That Unspeakably Stupid Statement

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

Nothing has so much vitiated the wells of friendliness as that unspeakably stupid statement of Voltaire about tolerance which is so often quoted: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Now translate that into modern language: Voltaire would say to Hitler: “I disapprove of your saying that Nazism is human and democratic but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Or, “I disapprove of your saying that the President ought to be killed but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
And this same Voltaire who set himself up as the apostle of tolerance is the same Voltaire who spent most of his life writing: “Destroy Christianity, that infamy. It took only twelve men to found it; it will take only one to destroy it.” Those who are most vehement in pleas for tolerance are often those most intolerant themselves. Shall we forget that in the early days of America the most vociferous propagandists of tolerance were also those who said it did not apply to “Jews and Papists”?

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Pillars of Peace, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1945.

The Church Is Not in Danger

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen.

Think not that this plea for unity is born of an admission of weakness, or because I fear that the Church or religion is in danger. Certainly, the Church is not in
danger, for it has the divine assurance that Christ will be with it all days even to the consummation of the world. In vain will men look for the death of the undying, or the breaking of the Rock against which even the gates of hell shall not prevail. The Church that survived Neros and Julians, Domitians and barbarian invasions, will also live to sing requiems over Hitler and his fellow-dictators.

It is not the sanctuary that is in danger; it is civilization. It is not infallibility that may go down; it is personal rights. It is not the Eucharist that may pass away; it is freedom of conscience. It is not divine justice that may evaporate; it is the courts of human justice. It is not that God may be driven from his throne; it is that men may lose the meaning of home; it is not that the war may never end; it is that peace may never come. For peace on earth will come only to those who give glory to God! It is not the church that is in danger, it is the world!

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Pillars of Peace, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1945.

That People Whose God Is the Lord

Adalbert John Volck, Prayer in Stonewall Jackson's Camp (from Confederate War Etchings), c. 1861-1863, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Adalbert John Volck, Prayer in Stonewall Jackson’s Camp (from Confederate War Etchings), c. 1861-1863, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Let us work and pray that our people may be that nation whose God is the Lord. It is delightful to see the Congressional Committee report so strongly against Sabbath mails. I trust that you will write to every member of Congress with whom you have any influence, and do all you can to procure the adoption of the report. And please request those with whom you correspond (when expedient) to do the same. I believe that God will bless us with success if Christians but do their duty. For near fifteen years Sabbath mails have been through God’s blessing avoided by me, and I am thankful to say that in no instance has there been occasion for regret, but on the contrary God has made it a source of pure enjoyment to me. Letter of General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson to his pastor Rev. Dr. William Spottswood White.

I have read with great interest the report of the Congressional Committee, recommending the repeal of the law requiring the mails to be carried on the Sabbath, and hope you will feel it a duty, as well as a pleasure, to urge its repeal. I do not see how a nation that thus arrays itself, by such a law against God’s Holy Day, can expect to escape His wrath. The punishment of national sins must be confined to this world, as there is no nationality beyond the grave. […] Now is the time, it appears to me, to effect so desirable an object. I understand that not only our President, but also most of our colonels, and a majority of our congressmen are professing Christians. God has greatly blessed us, and I trust that He will make us ‘that people whose God is the Lord.’ Let us look to God for an illustration in our history, that ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’

Jackson to Col. Alexander Boteler, member of the Confederate Congress.

Some Spot of Native Land

Appomattox Court House National Park, Appomattox County.
Appomattox Court House National Park, Appomattox County.

A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakeable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly acquaintance with all neighbours, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit of the blood. At five years old, mortals are not prepared to be citizens of the world, to be stimulated by abstract nouns, to soar above preference into impartiality; and that prejudice in favour of milk with which we blindly begin, is a type of the way body and soul must get nourished at least for a time. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one’s own homestead.

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda.

A Poison Harmful to the Faith

Arms of Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre, C.S.Sp.
Arms of Archbishop Marcel-François Lefebvre, C.S.Sp.

Furthermore it can be said without any exaggeration whatsoever, that the majority of Masses celebrated without altar stones, with common vessels, leavened bread, with the introduction of profane words into the very body of the Canon, etc., are sacrilegious, and they prevent faith by diminishing it. The desacralization is such that these Masses can come to lose their supernatural character, “the mystery of faith,” and become no more than acts of natural religion.

Your perplexity takes perhaps the following form: may I assist at a sacrilegious Mass which is nevertheless valid, in the absence of any other, in order to satisfy my Sunday obligation? The answer is simple: these Masses cannot be the object of an obligation; we must moreover apply to them the rules of moral theology and canon law as regards the participation or the attendance at an action which endangers the faith or may be sacrilegious.

The New Mass, even when said with piety and respect for the liturgical rules, is subject to the same reservations since it is impregnated with the spirit of Protestantism. It bears within it a poison harmful to the faith.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, An Open Letter to Confused Catholics.

I Don’t Want to Hurrah

Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, C.S.A.
Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett, C.S.A.

I never could quite enjoy being a “Conquering Hero.” No, my dear, there is something radically wrong about my Hurrahism. I can fight for a cause I know to be just, can risk my own life and the lives of those in my keeping without a thought of the consequences; but when we’ve conquered, when we’ve downed the enemy and won the victory, I don’t want to hurrah. I want to go off all by myself and be sorry for them—want to lie down in the grass, away off in the woods somewhere or in some lone valley on the hillside far from all human sound, and rest my soul and put my heart to sleep and get back something—I don’t know what—but something I had that is gone from me—something subtle and unexplainable—something I never knew I had till I had lost it—till it was gone—gone – gone!

Yesterday my men were marching victoriously through the little town of Greencastle, the bands all playing our glorious, soul inspiring, southern airs: “The Bonny Blue Flag,” “My Maryland,” “Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still,” and the soldiers all happy, hopeful, joyously keeping time to the music, many following it with their voices and making up for the want of the welcome they were not receiving in the enemy’s country by cheering themselves and giving themselves a welcome. As Floweree’s band, playing “Dixie,” was passing a vine-bowered home, a young girl rushed out on the porch and waved a United States flag. Then, either fearing that it might be taken from her or finding it too large and unwieldy, she fastened it around her as an apron, and taking hold of it on each side and waving it in defiance, called out with all the strength of her girlish voice and all the courage of her brave young heart:

“Traitors—traitors—traitors, come and take this flag, the man of you who dares!”

Knowing that many of my men were from a section of the country which had been within the enemy’s lines, and fearing lest some might forget their manhood, I took off my hat and bowed to her, saluted her flag and then turned, facing the men who felt and saw my unspoken order. And don’t you know that they were all Virginians and didn’t forget it, and that almost every man lifted his cap and cheered the little maiden who, though she kept on waving her flag, ceased calling us traitors, till letting it drop in front of her she cried out:

“Oh, I wish I wish I had a rebel flag; I’d wave that, too.”

The picture of that little girl in the vine-covered porch, beneath the purple morning glories with their closed lips and bowed heads waiting and saving their prettiness and bloom for the coming morn—of course, I thought of you, my darling. For the time, that little Greencastle Yankee girl with her beloved flag was my own little promised-to-be-wife, receiving from her Soldier and her Soldier’s soldiers the reverence and homage due her.

We left the little girl standing there with the flag gathered up in her arms, as if too sacred to be waved now that even the enemy had done it reverence.

As ever,

Greencastle, Pa., June 24, 1863.

The Heart of a Soldier: As Revealed in the Intimate Letters of Genl. George E. Pickett, C.S.A., New York: Seth Moyle, 1913.

Anglo-Saxon America vs. “Roman Politico-Religion”

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus by Salvador Dali, c. 1958-1959, Salvador Dali Museum.
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus by Salvador Dali, c. 1958-1959, Salvador Dali Museum.

This the reason why it is necessary for the truth, as to the discovery of America, to be established immediately. The near approach of the four hundredth anniversary of the landing and alleged discovery of Columbus, has revived the subject in the public mind and the floating rumours, occasionally taking concrete form in the American newspapers, of a grand commemoration of the event, convert it into a subject that must soon be decided one way or the other, and the approaching date, October 12th, 1892, into the date of most momentous decision, one that will fairly shake the world with its reverberation! This approaching anniversary of fraudulent discovery, the resolution of the United States with regard to their celebration of it, or their refusal to celebrate it, will test the sincerity and earnestness of the work of which the year 1876 was the glorious centennial; it will decide whether the date 1892 is to obliterate the date 1776, whether the Government, claiming to be purely secular, which has from the hour the Constitution was framed refused to admit the word “God” into it, will then be willing to insert both God and Pope in it; whether the country that indignantly threw off all allegiance in 1776 will then yield allegiance to the foulest tyrant the world has ever had, the Roman Catholic power!

Marie A. Shipley, The Icelandic Discoverers of America, or, Honor to Whom Honor is Due, New York: J.B. Alen, 1891.

In the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and House, there is now pending a measure to declare October 12 a legal holiday, to be known as Columbus Day. Congressman Michael J. Hogan of New York, who introduced the measure in the House, is a Roman Catholic, ‘educated’ in parochial schools. Senator William M. Calder of New York, the Senate sponsor for an identically worded measure, who is ostensibly a Protestant, was given an honorary degree recently by one of the large New York Roman Catholic colleges, Archbishop Hayes presiding. Regarding Senator Calder’s act in introducing the ‘Columbus Day’ bill, the following statement by Jay W. Forrest, Master of the Sons and Daughters of Washington, printed in the New York Sun of May 31, is of interest: ‘The only people in the United States who want a Columbus holiday are the Irish Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus. When we as a nation start in making national holidays, we have plenty of Americans to honor first. The day of the man who bargains for the votes of the Irish in this country is over.’ The ‘Knights,’ who take Columbus as their patron, have been conducting an aggressive campaign to spread the Roman politico-religion over the United States, ‘revise’ our history, and attack our school system by opposing all legislative measures designed to strengthen it, notably the Towner-Sterling Education Bill. In the interest of this anti-Anglo Saxon system, Columbus is a leading medium of propaganda, the false argument being, that since he ‘discovered’ America, it rightfully belongs to his co-religionists. All this is being met and overcome at the present hour, because the rise of truth has overtaken the lie, and is putting it down. Every true American will take a lively interest in uncovering the falsity of the Columbus claim, and in helping to establish the truth concerning the discovery of America by Leif Ericson in the year 1000. Write letters to your local papers; enlighten your public officials, school teachers, and members of school boards; petition Washington to take the picture of Columbus from our paper currency and from our national public buildings! The sword of Truth is unsheathed. Wield it for the honor and redemption of our country, America!

c. 1922 circular letter simply signed “Truth”.