Cartoonist Gary Larson’s Far Side once portrayed a herd of deer gathered around one of their number with an unfortunate bull’s eye on his chest. Another deer remarked that’s a bummer of a birthmark! Faithful Catholics are like that deer. They have an indelible bull’s eye over their hearts because of their assent to Jesus Christ and the teachings of his Church. This should come of no surprise. In all four Gospels, Jesus warned his disciples of the coming persecution.
As a grim reminder of the ultimate price of being Catholic, one need only read about the countless 1000s of martyrs who have shed their blood for their faith over the centuries. The recent rise of the bloody Islamic State throughout the world and the judicial approval of homosexual marriage and its dangerous implications for religious freedom of worship and practice have once again put Catholics in the left’s crosshairs.
This is nothing new! American History has been tainted with an anti-Catholicism that predates its Constitution. Catholic bigotry’s random appearance has found favor among a loose federation of Bible Protestants, freethinkers and atheists beholden to the anti-clericalism of the French Revolution. Its influence has permeated the so-called American Mind. This thinking has degenerated under President Obama to a way of thinking that may be easily characterized as practical atheism.
The arguments against Catholic Orthodoxy throughout history and even into the present have remained fairly consistent. Penn State Professor Philip Jenkins’ book The New Anti-Catholicism provides an overview of this history.
His exposition and analysis of the usual arguments utilized in this frontal assault on the Catholic Church, such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the other past black legends is honest and comprehensive. The very mention of the Crusades, the Inquisition and any other of these historical distortions often creates a Pavlovian response of distrust in the public and even in many indifferent Catholics.
Jenkins explains that the Crusades were a reaction to the Muslim invasion of Europe. Massacres and bloody brutality characterized all religious warfare during the medieval times. He argues that to single out the Catholic examples of this brutality is unfair and intellectually dishonest. The Inquisition accounted for the execution of no more than 6,000 people over a period of 300 years. Secular governments have been responsible for far more murders than any pope.
Black legends are old accounts of historical distortions, such as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs that falsely depicted the Catholic Church as a den of anti-Semitism, racism, and mythological accounts of Spanish colonial greed and savagery.
These blatant misrepresentations of Catholic history have become popular fallacies that have been used periodically to discredit and denigrate the Church. Author Daniel Goldhagen’s virulent attacks on Pope Pius XII and the Church are a modern example of the depth of vilification used against the Church and its leaders.
Cultural acceptance of Catholics has come at an enormous cost. Membership in mainstream America often required Catholics to distance themselves from the moral principles of their faith. In his comprehensive study, Catholics, and American Culture, Jesuit Mark S. Massa traced the deep-seated need of America Catholics to belong to the American social order.
The 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy illustrated a changing paradigm. Throughout his campaign, Kennedy danced a secular jig around the religious question. He finally admitted that his Church’s teachings would never prevent him from doing his duty for the American people as if there was some inherent conflict. His stance was a far cry from that of St. Thomas More who lost his head in 1535 for his refusal to bow to King Henry VIII’s blasphemous demands.
In the 21st century Catholicism has been Americanized to the point that religion is a private concern something akin to a devout hobby that should have no influence on how one behaves in the public arena. Kennedy’s religious indifferentism has served as a model for a legion of Catholic politicians who have shamefully defended a woman’s right to kill her unborn child.
This cultural attitude has filtered down to the pews where many Catholics have become complacent or acedic in their practice and defense of their faith. Catholics are fully admitted to the cultural mainstream, only to the extent they accept and approve the cultural and moral decline that has characterized the progress of the modern era.
The cultural acquiescence of so many Catholics today underscores the fact that this threat has been much more subtle than anything Catholics had ever experienced. The new approach revolves around the Kulturkampf and the Catholic faith’s consistent opposition to the pathological evils of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and pornography.
Father Massa’s last book, Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice deftly exposes the roots of this new wave of anti-Catholic prejudice that has permeated the social fabric. Attacking Catholics and their Church is an acceptable prejudice because the ruling elite, especially the media, all shares the same distrust and animus toward Catholics.
The Church is especially hated because of its allegiance to a foreign pontiff whose approach to life is hierarchical and anti-feminist. This puts the Church and its followers at odds with the growing religious tendencies of the American democratic faith.
Establishment Protestant leaders have always feared Catholic power because of its numerical strength and devotion to community moral principles that run counter to the existential individualism of the country’s’ religious heritage.
In many ways this attack on Catholicism is just an extension of the Marxist plan to subvert and destroy the Church. Liberals and secularist humanists have used their influence, especially in the media and Hollywood to demonize the Church for every scandal or flaw in its public edifice.
Birthmark Catholics needs to put on the moral and intellectual armor of the Church militant and fight the left in every corner of the cultural arena and the public square. They have a divine mandate to insure that the gates of Hell do not prevail against the Church in their own backyard.
The Prince and the Pauper is a novel by Mark Twain, which was first published in 1881 in Canada, a year before its American debut. Set in 1547 it tells the story of two English boys, a pauper named Tom who lived with an abusive father and Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII.
Through a series of plot manipulations the boys switch identities for a temporary period of time. This literary device has serious allegorical overtones and has been a standard in literature ever since.
How surprising it is that the respective historical legacies of such disparate figures, such as Niccolo Machiavelli and Saul Alinsky have come to be intertwined in an intergenerational relationship that has had lasting consequences for American society.
Just look what their acolytes in the Democratic Party have done to the United States in the person of Barack Obama and the still potentially dangerous Hillary Clinton.
Machiavelli was born in 1469. According to historian Jacques Barzun, even his name evokes visions of fiendish conduct. It has evolved to mean a cynical approach to government. This disdain revolves around his seminal work, The Prince, written in 1513.
16th century Florence was the cultural hub of the Italian peninsula. Yet Italy was a miasma of violence-ridden principalities where the people lived in constant fear and trembling. Assassinations, murders, and pillaging were daily occurrences. Machiavelli thought it was time for a new prince, who would establish peace and order.
Machiavelli was disturbed because most people lived according to the immorality of the day, even though they espoused Christian principles. He believed that since the Italians of his day were morally weak, cowards, or poor, traditional rules had to be altered.
According to Arthur Hippler, writing in the Wanderer, Machiavelli was the first Western thinker to promote the idea that moral evil is necessary for political good or as we paraphrase it the ends justify the means!
It has been almost five centuries since Machiavelli’s death in 1527. According to Barzun, Machiavelli’s legacy has lived on in the minds and hearts of scholars and deep thinkers, such as John Adams, philosophers, Charles Montesquieu, and David Hume, as well as Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. They all believed that the state should be neutral on moral issues.
It is obvious that his spirit has deeply influenced the minds of many current American leaders, who employ the same antinomian rationale that has led the Supreme Court to render its historic decisions on abortion and homosexual rights that have rent the fabric of American civilization.
Saul Alinsky main importance was that he adapted Machiavellian tactics to his own brand of social justice. He was a superb social organizer, who believed in the power of numbers. Grass roots organization and community organizers were the open door through which he hoped to accumulate power for his disciples, the legions of poor people he witnessed every day.
Like his Italian forbear, Alinsky was not a utopian visionary. He believed that the organizer should be a neutral agent, a kind of ideological agnostic, seeking no particular outcome and advancing no philosophy, other the gaining of power.
Nor did Alinsky lose any sleep over doing dark deeds for the good of the have-nots. To him ethical standards had to be elastic enough to stretch with the times.
Unlike Machiavelli Alinsky did not want power for the rich and the well-connected. His goal was to turn Machiavelli on his head and usurp power for the poor and the downtrodden, thus upending the historical way that life had worked.
But Alinsky was not a doctrinaire cultural Marxist. He was more concerned with strategy. In his books Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals he created an amalgamation of ideas and plans adapted from the dusty pages of Marxist, Socialist, anarchist even Fascist texts.
In essence his thinking mirrored that of the Philosophes of the French Revolution in their deep abiding contempt for Christianity, the business world, private property, and the traditional American political process.
It is not surprising that Tom Paine, the voice of the revolution, was one of his heroes. He had no tolerance for compromise.
One of his early converts from the middle class was a former Goldwater Republican from Park Ridge Illinois. Alinsky saw great promise in the bespectacled college student from Wellesley College, Hillary Rodham.
The future Mrs. Clinton thought enough of Alinsky to write her senior thesis on his ideas and strategies, after working for him one summer. Unfortunately, the voting public will never know what she wrote.
According to the book, Hell to Pay, by Barbara Olson, a passenger on American Flight #77 that was crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, as soon as Bill Clinton became president, Hillary’s thesis was put under lock and key at Wellesley.
In her 2003 best seller, Living History, Senator Clinton briefly acknowledges her intellectual debt to Alinsky. She took great pains to point out that she disagreed with his idea that one had to work from outside the establishment. Clinton prides herself on working from within an organization to reform it.
Alinsky has had no better acolyte than Barack Obama, who from his perch in the White House has put himself above all rules of law, moral and judicial. His tenure has worked to instill Alinsky’s Rules and Principles in health care, gun control, education and religion.
A former Alinsky community organizer, Obama has instituted a Marxist plan, the work of two Columbia University professors from the 1960s, the infamous Cloward-Piven Strategy whose intent is to purposely collapse the U.S. economy with huge deficits, an uncontrollable nation debt and a welfare system bursting with millions of new recipients, immigrants and mentally ill homeless people, essentially turning the United States into a Pauper Nation, at the mercy of its creditors and foreign enemies.
According to philosopher, Leo Strauss’ classic, Thoughts on Machiavelli, the Florentine was essentially a teacher of evil. This epithet should also apply to Alinsky. All Americans should be aware of what these teachers of evil taught and to whom they taught it.
This should surprise no one since Machiavelli was and atheist and Alinsky praised the first known radical, who rebelled against the establishment and did so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom. Who was the first radical? Why Lucifer himself!
While Clint Eastwood’s stark movie, Flags of our Fathers, portrayal of the deadly battle for Iwo Jima in World War II was virtually ignored by his Hollywood peers in 2007, it had a strong impact on the general public who revered the heroism that his portrayal of American troops displayed.
Despite its violence, the main thrust of Flags was the home-front struggles of the three survivors in dealing with the instant fame their heroic act brought. Drafted as spokesmen for war bond sales, they quickly adopted the creditable tag line that the real heroes of Iwo were those men who died there.
Based on the book of the same name Flags of our Fathers sparked many a debate on the meaning of hero.
In 1950 my father took me to see John Wayne in The Sands of Iwo Jima. Even at age seven, though I found war movies exciting, my concept of hero was reserved more for the baseball diamond than any tale of sanguinary combat.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were the darling underdogs of the 1950s. While they won a number of pennants (5) they always lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series — except in 1955.
While all the Dodgers were heroes that year, to my adolescent mind, the quiet Kentuckian at shortstop, Pee Wee Reese represented to me everything a hero should be.
He was the team’s leader, and he played the game with the same grace and dignity that my contemporaries in St. Louis must have seen in Stan The Man Musial. (He did not destroy my childhood ideals when I interviewed him in home late one July night in 1972.)
When Reese was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1984, I was there to honor him.
A number of years ago during an All Saints’ Day Mass the celebrant priest labored unsuccessfully for a proper analogy to underscore the Holy Day. During the course of his painful musings it dawned on me that when the Church canonizes a saint, it could be viewed as the Catholic equivalent of putting a baseball player in the Hall of Fame.
It was St. Paul who first recognized that faithful Christians could easily be analogized as athletes who had fought the good fight and finished the good race. An English professor at Holy Cross had used those same parallels during my freshman orientation in 1961.
In effect Catholic saints are our spiritual and moral athletes, who have successfully fought the good fight and run the good race. The Church was recognizing that they had played the game of life with the practiced skills of faith, hope and charity.
Their lives still serve as constant reminders that if we only have the athletic discipline of daily sacrifice and loving charity, we will someday break the ribbon of victory in eternity. Many saints also showed a kind of dangerous courage possessed by many athletes to stare death and evil in the face, ultimately paying the full price for their faith in God.
What Yogi Berra, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Mickey Mantle and Musial are to baseball fans, Sts. Joseph, Peter, John Paul II, Theresa, Catherine and Anthony are to Catholics. They are our heroes for all seasons.
After the passage of the Fetal Tissue Use Amendment, I learned that a friend had resigned his position with a prestigious law firm because it had represented one of the principal supporters of the pro-cloning amendment.
I was inspired by his heroic stand in a social atmosphere where apathy is the everyday choice of too many Catholics.
To the point of our mutual embarrassment, I told him he was my new hero.
Had he been familiar with Flags, I suspect, like the survivors of Iwo, he would have said the real heroes of the faith were those who had died for it.
Nonetheless, his principled stand on a culture war battlefield is morally as significant as that tiny volcanic island in the Pacific.
While most of us may never be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, all of us have to suffer these daily small deaths to ourselves to prepare for, if not the Hall of Fame in the sky, at least for a seat in the stands.
I don’t know how many people are aware of it but atheism — make that militant atheism — has been on the rise in the United States for years. Perhaps it was all the years of the religious right and the strident battles over abortion and the separation of church and state. Whatever the case, they are angry and they are on the march. They have shelved their public indifference and are confident that God and His faithful are in certain retreat.
Like their forebears from the French Revolution, they see the Church as an institution founded on unreason and superstition. It is their mission to chase such foolish ideas from the public marketplace. Since nature abhors a vacuum, they have found their god in science and a religion of man. Or what the intellectuals calls secular humanism.
While Charles Darwin was not an atheist, his theory of evolution later became the adopted intellectual child of atheists around the globe. The leading Darwinian atheist is Richard Dawkins, author of the 2006 bestseller, The God Delusion. Another godless priest is Sam Harris. In his 2004 book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Religion, Harris takes more of an apocalyptic approach. He believes that people must renounce religious faith or it will mark the end of civilization, conveniently ignoring the destruction of more than 175 million people at the bloody hands of atheistic governments during the 20th century.
However the debate has not been the same since the priesthood of unbelief lost its presumptive leader in 2014. For much of his adult life, Christopher Hitchens, the author of What’s So Good about God? waged a take-no-prisoners war on faith and its believers. His energy and quick wit knew no boundaries nor took any prisoners. He was probably the only man in history who had the temerity to publicly lambaste Mother Theresa.
I have had very little personal experience with atheism or atheists. When I had a weekly radio program on WGNU in St. Louis, one of my most frequent and memorable callers was a man who sometimes used the handles Gunboy Jim or Jim from Ferguson, Jim was very bright, more of a library autodidact philosopher who proudly proclaimed his atheism.
He was also ardently pro-abortion. For obvious reasons the two often walk hand in hand. He would come up with the most creative arguments that justified in his mind a woman’s right to choose to kill her unborn child.
One time in the late1980s in an off-air phone conversation he said that abortion was a noble act. So great was my visceral reaction that I could not restrain my contempt for him and his ideas. Despite my rage, Jim continued to call and challenge me.
In doing so he made me a much better talk show host. I eventually put away my anger and tried to understand him and his atheism. I realized that he was my neighbor and he needed something more than my righteous indignation.
One time in an e-mail he casually mentioned how he had been doing the dishes and the housework for his mother who was been seriously ill. I told him in a near apologetic tone that what he was doing was the work of sainthood. I was taken aback when he thanked me for seeing some good in him. I told Jim I would pray for him. He continued to call and write me. Jim was a seeker who wanted to know and understand the reality of life but had been looking in all the wrong places.
While he still occasionally writes long missives to my blog, the pretentious, Gospel Truth, I often wonder if he ever filled the void or spiritual vacuum in his life that the absence of God leaves. I continue to pray that he find that inner peace or what Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called peace of soul. It is something we all strive for whether we know it or not. The same is true for all the militant atheists in this country. Like my friend Jim they also need our kind thoughts and prayers.
When I first came to St. Louis years ago, KMOX radio had a series of zany commercials with the late baseball broadcaster Jack Buck and a local appliance dealer, Steve Mizerany that was one of the most clever I had ever encountered.
Mizerany was totally unscripted but with Buck as his Virgil, he always wandered into the bizarre recesses of his ephemeral mind and would say the funniest things in a serious tone.
Mizerany’s ending tagline was always the oxymoron, Don’t be confused!
Confusion is a word that rules the sexual mores of American society today! The Sexual Revolution that took its lurid form in the early sixties has morphed into something even more unrecognizable!
To paraphrase Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in his Brothers Kamerozov, when no one believes in God, anything goes.
Life was so much simpler for young people when I was a prepubescent boy. There were girls and there were boys. No one suffered from the Mizerany conundrum.
It has taken nearly 200 years but the Philosophes of the French Revolution have landed on the beaches of sexual identity politics.
Then came Simone de Beauvoir and her introspective book, The Second Sex and all of a sudden women were wondering what it meant to be a woman.
Serious doubts waded ashore and with the slow decline of religious faith, one of the trident pillars of Western Civilization the Jacobins had targeted after the Bastille, resistance weakened and then collapsed.
With the breakup of millions two-parent households, boys were raised mostly by women who feminized two generations of boys, just increasing their doubts about their sexuality.
Homosexuals could not wait to get ahold of them. A headline in one of their newspapers in the seventies read if no sex by eight, too late!
In effect men had been deconstructed and had their sexuality reduced to feelings and inner uncertainty.
Deconstruction is a philosophical movement, inspired by the homosexual Michel Foucault and Marxist Jacques Derrida. This modern movement is joined at the hip of conspiracy.
Deconstruction is the theory of literary criticism that questions traditional assumptions about certainty, identity, and truth. It asserts that words can only refer to other words; and attempts to demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings.
In early August the New York Times published an article by Jessica Bennett, entitled Man Deconstructed. She could have easily left out the “con.” It focused on an upstate SUNY college professor, Michael Kimmel who contrasted the difference between real men and good men.
Why does there have to be a difference?
Professor Kimmel wanted his male students to question what made them a man. He specializes in a new study, called Masculinities.
It seems to be the polar opposite of Gloria Steinem’s idea of Women Studies, which had emphasized that a woman needed a man like a fish needed a bicycle.
The real culprit in this miasma of sexual confusion and philosophical musings predates Freud, Marx and even Rousseau.
Sexual confusion traces its intellectual lineage back to the Nominalism of Franciscan scholar, William of Ockham. He is more recognizable as the progenitor of the eponymous Ockham’s Razor, which held that the simplest solution was usually the correct one.
Ockham also had flirtation with literary notoriety, appearing as the clerical sleuth in Umberto Ecco’s 1983 novel, The Name of the Rose.
Ockham also was a pioneer of Nominalism. He argued that only individuals exist, rather than any universals, essences, or forms, which are nothing more than the abstract creations of the human mind and have no place in reality.
Abraham Lincoln provides the perfect illustration of the fallacy inherent in both Nominalism and Deconstruction. He liked to ask his visitors a riddle. If one counted a cow’s tail as a leg, how many legs would it have?
The correct answer was “four!” Just because one calls something, something else does not make it so!
The hidden truth beneath the riddle is that man does not have the Edenic power to rename or change the essence of things just because he thinks or wills it.
Nearly 2000 years of cultural history was under assault, not on the beaches but in the beds and classrooms of America. As the feminist tobacco icon Virginia Slims used to bellow, you’ve come a long way baby! Downhill!
A pregnant woman can’t say it’s a baby if she wants it and a glob of tissue if she doesn’t! Similarly homosexuals cannot arbitrarily change the nature of traditional marriage without making it something else
To illustrate just how far sexual confusion has come, the eleven-year old daughter of a domestic employee was one of the 150 students who skipped classes at the Hillsboro schools, a community 40 miles south of St. Louis, to protest a transgendered senior, Lila Perry’s desire to use the girl’s restrooms and locker facilities.
Perry was living as a gay teen until this past February, when he came out as transgendered. He started wearing dresses and a wig but to date has not had undergone gender reassignment surgery nor has he undergone hormone therapy.
The fact that her new name Lila literally means popular just might have something to do with “her” prominence in the public eye.
To further confuse the issue of his sex, the media accounts state that Perry was designated a boy at birth as if it had been done pure by a random selection. On another day he might have been designated a female chimpanzee to carry this irrational account to its absurd conclusion.
Parents have brought the issue before the local school board and have called for a new policy. They should have the ability to do whatever they need to do in the privacy of the bathroom without having a male in there.
Another parent stated that the girls have rights, and they shouldn’t have to share a bathroom with a boy, adding that it’s unfair for Perry to get special accommodations while the girls just have to suck it up.
All we have to rely on is his statement that he feels like a girl. When I was Perry’s age, if a boy woke up one morning and thought he was Mona Lisa or the Queen of Sheba he would have been taken for mental health evaluation.
In fact I knew many a lad who if he thought he could get a peak at a room full of naked girls he would have used a similar approach!
It is not surprising that the government has intervened to protect the false right of Mr. Perry. The Office of Civil Rights has issued an official opinion that says, if you do this, (stop Perry) you have engaged in gender discrimination!
Perry’s personal battle with traditional morality will go on but in the interim the innocence and modesty of young girls today is threatened and confused by sexual outliers like this troubled adolescent.
While people like Perry should be treated with compassion, just because he thinks he is something other than what nature made him, it does not mean that the majority’s natural rights should be trampled as they were with abortion and homosexual unions.
This is another battle of the culture wars because feminists have believed for generations that men and women are perfectly equal, sexually, morally and occupational.
In a word they are fungible…that is perfectly interchangeable.
This is one of the great lies of the culture war.
Men and women are not equal. They are different and will always be different! Communist China in the sixties had everyone man and woman wear identical clothing, which is the drab look of an enslaved people. That did not make them the same. It only covered up their sexual distinctions in a standard progressive attempt to coerce uniformity and change our basic nature.
This argument goes back to the French revolution and Jean Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Paine who wanted to make the world anew.
That was a misnomer. What they wanted to do was transform the way people were and how they lived their lives. Barack Obama is as much a Rousseau disciple as he was Saul Alinsky’s.
Now thousands of poor souls march to the beat of this Marxist drummer. They challenge the traditional gender binary of American life with a coercive force that they hope will silence the voices of reason one at a time.
As they weave their Satanic web, the disciples of Foucault and Derrida are changing the language with dozens of confusing definition of politically incorrect speech on the innate difference between men and women.
Neologisms such an Gender Niji and genderflux pollute deconstruct the language we need for communication.
The result is a leaderless nation where men have forfeited their traditional role as leaders, providers and home defenders. A country without Real Good Men can not survive indefinitely.