer careerism, failures in education and training, and many other betrayals of military honor) that no one could be certain that the Army could discharge its primary duty—to provide our country’s safety and security (along with its sister services). Any military force which lacks integrity becomes an armed mob, not a professional armed service—and a Church governed, “taught,” and “sanctified” (cf. CCC #873) by “godless people who … distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways” (Jude 4), becomes a whited sepulcher, full of everything unclean (Matt. 23:27).
Courageous and clear-sighted military officers often put their hearts and minds (and careers) on the line, understandably desperate to reform the Army they loved and deeply believed that their country needed. At the center of the battle for military reform was the need to eliminate the Courtney Massengales of the time. This refers to a fictional character (contrasted with the Sam Damon character) in Anton Myrer’s superb novel Once an Eagle (1968). Massengale is portrayed as a self-centered careerist, intent principally, or only, upon power, prestige, and rank. Damon, by contrast, is the epitome of the competent, honest, and diligent professional soldier.
Some disparage the Myrer novel as outdated because, as retired Major General Robert Scales suggests, we “need more officers with [Massengale’s] skill as strategists, officers with the ability to think in time, who are able to express themselves with elegance, clarity, conviction, and intellect, and yes, navigate through the swamp of political-military policymaking.”
Although one tips his hat to Scales’s honorable service and customary good sense, the general is emphatically wrong here. The question is not whether the Army needs good staff officers, but whether the Army’s officers must always be leaders of character. Massengale’s character was hopelessly compromised and corrupted. We need leaders who will “choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,” as the West Point Cadet Prayer teaches. That was Anton Myrer’s chief point in writing the novel.
And mine here. The Church will never be reformed until we have Church leaders who are holy, orthodox, and wise. (One wishes that Sam Damon might be resurrected as a contemporary bishop; we already have far too many contemporary Bishop Massengales.) As the Bible admonishes us, though: “Wisdom will never be at home with anyone who is deceitful or a slave of sin” (Wisdom 1:4). For nearly twenty years, I taught ethics to senior officers at a war college. The gist of what I tried to teach can be compressed into a single sentence: Good character is a force multiplier.
Translated from “the military,” that means that integrity inspires success on the battlefield and in the bureaucracy. Good officers have the mental stamina to find the right thing to do, and they have the moral stamina to do it. An officer without such “stamina” is a catastrophe seeking a place to happen. There was a severe shortage of officers in the late 1960s and 1970s, and standards were sometimes (not always) compromised to give commissions to incompetents. The My Lai massacre in Vietnam was, in part, a result of that badly mistaken policy.
Our Lord adjures us: “Follow Me.” We follow Christ as we follow those who imitate him and teach properly in his name (1 Cor 11:1). The motto of the Army Infantry School at Fort Benning is “Follow Me.” We follow leaders, divine or human, because, ultimately, we trust in them. We expect them to be worthy of their call, of their commission (Eph. 4:1). When our political or military or human religious leaders fail, they leave tragedy, turmoil, and tyranny in their wake. In many ways, the Old Testament is a record of repeated instances of failed leadership, ordinarily stemming from corroded character. The modern record of religious leadership is similarly pockmarked, with the Borgias of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as primary, but hardly sole, examples.
The first requirement of genuine leadership, then, is integrity. Virtue does not arise from vice, and what is wrong cannot spawn what is right. The Army’s reform was rooted in the effort to infuse its core values into its leadership practices. (This is never an easy effort for a secular enterprise.) The Church’s “core values” are grounded in Scripture, in Tradition, and in the settled Magisterium, all of which can be (and certainly have been) ignored or betrayed. For example, Father Thomas Rosica recently said approvingly that Pope Francis “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” and that he rules by his own personal authority, rather than the authority of the Scripture and Tradition of the Catholic Church.
“Our Church has indeed entered a new phase,” said Rosica. “With the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture. It’s hard to predict what will come next,” the priest said. Father Rosica maintained that Pope Francis is “shrewd” and imbued with the trait of “holy cunning.”
The first error is Rosica’s thinking that the Church is “ours.” It isn’t; it’s Christ’s Church. The second error is Rosica’s applause for anyone who violates the Church’s—that is, Christ’s—Scripture, Tradition, and settled Magisterium, for the Holy Father and, for that matter, all Catholics are custodians of the deposit of faith, not innovators of it (see 1 Tim. 6:20-21). The third error is the celebration of “holy cunning” (if Rosica is right in his assessment). Cunning means “having or showing skill in achieving one’s ends by deceit or evasion.” To call that holy is a travesty. If the first requirement of genuine leadership is integrity, then the first hallmark of tyranny is the chicanery of lies, which, Rosica ought to know, leads to Hell.
Priests without the mental brain and the moral brawn to “put all things to the test [and to] keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22) are also catastrophes seeking places to happen. I don’t care if we have only ten holy priests in this entire country if that means that men with rotten characters (such as those who laud oxymorons like “holy cunning”) never receive holy orders. What has happened in Pennsylvania (and, tragically, in almost every other place) comes from the stupidity and recklessness of ordaining mental and moral misfits. An example of that is the fatuous notion that “clericalism,” not homosexuality, is at the root of this on-going crisis.
Listen. Can we speak plainly? The Church of Christ is in the greatest and gravest crisis we have ever known. A great question of political science is this: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard those who are themselves the guardians? When many of our bishops are misfits, who will guard the deposit of faith (2 Tim. 1:14), which is under challenge today from people and places we could hardly have imagined only a decade ago? The reform of the U.S. Army may help us as we seek, as did St. Francis, to re-build the foundations of Christ’s Church (see Psalm 11:3).
The reform of the Army in the 1980s rediscovered enduring military core values and sought to inculcate them. The careerism and coverups of the 1970s were denounced. Similarly, when Nehemiah helped to rebuild Jerusalem after the return from exile, he denounced evil leaders and practices, boldly proclaiming: “What you are doing is wrong! You ought to have reverence for God and do what is right” (Nehemiah 5:9). Where are the Bishop Nehemiahs we need today? Of what new Nehemiah will it be said, in time, that “the memory of [the newer] Nehemiah is also lasting; he raised for us the walls that had fallen, and [he] set up the gates and bars and rebuilt our ruined houses” (Sir. 49:13). All without “holy cunning.”
In 1969, the Army was proclaiming that “Today’s Army wants to join you!” That was, of course, exactly wrong. When the reformers of the 1980s sought to re-establish military order and discipline, professionalism and pride, and—above all—integrity and efficiency, they turned to the proven ways, to the reliable standards, and to the certain trumpet of military honor. The goal was no longer to be just like secular society, but to be a military force truly capable of protecting that society, which required being different from it.
“The Lord said to his people, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths and where the best road is. Walk in it, and you will live in peace’” (Jer. 6:16). Do you want to reform the Church? Then stop imitating secular society, and return to the proven ways and forms which help ensure the Church’s ability to protect us all from worldly, lustful, and diabolical passions. The Church exists, principally, to do three things: to praise God, to save souls, and to help us become saints—and not to be a social security agency or a political interest group or faction.
Given the nature and extent of this massive crisis, we must:
- Restore the ancient, but ever-new, liturgy of the ages, the Traditional Latin Mass. This will require an intensive and extensive catechetical campaign through the entire Church. Thanks be to God! With the Extraordinary Form as the preferred liturgy of the Western rite, we will once again learn to become, and to be, Catholics.
- Reform Catholic education from grade school through graduate school. So-called Catholic schools and colleges that reject Catholic teaching are politically free to do so, but they have no right to declare themselves “Catholic.” If the Land O’ Lakes Statement could so effectively deracinate education from its classical roots, then we may hope that a substantially revised declaration (based upon Ex Corde Ecclesiae ) might correct the evils brought about by the first statement in, and after, 1967.
- Reconstitute Catholic seminary training, beginning with an end to widespread and often poorly supervised quasi-independent seminaries and the establishment of a regional system of a few closely supervised seminaries, requiring the highest standards in personal integrity, orthodoxy in doctrine (cf. 1 Tim. 1:3), and substantial academic success.
- Revivify and revise the Oath of Modernism, to be required of all who receive Holy Orders. (One is reminded, in sorrow, that every bishop at Vatican II had sworn that oath. It is, therefore, not a moral inoculation in itself, but it is at least an anamnesis against conflating the sacred and the profane.)
One understands that such proposals would be greeted with the jeers and contempt of the modern, secular world—including not a few who wear mitres. So what? How much more, and how much longer, shall we expect our bishops supinely to please the relativists and hedonists of our day (cf. John 12:43, 1 Thess. 2:4, Gal. 1:10)? Will we forever want Christ’s Church to join them? Or will we, at long last, come to the bold conviction that our commission is to serve as faithful witnesses and, with God’s grace, to lead them to join us? Will we, like Nuns on the Bus, parade ourselves as self-proclaimed experts about politics and finance, or will we pray, as poor sinners, for the salvation of immortal souls? Will we persist in being cunning managers and administrators and directors, or will we, once more, imitate St. Paul in fearlessly proclaiming to the world: “You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
In the 1980s, and beyond, the Army re-discovered the noble idea of the soldier (cf. CCC #2310). Maybe now this grave crisis can lead us Catholics to a similar re-discovery: the idea of the soldier of Christ, in the Church Militant (cf. CCC #2087): “No soldier [in] service gets entangled in civilian pursuits [in the way of the world], since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him.” So, as Confirmation used to teach us, in being “a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:3-4), we are prepared to “defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross” (CCC #1303).
Again, please God: Onward, Christian soldiers!
Editor’s note: Pictured above is the statue of Saint John of Capistrano (June 24, 1386 – October 23, 1456) erected in Budapest in 1921. He was a Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from the Italian town of Capestrano, Abruzzo, who became famous as a preacher, theologian, and inquisitor. Saint John earned the nickname “the Soldier Saint” when, in 1456 at age 70, he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade with the Hungarian military commander John Hunyadi.
This is how to keep the devil away, according to St. John Bosco https://aleteia.org/2018/10/22/this-is-how-to-keep-the-devil-away-according-to-st-john-bosco/?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=english_page&utm_medium=aleteia_en&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1540225095 …