Friday, June 21, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 6


                                     

1964, in terms of the length of world history, was a mere 19 years after the end of WWII. Anyone born at the start of the war in 1939 was now a young 25 year old adult, those born in 1944, the year of D Day, now some 75 years on, were only 20 years old, so part of understanding the growing upheavals in society as the sixties continued, with the unraveling of so-called traditional values regarding faith-family-country, is to be mindful that these young men and women in the rice-paddies of Vietnam, on the streets of the cities, deeply impacted by family and societal history, were experiencing, to a large extent more than just the normal youthful/young adult growing up struggles: they were pressured and confused by the rapid changes in attitude and actions regarding basic life choices: career, family, identity, culture, race, religion, and the ever present question for human beings: who am I, why am I?

It should be noted, given the growing movement towards legitimizing the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ [1] was no longer willing to stay silent or hidden, there is a particular action of Pope Paul VI in 1964, not just for those struggling with remaining chaste when tempted to the disorder of same-sex activity, but for those also tempted by any of the surrounding culture’s view of the human body as a mere gratification tool: Pope Paul canonized a group of Uganda men and boys, St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, martyred under the pretense of religious persecution, when it point of fact it was because they refused the sexual advances and pressure from the King.

The continued upheaval in family life, the impact of birth control, the growing move to legalize abortion, the ‘free love’ mindset of the sixties, evil seeds have sprouted in our utter confused chaos about the truth and person of the human body, including the gift given to offer ourselves, bodily, to our spouse, open to, with the Holy Trinity, bring new life into His Kingdom. The relativist, materialist, gratification centered modern misunderstanding/ refusal to accept the objective truth about the human person, male and female has trapped and confused so many souls that recently the Vatican Congregation For Catholic Education has had to release a document on the whole issue of gender theory: The transformation of social and interpersonal relationships “has often waved ‘the flag of freedom’, but it has, in reality, brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. It is ever more evident that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly. It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis”. [2]

The war in Vietnam was spinning out of American control. Starting in the US and throughout the decade spreading globally, anti-war protests, in the US including draft card burning as the children of the WWII warriors were drafted, began tearing at societal cohesiveness along with race riots in the US, religious riots in some countries, revolutions and civil wars in others, and over it all loomed still the danger of nuclear war.

The United Nations would hold a conference and establish a permanent office regarding the
world economy which office and subsequent ‘official’ global outfits, like the World Bank, would become increasingly powerful and leave the people of the world under the thumb of the so-called one percenters.

From the post-war conference at Bretton Woods to the beginnings in 1958 of the European Common Market, morphing over the decades into the behemoth European Union of today with the open borders, the euro, the European parliament issuing both petty and draconian polices and laws impacting all member countries, to the secretive Club of Rome, [3] another child of the sixties founded in 1968, the year of major global upheavals, is it any wonder the world’s population is angry, angst filled, wanting to throw off the shackles of the elites whose policies and philosophies crush the weak, increase the numbers of homeless and poor, disdain and marginalize descent, envelop the human family in the darkness of the culture of death.

The philosopher Herbert Marcuse in his book ONE-DIMESNIONAL MAN: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, published in 1964, suggested that consumerism exists as a means of controlling people and as a result an elite few in society, currently referred to in our day as the 1% - or political/business/media elites – have succeeded in convincing people to buy ‘stuff’ wanted, rather than prioritize the goods needed to sustain family life. The result of these elitist obsessions: stakeholder profits, off-shore bank accounts, government policies that enshrine their views into law, because these same elites, using dark money, choose which parties to favour with massive amounts of campaign funding. As a result ordinary people are governed not through the democratic processes of the famous Lincoln dictum of government by and for the people, but by political ideologs who, under the guise of caring for the environment or civil rights, impose ill-conceived, mind, soul, tax burdens on people which do nothing for their daily family life, make them feel disdained as enemies of progress, cause anger and divisions. Since this is done mostly by left leaning, but sometimes by right leaning governments, these days the people of every country on earth are restless, angry, near the explosion point – all traceable to axial shifts of the 1960’s.

Ordinary people labour, serve in the military, police, fire and ambulance services, work the land, the forests, the mines, clean the offices, keep clean water flowing, etc., etc., but they have become, in the eyes of the elites, left leaning media included, as the less than properly progressive and are a drag on the efforts of the leftist elites to impose an all-inclusive-politically correct language-protect the planet-Christianity bad – all other religions or none good – etc. etc., ideology, leaving ordinary people crushed under the dark weight of the culture of death, relativism, frustration which has turned human life, family life from the joyous experience of being human into an existence where the very straw to build the bricks of a truly human society has been taken away and the bricks themselves are taken not to build a home for humanity but more towers for the babblers who consider themselves not only smarter than the rest of us, but smarter than God Himself.

THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread and contribute to the continual advance of science and technology and, above all, to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the society within which he lives in community with those who belong to the same family…..[4] Another important aspect, which has many applications to our own day, is the concept of the relationship between the State and its citizens. Rerum Novarum criticizes two social and economic systems: socialism and liberalism. The opening section, in which the right to private property is reaffirmed, is devoted to socialism. Liberalism is not the subject of a special section, but it is worth noting that criticisms of it are raised in the treatment of the duties of the State. The State cannot limit itself to "favouring one portion of the citizens", namely the rich and prosperous, nor can it "neglect the other", which clearly represents the majority of society….[5]

Even Albert Camus, no Christian apologist, asserted that: Democracy is not the law of the majority but the protection of the minority.

In Mao’s China of 1964 everything was controlled by the State, so labour camps were filled with anyone who dissented while in the Soviet Union 1964 was the beginning of what historians refer to as the ‘era of stagnation.’ Yet the Gulag remained full, and, as with China, secret state police oppressed the people with terror. The so-called multi-year economic plans rolled out in both communist economies were consistent failures, the people suffered immensely, yet in both countries if you were in the upper ranks of the regime you were also a one percenter. Both regimes hated and persecuted the Roman Catholic Church, though the Soviets had a modus vivendi with the Russian Orthodox Church, so well tuned it enabled the KGB to place their own men in seminaries, who, once ordained priests, reached the highest ranks including, it has long been believed, at least one of the Patriarchs of Moscow.

On the 11th of June a horrific event occurred in Cologne Germany which at the time was an evil virtually unheard of.  Yet since then, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century and into our own day, has become dishearteningly familiar: the massacre of school children and their teachers. A man, who will not be named here, entered a Catholic elementary school and murdered 8 children and 2 teachers.

Globally the first recorded such massacre occurred in the United States in 1764, some two hundred years before the massacre in Cologne. Records show since 1900, but mostly since the latter half of the 20th century to date:  48 such mass killings in the US, 39 in various other countries, of which 6 occurred in Canada.

The motivations which enable the killers to such heinous acts are varied, even complex. The foundational source is neither complex nor varied: hatred. Hatred of self to the point of the inability to see other, such as the vulnerable child, as one like myself. This was Cain’s original thought, hatred born of jealousy born of self-disdain, exploding with murderous rage. We do ourselves and each other no favour if our understanding of war is reduced to some inter-nation conflict. Warfare, spiritual warfare, the struggle against hatred, discrimination, untruth, this is the daily life of the Christian and why it is imperative we defend life from the womb to the tomb.

The culture of death, sprouting especially in the contraceptive, abortion and relativist mentality
of the sixties, enables massacres of all kinds. We would do well to heed the words of Jean Vanier, who found l’Arche [6], in 1964: “The response to war is to live like brothers and sisters. The response to injustice is to share. The response to despair is a limitless trust and hope. The response to prejudice and hatred is forgiveness. To work for community is to work for humanity. To work for peace is to work for a true political solution; it is to work for the Kingdom of God. It is to work to enable everyone to live and taste the secret joys of the human person united to the eternal.” ― Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

The first ‘super computer’, the CDC 6600 and the original BASIC high level programing language, both from 1964, were portals to modern personal, laptop and other computers, to things like the internet and while telegrams were still common, likewise so-called ‘snail mail’, and the option to speak with someone outside of an in-house or office ‘landline’, was to find a pay-phone: those mentioned portals have given us cell phones, various forms of chat-sites and texting – like the development of photography and film, radio and television, other portals and technological advances, predominantly intended for good purposes. However, aided and abetted by satan, the suggestor of disorder, and because criminals smell opportunities for profits, those same portals have led to sexting, the development of the dark and deep dark web, and sites that spew fake news, bullying, pornography, hatred, terrorism.

In 1962, with Pope John XXIII calling for dialogue with artists who were not Catholic, part of his outreach to other faiths and those of no faith, an Italian filmmaker, Pier Pasolini, accepted an invitation to discussions on the arts that was to take place at a monastery in Assisi. With the Pope himself in Assisi, Pier was waiting in his hotel room for the seminar to begin and finding a copy of the Gospels read through them and as a result conceived the idea of a film based on St. Matthew’s Gospel. He filmed it in black and white, using only Matthew’s words for dialogue, filming in a poor region of Italy releasing it in 1964. Some forty years later, another filmmaker would focus on Jesus’ Passion and film in the same area. [7]

In August Pope Paul VI released his encyclical on the Church, in which he noted: One part of this world, as everyone knows, has in recent years detached itself and broken away from the Christian foundations of its culture, although formerly it had been so imbued with Christianity and had drawn from it such strength and vigor that the people of these nations in many cases owe to Christianity all that is best in their own tradition-a fact that is not always fully appreciated. Another and larger part of the world covers the vast territories of the so-called emerging nations. Taken as a whole, it is a world which offers to the Church not one but a hundred forms of possible contacts, some of which are open and easy, others difficult and problematic, and many, unfortunately, wholly unfavorable to friendly dialogue. [8]

That detachment from Christianity, rejection even, intensifying throughout the sixties, continuing in our own day, can only be countered not by argument but by the Christian witness of the Gospel lived with our lives without compromise.

With the close of the third session of Vatican II, at the end of 1964, Pope Paul promulgated the Council’s document on the Church, Lumen Gentium: Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. [9]



1] from the last line of:  "Two Loves" by Lord Alfred Douglas, written in September 1892

[2] para. 43: https://www.lifesitenews.com/images/local/CONGREGATION_FOR_CATHOLIC_EDUCATION_EN.pdf

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_of_Rome

[4] http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_14091981_laborem-exercens.html

[5] http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_01051991_centesimus-annus.html

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Arche

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gospel_According_to_St._Matthew_(film) and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passion_of_the_Christ

[8] para. 13, http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_06081964_ecclesiam.html

[9] http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Tuesday, June 04, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US PART 5~B


                                     

On June 3, 1963 the Cardinal-electors from around the world gathered in Rome and elected Giovanni Cardinal Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan who choose the name Paul VI. Crowned on June 30th he was the last pope to be crowned and shortly after assuming the papacy stopped wearing it, preferring the mitre instead. None of his four successors has had a coronation choosing rather a Holy Mass within which their formal installation takes place.

Like his namesake, the great missionary St. Paul the Apostle and Martyr, Pope Paul the VI would suffer much and while not martyred by blood certainly was made to suffer much by the actions and spurious words of clergy, religious, laity within the Church and truly demeaning press reporting in the emerging leftist ersatz Catholic media and in the secular media as well. He would call the Council into its 2nd session on September 29th, which session closed on December 4th, 1963 and he would reconvene the council for two sessions more in 1964 and 1965, formally closing it on December 8th of that year. Pope throughout the most turbulent post Vatican II years, a council he guided to success and whose documents he promulgated.

For the Church, ultimately for the world, the combination of Vatican II and St. Pope Paul’s teaching, whose task it was to oversee the implementation of the documents, therefore having to issue many post-Conciliar documents on the proper implementation, where necessary ordering corrections when bishops, priests, went off track. This would consume the bulk of his papacy. He also became the first modern pope to travel outside Italy, making pastoral visits to India, Columbia, Portugal, Uganda, the Philippines [where he was slightly wounded in an attempt on his life], and to New York where he gave a powerful speech at the United Nations headquarters.

Certainly, the secular world points to other events and personalities of 1963 as being pivotal when it comes to the impact of the sixties on contemporary life in this third millennium, however the pontificate of St. Paul VI truly is of more global, ecclesial and secular importance.

Morris L. West would publish a novel in 1963, made into a film in 1968, which has one of the characters state: “Who cares about theology except the theologians? We are necessary, but less important than we think. The Church is Christ—Christ and the people. And all the people want to know is whether or not there is a God, and what is His relation with them, and how they can get back to Him when they stray.”  [1] It would be rogue theologians, among other dissidents in the Church, who would, with utter misuse of the first document from the Council, THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY, promulgated by the Holy Father on December 4th that the dissidents would use, “in the spirit of Vatican II”, a distortion of the actual text, to inflict profound wounds within the Church which are still in need of healing.

In a homily on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1972, the full text of which the Vatican has yet to publish, St. Paul VI made his famous reference to the smoke of satan entering the Church:  “… We would say that, through some mysterious crack—no, it’s not mysterious; through some crack, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, problems, unrest, dissatisfaction, confrontation…..The Church is no longer trusted. We trust the first pagan prophet we see who speaks to us in some newspaper, and we run behind him and ask him if he has the formula for true life..… It was thought that, after the Council, sunny days would come for the history of the Church. Nevertheless, what came were days of clouds, of storms, of darkness, of searching, of uncertainty … We tried to dig abysses instead of covering them …” [2]

As Cassius lamented:  "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves……”[from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar] The fault lay not in the documents of the council, the ‘stars’ if you will, but in the choices those tasked with implementing the documents made. One way or another either clergy or laity went too far trying to create a Church in our own modern image and likeness, or rebelled against the authentic documents and tried to regress to a time in Church and world history, well passed, or worse, chose to passively go along with whatever of the other two was unfolding in our local parish, diocese, religious order.

Had this one simple directive from the document on the liturgy been faithfully observed: Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. [3], how many sins and wounds in the following decades would have been avoided! There is no surer way to allow satan entrance into the Church, into the lives of bishops, priests, religious, laity than to mess around with, demean, the Sacred Liturgy.

What a nation believes about its past is at least as important as what that past actually was. [4]

Read: Church for ‘nation’ and we touch upon a key source of both the dissident damage-wounds and the sense among countless Catholics, both those who matured in the faith before Vatican II and those since, for whom the radical changes, particularly in liturgy but also by bishops and priests abandoning clerical dress, nuns, their religious habits, thus making themselves invisible, abandoning also the original charism of their founders, and many other factors means that still, more than half a century after the Council, in spite of the efforts of Pope Paul’s successors to set the bark of Peter aright, much, much, still needs to be done.

In the face of those who, like West’s character, dismiss theologians, teachers of the faith in general, a great teacher-witness, reminds us that: Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses. ~St. Paul VI [5] The writings/teachings/witness of the life of St. Paul VI are an important part of the Church’s treasury of wisdom to guide us on the path of holiness.

From St. Peter to Pope Francis all papal teachings are both immediate as regards the matters of the current day within the Church and society, and prophetic as regards what lies ahead for both. Also from the Acts of the Apostles to the current day and into the future the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth: the popes, bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, monks, nuns, every member of the laity, are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, our ranks filled with saints and sinners. To expect that within the life of the Church, in all Her members, there will never be outrageous sins, scandals that are visible in the public domain, while extremely painful to accept, is nonetheless, along with the inspirational examples of saints and martyrs, the stark reality of humanity being disciples of Christ, a reality recorded from the Acts of the Apostles to this very day. Rather than obsess over the scandals, which we must constantly pray to be ended, for the conversion of those who cause scandal, the healing of those within and without the Church wounded thereby, our primary focus and effort, humbly begging daily the help of the Holy Spirit that it might be so, is for us to tirelessly within our baptismal and adjunct vocation, to become saints.

A few examples of St. Pope Paul’s teachings which illuminate his awareness of the state of the world and the Church in the immediate and how he was well aware of the damage being done by dissidents through their ideas and actions: The Church does, however, realize that it is the seed, as it were, the leaven, the salt and the light of the world. Fully conscious of all that is new and remarkable in this modern age, it nevertheless holds its place in a changing world with sincere confidence, and says to men: "Here in my possession is what you are looking for, what you need." [6] [It]……..is not permissible to extol the so-called "community" Mass in such a way as to detract from Masses that are celebrated privately; or to concentrate on the notion of sacramental sign as if the symbolism—which no one will deny is certainly present in the Most Blessed Eucharist—fully expressed and exhausted the manner of Christ's presence in this Sacrament; or to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than "transignification," or "transfinalization" as they call it; or, finally, to propose and act upon the opinion that Christ Our Lord is no longer present in the consecrated Hosts that remain after the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass has been completed. [7] Those who mess around with the Sacred Liturgy, the truth about the Holy Eucharist, inflict profound wounds within the Church and deep disturbances in the heart of the faithful.

The progressive development of peoples is an object of deep interest and concern to the Church. This is particularly true in the case of those peoples who are trying to escape the ravages of hunger, poverty, endemic disease and ignorance; of those who are seeking a larger share in the benefits of civilization and a more active improvement of their human qualities; of those who are consciously striving for fuller growth. [8] A critical addition to the social teachings of the Church.

Our reflection on the beauty, importance and intimate fittingness of holy virginity for the ministers of Christ and His Church makes it incumbent on those who hold the office of teacher and pastor of that Church to take steps to assure and promote its positive observance, from the first moment of preparation to receive such a precious gift. In fact, the difficulties and problems which make the observance of chastity very painful or quite impossible for some, spring, not infrequently, from a type of priestly formation which, given the great changes of these last years, is no longer completely adequate for the formation of a personality worthy of a "man of God."  [9] Had these serious issues in priestly formation been addressed at the time perhaps the subsequent spike in sins of abuse by priests would have been greatly reduced if not eliminated. It would fall to St. John Paul II to strive to reform the seminaries; for him and his successors to work tirelessly to put an end to such sin, to care for the victims. Pope Emeritus Benedict would rightly point to the sixties, with all its moral disorder, as a prime point of the evil expanding.

The remaining years of the Saint’s pontificate would be extremely painful, indeed a type of bloodless martyrdom, as he was battered from all sides by hostile media, by the seemingly endless flood of priests demanding release from their vows and the clerical state, nuns abandoning their vocation or becoming ersatz religious in constant rebellion against Rome, laity abandoning the faith, radical theologians challenging him at every turn.

In the centre of ‘martyria’ [witness] – as one of the primary dimensions of Christian existence – one finds these words: ‘and He [i.e. the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth] will bear witness to Me – and you are witnesses, because you have been with Me since the beginning’. Our witness has its origin in His witness and it owes its divine nature to Him only. Witness can be borne by words [these words are not only information, but also annunciation and prophecy]; by actions that come from the words [actions bear witness by themselves – they in turn provide support and confirmation for the witness of words.] Through words and actions our witness embraces the entire existence of the human witness; therefore, it is the witness to life; if the witness to death is added to this, the death is – in the very context – the fulfilment of life, its seal of credibility. [10]

For several years a story, perhaps apocryphal, was told that as hundreds of letters arrived from priests asking for laicization, the Holy Father would take them into his private chapel at night, pray for a long time, weeping, with a broken father’s heart, and sign them.

On the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1978 death, ‘the fulfilment of life…seal of credibility’, came to the Holy Father, in what became known as the Year of the Three Popes. It has been only since his death that the importance of his writings has become clear. On October 14, 2018, Pope Francis would canonize him as St. Paul VI.



[1] Shoes of the Fisherman, Morris L. West, 1963, Morrow Publishing.

[2] This is a link to the source of the Pope’s expression: https://aleteia.org/2018/07/06/what-did-paul-vi-mean-by-saying-the-smoke-of-satan-has-entered-the-church/

[3] http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

[4] The Death of Democracy, pp 232/33; Benjamin Carter Hett; Penguin Canada 2018

[5] http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_p-vi_exh_19751208_evangelii-nuntiandi.html

[6] Ecclesiam Suam, para. 96; http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_06081964_ecclesiam.html

 [7] Mysterium Fidei, para. 11; http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_03091965_mysterium.html

[8] Populorem Progressio, para. 1; http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_26031967_populorum.html

[9] Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, para. 60; http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_24061967_sacerdotalis.html

[10] IN GOD’S HANDS, The Spiritual Diaries of Pope Saint John Paul II; p. 128; 2017 by Centrum Jana Pawla II; English Edition: William Collins, 2017

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 5~A


                                       

In an interview with Theodore White, published in Life Magazine in the December 1963 issue, Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the American President, John Kennedy, assassinated weeks before, stressed, referencing what by then was the mythological name given to her husband’s presidency: ‘Camelot’, from the Arthurian legend, is quoted as saying: “There’ll be great presidents again, but there’ll never be another Camelot….”

In fact, over the decades since Kennedy’s presidency, argued about and in some cases dismantled by historians, would come to resemble more a Shakespearian tragedy rather than the brightness of Camelot. Certainly, looking at the history of the Kennedy clan from Joseph senior to the death of John Kennedy junior, as ends Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, how often must have the family felt; A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head…For never was a story of more woe. [Act 5, scene 3]

President Kennedy’s assassination in November shocked people around the world, yet he was the fourth US President to be murdered while in office, and not the only world leader, or independence or civil rights leader, among them civil rights leader Medgar Evers, to be murdered in 1963.

The tragic history of that year also witnessed continuous revolutions, civil wars, the emergence of terrorism, such as in Canada where a group called the Front de Liberation du Quebec, FLQ as they were dubbed in the media, began its bombing campaign which would culminate in their murder of a Quebec cabinet minister and kidnapping as well of a British diplomat in late 1970, when the then Prime Minister would impose martial law until the FLQ were weakened almost to oblivion, but it would take almost three decades and two referendums to put the issue of independence if not to rest at least render it comatose.

1963 while not the bloodiest year of the 20th century where wars and death camps, genocide, abortion, spilled so much blood it is a wonder the very oceans did not turn red, did take its place on the continuum of hatred, terrorism, extremism, and wacky theories about religion, environment, gender, which wound the human family to this day.

It was also in 1963 that with their victory in the battle of Ap Boc, the Viet Cong increased the swamp of an unwinnable war, for the Republican South and the Americans, into which the Americans, rather naively had they but learned from the experience of the French, or the British in India, wandered deeper and deeper, with increasing drug use among the troops and other disorders which, with at the time PTSD not being recognized, would permanently scar the returning soldiers.

While the anti-war movement increasingly meshed with the civil rights movement the violence by police and others against the protestors, infamously with the murder by KKK members of four little girls when their church was bombed in Birmingham Alabama, would also sow the seeds of the types of hatred, extremism, to this day of the so-called Alt-right, neo-Nazis groups in the US and many other countries: for when good people, Christians especially, try to confront evil directly, evil will triumph by seducing us into using similar methods, for example the evil of those who claim to be pro-life attacking abortionists.

St. Maxmilian Kolbe defeated the evil intent of the Nazis who would have murdered a young husband and father by, as Christ calls us all to do, laying down his life for the young husband and father. Nazism was ultimately defeated, the priest, Fr. Kolbe, canonized, and another Pole, who suffered under the Nazis occupation of his country, became pope and a saint himself, St. John Paul II.

“I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” [ Mt.5:39]

On the 11th of April, five years into his pontificate, Jean xxiii issued his encyclical Pacem in Terris, addressing it not only to the Catholic Church but to all of mankind.

Before considering this critical encyclical, not just for the time when it was published, but given the current world situation, its prophetic nature, it should be noted that when Pope John xxiii, and his successors, including Pope Francis, write about the human condition, about war, genocide, revolutions, oppression, the sacredness of the life and dignity of human beings, these are not men, priests, Pontiffs, divorced from the harsh on-the-ground-reality of what they speak about: Pope John xxiii was drafted in the 1st World War into the Royal Italian Army as a stretcher-bearer and would have experienced first hand the wounds and deaths on the battlefield, in the 2nd World War he was Apostolic Delegate in Turkey and at great personal risk thwarted many Gestapo attempts to send Jewish People to the death camps; Pope Paul VI was hounded during WWII by Mussolini’s Fascists because working in the Secretariat of State he tirelessly helped in the hiding of Jews from the Fascists and the Nazis and worked to protect refugees; John Paul i, the first pope born in the 20th century, was living in Fascist-Nazi Italy, not involved in the war directly as he was a student, newly ordained priest, pursuing a doctorate; John Paul ii worked in forced labour during the Nazis occupation of Poland and steadfastly stood up to the communists who took over after the war, and he too, during the war helped our Jewish Brothers and Sisters; Pope Benedict lived under the Hilter regime, was drafted into the military and deserted rather than participate in the war, then was held for months by the Allies as a prisoner of war in a camp without proper shelter or food; Pope Francis was a Jesuit priest and superior during the dictatorship in Argentina, the so-called “Dirty War”, and experienced first hand the violence of the regime.

From the time of the Apostles, and the great letters/epistles of the nascent Church to our own day, we are blessed with a treasury of over two millennia of papal and conciliar documents.  Pacem in Terris certainly ranks among the major documents in the treasury.

The opening paragraph places the issue of peace and all human struggles and needs in the fertile ground of revelation: Peace on Earth—which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after—can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order. [1]

Given contemporary anxiety over ‘fake news’ and the amount of disinformation available in social media early on the Pontiff stresses that human beings have:… to be accurately informed about public events. [1] As well, and the struggle for this in our own day with Islamists, for example, attacking Christians around the world: Also among man's rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience, and to profess his religion both in private and in public. [1] With the refugee and migrant crisis around the world, oppression and restriction on movement and assembly in numerous countries this applies in our own day: Again, every human being has the right to freedom of movement and of residence within the confines of his own State. When there are just reasons in favor of it, he must be permitted to emigrate to other countries and take up residence there. The fact that he is a citizen of a particular State does not deprive him of membership in the human family, nor of citizenship in that universal society, the common, world-wide fellowship of men. [1]

More than half a century after Pope John xxiii cried out for the sacredness of human life to be protected, the anti-life forces remain an evil to be resisted in this era of abortion, euthanasia, relativism: ….the right to live involves the duty to preserve one's life; the right to a decent standard of living, the duty to live in a becoming fashion; the right to be free to seek out the truth, the duty to devote oneself to an ever deeper and wider search for it. [1]

This critical encyclical touches on virtually every challenge to individuals and nations, of whatever dominate religious tradition, to learn how to lead lives that are peaceful and without sin, in our families, nations, between nations: ……mutual ties between States must be governed by truth. Truth calls for the elimination of every trace of racial discrimination, and the consequent recognition of the inviolable principle that all States are by nature equal in dignity…..Truth further demands an attitude of unruffled impartiality in the use of the many aids to the promotion and spread of mutual understanding between nations which modern scientific progress has made available. This does not mean that people should be prevented from drawing particular attention to the virtues of their own way of life, but it does mean the utter rejection of ways of disseminating information which violate the principles of truth and justice, and injure the reputation of another nation. [1]

Another point the Pontiff makes, very relevant in our own day of terrorism, extremist governments, tensions between nuclear powers: ……people are living in the grip of constant fear. They are afraid that at any moment the impending storm may break upon them with horrific violence. And they have good reasons for their fear, for there is certainly no lack of….. such weapons. While it is difficult to believe that anyone would dare to assume responsibility for initiating the appalling slaughter and destruction that war would bring in its wake, there is no denying that the conflagration could be started by some chance and unforeseen circumstance. [1] And this, long before state actors were hacking into and manipulating elections in democratic countries: Furthermore, relations between States must be regulated by the principle of freedom. This means that no country has the right to take any action that would constitute an unjust oppression of other countries, or an unwarranted interference in their affairs. On the contrary, all should help to develop in others an increasing awareness of their duties, an adventurous and enterprising spirit, and the resolution to take the initiative for their own advancement in every field of endeavour. [1]

Written with the war in Vietnam raging, numerous countries wherein the people were enduring revolutions, violent oppression by dictatorial regimes, what pain in his heart the beloved Pontiff must have endured, given the decades he had lived himself through wars and revolutions in perhaps the bloodiest century in human history.

The angst within the human family which the compassionate Pontiff addressed with such truth-speaking would continue to deepen throughout the course of the decade, indeed continues to inflict much of humanity still today.

Clues to the depth of this angst are found not simply in news reports nor the clamour of those who are trying to reshape society or the Church or truth through various actions, philosophies, laws, or various violent means such as terrorism. Indeed, an overwhelming amount of contemporary literature fiction, music, films, tv shows reveal the depths of this angst.

In 2016 ITV in England began a mini-series called UNFORGOTEN, about a team of police officers investigating what are commonly called ‘cold cases.’ Fascinating is how much the series reveals contemporary angst and the influence of relativism in the lives of the officers, the victims, their families and the perpetrators of the crimes.

From the series’ opening credits song “All We Do” written and performed by Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht: “All we do is hide away. All we do is, all we do is hide away. All we do is chase the day…..All we do is fade…..All we do is play it safe….live inside a cage…..All I did is fail today….All we do is lie and wait. All we do is, all we do is lie and wait. I’ve been upside down. I don’t wanna be the right way round. Can’t find paradise on the ground.”

Already diagnosed with stomach cancer the previous autumn, by May the Holy Father was bedridden, and he died on June 3rd. Known as “Good Pope John” he would be canonized by Pope Francis and now is rightly called St. John XXIII.



[1] All quotations are from the official Vatican translation, with the paragraphs from which the quote is taken enumerated after the link: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.html

1, 12, 14, 25, 29, 86, 90, 111, 120



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Monday, May 06, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 4


                                      

Throughout 1962 the violent chaos in the former colonies of the European powers continued, as did the sufferings and imprisonment of thousands in countries such as those under the heel of the Soviets, in the Soviet Union itself, in China, North Korea, Cuba, as well as  countries in Latin America and Asia where dictatorships held sway.

1962 saw the publication in Russia of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: “You should rejoice that you're in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul.” “Freedom meant one thing to him—home. But they wouldn't let him go home.”― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. While situated in a gulag camp of the 1950’s, and not available in English until 1963, it was the start of lifting the veil on the gulag and what being sent there did to people.

Around the world such camps of human suffering exist to this day.

Unrest continued in the United States as the civil rights movement became more widespread, including the riots when the first black student, under the protection of US Marshals, would register and begin studies at the University of Mississippi.

That started a movement where by today there is nothing exceptional about campuses in the US and most democratic countries having multi-racial student bodies and faculties.

The past of human history, never more so than in salvation history, is prologue.

Cuba and events surrounding Cuba, though mostly late in the year, would dominate as ‘world news’, almost, but not completely, overshadowing the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.

Rachel Carson would publish her main work SILENT SPRING, decrying the overuse of, and environmental impact of, pesticides, asserting that:  The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery, not over nature but of ourselves. [1]

With the war raging in Vietnam in late 1962 the US would begin using Agent Orange: When man disobeys God and refuses to submit to his rule, nature rebels against him and no longer recognizes him as its "master," for he has tarnished the divine image in himself. The claim to ownership and use of created things remains still valid, but after sin its exercise becomes difficult and full of suffering (cf. Gen 3:17-19). [2] The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. [3]

Darkly, evilly, tragically, there is a nexus between environmentalists and those anti-life groups pushing for abortion, thus raising the question: for whom are all the environmentalists saving the planet?

If we take into account all the children not born because of the contraceptive mentality, abortions, [the World Health Organization estimates well over forty million abortions a year] epidemics, casualties of war, famine, euthanasia, and other factors continuing to spread since the sixties, Bricker and Ibbitson, in their seminal work EMPTY PLANET, are correct to suggest that: The great defining even of the twenty-first century – one of the great defining events in human history -  will occur in three decades, give or take, when the global population starts to decline. Once that decline begins, it will never end. [4]

On October 11th St. John xxiii opened the Second Vatican Council, saying in his address: The great problem confronting the world after almost two thousand years remains unchanged. Christ is ever resplendent as the center of history and of life. Men are either with Him and His Church, and then they enjoy light, goodness, order, and peace. Or else they are without Him, or against Him, and deliberately opposed to His Church, and then they give rise to confusion, to bitterness in human relations, and to the constant danger of fratricidal wars. We feel we must disagree with those prophets of gloom, who are always forecasting disaster, as though the end of the world were at hand. [5]

Five days later it began, and for thirteen days in October the Cuban Missile crisis brought the entire human family to the brink of elimination during the nuclear stand off between the US and the Soviet Union.

What began with the opening of the Council as an event experienced as hope for the entire human family, everyone alive at that time experienced being catapulted into thirteen days of absolute terror and uncertainty.

The first was to experience the immensity of the Light, Christ Himself, brought to everyone by the Church.

The second was to experience the intense cold darkness of satan and his minions.

The wise know it takes at least a century for the full grace of a Council to penetrate the Church and the human family, perhaps longer for an end to post-council arguments pro and con. We still have a long road to travel before 2062!

Countless volumes have, and still are, being written about the Council itself, analysis of the documents.

How well the actual conciliar and  post-conciliar documents are read, studied, lived remains an unanswered question, though as began in the sixties and continues to this day, even given the best efforts of Pope Paul vi and his successors, the aberration known as the ‘spirit of Vatican II’, another disorder rooted in the sixties, continues to wound the Church and the entirety of God’s people.

As George Weigel, in a 2001 commentary notes: [The Council]…..was a summons to the Catholic Church to think of itself less in institutional terms and more as an evangelical movement in history” a movement which best served the modern world by telling the world the truth about human origins, human nature, human community, and human destiny……Pope John Paul II, who was one of the youngest Council fathers during the first period, has insisted for almost four decades that the Council can be grasped in its essence only if we think of it as an epic spiritual event, at which the Holy Spirit led the Catholic Church into a new encounter with modernity precisely for the sake of evangelizing the modern world……[6]

Within a year the holy Pope, now St. John xxiii would die, the young President Kennedy who stood up to the Soviets would be assassinated.

What was emerging at the end of 1962 was an ever thickening, darkening shadow of the culture of death which, with the lethality of those green clouds of chlorine spreading from the German lines into the trenches of WWI, was bringing the ever spreading blindness to objective truth and morality which has us living daily in the anti-Christian culture of death.



[1] SILENT SPRING, Rachel Carson, Houghton Mifflen Press, 1962

[2] SOLLICITUDO REI SOCIALIS, ch.4, para. 29; Pope John Paul II, December 30, 1987

[3] Laudate SI’, para.2, Pope Francis, May 24, 2015

[4] EMPTY PLANET, preface p. 2; Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson; Signal, 2019

[5] http://vatican2voice.org/91docs/opening_speech.htm

[6] https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/06/thinking-through-vatican-ii



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Thursday, April 25, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 3


                                           

When the various ‘right’s movements unfolded in the sixties, confusion, wounds, anger began to take root and spread.

We see the ongoing damage, flowing from the unintended consequences of sixties international ethical disorders, and the displacement of millions of people, this Good Friday, as Pope Francis led the Stations of the Cross in Rome, using meditations written by Sister Eugenia Bonetti, a Consolata sister who works with suffering women and girls on the streets of Rome:  What a thirst for vengeance we see all around us! Our societies today have lost the great value of forgiveness, a gift second to none, a cure for wounds, the basis of peace and human coexistence. In a society where forgiveness is seen as weakness, you, Lord, ask us not to stop at appearances…… For you knew very well that true justice can never be based on hatred and revenge. Make us capable of asking for and granting forgiveness. [1] There is an echo in the words of St. John xxiii convoking the Second Vatican Council: Today the Church is witnessing a crisis underway within society.[2]

Isaiah prophesied of Jesus: So He shall startle many nations….[Is.52:15], this is also the mission of the Church, of every Christian, for in Baptism we become participants in the prophetic mission of Christ.

If people are not startled by the Church, by Christians, then we must confess we have allowed ourselves to be compromised by the world, repent and begin again!

In 1961, St. John xxiii, wrote an apostolic letter on the Holy Rosary, "Il religioso convegno" appealing for the recitation of the Rosary for peace among the Nations. The Pontiff notes:…. the general feeling of acute anxiety about the problem of peace…….reminding us that all peoples, even those who are not Christian, are praying for peace. [3]

In 1961 the peoples of earth had good reason to be anxious: atomic weapons were still being tested, as were ever longer-range missiles; revolutions, civil wars were raging in Africa, Latin America, Asia; the Freedom Riders were being attacked in those early days of the Civil Rights movement, onto which a plethora of emerging ‘rights’ groups were starting to hitch their wagons; Kennedy would cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba, be suckered by the CIA into the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, whose repercussions, within a year, would bring the world to the brink of nuclear war; on Broadway a play would be presented called: Big Fish, Little Fish, in which play the matter of male homosexuality was explored for the first time in such an open, albeit theatrical, setting; society in general was changing rapidly in ways, at the time, few understood the implications of.

There was a lot of work going on to prepare for the Second Vatican Council in 1961!

Some great events in salvation history seem to unfold without anyone not involved noticing, even when that event is a gift for the whole Church, a whole nation, the world community.

As an example, in 1961, Catholicism, which had been rooted in Norway since the 11th century and virtually disappeared when Norway was ruled during the years of the Reformation, by Lutheran Sweden, saw the ordination of the first Norwegian Catholic priest in 500 years, and subsequently the first Norwegian bishop.

The post-war Church, by this time showing signs of the precipitous decline to come, in North America and Europe to the greatest extent, nonetheless the trend was, and continues to be in Africa and Asia, the polar-opposite.

1961 was not a year of blatant clues to the future, indeed the year in the sixties when things would really explode was still some seven years away, but the seeds of the turbulence, the gathering of the waves of the tsunami were approaching.

The zeitgeist of the sixties is rooted in the so-called ‘beatnik’ era of the late 1940’s, 50’s into the 60’s.

It is extremely rare for a new era’s zeitgeist to originate amongst the rural population. Good and bright as they are, the demands of rural life rarely afford the luxury of disputatious exploration afforded urbanites, not all of whom are necessarily university graduates or well off financially, but do live in an environment where the cunning can find the needed food, shelter, a variety of stimulants to ‘enhance’ their so-called intellectual – often pseudo-intellectual – explorations. These tended, in the fifties and sixties, and even in our own day, to lead deeply into sexual, gender, ‘spiritual’, etc. confusion and increased pressure on governments, frequently of the left, to legalize these confusions, not unlike the chaos in the world of St. Augustine’s time, who stresses that: He who becomes the protector of sin shall surely become its prisoner.

A salutary warning not just for government leaders of all stripes, but for clergy and Christians in general who compromise with the world.

The so-called ‘hippie’ generation of the sixties would take the dangerous explorations of the ‘beatnik’ generation to new depths of darkness through the use of psychedelic drugs, almost de rigour in the early days of sexual, ‘spiritual’, political adventurism, until those and other axial shifts became embedded and we continue to live in the expansion of the culture of death and darkness rooted therein.

True some of the shifts, such as deeper equality between men and women, resistance to oppression of minorities, beginning with the civil rights movement, the struggle to de-conflict the human family, have within them a dimension of good not contradictory to the Gospel.

However, as parents for generations have told overly adventurous children, it seems we adults have forgotten the adage of knowing when to ‘leave well enough alone!”

In May 1961, St. John xxiii would release his social encyclical MATER ET MAGISTRA/Mother and Teacher, a document which focuses on Christianity and Social Progress, but which contains
within prophetic insights into what was coming.

The Holy Pontiff begins with: Mother and Teacher of all nations—such is the Catholic Church in the mind of her Founder, Jesus Christ; to hold the world in an embrace of love….. She is "the pillar and ground of the truth."  though the Church's first care must be for souls, how she can sanctify them and make them share in the gifts of heaven, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man's daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity.

Pope John references Pius xi, who taught:….. what the supreme criterion in economic matters ought not to be. It must not be the special interests of individuals or groups, nor unregulated competition, economic despotism, national prestige or imperialism, nor any other aim of this sort. …..On the contrary, all forms of economic enterprise must be governed by the principles of social justice and charity.

Pope John is also prophetic about what is unfolding in the sixties and still governments interfere: …..Certainly one of the principal characteristics which seem to be typical of our age is an increase in social relationships ….This development in the social life of man is at once a symptom and a cause of the growing intervention of the State, even in matters which are of intimate concern to the individual, hence of great importance and not devoid of risk.

One of the trends surfacing on the threshold of, expanding through the sixties, echoing still in our day, was the siren song of the alleged danger of ‘over population’, which the Holy Father noted: …..there are those who hold the opinion that, in order to prevent a serious crisis from developing, the conception and birth of children should be secretly avoided, or, in any event, curbed in some way. ……Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.  ….We must reaffirm most strongly that this Catholic social doctrine is an integral part of the Christian conception of life.

With the contraceptive/abortion/homosexuality mentality [infecund by its very reality], poisoning more and more the lives of men and women throughout the sixties and beyond, it would fall to his successors, Paul vi, and John Paul ii, to take defense of the sacredness of human life: of pre-born children, the sacredness of sacramental marriage, into the heart of the battle St. John xxiii saw unfolding.

Towards the conclusion of this critical social encyclical, prophetic at its core, the Holy Father shines a light on the challenge of those times, a challenge still facing the Church, all Christians: The Church today is faced with an immense task: to humanize and to Christianize this modern civilization of ours. The continued development of this civilization, indeed its very survival, demand and insist that the Church do her part in the world. …. She is the Mother and Teacher of all nations. Her light illumines, enkindles and enflames…. She is ever powerful to offer suitable, effective remedies for the increasing needs of men, and the sorrows and anxieties of this present life.  [4]

1961 was also a year when many clues to what lay ahead were missed, likely because their full impact would not emerge until either the end of the decade or until the unfolding of the last thirty years of the 20th century and throughout the first decades of the 21st. A few examples: Margaret Mead became a darling of those in the sixties engaged in the sexual revolution, in particular because of her debateable conclusions about the sexual mores of Samoan teenagers; Carol Rogers, pushing a personalist approach to psychotherapy would be embraced by American Women’s Religious orders, with devastating results, as their example of rebellion would spread throughout the Church, including the disrespectful challenging of St. John Paul on his pastoral visit to the United States [5]; in December the United Sates would officially commit itself to the Vietnam war.

At times all of us are tempted to leave our vocations…..Remember the story which I tell you about our Bishop Founder, Archbishop Neil McNeil of Toronto, who, when I told him that I wanted to leave….bade me get a crucifix off the wall. When I did so, he told me to look at the other side; then he asked me for whom did I think it was reserved. I reluctantly answered: “For God’s friends.” He quietly went on saying: “Child, do you want to abandon the Cross, and leave God alone there? Do you truly expect Him to be happy about that? He who is so lonely? So few want to share His place with Him.”  [6]

 © 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph

[1] From the 7th Station Meditation: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2019/documents/ns_lit_doc_20190419_via-crucis-meditazioni_en.html

[2] Apostolic Constitution, Humanae salutis:  https://jakomonchak.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/humanae-salutis.pdf

[3] p. 357; Journal of A Soul; Image Books 1980

[4] MATER ET MAGISTRA: http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_15051961_mater.html

Cf. paras.: 1, 3, 37, 39, 59, 60, 187, 194, 222, 256, 262

[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1979/10/08/a-challenge-from-nuns/55441365-443c-4349-9928-247665173d2a/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5e30266890f2

[6] Dearly Beloved, Volume One, by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, pp. 215,216; Madonna House Publications, 1998

NB: A good resource is: E. Michael Jones’ study: Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehaviour. Ignatius Press 1993






Wednesday, April 10, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 2


                                    

When considering the sixties generation, we should be aware in many countries they grew up in families which had been deeply impacted by WWI, by the Great Depression, by WWII, and the Korean war. They also had grown up in the atomic era.

A reading, for example of writings of Pope Emeritus Benedict in the days leading up to the Second Vatican Council reveal his growing awareness and concern about the state of post-war and post mid-century humanity, culminating in this from the Council’s Document on the Church in the Modern world, attributed to the then Fr. Ratzinger, a petri, that is a theological advisor to the bishops at the council: The truth is that the imbalances under which the modern world labours are linked with that more basic imbalance which is rooted in the heart of man. For in man himself many elements wrestle with one another….. he suffers from internal divisions, and from these flow so many and such great discords in society……Thinking they have found serenity in an interpretation of reality everywhere proposed these days, many look forward to a genuine and total emancipation of humanity wrought solely by human effort; they are convinced that the future rule of man over the earth will satisfy every desire of his heart. [1]

Two years before the start of the sixties a woman who had been a nurse with the Russian Imperial Army in WWI, survived the Russian revolution, lived among and served the poor during the Great Depression and WWII, and after the war founded the Madonna House Lay Apostolate, which now has houses around the world, wrote in a letter to her community, on Oct. 1, 1958: I understand perfectly that modern youth has been grievously wounded by history, whether or not they realize it. Two world wars and a depression have affected both parents and children. They are also influenced by the atomic age which causes fear of destruction. [2]

Less than ten years after that letter, P. F. Sloan would write a protest song, which in 1965 rocketed to the top of the charts when released as a single sung by Barry McGuire. The song: Eve of Destruction: “Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?......Can’t you see the fears that I’m feeling today? Ah, don’t you believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

Unless we understand the extent of the emotional, spiritual damage done, to the grandparents and parents of the sixties generation, the profound damage done to that generation, then we will fail in our efforts to understand the spread of that damage into our own day as we approach the end of the second decade of the first century of the third millennium.

The point of these essays is not to dissect the events of the sixties per se, rather to look at the impact of the sixties on faith, family, life of the Church, and the eschatological impact. Before the Second Vatican Council, partly in response to the Reformation, partly in response to upheavals and revolutions with an attendant anti-church spread of laws and mentality, the mindset of the various popes from then to the Council, and of ordinary Catholics, was dominated by a siege mentality, an us against the world one which is antithetical to our Gospel mandate of preaching the Gospel to all nations, to everyone. Wherever that vacuum exists satan whispers into minds and hearts the ideas and morals of secularism which people will then implement to fill the void.

By 1960 the political shifts, the emergence of new nations as the colonial powers were ousted, the beginnings of the various civil rights and other rights movements, the spread of student revolts on campuses, of the defeatist philosophies of modern existentialists: Sartre comes to mind, who felt everything [and everyone] becomes without reason; Simeon de Beauvoir, who asserted she was way too smart to be known or loved, thus she had only herself; Abbey Hoffman, who maintained only the young could have valuable ideas.; Timothy Leary, who recommended the use of hallucinogens to discover self! These and others set the foundations of ever deepening nihilism, hedonism, relativism, loss of faith.

The Church, and not just by Her opponents from outside, is often accused of being behind the times, which is disingenuous because the Church, all Christians, are called to be in and not of the world, and unlike current social media, cannot, must not, make selfie focused instantaneous judgements or proclamations that make Christianity comprised with and complicit in the darkness of the surrounding culture of relativism, darkness and death.

Experience teaches that, for example, failure to exercise the virtue of prudence by social activists, governments, indeed parents, that is to think before speaking, consider before acting, in the main has devastating and unintended consequences, the old saying: you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Hence the wisdom, contrary to Hoffman’s ideology, of Pope Francis when it comes to the world of ideas: …..young people are also urged “to accept the authority of those who are older” (1 Pet 5:5). The Bible never ceases to insist that profound respect be shown to the elderly, since they have a wealth of experience; they have known success and failure, life’s joys and afflictions, its dreams and disappointments. In the silence of their heart, they have a store of experiences that can teach us not to make mistakes or be taken in by false promises…..It is unhelpful to buy into the cult of youth or foolishly to dismiss others simply because they are older or from another generation. Jesus tells us that the wise are able to bring forth from their store things both new and old (cf. Mt 13:52). A wise young person is open to the future, yet still capable of learning something from the experience of others. [3]

The too narrow understanding of catechesis as instruction for adult converts, the equally narrow assumption those baptized as babies some how, almost by osmosis, gain an in depth understanding of Catholic faith reveals the growing impoverishment of souls as the sixties unfolded.

Restricting catechesis to Sunday homilies is insufficient.

Before the sixties emphasis was often less on the Gospel and more on the dangers of sin and hell, sometimes exaggerating Church teaching on both. Since the sixties with the reform of the liturgy and emphasis on preaching upon the Sacred Readings, a laudatory change, unfortunately there is also, since the sixties, either too much of the priest’s agenda, drawn from compromise with the world, such as over emphasis on vague, or even counter to the faith, notions of ‘inclusion’, or an outright failure to proclaim the Gospel of Life.

Creative imagination of love is needed to take seriously and institute adult re-education programs, re-evangelization: "I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church's energies to a new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples" (St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, no. 3); "Our own time, then, must be increasingly marked by new hearing of God’s word and a new evangelization. Recovering the centrality of the divine word in the Christian life leads us to appreciate anew the deepest meaning of the forceful appeal of Pope John Paul II: to pursue the mission ad gentes and vigorously to embark upon the new evangelization, especially in those nations where the Gospel has been forgotten or meets with indifference as a result of widespread secularism" (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini no. 122).

Since the destination of every human being, every soul, is Christ, eschatology must be a central aspect of this formation for the Nietzschean assertion that God is dead, with John Robinson adding fuel to that dark fire, in the sixties, became the mindset that leads to the multiplicity of ‘spiritualities’, the allure into emptiness of Buddhism, Hinduism, both of which Hollywood and rock stars promoted, as those proponents also led the way to promiscuity, drug and pornography addictions, nihilism, hedonism, and relativism, which, when imbedded in minds and hearts, with its adamant denial of objective truth, makes any dialogue about the living-all-loving-present Divine Redeemer Jesus and the Gospel, virtually over before it has begun.

Worn out by the failed extremism of liberals on the left, including Catholics, and others, throughout the sixties, and wisely not giving into the extremism of neo-extreme right-anti just about everybody not of their ilk, a passivity has taken hold of too many people, including Catholics and Orthodox and other Christians, who may still be Sunday-observant but have otherwise given up.

We know from tragic experience that a factual event, such as the collapse of the twin towers on 9/11, can trigger a panic, a stampede of people away from danger. Likewise, we know a non-event, a rumour, indeed a lie, can also trigger a human stampede, often with people being trampled and seriously injured or killed.

Satan, the father of lies, can trigger a more subtle form of stampede, one that moves methodically over time within the human family, destroying minds and souls to the point where people deny objective truth, morality, suffer loss of faith, deny God is, of it they concede He might be, clearly He hasn’t anything relevant to say about how humans should behave or live together as one family.

Satan achieves this in a manner not unlike that used by Indigenous people for thousands of years to hunt buffalo: dressed in wolf and coyote skins the young warriors would run towards the herd to stampede the herd of buffalo over a cliff and then walk down and harvest the meat and skins they needed. Legend has it one curious young warrior positioned himself at the bottom of the cliff to watch the herd fall. He was crushed to death, hence the place to this day is known as Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump.

Satan hunts human beings, immortal souls, and uses lies, rumour, distorted philosophies, self-centeredness, and a myriad of other tricks to herd people over the edge of the abyss into the chasm of the culture of death and darkness.

Sadly, too many people, including Christians, in these days are like that young warrior, passively watching our brothers and sisters, the human family, fall over the cliff, thereby getting crushed by the darkness of the culture of death in the process: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” [Rv.3:16] How urgently we must heed this warning and draw comfort from Divine Mercy who always comes to our assistance: Then I passed by and saw you struggling in your blood, and I said to you in your blood, “Live!” [Ez. 16:6] and being strengthened by Christ’s promise: “…..behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” [Mt.28:20], we will have the courage of the martyrs to bear witness to Christ and the Gospel of life, to fulfill our vocation to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. [5:13-16]



[1] Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World; para. 10; http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

[2] Dear Beloved, Letters to the Children of My Spirit, Volume One, 1956-1963; p.88; Madonna House Publications, 1988

[3] para.16; CHRISTUS VIVIT OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND TO THE ENTIRE PEOPLE OF GOD  http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20190325_christus-vivit.html

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph