1999 September/Bishop Williamson

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Ever since the April 20 school shooting in Littleton, Colorado, anguished Americans have been asking themselves, “What has gone wrong with our children? What has gone wrong with out culture?” Dear Americans, you have no hope of finding the real answer until you ask, “What has gone wrong with our religion?”

The Colorado shooting was merely the latest and bloodiest in a series of shootings that have burst out in schools all over the United States in the last few years. This time 12 school-children were killed, many more injured, and one adult teacher died. Then the two killers, apparently normal and good-looking boys of 17 and 18 years of age from a wealthy white Denver suburb, having turned their school into a slaughter-house filled with smoke and blood and corpses, turned their guns on themselves. What is the problem?

All the Liberals and liberal politicians have used Littleton to clamour for more gun control laws. Now every such advance in tyranny may well be deserved by a people rendering themselves otherwise ungovernable, but gun control remains the stupidest of solutions to Littleton – Americans gained their Republic by guns, and they have kept their guns at home for over 200 years without their children serially killing one another. Obviously the problem is not the guns, but the mentality of whoever handles them. Where does the murderous mentality come from?

A less stupid but still relatively shallow solution is to blame the young minds’ being formed to murder on the violence everywhere to be found in Hollywood films, television and computer games. True, these are filled with violence but they do not – yet – drive many people to actually killing. If so many suburbanites are presently wallowing in such fantasy violence, is it not because they have achieved their high degree of security and comfort only by eliminating from their Dilbertian existence so much of life and interest that they need the fantasy violence to even feel alive? Yet the more they are thus entertained, are they not the more deep down bored? Then rather than blame the killers on the video-games, would it not be truer to blame both killers and video-games on the nature of today’s big-city or suburban way of life which is so dissatisfying for human beings? We should be getting warmer, because instead of blaming things, we are beginning to situate the problem where all real human problems belong, in the sinful human heart. But what is sinful about suburban culture?

For a start, the public schools which generate a good deal of that culture. Write to “Summit Journal”, P.O. Box 207, Manitou Springs, Colorado 80829, USA, for an admirable analysis in the June issue of how, if one wanted to produce school-killers, the present curriculum in American public schools could hardly have been better designed! The author, Dr. David Noebel, knows what he is talking about. Over years he has built up a highly effective organization to counter-act the public schools’ godlessness, by teaching the anti-modern principles of Protestant godliness to adolescents otherwise defenseless against the skilful perversion wrought upon their minds and hearts by these schools which, as far as education goes, have become organized treachery. Some instinct that this is so surely explains in part why the Littleton killers took out their rage on their school.

However, if school-killers had healthy — truly healthy — homes, would even the betrayal they undergo at school inspire in them such murderous rage? Surely not. Surely in this respect the real evil of suburban or modern culture is what it has done to the family and to the home. For years — you readers should know — this Letter has here been trying to make the alarm-bell ring off the wall. It has resorted to “shocking” language (dreams not dry), “shocking” people (Una-bomber), “shocking” musicians (Pink Floyd), “shocking” condemnations (the “Sound of Music” is way out of tune) and “shocking” facts (children of either sex being commonly violated at home by their own fathers “But, mummy, you dress like that!”), in order to punch some reality into Catholic minds, where it belongs. (Bless you, dear readers, easily most of you have already signed up to continue being punched, despite the faintly sharp challenge to do so, written by me, only signed by Mrs. Mehren! She is innocent!)

Here is more of the same. In the last few days we learned (not in the confessional) of the case of a 15-year old girl here in small-town Winona being repeatedly violated and finally impregnated by her drunken father, who to all appearances, sincerely! – claims he has no idea what he was doing! Mother worked the night-shift, perhaps to avoid his drinking, so she too claims she has no idea what was going on! The girl, helped to flee to a foster-home in a mid-size town nearby, took her 13-year old sister with her in the hope of continuing to protect her (all that these children have is one another!), only to discover there that the little sister shares her condition! America, WAKE UP! YOUR CHILDREN ARE SCREAMING!

I am sorry, readers, but if you want a Minnie Mouse religion, you should not be Catholics. The guardian of the foster-home said (but how much longer will there be any sane adults to provide guardians?), “Imagine how much more of this there is in our mid-size town, let alone in the big cities!” Imagine also the rage in the heart of the older girl, who is convinced she let down her little sister! Now, in home dramas of this kind, or in the whole culture that generates them, is there not the proportionate explanation for the rage, for example, manifested to all the world on the web-site of the leader of the two Littleton killers…? Over generations, but especially since the demonic 1960’s, modern parents have lost the art of parenting, homes are no longer true homes, and there is a devastating coldness and emptiness in the hearts of the children, hardly any more children.

What ever happened to the family? The atom is tightly bound together by natural forces, but once it is split, those forces create a devastating explosion. Natural family bonds are enormously strong, but once they are pulled apart, they wreak untold havoc. So how were grand- (and great-grand-) parents pulled apart from grandchildren when each has so much to give that is human that the other needs? How did parents largely lose the art of parenting (it can be regained), and begin treating their children like adults or babies, in any case not like children? How did husband and wife lose all sense of the difference between man and woman and of their complementary natures and needs?

Answer, the family was torn apart starting over one hundred years ago by the same false gods that had revolutionized society at large one hundred years before that: liberty, equality, human rights, democracy. If I am tied, I am not free, so freedom tears out all family ties. Equality wipes out complementarity. Democracy destroys all hierarchy or order, like children honouring parents while parents look after children, wife obeying husband while husband cherishes wife. Human rights block out human duties, especially towards God, and with no God, nothing so human as the family can go right for long. Thus the whole culture of our revolutionary society turns families into bunches of individuals merely living under the same roof. These non-homes are what makes the hearts of killers.

And where does this anti-natural worship of individualism come from, and how can it have such power? Christianity taught mankind the value of each man. Individualism run wild in modern Western society is that Christianity without Christ. Its power came from the Catholic Church, its running wild came straight from the smashing of that Church, i.e. Protestantism. If, as Luther said, I need no supernatural society such as the Catholic Church to mediate between me and my God for my eternal needs, such as justification and salvation, why should I need any natural society for any of my lesser needs? I, who deal directly with God, stand on my own!

And thus between society and the individual, although designed by God for one another, be it the Communion of Saints in Heaven or the practice of justice and charity on earth, there is introduced an unnatural dialectic, a fatal opposition, emerging clearly into view in Shakespeare’s famous play “Hamlet” (to which we shall return), and surfacing in blood in Littleton. So a decent Protestant with his decency and an upright use of Scripture (which is Catholic) can work a good way back towards the true and only possible solution (which is Catholic) of the modern world’s artificial clash between society and individual, between rotten school and raging killer, but to any extent that he still shares in the false worship of individualism, Lutheranism or Liberalism, to that extent he can only help to perpetuate the clash.

Dr. Noebel, you have done sterling work in arming thousands of abandoned children against the devils of their miseducation. It only remains for you to clean out the father of most of these devils — Martin Luther.

Yet what chance does a Dr. Noebel have of discerning today what the Catholic Church truly teaches about Luther, when the Vatican itself is making a Joint Declaration with Lutherans to say they have come to an agreement, and is then issuing a Clarification of the Declaration to say it is not an agreement? What confusion! But that is the subject of another letter. Doctor, all I can say meanwhile is that the Catholic Church today is like Our Lord carrying his Cross. On that Way of the Cross, how difficult it would have been to recognize him as God, but true God he still was!

Patience, dear readers. Our Catholic Faith is our victory over all the problems around us, and it is our launching-pad for an eternity of bliss.

Most sincerely yours in Our Lord,