But Matt left the NYPD in September 2022 over the covid vaccine mandate. And “Charles Cadenas” is a pseudonym. Speaking to The Remnant about the realities of life as a policeman in New York could be too much for some people in positions of authority to tolerate, so “Charles,” a good cop, requested anonymity for this interview.
Over an hour and a half or so in early December, 2022, very early in the morning New York time, Matt and Charles described their days patrolling New York City and the somewhat quieter streets of Long Island. The civilizational collapse that we are watching on the news was, and remains for Charles, their daily, hourly experience.
However, details about the grim age in which we live are not the end of the story, not by far. These two good cops also told me about the Patrolmen’s Fraternity of St. Michael, an organization they are building up to form men to carry on in the face of whatever the breakdown of social mores brings next.
“Lack of Moral Outrage”
If anyone has reason to despair of America’s future, it’s someone on the NYPD. Matt has seen the worst of the worst. He spent most of his career in the Bronx and Harlem, working to combat and solve crimes like robberies and murders, then working in intelligence related to counter terrorism.
“I often hear it said that 99% of the populace are good people,” Matt tells me. “But the number is nowhere near 99%. Perhaps less than 1% commit violent crime, yes, but to say that all the rest are good people, is a feel-good platitude not grounded in reality.”
Officer Matt Reid
What may be even more nauseating than the crimes themselves is that those who are witnesses to crimes—even those who are victims—often don’t cooperate with the police to put criminals behind bars.
“When hipsters started moving into Harlem,” Matt continues, “there was a lack of moral outrage added to the great apathy in the face of crime that already existed there.
“It happened more than once that we would be dealing with a violent crime and the victim, usually a woman, would be looking through mugshots of possible suspects.
There’s no idea of culpability for sins, for evils that people do. There’s no judgment or punishment. There’s no concept of retributive justice. It’s a catch-and-release system. Many times, the cop who arrested the criminal is still filling out the arrest paperwork as the criminal is walking out of the police station, free to commit crimes again.
“The people in the mugshot books are hardcore criminals. But the victim would say that she didn’t want to press charges. She would say something along the lines that the system was to blame for what a criminal had done to her. She said that by pressing charges she would just be perpetuating the system.”
In those cases, the violent criminal would be free to prey on society again. And the original crime would go unpunished.
“We police officers don’t even live in the neighborhoods we serve in, but we seem many times to care more about the people there than the people that do live there,” Matt says.
Charles says that he has encountered the same phenomenon in Long Island.
“People sometimes don’t even call 911 to report crimes,” Charles says. “I have spoken with battered women who refuse to press charges against the man who is abusing her.
“Sometimes it’s because she’s afraid of what will happen to herself or to her children if she does get the courts involved. But oftentimes a victim has a reversed sense of ‘justice’: criminals are victims, and there is no compassion for the people who are actually victimized by crime.”
Officer Reid and oldest son with Cardinal Zen in February 2020
I ask Charles what lies at the root of this upside-down way of thinking.
“Economic determinism explains part of it,” he answers. “On the materialist worldview, we have no agency. We’re just a product of our economic environment.
“But there’s something much deeper,” Charles continues. “There’s no idea of culpability for sins, for evils that people do. There’s no judgment or punishment. There’s no concept of retributive justice. It’s a catch-and-release system. Many times, the cop who arrested the criminal is still filling out the arrest paperwork as the criminal is walking out of the police station, free to commit crimes again.
“It’s a kind of pacifism, like when Dr. Benjamin Spock told a generation of Americans that they shouldn’t discipline their kids. There’s no rehabilitation.”
People today tend to think that coming of age in the 1980s was like living in a utopia. But the fact of the matter is that it was a time of insidious social Marxism. Without strong, virtuous men in my family, things might have turned out very different.
“Proverbs 13:24 teaches that ‘He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes’,” Matt reflects. “I went to public schools in the 80’s and 90’s—and at that time was probably better off there than in Catholic school. But there was discipline growing up.
“People today tend to think that coming of age in the 1980s was like living in a utopia. But the fact of the matter is that it was a time of insidious social Marxism. Without strong, virtuous men in my family, things might have turned out very different.”
Two Worlds Diverging
Matt and Charles both tell me that police work is hard and getting harder.
“We probably get a few more thank-yous on Long Island than New York City officers get,” Charles says. But both men agree that the anti-police sentiment on the streets has been around for a long time.
“It really broke open in the 1960s,” Matt follows up. “There were regular police assassinations through the 1970s. The 1981 Brink’s robbery was probably the last gasp of radical attacks on the police from that era, but some of my peers, friends, and classmates growing up nevertheless had an instinctive dislike of the police.”
In October of 1981, some of the stragglers from the defunct Weather Underground, along with some Black Liberation Army members, robbed a Brink’s truck in Nanuet, New York, less than an hour’s drive from downtown Manhattan. The group also killed three people, two of them police officers, while wounding another policeman and two Brink’s drivers.
One of the murderous group was Kathy Boudin, mother of Chesa Boudin—the recently recalled pro-criminal district attorney of San Francisco. Boudin is hardly the only pro-criminal DA in America. And some members of the Weather Underground (including Kathy Boudin) went on to careers in academia after their release from prison.
Perhaps nowhere in the past few years has this sharp divergence over a moral compass, or lack thereof, been as apparent as in the response to vaccine mandates. A serum made using aborted fetal tissue was mandated by governments and organizations—including the Vatican—in the biggest involuntary human-subject experiment since the Holocaust.
Incidentally, the recently released Mutulu Shakur, stepfather of murdered gangster rapper Tupac Shakur, was also part of the Brink’s robbery. Another former member of a proto-Weather Underground group, Eric Mann, is the mentor to the founders of Black Lives Matter. Anti-police sentiment is getting very ugly again after a couple of decades of relative abeyance.
Charles mentions that he has some friends who worked in the NYPD before entering his department on Long Island. Others on the force with Charles are thirty-year veterans of policing. Both sets of officers speak, Charles says, of how different things used to be.
“There is a pervasive subculture of divergent worldviews in the United States,” Matt says. “On the one hand there are people who see crimes, see society coarsening, and feel a sense of injustice at what should not be. On the other hand, there are those who feel no moral compunction over what is clearly wrong.”
Perhaps nowhere in the past few years has this sharp divergence over a moral compass, or lack thereof, been as apparent as in the response to vaccine mandates. A serum made using aborted fetal tissue was mandated by governments and organizations—including the Vatican—in the biggest involuntary human-subject experiment since the Holocaust. Good men and women refused to compromise with this evil, and many lost their jobs as a result. The two worlds—morally astute, and morally dead—diverged further.
Matt Reid is one such good man. He had been retired from the NYPD for about three months when we spoke in early December.
Charles is another good man. He is dead-set against the vaccine mandates, too. Fortunately, there was no such order in his home department, although he tells me there was pressure from the county level to get the vaccine.
“I was prepared to get fired,” said Charles.
Officer Reid and Bishop Schneider
“The NYPD vaccine mandate wasn’t really surprising,” Matt says. “As a city cop, one is at the mercy of politics. And New York City politics have consistently gotten more radical. It’s a nasty cacophony of ambition and underhanded dealing. I’ve seen a lot along the way.
“I know some of the people who used to work on former mayor Bill de Blasio’s security detail,” Matt continues, referring to arguably the most anti-police chief executive in the history of New York City. “Apparently, de Blasio is a true believer in his politics—a card-carrying leftist.
“But there are those more devious than de Blasio. There are hardcore leftist radicals on the New York City Council. When there are demonstrations in the City there are often present members of the national lawyers’ guild, the most radical leftists of them all. Those activist lawyers are dedicated to advancing Marxist revolution. They are professional agitators, professional advancers of revolution, perhaps some of them without even realizing it.
But it was really with the mask mandates, which came before the vaccine mandates started to get rolled out, that it became clear that few men were willing to go against the grain.
“That is the reality of New York City politics. I knew early on that very few people had our backs.”
Charles has seen what he calls “careerism” in the Long Island force, too.
“But it was really with the mask mandates, which came before the vaccine mandates started to get rolled out, that it became clear that few men were willing to go against the grain,” Charles says. “There’s less of an excuse for those in smaller departments to go along with mandates like those,” Charles continues. “We all should have spoken up more when the first mask mandates got handed down.
“It’s been going on for a long time,” Charles continues. “In the military, in the police—good people are being purged from the ranks.”
Breakdown of Men
As I speak with Matt and Charles, I get the sense that the problems they encounter from different angles in their police work mirror one another. Dysfunctions in one area of society reflect and also feed into dysfunctions elsewhere.
“When I would go out on a call,” Matt tells me, “it was almost an absolute that I would not be dealing with a suspect’s biological father. He wasn’t in the home. Almost always I was dealing with a suspect’s mother. The few times that there actually was a biological father in the home took me aback.”
Charles has seen the same thing.
“So many of the people who commit crimes come from homes on government assistance,” Charles says. “And that comes from men abandoning homes so that only the government is left as a provider. In the worst neighborhoods you’ll find that there’s no stable father in the home.
“But when you break the Commandments, you break the order that God established. And you end up with chaos.”
Absent men cause society to crater, but having good men around builds boys up into good men themselves. Matt and Charles are perfect examples.
When I ask what inspired him to get into police work, Charles doesn’t hesitate in his answer.
“My father was a great influence on me,” he says. “I grew up under his care inspired by what I found in The Lord of the Rings—the concept of being a knight, a virtuous soldier. I played Division I baseball in university and enjoyed the camaraderie. I thought of joining the army after I graduated. I had fallen away from my Catholic faith during college, but I had a strong reversion later, and had always been drawn to the idea of virtue and strength. I eventually decided on the police force.”
The problems in society and the problems in the Church are related,” Matt says. “We need men in the priesthood. I see so many men today who have no willingness to sacrifice, who have a profound lack of formation in the virtues. This comes from not having had a strong priest in childhood and adolescence.”
Matt tells me that he was also influenced by strong, good men to become a policeman.
“I come from a traditional Irish Catholic family,” Matt says. “My family were civil servants, mostly transit workers. My father is truly a good, virtuous man. My grandfather was my hero. He and my grandmother were very devout Catholics.
“My cousin, who was a bit older than I, was a cop in a NYC suburb. Listening to his stories, I knew from the age of twelve or thirteen that I wanted to follow in his footsteps and join the force.
“I went off to college but felt disillusioned with that experience. It felt hollow, decadent, meaningless. I wanted to join the Marine Corps, but ended up joining the police force soon thereafter.”
I tell Matt and Charles that I wish we had more police officers like them—and more priests.
“The problems in society and the problems in the Church are related,” Matt says. “We need men in the priesthood. I see so many men today who have no willingness to sacrifice, who have a profound lack of formation in the virtues. This comes from not having had a strong priest in childhood and adolescence.
“Growing up, I never saw a manly priest as a child and into my teen years. There was no manly, militaristic figure celebrating Mass. I have no idea why anyone would want to be a priest if he isn’t going to be serious about formation and saving souls. Not to mention that nowadays, laypeople can do just about everything the priest can do anyway, not to mention distribute the Holy Eucharist, so what’s the point? I thought. It seemed to be a total contradiction.”
Raising Up the Post-Collapse Generation
Charles and Matt have dedicated themselves to protecting society in more ways than through police work. As America stares into the abyss, men like them are banding together to prepare the current and rising generations to hold out and rebuild after whatever is coming has passed.
“I pray that I am wrong, but it seems that we are on the precipice of a real meltdown,” Matt says. “It’s not just New York City, the election politics of which are now like California’s. New York City may have passed a point of no return, but what is collapsing before our eyes is much bigger than the five boroughs.”
Charles compares the United States today to ancient Rome, agreeing with Matt that we have turned a corner and that there is, now, no going back.
“We are decaying,” Charles says matter-of-factly.
But these two men are countering civilizational downfall with a return to the basics—the Faith, the virtues, strong men, good families, all the things that build a brighter tomorrow.
The biggest thing is the rearing of our children,” Matt adds, “teaching them to know their purpose in life, which is to glorify God. So much of the destruction we see now came out of the schools."
“I can’t stress enough how important the Patrolman’s Fraternity of St. Michael is,” Matt says, referring to the organization which he helped to found. “So many of our brethren have natural virtue but don’t know where to go. As a young cop I was the same.
“In that confusion, many people are focusing on politics, on elections. But it’s erroneous to believe that we can elect this or that politician and go back to the old ways of being fat, drunk, and stupid in America. It will take sacrifice on many people’s part if we want to rebuild our civilization from the ground up.”
Charles reinforces the importance of the Patrolman’s Fraternity of St. Michael.
“We formed the Fraternity to form cops,” Charles says. “We as policemen see the collapse of the country firsthand. Maybe we can’t save the country, but we can lay the foundations for what will—prayer, fasting, doing penance. Those will outlast the people who are aborting and contracepting themselves out of existence.”
Matt follows up on Charles’ point by saying that one could be a policeman for a hundred years and still not make a dent in the problems society is facing now. The only way for the world to be rectified, Matt says, is through the Faith.
“Our apostolate is prayer and action,” Matt tells me. “We in the Fraternity want to recover the beautiful jewel that is our traditional Catholic Faith, a Faith that has been withheld from millions. We need to get the jewel to the people.
“The biggest thing is the rearing of our children,” Matt adds, “teaching them to know their purpose in life, which is to glorify God. So much of the destruction we see now came out of the schools. My own children go to a school attached to an FSSP parish, where they receive a traditional Catholic education. That’s the recipe for restoring America. Short of that, we’re just spinning our wheels.”
Officer Reid's sons playing "Mass" in their home
“Without a truly Christian populace,” Charles concludes, “we can’t have Christ in society. The collapse is happening right now. The fallout is inevitable. The Fraternity is for the sanctification of our members. Whatever follows from that will follow, but we set our sights on the economy of salvation above all.
“We act in subsidiarity, to detach from bigger issues and do what we can do here and now. God will bring the fruit out of all this as He desires.
“The Fraternity is a way to keep men strong so that they can protect their loved ones and bring them through to the other side.”
--Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan
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