Friday, August 02, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 8


                                            

1966 reveals shifts in religion in general that continue to deepen in this 21st Century. Indeed, as an example of the continued impact, within Christianity in particular, the Vatican News Service recently reported that, in 2018, 200,000 Roman Catholics and 230,000 Protestants de-registered with the German government. [1]


The Church, who draws from Her treasury that which is ever ancient and ever new, counter-balances, with powerful examples of renewal, as found with a new religious community within the Church which has a place for those normally not considered for admission into consecrated life, the mentally challenged. [2]


By 1966 ‘spirituality’ was coming into vogue, referring not to an actual relationship with the One True God, the Most Holy Trinity, but of deeply personalized notions of often vague aspects of relationship with the undefined ‘sacred’, mostly an esoteric approach to the self as a rather flexibly defined ‘spiritual experience.’


It is important to accept that the hunger for ‘god’, for the ‘sacred’, however one might define those terms, is not a subjective but an objective truth, rooted in the depths of our being by the very fact of our being created: The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. [3]


Among the destructive substitutes pushed in 1966 to replace an authentic response to the gift of hunger for communion of love with the Most Holy Trinity, was increased use of chemical stimulants, some less a risk of long term, even permanent brain, psychological, spiritual damage, some, like LSD [lysergic acid diethylamide], among the most destructive and a precursor to the opioid crisis of today.

Among the more outrageous claims made about LSD, were that this drug would stimulate an experience of God, when in fact frequently the hallucinations triggered were so intense people engaged in behaviours that sometimes resulted in death, other times in permanent psychosis.

As if seeking to establish the societies presented in the dystopian novels of Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World and George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four, [ a great counterpoint to both is Myles Connelly’s Mr. Blue] many contemporary governments, keeping in mind the ‘grass’/marijuana of the Sixties was somewhat a mild-organic substance compared to the toxic hybrids of the 21st century, the ‘free-love’ mentality of the Sixties has morphed into an ever expanding series of deviations from the God created in His image male and female genders, fracturing both the family and society, leftist governments complicit in this by legalizing immorality, while accusing the right of trying to impose ‘their’ morality. We find ourselves deep in the darkness of the culture of death whose proximate origins is the Sixties. [4]


There is no short cut to communion of love with the Holy Trinity. The way is Jesus Himself and our willingness to take up our cross each day and follow Him: Jesus said to him, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” [Jn. 14:6]; Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Mt.16:24]


1966 also gave us: a] the pouring of tens of thousands of more troops into Vietnam, b] the growing dissident movement in the Soviet Union, c] the April Time magazine cover posing the question: “Is God Dead?”, d] the start of the cultural revolution in China under Mao, e] the founding of the church of satan in the US, f] the founding of the League for Spiritual Discovery, g] the founding of the NOW women’s movement.


All would have unforeseen consequences that impact life in the 21st century: 


a] As the United States kept sending tens of thousands of Americans to Vietnam, with draft dodgers heading north to Canada, and thousands of Canadians heading south to join the US military specifically to go fight in Vietnam, the quagmire became a vile place where villages were destroyed to save them, troops became increasingly damaged by the war itself, the horrors involved, drug use, fragging with M26 grenades, usually of officers, and decades after the war, joined subsequently by veterans of subsequent wars, thousands of ptsd afflicted, drug addicted Veterans are homeless. In a 2003 documentary, The Fog Of War, Robert McNamara, declared: “Recognize at times we have to engage in evil, but minimize it.” [5] Such insanity informs much of what motivates oppressive regimes and terrorists.


b] eventually the dissident movement in the Soviet Union would lead to the collapse of the Soviet Empire, however with no experience in their history of non-authoritarian rule the democracy sought by the people would, post 1989, eventually be crushed as the Russian elites, and oligarchs, turned to a former KGB officer, Putin, and today, as throughout their history, the people remain under the jackboot of totalitarianism. c] God certainly is not dead, because He IS, and life is something He bestows, not something bestowed upon Him. The efforts of human beings to kill Him within each other, to deaden an awareness of Him within ourselves, continue apace and to date none of the various replacements devised by human beings to replace Him within our lives have proven successful. One alone is Love, Lord and Giver of Life and we have been created to be His beloved.


d] by the time Mao was dead, and his successors appeared to end the cultural revolution, thousands had been murdered, sent to labour camps, and while it appeared for a few years things might shift, with the explosion of China into an economic and military super-power, these days the current regime has returned to the murderous ways of previous regimes and has become an economic and military threat. e] since time immemorial, without necessarily knowing satan was the one being worshipped and surrendered to, human beings have formed relationships, cultic often in nature, with satan and his minions. Adjunct to this are occult practices, and in the end the blasphemous use of the term ecclesia/church should surprise no one, for everything about evil is a distortion of good, of truth and an attempted replacement of the One True Good One with the darkness of the culture of death. f] the so-called ‘spirituality of the League’, is simply the same distortion in another costume.


g] NOW, the National Organization of Women, set it motion tremendous waves of angry pressure which has foisted upon society abortion, gender confusion, a manipulation of human and civil rights to the extent that it appears today there is no conceivable limit to what becomes declared as a ‘right’, nor to leftist governments supporting such deviations in law.


A phenomena of the Sixties, in democratic countries, was the morphing of the various groups arguing, protesting for changes in the culture, in society in general, in morality, for free speech, social justice. Civil and human rights activists increasingly became extreme in their demands, resulting in such pushback, now in the 21st century, that divisions within countries between the left and the right, hostility against people of Christian faith, nations of all types simply do not understand each other, populations within nations experience such divisions it is as if we are all trapped on a plethora of islands, like abandoned adolescents accompanied by younger and ever more immature, frightened, children. It is the Lord Of The Flies revisited! “Maybe there is a beast… maybe it's only us.” [6]

While wars, revolutions, student protests, civil rights struggles continued apace there was another ominous event which occurred in 1966, the murderous repercussions of which continue to this day: resurgence of the Ba’ath Party which led to coups and other acts of violence leading to the murderous regimes in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, triggering innumerable wars, civil wars, Islamist terrorism. [7]


Perhaps the most sagacious words applicable to the global chaos in the hearts and minds, the denials and aspirations of the influencers of the Sixties, and those who went along with the axial shifts, are these from Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis: We human beings do indeed tend to construct such impossible mazes of logic, and live quite comfortably in the face of our own absurdity, if only we can have our way and at the same time assuage our consciences…….The human soul is made for essential relationship, and so it will necessarily be “indwelt” by either alien forces of destruction or the life-giving energy of the Blessed Trinity. We are made to be resplendent temples of God’s Spirit, and yet we are quite capable of turning ourselves into pigsties. [8]



[1] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-07/germany-catholic-protestant-churches-decline-membership.html

[2] https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2019-07/stories-religious-sisters-with-down-syndrome.html

[3] http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P9.HTM

[4] Good resources for anyone struggling with addictions or, in common parlance, sexual identity: Romans Chapter 6; Addiction And Grace by Gerald G. May; Broken Image by Leanne Payne.

[5] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317910/

[6] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7624.Lord_of_the_Flies

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27ath_Party

[8] FIRE of MERCY HEART of The WORD, Volume II, p.111 & p. 169; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Ignatius Press, 2003

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Thursday, July 11, 2019

THE SIXTIES HAVE OVERCOME US ~ PART 7


                                       

Among the Nobel Laureates, for literature, was a Greek poet-diplomat: Georgios Seferiades, known in English by his nomme de plume, George Seferis. A prolific writer his 1935 opus: Mythistorema, a long mythical narrative, easily applicable to the condition of much of the human family not only in 1965, the year under consideration here, but even today in 2019, when it comes to the angst, confusion, wandering of much of humanity as if suspended on a mobius stripe pathway seeking meaning, self, God.

A few excerpts from the poem: ……… we were searching to find once more the first seed so that the age-old drama could begin again……On winter nights the strong wind from the east maddened us, in the summers we were lost in the agony of days that couldn’t die……. When we go down to the harbours on Sunday to breathe freely we see, lit in the sunset, the broken planks from voyages that never ended, bodies that no longer know how to love…….what were you looking for in front of ashes or in the rain in the fog in the wind even when the lights were growing dim and the city was sinking and on the stone pavement the Nazarene showed you his heart, what were you looking for? [1]

1965 would see the US Supreme Court declare the use of contraceptives to be legal, as the culture of the body as a thing to be used for pleasure expanded;  people became increasingly enamoured by the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Thomas Merton, and others, misusing them to justify new age ways seeking to re-make truth, morality, matters of faith, into versions which exalted virtually anything that contradicts revealed truth and seeks to undermine Christianity. “Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.”, so writes Walter Martin in that year with his seminal work on cults. [2]

Among the most pernicious groups seeking to undermine the Catholic Church from within and without: Freemasonry which released a film, in 1965, intended to make themselves appear benign. In 1884 Pope Leo XIII published his encyclical Humanum Genus, where, warning about what he called the “capital enemy”,  he notes: …..Now, the fundamental doctrine of the naturalists, which they sufficiently make known by their very name, is that human nature and human reason ought in all things to be mistress and guide. Laying this down, they care little for duties to God, or pervert them by erroneous and vague opinions. For they deny that anything has been taught by God; they allow no dogma of religion or truth which cannot be understood by the human intelligence, nor any teacher who ought to be believed by reason of his authority. And since it is the special and exclusive duty of the Catholic Church fully to set forth in words truths divinely received, to teach, besides other divine helps to salvation, the authority of its office, and to defend the same with perfect purity, it is against the Church that the rage and attack of the enemies are principally directed. [3] Much in the teaching applies not only to the disorders of the Sixties, but those of our own day. [4]

Combined with many bishops and priests becoming more leftist-secularist and joining ersatz leftist Catholic politicians with their pet projects, 1965 also saw the still open wounds of the American and Canadian bishops imposing their revised Missal which accelerated the demolishing of church interiors with the removal of altar railings, statues, votive candles, discouraging so-called ‘popular piety’, as the stampede from the priesthood and religious life continued to empty rectories, convents, monasteries. Bad enough priests and nuns eschewed clerical dress and religious habits, they did not simply abandon but fled from visible, and faithful consecrated life, hence the faithful, who were starting to abandon the Church with broken hearts, had clown masses, jazz masses, imposed upon them. Worse still, as late as 1985 in pawn shops, and even worse places, could be found tossed out chalices and other religious objects from the era.

On television Candid Camera, originating on radio in the late 1940s as ‘candid mike’, was still garnering large audiences. Such programs like that would morph by the 21st century into so-called ‘reality tv’, the only real thing about such shows being the willingness of people to submit themselves to various demeaning challenges/situations. In the late 19th and early 20th century so-called ‘freak-shows’, often part of traveling carnivals, were a popular form of voyeurism, until the public smartened up, a least for a while. But then with men and women, sometimes imposing such desecration on their young children, tattooing themselves from head to toe with skulls and snakes and the like being popular, how can we be surprised by the ratings of the contemporary freak shows known as ‘reality tv’?

Twenty years after the end of World War II the last of the three major leaders during that war, Sir Winston Churchill dies and is given a state funeral, while the world continues to lurch along, confused, violent, with revolutions and civil wars in many countries, millions oppressed under communist regimes.

Founded in 1930 in Detroit, the Nation of Islam saw its prominent activist member, Malcolm X, assassinated. Tragically the ongoing murders and brutality against American Blacks and their white brothers and sisters who walked with them, suffered with them for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam, rarely got the same attention unless, such as the infamous ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Alabama that year, the numbers of those killed, 34, were high enough to be newsworthy.

In bizarre and un-Christian acts, perhaps imitating a Buddhist monk who had done so in Vietnam in 1963, first a Quaker and then two members of the Catholic Worker Movement, set themselves on fire and died of their burns, all to protest the hated war.

Dorothy Day, Foundress of the Catholic Worker Movement, wrote about the first suicide in the movement’s paper in an article: “Suicide or Sacrifice”: "It is not only that many youths and students throughout the country are deeply sensitive to the sufferings of the world,…….They have a keen sense that they must be responsible and make a profession of their faith that things do not have to go on as they always have–that men are capable of laying down their lives for others, taking a stand, even when the all-encroaching State and indeed all the world are against them." [5]

The Movement is often described as Christian Anarchism and for all its then and now works of mercy and defense of the poor, striving for social justice, like so much from the sixties, be it in politics, religion, art, the pervasiveness and influence of naturalist, hedonistic, relativism, with  much intended to be good social changes imposed from above by the leftist-humanist approach, glorifying pointless suicide, because that is not the same thing as laying down one’s life, or at least risking it, in front of the tanks pouring into Prague of Tiananmen Square, by 1965 the elites and others pushing agendas which still hobble and wound the human family in our day, should have heard, need to hear:…. they stagger in their visions, they totter when giving judgment. Yes, all the tables are covered with vomit, with filth, and no place left clean. [Isaiah 28: 7,8]

Having published four years previously his work on Mystics and Zen Masters by 1965 Thomas Merton was deep into speaking out about civil rights, against the war in Vietnam and delving more and more into Eastern religions.

During his speech to the US Congress in 2015 Pope Francis would refer both to Day and Merton: In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints……..A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions. [6]

The above is noted here as simply another example of the ongoing impact of events, philosophies, personalities from the Sixties.

On September 3, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical on the Most Holy Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei: The Mystery of Faith, that is, the ineffable gift of the Eucharist that the Catholic Church received from Christ, her Spouse, as a pledge of His immense love, …… For if the sacred liturgy holds first place in the life of the Church, then the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life that cleanses us and strengthens us to live not for ourselves but for God and to be united to each other by the closest ties of love.  [7]

In his address to the United Nations in October, the Holy Father stressed: As you know very well, peace is not built merely by means of politics and a balance of power and interests. It is built with the mind, with ideas, with the works of peace…... Will the world ever come to change the selfish and bellicose outlook that has spun out such a great part of its history up to now?….. The work of peace is not restricted to one religious belief, it is the work and duty of every human person, regardless of his religious conviction. Men are brothers, God is their Father, and their Father wills that they live in peace with one another as brothers should. [8a,b]

Towards the end of October the Holy Father promulgated the document of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, the declaration on relations with non-Christian religions, which begins with a statement somewhat battered and abused by those who took/take it as somehow advocating a type of ‘all religions are basically the same’: In our time, when day by day mankind is being drawn closer together, and the ties between different peoples are becoming stronger, the Church examines more closely her relationship to non-Christian religions. In her task of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, she considers above all in this declaration what men have in common and what draws them to fellowship.[9]

Then the day before the Council closed Pope Paul VI promulgated the Council’s Document on Religious Freedom: In faithfulness therefore to the truth of the Gospel, the Church is following the way of Christ and the apostles when she recognizes and gives support to the principle of religious freedom as befitting the dignity of man and as being in accord with divine revelation.  [10]

On December the 8th the Second Vatican Council officially ended.

Without getting into the weeds of the debate over the repercussions of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council, it is well to remember spiritual warfare, as is evident from there being a traitor within the ranks of the Apostles, through early Church History in the Acts of the Apostles, the turbulence of the years of great heresies, the great schism, the reformation and counter reformation to this very day warfare is inevitably within and from without the Church  because the members of the Body of Christ, also members of the human family with all our virtues and vices, humility and ambitions.

The post-conciliar wounds remain deep, some are festering still. This aspect of the sixties may well be with us for decades to come, even with the best efforts of St. John Paul II and his successors to heal the wounds, restore Orthodox Catholic teaching and praxis.

Certainly, flowing from 1965 “Something has gone drastically wrong with the worship of the Church……what has gone wrong: the liturgy is no longer primarily the worship of God, but a celebration of our needs and ‘our own life experience’…….Catholicism has to do in the first place, and essentially, with the Passion and death, the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. 
It   is this mystery of our redemption that the Church has to try to present and to make real to the modern world. [11]



[1] George Seferis: Collected Poems, Princeton University Press, 1995

[2] The Kingdom of Cults by Walter Martin, first published 1965, revised and update 2019, Bethany House publications.

[3] http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18840420_humanum-genus.html

[4]  INFLITRATION, The Plot To Destroy The Church From Within, by Taylor Marshall, Crisis Publications, Sophia Institute Press, 2019

[5] https://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/articles/834-plain.htm

[6] https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150924_usa-us-congress.html

[7]  http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_03091965_mysterium.html

[8a] http://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651004_united-nations.html and at the Church of the Holy Family: [8b] https://w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/speeches/1965/documents/hf_p-vi_spe_19651004_sacra-famiglia-new-york.html

[9] http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

[10] http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

[11] THE MASS and MODERNITY, Walking To Heaven Backward, Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory, pp. 31 & 195; Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2005



© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph




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