Ever since I was a child and used to attend a double feature with Randolph Scott and Alan Ladd at the Midway Theater on Queen Boulevard, in Forest Hills, I have loved going to the movies. Films are bigger than life yet they reflect so much of what we are, strive to be and sometimes what others want us to become. Their visual lessons dramatize the truths of life, appeal to our romantic sentiments and sometimes even inflame our passions. Sometimes they even teach us something.
I recently saw a new film, An Education that was ostensibly about the loss of innocence of a sixteen year old girl. Now in most parts of this country, except where there is a Planned Parenthood Clinic, that would send off alarms about sexual abuse and the exploitation of our children.
The previews and the opening segments thoroughly romantized their budding relationship. But half way through the movie, it became apparent as Jenny’s parents’ initial resistance to their mutual affection began to melt away under the intense animal heat of the charmingly slick suitor, David Goldman that Jenny was as good as “ruined.”
During the second half of their story the onion layers peeled away as Goldman is characterized for what he really was, a conniving flim-flam man who used black immigrants to break real estate blocks, stoled art work from elderly women and deflowered virgins—all in a day’s work.
Despite its veiled attempt at anti-Semitic depiction, this movie is not about that. Its main focus is on the seduction of a culture by materialism, greed and self-advancement. It was no accident that this movie was set in the 1960s because this is when the fruits of modernism first started to reel their ugly head. An Education is rich in metaphorical content. Jenny’s parents are the guardians of their daughter’s virtue because that where the future of any culture resides. Morally strong and virtuous women make for a strong society. (For a thoroughly insightful review of this film with all of its cultural implication, go to HenryMakow.com.)
It was Antonio Gramsci, the Sardinian Communist (Yes Virginia there really are things called “communists” and they truly want to destroy the way you life.) and later the Frankfurt School of Social Research that started the long march through our culture that has given us unrestricted abortions, unbridled pornography, a litany of sexually transmitted diseases and a culture a few meters this side of self-immolation. (I guess I have finally gone metric.)
It is also no odd coincidence that Betty Friedan, “the Mother of all Feminists” was a Cultural Marxist who was mentored by Herbert Marcuse. He was the radical college professor of the 1960s and a refugee from the Frankfurt School who told our young people to make love, not war during the Vietnam era. (It has always been my view that they should get married and do both.) It was Mrs. Friedan who wrote the Feminine Mystique, the book that launched a thousand ships of marital discord and unhappiness. I understand that thousands of divorce lawyers say novenas in her honor.
All this is important for the Catholic and Christian Churches…and anyone else who liked the culture essentially the way it was BM—before Marx. Catholics had suffered persecution and discrimination for generations. Signs, such as NINA—no Irish need apply—dotted the commercial landscape along the east coast. Catholics so desperately wanted to be part of mainstream America but their allegiance to a “foreign power” and their “strange” rituals prevented them from securing a seat at the banquet table of culture.
Then along came the Kennedy family—rich, powerful, unscrupulous and hell-bent to make the starting team. It was the patriarch, Joseph Kennedy who thrust his children into the political limelight. When his second son John was elected president, Catholics celebrated in joyous anticipation that the culture would finally listen to them. (My good Catholic mother voted for Nixon.) Buffered by his “Irish mafia,” Kennedy’s presidency heralded the fact that Catholics were now part of the official power structure.
Just what affect has this Catholic arrival had on American culture? Look around! Does our culture look like the Church has had much impact? Who is winning the Culture Ware—Karl or Jesus? Could it have something to do with the fact that Kennedy did his very best to dance away from his religious beliefs? So is it any wonder that his sectarian successors have done the same?
Is it not possible that our Catholic leaders have been seduced by a modernist culture, not unlike Jenny’s parents in “An Education?” Is that why most of our Catholic politicians in DC are pro-abortion? Has not the secular establishment with its feminist and homosexual lobbyists taken our college presidents to the woodshop of humanistic learning where “a plasma TV in every den” has replaced the “pie in the sky” of faith?
Modernism was a heresy that the Church condemned 150 years ago. I don’t think it was any different then from what it is today. Whether they call it health care reform or social justice, it is a raging inferno and its residue smoke is wafting through Catholic teaching, pastoral work and even the pulpit. Perhaps what we seriously need is a new Church militant with its true Christian weapons of prayer, penance, self-sacrifice, and relentless charitable protest. The alternative is that future generations will curse us amid their cultural ruins.
In my last entry, I mentioned my respect for Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. I have seen him do battle on TV with some of the critics and quite frankly enemies of the Church. As an apologist, he offers no apologies. And his prisoners better come meekly.
While he can be a bit self-righteous and even bombastic at times, no one can say he’s not an ardent defender of the Church, especially when in most cases, public Catholics refuse to stand up for the teachings of the faith. They would much rather support the other side in the culture war or offer the olive branch of surrender in hope that we can as Rodney King used to say, just get along.
I don’t think there is any peaceful co-existence in a culture war. It is usually a zero-sum game. I think the Readers Digest put it best during the Cold War when they defined that term as what the farmer says to the turkey until Thanksgiving.
When our current president was invited to Notre Dame, did a thunderous battle cry go up from every corner of the Catholic Church? Though I am getting increasingly hard of hearing, the response I should have heard should have deafened me completely. The irony of our most famous Catholic school offering the honor of its podium to the most egregiously pro-abortion president in history—so far—would be self-contradictory if it were not an established fact. Richie Rich got Wales. I wonder what Father Jenkins got.
The Catholic Press advertised that 70-80 Catholic bishops signed a letter of protest. I was very proud of the ones that did. I personally know a couple of them but 80 bishops? How many are there in this country? Two or three hundred? Where, I ask you, were the rest of them? In fact Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, New Mexico had the temerity to criticize his fellow bishops who condemned the president’s visit to South Bend. When challenged on his complaint, he quipped that most of the bishops were with him. He was probably correct. What does that say?
I am sure that the Archbishop’s would have strong words for another fellow bishop, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence R.I. who demanded an apology from Congressman, Patrick Kennedy for his support of the Health Care Bill that included abortion coverage. I’m certain that he took a lot of heat for his unconventional stance. I repeat my question—where are the the bishops in San Francisco, Nevada, Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland, Illinois and of course Massachusetts where prominent Catholic leaders hold sway?
Only the proximity of Senator Ted Kennedy’s demise prevents me from mentioning his substantial role in the origins of the pro-choice philosophy. I’m saving that for a later date. It now seems that his son is not the only Kennedy continuing the family history of heterodoxy. I refer to the Catholic Eye that quoted Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend as saying Obama’s agenda is closer to American Catholics views than even the pope’s.
Unfortunately, most of our Catholic politicians simply take the middle of the road. In a column for the St. Louis Review I recently compared our Catholic leaders to Pontius Pilate who gave historic meaning to his personal hygiene. Caught between the vice of his Jewish subjects and the fear of his Roman superiors he adapted a moderate stance with regard to Jesus Christ. Though Pilate could find no fault in Jesus whose teachings offered no threat to his rule, he had him scourged within an inch of his human life to appease both sides to demonstrate his moderation.
I wonder how many people realize that Pilate’s reliance of the “virtue” of moderation makes him an ideal icon for Catholic pro-abortion advocates today? His act of moral indifference easily resembles our pro-abortion politicians, who put their political ambitions above the sanctity of life and the inviolability of the womb.
With so many Catholic Pilates to inspire them it is not surprising that in the last election 54% of Catholics voted for the most pro-choice candidate in history. This number angers me to no extent. Instead of leading us down a road to could run to perdition they should all be standing with Bill Donohue at the Concord Bridge, the Alamo or even the Little Big Horn, no matter what the cost may be to their political lives. And we should be standing with them. In fact all Christians should be standing arm-in-arm against this attack on our culture. But without leadership, most of us wont. And neither will our Catholic politicians.
Maybe like Archbishop Sheehan, Kennedy-Townsend is probably right. If so how does that bode for the future of the Church in America? Will we go the way of Europe where only children and the elderly attend Mass? If the Tobins and the Donohues can’t turn the rushing tide, than the only recourse we will have is to get off of our feet and get on our knees because that will be the only hope that we have left.
This is the truth—pass it on.
In response to my last posting, my friend Emmett raises a good question about the Catholic faith. How can a religion about forgiveness and reconciliation tick off so many people? What is so offensive about a Savior and a humble family from 2000 years ago?
Perhaps it is the fact that Catholics are supposed to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and secular society encourages its disciples to kneel before other men or ideas that promote the control of other people. Sure the Church stresses conformity to its “way of thinking,” but it is voluntary. Sure they used to use Heaven or Hell arguments to goad us into compliance with the right way of behavior but again free will was what set us off from lower forms of animals.
To the secular state we are no better than numbers and statistics—round people that bureaucrats want to force into square animal holes. Just wait until they are running the entire health care system in this country. We might as well stop giving our children names and just call them by their SS numbers when they are born—Heck they even give you two middle numbers to go with your three digit praenomen and your three digit cognomen. It will be easy and we will not have to worry about being overtly creative.
On a similar note, I was reading the obits in the Post-Dispatch this morning—I always check them to make sure I haven’t died in my sleep—I was drawn to a citing for an attractive woman who died this past Sunday. It mentioned that she was the “companion” of some man, which I believe is Newspeak for she was “living in sin.” Well that’s not what struck me. It was more the “other” meaning” meaning of the word “companion.”
Perhaps some of you are unaware that the wonderful PETA people, you know the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? They are the ones who encourage beautiful and handsome celebrities to shed their “second skin,” and pose for propaganda posters. They have become Playboy for the Masses. They are trying to change the language so that we throw the word “pet” on the ash heap of history. They find that “pet” is demeaning to animals and animals have rights…at least according to one of our current president’s new czars—Cass Sunstein.
But the scary truth about animals having rights—how can they have rights when they have no free will—maybe that’s why they get ticked off at Catholics—-is that it does not raise the value of animals but only lowers our value as humans.
Think about it—if the government can equate animals with people they can have their collective way with us a lot more easily. It was the Catholic Church in those bad, old Medieval days of the so-called “Dark Ages,” that elevated the status human beings, especially women, by emphasizing in its teachings with its formidable theological and philosophical support system that men and women were made in the image and likeness of God. That provided us with a 1st class upgrade. This is the main underpinning that propels the Church’s “Right to Life” movement. We are not animals. We are not companions but humans with the spark of divine life in us—all of us.
But what is the tenor of society today? They tell us Darwin killed the need of a Heavenly creator. Now they are trying to destroy the soul and the thought of life after death. St. Louisans might remember the ad campaign that the zoo ran a few years ago about the fact that chimps and humans had 98% of the same DNA.
I don’t know about you but that whole idea bothered me until I asked the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Evolution,” on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program. He asured me that there was a big difference in that 2%. I told him I was relieved and could now stop having my back shaved every two days.
I once flew with J. Fred Muggs—remember him when Dave Garoway was the host of the NBC Today Show? OK I do because I am OLD! Ok, I said it. Well old Fred gets on the plane wearing a cool yellow plaid jacket. He sat in 1st class of course. Well when my family boarded the plane—about 30 years ago—old Fred is stripped naked and standing tall in a…CAGE!
I submit to you that this is the end result when people are reduced to the level of animals…and believe me it is a lot easier to kill an animal than it is a human being. In the Civil War Era, black slaves were defined as “chattel,” which mean “property.” The Jews in Nazi Germany were officially listed as “Untermenschen.” You do not need to know German to realize that meant something less than human. Unborn children are usually referred to as “fetuses,” which creates a sense of ambiguity as to their “humanness.”
Last weekend I was fortunate to have interviewed Bill Donohue the president of the American Life League. Bill has been fighting a long battle against ideas, such as the one I have described today. You might check out his book, “Secular Sabotage: How Liberals are Destroying Religion and Culture in America.” I admire his courage and his indefatigable enthusiasm for engaging our ideological adversaries on the intellectual filed of combat. And that’s what it is—combat—there is a culture war going on for the very soul of America. The battle lines are being joined. Now is the time to gird our loins with the Gospel truth and take the fight to the enemy who are not bound by rules of logic, honesty and truthfulness.
Please tell your friends and even your enemies about my blog, so that we can stir of the pot of apathy among those who profess to believe in God, truth, motherhood etc.
One of my complaints about my fellow bloggers—ain’t that like me—new kid on the block and I am already criticizing the other guy. As I was saying, it seems that some bloggers feel compelled to write like someone else might be compelled to scratch an itch. Maybe writing one is like that.
But I digress. I was in the Post-Office this morning and I bought some Christmas stamps. In the past I have always bought two kinds—a religious one and a “secular” one for my “sensitive” friends. (No I don’t know anyone who would appreciate a Kawanzaa stamp.)
Today I thought to myself: “Why am I doing this?” Somewhere along the line, Catholics, Christians, and others have bought the message that our religion is offensive to some people—how many people? Maybe just one person! It doesn’t matter to our cultural custodian just how many people or persons. To them if there is one person in all of America who is offended by a young woman, her husband and a baby in a manger then we have to refrain from musing that kind of religious symbol.
This raises the $64 question…how can a religion about forgiveness and reconciliation tick off so many people? What is so offensive about a Savior and a humble family from 2000 years ago?
This attitude goes doubly for crèches, any sort of religious symbol, music, whether hymns or just songs. All these must be hidden under a mantle of civility so that we do not offend.
What has this Pavlovian conditioning done to people of faith in this country? It has enslaved us to the secular virtue of tolerance that prompts us to shed our beliefs or at least hide them in a closet until this dreaded season, once know as Christmas fades into the chill of winter.
One of my favorite writers, Joseph Sobran often used a C. S. Lewis quote that really fits here. It was something to the effect that secular society wants religious people to leave the marketplace of ideas. It wants us to keep our views “private,” and then it has the unmitigated gall to limit the place where we can express or reveal those religious views.
In other words they want us to paint ourselves in a corner so that we are trapped in a private arena of insignificance, so far from the maddening crowd of secularism and moral relativism that the Christian message is audible to only those with acute hearing.
That’s their strategy and to my mind it has been very effective. It has worked so well with stamps, music and especially the innocuous Merry Christmas” that used to bring good cheer to everyone we would meet on the street.
My two cents of advice to everyone is during this Christmas thwart the secular Grinch and be a “Gadfly for Christmas.” Fly right into the face of this social conditioning. Shout Merry Christmas with pride. Sing Silent Night wherever and whenever you choice and please buy the religious stamps and leave the secular ones for people who probably don’t even believe in God.
As a practicing Catholic I do not see the recent vote in the House on ObamaCare as any cause for celebration. Whereas the Stupak Amendment may appear to prevent taxpayer funds from being spent on abortion, it is too early to claim a victory. There are still the Senate Bill and the Congressional Conference Committee votes to go.
I would rather have seen my bishops oppose the entire Health Care Bill instead of just focusing on abortion. From a purely realistic viewpoint it is a bad bill because there is no way that this country will be able to pay for the health care for over 300 million people, short of bankrupting the country.
From a prolife standpoint, even without abortion funding, the bill is fraught with danger for the elderly in this country for the same reason. If our government cannot pay for the health care of all, they will reduce health care for some. The elderly now account for 80% of health care expenditures as it is before ObamaCare. The president has already promised to cut a half trillion from Medicare. This can only result in the rationing of our limited health care resources to millions of senior citizens. This will result in the “passive” euthanasia for countless elderly people, who will be told by their government-supplied counselors that they have a patriotic duty to die.
The Catholic bishops had better wake up to this fact because I believe that as slavery was to the 19th century and abortion was to the 20th century, the 21st century promises to have euthanasia as its most compelling social debate. I have no doubt that this will happen because the American people have a “Lifeboat” mentality thanks to a generation of “green” propaganda.