Keeping in mind that Mr. Dahl was 95 years old when he gave us this interview, I'd like reproduce it again here along with a request for prayers for the repose of the soul of this wonderful Catholic officer and gentleman. May he rest in peace. MJM
An Interview with a WWII Vet
I don’t think many Remnant readers would quibble over the claim that the world today is much different than it was 50 years ago. Everything has changed, in fact, and not for the better. Most of us are holding on to the old ways and old days by our fingertips, relying heavily on what we can remember from the past to see us through.
When it comes to the Catholic Faith, many of us may still be intellectually convinced, but does that mean we're truly keeping the faith? In the wake of the unprecedented crisis of Vatican II, it’s a struggle even for us middle agers.
And I can only imagine what it’s like for young folks who never knew the old Faith and who've been given stones for bread all their lives. They don’t even have Catholic memories to sustain them.
And those memories are key to survival.
We remember how it was, which is our greatest weapon against the Modernist facade that tries to tell us how it is.
It’s a bit hazy, but I remember the old priests, for example, from the old days.
I remember genuine and unaffected Catholic men. I remember how the parish house, or rectory, was located just a few feet from the church itself, and how Father was always there, working, praying, seeing to the needs of his flock.
He never punched out, rarely went on vacation (unless it was to visit his old mother somewhere) and was never seen wearing anything but his cassock, even when painting the church or hanging Christmas lights on the parish house.
Even as a child, it was such a comfort to know Father was there -- in his confessional, offering Mass, puttering away in his rectory all week long.
I remember the old Catholic people in the pews, too, again just barely—men with coke-bottle eyeglasses, suit jackets, ties and fedoras. They tended to smell like pipe tobacco and didn’t necessarily have the best teeth in the world (kids notice these things). They were the stalwart elders, the men who helped Father out, made chicken for the parish festivals, boiled the booya (whatever that strange lumpy reddish substance was), and took turns making sure the Blessed Sacrament was never alone during the Forty Hours. They didn't say much... they didn't have to.
I remember the old Catholic ladies too— big, loveable women who knew how to can and preserve everything under the sun. They tended to be a bit overweight, wore housecoats and aprons a lot, and generally let their hair go just as gray as it wanted. They smiled a lot and had rafts of grandkids.
In those pre-Internet days of pre-Novus, pre-cellphone, pre-conciliar bliss these were the “big people” we all knew and respected as kids. I don’t remember them dying, but like MacArthur’s “old soldiers” they just faded away -- along with the nuns and those guys riding shotgun on the backs of garbage trucks.
And now nobody seems inclined to take their places anymore, unable to accept the very idea that growing old means growing wise. Everyone seems to want to stay a teenager forever. And it's sad.
For the 'old timers' of yesterday, being alive meant being Catholic. Praying was instinctive, practicing the Faith was as natural as breathing.
Here's a little secret: The Remnant managed to survive the past half-century largely because of these old-world Catholics—real people, who never gave up the faith and never went along with the newfangled nonsense of Vatican II.
One of the wonderful things about my job is that it provides me with the opportunity to stay in touch with a few of these Catholic “old timers”— to count them as my friends, in fact, and to make sure my own children get the opportunity to sit at their feet and listen to their stories. One of the great losses in our brave new world is the loss of any real sense of appreciation for the wisdom that comes with age. Ours is a world of suspended adolescence.
Special thanks to the “seasoned Catholics” who’ve kept the Faith and who've loyally stuck with The Remnant over the past fifty years. I’m proud if The Remnant still provides some small service for you after all these years.
Here's a little interview I was fortunate enough to get from one of the “old timers”—Mr. Robert Dahl, who at 95 years old, has been with The Remnant since the beginning. He served our country during World War II and our Church all the days of his life.
He is a gentleman of the old school, and a man I am proud to call my friend.
Michael Matt (MJM): Since I was a little boy, I remember hearing your name, most especially from my father, who spoke of you as a friend and ally well over a halfcentury ago. Exactly how far back do you go in the history of the traditional Catholic movement?
Robert Dahl (RD): How far back do I go? As a de facto lonely “nobody”, my interest and activity began in 1966.
MJM: What were your impressions, say, immediately after the Second Vatican Council? Was there ever a time when you thought the Council would be good for the Church? Or was it fairly clear from the get go that the Council represented revolution in the Church?
RD: Immediately after the Second Vatican Council my impressions were of suspicion that something destructive was in progress, with a break in Catholic orthodoxy---a covert Modernist revolution planned in wake of opportunities of misuse of the Council.
MJM: Can you tell me something about your first impressions of the New Mass?
RD: My first impression of the “Novus Ordo” was one of rightful anger---I immediately walked-out of the New Mass---then for 30 years, searching for traditional Latin-Rite Mass, mostly out of State---a largely futile search for distant SSPX locations that could satisfy Sunday obligation---my vain complaints to pastor and bishop meeting with usual silence.
MJM: In that same vein, what are your memories of the pre-Vatican II days? Were there indicators that a massive apostasy and falling away from the Faith was just around the corner in, say, 1958 when Pope Pius XII died?
RD: My memory from 1958 focused on hopes that the new pope, John XXIII, would act to restore traditional orthodoxy and liturgy--hope soon shattered, realizing an internal revolution in motion.
MJM: Speaking of Pope Pius XII, can you share with us your recollections of his pontificate? Was he a popular pope? Did you have the sense the Church was in good hands during his pontificate?
RD: was universally recognized and respected as a holy prelate---despite certain Jewish propagandists who sought to defame him as pro-Nazi.
MJM: And as a wartime pope—how would you evaluate Papa Pacelli’s pontificate during that period when the world was at war?
RD: Pope Pius XII was highly regarded by all during World War-Two---despite Liberals and Jewish sources who defamed him as a supposed Nazi sympathizer, with fake stories (debunked by the International Red Cross), regarding prison camps in Poland.
MJM: You served in World War II---in the Pacific theater? I wonder if you can tell us something about the Catholic Church’s overall influence or impact on soldiers during the war? Generally speaking, was the Church held in high regard? Were the Catholic chaplains respected?
RD: During World War-II Catholics and Catholic Chaplains comprised at least a third of combat military, and were recognized as most patriotic and reliable.
This worked to squelch the old Protestant prejudices, and to promote today’s “ecumenism”.
MJM: Can you tell me something about your wartime experience in general? As a young man risking his life for his country, what was it like to see the whole world erupt into war?
RD: The circumstance of the 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, served Roosevelt’s anxious design to find a way to enterWorld War II; and served to quiet the “America-First” antiwar political movement, very much alive since 1920, especially in midland America.
The Pearl Harbor attack also served to guarantee majority patriotic support of the war, 1941-1945. Viewed in “real-politics” mode, against Military advice, the Pacific Fleet was “bait”, which the Japanese war-lords could not resist grabbing-lengthy diplomatic talks having failed to produce sincere agreements on the “China Problem”. Recall that Admiral Kimmel and General Short in Hawaii were totally “kept in the dark”, and then used by Washington as scapegoats to place blame for Pearl Harbor. Later, to satisfy my very own unofficial inquiry, I had contactedAdmiral Kimmel’s son (a Navy submarine Captain), who kindly sent me a dozier packet on the subject. Kimmel and Short both requested a General Court Martial trial to clear their names of any guilt---but trial request was denied; Kimmel and Short forced into retirement. Admiral Kimmel, and son, spent a decade in petitions to Congress to clear his name, finally succeeding in obtaining a Congressional Act in his favor.
MJM: In retrospect, how do you see WWII in terms of overall impact on American social fabric and the American family?
RD: In retrospect, World War-II, like most wars of history, worked to disturb the social fabric of the Nation---with so many young men forever lost to its generation---young lives snuffedout; so many buried en-masse or buried at sea--silent unnamed heroes who gave their all for their comrades and the Nation.
MJM: From the standpoint of Christian morality, the changes you’ve seen in the course of your lifetime must be as staggering as the technological advances. Looking back now, how did we go from contraception and abortion being illegal when you were a boy to the point of legalizing abortion and “gay marriage”?
RD: Science---now seen as technologies “new god”. The Decalogue’s prohibition, “Thou shalt not kill” now reduced to mere politically-correct “choice”, with abortion as legalized murder of the helpless human babies---”planned parenthood”---aka/ planned murder legalized---a euphemism for national suicide.
MJM: For that matter, what happened in the Church herself during your lifetime is not unlike going from the horse and buggy to space travel. What happened to the mighty Catholic Church of your childhood? How did we go from that to priest sex scandal, the New Mass and Pope Francis?
RD: Perceive the deadly dagger of the Freemasonic Alta Vendita (Weishaupt-AD1819)---as seen in the Illuminati.
MJM: Is there any hope, in your opinion, of either our country or our Church returning to sanity anytime soon? If so, how do you see that happening?
RD: In 1975, the late Msgr. Rudolph Bandas of St. Paul, Minnesota, predicted a future schism in the Church, as disastrous result of Second Vatican Council.
MJM: Mr. Dahl, thank you so much for your service to our country and for your long and faithful service to the cause of Catholic Tradition. You have been a friend to The Remnant since the beginning, and I’m grateful and honored to call you friend. Do you have any words of advice for young traditional Catholics who are just now enlisting in the Cause you defended your entire life?
RD: Traditionalists of The Remnant: have faith in our young traditional Catholics to be leaders in the eventual restoration of tradition in the Church.