Padre José Ramirez Hurtado +
Padre Hurtado murió en un accidente de tráfico en Noviembre de 1981. Fue Pastor de su parroquia, y el Vicario para la Hispana. Él también era un Sacerdote Exorcista. Por favor, rezar un Ave María por su alma.
Prayer for Priests
But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priest at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way. Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.
My son, will you pray for me?
My son, will you pray for me?
Confronting the Devil's Power
Pope Paul VI
November 15, 1972
What are the Church's greatest needs at the present time? Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil.
Before clarifying what We mean, We would like to invite you to open your minds to the light that faith casts on the vision of human existence, a vision which from this observation point of faith reaches out to immense distances and penetrates to unique depths. To tell the truth, the picture that we are invited to behold with an all-encompassing realism is a very beautiful one. It is the picture of creation, the work of God. He Himself admired its substantial beauty as an external reflection of His wisdom and power.(1)
Christian vision of the universe
Then there is the interesting picture of the dramatic history of mankind, leading to the history of the Redemption and of Christ; the history of our salvation, with its stupendous treasures of revelation, prophecy and holiness, of life elevated to a supernatural level, of eternal promises.(2) Knowing how to look at this picture cannot help but leave us enchanted.(3) Everything has a meaning, a purpose, an order; and everything gives us a glimpse of a Transcendent Presence, a Thought, a Life and ultimately a Love, so that the universe, both by reason of what it is and of what it is not, offers us an inspiring, joyful preparation for something even more beautiful and more perfect.(4) The Christian vision of the universe and of life is therefore triumphantly optimistic; and this vision fully justifies our joy and gratitude for being alive, so that we sing forth our happiness in celebrating God's glory.(5)
The mystery of evil
But is this vision complete and correct? Are the defects in the world of no account? What of the things that don't work properly in our lives? What of suffering and death, wickedness, cruelty and sin? In a word, what of evil? Don't we see how much evil there is in the world-especially moral evil, which goes against man and against God at one and the same time, although in different ways? Isn't this a sad spectacle, an unexplainable mystery? And aren't we–the lovers of the Word, the people who sing of the Good, we believers–aren't we the ones who are most sensitive and most upset by our observation and experience of evil?
We find evil in the realm of nature, where so many of its expressions seem to speak to us of some sort of disorder. Then we find it among human beings, in the form of weakness, frailty, suffering, death and something worse: the tension between two laws-one reaching for the good, the other directed toward evil. St. Paul points out this torment in humiliating fashion to prove our need a salvific grace, for the salvation brought by Christ,(6)) and also our great good fortune in being saved. Even before this, a pagan poet had described this conflict within the very heart of man: "I see what is better and I approve of it, but then I follow the worse."(7))
We come face to face with sin which is a perversion of human freedom and the profound cause of death because it involves detachment from God, the source of life. And then sin in its turn becomes the occasion and the effect of interference in us and our work by a dark, hostile agent, the Devil. Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others. It is a terrible reality, mysterious and frightening.
Seeking an explanation
It is a departure from the picture provided by biblical Church teaching to refuse to knowledge the Devil's existence; to regard him as a self-sustaining principle who, unlike other creatures, does not owe his origin to God; or to explain the Devil as a pseudo-reality, a conceptual, fanciful personification of the unknown causes of our misfortunes. When the problem of evil is seen in all its complexity and in its absurdity from the point of view of our limited minds, it becomes an obsession. It poses the greatest single obstacle to our religious understanding of the universe it is no accident that St. Augustine was bothered by this for years: "I sought the source of evil, and I found no explanation."(9))
Thus we can see how important an awareness of evil is if we are to have a correct Christian concept of the world, life and salvation. We see this first in the unfolding of the Gospel story at the beginning of Christ's public life. Who can forget the highly significant description of the triple temptation of Christ? Or the many episodes in the Gospel where the Devil crosses the Lord's path and figures in His teaching?(10) And how could we forget that Christ, referring three times to the Devil as His adversary, describes him as "the prince of this world"?(11)
Other New Testament passages
The lurking shadow of this wicked presence is pointed up in many, many passages of the New Testament. St. Paul calls him the "god of this world,"(12)) and warns us of the struggle we Christians must carry on in the dark, not only against one Devil, but against a frightening multiplicity of them. "I put on the armor of God," the Apostle tells us, "that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high."(13)
Many passages in the Gospel show us that we are dealing not just with one Devil, but with many.(14) But the principal one is Satan, which means the adversary, the enemy; and along with him are many others, all of them creatures of God, but fallen because they rebelled and were damned(15)–a whole mysterious world, convulsed by a most unfortunate drama about which we know very little.
Man's fatal tempter
There are many things we do know, however, about this diabolical world, things that touch on our lives and on the whole history of mankind. The Devil is at the origin of mankind's first misfortune, he was the wily, fatal tempter involved in the first sin, the original sin.(16) That fall of Adam gave the Devil a certain dominion over man, from which only Christ's Redemption can free us. It is a history that is still going on: let us recall the exorcisms at Baptism, and the frequent references in Sacred Scripture and in the liturgy to the aggressive and oppressive "power of darkness."(17) The Devil is the number one enemy, the preeminent tempter.
So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning; he is the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortunes in human history. It is worth recalling the revealing Gospel parable of the good seed and the cockle, for it synthesizes and explains the lack of logic that seems to preside over our contradictory experiences: "An enemy has done this."(18) He is "a murderer from the beginning, . . . and the father of lies," as Christ defines him.(19) He undermines man's moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations.
Ignoring the Devil
This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today. Some think a sufficient compensation can be found in psychoanalytic and psychiatric studies or in spiritualistic experiences, which are unfortunately so widespread in some countries today.
People are afraid of falling back into old Manichean theories, or into frightening deviations of fancy and superstition. Nowadays they prefer to appear strong and unprejudiced to pose as positivists, while at the same time lending faith to many unfounded magical or popular superstitions or, worse still, exposing their souls-their baptized souls, visited so often by the Eucharistic Presence and inhabited by the Holy Spirit!–to licentious sensual experiences and to harmful drugs, as well as to the ideological seductions of fashionable errors. These are cracks through which the Evil One can easily penetrate and change the human mind.
This is not to say that every sin is directly due to diabolical action;(20) but it is true that those who do not keep watch over themselves with a certain moral rigor(21) are exposed to the influence of the "mystery of iniquity" cited by St. Paul(22) which raises serious questions about our salvation.
Our doctrine becomes uncertain, darkness obscured as it is by the darkness surrounding the Devil. But our curiosity, excited by the certainly of his multiple existence, has a right to raise two questions. Are there signs, and what are they, of the presence of diabolical action? And what means of defense do we have against such an insidious danger?
Presence of diabolical action
We have to be cautious about answering the first question, even though the signs of the Evil One seem to be very obvious at times.(23) We can presume that his sinister action is at work where the denial of God becomes radical, subtle and absurd; where lies become powerful and hypocritical in the face of evident truth; where love is smothered by cold, cruel selfishness; where Christ's name is attacked with conscious, rebellious hatred,(24) where the spirit of the Gospel is watered down and rejected where despair is affirmed as the last word; and so forth.
But this diagnosis is too extensive and difficult for Us to attempt to probe and authenticate it now. It holds a certain dramatic interest for everyone, however, and has been the subject of some famous passages in modern literature.(25) The problem of evil remains one of the greatest and most lasting problems for the human mind, even after the victorious response given to it by Jesus Christ. "We know," writes St. John the Evangelist, "that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one."(26)
Defense against the Devil
It is easier to formulate an answer to the other question–what defense, what remedy should we use against the Devil's action?–even though it remains difficult to put into practice. We could say: everything that defends us from sin strengthens us by that very fact against the invisible enemy. Grace is the decisive defense. Innocence takes on the aspect of strength. Everyone recalls how often the apostolic method of teaching used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.(27) The Christian must be a militant; he must be vigilant and strong;(28) and he must at times make use of special ascetical practices to escape from certain diabolical attacks. Jesus teaches us this by pointing to "prayer and fasting" as the remedy.(29) And the Apostle suggests the main line we should follow: "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. "(30)
With an awareness, therefore, of the opposition that individual souls, the Church and the world must face at the present time, we will try to give both meaning and, effectiveness to the familiar invocation in our principal prayer: "Our Father . . . deliver us from evil!"
May Our apostolic blessing also be a help toward achieving this.
1. See Gn 1, 10 etc.
2. See l Eph 1, 10.
3. See St. Augustine, Soliloquies.
4. See l Cor 2, 9; 13, 12; Rom 8, 19-2:3.
5. See the Gloria of the Mass.
6. See Rom 7.
7. Ovid, Met. 7, 19.
8. Rom 5, 12.
9. Confessions VII, 5, 7, 11 etc.: PL :32, 736, 739.
10. For example. Mt 12, 43.
11. Jn 12, 31; 14, 30; 16, 11.
12. Cor 4, 4.
13. Eph 6, 11-12.
14. Lk. 11, 21; Mk 5, 9.
15. See DS 800-128.
16. Gn 3; Wis 1, 24.
17. See Lk 22, 53; Col 1, 13.
18. Mt 13, 28.
19. See Jn 8, 44-45.
20. See S. th. 1, 104, 3.
21. See Mt 12, 45; Eph 6, 11.
22. 2 Thes 2, 3-12.
23. See Tertullian, Apol. 23.
24. See 1 Cor 16, 22; 12, 3.
25. See, for example, the works of Bernanos, studied by Ch. Moeller, Litter. du xx siecle, I, p. 39, ff.; P. Macchi, Il volto del male in bernanos; see also Satan, etudes carmelitaines, Desclee de Br. (1948).
26. 1 Jn 5, 19.
27. See Rom 13, 12; Eph 6, 11, 14 17; I Thes 5, 8.
28. 1 Pt 5, 8.
29. Mk 9, 29.
30. Rom 12, 21; Mt 13, 29.
The UFO phenomenon has been going on since antiquity, accounts of apparitions similar to the ones reported in the 20th century being found in the holy books of the various pagan religions. Interestingly, a significant lapse in the record of these events through history occurred during the ages of Faith, only to resume with the Protestant revolt. In our times, the literature on UFO's has stacked up, and has gone beyond mere description of events. Authors writing from an atheistic or gnostic point of view have used the phenomenon to call into question Christianity, some going so far as to say that "all the religious manifestations [including Lourdes and Fatima, for example] are UFO's." To this assertion Alain Kerizo replies, "Absurd," and he has presented his well-documented refutation in a book entitled Les OVNI identifiés: les extraterrestres dans le mystere d'iniquité [The UFO's Identified: The Extraterrestrials in the Mystery of Iniquity, Villegenon, France: Editions Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, 1997]. Let us, then, try to extricate ourselves from the absurd starting with an excerpt from Kerizo's book:
To do this, we are going to reverse the proposition of the UFOlogues and attempt to demonstrate that the UFO's are a form specially adapted to the modern mentality of the old pagan religion, and, as such, opposed to the Christian religion. To do this, we shall proceed by showing:
1) By an examination of the past, that in fact the phenomenon is present in the records of antiquity;
2) By the study of a few cases of UFO sightings since 1950, that the current phenomena are related to those of the past by their significance;
3) That the key to the mystery of the UFO's is to be found in Christian demonology.
4) Then we shall examine the mystery of iniquity through human history, and the place of the UFO's therein;
5) Finally, based upon this analysis we shall attempt to forecast for the future, more or less near, the unfolding of the mystery of iniquity.
It is point three that is addressed in the following chapter of Kerizo's book, "Angels and Demons-Miracles and Prodigies." The key to understanding the UFO's is to understand who in the world is capable of producing them.
Good or Bad, Who Are the Angels?
Albert Einstein, asked shortly before his death what he thought about the origin of UFO's, said: "The UFO's are piloted by men who left the earth 10,000 years ago."
Plainly, they are a link in the revelation and the accreditation of the New Religion, the religion of Man. It is necessary to bear in mind, however, that, in the creation narrative, Sacred Scripture only speaks to us of two kinds of intellectual natures: the angelic and the human. There are no others.
Here is how Christian theology, in the person of Bishop Gaume in his Treatise on the Holy Ghost, introduces the existence of angels:
The wisest observation of divine laws proclaims this axiom: there is no leap in nature, nor rupture in the chain of beings. At the same time, it demonstrates that, in this magnificent chain, man cannot be the last link. God is the Ocean of Life. He diffuses it under all forms: vegetative, animal, intellectual. According as it is more or less abundant, life marks the hierarchical degree of beings. Now, it is more abundant as the being approaches nearer to God. Thus, in order to gather to Himself, by the necessary degrees, all creation descended from Him, the Almighty, whose infinite Wisdom delighted in the formation of the universe, has drawn from nothing several types of creatures: some both visible and purely material, such as the earth, water, plants; others both visible and invisible, material and immaterial, men; and finally others, invisible and immaterial, the angels. No less than the others, the latter are, then, a necessity of creation. Let us listen, on this subject, to one of the greatest theologians: "I answer that," says St. Thomas, "there must be some incorporeal creatures. For what is principally intended by God in creatures is good, and this consists in assimilation to God Himself. And the perfect assimilation of an effect to a cause is accomplished when the effect imitates the cause according to that whereby the cause produces the effect. Now, God produces the creature by His intellect and will. Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures...and of an incorporeal creature."
The angels are purely spiritual beings whose intellectual and volitional activity is not hampered by a body, nor subordinated in its exercise to organs or to the power of emotions, as is the human soul, which is the form of the body and composes with it a being whose spiritual activity can only be exercised by means of a body. This state of human intelligence is an inferior state which places man on the last rung of the scale of intelligences. "Nothing is in the understanding that is not first in the senses," runs the Scholastic adage. St. Paul expresses the same truth when he says: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Rom. 1:20). As for the angel, he is endowed with a nature more perfect than ours. He has no need of sensible things to raise himself to the perception of intellectual truths. He is an admirable likeness of the Divinity, and it suffices for him to contemplate his own being and nature in order to attain to the knowledge of God and of His divine attributes.
The understanding's mode of apprehension still occurs by means of representation. But while for man, it is the exterior and material creatures that serve as a mirror [because nothing is in the intellect unless first in the senses-.Ed.], for the angel, it is his own intelligible nature. Nevertheless, although he is a pure spirit, the angel lacks the power to attain to the knowledge of God directly and without intermediary, face to face. What makes all the difference between the good angels and the bad, or demons, is that the good angels, by their submission and now elevation in glory, have access to truths and splendors of the supernatural order and of the beatific vision of God, whereas the bad angels, by their pride, are deprived of them, while conserving, because of their angelic nature, the understanding of truths of the natural order.
The Characteristics of Extraterrestrials
Compared to Demonic Attacks on Monks
Here is a very simple document that shows more insight into the phenomenon of UFO's
than the entire body of literature that has been written on the subject by UFOIogists, and by many modern churchmen.
Characteristics of Extraterrestrials
1) They sometimes show themselves to be very aggressive, wounding or even killing human beings or destroying equipment.
2) Sometimes they kidnap men.
3) In this case, they abuse them and remove from them some blood or a patch of skin.
4) They hypnotize people and communicate with them by telepathy.
5) Faced with a categoric refusal to communicate, they disappear.
6) In some cases, the illnesses of those who have been in contact with the extraterrestrials have disappeared.
7) Confronted by them, the human being experiences a sentiment of despair and of fear.
8) The external appearance of the extraterrestrials varies. They can appear as dwarves or as giants, as men or women, or even as monsters.
9) Their apparitions are often accompanied by light effects.
10) They appear and disappear instantaneously.
Characteristics of the Devil
1) Man's enemy, the devil, breaks down the monks' cells and destroys their material possessions. He beats and wounds saints and hermits.
2) The Sacred Scriptures mention cases of hermits being kidnapped by the devil.
3) He often appears under the guise of a woman or a man in order to take advantage of the situation.
4) He tries to make his thoughts penetrate the hermit's mind.
5) As soon as he meets with a categoric refusal by a man, or at a prayer, he disappears.
6) The Holy Scriptures mention that magical practices can cure certain illnesses of men, but at the price of the sufferer's losing all hope of everlasting life.
7) The apparition of the devil causes a feeling of unease and of fear (see especially the life of St. Antony).
8) He appears under various forms, whether human, animal or monster (see the life of St. Antony and of St. Brechnikov).
9) He is a lightbearer.
10) He disappears suddenly if presented with a crucifix or if sprinkled with holy water.
This distinction is important because it allows one to understand both the extraordinary powers that demons exercise over material creation, and simultaneously, the enormity of their lies and errors regarding the truths of the supernatural world of the Divine. The truths they do hold are given to them by God, so that even by them all creatures attest His glory and that everything concurs, even the demons, to the salvation of those whom He has redeemed by the sacrifice of His Incarnate Word....
If it is true that God created all things without intermediary, by direct action, and that He also intervenes in the conservation of all that exists, it is no less certain that God has instituted amongst His creatures an order, a hierarchy. Thus, certain inferior creatures, in their conservation and in their action, depend on superior creatures, which are themselves incapable of subsisting without God's action, but which can nevertheless cooperate in the activity of maintaining in existence and in the development of other creatures. Given the elevation of the pure spirits and of their relative nearness to the First Cause, it is not surprising that they play an extensive role in the divine government of material creatures and of those composed of spirit and matter, men.
This doctrine rejoins that of the ancient philosophers, Aristotle in particular, who did not hesitate to attribute to superior motions, such as the planets or sun in the signs of the zodiac, a considerable influence on the vital phenomena of generation and conception. It rejoins—and with reason (for we know henceforth the nature of Those who have taught them)—the hypotheses of occultists, astrologers, and other magicians who accord to the stars moved by such intelligences, and to disembodied spirits, an extensive power over terrestrial elements and even human beings. It is not surprising, then, that the expose that St. Thomas Aquinas makes on this subject brings a solution to the problem posed by the UFO's.
We shall set forth Catholic doctrine relative to the power of the angels over creation under three aspects: 1) corporeal creatures; 2) man; 3) human societies. We shall see that Catholic doctrine answers and explains all the cases of UFO's, which we shall henceforth qualify as "diabolic infestations," in conformity to the terminology used by theology.
The Power of Angels Over Corporeal Creation
The angels are not "ethereal" creatures, separated from creation. They have a role to play in the universe.
Says St. Thomas:
For the angels are part of the universe: they do not constitute a universe of themselves; but both they and corporeal natures unite in constituting one universe. This stands in evidence from the relationship of creature to creature; because the mutual relationship of creatures makes up the good of the universe. But no part is perfect if separate from the whole.
It is written: "In the beginning God created heaven, and earth."
By "heaven," according to St. Augustine commenting on this verse, is meant primordial angelic nature, and by "earth" primordial corporeal nature. Created pure spirits, at the pinnacle of the pyramid of created being, they dominate in some way the universe, material, visible, and invisible; they preside over its government and conservation. They are the active agents of divine Providence. By virtue of this office, they have a perfect knowledge of the material order of created things and of the laws that preside over its development. They make use of it in order to fulfill the mission of general government and to fulfill particular missions of assistance to men, as the Bible shows in many examples. One sees them in the Old Testament take the natural form of the human body to appear to Abraham and the prophets, or conduct the Hebrew people out of Egypt; and in the New Testament in order to announce to the Blessed Virgin that she has been chosen to bring forth the Savior. Finally, in both Testaments, one sees them work miracles by the divine power.
This is true of the good angels, but in the beginning, the demons made up part of the angelic Powers who governed the corporeal order. They, too, belonged to the nine choirs of angels who were commissioned to direct the universe. Among the nine choirs, there is one, the Virtues, specially appointed to the working of miracles.
Chased from the empyrean heaven since their disobedience, the demons were cast into hell.
Nevertheless, they will not be relegated there definitively until the Judgment Day. Until then, they exercise their art, so to speak, on visible creation, within the limit allowed by God. But since man constitutes the king and summit of this creation, it is therefore by man that they are led to attack God. As the primordial angelic nature was made light, that is to say, converted to the Word who is light, after a trial destined to test his submission, so the demon served unconsciously to try the fidelity of man towards his Creator. Had he triumphed in this trial, man would have been like the good angels, converted to the light. Following man's disobedience, Satan was able to put on the insignia of his new kingdom, and become "the prince of this world," the title which our Lord recognized to him in the Gospel.
Let us underline this fundamental point. If man had not sinned by disobeying, Satan would not have been able to do more. He would never have been able to infiltrate the government of the created universe. His judgment would have been definitively pronounced. He would have been relegated to hell for eternity and we would never again have been tempted. It was by his sin that man and all that depended on him was arrayed under his banner, and Satan, until the coming of Christ, was able to thwart the effects of the divine government of the world exercised by the ministry of the good angels, except, however, the people of God. We have indicated the consequences of this government, the immense catastrophes and the bloody disorders that it provoked.
The coming of the Savior and the expansion of Christianity eclipsed his empire for a time. But, since the Renaissance, the devil has been in a strong position to reassert his empire over matter, men, and civil society, paralyzing more than ever the government of the good angels.
It is in our day that these words of St. Paul find their full meaning realized:
For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity: not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope. Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit: even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:19-23).
In these latter days more than ever, creation is subject to the assaults and power of the devil. And the devil spreads ugliness and unhappiness everywhere, by the intermediary of men who are enslaved to him. He intervenes directly by his manifestations (among which are the UFO's); by disasters of all kinds; by earthquakes, which some say often coincide with the sightings of UFO's; by the disturbances that he introduces in the regular course of the seasons and the growing cycle; by the desertification of the lands that are subject to his reign; by the perturbations that he provokes in space-time; by his prodigies of all kinds; and finally, by possession, often unbeknownst to the victims, of the minds of men.
The power of angels over the material universe perfectly explains the phenomena associated with UFO's: the sudden apparition and disappearance of craft, with or without the presence of beings resembling humans.
All these characteristics justify the classification of the UFO phenomenon as demonic infestations. One can readily explain their movements at incredible speed and their sudden disappearance by the fact that the demons are not subject, as are men, to the continuum of space and time. Their vessels seem to fall into another dimension, into another universe, that of spirit. This corresponds equally with the thesis of certain philosophers who admit the existence of angelic time, intermediary between divine eternity and human time.
Over and beyond the difference between angelic time and the human time, other faculties reserved to the angels explain the phenomenon of UFO's: the ability of pure spirits to materialize and dematerialize at will, that is to say, to borrow the forms or appearances of material creation, human or animal.
The serpent of Genesis, the dragons of the ancients, the human body: all these forms, more or less caricatured, have been borrowed by "the prince of this world" in the course of human history. What is noteworthy is the adaptation of the forms used to the changing mentality of men throughout history. In Antiquity, the form of the dragon was preferred because of its terrifying aspect, proper to inspire submission. In these times of the reign of technology and science, what could be more appropriate or refined, more "pregnant" and suggestive than the form of the cosmonaut, archetype of the man of civilizations who believe themselves to be or who desire to be superior; in a word, what could be more apt to seduce "modern man"?
The devils make themselves by turns, according to an unrevealed strategic plan, terrifying or seductive. In fact, we should say both terrifying and seductive, because it is only by the poison of immediate seduction that their terrifying character can go unnoticed by men. They utilize material creation after the manner of magicians.
Porphyrus already wrote about them:
They are the brothers of magic. Also, those who, by recourse to occult practices, commit evil actions, venerate them, especially their chief. They have an abundance of varied and false images of things, and by that means they are eminently skillful at putting into play secret means for organizing deceits.
...Satan is always the same.
In returning to the world, he comes with all the attributes of his antique royalty: oracles, prodigies, various manipulations, all the cortege of seduction, signs and instruments of rule with which he had filled the ancient world and with which he still fills the idolatrous world. All these things necessarily had to reappear in a world fallen once again under his dominion by the retreat of Christianity.4
The stage is the same, the actors are also the same, only the props have changed!
Miracles and Prodigies
But if there can be no doubt about the power of demons over matter, does it follow that they have unlimited power so as to be able to accomplish miracles?
St. Thomas, treating of the divine government in the Summa ITieologica, answers this question by distinguishing in living bodies two intrinsic principles:
1) matter, which as such is totally undifferentiated and therefore totally malleable and capable of receiving any kind of modification; and
2) the substantial form which, informing matter, organizes it and enables it to become some determinate corporeal entity: mineral, vegetable, animal.
If angels or demons can make use of the plasticity of prime matter, they cannot, on the other hand, influence the substantial form. That power belongs to God. In other words, demons can accomplish prodigies, but they cannot work miracles. For example the transformation of a stone into a frog would constitute a miracle.
There is a miracle strictly speaking when something is produced outside the order of nature. But for there to be a miracle it is not enough that something be accomplished outside the nature of a particular creature: for then, when someone throws a stone into the air he would work a miracle, since that is outside the nature of the stone. Thus a thing is a miracle if it occurs outside of the order of created nature.
Only God can do that: whatever is accomplished by an angel or any other creature by its own power is accomplished according to the order of created nature: it is not a miracle.
Further on, St. Thomas explains more fully what he means:
Because we do not totally know the power of created nature, when something occurs outside the order of nature, it appears to our eyes as a miracle. But when the demons accomplish something by virtue of their nature, we also call it a miracle, not absolutely speaking, but in relation to us. It is in this manner that the magi work "miracles" with the help of "demons."
He cites the case of the Pharaoh's magicians who, by the power of demons, "produced real snakes and real frogs." To explain these prodigies that look like miracles, St. Thomas formulates several possible explanations. The first depends on the demon's power of suggestion over the human mind. The second stems from the demon's power over nature to fabricate a body and to take the appearance of man or animal.
Finally, to explain the apparition of living beings, St. Thomas attributes to the demons a perfect knowledge of the laws of life. He puts forth the hypothesis of the existence in a latent state, in prime matter, "vital seeds" capable of engendering life under certain exceptional circumstances. The demons, more intelligent than we, would know these conditions. Recall that science, having discarded the hypothesis of spontaneous generation at the end of the 19th century, seems to be having recourse to it in our time. Let us not go further into this hypothesis,6 which does not directly concern our subject.
Let us consider, rather the usefulness of the distinction between a supernatural event (miracle) and a preternatural event (prodigy) as it applies in the study of UFO's. A miracle can only have as author God, Creator of all things, or else the angels to whom He has given the power to work miracles. A prodigy can only have as author the devil mastering the cosmic forces by means of a science of which we are ignorant....The true faith was proven by miracles. It is by prodigies that the religion of the devil will be insinuated into the minds of men. The devil likes to ape the Creator. He is storing up for us in future a cortege of stupefying prodigies which, according to Holy Scripture, would confound even the Elect in those days were they not preserved by a special grace!
It is legitimate to enquire whether the prodigies realized in our times-the UFO's, for example—might not be the work of men initiated into the devil's science by the devil himself. Just as the Creator uses the ministry of angels to perform miracles, as Scripture and tradition teach, so the demons could avail themselves of the ministry of certain men in order to accomplish their prodigies. History testifies to this supposition unequivocally.
Recall the Pharaoh's magic at the time of Moses.
Certain experiments conducted in the US about 40 years ago could lead us to accept this hypothesis as true for our era, too. The most astonishing of the "paranormal" experiments was conducted by the US Navy in 1943 in Philadelphia and at sea.
The experiment's purpose was to record the effect of a strong magnetic current on a manned surface vessel. The results proved to be stupefying. The ship and its crew became invisible. The men experienced a strange sensation of dematerialization. One sees to what aberrations the use of a certain science can lead.
Christ did not come in order to unveil for our use the laws of the universe, but rather truths of the supernatural order. Not that the doors of science must be systematically closed, but that men, in the state of sin, cannot cross the threshold without danger, and if they go too far, it is certainly not in accord with the divine will.
"Science without conscience is the soul's ruin," wrote Montaigne.
Then, if it is not the Creator who arouses such curiosity, it can only be His enemy, the Serpent of Genesis. The power that the devil possesses over man...provides a supplementary confirmation.
Taking these considerations into account, we cannot exclude a priori a direct intervention of men in producing the UFO phenomenon....Nevertheless, such an intervention could not occur without an indirect action of the devil, as we have just seen....In the end times, Satan will put everything into play in order to "ape" God in His miracles and set himself against Him, going so far as to produce false resurrections of persons from the past. These false resurrections...based on a technique of "prolonged astral bilocation," reserved to the damned, who are entirely deprived of liberty, were announced by the Blessed Virgin in her message at La Salette.
Yes, Satan rules, but God keeps watch.
Oracles and Prophecy
The parallel that exists between miracle and prodigy also exists between prophecy and oracle. Can the devil know the future?
The answer is found in making a distinction between the realities of the supernatural world and those of the created universe. Concerning the supernatural world, Lucifer's henchmen are like men: they only know what it has pleased God to reveal; with this difference, that, since the fall, the demons are plunged into complete blindness as regards spiritual realities. The import of this fundamental truth is that only God can exactly foresee future events and conduct human history, arena of man's free will, to its end. For, if that were not so, it would suppose that either human freedom does not exist, or that the devil can know ahead of time the choices that the men yet to be born will make. But the "secret of hearts" is known to God alone. The devil does not know and can never know how men will respond to the graces that are offered or will be offered by the Creator.
On the other hand, as regards the created universe of which he perfectly knows the laws, he can certainly predict the consequences of certain phenomena. Knowing the causes, he can perceive the effects even in cases where the events are unforeseeable to man, who never knows completely the chain of causes and effects.
The prediction of future events which depend upon free choices is the realm of what is called "prophecy"; the prediction of events determined by the interventions of the devil falls into the domain of oracle. The demons are not prophets, but only diviners, that is, what are called "oracles." If in the Old Testament God had His prophets, the devil had his oracles. Sometimes these diviners even predicted the opposite of what the demons wanted, as is shown by the story of Balaam.
The reason for the reappearance of oracles would be that, by submitting himself once again to the power of the devil, man gives him a certain hold on the future, on his own future, reality henceforth coinciding with the disoccultation of the Luciferian Plan. Thus it is Lucifer's plan that, with God's permission and in a language that remains hermetic, the devil reveals to us. It is a sure bet that part of this plan has been accomplished in a world where he has succeeded in becoming master of causes by subjecting the minds and souls of men and human societies. That still does not make it prophecy, however.
To close this topic, let us say a few words about the reasons for their apparent and forbidding obscurity.
Prophecies and oracles are, in fact, ordinarily incomprehensible whatever their language or style.
First of all, they are given for a time of which their contemporaries have no idea.
Would we have been able to imagine the television in the 12th century? The representation of the television being impossible, the words to describe it would have been very obscure, not corresponding to any concrete object familiar to the minds of men living at the time.
Moreover, as regards prophecy, God would annul our liberty were He to reveal to us too distinctly the future. Why should we change our lives if we cannot change our destiny! To use the current language, such an attitude on God's part would be demoralizing.
But God, who created man free, totally respects man's liberty. St. Augustine said that God, who made us without our will, cannot save us without our participation.
This is so true that all the end times messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the last 150 years are always conditional: "If you do not convert...if you do not amend your life...." She has never affirmed that no matter what we do, there would be wars.
As for oracles, their obscurity results not only from the fact that Satan is the Ape of God, or that enigma is a source of fascination and seduction and foments in men the desire for power; it also results from the fact that he is not the master of free wills, and thus cannot exactly predict the future.
Thus obscurity, double and triple meanings, constitute opportune screens. He cannot fail or be taken in a lie. It is simply a precaution on Lucifer's part. Besides, with the passage of time, it is clear that prophecy can never be perfectly understood until it has come to pass.
We conclude by answering a question that is surely in the reader's mind.
How can we men ever discern the true from the false, the miracle from prodigy, for want of knowing the secret of hearts and the laws of matter? The answer is to be found in traditional catechisms. We can discern the true from the false, the miracle from prodigy, by the gift of the discernment of spirits, which we receive in Confirmation.
But the soul must be open to the reception of this gift.
What is needed is a faith submissive to the teaching of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church; a faith fortified by the reception of the sacraments and by perseverance in prayer and penance.
But systematic doubt, "searching," as they say today, discussion of revealed truths accompanied by a worldly and dissipated life lead sooner or later to supernatural blindness and render the soul extremely vulnerable to the deceits of the devil.
This is what the Blessed Virgin has reminded us in her messages at La Salette, Lourdes, and Fatima, to name just the best known, and, moreover, incontestably recognized by the Catholic Church.
That is the only possible protection against the devil.
There is no other.
1. Summa Theologica, I-I, Q. 50, A. 1.
2. This description appeared under the name of an Orthodox priest, Fr. Rodion, of St. Petersburg, in 1992; it was cited on pp.200, 201 in the book by Vladimir Fedorovski, Le département du diable [The Devil's Department] (Plon, 1996). (Appendix to Les OVNI Identifies by Alain Kerizo)
3. ST, I-I, Q. 61, A. 3.
4. Bishop Gaume, Traite du Saint Esprit.
5. In "L'etat mystique" of Bishop Saudreau, (Angers, 1921) one reads this very interesting remark: "It even seems that the devil is not allowed to perfectly reproduce the human form." He adds in a footnote: "We had learned from various sources this peculiarity before reading it in Suarez, who evokes the testimony of several authors and the avowals of witches. One day, a confrere was consulting us on suspicious apparitions; we advised him to find out about the shape of the feet: the seer looked. They were animal feet." This is not without interest when one considers attentively the accounts of "humanoids" piloting the UFO's!
6. Especially since a fourth, much simpler, hypothesis seems to us to be more likely: The devil could simply have transported the frogs that he had gathered up a few miles from there, in order to place them at the disposition of Pharaoh's magicians! Accounts of kidnappings by the UFO's are frequent. Who can do the greater deed can do the lesser. In the magicians' trade, only the end justifies the means adopted to make a deep impression. Such is the case of the notorious Filipino sorcerers who, operating with bare hands, extract from their patients' bodies divers objects (cotton, scissors, etc.), which seduces the patients; but the objects must not come from very far: the operator's pocket, for example!
On the Nature of Human Liberty
His Holiness Pope Leo XIII
Promulgated June 20, 1888
“There are many who imagine that the Church is hostile to human liberty. Having a false and absurd notion as to what liberty is, either they pervert the very idea of freedom, or they extend it at their pleasure to many things in respect of which man cannot rightly be regarded as free.”(1)
“Many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, “I will not serve” and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals. …these followers of liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality” (14,15)
“once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought in any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man’s individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority. But, from what has been said, it is clear that all this is in contradiction to reason.”(15)
“There are others, somewhat more moderate though not more consistent, who affirm that the morality of individuals is to be guided by the divine law, but not the morality of the State, for that in public affairs the commands of God may be passed over, and may be entirely disregarded in the framing of laws. Hence follows the fatal theory of the need of separation between Church and State. But the absurdity of such a position is manifest.” (18)
“let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none.
But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety.
… Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.” (19,20)
“This kind of liberty, if considered in relation to the State, clearly implies that there is no reason why the State should offer any homage to God, or should desire any public recognition of Him; that no one form of worship is to be preferred to another, but that all stand on an equal footing, no account being taken of the religion of the people, even if they profess the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must needs be taken as true that the State has no duties toward God, or that such duties, if they exist, can be abandoned with impunity, both of which assertions are manifestly false.” (21)
“We must now consider briefly liberty of speech, and liberty of the press. It is hardly necessary to say that there can be no such right as this, if it be not used in moderation, and if it pass beyond the bounds and end of all true liberty. For right is a moral power which — as We have before said and must again and again repeat — it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, to justice and injustice. Men have a right freely and prudently to propagate throughout the State what things so ever are true and honorable, so that as many as possible may possess them; but lying opinions, that which no mental plague is greater, and vices which corrupt the heart and moral life should be diligently repressed by public authority, lest they insidiously work the ruin of the State.”(23)
“From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty.” (42)
The Tragedy of Modern Woman
If you want to take the measure of modern society in terms of human happiness, watch the faces of the women.
The female of our species is much more sensitive than the male to the things of the spirit, and whatever she feels, and is, will be written on her face after the age of 25 or 30. We are so fashion-conscious that we seldom even look at the soul of modern woman as revealed by her eyes and the lines of her face. In this way we miss observing that most American women, those emancipated and lovely ladies of commercial fiction, either cry themselves to sleep every night or are past giving way to the sorrow and frustration that encompasses them.
What Women Want
The nature of woman is a matter for philosophical and spiritual investigation. No Gallup poll is needed, or would even be useful, in finding out what women are made for. They are made as all human beings (men included) for God, both here and here-after. But in a special way women are destined for love and service; love and service of God, usually in the person of another human being. It can be stated dogmatically that the key to any woman's character and to her happiness or unhappiness, lies in discovering whom she loves, whereas a man, though he shares ultimately the same destiny, is frequently caught loving a yacht or a car or a corporation.
In respect to a woman's loves, she will be happy if they are rightly ordered and duly reciprocated, miserable otherwise. Rightly ordered means that God will get her first love and that all her other loves will be somehow in Christ. In this light one can examine modern woman and see that our society has betrayed her on every level.
The Tragedy of Wasted Sacrifice
The tragedy of the aging woman with grown-up children today is the tragedy of wasted sacrifice. In God's plan marriage is intended to be the path of sanctification for most women, the altar of daily sacrifice made easy by love. Marriage is so natural a vehicle for dying to oneself that even today it is rare to see a married woman who is selfish unless she has refused through contraception to permit the ordinary fructification of marriage. A woman with a child immediately takes on a dignity, a dignity which increases as the family grows and the sacrifices multiply. The normal woman, be she Christian or pagan, gives to her children before herself. They are well clothed while she gets shabbier; they attend school at the expense of new furniture or perfume. The normal woman does not even notice her sacrifices because she loves her children and is surrounded by their need for her.
So far it is all part of God's plan.
It is all a prelude to joy unceasing. It is a sort of purgatorial stage of the spiritual life to act as a prelude to the joys of union with God. A Christian woman, while loving her husband and children, should grow increasingly eager for what popular psychologists, with their foolish terminology, call the "empty nest" period, when the house is deserted and the children all at college or married. She should be eager because she should be pretty well stripped of self-love and ready for a swift progress in the spiritual life once she is free for more prayer. She should be already far enough advanced spiritually to count past sacrifices as nothing and to hope she can soon live a more penitential, frugal, simple, and contemplative life than has been possible with a growing family around. Like the saint queens of hagiography she should be planning the personal service she will give to the sick or the needy when her hands are free to love Christ in His least lovable.
The tragedy of the middle-aged American woman whom God intended thus to sanctify hits you with full force if you listen to any of the radio give-away programs. They represent a mountainous vulgarity, a truly shameful indignity. But slightly less vulgarly the same tragedy extends to the more refined suburbanites who waste their declining years in bridge, travel and gossip.
Everyone cooperates in making sure that the years of sacrifice do not fructify.
"Now you can have your new car, your trip to Bermuda, your hair elegantly done, the latest dish washing machine and fine clothes!" scream the advertisements, seconded by public opinion. What they are really saying is,
"Now that you have been at least partially stripped of self-love, you can learn to love yourself again, so that you may be able to lose your soul after all, and if you don't lose your soul you can at least have the opportunity of going through the stripping all over again, and in a much more painful way, in purgatory."
Husbands only serve to heighten the tragedy, although for other reasons. Owing to a distorted ideal of married love (more about this later), it is considered today that a woman must hold her husband's affection by her physical charms. How cruel the world's way is, compared to God's.
In God's plan a man and his wife would so have grown in spiritual unity by middle age that the most beautiful 18-year-old secretary, despite her evident charms, would fail to hold the husband's attention.
In the world's scheme love never deepens. It's always superficial and physical.
This imposes a torture on all middle-aged women whose waistlines finally expand beyond all repressing and who look more and more pathetic in their determined youthfulness. They must always be dieting when they would otherwise (had they been nearing the goal of holiness) be fasting. They suffer doubly because they will not accept suffering. They are vastly more lonely for having turned away from solitude. The devil is a hard task master.
The Tragedy of Half-Giving
The tragedy of half-giving stalks the unmarried women who are not nuns. Perhaps the best way to see their plight is within an historical perspective.
The single state is, strictly speaking, unnatural. It is tolerable and significant (as will be shown) only within a Christian context where it can be raised to a supernatural role. Pagan societies never tolerated single women (as a class, that is; there were accidental special cases). They were pressed into concubinage or prostitution.
One of the most notable social effects of Christianity was that it provided a status and function to unmarried women. They would be "brides of Christ," women who were impatient of reaching their final goal of divine love through the intermediary channel of human love and so chose a direct route of total and immediate self-giving to God, either in a life stripped of all but the barest necessary activities for the sake of contemplation or within the framework of a religious order devoted to the works of mercy.
As brides of Christ these women were able to love as fully as possible and their love overflowed all over Europe in the service of the poor and the sick, the homeless, the leper and the ignorant. Peace and joy characterized their countenances and people said of them then as they say of them now, "You can never tell how old a nun is–they always look young."
The Protestant Reformation dispensed with nuns, totally in some countries, partially in others.
But Protestantism couldn't erase the memory of the freedom not to marry, nor the ideal of free service in the works of mercy.
The last several centuries have witnessed the progressive deterioration of the status of the single woman as she was divorced progressively from her role of Christ's spouse. We still have vestiges of the tail end of that regression in the "noble humanitarian" maiden lady who was popularly called an "old maid."
Popular appellations are usually somewhat accurate, even if cruel.
No one would ever have called a nun an old maid.
It was the secular spinster who had withered up because she couldn't love fully and give her service wholly. And now we see the final decay of half-giving.
Teachers, nurses and social workers, divorced from Christ except accidentally (where they are pious on the side but do not see Christ in the patient or the student or client, or if they do are caught up in a system which doesn't corroborate their findings), are sick of half-giving, of leading lonely if useful lives, and are capitulating to self-seeking. They are all asking for more money, not knowing that their frustration comes from quite another source and that they are but jumping from unhappiness to ruination.
Career girls are another facet of the unmarried woman problem, descended in an indirect line by way of the emancipation of woman. They are not wholly the termini of the secularized nun but are caught up equally with the disgruntled wife. Without tracing their ancestry in detail, let us examine their present plight.
It can be said categorically that the career girl cannot be happy (that is as a career girl–she may accidentally be fulfilled because her career is secondary to the support of an aged mother or a brother studying for the priesthood, or because she only works for a little while and finds it exciting). You have only to ask one question to see why. Whom does a career girl love? As a woman she must love someone wholly.
She does not love God, not enough anyhow. That is apparent by definition. A career girl is one who is forging a place for herself in business, government, the arts–some secular activity. It does not involve a religious dedication. God, then, is out as the renter of her life.
Most career girls try to go against their natures. They pretend that they can make themselves like men, impersonal, objective, and happy in the pursuit of things. If they have love affairs they try to make them seem casual, as though their hearts were not involved. The more glittering a woman's career (in the eyes of the world) the more apt the woman herself is to be distorted, unhappy and neurotic.
Then there are a multitude of career girls who love their bosses, knowingly or unknowingly, morally or immorally, with home-breaking effects or not. It is not in a woman to give her total service and dedication to the Amalgamated Pickle Company or National Horseshoes, Inc., without having a personal attachment involved. Business tends to exploit this fact because it is to the interest of the firm to have devoted workers, and if a roomful of girls is going to be asked to work late night after night it is useful to have a handsome personnel manager. The situation is especially acute in the case of secretaries so aptly named "office wives." Night after night, from coast to coast, important Mr. Jones leaves the office early for golf and then cocktails and dinner, while Mary Jane Smith works on until 8:00pm cleaning up the mail. Often enough she doesn't know why she does it, and most often too Mr. Jones is obtuse enough to accept the sacrifice without realizing its disorienting effects on Mary Jane's life.
The only way for a determined career girl to escape from the emotional disorders which beset her is for her to give all her love to someone whose interests are identical with her own, that is, herself. Needless to say, self-love is to the self's ultimate destruction, but it seemingly frees people from being hurt by others (the person you love always has the power to hurt you). When a career woman thus "frees" herself by loving only herself she becomes a ruthless creature who terrifies all around her. A calloused male, seeking money or power, is warm and human by contrast. And, needless to say, such a woman is in a far more perilous state as regards her soul, than the secretary she makes miserable and the comptometer operator who is secretly in love with the head bookkeeper.
The Lay Apostle
Single women must again turn to Christ with a total love and service. It is easy to say that they ought to marry or enter the convent, but that is often not the answer. Neither is it the answer for them to continue their secular course and pile up novenas on the side. Today's answer to the problem of the single girl is usually the lay apostolate, some form of Catholic Action which will give her a Christ-centered life and a very important function within the contemporary framework of life. Wherever girls have turned to some vital form of the apostolate, the marks of frustration, neurosis, loneliness and unhappiness have indeed begun to disappear. Life is not really as difficult as it seems. God's way is easy and includes everyone.
The Tragedy of Superficial Union
The tragedy of the married woman today can be traced to a misunderstanding about the nature of human love. We are made, says the Church, in the image and likeness of God. The modern world contradicts this: We are made, it says, in the image and likeness of animals. The union of a man and woman in marriage, says the Church, is analogous to the union of Christ and His Church and can only be understood in that light. It is a spiritual union, expressed through the union of bodies. The union of man and woman in marriage, says the world, is like the mating of animals, to which is attached a little more delicacy and cerebration because we are higher animals.
So the world prepares young people for marriage by teaching them physiology and the techniques of making love, and sends them into marriage (armed with contraceptive devices) physically mature but spiritually infantile.
As the marriage relationship becomes (as it must) progressively more intolerable, the publishers belch forth a mountain of books giving further instructions on the art of eroticism, and finally society shepherds the aggrieved partners singly onto the psychologist's couch, and on to the divorce court.
There virtually is no such thing as sexual incompatibility. The root trouble is the lack of spiritual harmony, and behind that a deficient spiritual development or a complete absence of spiritual orientation. How could marriage possibly succeed?
But let us return to the married woman. She has to love someone wholly. Whom does she love? She ought, of course, to love God and her husband as Christ's intermediary but most times she does not.
There is a natural tendency for women to love their husbands as though their husbands were God, were indeed the woman's final end. This is owing to woman's great need to love and give herself wholly and it always leads to disaster. If the husband becomes her god the wife becomes subordinate to him in a disastrous way. She takes her standards from him (what is good is what pleases him, what is bad he doesn't like), whereas she is supposed to be the member of the family who preserves the moral standards which come from God. Her entire happiness hinges on him, and he is often a poor enough specimen. She becomes jealous, she demands much more of him in time and attention than he wants to give. Eventually the husband will be unable to tolerate this unnatural worship, accompanied as it usually is by frequent tears and emotional outbursts, and the woman will be driven to a nervous breakdown. Or else she will discover in one shattering blow that her god is a clay idol and be so disillusioned she will hate him.
If a woman doesn't love God supremely, and chances not to worship her husband, there is always the possibility of gross over-attachment to her children. Under the guise of maternal solicitude a vast multitude of woman are seeking a self-satisfaction in their children, making their sons over dependent on them and robbing their daughters of real lives of their own. Enough evidence of this sort of thing is at every hand to omit any elaboration here.
Or the married woman, like the single woman, can love herself. All loves reduce in the end to self-love or love of God, but those who love another during their lifetime have not yet settled in self-love even if they haven't attained God.
Determined, premeditated self-love, as in the newly married girl who loves clothes inordinately and wants no children, is like premature self-damnation.
It's like making the final choice between God and self on the very threshold of life.
The New Paganism
Paganism has always been marked by the degradation of women. Whether in cultured Athens or Hindu India or ancient or modern China, you will look in vain for the regard for women with which Christianity marked Western society. The degradation takes two forms: women are reduced to slave-like work and to objects of pleasure. We are returning to paganism with ever more swift strides in our society, and again it is marked by the two signs of women's degradation.
The emancipation movement has ended in women's slavery. The myriads of office and factory girls, regimented, depersonalized, with their every gesture prescribed and tabulated, are the armies of slaves on whom the new paganism is being built. Superficially it does not seem so because, for the moment at least, we encourage our new slaves to dress like Hollywood stars and we appease their appetite for life by the vicarious excitement of the movies, radio and pulp stories. We even pay them well, but it is a quarter of a century since Belloc reminded us that slavery is still slavery even if it is well paid–and cushioned about with television sets and double chocolate sundaes.
The moral debacle, plus divorce, birth control and other "enlightened" measures, has resulted in the reduction of women to a pseudo-prostitution, of which the wolf call (which so many poor ignorant women think flattering) is the symbol.
It is into this atmosphere, this post-Christian situation, that the young girl of today emerges from adolescence. For her it will be like starting all over again to work for the true emancipation which Christ came to bring her. She can no longer drain out the last dregs of happiness and dignity left by a residual Chrisiatianity, but has to forge a new path in the manner of Sts. Agatha and Agnes.
But not quite in their way because they were lone Christian martyrs, defying worldly parents and a pagan society. The modern Catholic girl has the opportunity of uniting with a multitude of others in the lay apostolate, not so much to defy an inevitable authority and suffer death as (through the lay apostolate) to take advantage of what freedom of action is left to bring Christ, purity and happiness to a dispossessed younger generation whose elders have not seen fit to pass on their residual Christianity. But like the early martyrs, the young women of today may well be repudiated and cast out by their materialistic parents.
Not Less Love, but More
There is only one answer to the tragedy of the women who are making modern society quite literally a vale of tears, and that is an ordering and an increase in their love. It is pathetic to see the pseudo-solutions which the popular magazines hold out to women whose problems they often see quite clearly, and whose unhappiness has certainly not escaped them (as has not the potentialities of exploiting them for profit). How can they give any but superficial remedies?
How can they suggest anything except what might deaden the pain (sometimes at the expense of virtue)? Bridge is no remedy. Helena Rubinstein does not hold the key to happiness. A new dress won't do it. Neither will an affair, a raise, a cruise or a good book.
Unlike the indifferent husband, Christ welcomes love and total devotion, and reciprocates a thousandfold. Unlike children, Christ does not outgrow His desire for our affection. Unlike the world, Christ forgives us, no matter how far we have fallen. He can purify the impure, as He perfected the woman taken in adultery.
The central fact of the case is that women need to love tremendously and there is only one Person whom they can safely and satisfactorily love: Christ. And the more disordered their present loves the more whole-hearted will have to be their conversion to a love of Christ.
There is no remedy for modern woman's tragedy except Christ, and wherever Christ is introduced all human relationships begin immediately to straighten themselves out.
(Please Note; We do not ask for donations of money, nor do we credit lay people. Only Bishops, Priests and Nuns are credited.
However, we do ask that you remeber the young lady that wrote this post in your prayers. Please say a Hail Mary for her after reading this post).