But, wait there's more! Apple is positively blowing up my phone with this stuff today:
They really have arrived; gays, that is. Homosexuality has been accepted across the board, and instead of being content with that, they’re still protesting like it’s 1969, still segregating themselves (even when they vacation), getting their own day at Disneyworld, still throwing giant parades for themselves and demanding their own apps, their own bars—even their own designated days to use public lakes and rivers as they're doing here in Minnesota this weekend, with the full cooperation of the DNR.
If the whole agenda was simply to integrate into normal society, they’re failing at it. “Treat me normally, dammit! Now get off the public property, it’s MY DAY to kayak!”
If they want to be normal members of society, why do they act like the most elitist club in history?
The Remnant is considering alternatives to the increasingly Christophobic giant PayPal, since this month the company changed its social media avatar to a rainbow. It’s clear where this brand’s loyalties lie. However, a larger discussion needs to happen among serious Christians, because PayPal is certainly not alone.
So the bigger question is, how far do you go with this? You can quit PayPal, but by that logic you should probably quit all Apple products, also Microsoft, also most email providers and grocery stores. Yes and most food in the grocery stores, too, because the majority of those brands support things which we, as good Christians, can’t support.
Is that Starbucks you’re drinking? How could you!
Is that an iPhone you're using to follow along on the 1962 Ordo app at the TLM on Sundays? Shocking!
I hope that's not a Ford you're driving. And you call yourself a Christian?
Amazon.com? Really? You're buying Catholic books from one of the most powerful promoters of gay marriage in the world today?
And when you fired off that angry email to your favorite Catholic blogger because he still uses PayPal, I wonder if you noticed that your own email account is hosted by Gmail? That's right, Google...as pro-LGBT as it gets.
Not everyone can live off-grid and shop local farmers’ markets (half the hippies there are majoring in women’s studies, anyway). So, I’m not actually sure what to do, but the time may have come for Catholics to “come out from among them,” as St. Paul said, or at least to start the conversation. But what does "coming out from among them" mean in the here and now, especially in our age of technology? What's it look like? How do we do it? And more importantly, are we obligated before God to do it in the first place?
Somehow, we need to distinguish ourselves from the masses with their: #WeAreThe99%, #MeToo, #Triggered, #Pride...but how?
We all say we need to stand out but how many of us are willing to stand alone, with no cell phone, no Internet access, no retail stores to shop in, no online sprees, not even a coffee from the local coffee shop barista?
More realistically, what should this look like? This was the theme of my talk in London at the Family Life International Conference last month. Maybe listening to it will help get this conversation started. We've also provided the complete transcript below, for those who would prefer to read it.
I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I certainly have a lot of questions. And I don't believe that simply boycotting PayPal and shopping at Walmart (instead of Target) settles the matter.
SAVE THE FAMILY, SAVE THE WORLD
Michael Matt, London
May 13, 2018
Good afternoon. Thank you very much.
There must be a method in the madness: they’re sticking the Yank up to speak after lunch, so that you all stay awake while I butcher your beautiful language. As Professor Higgins said, “Americans haven’t used the Queen’s English in years.” Well, now it’s gotten so bad that Americans – especially young people – don’t use their lips at all. They use their thumbs to talk, with occasional grunting in between. So I’ll do my best to do honor to your language.
Reverend father, sisters, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only thrilled but honored to be here for this most important conference. This mission statement got me – I’m sure you’ve all read it, but I hadn’t read it before I prepared for this talk. I want to read it again. The mission statement for this conference:
“Family Life international is a global partnership of Catholics working to promote and defend the sanctity of Life and the Family. FLI is working on every continent to build strong families and to protect the unborn child, the elderly, and disabled. It is certain that where children are welcomed into the world in intact families, a Culture of Life is born.”
That is a beautiful, powerful mission statement, and I think that we’re going to talk a lot about that today. At least, I am going to try to do so. I am the father of seven children, so the issues of family really really impact me. And I think we spend a lot of time saying, “The pope should do this and that, the cardinals should do this and that, the priests should do this and that.” Well I’m not good at telling popes and cardinals what they should be doing, but I think I can do a good job having a conversation with you – mostly fellow lay Catholics, fathers and mothers, grandparents – about what we can do. And I think we can do a lot more in this fight for Catholic restoration – Catholic counterrevolution, if you will.
This mission statement put me immediately in mind of a little-known but powerful address given by the great Pope Pius XII to the directors of the Associates for Large Families of Rome and Italy, on January 20th, 1958, the last year of his pontificate. So literally, the great Pius XII, in his last weeks and months on this earth, was concerned very very much with the same concern that the organizers of this conference have: for family, and for the preservation and defense of the family, specifically, in this case, in defense of large families. Pius XII then at that time – 1958 – said the following:
“Wherever you find large families in great numbers, they point to the physical and moral health of a Christian people; a living faith in God and trust in His providence; the fruitful and joyful holiness of Catholic marriage. A large, well-ordered family is a kind of visible shrine. With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront, as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, King of France, made up of ten children, or the family of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five children, St. Robert Bellarmine who came from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten children.”
So this is Pius XII, in a climate and in an era where God was an author of life, and families were encouraged to have as many children as God sent.
You can consider the words of Pius XII also in the inverse, to get a better idea of where we’ve come to today, since we began to walk away and ignore the papal counsel and advice of Pius XII, all those years ago. Because of this, it can also be considered: wherever large Catholic families are not found, there will be physical and moral problems; wherever large Catholic families are not found, there will be less trust in Divine Providence, less happiness and holiness of marriage. And this, of course, is happening all around us today. A world that is less open to life, as ours is, is now witnessing the destruction of the family, and the resulting chaos in society at large is everywhere evident for all of us to see. They’re redefining the family.
The devil hates the family, which is based on the Holy Family, which is based on the Trinity; he hates it to a degree that they are in all-out war now, with not only the Christian family but the very basic idea of family. They are at war with it because they know, as all of us know, as the family goes, so goes society. A thing cannot long survive if its nucleus is destroyed, and the enemies of Jesus Christ are attempting to destroy our Christian civilization by destroying the nucleus: the Christian family. And this comes – make no mistake about it – from the bowels of Hell. This is truly a demonic affront to almighty God and to the Catholic order.
So that you don’t think that’s just me, ranting and raving and being paranoid: speaking on May 19th, 2017 – very recently – at the 4th Annual Life Forum, shortly before he died, Cardinal Carlo Caffarra – who was a highly respected prince of the Church. He was the founding president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, (so he knew a lot about the family); he was a member of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in the Vatican; he was a member of the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council for Family, and he was a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
This was not some bomb-throwing nut-job who had some paranoid fantasies; this was a man who knew what he was talking about. And we’ve got sworn testimony to the veracity of the quote that I’m going to read to you now, and I’m sure many of you know exactly which quote that is from Cardinal Caffarra. Because on that occasion, he described how Satan is attempting to destroy the two pillars of creation in our world today, so as to fashion his own – and these are, again, Cardinal Caffarra’s words – Satan is trying to fashion his own anti-creation. And Cardinal Caffarra went on, on that day, to recall that he had received a personal hand-written letter in which the last-surviving seer of Fatima, Sister Lucia said the following:
“A time will come when the decisive battle between the Kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family, and those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation.”
This from a woman who saw the face of the Mother of God, and toward the end of her life was also warning that it’s the family that will be under attack, toward the end. And we can take from these words of Cardinal Caffarra, these words of Sister Lucia, that Our Lady herself, then, would be happy to see everyone here today in this room – the remnant, those few who are left who realize we must do something, if nothing else than simply keep the Faith and sustain and protect the family, because the family has never been under a greater attack than it is in our day, and I don’t need to tell you that. You are as aware of it on this side of the Pond as we are in America.
Gay marriage, for example, let’s be honest: there is no precedent for this – I’m sure there are some able historians in this room, if I am wrong, please correct me afterwards – as far as I can tell, and we’ve studied this, although homosexuality goes back to the beginning of time, no civilization has ever elevated it to the state of marriage. We hold the honors for that, we are the first to do that. So we can say with honesty and with accuracy that it is unprecedented to see this sort of attack on the family, in the times in which we live.
And of course, divorce is rampant, cohabitation now is normal. marriage is becoming rare before a young couple live together. The gender ideology – we won’t go into that, there are children here today – but they are not only attacking marriage, they are attacking the components of marriage: one man, one woman. They are attacking the very idea that a person is a man for life, that God made him a man, that God made a woman a woman and so-forth. That’s how degraded, that’s how vicious this attack is on sexuality and on the family, on marriage.
The glue that’s holding civilization together is being removed at every stage, through these methods, and the results are everywhere to be seen.
In America, you’ve been hearing about violence, school shootings, everyone wants to talk about guns all the time, no one wants to talk about the fundamental reasons these things are happening, and it’s because of the breakup of the family, first and foremost, in my opinion. They’re shooting up the schools, these kids, to the man, who are bringing their guns to school, are from broken homes; they’re fatherless sons, they’re motherless daughters, they come from families where there are two dads and where there are two moms. No one is looking at this evidence, no one cares.
They’re taking babies and giving them to two men – where are the feminists, where are the feminists to say: is not a mother important to the upbringing and raising of a child? What are we doing – we are experimenting with babies (the ones who might happen to make it past the abortionists). We are experimenting on them; “let’s see what happens.” And even when they grow up, and they develop problems that are unbelievable and unprecedented, we still won’t look at the social, moral, spiritual mess we’ve made of the family, as the cause of these problems.
Our children are losing their innocence before they even reach the age of reason, and this cannot go on much longer, because a good God will not allow it to go on much longer. So we need to hang on; but I don’t think we’re talking about hanging on for a hundred years; I think something dramatic is going to happen soon, and we need to make sure that we hang on no matter what, and that’s what we’ll talk about today. Because our survival as a people, as a religion, as a society, as a civilization, depends on the survival of the family. And yet, the society now is at all-out war against the family.
Our adversary is engaged in an effort right now to wipe out the last vestiges of the Christian Catholic moral order worldwide, by destroying the family. They’re trying to destroy us, whether we want to admit it or not, whether we want to be putting our heads in the sand or not. They want this conference and conferences like this to end, they want people like us to shut up, to have no voice. That’s the end game, and they’re coming close; and much of the reason that they’re coming close is because we are afraid. We are afraid to speak up.
And so I want today to talk about the people in our past – our glorious Catholic past – who were not afraid and who changed history by doing two things: keeping the faith and speaking up. Not being afraid to speak in defense of Christ.
Defending Christian marriage, for example, today on social media. You’ve all heard the stories – I’m sure you have more stories over here than I have in the States. But I have a friend, a personal friend, who taught in a public school – I say taught because he was fired a few months ago. What was his crime? His crime was to, on his personal facebook page, restate his support of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage. And for that, he was fired. Nothing to do with school. He wasn’t using school computers when he made these comments; he was at home, just having a conversation like any one of us might. He was reported by his own students, who saw that he had done this on facebook, and he lost his job. Again, I am sure that you can give me a dozen stories over here of things happening that are very similar. People are, because of that, becoming afraid to speak out. And that’s understandable.
So when we talk about persecution, I think sometimes we talk about the catacombs and the early Christians, and we think it’s such a great, wonderful, beautiful story, and it is. But maybe we can think a little bit about the days, weeks, and months that led up to the dramatic story of Barbara, or Agnes, or Tarcisius, or pick your favorite martyr. The days, and the weeks, and the months that led to that; the ostracization that went on; the incrementalism that went on as they moved from normal life into something else, and eventually lost their lives because of that decision. I think that’s where we are right now – we’re not facing the lions right now, but we’re facing these decisions every day:
Do I write this? Do I tweet this? Do I respond to that text from a friend about life, or about marriage, or about homosexuality? Are they looking at my email, are they watching us?
Well you’d have to be crazy to say that they’re not. Facebook has come out and admitted that they are; they are monitoring us. Youtube, you can see it. Websites such as LifeSiteNews: look at their facebook numbers going down, down, down, down. The Remnant’s facebook numbers going down. What is that? Because the algorithms are being manipulated. This isn’t a conspiracy theory anymore – this is provable fact.
They are moving against the Christian voice online, and you all know this. And Christians are afraid.
An interesting comment surfaced, when I when I announced that I was gonna come and join you today. Maybe whoever wrote this is in this room, I don't know. But it's an interesting comment, left on our on our website – . This person writes: “Michael Matt is exactly the type of anachronism that the Brit conservatives despise with about as much disgust as do the laborites. I won’t be surprised if this talk leads to him being placed on the banned list or the no-fly list.” Now, perhaps he exaggerates; here I am, so it could be an exaggeration. But the thing is maybe he doesn’t exaggerate because yesterday when my son and I were in the airport and we put our little passports down to get our boarding passes, up pops this rather scary little warning that says, “Based on your passport, we do not believe you have the right to travel and stay in the UK. Please click here and supply more information about your trip.”
Now I’ve been flying around for a long time, for a lot of years. I've never seen anything like this. Was it just random or was it not connected –I don't know. But it was a very strange message to pop up, that I don't have the right to go to the UK.
So things are happening, whether or not they are as ominous and as frightening as they sound – and it kind of unsettled me a little bit when I saw it. The thing is, it's having its effect already in a sort of an Orwellian sense. We’re all aware of this now; we’re all wondering how far we can go, how much we can travel, how much we can say. And that already is a form of persecution.
And the question is, without being too dramatic, are we ready to fight? Are we what ready to make a stand? Are we ready to be different – really different? To be ostracized? To say things no one else is saying? I face this everyday as a newspaper guy, and one of the few, because I'm not as big as the larger ones. The larger ones have stopped saying anything that matters! They talk about pocketbook issues, and they talk about feeding poor people, and nice things like that. But they don't say anything that even hints of Catholic counter-revolution anymore, or defending marriage and all of that. That’s all fading away; and there are only a few voices left who are willing to say it.
So I think we need to think about this right now. What is our plan? What's our strategy? It doesn't make sense to wait until things get worse. Things are going to get worse. It doesn't make any sense to pretend that they're not going to get worse. And I think a meeting like this is ideal for talking strategy; because if we get to the point where we're asked to sacrifice a lot more – we’re asked to lose prestige, or status, or even our lives at some point.
Over on that side of the Pond, if we think the Traditional Catholics in England, the conservative Catholics in London are going to make a stand, well maybe we’ll be stronger and we can make a half good show of it. And vice versa. We need to have this conversation. Are we going to back each other up? Are we going to stand with Christ no matter what happens? Or are we going to scatter? And I think that's why it's so important to tell some of the great stories of Catholics who stuck together, so we have some sort of a model to follow, especially for our children. Because at this point, it's up to us; and I really believe – listening to Father Clovis this morning – it’s not just the State anymore. The situation in the Church is without precedent, and it's terrifying.
So it is up to us and I think waiting for the State to come and save us, waiting for the Church in her human element to come and save us is a little bit “pie in the sky” at this point. We need to take control of the situation ourselves. We’re not going to necessarily have recourse to our bishops anymore. We won’t have recourse to the Vatican, as Father Clovis said this morning. When pro-aborts and sustainable developments and population controllers are being invited in and out of the Vatican now, the chances of us being able to make our appeal to Mother Rome are a little bit shaky at this point. So we need to realize it is up to us to keep the Faith.
It’s up to us to make sure the Faith survives through us. And don’t think we’re so special – this has happened time and time again in the history of our Religion, of our beloved Church, where small groups of Catholics have been called upon to keep the Faith. You can tell me more than I know about the Western uprising in your own country, but you know what I mean by these groups of Catholics who stood strong and through whom the Faith was sustained.
So we’re new Christians – current Christians – living in those old catacombs and again, in a sense, preparing to go down into them. And again, there's precedent for this. St. Paul in Corinthians – I’ll read the quote even though I know you're familiar with it – in Corinthians, he gives us a model that isn't fun to think about; but he tells us what we have to do in times like these, when he says:
“Bear not the yoke with unbelievers, for what participation hath justice with injustice; or what fellowship hath light with darkness; and what concord hath Christ with Belial; or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever; and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the Temple of the Living God, as God saith, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.’ Wherefore [and this is the relevant part: italicized underlined bold] Wherefore go out from among them and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and I will be a father to you and you shall be my sons and daughters, say the Lord Almighty.”
Now those are just words from a Scripture quote – or they have been until now. I think for many of us, seeing the way that the world is going, those words mean a lot more to us now – or they should. And no one wants to face the ramifications of those words. When do we take that leap of faith? When do we go down into the catacombs? We’d rather stay on top. Thomas More famously said, pointing to himself, “This is not the stuff of which martyrs are made.”
I pray everyone in this room has the same attitude, because I worry about the man who tells me, “Yeah, martyrdom! Piece of cake! I got this! Of course! It's a no-brainer! I’m gonna be martyred!” I think he's going to make the worst martyr. He is the one that will be hightailing it for the tall grass when the going gets tough.
The ones that we are looking for, the Thomas Mores? – not me, I don't think I can do it. That’s a good healthy Catholic attitude. And we know what he does in the end: he loses his head for the faith. Of course it was the stuff of martyrs. But maybe because he put himself down and feared that he would fail, maybe in that is how he strengthened himself to do what he did. And we're still telling his story today
So coming out from among them is an interesting thing that we have to talk about, because if we're just going to blame the State, or the bishops, or the popes, or everyone else, I think we're going to fail. This starts with us now. We have to be big people, we have to be adult Catholics. So long as we believe that we must – again in the inverse of what St. Paul says – as people living in the modern world, participate in the injustice, that we must have fellowship with the darkness or concord with Belial, we will lose, because to come out from among them is fanatical, and nutty, and Amish, and we could never do that. I think we have to reexamine that idea that it’s fanatical and nutty to come out from a world that hates Christ, hates our institutions, hates the family. We may have to take a different look at that.
As a kid, I used to feel sort of sorry for Lot’s wife – I mean, they’re moving away from Sodom, she’s all packed up with her goodies and ready to go, and then she just takes a little quick look back and <bam>, she gets turned into a pillar of salt. I thought boy, that’s pretty harsh; until you read what the experts say. What that look back to Sodom was all about was an inclination – was an attraction – to what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a temptation that she fell for and that’s why she was turned into a pillar of salt.
And we have to make sure that we’re not in such close association now, that we’re not beginning to go soft on these things like marriage and so forth, and homosexuality. And we want to reach out, and charity and love, and always be a candle in the darkness for people; but at the same time, we can’t go soft. We can’t use that as an excuse to stop speaking up.
Yes, “the world is really bad; it’s terrible; the culture seems to be possessed by demons,” we say. “But our kids: they still need the smartphones, right?” They still need to have the single largest red-light porn district in the history of the world in their pockets? Really? We believe, as counterrevolutionaries, that it’s necessary for a little twelve-year-old Johnny and ten-year-old Susie to walk around with that thing in their pockets and say, “Johnny, be careful now. Don’t look at the bad pictures”? We’re not serious if we believe that and if we behave that way! Remember the old teachings and the old catechisms: it was a sin to put yourself in the occasion of sin.
And how we’re asking our little sons especially to not pay attention to the little monster in their pockets, for example. We couldn’t possibly have our kids not look up-and-with-it by not letting them have the smartphone and the latest gadget, or the latest video game, or their music, or their movies.
I was listening to these three ladies today, and it was a wonderful wonderful testimony: we can help them out, as parents, if we start backing up a little bit. There wouldn’t be abortion like it is now, there wouldn’t be promiscuity like it is right now, if it had not been for the cultural revolution that preceded the legalization of abortion. The music, remember? Some of you are old enough to remember what was going on back in the 60s – the revolution that was spearheaded by the rock and roll industry. People my parents’ age were outraged and fought it so hard.
I remember one time I was going to the right-to-life March out in the east in the States – I was at a very conservative college that I still support to this day; a great college. We were going out, a bunch of us guys, doing the good thing, going out to fight abortion, make a stand for life at the National Right to Life March. And this guy – he was just a kid, a nice guy, who just didn’t think of it, like many people don’t – is driving the car and he’s got his music going. We’re all listening to this song as we’re going down the freeway to save the babies: The Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”
And this irony just struck me: these are the good people, these are the good guys, going to the good Catholic college, and they don’t see. How many abortions do you suppose old Mick Jagger, Keith Richards were responsible for with the garbage that they were cranking out for so long? I don’t think this is a church-lady concern. It sounds that way, but I think it’s a very real concern.
So if we think that we have to give our young kids the music and the movies that are predominant in culture today, I think we’re missing the point. If we really want to get truly pro-life, we fight the cultural forces that are as pro-death as they can possibly be.
And again, parents, the same response: you can’t say no to everything, you’ve got to live in the world, yes we do. But not of the world. And we have to look at where we are right now. It’s a very serious moment in history. I’m sure most of you have heard of the great mystic Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, who was approved. She has a very interesting thing – on June 1st, 1821 – a little longer quote, but I want to read it, because I think it’s relevant to what we’re trying to talk about. 1821, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich writes the following, and I think she’s talking about our day. What she saw in the future:
“The Church that I see is completely isolated, and as if completely deserted, it seems that everyone is running away. Everywhere I see great misery, hatred, treason, rancor, confusion, and utter blindness. Oh city, city, what is threatening thee? The storm is coming, do be watchful! Then I saw that everything pertaining to Protestantism was gradually gaining the upper-hand, and the Catholic religion fell into complete decadence. Most priests were lured by the glittering but false knowledge of young schoolteachers, and they all contributed to the work of destruction. In those days, faith will fall very low, and it will be preserved in some places only in a few cottages and in a few families which God has protected.”
Now that’s pretty frightening, on the one hand. It’s also pretty challenging, because what if when Anne Catherine Emmerich looked into the future, she saw parents in this room, on both sides of the Atlantic, who would keep the faith? What if she saw that that’s how it would be preserved? What if we can earn the right to stand with those families that mystics of the past were saying saved the situation, saved the faith, in this terrible time?
Friends, the key to Catholic restoration is to transform our homes into those little churches, once again – sanctuaries, places of refuge, catacombs. Not to hide out – I am the last person to say we need to go underground and to hide. We need to fight. We need to be the lights. But if we don’t go down as early Christians did and learn how to be the lights, learn how to strengthen the faith, give the faith to our children, those lights will be extinguished very quickly, and the roaring storm topside above the catacombs.
So we need the catacombs. The catacombs are now. We need to go down and prepare for the fight of our lives, in defense of Jesus Christ and in defense of the traditions of His Church. Now those catacombs, as you all know, were primarily used for the burial of the dead; they weren’t nice places. I should know – I live in one. There’s dead bodies, and there’s bodies decomposing, and skulls, and all of that in the catacombs. But these were the hidden places of worship for persecuted Christians, and by the fourth century, great numbers of the faithful attended religious services in the catacombs on the feast days of the martyrs.
But the question I have for you, again, as we said before, what was it like, before? Why was it like for those people? They were people just like us – Christians. They realized everything was falling apart in their world, and at some point, on some day in their lives, they said “it’s time for me to join that group down underground.”
And what a fateful moment that had to be for each and every one of them. They all had a story about what it was like to go down and hide down there, sneaking through the streets most likely, to get there; where all the “cool people” are partying, by the way, and life is great, and you look like a kook and a nut and a paranoid church lady for trying to find a catacomb. And yet that’s what they did. And we’re still telling those stories. We’re still telling about how thy did it as they went down, hiding, going underground to be with hunted criminals and to pray and worship in secret.
What am I getting at? They knew they were pulling themselves away. They knew they weren’t going to have the same friends, and the same neighbors, and probably their family members would even pull away from them. Because they knew they were doing something akin to building an ark on a sunny day. They were worried about something.
Many of them weren’t even Christians yet when they went to be with the se Christians to learn the faith – so they were ostracizing themselves. The persecution had already begun for them, just as it’s happening for those of us today who are willing to do the same – willing to give up friends, family, position; social status, maybe; that great job, perhaps, where we’re going to lose our faith if we stay on. Willing to do that. And again, I think it only stands to reason that we have to ask ourselves: are we willing to do that? Do we think we’re at the point where we’re willing to begin to be like them?
I think we know how this nightmare ends. Any student of Christianity should figure out that the rise of the martyrs, once again, is how we get out of this. People who believe enough to die for it. Again, this is not all gloom and doom. According to your great Hilaire Belloc, when persecution comes again, when they begin to martyr the Christians, this means the revolution has failed.
They’ve got nothing else; they couldn’t change our minds, they couldn’t brainwash us, so it’s time to round us up and feed us to the big cats again. And Belloc sees this as a hopeful sign: when they get to that point, we, in a sense, won. We kept the faith. But we have to be willing, of course, to be martyrs. Will there be martyrs in our day? Do we have what it takes? I think that we need to have the conversation so we can all strengthen ourselves. I’m not saying I’m ready to do it, but I think we desperately need to have this conversation about when we start making some of these decisions.
St. Thomas More, again, was an example of someone who wasn’t eager for martyrdom; I’m not eager for martyrdom. But if we are truly followers of Christ, it would be myopic to think that we never have to face this. Please God, may we live at a time where it won’t come to that, but think about the history of our Church: the founder of our Church, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was executed as a common criminal on a cross. He kind of set the precedent. He let us know what was coming. If we truly want to follow him, it’s all the way to the cross.
The first 33 vicars of Christ – the first 33 popes – were martyred. Think of the stories that we all grew up with as kids, about the little children of Rome and in the other places that were under persecution, whose blood watered the faith. I think Our Lord was letting us know –this is how the faith grows, from the blood of martyrs. Not just at the beginning, but all the way through down through history. And from every rank, which I think is interesting.
Thomas More is one of my favorite saints, because even as a child, I could tell this was a great man, with great power, great prestige, plenty of money, favor with the king – he had it all. He had what the whole world today wants: power, notoriety, fame, money, everything. And he gave it all up. And that’s one of those things that makes you think, as a kid, that there is no way someone would have given this all up if he didn’t absolutely, 100% – this great intellect, arguably one of the greatest intellects of his day, the second most powerful man in his realm – he gave it all up and lost his head for a simple belief that Christ died on a cross and rose from the dead.
We can see in all these great saints down through time that they had much to lose, and they did it anyway – St. Perpetua, for example, we just did a story about her in the Remnant. She came from Roman nobility, she could have just continued to be a noble woman in Rome, but she gave it all up in order to follow this fisherman – this Nazarene who had been executed – to practice the true religion in the catacombs.
And she was literally outed and she was killed in the Colosseum, guiding the blade because the executioner was so fearful that this great Roman woman was about to die for Christ. She makes it easy on him, she guides the blade to her throat as he pushes, because she was ready to do everything that it took to let everyone around her know that this was real, and she believed, and she was going to Christ.
And you don’t even hear the name of Perpetua very much without hearing Felicity, another one – a Christian noblewoman, mother of seven sons. She raised her boys so devoutly that every one of her seven sons willingly endured martyrdom for their faith. Most of us, when we think of our little kids or grandkids…maybe I’ll make a martyr, but when they start sticking knives into my little daughters, that’s when the test really comes.
And they obviously were doing this to these early Christians: killing their own kids right in front of their mothers, in front of their fathers. But they believed with a faith that’s superhuman, practically; they believed so much that they allowed that to happen with joy in their hearts, like the mother of the Maccabees. And ever since the Old Testament, God has asked mothers to do this, if you think about it. He asked his own mother to do this. Martyrs established the Church in the very beginning, and martyrs defeated every subsequent attempt to destroy the Church, down through history. It was the martyrs who changed history.
So many great stories over this prayer book rebellion in Devon and Cornwall in 1549 over the Book of Common Prayer, over the English Reformation, I’m not even gonna tell you because obviously you could school me on all of this; but obviously it’s so interesting. The only thing I have to add to it is this wonderful story. I’m a huge fan of the Vendée, a student of the Vendée in France. I took a pilgrimage and went down there to Cornwall and Devon with a bunch of people to make a pilgrimage where all of your countrymen died. There's nothing there. It’s like the greatest cover-up in this country, it seems. There’s hardly any plaques or monuments to the great heroism of your people who literally died for the old mass, for the Traditional Latin Mass.
Maybe there's a reason for that, because that spirit – the spirit of the western uprising – can change history, even hundreds of years later, as the Vendée is changing France. That historical point which was covered up in France for a long time has come roaring back, over the past 20 years, and you can see in France a resurgence of Catholicism – traditional Catholicism – and much of it is based on the story of the martyrs of the Vendée. We will talk about that later.
Margaret Clitherow. (I hope I'm not boring you with people that you must know). I hope Margaret Clitherow is still revered today, because my goodness, she's a wonderful example for our time. She's a noble wife and mother, whose zeal led her to harbor fugitive priests – she knew exactly what we're going through – for which she was arrested and imprisoned and finally crushed to death, seven months pregnant with her fourth child. Crushed to death. Open to life even in the midst of persecution. And this lady knew what it meant. It wasn't an accident that she ended up in prison and pregnant – Children were gifts from God. She wasn’t interested in trying to figure that all out, to micromanage it. God’s the author of life, obviously. Even in persecution, she’s wide open to life.
Today, we have good Catholic married couples, even, who don't want to get pregnant because they want a second car, or they want a nicer house, because we’re buying into this attitude.
Margaret converted when she was just 18 years old. She refused to attend the new heretical religion – the church services, obviously – something like people who don't want to go to some of the crazy masses that we see today. She refused to attend that, and she was fined and then imprisoned a bunch of times. And reading her life, you can see that she could have been in this room: she’s just a mom, a beautiful young mother who was just on fire with love for Christ and for the Church.
Her third child, William, was born in prison. There was no stopping this woman. After she was released, she went back to the habit of hiding the priests, and organizing the secret masses, and so forth anyway, and so she was arrested again, because they found a priest hole in her home. She was taking care of the priests, the knights of Our Lady, the alter Christus, making sure that they could continue to bring the sacraments to her children, to her friends, and to her family. She got caught, she gets arrested, she’s thrown back in prison again.
Now, which I didn’t realize until researching for this talk: the reason she was crushed to death was because she refused to plea; and the reason that she refused to plea either guilty or innocent was that she knew that her children would be brought in to testify and would be tortured.
She simply didn’t plea at all – and so they made her undergo this crushing between two slaps of wood (or doors, or whatever it was), because they hoped that she would agree to plea somewhere through that ordeal. She didn’t. Fifteen minutes, she was slowly squeezed to death. And probably her greatest hardship was the fact that she knew that someone else was being squeezed to death: a little baby in her womb.
That was her dedication to the faith that we have that we have the honor to call our own. Margaret Clitherow was 30 years old – just a kid and getting back in the general ballpark of that kind of conviction, of that kind of faith, on the part of all of us, is how the faith will be restored.
We need to find that again. We need to tell our children about Margaret and some of these beautiful, powerful saints. Your country is blessed with so many of them. And down to the modern times we see it happening.
I’ll skip over because we're short on time, but there's so many stories of Catholics doing similar things in China, and the Soviet Union, in Nazi-occupied countries, in Mexico.
You know the martyrdom of Blessed Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio; everybody knows about “Joselito”, the little Cristero who died at 15 years old. His mother literally surrendered him to God. She didn’t try to stop him from becoming a martyr. How faithful that family must have been to support this little boy, as they cut the soles of his feet off; as they beat him, as they tortured him, as they finally shot him – but not mortally. They shot him a few times, so he wouldn't die right away; and as he's lying on the ground, bleeding out, the last thing he does is carve a cross into the bloody dirt. His last words are “Viva Cristo Rey!”
He had no fear in his heart, because he was raised by a mother and by a family that allowed him, that taught him, that instructed him, that schooled him to expect to have to go all the way to the cross, if necessary for Christ and for the old faith.
This is how revolutions are defeated. This is the way of Catholic restoration. This is the way to restore the faith, the hope and love in families to the point where they will die for it. The revolution is powerless in front of families like this. The revolution cannot touch families like this, because they are animated by the faith, and they have faith in each other.
They will help each other to die, like the famous story of that mother in Rwanda, only 25 years ago, and as her little girls are being tortured and killed – they had the mother there, forcing her to witness this, because they want her to break – she says she has something to say to them. So they allow her to go close, and she looks into the eyes of her bleeding, dying children, and she says, “Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you.” And she goes through the entire Act of Contrition to her little children, as they're slaughtering these kids. She made no effort to try to save them; she wanted to make sure she saved their souls, that they went immediately to Jesus.
These stories must be retold to our children. We must share them. We must make them ours again. The heroes of our faith. Because how does the faith survive, through families like this? How? And why? It is because the little audience to mothers and fathers who will not shake, who will not defer, who will not surrender – the little audience, from when they're little kids and when they're playing, when they're learning to read, when they're learning to pray, and they're looking at their mother and they’re looking at their father. This is the audience. The children.
The children, when they see mothers and fathers willing to sacrifice everything for Christ, will do the same. They will do the same if they see it in their mothers and in their fathers. The children who watched their parents risk their lives to hide priests in your country, to conceal sacramentals in places like Japan, where being caught with a little cross like <this> made out of grass could mean that you were going to be subjected to the most torturous and most brutal execution in history in Japan, for hundreds of years. Children were seeing parents make those crosses anyway, because it mattered more than anything else.
In the Vendée, in France, children saw their fathers going to war, they saw their mothers behind the lines operating makeshift soup kitchens and hospitals. It was a family affair, in the Vendée.
Some of it's kind of amusing – when the Vendée soldiers, the grand Catholic army, began to lose part of the battle and the men began to retreat, their wives came pouring over the bridge with frying pans in their hands and began to beat their husbands, “Get back out there! What do you think you're doing?” Literally, the wives pushed the husbands back onto the battlefield to fight. And they won.
These weren’t soldiers, they were people like us – families whom Napoleon Bonaparte called “the little giants.” He said they could have gone all the way to Paris and crushed the revolution, but for one little thing: they all wanted to get back to their families every time they won a battle. They were family men, they weren’t career soldiers; so they’d go back. But there’s the example of a willingness to fight and to die for Christ.
And of course in Mexico, with the Cristeros, just a hundred years ago, it was the same thing: fathers lost their jobs, their ranks, their lives, as mothers made the ammunition, the food, the clothing, and everything else in the back. And today, we have an opportunity to copy that. We have to put our children into the same sort of crusade.
Listening here today to these ladies, I am sure that they see young kids all the time, following mothers and fathers to the abortion clinics to fight the crusade itself. Giving the pro-life crusade to children to get them involved in that fight will help them to keep the old faith, help them to stay on the straight and narrow and stay away from all the influences now that are destroying the faith in the family.
That crusade is why Catholicism survived although powerful governments so often sought to destroy it, to crush it, to wipe it from the visible presence of the earth. But in the privacy of so many Catholic homes, parents taught their children to know and to love Christ and the faith enough to die for it, and I think that time of preparation is now, for us. We need to make sure that our children are ready for this challenge.
The angel of death – the Passover, if you will – is here again today, and now is the time to get ready. It begins in the family, it begins in the home, it begins with prayer, getting ready for this great challenge of our lives, keeping the faith in a world that is determined to destroy the faith.
The greatest Catholic action in the years to come, for families, for all of us, will be to keep the faith, pure and simply – to keep the faith when it will appear that the entire world has not only lost the faith but hates the faith and will do whatever they can to crush it. Keeping the faith in times like that, in times like this, will become the greatest challenge.
We have to ask ourselves if we're ready to do what our fathers and mothers in the past did: turn our homes into little cottages of faith where the faith will survive, just as the Christians did in Rome, as the Catholics in England did during the Reformation, in France during the Revolution, in Japan, China, Russia, and so forth. In the Middle East today, they're a step ahead of us; they're already the Christians, they’re already being killed. It's already gone bloody in the Middle East. We need to prepare.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider in a recent interview gave us some practical suggestions, and I’ll read a few of those too – now remember he suffered in the clandestine church as well, in the Soviet Union. His family was sent off to the Gulag; he made his First Holy Communion in secret, because he had to. So this bishop understands what it’s like to do what I’m suggesting – we need to begin preparing for what he already did, under the Soviet Union. He gives us a little helpful checklist, and I’ll read just a few of them for you. He says:
"See persecution as a grace from God for becoming purified and strengthened, not simply as something negative.” Isn’t that beautiful? “See persecution as a grace from God,” he says. “Become rooted yourself in the Catholic faith you study of the Catechism. Catechize your children every day, as this is your first duty. Pray with your children daily, such as litanies and the rosary. Turn your home into a domestic church. Withdraw your family from a parish spreading error and attend a faithful parish, even if you have to travel great distances. Withdraw your children from schools, if they are encountering immoral and dangerous sex education. Be prepared for persecution and protecting your children.”
This is a prince of the Church giving us practical suggestions for how we can do this, so when the catacombs become more literal than figurative once again, we will survive on the strength of our families and the faith of our families, the secret because of which Catholics have outlasted every persecution for 2000 years.
Your Dr. Joseph Shaw last year – I interviewed him in Italy, I’m sure you all know who he is – made a really interesting point; he said the reason so many people now are using contraception is that they’re discouraged, they’re brought down by society, by secularism. They have nothing to hand on to their children. In his opinion, that is the main reason contraception appeals – they don’t care, they’ve got nothing to hand on to their children anyway, nothing to give their children.
In his point – and I agree with him – faithful Catholics are having a lot more children. Why? Because they have something, indeed, to pass on to their children; something to hand down. They propagate the species, yes, but also the faith; and there’s a challenge involved with that that makes parents want to have as many children as God will send them. There’s also a safety and a security in keeping the faith, in being willing to do that.
We must be ready to fight for it. It is what God asks of us, it is why we were born when we were: so that we might do our part and our duty as followers of Christ living in an anti-Christ and anti-Christian world. Remember what Christ demanded even of His own mother from the cross. He looks down into her eyes and He asks her to stand with Him. And she does. But she wasn’t a goddess – she should not have been able to survive the grief so boundless of watching her son die on the cross. But Christ glorified her sorrows, because they mirrored His own.
When we unite our sufferings to His, we share in that moment during His last agony; and when we unite our sufferings to His mother, we understand what we must be willing to lose everything for Him, to stand vulnerable and exposed at the foot of the cross, the butts of jokes and derision for His sake. Our willingness as parents to be different from the world around us will save our families, and it will save the souls of our children if we have what it takes to do it.
But we must be ready to stand at the foot of the cross with our families, and that is not going to be easy. It’s not an easy task. And if we’re going to do it successfully, we need to start now; we need to go back to the way things were in family life not that long ago – basic things things that are not that difficult but that we need to rethink. For example, praying. Bishop Schneider’s checklist already covers much of this – how we can become a strong family.
The irony is that it wasn’t that long ago when families were doing it quite well and weren’t having the problems that we have now. It’s the little things, like praying together – and I don’t just mean praying and saying happy thoughts together, but rather having your children see you praying. I'm sure all of you know this, but in case there are some who are new to this idea of rebuilding Catholic family life, consider this: consider lighting a vigil light, for example, in front of a little statue of Our Lady in your own living room.
Turn your living room into a little chapel for a moment every single night, father and mother kneeling on the floor, rosaries in hand, praying the rosary. This leaves an indelible mark on the mind of a child; that even father, even great big powerful dad, is kneeling down in front of Our Lady and praying the rosary is a huge impact. Catholic fathers did this for a thousand years, but we've come away from that because we've become progressive and all of the other nonsense, and families are moving away from these things.
Families are moving away from eating together, for Heaven’s sake! Make that a ritual. It’s not impossible, and it's so important, no matter how busy you are. I hope none of you eat McDonald’s over here – in the States, everybody’s eating McDonald’s all the time, then running out and going to soccer, and the idea of the family meal is almost gone. They don’t eat together anymore. Again, sit down together; maybe put some nice music on in the background; take turns asking the children questions, practicing their social skills, practicing getting along with family, while you talk about things that are important. Not heavy, not always religious, just things that are interesting; get back to the ritual of the family meal; get back to the nighttime and not just popping on the TV or a video or a movie; get back to the family playing together.
Get the idea that the family sustains itself. This is possible especially with the internet, where you can learn so much about the great Catholic feasts that you can bring back into your home, such as Christmas and Advent, and how to do those right; but the main thing is getting used to the idea of the family sustaining itself. If you watch movies every now and then, great; don’t have the kids watch their own movie – watch a good old movie with your whole family. Make sure that’s another ritual that includes a little conversation afterwards.
To many of you, this is a statement of the patently obvious and silly, but to many it’s not – the children have their own little music and their own little headsets, and there’s this little anti-social thing that’s going on right in the home, right in this little sanctuary. The children are getting a completely different message – they’re plugged in, and the parents are not aware of it, or they’re fine with it. We need to put an end to that.
There’s no such thing as music for your 12 year old; the family listens o all the same music in the house; the children are not on computers by themselves – that’s deadly. We’re going to lose this war if we don’t start implementing some of these things.
Friends; it would be great if we could all have as many friends as we did back in the 1950s. But this is not he 1950s, so it might be a little more difficult for families. But again, this is not without precedent. In The Story of a Family, Zelie Martin, St. Teresa’s mother, talks about how she was leary even of cousins associating with her children, because of some of the influences in France at that time.
So you see, the parents of saints were willing to do things that are not going to necessarily make them all that popular; but it’s very necessary, if you’re going to have children that are not going to be brought down by the society and the world in which we live.
We don’t have time to go over all of this, so I’ll cut towards the end. But I hope afterwards, we can all begin having conversations or even conferences about Catholic family life – how to do it, how to restore it, how to keep pop music out of it, how to bring good music into it, old folk music, how to bring that back.
Raise your children on classical and good folk music, so that there isn’t any great temptation – I’ve got five daughters, and I’ve never once said to one of my daughters, “You can’t listen to Miley Cyrus or Katy Perry.” It just doesn’t come up. They would never think of that; not because they’re saints but because it was never in our home, and there was always so much good music, and they were learning how to play violins, and flutes, and pianos, that they look at that sort of music as not for them.
So as a parent, you can avoid some of those trials by planning early on, giving good cultural influences so that the bad ones won’t be as tempting. And again, I don’t think it’s rocket science at all – I think it’s very easy to do – and we need to start talking about how to do it.
I had a whole section here on homeschooling, and I can clearly see what won’t have time for that. Let me just say this for homeschooling: when you have such an attack on the family, there is no better way. Now this is not to say that all Catholic schools are dens of iniquity, but if you really want to fight against the culture, fight against what’s happening in education, and fight against the attack on the family, there is no better way to do it than well-organized, well-run home schools that take advantage of all the assets that are now available to us.
I’m sorry I don’t have time to go into all that; I am a huge, huge supporter of homeschooling for those who can do it and who have the resources to do it right. If you can’t homeschool, you shouldn’t, but if you can, it is a powerful way to keep the family together and to resist the culture of death from day one all the way through high school. I can’t possibly recommend it enough.
I hope my talk wasn’t all gloom and doom – I’m not a gloom and doom type of person; life is wonderful! I’ve got seven kids that are the greatest thing in my life; I’ve got a five-year-old son, he’s the baby, and I have empty-nest syndrome. I’m just terrified he’s gonna be gone, it’s so much fun.
So if you do this right, and if you make your home Catholic, it also has its own built-in rewards of wonderful payoffs, and you all know that who are having children and raising them in this way.
We have an opportunity to give to them this notion of the crusade. We’ve all told them the story of Lepanto, we’ve told them about what it would be like – Don John of Austria fighting against the Turks – we’ve told them the story of the Vendée. So it isn’t doom and gloom and no-no to everything. We tell our children to stand on the decks with Don John of Austria, to be part of a huge movement, to resist what’s happening; because the culture of death has nothing to offer but death.
It’s not difficult to show young people that what the Catholic Church offers in the good traditional way, what Christ offers, what Our Lady offers is wonderful! It's light, it's full of fun, it's full of wonder and mystery; but what the culture of death has to offer is nothing but death.
So we need to present this Catholic counter-revolution in a way that challenges young people, makes them want to be a part of it.
We were talking about the Chartres Pilgrimage – I’m going to go there in a few days. Those of you who have not come you've got to try to come to that, where you see ten, fifteen thousand young people, alive and excited and shouting out the words of the Salve Regina, walking for three days under banners of Joan of Arc and all the saints. They’re so excited about this little microcosm of catholic culture, so they're bringing it back, right near you in France. We can do this; it’s happening.
We just need to rise up and be committed to doing it. Homeschool your kids, if you have the opportunity. There’s no better way to keep them out of the clutches of the enemy. Make pilgrimages; play; pray the rosary every night; stay united to Our lady, make your children and grandchildren fall in love with her again, as they were at Lepanto, on the decks of those ships, where every man knelt, pulled out his rosary, and sang the Sale Regina out of love for her. Look what she did for them – one of the most historic turnarounds in military history, se gave them, because of that love of a child for the mother of God. So we need to have that attitude here, as far as restoring Catholic family life.
I’ll end with a quote from the hopefully someday sainted Pope Paul XII, who writes:
“Far from being a social malady, large families are a guarantee of the moral and physical health of a people. Virtues flourish spontaneously in homes where a baby's cries always echo from the crib, and vice is put to flight as if it has been chased away by the childhood that is renewed there, like the fresh and invigorating breath of spring. So let the weak and selfish take their example from you; let the nation continue to be loving and grateful to are you for all the sacrifices you have taken upon yourselves to raise and educate its citizens, just as the church is pleased with you for enabling her to offer along with you ever healthier and larger groups of souls to the sanctifying activity of the Divine Spirit,” says Pius XII.
Brothers and sisters in Christ; it is the family that matters; it is the family that is under attack by the forces of Hell in our society; it is the family that must survive, for it is the Christian family that is the hope of the whole world, based on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, modeled on the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and resting in the arms of Holy Mother Church.
If we devote all of our efforts from this moment forward to restoring the family, defending the family, and living the Catholic family life, then in the end when we stand before the judgment seat of Almighty God, we can say we will have done our duty before God, before our fellow men, and the gates of Hell will not have prevailed on our watch. Christ promised us that He will be with us always even unto the consummation of the world; let us promise him today then that even if the world stands against Him from now until eternity, our families will stand with Him until the consummation of the world.
Thank you very much for listening. Long live Christ the King!