Things are getting bad, but it is good to think about them, not in order to get depressed, but in order – as Americans say – to get real. In the days of sailing-ships, when a storm approached at sea, the captain and sailors watched the weather like hawks, in order to pull down the sails, batten down hatches and take all measures for survival.
Let me quote the testimony of two men and a woman leading ordinary lives in today’s world, but reading it with Catholic eyes. Firstly, a family father with growing children, who having had to take a job in a large department store, sees afresh what others may no longer see, because they have grown used to it. Here is the working world of many men:-
“In this nation-wide department store, for the employees, it is survival of the fittest. The company is going through a major re-structuring, and therefore many people are being laid off. Only money matters. The severance packages are made as small as possible. The large organization allows for no human relations. In the work environment everything centers on self. There is no room for the supernatural. Christ is driven out everywhere. The frantic pace allows no time to look upwards.
“Inside the company it is a strange world, a strange reality to explain. It is an abstract world, based on profit, working a great deal from computers. It is an artificial system with no reference to nature, let alone to grace. For the sake of some fantastical profit, it rests on unreal speculations and debt, not on real production. It recalls the nightmare world of Big Brother in George Orwell’s “1984”.
“Because of the divorce from reality, even natural reality, there is a process at work of decay, decomposition and death, but death does not come so quickly. One senses inside people their loss and frustration. They are giving up any hope of truth or happiness, they are learning just to survive. Their only hope is the weekend, the vacation and their electronic toys. It is amazing that this world continues. It is a tinder-box waiting to explode, but it goes on and on.
“If I think about our Society of Saint Pius X parish and watch our parishioners, it seems to me that a number of them passively accept this Dilbertian world. I am even afraid that some of them are more comfortable in it! Attendance at Mass is a duty and an obligation, but some parishioners are putting in an appearance rather than the reality of Catholic life. Parish activity is to that extent somewhat of a facade. Of course I am not speaking of all parishioners, but a number of them have grown numb from learning to survive out in the world, and also from being accepted by it. The material comforts and the glittering technology act like opiates to dull the inner sense, and to counter-act any uneasy feeling that something is really wrong……”
End of the first testimony. The second is from a mother of growing children who is watching and describing women of her own generation between 35 and 55 years old. Of course she too is not describing everybody, but she does discern a common trend of women under pressure throwing away some key principle of womanly sanity:-
“We children of the sixties or seventies are now approaching our change of life. I thought years ago that we would go over the edge, and now I see it happening. My generation knows the problem, but is ceasing to deal with it. I would say three-quarters of these women are going on some Prozac-style drug because life becomes so stressful that they just can’t handle it, whereas if you go on drugs it doesn’t matter. They reject common sense and good advice, they have thrown up their hands and are refusing the pain. But these drugs have terrible side-effects. I see women beginning to treat pet animals like children…
“One friend could not sleep or think. She went on Prozac, she dumped her husband, she is filing for divorce. Another friend–or ex-friend–was a Novus Ordo Catholic who did not want children, she had only one, later in life. Recently, she was coming closer to the Truth but then threw it all away, went back to war with her husband and divorced him, so her daughter is now on Prozac, and nature is coming back to haunt her unabsolved past sins against womanly nature.
“A third friend has four children aged between 6 and 10 who are growing up like animals. She ignores their needs and now has taken a new job. Her home is in uproar. Her 10-year old attempted (or pretended) suicide. “I don’t care, the job is what I want”, she says, and she won’t listen to anybody. She and this daughter are now on Prozac! And a fourth friend is a good-hearted but impulsive mother, intelligent and highly cultivated, but rejecting what she knows is good advice and setting her lovely children at risk for the sake of a crazy affair.
“These poor women are turning ugly. Two cut me off just before they went over the edge. It is frightening. I am a product of the same world. I have pulled up the drawbridge at home for this summer, and I am only letting in the influences that I can deal with. The force out there is getting stronger. It used to be some ways away, but now it’s closing in, all around. The children of these women I know are going to be WILD!!”
End of the second testimony, concerning women and children. The third concerns old age and death, which a Catholic friend has been running into in his home environment. He says:-
“This summer I have had three encounters with today’s world of the dying. Firstly, the aging of a beloved old aunt obliged me to make a tour of the local hospices and old folks’ homes. Tragic! The old people are simply shunted aside. Nobody seems to even consider keeping grandma’ at home. Partly because there is nobody at home! So to day-care for infants at the beginning of life correspond hospices for the aged at the end. But where are the true family homes?
“Secondly a good friend, only in his fifties, has been told he has cancer and has only six months to live. He was born Presbyterian so he quit religion as soon as he grew up. He became a worshipper of science and materialism, and he married a like-minded woman. They aborted their only child. Now she is bitter, as well as being confined to a wheelchair. He does love music, but that initial Protestantism has left him with an insidious pride. I have given him a Rosary, but if I tried to talk religion in front of her, no doubt she would roll at me, tooth and claw!
“Thirdly, I have long known a Protestant man who was patient and kind all his life, but who as he approaches death is now angry every day, lashing out in terror. The Protestantism was an easy religion to live with. You go to Church when you want, and when you go, you are told how wonderful you are. Lies, lies! But the lies take a grip, and when it comes to dying, you cannot go back on them. The great questions of life should have been tackled when one was young and strong, but because of the comfort, they were left alone. Then the body gets worn out, the spirit gets lazy, and it is too late. Television always served to cut out nature, and with old age television is turned on more and more, to keep out the questions.
“Yet so many of these older Protestants are decent people, sweet people! But they are terrified of death. In truth, it is their generation that let the United States go down the drain. They took no care of the country they received, nor of their own souls that God gave them. Yet they are decent. With my Faith, I know I can give them all they need, but they do not want it. As the tree has stood, so it will fall, and as it falls, so for eternity it will lie. Protestantism damns souls. Now with the Second Vatican Council even the Catholics have turned Protestant!”
Dear readers, all we need do is keep our undefiled Catholic Faith, and share it around us in St. Paul’s “patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty” (Gal. V, 22, 23). And do our Catholic duty, keeping God’s ten Commandments, especially perhaps the worship and love of the one true God, the honour of parents and care for children, and the telling of the truth (1,4,8). The Lord God may today be asking of us a great deal, but He is not asking of us the impossible, and He offers us all the means we have need of to do what He wants. May His Name be blessed for ever!
Enclosed is a flyer advertising a set of three tapes that Bernard Janzen and I made towards the end of last year. In it we discuss the principles and forces at work in the war between today’s Rome and Catholic Tradition. Since then several more battles have taken place in that war, especially on the battle-field of the Fraternity of St. Peter, but the principles and forces have not changed. The analysis remains timely, and even kindly towards the petrified oysters! Order the tapes from Canada.
Dear readers, may God bless each of you with supernatural light and courage to stay on the road to Heaven when so many people and things would pull us down to Hell!
Most sincerely yours in Christ,