The Point – November 1953

Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict Center

November, 1953

POINTERS

The attack on Freemasonry in last month’s issue of The Point brought forth many comments. Masons were particularly upset. To keep them in this state, we are printing the following pronouncement by Pope Clement XII.

“Wherefore, to each and all of the faithful of Christ, of whatever state, grade, condition or order, We ordain stringently and in virtue of holy obedience, that they shall not, under any pretext, enter, propagate, or support the aforesaid societies, known as Freemasons, or otherwise named; that they shall not be enrolled in them, affiliated with them, or take part in their proceedings, assist them, or afford them in any way counsel, aid, or favor, publicly or privately, directly or indirectly, by themselves or by others in any way whatever, under pain of excommunication, to be incurred by the very act, without further declaration, from which absolution shall not be obtainable through anyone except Ourselves, or Our successor, the Roman Pontiff … ”

The American liberal-Catholic solution for getting infidels and others into Heaven has always been the phrase, “the soul of the Church.” All the theologians now admit that this was an “unfortunate” bit of theologizing. For, in truth, the soul of the Church is none other than the Holy Ghost! This admission, however, provoked no contrite retractions from American theologians, nor did it send them back to the Church’s true teaching regarding the salvation of those who die as infidels.

For the enlightenment of the Catechism revisers down in Baltimore, who seem to consult only uncanonized contemporaries, we will repeat what Pope Saint Gregory the Great had to say about the salvation of infidels. (He had in mind especially the Jews.)

“We can no more pray for a deceased infidel than we can for the devil, since they are condemned to the same eternal and irrevocable damnation.”

In case you wonder why The Point sometimes sounds so alarmed, it is because of alarming befoulings of the Faith by some of our Catholic competitors.

The magazine, Novena Notes, published in Chicago, has allowed a priest to come out with the assertion that Our Blessed Lady never died!

The Pilot, published in Boston, whose priest-editor is a guest preacher in Protestant churches, has recently declared that one can apostatize from the Catholic Faith, if one’s conscience so directs, without any sin!

The Catholic Digest, published in Saint Paul, has featured the account of a Catholic chaplain whose apostolic duty during the past war was to tell dying non-Catholic soldiers how they could enter the Church by Baptism of Desire.

The Catholic monthly, Jubilee, published in New York, invited Christopher Morley to contribute to its columns (and printed his contribution) even though Morley’s insulting reply accused them of being “papists” whose interest in himself as a contributor to Catholic literature he could not quite understand.

The Register, published in Denver, has continued to issue its weekly “ex cathedra” pronouncements from the fallible chair of Monsignor Matthew Smith, the so-called “Pope of the Middle West.”

Our many other reasons for being alarmed will be stated candidly in future issues.

LAMBS WITHOUT SHEPHERDS

The outstanding example of American youth is neither Huckleberry Finn, Shirley Temple, nor Little Orphan Annie. He is, rather, a youngster who, in just a short time, and by the sheer impact of his personality, has soared to unprecedented fame. He is that familiar figure on the American scene, the juvenile delinquent.

Admittedly, his name is fantastic. It was given by his elders early in his career, in the hope that he could be gotten rid of by ridicule, or, failing that, could be made to sound like some strange social phenomenon that could best be handled by the academicians.

But no one considers the juvenile delinquent a laughing matter any more. He is presently America’s biggest headache, and is becoming daily more of a menace. He is the subject of newspaper editorials, of police campaigns, of Congressional investigations. And the more attention he receives, the more he thrives. Numerically, he represents one out of twenty youths between the ages of ten and seventeen. That was the number arrested and brought to court last year.

Nothing reveals a culture so vividly and sensitively as the way it affects the children who live in it. Thus, if you want to see the beauty and nobility of a Catholic culture shining most clearly, look at the children such a culture produces — at their innocence, their sense of wonder, their holy interests, their joy.

And likewise, if you want to see the rottenness of our own American culture, look at the mark that culture has made upon our children. For the juvenile delinquent is merely the ultimate, inevitable reaction to a prolonged siege of Masonic ideas and Jewish morals. He is the product of our culture as it outrages the innocence of a child.

Nowhere is this cultural assault so violent as in The Point ’s own city, Boston. Besides having whatever the rest of the country has, Boston has given birth to, or provided a home for, some peculiar barbarities and perversities of its own — among them, Unitarians, Christian Science, and Harvard University. It is not surprising, therefore, that Boston should be a hotbed of juvenile delinquency; but, what is surprising, and frightening, is that most of its heat is being generated by Catholic boys and girls.

To show why this is so, we need to make a few observations on the spiritual environment of the Catholic children of Boston — not by way of excusing the juvenile delinquents, for they are inexcusable, but only by way of explaining them.

When Richard J. Cushing was appointed Archbishop of Boston, everyone breathed a great sigh of relief. The long cold days of William Cardinal O’ Connell seemed definitely past. Here was a man who was the Cardinal’s very antithesis. The Cardinal had shone with Protestant polish; Archbishop Cushing had none of it. The Cardinal had kept his money and invested it wisely; Archbishop Cushing was a lavish spender. The Cardinal had considered himself a man of culture, and collected masterpieces of art; Archbishop Cushing had no use for the stuff.

Yet Archbishop Cushing has failed the Catholics of his city, particularly the children, as Cardinal O’ Connell never did. He has left the children entrusted to him completely defenseless against the ravages of the world. He has given them no indication that they ought to keep themselves guarded, or that they have any enemies who want to destroy their Faith. Rather, he has determinedly pursued a good-word-for-everyone policy, which has led him, among other things, to be photographed holding hands with a Jewish rabbi and a notoriously anti-Catholic Protestant bishop.

Archbishop Cushing has appeared to the children in his care as a hospital-builder, a money-raiser, a celebrity-greeter; but he has not been their Father, he has not been their priest. He has not made it his first interest to teach them the way to eternal life and exhort them to its attainment. Neither by his words nor his actions has he given them the impression that their Faith is any more precious than the faith of Protestants or Jews.

Nor has he appealed to them as you would expect a priest to, asking them to be noble for the take of their Mother, the Queen of Heaven, urging them to find in her cause the adventure and excitement they seek. Never has he called upon them for a crusade to protect the Holy Name of Jesus or to convert Boston into a strong, truly Catholic city. Instead, when a local Protestant minister bought full pages in the Boston newspapers to advertise that Our Lady was not ever-Virgin, nor immaculately conceived, nor assumed into Heaven, Archbishop Cushing, as an example to the Catholic children of the city, showed not the slightest indignation, or even interest.

The secret and the summary of juvenile delinquency in Boston is contained in this terrible premonition of Saint John-Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars: “Leave a parish without a priest for twenty years, and it will worship the brutes.”

That is the story of Boston. It has not been left without a priest, but it has been left in the episcopal care of a priest who will not teach and lead his people as a priest is meant to; and its children have become like a litter of brutes, roaming its streets in savage packs.

BY FATHER FEENEY

The earth does God a great favor by supplying Him with the materials of trans-substantiation, with the vestiges He uses in the Eucharist. Have you ever stopped to realize that if the fields yielded no more wheat, or the vineyards stopped distilling the liquids that become wine, there would be no more Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? And, without the Mass, there would be no Church!

When you realize the elemental innocences out of which God gives us the Bread of Life in the Holy Eucharist, rains have a new meaning, vines acquire fresh value as their grapes ripen in the sun, wheat fields assume a sudden significance, and clouds and foliage and silt and soil are all supersubstantially associated when we see them as necessities for the accoutrements, the wrappings, of this great Gift which makes our Holy Sacrifice, and which is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus under the eye-likenesses of bread and wine.

Bread is a product of fields and hands. Wine is the product of hills and feet. If Jesus did not have bread, there would be no Blessed Eucharist. No other food could serve Christ’s sacrificial purpose with the lightness and clarity and brilliance of wheat become bread. And it was the sun-charged grape bunches on the sides of villages that lured His generosity to pour Himself out in the guise of wine. This wheat and wine came to God the Son from God the Father. The Son thanks His Eternal Father for them at the Offertory of the Mass. He thanks Him for all the hosts and all the wheat fields until the end of time! What a harvest Christ requires for His sacrificial Suppers of Love, and what a wheat bill if God the Father were to charge the Son.

(from Bread of Life, published by St. Benedict Center)

CATHOLIC MEXICO AND CATHOLIC CANADA

When sixteenth century Spanish explorers discovered the southern end of our Mississippi River, they called it, the “River of the Holy Spirit.” A hundred years later, when the French found the Mississippi at its northern beginnings, they called it, the “River of the Immaculate Conception.” As the Spaniards were sailing up our Atlantic coastline, they came upon Chesapeake Bay and gave it its first name, “Bay of the Mother of God.” As the French sailed down the same coast, they beat the Pilgrims to Plymouth by a dozen years and named the place, “Saint Louis.”

The job of assigning names in our country, names for the rivers and hills and towns, fell first, in the South and the West, to the Spanish, and first in the North to the French. With Catholic liberality, they named everything that was namable, and with Catholic sensitiveness to the value of place, they took most of the names from their Faith. But in proportion as Spain and then France declined in Europe, so New Spain and New France diminished in America. They withdrew, one to the far Southwest, the other to the North, and into the area thus left empty of all but its Catholic names, there moved the U. S. A., young, boisterous, and Protestant.

And though vestige-names like Corpus Christi and Sault Sainte Marie have been of little effect in promoting a continuance of America’s Catholic foundations, a clear challenge has remained in the New World survival of Spain and France at America’s borders — with Spanish-Catholic Mexico to the south of us, and French-Catholic Canada to the North.

The Mexican is a blend of what the Spaniards brought to the New World and what they found here. For the Spanish colonials, unlike their English or Dutch counterparts, had no policy of “drive the natives out and we’ll take over.” They gave the Indians their Faith and presently welcomed them into their families, as the husbands of their daughters and the wives of their sons. And it was to one such native of Mexico, baptized with the Spanish name of Juan Diego, that the Mother of God long ago was pleased to appear — so that ever since, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, she has been in their songs and in their prayers, “The Mother of the Mexicans.”

If Mexico is the country of the Mother of God, then French Canada, from its long identification with “Good Saint Ann,” is as surely the land of the Mother of God’s Mother. Fittingly, the struggles of Mexico and Canada to stay Catholic have been much in the spirit of a mother and a grandmother — a Spanish mother defiant before the outrages financed in Mexico by American Masons, and a French grandmother praying, patient, and immovable before the brutalities of imperial England.

Out of the Faith which has thus been kept alive in them, Mexico and Canada have given us, within our lifetime, this grace: a young priest and a white-haired brother. The priest was Father Miguel Pro, whose determination to say his daily Mass and shout, “Long live Christ the King!” got him death from a government firing squad. The brother was Frère André, “Saint Joseph’s little dog” (as be called himself), whose child-like faith made him the worker of many miracles.

At the start, it was names that the Spanish and French brought to us. And now, the last articulations of New Spain and New France, there are these names, Father Pro and Brother André. Certainly they are going to intercede for their Mexico and their Canada, these two: and in this is our hope. For, looking down from Heaven, they will see, north of Father Pro’s martyrdom and south of Brother André’s miracles, the “Bay of the Mother of God,” and the “River of the Immaculate Conception,” and perhaps they will be convinced that something ought to be done about all the unfulfilled promise in names like San Antonio and Saint Louis and Saint Paul and Santa Fe.

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