Monday, October 24, 2016

Sexy is No Substitute for Class

The Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima
May 13, 1917
"More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason... Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much... Woe to women lacking in modesty." 
-- Our Lady of Fatima, Blessed Jacinta Marto
As I type this entry, we are just a couple weeks away from the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Virtually all public conversation now revolves around that. However, I want to take us away from that for a moment and move into bigger topics. In a previous essay I discussed strategies Catholic families could take to weather the coming storm that is about to befall us in the United States. In that essay I mentioned the eventual re-evangelisation of North America, and rebuilding of Christendom, which will inevitably follow the collapse of modern Western Civilisation. As I mentioned, the coming storm that will persecute Catholics (and other Christians) is unavoidable, regardless of who wins the American presidential election in 2016. The election just determines the length and intensity of this storm.

So now what we need to be thinking about is the long term. The time for saving this current culture has passed. It is now time to talk about how we will start over, completely from scratch. We begin in a very personal way, and that is by the way we dress.

I think its fairly obvious to say that something went horribly wrong with all fashion trends in the middle 1960s. By that I mean from the 1930s through early 1960s, with just a few exceptions, there were certain expected norms in American fashion trends. With only a few exceptions, a reasonable degree of modesty ruled the day. It certainly wasn't a prudish time, and far from puritan, but it was fairly consistent with the cultural trends of the 18th and 19th centuries, leading up to that time. For this reason, I would consider the 1930s through early 1960s the apex of American women's fashion. It was sophisticated, smart, practical, beautiful and classy. But in about 1966 things started to change. Women's clothing got a little more daring, revealing, tighter and sexy. The descent into the sensual abyss was rapid. By 1970 it was just plain weird, and men's fashion quickly followed suit. The 1970s were a strange time indeed. I have often said if the late 1960s were America's "party" than the 1970s was America's "hangover." I grew up in the 1970s, and to this day, I don't understand it. It was a strange time. Maybe it was all the pot and psychedelic drugs they were using back then. I don't know, but it was weird. The 1980s were my teen years, and I can tell you exactly what the impetus was behind a lot of our fashions in the 80s. It was to get rid of the 70s! We wanted every trace of that decade as far behind us as possible. For all of our big hair, loud colours, shoulder pads and suspenders, you will notice a recurring theme about the 1980s. What was it? Look closely. It was a nostalgic admiration of the 1950s. Look at some of the most popular movies of the 1980s and you'll notice that many of them are set in the 1950s. Much of the pop art and music had that bubblegum look and sound of classic 1950s art and rock n' roll. Speaking as a teenager from the 1980s, I can tell you first hand, we admired the 1950s, and we wanted to emulate that in some ways, but at the same time we wanted to be modern and different. We wanted to set our own trends that were unique, but we couldn't help look back at our grandparents' generation with just a touch of envy.

My time (1980s onward), may have gotten a bit more sophisticated, but the sensual trend continued in a downward spiral. The pattern was more flesh, tight fit and less to the imagination. This of course is particularly seen in so-called "bathing suits," but we see it in contemporary street dress as well. In the 1990s a new style began to gain popularity -- grunge. While essentially modest, to a point, it was defined by just plain sloppiness. Sadly, by this time, Americans simply forgot how to dress like Americans.

I believe the prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima about women's fashions is now fulfilled in its entirety, and while many of you ladies may think I'm picking on you, in reality, I'm just stating a fundamental truth. When it comes to fashion, women set the pace and direction. I'm sorry if that's offensive, but its true. Women define fashion. Men just follow along in this area. Let's be honest here. If men defined fashion, we men would all be wearing tunics, britches and boots, looking like something akin to late Medieval farmers. Sorry guys, but that's about as "creative" as it gets for us.

Women have always been the primary drivers of fashion change. Leave men to their own devices and nothing changes at all. Men only think about two things when it comes to fashion. One, is it practical? And two, does it make me look like a girl? If the answer is "yes" to the first, and "no" to the second, it's a winner!

Since women drive fashion trends, it is women's clothing that is primarily responsible to leading us into a place that offends the Lord. Let's be frank about this. The overarching trend of the latter half of the 20th century, until now, has been more flesh and less class. In some cases, with the deep necklines, high skirts, short shorts, etc., it's been down near pornographic. While this does excite men, of course, I can tell you (as a man), I have always been more attracted to a woman who dresses modestly, but in a classy way. Truth be told, if you put any woman in in 1930's through early 1960s skirt and blouse, I'll find her more appealing than most of the women today. You see, there is something about the male psyche that is a bit more sophisticated than most women give us credit for. While female flesh and curves are naturally attractive to us, on a purely carnal level, they only reveal WHAT she is -- a woman. However, if a woman dresses in a modest but classy way, it reveals something more. It reveals WHO she is, and that (pardon me) is a hell of a lot more attractive than the immodest and "sexy" attire most Western women wear today.

The key to modesty is to draw attention to the head, particularly the face. When a woman dresses like this, she's telling others (especially men), that she's a human being. She's a person, not an object. Now of course, sometimes the arms and shins need to bear just for practical reasons. Climate can be a factor, as well as manual labour. However, there are ways a woman can cover the shoulders, waist, and most of the legs, without looking prudish. Many of the Christian modesty movements today look toward the Amish as an example, and I personally think this is a mistake. I think our Catholic women need to be a little smarter than that. Being modest does not mean one has to sacrifice beauty. Modesty does not always mean frumpy.

To re-evangelise and rebuild our civilisation from scratch, we're going to have to start with ourselves, and I think this begins by picking up where we left off before our fashions went crazy in the middle to late 1960s. I'm not talking about completely going back, as in "retro" or a "throwback," but I do think faithful Catholic women, who are seeking modesty and fashions that don't "offend our Lord," need to look at the modest fashions of the 1930s, through early 1960s as a model or template to work from...






Understanding that hairstyles, makeup and accessories will be different today, I think this is a good place to start. Quite frankly, I think modern hair styles and makeup often look better (more natural) than what we saw in decades past. What will follow, quite naturally, is men's fashion. If faithful Catholic women start dressing like this again, Catholic men are naturally going to start feeling under-dressed in their presence, and they'll probably take it up a notch; with some nice slacks, a button shirt and maybe even a tie. Who knows? They may even start asking you for fashion advice! If they do, please ladies, don't go by what you see in the magazines. Men should look manly, as well as modest and classy. Do try to help them understand that.

I think this is where we really need to begin. If you're a Catholic woman, who takes the teachings of the Church seriously, along with the message of Our Lady of Fatima, the "ball is in your court" on this one. What's it going to be? Are you going to make a statement, please our Lord, and dress like you're letting people know WHO you are? Or are you just going to conform to the culture that tells you to only let men know WHAT you are? Will you aspire toward a fashion of modesty and class? Or will you just settle for the prevailing fashions of tight and sexy?



Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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Monday, October 17, 2016

The Coming Storm and How to Prepare

Ludolf Backhuysen - Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

A storm is approaching. We've been watching it build on the horizon for decades, and now it's here. The first sprinkles of rain have already hit us, and with the wind now whipping up, we know the torrent to follow cannot be far away. Flashes of lightning and claps of thunder now surround us. The full fury of this tempest cannot be far off now. I'm speaking metaphorically of course, but the illustration of a storm could not be more accurate. I'm speaking of the political, social and economic storm that is soon to hit the Catholic Church in the United States.

While a lot of hope is riding on this 2016 presidential election, I am here to tell you that no matter who wins, the storm is still going to hit us.

If Donald Trump wins the presidency, some of the ill effects of this storm can be postponed. The Church will be given some more precious time to prepare, perhaps four to eight years at the most, but the storm will still come. I want to make this perfectly clear so there are no misunderstandings. A President Donald J. Trump CANNOT stop this storm. He won't have the power to stop it, nor the necessary support. He can postpone it a bit, and maybe even lessen its damaging effects, but he cannot stop it.

If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the storm will hit us hard and fast. There will be little time for the Church to prepare, perhaps no time at all. The intensity of this storm, and the damage it will cause to the Church, will reach maximum effect. Some of the damage will be felt immediately, within the next four to eight years, and some of it will be felt over the long term, the next ten to thirty years. A President Hillary Rodham Clinton, and those whom she surrounds herself with, is the worst possible combination for creating what is often called "the perfect storm," reaching maximum intensity for the worst possible damage.

Like all storms however, there will be survivors. The Church will survive this storm, but what it looks like after it passes depends a lot on us, how faithful we are, and how we apply our faith to civic life, particularly in the votes we cast.


So what is this storm? Exactly, what am I talking about? I am talking about the growing level of anti-Catholic prejudice in society, media and government. This is coupled with a general anti-Christian prejudice, which particularly affects Evangelicals as well, but it is shrouded in praise and reward for Catholics and Protestants who oppose traditional Catholic-Christian teaching on morality. So it's a sneaky kind of prejudice that shrouds itself in an apparent tolerance (even embrace) of Christians who DON'T abide by traditional Catholic teaching on morality, but is made manifest by its open resentment of Christians who DO abide by traditional Catholic teaching on morality. So in essence, the prejudice is anti-Catholic at its core, but because many Evangelicals abide by a large portion of traditional Catholic morality, they become targets of it too.

Please note, many Evangelicals would simply call their moral beliefs "Biblical morality," but that is a misnomer, because liberal Protestants consider their morality "Biblical" too. They just redefine morality based on their own Liberal interpretation of the Bible. Evangelicals who hold to the principle that abortion is a grave sin, homosexuality is wrong, same-sex "marriage" is not marriage at all, and that sex is for authentic marriage alone, are abiding by a traditional and historic CATHOLIC interpretation of the Bible on these things. Therefore, they are abiding by Catholic morality, and since the new anti-Catholicism is directed against traditional Catholic teaching on morality, these Evangelicals are finding themselves as targets too. The same goes for such aberrant religions as Mormonism and Watchtowerism (Jehovah's Witnesses). They only suffer from this form of prejudice insofar as they embrace traditional Catholic teaching on morality. If any of these groups simply jettisoned traditional CATHOLIC teaching on morality from their churches, they would immediately cease to be targets of the new prejudice. Make no mistake about it. This new prejudice is, at its core, and anti-Catholic prejudice, and it is particularly focused on traditional Catholic moral teaching.

The storm that is coming, indeed is already here, is the phenomenon of this anti-Catholic prejudice flowing through society, the media, and now into government. As the government is infiltrated by officers who subscribe to this anti-Catholic prejudice, the storm intensifies. What we got under President Barack Obama was just the first breeze of the storm, combined with a little spritz of drizzle. It was the front of the storm, but that is now passing. This was manifested in Obama's HHS Mandate, which requires all providers of medical insurance, including religious providers, to cover the cost of abortion and artificial contraception. While this battle has been playing out in the courts, small Christian businesses have been destroyed by other lawsuits, alleging "discrimination" for failing to provide non-essential services to same-sex "weddings." As horrible as a violation of religious freedom this was, it is but the tip of what is to come. These are just the outer edges of the storm. Now that is coming to an end, and the only question that remains is, shall there be a temporary lull before the main storm hits? This will likely happen if Trump is elected. Or will the edge of the storm immediately be followed by a gradual increase into the full tempest, without an interlude to prepare? This will likely happen if Hillary is elected.

What can we expect when the storm reaches its height? We can expect an all out assault on religious liberty. On a social level, this will include a general social prejudice toward good Catholics who adhere to the Church's moral teachings. Bad Catholics, or Fake Catholics, who ignore the Church's moral teachings will be lauded and praised for their "bravery." (You'll notice that Obama and Hillary always surround themselves with these types, because they shield them from the charge of anti-Catholicism.) This social prejudice will get worse. It may start to manifest in the workplace, as subtly as co-workers looking down upon us, or as overtly as our employers asking us to sign statements supporting same-sex "marriage" as a condition of employment. This media prejudice will get worse too, as television shows are filled with Catholics who don't practice their faith, and/or the moral teachings of the Church are directly assaulted in entertainment. This will be accompanied by media news reporting wherein the Catholic Church (and Catholic leaders) can do no right, unless the faith is denied and liberal morality is embraced. This, of course, will be linked to a steady reminder of clerical sex-abuse, wherein less than 5% of Catholic clergy (many of whom were defrocked decades ago), will be portrayed as representing "most" or "nearly all" of the clergy. That will only contribute to the social prejudice of course, making it easier for our employers and co-workers to view us as "intolerant" or "backward" people.

Where we are really going to feel a difference, however, is the anti-Catholic prejudice that will most certainly trickle into government in the upcoming years. The recent Wikileaks email scandal in the Clinton campaign, dealing with anti-Catholic comments made by Hillary's campaign manager, and his admission that they are trying to affect a "revolution" in the U.S. Catholic Church, in attempt to get it to break with Rome on moral teaching, is evidence that this storm will hit us much sooner if Clinton is elected President. These are the kinds of people she likes to surround herself with, and when confronted with the overtly prejudiced nature of these things, she sends out her FAKE Catholic vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, to tell the media that the comments are no big deal, good Catholics are to blame, and there will be no apology for them. If you ask me, that's sort of like telling a battered wife it's her own damn fault, she deserved getting slapped, and she should stop crying and get over it. That seems to be where the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party is going with this. So if they win in November of this year, look out! This is the attitude toward anti-Catholic bigotry we can expect from the Hillary Clinton administration. The courts will begin to side against Christian businesses in greater number. Christian employees will loose all their worker's rights when it comes to conscience protection and personal beliefs. If a corporation wants all its employees to agree with its stand on abortion or homosexuality, then it will enforce that upon their employees, and any resistance will be met with job termination and courts that back it up. Then they'll go after the churches themselves. The government will define what kind of morality can, and cannot, be taught from the pulpit, and with the right Supreme Court justices in place, they will be able to get away with it, in spite of the Constitution. Some churches will lose their tax-exempt status, based entirely on their refusal to back down from traditional Catholic morality (whether they're Catholic or not). Some Catholic priests and bishops, along with some Protestant pastors, will be sued for "discrimination" and/or "hate speech," simply for teaching Catholic morality. In time, these same religious leaders may face prison for the same. Faithful Catholic media, like for example; Church Militant, EWTN, or even this blog, might become targets for censorship, as the government reintroduces a beefed up version of the "fairness doctrine" mandating that all media outlets grant "equal time" to opposing viewpoints. All of this is real, and it is in our future. The questions are simply twofold. When will it come? And how long will it last?

We cannot answer the second question, because there is no way of knowing how long it will last. What we can answer is the first question. When will it come? And if we can answer the first question, we can indirectly address the second, because theoretically speaking, if it comes later, it shouldn't last as long.

There is a clear expiration date on the Leftist persecution of Christianity in America. That expiration date comes when Europe goes up in flames. You see, what American Leftists are trying to do right now is make America more European, but when they say European, they don't mean the quaint little villages in in the mountains of Austria or the sophisticated museums and restaurants of Paris. No, what they mean is an America that is essentially non-religious, and churches that have become museums. That's what they mean by more European. So long as Europe remains intact, and somewhat functional, they have a model to aspire to. As soon as it goes up in flames (and it will someday), that model is gone, along with all their hopes and dreams of a totally Secular society built on free sex, abortion and artificial birth control. So you see, the most ideal situation good Catholics (and Evangelicals) in America can hope for is a delay in the storm, a lull or interlude, before the storm begins. Because the longer it takes to get started, the shorter its duration will be before Europe implodes and burns. Once the smoke starts rising over Paris and Rome, the American experiment in anti-Catholicism will immediately come to an end. This is because Americans (all Americans) will watch the fall of Europe in horror on their television screens, and begin to question "how can we prevent that from happening here?" The only solution of course will be a return to Christendom.

So the storm means anti-Catholic prejudice run amok, the U.S. Catholic Church under serious legal pressure from the government, and U.S. Catholics (and Evangelicals) dealing with anti-Catholic bias in the workplace and among employers. Christian businesses will become impossible to operate if they offer any kind of service that could be construed to cater to homosexuality. In other words; Christian-run bakeries, flower shops, wedding services, etc. will soon go extinct. All of this WILL HAPPEN. The only real question we can address is WHEN? We'll have a better idea of that after the 2016 election is over. If Trump wins, the heavy storm begins in five to ten years from now, has less intensity, and will end whenever Europe burns (whenever that comes). If Hillary wins, the heavy storm begins within a year or two from now, has stronger intensity and won't end until Europe burns (whenever that comes).


So now that we've defined what the storm is, when it might start, and how long it will probably last, let's define strategy. How do we as Catholics deal with it?

Since compromising our faith is NOT an option, we're going to have to make some uncomfortable choices. We need to accept that. The first will be where we go to mass, and the second will be where we work, which will undoubtedly affect where we live. This strategy is geared more toward lay Catholics. Clergy don't have a strategy. Their only option is to remain faithful and accept whatever consequences come their way. Lay Catholics, however, have some options. We can remain faithful, and smartly move around in ways that protect our families.

Where we go to mass will be our first major change. We need to make sure our families are placed in a parish where the faith will be taught and lived, so that when the more uncomfortable changes come, they will be ready to make the sacrifice. Allowing our families to continue in parishes that are unfaithful to Catholic morality, or are watered-down in their approach, will only leave our families in a weak position, and unable to cope with the changes that may need to follow at critical times. So plugging your family into a GOOD PARISH that is faithful to the moral teachings of the Church, is absolutely essential to our survival strategy. Remember we are trying to survive as a faith community -- as good Catholics! Our lives are not in danger here, but our Catholic faithfulness is, as well as the eternal destiny of our souls. So the time to make this change is RIGHT NOW. There is no time left for delay.

Consider looking into a traditional Catholic Latin-mass parish. These are almost always solid on moral teachings and are least likely to compromise under social and legal pressure. Also consider looking into an Ordinariate parish (see here), these celebrate mass in traditional English instead of Latin, but they are similar to Latin mass parishes in their unwillingness to compromise on Catholic moral teaching. None of this is to say that you can't find good moral teaching at a regular Catholic parish. You most certainly can, but you'll have to do a little digging to make sure. The general attitude of parishioners will give you a clue as to where the pastoral leadership stands. Parishes that have many members who are worldly and compromising on moral issues, reflect leadership that tolerates this, and might actually promote it. So be observant and discerning.

The next thing you're going to need to look at is your general location, and this is something that is surely going to be uncomfortable. If you're single, or an older married couple, this may not be such a big deal. However, if you've got young children, this will be a very important issue that you must address. Some states and cities will be more anti-Catholic than others. In those states and cities, where anti-Catholicism abounds, it will be much more difficult for Catholic parishes to uphold traditional Catholic moral teaching. Those few that do, will undoubtedly come under the full fire of the state and local government during the storm. Therefore, for the sake of your young children, getting out may be the best long-term option.

Let's go through some examples here. States like California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and all the New England states are a lost cause. There is virtually no hope for them. Anti-Catholic laws are already in the works there, which will make good Catholic parishes rare, or virtually non-existent, when the storm heats up.

Other less conspicuous states, like Minnesota and the Dakotas, will also become problematic. We could say the same for the rust-belt states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. In fact, probably the best areas where Catholics can expect the most religious liberty is in traditionally non-Catholic states. I'm talking specifically about the Evangelical states of the Bible Belt. I know this may seem counter-intuitive, but probably the best place for Catholics during this coming storm is nestled deep within Protestant country. (Oh, the historical irony of that!) It's the truth though. The Bible Belt is filled with Christians who prize their religious liberty above everything else, and they have the guns to defend it if necessary. I'm not saying it will ever come to that. Rather, I'm saying that Washington D.C. knows this, and so they're less likely to push and issue in that kind of a region, when they could more easily push it somewhere else. So relocating to a Bible Belt state should definitely be on the radar of any faithful Catholic family having young children.

Areas in Red are the Bible Belt
Click to Enlarge
There is of course another dimension to this. While Catholic parents are called to protect their children from religious persecution when able, they are not called to run and hide from the world. Running away, say to a Catholic country like Costa Rica, Malta or Poland, may be somewhat attractive at first, but then what? Do we just hide and let our faith stagnate? If faithful Catholics must run, they should run into missionary territory instead. That makes more sense. So they can sharpen their faith and evangelise others.

The main reason why we have such a terrible anti-Catholic problem building up in this country is because non-Catholics have a distorted image of what Christianity is. Part of this distorted image comes from Evangelicalism, wherein all Christians are stereotyped according to this template. At the same time however, the other part of this distorted image comes from weak Catholic clergy, who are derelict in their duty as shepherds, and have created a Catholic culture that is essentially devoid of any traditional Catholic moral teaching. That's not to say that such Catholic clergy don't exist in the Bible Belt, they most certainly do, but with smaller Catholic populations there; if more Catholics are to move in, and those Catholics demand more traditional liturgy and moral teaching, they will be more likely to get it. It's much easier for faithful Catholics to get what they want in small Bible Belt regions (where their voice is louder) and they consist of 50% of all Catholics there, than in large Catholic regions (like California for example), where they consist of maybe 5% of all Catholics. Do you see what I mean? A smaller Catholic presence in a region equals a louder Catholic voice for faithful Catholics in the local Church.

Now to illustrate this point, let me highlight two areas I am personally familiar with. I grew up in Southern California (a heavily Catholic region), but I've spent most of my adult life in the Ozark Mountains of the Southern Midwest (within the Bible Belt). Now, Southern California spans an area of about 56,000 square miles, and the Ozarks spans an area of about 47,000 square miles. These areas are within 10,000 square miles of each other, so they're pretty comparable in geography. Where they're really different is in population. Within Southern California there are approximately 7.2 million Catholics. Within the Ozarks there are only about 169 thousand Catholics. That means the Ozarks has only about 2% the number of Catholics that exist in Southern California. For every 1 Catholic in the Ozarks, there are about 50 in Southern California.

Now there is something very interesting going on here. In these geographical areas of approximately 50,000 square miles, there are 25 staunchly traditional Catholic parishes in Southern California. By this I mean Catholic parishes that have lawful canonical jurisdiction, and are defined by traditional liturgy (Latin or traditional English) and solid Catholic moral teaching. That's not to say that solid moral teaching doesn't exist in other parishes. I'm sure it does. I'm just using these 25 traditional parishes as examples based on their liturgical styles, since the quality of traditional liturgy often reflects the quality of traditional moral teaching from the pulpit. So for Southern California, I can only find 25 parishes that offer mass in traditional Latin or traditional English. In contrast, the Ozarks, a similar square mile area, spanning three states and three dioceses, has no less than 10 traditional Catholic parishes (see them here) comparable to the type I selected in Southern California. Again, the same disclaimer applies here too. I know we can find good teaching, from good parishes in the Ozarks, that don't meet this liturgical criteria. I'm just using this to make a point, so bear with me.

Now let's do some numbers crunching. Based on the numbers above, in the Ozarks, there is 1 traditional-style parish for every 17,000 Catholics. However, in Southern California, there is only 1 traditional-style parish for every 288,000 Catholics! In order for Southern California to compete with the Ozarks, having 1 traditional-style parish for every 17,000 Catholics, it would require no less than 424 such parishes. Yet it only has 25! So based on that alone, which region is more traditionally Catholic? Obviously it's the Ozarks, because there are more traditional-style parishes per Catholics here in the Ozarks than there are in Southern California.

Now granted, that's just a numbers game, but the point is this. It's not that the Ozarks dioceses are more traditional. They're not. The leadership is similar to what you might find in Southern California. Rather, the reason why you have more traditional-style parishes (per capita) in the Ozarks is because there simply aren't as many Catholics in the Ozarks. The dioceses are smaller in population. So traditional-style Catholics, who want traditional-style liturgy with traditional-style moral teaching, just have a louder voice. They make up a higher percentage of the Catholics in the area too, namely because they have a louder voice. The end result is, more traditional-style liturgy (and teaching) available in the similar 50,000 square mile region. That's my point. Faithful Catholics have a better chance at getting what they want, in the way of more traditional-style parishes, if they will just pack up and move to Bible Belt dioceses where there are smaller Catholic populations.

The Bible Belt, with a high concentration of Evangelicals, ready to fight for religious liberty, makes an appealing environment for faithful Catholic families with young children. These state governments will work hard against the growing anti-Catholic prejudice of Washington D.C. They already are, with strong religious liberty and conscience protection laws, generous homeschooling provisions, and public acknowledgement of the good of religion. My own home state of Missouri has demonstrated strong work in all of these areas.

Then there is the added benefit of ripe missionary fields for sharpening the faith and bringing Evangelicals into the Catholic Church. This is where we want to be during the full intensity of this coming storm. We don't want to be in a state, like California for example, which is already working to curtail religious liberty, and certainly won't stop once it's fully enabled by a federal government willing to assist it in this area. Faithful Catholics with young children, who take their faith seriously, need to get into solid parishes in the short-term, and in the long-term get their families moved to the states that already protect religious liberty, and are most willing to fight against the radical anti-Catholic (anti-Christian) prejudice that will eventually be coming from Washington D.C. So that's the three-step strategy to weathering the storm.

  1. Get into a solid Catholic parish that has traditional liturgy and teaches traditional Catholic morality.
  2. Get the family moved into the Bible Belt, preferably close to a similar type of Catholic parish that is solidly traditional.
  3. Get involved in state politics there and work to preserve religious liberty.


What we need to understand is that the current 2016 election is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The only way an anti-Catholic candidate, like Hillary Clinton, can be nominated for president is if the culture at large has already slipped into a similar form of anti-Catholicism. If she's elected, we know that culture has now reached a majority.

Western Civilisation is lost. That's the cold hard truth. We know this by looking at Europe. It is now a continent filled with atheists, agnostics and Muslims. The number of practicing Christians is now so small that it's almost unnoticeable. The churches of Europe are now mostly museums, and they've been that way for a long time. The only population that is now religiously devout is the Muslim population, and as more Muslims enter Europe, the whole continent is heading for a clash of civilisations unlike anything we have ever seen in modern times. Eventually it will reach a climax, and when it does, the riots will escalate into wars. That's when Paris will burn, and so will Rome, Berlin, London and Stockholm, along with many other cities. That day is coming. We can't know when. It may be as soon as 10 years, or as long as 30 years. Who knows? But when it happens, Americans will watch it all in horror, and only then will they begin to question the wisdom of this nation's anti-Catholic trajectory. This current 2016 election only determines when that trajectory begins. Will it start within the next few years, or later on, within a decade or so. If Trump wins, we get a short reprieve and the storm is postponed. If Hillary wins, there will be no reprieve and the storm will be upon us very soon. How long Catholic Americans (along with Evangelicals) must endure this storm, depends entirely on when it starts.

Either way, Western Civilisation is lost and it cannot be recovered. What Catholics need to start thinking about right now is how to rebuild Christendom from the ground up. We're literally going to be starting over from scratch. Evangelicals may be able to help us fight the prejudice and weather the storm, but they don't have the tools to rebuild a civilisation. Only Catholics can do that. So Evangelicals need us just as much as we need them. We'll need them for the next few decades, but after that, they'll need us even more. As more Catholics move into the Bible Belt, more Evangelicals will convert, and many who don't convert will be more willing to work with Catholics as the storm rages on. When the storm is over, and its time to re-evangelise North America and Europe, the American Bible Belt (looking a lot more Catholic by then) will serve as an excellent base of missionary operations.



Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why a Catholic Democrat Votes for Trump

Donald Trump Laconia Rally, Laconia, NH by Michael Vadon July 16, 2015

People who have known me for a long time have always known I am Pro-Life. In fact, they've always known me to support the traditional family too, opposing "same-sex marriage" and any other oxymoron concerning the word "marriage." So naturally, most people who know me think I'm a Republican. They just assume it. After all, the only Americans who think like that are Republicans. Right?

I suppose living in the Bible Belt of the United States doesn't help much. Here, the stereotypical Pro-Lifer is usually a right-wing Republican Baptist. So when I'm standing in a life-chain, or helping out at a crisis pregnancy centre, I'm usually surrounded by Baptist Republicans. I suppose I couldn't fault anyone for assuming I'm a Republican too. I suppose I couldn't fault anyone for assuming I'm a Baptist as well.

Here's the truth though. Both my parents were Democrats. My father was a Lutheran Democrat, and my mother was a Baptist Democrat. They started voting Republican in 1984, and became "Reagan Democrats," namely just because they liked Reagan and his fiscal policies. By 1992 however, they were solidly voting Republican, namely because the Democratic Party had completely gone off the deep end on all sorts of moral issues, the abortion issue in particular. I remember my father telling me, during the late 1980s, that he didn't oppose all cases of abortion, but he did oppose "abortion on demand" and that he was deeply disappointed in the Democratic Party's promotion of this. These days my parents are senior citizens, and like many people in their 60s, they're set in their ways. They see the way the Democratic Party has run amok, and I don't think they'll ever go back. The DNC has lost these people for good.

I began voting in 1988, and my first vote was for a Republican president, namely over the Pro-Life issue. I continued to vote Republican in every single election since, only voting for Democrats sparingly, in races where the Democratic candidate was Pro-Life, or in an office where a Pro-Life stand didn't matter. (For example; it doesn't matter if the county assessor is Pro-Life or not. So in such races, and other similar offices, I usually favour Democrats.) Politically speaking, however, I can honestly say that I've never voted for a president who actually represents my political views on a majority of issues. For example...
  1. I favour a higher minimum wage -- $15/hour
  2. I favour universal healthcare. I would prefer a decentralised state and county run version, with limited federal intervention. So it doesn't totally match the Democratic model often proposed, but I do believe healthcare is a right, and nobody should have to worry about losing their house over paying their medical bills.
  3. I believe in 100% free prenatal healthcare, and 100% free newborn healthcare, as well as 100% free basic assistance to new mothers; diapers, baby formula, baby food and 90 days paid leave of absence from work. 
  4. I believe in better option for the poor, so that mothers are not penalised in welfare when they marry.
  5. I believe in school choice for all people, especially inner city children who need better options.
  6. I don't believe in policing the world or "nation-building" and I oppose preemptive military strikes.
  7. I oppose the draft.
  8. I believe in busting up monopolies, and making it harder for big business to dominate markets. I want to see better government support of small business.
  9. I want to see fair trade (not "free trade") policies, wherein American business is protected from unfair foreign competition, and workers are free to organise in unions 
  10. I want to see better immigration policies that favour Latin Americans, and persecuted Christians in Africa and the Middle East.
Take a long look at that list. It's pretty obvious that I'm an old school Democrat. So what happened? Why am I voting Republican on the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as many state offices? It should be obvious. I'm Pro-Life, and the Democratic Party supports (even promotes) abortion on demand. Yes, that issue is so important to me, that I'm willing to give up on the other ten, just to try to protect some "unwanted" babies.

I know a lot of Democrats who are perplexed, even baffled, by my decision on this. They just can't understand why an economic progressive, like myself, would vote against his own self interests over a single issue like this.

For them, the ends justify the means. "Who cares if you kill a few unwanted babies," they say, "because if you can get the above 10 policies enacted, you won't have to kill as many in the long run." They can't seem to understand why I would vote against my own self interest to save the lives of a bunch of "unwanted" children.

Truth be told, my family would do much better with a higher minimum wage, universal healthcare and less monopolies. In a very real sense, I am voting against my own self interest. I am voting against the interest of my children too. I know it. We would all do much better with the above 10 policies in place. If I didn't have such deep religious convictions, I would certainly be voting Democrat right now.

I converted to the Catholic Church in 2000, and so did my wife. As Catholics we learned the end never justifies the means (Catechism 1753). It is never "okay" to vote for something one knows to be intrinsic evil (something that is always wrong), even if one intends good to come of it. Such a clear moral teaching absolutely precludes any Catholic from voting for a "Pro-Choice" (i.e. pro-abortion) candidate, regardless of whatever other "goods" that candidate has to offer, so long as there is a viable Pro-Life candidate available.

These days a lot of people like to point to the evils of Nazi Germany, usually in demagoguery of those they dislike, but often without any knowledge of what the Nazis really were, or why they did what they did. I actually know a thing or two about Nazi Germany. My immediate family wasn't there, but my extended family was, and I've made it a point (on a very personal level) to understand what happened there and why. 

The average German was not a Nazi. The average German soldier, who fought valiantly for his country, wasn't a Nazi either. In fact, the Nazi Party only comprised a small percentage (10%) of the German population at its height. The average German thought the mistreatment (and ultimate mass murder) of Jewish people, along with others, was abhorrent. Most Germans didn't know it was going on, or at the very least, they were willing to dismiss the rumours as nothing more than that -- rumours. It wasn't until after the war was over, when the Holocaust was put directly into their faces by allied forces, that they were no longer able to deny it.

So why did the majority of German people go along with the Nazis in the first place? It wasn't like Hitler made his intentions toward the Jews a secret. He was quite open and vocal about it. Why would respectable and modern people just ignore this, dismiss it, and act as if its not that important? I'll tell you why. They went along with it because the Nazis put food on the table. That's why. Under Nazi Germany, there was a roof over every head, food on every plate, and beer in every stein. Well, that was true if you weren't Jewish anyway, but Jews were considered an "unwanted" segment of society, and they were a small minority. So it was easy to deprive them of necessities, and ultimately their very lives, without the majority of Germans having to see it. 

You see, what Hitler promised Germany was essentially "good" at least in theory. In exchange for getting rid of some "unwanted" people, he promised to create an Aryan utopia, wherein science and logic would conquer every problem, while poverty and disease would be virtually eliminated. It wasn't a unique ideology. Hitler certainly didn't invent it. He was inspired by other eugenicists, such as Margaret Sanger, who was ten years his senior, and was preaching outright eugenics years before he ever wrote Mein Kampf. Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood, which was originally established on the principle of racial eugenics. Sanger and Hitler have a lot in common actually, except for this one thing. Sanger founded an organisation. Hitler became the head of a state. In the short run, Hitler was able to kill a whole lot of innocent people, but in the long run, Sanger's ideology and organisation killed a whole lot more. 

You see, like many Americans today, the majority of Germans in the 1930s were willing to sacrifice some "unwanted" people for the sake of something they perceived as "good." Like many Americans today, the majority of Germans in the 1930s believed the end justified the means. Killing Jews was dirty business, so is abortion on demand, BUT, if the end result is something "good," than it may be regrettable, but probably worth it. Or so, this is what many think. This was the driving philosophy of Nazism. We can analyse it any way we want, and we can cite many other problems (racism, anti-Semitism, Marxism, economics, colonisation, World War I, etc.). In the end however, this was the cause of the whole thing. The end justifies the means. That's what made Nazism "tick" so to speak. That's what made it possible. That one driving impetus: the end justifies the means. 

So it is today with abortion and the national Democratic Party. The end justifies the means. Like the Nazi Party, the U.S. Democratic Party would have us believe that so long as our intentions are good, and we mean well in the long run, it's perfectly "okay" to slaughter millions of innocent children in the womb through either surgical or chemical abortion. (Most Democrats would prefer chemical abortion, because it happens much sooner in pregnancy, and therefore makes the whole thing easier to hide.) You see, today's Democratic Party envisions an America where science and reason can solve most of our problems. Through artificial contraception, and abortion on demand, they hope to create an America in which poverty can be eliminated, and disease minimised. In addition, the Democrats promise us universal healthcare, greater option for the poor, a higher minimum wage, and so on, if only we will consent to the killing of unborn innocence.

During the 2008 presidential election, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Vatican's "supreme court," stated that the U.S. Democratic Party "risks transforming itself definitively into a 'party of death.'" With the election of Barack Obama that same year, and the subsequent nomination of Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, I would say that transformation is now complete. 

I long for a return to the old Democratic Party, the one of Roosevelt and Truman and John F. Kennedy. I long for a Democratic Party that is "Whole-Life," which includes being Pro-Life. Until I see it, I will continue to vote against my own economic interests to protect those weaker than me from the evils of abortion on demand. In this election, I will vote for Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president. As much as I dislike him for so many reasons, he is not advocating the genocidal ideology of "the end justifies the means," which is typical of Democratic politicians on abortion these days. Likewise, I will vote for Republican congressman for the same reason, and Republican state representatives. All because the Democratic Party, both federal and state, refuse to run Pro-Life candidates. I have written to both the state and national Democratic parties, practically begging them to support Pro-Life candidates. All of my emails have been dismissed. So here I stand. I will vote against my economic self interests again, for the sake of the helpless. Why? Because I actually learned something from the Holocaust.

The teachings of the Catholic Church are clear on this one.  Catechism 1753 specifically tells us that the end never justifies the means. While the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion is unequivocal. Abortion is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always wrong, and can never be condoned. Applied to voting, I cannot vote for any candidate that supports abortion on demand, and so long as the Democrats insist on running candidates that advocate abortion, I just can't vote for Democrats anymore. It's truly sad, because I want to vote for them, but I just can't. For this reason, I have joined the American Solidarity Party. I believe this is the only option for me, even though it is a small third-party that currently has no hope of winning a major presidential election this year. Perhaps that will change in the years ahead, if other Pro-Lifers join me on this. 

As for Hillary Clinton, her candidacy represents more than just killing babies. Like all who believe the end justifies the means, she will persecute the Church, because historically speaking, that is just what they always end up doing. If she is elected president, she will be no different. You can mark my words on that one. I'm no prophet, but in 4 years time, you'll see what I mean if she's elected. It's just the natural course of history. 

So that's why this Catholic Democrat is voting for Trump in 2016. He's not my ideal choice for president, and he doesn't stand for many of the things I do, but I've learned a lot from history, the hard lessons of the old country, and the unchangeable teachings of the Catholic Church. Trump is the only viable option for Catholics in this election.



Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'FullyChristian.Com -- The random musings of a Catholic in the Ozarks.'

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