February 1, 1997
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
We are in trouble. Dead trouble. Listen to this.
In our dear little Midwestern town of Winona, in woodland adjoining the parking-lot of a supermarket at the foot of the Seminary's own hill, through this way-below-freezing winter are living in cardboard shacks a dozen teen-age children! What?? Yes, our Seminary Secretary (whom many of you know on the telephone) went on a visit of mercy just before Christmas to see with her own eyes the children and their shacks. What on earth?? Why on earth??
It is not a material problem. As one of the woodland girls, 12 years old, told Mrs. Mehren: "My parents said to me, ' We give you everything you can possibly need, so if you don't like it, you can leave!' I left." One 16-year old boy has been in the woods for three years, and can see no future for himself (" Good-bye, cruel world"?). But no doubt the children still prefer warm hearts in cold shacks to warm houses with cold hearts. Man does not live by central heating alone.
But are not such children an indisciplined exception? Indisciplined maybe, but they are more and more the rule. Check out your own town. The police in Winona know. They regularly go in and break up the shacks, but the children promptly re-build them! As for lack of discipline, it is all too easy to dismiss these children as indisciplined. Why are they indisciplined? Because they have never felt any warmth or meaning behind any discipline they have known. Human beings need to feel human. Human beings need to feel human.
The point is well made by a New-Ager of all people, editorializing in the January issue of a little Midwestern monthly sent to me because it says what this letter was trying to say last month about the message of the Rock group, Pink Floyd. I quote: '... The song 'A Brick in the Wall'... was a haunting message of alienation ("We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control")... It was not just about an education system... It was about not listening. It was about treating children as programmed robots moving along a conveyor belt headed toward the job market. Adults didn't get it then and, unfortunately, they still aren't getting it now that they are in the midst of an even more evolved breed of children who will not tolerate the system as it now stands... Educators are drugging kids to keep them in their chairs in the classroom. Instead of changing the 'system' to meet the needs of students, they change the students to work within the system..."
Do readers remember who was the last person quoted in this letter as saying exactly that, only he said it for adults as well as children, namely people being fitted to technology instead of technology being fitted to people? It was the Unabomber. When "sane" people are crazy (inhuman), it seems to take "crazy" people to be sane (human).
Of course children need discipline, and Rock musicians for instance are indisciplined by principle, but again, why? It is easy to dismiss "grunge" music (a recent kind of Rock) with a description like this one appearing in last November's issue of the "Mindszenty Report”: "... Grunge music for the unenlightened has no melody, sounds something like a 20-car pileup on the freeway at rush hour and is executed by very thin young men with blank stares and wardrobes from a skidrow flea market..." But one must ask: have the wise elders of such decent Catholic publications as the Mindszenty Report taken the full measure of phenomena such as "grunge" Rock which they so brilliantly dismiss? Do they see any serious problem at all in the king of "grunge" Kurt Cobairi s being idolized by millions of teen-agers even as be blows his own head to smithereens with a shot-gun? "Where's the outrage?" was the title of the Mindszenty Report article. "Where should the real outrage be directed?" is the question good Mindszentians should be asking. There are today thousands of decent citizens and dozens of decent organizations denouncing the filth rising all around us, but how many of them are asking the right questions? Decency is not enough, especially in Catholics. What future do even decent men have when their youth are resorting to shacks and shotguns? Euthanasia - if they are lucky.
Of course problems of youth are no more nor less than symptoms of problems of adults. To your materialistic and outwardly despairing Rock musician corresponds exactly your materialistic and inwardly despairing businessman (cf. T.S. Eliot's "Wasteland"), and between them, of course, the family falls to pieces. Alas, decent businessmen convince themselves that the ever-rising stock market, economic prosperity and technological progress prove that democracy with separation of Church and State and religious liberty are the founding principles of the most wonderful way of life ever known to man.
To such adults the Lord God keeps sending wake-up calls. For instance here in the United States we have had over the last few years an unprecedented series of floods, fires, heatwaves, snowstorms, droughts, earthquakes, all kinds of natural disasters to get men's attention, but self-satisfied materialism seems to be stuck in the businessmen's mouths like a baby's pacifier: Federal Disaster Relief will fix the problem. Our Government can see off these so-called "acts of God". In fact our Government replaces God, who is just a sugar-daddy that should be content with the candy graciously given to him on Sunday morning by our religious liberty.
That is how "decent" businessmen think, and they include all too many "Catholics". But the Lord God of Hosts has news for them all. He exists, and He is immensely patient, but He does not play games, and He is not replaced by Government. Witness the bombing of the Alfred E. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 19, two years ago, as presented in the enclosed “Verbum”.
"Oh dear", I can hear readers say, "here we go into politics again!" No, we are going into the religious problem behind politics, which is the modern nations' making of politics into a substitute religion, and of their government into a substitute god, because they have turned away from the True God.
"But can't you give us some spiritual up-lift instead of the dreary world which we have all too much of?" The up-lift should be from the sugar-and-spice "God" of Sunday morning to the real Lord of Lords and King of all days of the week, to whom all politics and politicians are subject, and who blinds apostate nations with the media they trust and scourges them with the governments they pretend to put in His place.
"But why drag up the Oklahoma bombing which is nearly two years old?" Because for people who pretend to respect practical facts and scientific evidence, here as it happens was a clear case of a crime engineered to betray the people and covered up by the media to deceive the people. Let all readers stop thinking now we have government by the people or for the people. Modern democracies are a sham. The system is not working. Our help is in the Lord God alone. The system is in the hands of traitors by a just punishment of God.
"Then you are a conspiracy nut!" Logically, whoever believes in the system cannot believe any conspiracy controls it. But the great advantage of the Oklahoma bombing (as opposed to, for instance, the rather more complicated JFK assassination) is that for anyone who takes the trouble to examine the evidence, it is as clear as can be that those who are presented in public as having committed the crime, cannot possibly have done so. The real criminals have been hidden from view, unless of course the Murrah Building columns fell down all by themselves. They were certainly not blown down by the public van bomb.
"But who except ring-wing terrorists would have any motive for such a crime?" Whoever thought to profit by it. Our secret government sought to stampede public opinion and Congress into passing "anti-terrorist" legislation to help clamp the One World tyranny upon the American people. It also sought to get its public President re-elected in 1996 (as happened) after his party did so poorly at the polls in 1994. He himself told a journalist that between those dates it was the Oklahoma bombing that turned his bad fortune into good fortune.
"'Secret government'! What nonsense! We are living in America!" If you wish to believe the Murrah columns fell down by themselves, you will believe it. "Conspiracy nut" is an expression flowing from the liberals' conviction that their way of life and government is far superior to anything that went before it. Let us suppose that what went before was open tyranny. Oklahoma demonstrates we now have secret tyranny.
"You are just being anti-American once more!" All nations today are going the American way, but that is not the fault of Americans, it is the nations' own fault. The problem is world-wide apostasy which it takes a Catholic to understand, but which any historian knows neither originated in, nor runs deepest or guiltiest in, the United States.
"But your anti-Americanism is killing the apostolate!" Anti-liberalism scares off many liberal Catholics today, but uncompromising Catholics are the only hope for tomorrow, be they only a handful. Church and world depend on such Catholics.
"Well, I don't want to know. I prefer my God and my country to be made of sugar and spice and all things nice." Then skip the Oklahoma article, and stick to sugar and spice, but do not be surprised if your children walk out on your world of lies, and even turn the shot-guns on you! It is already happening more and more. Wake up!
Nor will the "fix-it" mentality fix the problem, any more than it would fix the children in winter shacks. Here is the fixit mentality as expressed in a recent newspaper magazine article on the future of the United States. “We perceive our civic challenge as a vast, insoluble Rubik's Cube. Behind each problem lies another problem that must be solved first, and behind that lies yet another, and another, ad infinitum. To fix crime we have to fix the family, but before we do that we have to fix welfare, and that means fixing our budget, and that means fixing our civic spirit; but we can't do that without fixing moral standards, and that means fixing schools and churches, and that means fixing the inner cities, and that's impossible unless we fix crime."
Poor non-Catholics! What darkness they walk in! But Catholics know that that vicious circle is broken into by attendance at the real Sacrifice of the Mass. There they learn to make real sacrifices for their spouses and children (not just “quality time” - hypocritical horror! But quantity time for one's nearest to make them dearest). Then marriage, children and the family recover, and with this seeking of the kingdom of God and his justice, the recovery of all things we really need is added unto us (Mt. VI, 33). So the follow-up question which the decent Mindszentians should be asking is, "Where is the nearest true Mass?"
Dear friends, please do not swamp the Seminary secretary with offers of blankets for the shack children, but please do pray for their souls, and do give time and your human heart to some youngsters within range. Our Lord died for every one of them!
And may He keep all our hearts warm in this wintry scene!
Most sincerely yours in his Sacred Heart,