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Our Catholic Culture and Heritage Part I

 
 

March 6, 2014 Lubbock, TX

The American Heritage Dictionary defines culture as “The behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought, especially as expressed in a particular community or period.”

The same dictionary defines heritage as “Something passed down from preceding generations; tradition.”

Both of these ideas represent in perhaps the fullest sense the entirety of the Catholic’s world. All of those things which we do as a Catholic have been given to us from past generations in such a way that it seemed as natural as our parents passing down customs from our deceased grandparents and beyond.

For so many generations this culture and heritage was, in fact, interwoven into our Catholic fabric. It was, indeed, the very essence of who we were. Our Catholicism was NOT separated from our nationalistic or racial backgrounds. It did what it was meant to do. The Deposit of Faith formed our lives in such a manner that it formed a common thread beyond all borders and languages. Our lives were enriched and elevated to a sphere that exceeded those periods of barbarism or paganism from which most of us came.

There are a decreasing number of people who understand the connection between Christianity and civility. History clearly records how the monks of Europe (mainly from Ireland) returned the European mainland back to, first, civilization, then to Christianity after the fall of the Roman Empire.

There are also countless times when men and women left their native homes to go to lands far away in distance and culture from that which was familiar to them. These Catholics sacrificed their lives to establish the Catholic Faith and Culture in otherwise pagan lands.

A growing number of mindless voices have, in recent years, issued their “pastoral condemnations” of these same men and women, stating what amounts to “long-term scars” which have been inflicted upon these “poor, helpless” souls. They actually believe their godless droolings, stating these people would have been far better not to have had the Catholic missionaries convert them to the One, True Faith. Apparently, it was the True Faith which left these people in a lonely, desolate situation!

All of this is, of course, nonsense. Let’s take once recent example to prove these anti-Catholic “non-historical revisionists” wrong!

There were several African countries which were colonies of Catholic European nations. The longer these countries remained as colonies, they prospered accordingly. Some of the effects of the Catholic school systems can still be seen today, some fifty years after their “independence.” How often have I crossed paths with black Africans who have come to this country and within the span of a short conversation their excellent education and good manners are witnessed? Compare these fine people with those attended the American pagan public school system. This is a present day example between the civilized and the barbarians – and America is supposed to be a role model for the world?

Within the last few years we have heard Joseph Ratzinger tell us that we should no longer be concerned with converting the Jews. More recently, Jorge Bergoglio in an interview with La Repubblica, Italy’s largest circulating daily newspaper, he stated, “Proselytism is solemn nonsense; it makes no sense.” Proselytism is the anti-Catholic word for conversion. He, like his heretical predecessors are no longer concerned with converting the world to the One, True Faith. To take this thought to its logical conclusion, they would rather see a world filled with pagan barbarians who have been told they believe in the same god as do True Catholics. Did someone say something in the past about “if you tell a lie long enough, people will begin to believe it?”

Since the 19th century there are two errors that have turned our Catholic Culture on its head, or to put it another way, our beloved Faith has been undermined and the public and private effects have been nearly destroyed!

The error of Americanism began to water down the Mission of the Church in the 19th century when the American clergy began to “go along to get along.” The proper interpretation of this fatal error is the Catholic episcopacy in the United States began to compromise. They were less concerned with converting non-Catholics than is called for in the Catholic Church.

They found different ways to “go along,” one of which was to name a university with that of the city where it was located, instead of a holy patron. A few examples will demonstrate the point: Seattle University, Seattle, WA; Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY; Georgetown University, Washington, DC; University of Dallas, Dallas, TX and Dayton University, Dayton, OH.

One does not need to wonder why the founders of such universities named them after the corresponding cities. It would certainly seem to be based in their desire to fit into “American” life rather than profess their faith to the world around them.

Apparently, Fr. Juniper Serra, OFM in an earlier era had no problem with naming several Missions which later became well-known cities after saintly models of the Church along the West Coast of the U.S.!

The effect of such a decision was to compromise with secularism, which was raging across many fronts in those years in the aftermath of the Masonic French Revolution. Further still, it continued to dilute the Catholic Culture. The reader must understand that our culture involves all aspects of life, not simply attending Mass on Sunday and receiving the Sacraments.

The heresy of Americanism was so pervasive in the 19th century that Pope Leo XIII condemned it in his encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae in 1899. Here is a small, but essential part of the message sent specifically to James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore.

“The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: “For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.” -Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.

It is not known by this writer if there was a concerted effort by the American bishops to correct this problem, but what is known is that there remained an “Americanist” spirit which exists to this day. The effect has been through the years that Catholics in the United States have been spiritually infected by a Masonic-Protestant mentality. The effect has been an ever pervasive indifferentism which was present prior to the Modernist Revolution in the false council of Vatican II.

(To be continued)
Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM