Today, America’s ruling Masons — in many cases, the identical men cited above — are posing as fierce foes of Communism. We hope no American Catholics will be fooled by this turnabout and suppose the Masons now to be their friends and allies. To guard against such notions, we print a point for meditation from the encyclical Humanum Genus of Pope Leo XIII:
“Freemasonry is not only not opposed to the plans of Socialists and Communists, but it looks upon them with the greatest favor, as its leading principles are identical with theirs.”
Last month, however, as commencement grew nearer, it became quite clear that Harvard had no intention of comforting a poor widow’s declining years with one of its sheepskin handouts. Unruffled, the local Hebrew element told Mrs. Roosevelt to come up to Boston just the same.
Upon arrival, she was escorted out to Waltham, Massachusetts, and presented with her consolation prize — an honorary degree from Jew-owned-and-operated Brandeis University.
“It is not allowed to affirm that Confucius was saved. Christians, when interrogated, must answer that those who die as infidels are damned!”
But suddenly, at its height, the movement was stopped. Because one man feared and envied the Austrian Emperor’s growing influence, he paid five tubs of gold to the King of Sweden, a Protestant and a military genius, to persuade him to war against Austria. As a result of this plot, the Emperor’s conquests, which had been gathering nation after nation back into the Church, were abruptly checked; and a firm, inimical Protestant bloc was thenceforth established in Europe. And the man who by his gold and political intrigue was responsible for accomplishing all this was Armand Jean Cardinal de Richelieu, First Minister of France and Bishop of the Catholic Church.
Since the time when Jesus chose His twelve Apostles, His first Bishops, and one of them betrayed Him, He has suffered continuously and bitterly at the hands of those in His Church most empowered to protect Him. For let no one suppose that Cardinal Richelieu was unique. Prominent though his perfidy may have been, he remains but one member of a great unhallowed host. He was but observing an ancient precedent: the precedent of Judas. And in every age, in every place where the Church has established herself, this precedent has had abundant followers.
There was Nestorius, fifth century Bishop of Constantinople, who stood up in his Cathedral and proclaimed that Our Lady was not the Mother of God; and Sergius, Bishop of that same troubled city two centuries later, who taught his flock that Our Lord had no human will, and so was not truly man.
There was Bishop Cauchon of France, who, for the sake of gratifying his political friends, declared that Joan of Arc, whom God had sent to save France for the Faith, was a heretic and a witch, and had her burned at the stake. There was Cardinal Wolsey of England, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of the Realm, who spent his life rendering unto Caesar (in this case, King Henry VIII) the things that were God’s. And less than a decade after Wolsey, there was every Bishop in England, except Saint John Fisher, willing to allow that the King and not the Vicar of Christ was the head of the Church.
The catalogue of such Bishops is endless. They have been in the East and in the West, in the ages of Faith and the ages of infidelity; they have been men who won the praise and glory of the world and men who lived in loneliness and frustration; they have been proud men and ambitious men and vain, worldly men. But wherever and whenever these Bishops have been, whatever has been their motive, or manner, or provocation, the essential fact remains the same: Judas-wise, they have betrayed Jesus.
It is true that with other men betrayal is not so sure and discernible as with a Bishop. But a Bishop is not like other men; he is a successor of the Apostles. He has the primary responsibility for teaching and spreading the Faith, and is divinely guaranteed that he will be given whatever grace he needs to perform his task with absolute singleness of purpose. He is constituted a shepherd, and, for better or for worse, culpably or not, his people are inclined to believe, to trust, and to follow him. Saint John Chrysostom says, “He (a Bishop) is answerable for the sins of others. To pass over everything else: if but one soul dies without Baptism, does it not entirely endanger his own salvation?”
And this leads us inevitably to the subject of here and now.
That the state of the Faith in America today is at a subterranean level — with wholesale ignorance, indifference, and apostasy — is a fact only a spiritual moron could miss. Certainly the American Bishops have not missed it. Periodically they issue broadsides against “secularism,” and “the disintegration of family life,” and kindred abstractions, which they earnestly assure us are the root of the evil. Despite this frantic pointing elsewhere, however, it is plain to see that the chief responsibility for the loss of the Faith in this country belongs to no one or nothing but the American Bishops themselves. And, however reluctant they or we might be to admit it, it seems fairly certain that future generations of Catholics are going to read in the history books that there were in the middle of the twentieth century certain Bishops ruling the Church in America who, by compromise and concealment of the dogmas they were consecrated to teach, wounded the Church just as grievously and betrayed Jesus just as surely as Richelieu or anyone else before them.
Yet, there is this hope and consolation. If just one Bishop would own frankly that the collapse in this country is due primarily to the failure of the hierarchy; if he would risk making himself unpopular with Masons and Jews, and with other Bishops as well; if he would work purely and entirely to increase love for Jesus and to teach men the way of salvation — then the story of what those other American Bishops, the bad ones, have wrought would not have to be the last chapter in the history of the Church in America.
The Liberal Catholics of our country are now making another concession to Interfaith charity and Brotherhood benevolence. They are saying, “It was not the Jews who crucified Christ; it was the Romans.”
I should like to ask these Liberal Catholics a few pointed and direct questions on the subject of Our Lord’s death.
Was it the Romans who came out to seize Him in the Garden of Olives with swords and clubs on the night of His Passion, and who brought Him bound to the High Priest, and then to Pontius Pilate, demanding that He should be killed?
Was it a Roman who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and was it to Romans He was sold for thirty pieces of silver?
Was the High Priest a Roman, who rent his garments and accused Our Lord of blasphemy when He declared Himself to be the Eternal Son of God?
Was it a Roman crowd which stood before the tribunal of Pontius Pilate and shouted: “If this man were not a malefactor we would not have handed Him over to you ... His blood be upon us and upon our children!”
Was it the Romans who disowned Jesus as the King of the Jews, and did not want the inscription placed over His head on the Cross when He hung, crowned with thorns, and with nails in His hands and His feet?
Was it God’s judgment in Heaven that the Romans had killed Christ, and was that why the Power of the Almighty some thirty years later razed the Temple of Jerusalem to the ground, and left not a stone upon a stone, and has never allowed it to be rebuilt from that day to this?
In the prayers of the Mass for Good Friday of Holy Week, the priest refers to the “perfidious Jews” as the ones who betrayed and crucified Christ. Should he be saying the “perfidious Romans”? And has it been wrong for the Church to put it the first way for as long as her history?
When Our Lord hung upon the Cross His first reported words were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Do the Liberal Catholics really think Our Lord was referring to the Jews when He said, “They know not what they do”? Was it the Jewish Chief Priests, the Scribes and the Ancients, with whom He sat daily teaching in the Temple and who, when He was crucified, wagged their heads and mocked Him and shouted: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save” — was it these who knew not what they did, and whom Our Lord asked the Father to forgive?
Saint Luke tells us clearly that Jesus said this of the Roman soldiers who “dividing his garments, cast lots.” And Saint Matthew tells us that these same Romans, after Jesus expired on the Cross, cried out in one voice with their Centurion, “Indeed, this was the Son of God!”
Everyone agrees that magazines are a menace.
There is hardly a hamlet in the nation where a public-spirited committee of one kind or another has not loudly protested the evils of local periodical racks. Editorials have “exposed” the problem. Parents have bemoaned it. Politicians have promised to solve it. Repeatedly, educators, social workers, and members of the clergy have warned against the obscene publications which are on public sale in every American neighborhood.
To the many Catholics who have been leaders in alarming the country about the magazine menace, we have this to say: Because you are Catholics, you realize that purity and chastity are virtues to be guarded and fought for. But also, because you are Catholics, you know that even more precious and more to be defended than purity in the moral order, is the Apostolic purity of the Catholic Faith — that chastity of doctrine which owes its survival to twenty centuries of vigilant popes, zealous preachers, and martyrs shedding their blood.
The next time, therefore, you feel a crusading urge to go clean up the news-stands, head for one that carries the better-known Catholic periodicals. A swift glance through them will convince you that the current magazine menace is no longer threatening only the morals of Catholics.
To prepare you for what you will find, here is advance information on a few of the magazines which are now doing for Catholic dogma what the “drugstore publishers” have done of late for morality.
Commonweal — a weekly publication which has intellectual aspirations, scant circulation, and a layman editor named John Cogley. Realizing the ineffectiveness of his position, Mr. Cogley, when he feels he really has something to say, submits articles to the brassier picture-magazines, where he is assured of an audience for his favorite theme: American Catholics have much more in common with their Protestant compatriots than with their European co-religionists.
America — a journal which airs the political and social speculations of a misrepresentative group of American Jesuits. Chief man behind its policies is a Roman-collared Harvard graduate who has been heard to declare that, “The Catholic Church is not in the business to make converts. The Catholic Church is in the business to save souls.” Novelties like this “salvation without conversion,” however, are far too religious in theme to qualify as regular America fare. Recently, much publicity was given to the magazine’s “McCarthy episode,” in which the priests on America decided to attack the Catholic Senator, and hired a Protestant to do the job for them.
Catholic Digest — a derived monthly edited by Father Paul Bussard, whose effective way of nullifying Catholic teaching is to discredit the Divine Author of it. Current example: the Digest investigations of American anti-Catholicism, in which Father Bussard has spent several thousand dollars hoping to prove that when Our Lord said to Catholics, “You shall be hated by all men for My name’s sake,” He was speaking only to non-American members of the Church.
In partnership with a layman, Father Bussard has lately exercised his magazine influence beyond the Catholic Digest by bringing out a picture book on the Mass. With its front-cover photograph of the Sacred Host, this publication is being sold (with Father Bussard’s consent) at all of the lewdest newsstands in the country. Anyone who recovers from the shock of seeing such a booklet displayed in the midst of pictorial filth and suggestive captions, is in for further abuse when he opens the thing and begins to read. Typical statement from the text is Father Bussard’s reference to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as, “the farewell banquet of an unmarried Jew in his early thirties.”