Parishioners write on women's dress and the father's role in the family

January 1, 1994

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

January, month of the Holy Family, is the first month of each year. Each year has twelve months, and January is the first. Every year begins with January. Unlike some of the other months, January has 31 days, but like each of the other eleven months, it comes round once a year. There is never a year without January to start it. However, every year January comes in the middle of winter, so since winter is cold, the weather in January is usually cold. Because it is cold, it is usually not hot...

- Well done, Your Excellency, that's better! At last you are learning not to be controversial!

...However, January's cold weather requires warm clothing, and so each year about this time some women have a difficulty. That difficulty consists, briefly, in SLA...

- Oh no, oh no, Bishop, oh no, PLEASE NO! SLA-MMING critics who wish to interfere in women's choice of fashions, and so since this letter always seeks to avoid unnecessary provocation, because surely none of its readers ever deserve to be provoked, for they all have excellent intentions which are in no fashion to be criticized, then let this January letter tip-toe away from the fatal S-word, and rally instead to the support of those wives and mothers and grandmothers and daughters who by their dress and demeanour are so deserving of support.

Nor need I write myself. After all, what does a middle-aged bachelor with ideas from the Middle Ages know about family life being lived in today's world? But if I quote some of your own eloquent letters, nobody can say they are out of touch with real life. You ladies that stay at home, that wear nothing but dresses, that bring into the world and look after the children that God sends, that love and obey your difficult, neglectful, scornful husbands, you have the total support year in, year out, New Year in, Old Year out, of one pre-historic, antediluvian, out-dated, fascist, colonialist, retrograde, backward-looking, old-fashioned, male chauvinist porcine dinosaur — no names!

Here is the first letter, actually a little over two years old.

Your Excellency,

Thank you so much for your letter of November 3, (1991). You would think it would be obvious, but I think we women should also be told not to go swimming - or at least not in the bathing suits that are popular.

In addition to immodesty, if there's something equally important that our husbands should forbid us doing, it would be working outside the home. How can a mother preserve the sanctity of the home if daily she is in the world with all its perversions and temptations? The first step in filtering, the spirit of the world out of the home is to throw out the television. It seems the second must be the mother's embracing of her vocation — embracing housework, submission to her husband, having babies as God desires, and poverty if need be, in order to stay home.

1 am in my late twenties and for most women my age, the acceptance of motherhood and staying home as a moral responsibility is repugnant if not an ultimate "heresy. " The hidden life has joys which the daughters of Eve will never taste, as long as they remain daughters of Eve. They cannot understand the wisdom of David's saying, "It is good for me that Thou halt humbled me... " (Ps. 118:71).

Thank you, Excellency, for humbling us.

In Christ and Mary,

Mrs. X, Ohio

Of course, she is wrong in thinking that anyone reasonable would dream of humbling such wise people as adults of the late 20th Century, especially if they are women! Hell hath no fury...

Here is the second letter, undated, but I have the original on file and can send a photocopy if anyone thinks I wrote it myself.

Dear Bishop Williamson,

We just received your newsletter and are always so impressed by your descriptions and flowery style of writing while grasping the truth in such away that we must ponder, "Why didn't I see this before?" But, better see it late than never...especially while we still have a breath left in our body - we have a soul to save!!

I'm just a little slow on your issue of skirts, Your Excellency, but you are so, so right. It is oh, so difficult today to tell the men from the women, especially from behind with these men wearing earrings and pony tails! Ugh!! Start little girls out by putting dresses on them and they take it for granted. Our 6-year-old wears them every day without a thought or even a care as to what any other girl has on.

As for television, I've been around since it was first available in American homes (1'm an old mother with a 6-year-old), and looking back and to today's programming, it has been insidious how the programs have degenerated, yet hooked the public on their mesmerizing effect. We rid ourselves of the "beast " well over a year ago (it should have been sooner) and good riddance to it. This has been our first year homeschooling a 16, 13, Il, and 6-year-old, and I and my 13-year-old (my husband, too, I pray) just joined the Third Order of the Society. I can't begin to tell you the change in our two boys. They both serve as altar boys for Father Y, who has been a real blessing to them with his patience and kindness teaching them how to do everything correctly. The highlight of their week is Saturday and Sunday when they can serve (as it is the highlight of all of us). Father Y gave us the honor of staying at our home over the Easter weekend and what a busy time for him! Our two boys were there every step he took, even being up until 3:30 A.M. Saturday and up again at 7:00 A.M. the following morning.

It just thrills my husband and I to watch them flourish with the Church in her budding glory since the destructive Vatican II We would be so, so happy if one or both had a vocation. One thing is certain: it would never happen in public school! That's a whole new story. If only the parents would open their eyes to the rot and lies taught there. Incredible! Poor, poor souls! So misled, so deceived!

Bishop Williamson, keep right on telling us what we need to know!! We were floundering for so many years that we all are tainted with Liberalism. Show us how to cleanse our minds, hearts and souls from that poison! We need to know, whether anyone likes it or not! We must raise our youngsters in the pure Catholic Faith so that, as you so aptly put it, the Church, like the South, may "rahse" again, and it will! What a heritage, what a blessing to be born into the true Catholic Faith. What an even greater blessing to be a convert in later life as my husband is. What graces he has received! God is so good, so patient, so wonderful. We want everyone to know Him. It is so tragic to see the people searching for the truth "in all the wrong places, " as the song goes.

God bless the Archbishop, we are so indebted to him, and God bless the Seminary newsletter. We can't wait for each and every golden word.


Mrs. Z, New York

Well, folks, what can I say? I'm a little embarrassed... I mean... Oh well... you see... I guess it's nice to have a bit of company in the dinosaur park!

The third letter goes back nearly eleven years. It has lain in my files for years because I suppose I always thought I might quote it one day (I do get some excellent letters). Ladies, you will have to admit that it looks as though I have for years been getting at the men! After listening to a sermon, this third mother wrote:

I just don't know when I have felt so very grateful (and relieved!) when I listened to you speak of "man's role in the home" last Sunday in our parish, particularly when you said "no matter how pious (not that I am pious -1 am nowhere near pious enough) a mother or a woman is - she cannot provide the lead that the man must provide. " Like many women today, I have suffered not only for myself, but my children have suffered, and their children are suffering because husbands and fathers have literally and emotionally abandoned responsibilities and obligations, abdicated their roles and lead self-gratifying lives of their own. Women have been abused, really abused, by the treatment and deprivations visited on them and their children. And 1, like so many others, felt that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I tried to compensate, it didn't work. There was no emotional support, no respect, no nothing. I've often wondered what happened to moral values, the goals, protection and love that men were supposed to have for their families - and in the name of God, what about conscience?

Whether or not you realized it, your words helped not a few women who were at Mass — at least five or six that I know of personally. I just want to say Thank You, Father — your words helped to lighten a very heavy burden for me, and I'm sure many others. Although I must assume responsibility in the matter of choice, I can plead only that I really believed with all my heart that people were basically good, and that the man I loved wanted the same things I did, and that of course meant everything that my Catholic Faith stood for. I couldn't have been more wrong. Somewhere along the line, a lot of men believe that if they provide basic necessities of life, their obligations are satisfied; if they make noises like the big boss, no matter how unreasonable, they are the "head of the house, " and discipline takes the form of threats, intimidation, verbal abuse, profanity, and obscenity. It is so sad. Heavy drinking, promiscuity, and "me-firsts" are the badges of masculinity. And how the family suffers!

I hope I didn't take too much of your time by writing, and I don't mean to presume, but I felt so grateful for your words last Sunday I felt I had to tell you how much they helped.

God Bless you and all the priests.


A parishioner, Virginia

I still always maintain that the large part of modern woman’s and the modern family’s problems come from the man. For instance, is it a reasonable guess that the vicious feminism of a number of today's feminists goes back to the tragic abuse of their innocence and purity in their youth by some uncontrolled male, even within the family? Women are survivors, but there is abuse which wounds so deeply that revenge can become a major motive to survive.

Boys, men, be it books, magazines, or videotapes, shun pornography! To measure the devastation of pornography, get hold from Focus on the Family of the 25-minute interview on videotape given to Dr. James Dobson by the serial killer Ted Bundy on the eve of his execution about two years ago. Lucidly and decently the repentant killer explains how despite a good home, he got into soft-core, graduated to hard-core and from the hard-core fantasy was impelled into the hard-core reality. And he says there are multiple Ted Bundys building up this way in every American town. God, have mercy on us! (Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80995-0001. Tel: 1-800-232-6459).

Positively, the Society of St. Pius X priests in Australia are producing a monthly magazine called Catholic Family which may be warmly recommended, and is available from the Angelus Press office at 2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109-1500, Tel: (816) 753-0073. Mothers, subscribe!

Last recommendation: the Society pilgrimage to Lourdes, Spain and Fatima guided by Father Bourmaud (known to many of you from his ten years in the United States), lasting 13 days from July 3 to July 15 this summer, costing $2,250 per person from New York. Ring (203) 929-6409 for details.

Enclosed is a flyer on the various bishops of Catholic Tradition. It was written not by me but by a Society of St. Pius X priest here in Winona. If we send it out from the Seminary, please believe it is less to attack what anyone else is doing than to give friends of the Society the means or arguments to defend what the Society is doing. Heaven knows, in this present crisis of Church and world, any of us can go crazy at quite short notice!

Priestly ordinations at Winona this year: Saturday, June 25.

Happy New Year! If God be with us, who can be against us?

Dinoserely yours in Christ,