Fr. Denis Fahey’s Best, Short Introduction
from the Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, 1935
In a remarkable sermon preached at Pentecost, 1861, in the London Oratory, Father Faber spoke as follows:
“We must remember that if all the manifestly good men were on one side and all the manifestly bad men on the other, there would be no danger of anyone, least of all the elect, being deceived by lying wonders. It is the good men, good once, we must hope good still, who are to do the work of Anti-Christ and so sadly to crucify the Lord afresh…. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that this deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.”
At all periods in the world’s history, good men have been manoeuvred into wrong camps, but the machinery for deceiving people, or at least for preventing them from getting an accurate view of the real struggle going on in the world, has never, it would seem, reached the perfection of the present day.
Nowadays, the vast majority of human beings in all countries are at the mercy of the newspapers for information about the world. And the newspapers mislead them atrociously. “Journalism,” writes G.K.Chesterton, “is a false picture of the world, thrown upon a lighted screen in a darkened room so that the real world is not seen and the unreal world is seen…. We live under secret government, conducted by a secret process called Publicity.” For the newspapers are more and more at the beck and call of the financial forces which control the machinery of publicity. Can anyone read the following extract from that pathetic work, Rebuilding a Lost Faith, by an American Agnostic, without being filled with horror at the state of affairs depicted therein?
“A considerable portion of the Press is now an ominous danger to public morals, since it has shown itself to be both vile and venal, and willing to deceive and brutalize mankind.
“The depth to which its employees are frequently reduced is seen in the judgment passed upon the calling of the American journalist, by a New York editor, John Swinton, during an annual dinner of the New York Press Association. It certainly is a frank confession: ‘There is no such thing as an independent Press in America, if we except that of little country towns. You know this and I know it. Not a man among you dares to utter his honest opinion. Were you to utter it, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid 150 dollars a week so that I may keep my honest opinion out of the paper for which I write. You, too, are paid similar salaries for similar services. Were I to permit that a single edition of my newspaper contained an honest opinion, my occupation, like Othello’s, would be gone in less than twenty-four hours. The man who would be so foolish as to write his honest opinion would soon be on the streets in search for another job. It is the duty of a New York journalist to lie, to distort, to revile, to toady at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or what amounts to the same thing, his salary. We are marionettes. These men pull the strings, and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our capacities are all the property of these men; we are intellectual prostitutes.’
“Philip Francis, for years an editorial writer of great influence in America, and who had had for forty years an intimate connection with journalism, writes: ‘With a few honourable exceptions, the big papers and magazines of the United States are the most ignorant and gullible, as well as the most cowardly and controlled Press, printed in any country in the world. The majority of the owners are mere financiers, who look upon their magazines and newspapers simply as money-making mills, and who, whenever it is a question between more coin and good, honest, patriotic, public service, will take the coin every time’ (The Poison in America’s Cup, p. 31).
“What adds to the peril of this capitalized Press,¾which is, of course, not confined to any country—is the deplorable fact that millions of the people of all lands find in their newspapers their only mental food, and form, their opinions on practically all subjects by reading insincerely written editorials. Some even have time only for the headlines!”
But, then, do the newspapers controlled by Catholics react against all this and give their readers the full truth about the world? Alas! Some small ones here and there in different countries do so, but very many do not. The reasons for this are numerous. One, however, is manifest. Most Catholics have been influenced by history, as it has been written and taught for the last three hundred years, and experience great difficulty in getting a clear grasp of the real struggle in the world around the Mystical Body of Christ. The Lutheran separation between the Christian and the Citizen has got such a grip of their minds that they find it hard to realize that our Lord meant what He said when He uttered the words: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself” (John xii.32). If we take a Socialist or Communist paper, we are astonished at the contrast between it and a journal controlled by Catholics, professedly convinced of the truth of the Catholic Church. From the first line to the last, the Communist paper aims at forming a convinced partisan and it is written with vigour and seemingly profound conviction. Every incident is utilized by it for the propagation of its doctrine of falsehood and misery.
The paper controlled by Catholics, on the other hand, “only too often shares in that cold and indifferent outlook on religious matters, with which the pupils of Catholic schools are reproached. They (the pupils of Catholic schools) have been brought up in a Catholic atmosphere, they have breathed it naturally, but they do not feel the healthy, life-giving purity of it. They are ‘fed up’ with religion as they are with Latin and Greek. The joy of possessing a treasure and the ambition to increase it seem to be dead within them…. All these young Catholics seem to be unaware of the fact that they hold in their hands the torch which is meant to illumine the world. They carry it along lifelessly and without interest, just as they would a candle in a procession. Our (Catholic) paper does the same. Its attitude towards religion is the stereotyped one of discharging a duty that has to be performed.”
Another reason why newspapers, edited and directed by Catholics, do not react against the insincerity of the Press is that they, too, are more or less at the mercy of financial forces. How, for example, can a manager refuse well-paid advertisements, even though no attention is paid therein to the instructions of the Sovereign Pontiff on feminine modesty in dress? If he does so, the receipts suffer and the paper’s existence is endangered. Again, how can editors point out the directions of Masonic movements when they are not prepared to face the hostility of the sect? For these and such like reasons, readers are left unenlightened and bewildered.
In this work an attempt has been made to give a synthetic view of the real conflict going on in the world for and against the Mystical Body of Christ. I have tried to get a clear view of the conflict and keep all the various factors thereof in their proper perspective, by striving to represent to myself how things will appear, when He shall come to judge the world. Then the full horror of opposition to the Supernatural Life of Grace and the folly of all those who have gone over to the camp of Satan, the first Naturalist, and Rationalist, will stand clearly revealed. The same forces that resisted and persecuted our Lord Jesus Christ during His Life on earth resist and persecute Him down the ages in His Mystical Body.
According to the opinion of St. John Damascene, St. Augustine and other Fathers of the Church, Lucifer, the highest of the angels who sinned, was set over the order of the world. St. Thomas (Ia Pars, Q.63,a.7) does not deny the probability of this view. We may therefore speak of Satan as Prince of this world by a special title. If he had not sinned, he would have governed this world in the joy and harmony of supernatural love. But, seduced by the plenitude of his natural gifts, he became the first of those who have preferred the finite to the Infinite. He refused the supernatural life of love of God as He is in Himself above all. Predestined friend of man, he became instead the tempter and betrayer of the human race, and now uses all the resources of that world he knows so well to get men to follow the illusions of naturalism and self-centredness, instead of the realities of submission to the divine order. He induced the Jews to reflect the Supernatural Messias and keeps them, as a nation, looking forward to the mirage of a natural Messias triumphant in the world’s way in opposition to order. He inveigles men into secret societies by the hope of a science that will gratify their pride and by the promise of the kingdoms of this world and their glory. And they listen to the voice of the tempter turning away from Him Whose Kingdom is not of this world. But the Precious Blood everywhere overthrows Satan’s attempt to rule. In the footsteps of all those who allow our Lord to relive His Life in them, the world is reborn and Christ reigns. The Eastertides of the history of the Mystical Body have filled Satan with ever-increasing despair.
I have tried then, however feebly and imperfectly, to say some of the things I shall be glad to have said, when He shall come to sift the grain from the chaff. The world’s standard of values will in that hour have undergone a radical revision. “Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them, and taken away their labours. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation. Saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they, whom we had some time in derision, and for a parable of reproach. We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end without honour. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints. Therefore we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of justice hath not shined upon us, and the sun of understanding hath not risen upon us. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard ways, but the way of the Lord we have not known. What hath pride profited us? Or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow” (Wisdom v.1-9). I have, however, tried to animate what I have written with His Spirit of Charity. The full truth must be fearlessly proclaimed. Souls are perishing for lack of it, and they will reproach us Catholics, in His presence, with our cowardice and lukewarmness. But we must not forget that it is not for us to judge and condemn those who do not accept the truth. He Himself prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke xxiii.34).
His Spirit of Charity is especially necessary when speaking of the continued opposition of the members of His own nation to Him. We must never forget that their opposition inflicts special suffering on His Sacred Heart and that He is ever seeking to draw the Jewish nation away from the superficial things of this world to reality and truth. Sharing those feelings we shall keep our minds free from opposition to the Jews as a race and make our own the sentiments expressed in the following touching prayer:
“Divine Heart of Jesus, we offer Thee all our poor actions to obtain that all hearts, in particular those of the children of Israel, may recognize Thy Sacred Royalty, and that thus, the reign of Thy peace may be established throughout the entire world. O Christ Jesus, turn Thine eyes of mercy towards the children of that race, once Thy chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Saviour; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.”
No use has been made in this work of the famous Protocols of the Sages of Zion, first published by Sergius Nilus in Russia in 1901-1902. These Protocols are said to be the rough notes of a series of conferences delivered to a select body of Jewish leaders assembled in secret conclave about the end of the nineteenth century. They purport to give an outline of Jewish plans for the preparation of the kingdom of the Messias to come. On the one hand, the authenticity of this document cannot be proved; on the other, the efforts made by some writers, principally Jewish, to show it to be a forgery do not carry conviction to many serious minds. The Introduction to the latest French edition of the Protocols(R.I.S.S., Paris, 1934) gives a detailed account of the state of the question of the authorship of this document, and shows that, while its origin is at present an enigma, the ablest attempt to disprove its authenticity, viz., that of The Times of August 16th, 17th, 18th, 1921, is open to serious objections. The authorship of the Protocols is mysterious, but it is an accidental consideration. What must be kept clearly in mind and emphasized, throughout any discussion concerning the Protocols, is the very grave fact that the programme outlined in them is being fulfilled.
I have not utilized the Protocols while studying the growth of opposition to our Lord Jesus Christ in the modern world. From the Encyclicals of the Popes and the teaching of St. Thomas, I have endeavored to show that men must take sides for or against the Supernatural Messias and that, if they do not accept Him fully, they are drawn into the army that is working, consciously or unconsciously, to prepare the advent of the natural Messias. They thus inevitably come under the leadership of the Jews, who wield such enormous power in the modern world through the subjection of man to production and of production to finance. Now anyone who reads the Protocols carefully will be obliged to confess that a more skillful plan could hardly be devised for the destruction of belief in our Lord and the preparation of the advent of the new Messias. In addition, if the reader is acquainted with the world, he will see that the plan is being carried out, and that, as a result, Jewish power is increasing. A few passages will be quoted in Appendix V to illustrate these points and show how well the Protocols fit the actual world.
But this book is not meant merely to open the eyes of Catholics to the realities of life. It is intended also to stir them to take their part in the struggle by a full-hearted acceptance of Christ Crucified. To work for the salvation of the world with Christ, one must begin with oneself. The first step to be taken is to install the reign of the Crucified Man-God fully and completely in one’s own heart. Love and true charity rapidly disappear from the world in which man reflects Christ and declares himself God. If we wish to bring the love of God into the world, we must unite ourselves with the Blessed Trinity present in us by grace and seek to love the Three Divine Persons with our whole soul. Then we shall love our neighbor as he should be loved, namely, as a fellow-member of our Lord’s Mystical Body. Thus and thus only shall we be fully in touch with reality and contribute efficaciously to the return of order by the rebirth of the spirit of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is high time that this Catholic reaction should come. Revolutions have brought about disorder and misery. Even those who have been the agents of revolution are beginning to be filled with dismay. “Every revolution,” said Brother\Fonteray at the Assembly of the French Grand Orient in 1920, “had for object to bring about universal happiness. When our ancestors proclaimed the principle of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, they aimed at realizing this state of happiness. After one hundred and thirty years, we see the results of their efforts, and they are not famous. Of Liberty, there is not a shred left; of Equality, there is scarcely a trace; of Fraternity, there has never been a sign.”
Civilization decays because masses of men become impregnated with false ideas and wrong philosophies. To stem the current of decadence supposes devotion and self-sacrifice for correct ideas. Ideas guide the world, but always through the efforts of the men who incarnate them. The eternal battle for and against order here below is not waged between conflicting views, but between those who hold them. “We, Catholics,” wrote Louis Veuillot, “lose ground perhaps more on account of the truths that good men have not the courage to proclaim than because of the errors that the wicked have been cunning enough to multiply.” May this work help some to turn to the Unfailing Source of Divine Energy, our Lord Jesus Christ, Fount of Supernatural Life!
Some of the chapters of this book formed the subject-matter of a series of lectures in the Central Catholic Library, Dublin. The kind reception, accorded to them by the audience, has greatly encouraged the author in the difficult work of publication.
In conclusion, I beg to thank the Editors of G K’s Weekly, The Patriot, The Catholic Gazette, The Boston Pilot and the R.I.S.S. (Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes) for permission to utilize the extracts quoted in the Appendices. I have used the work, Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII, published by Benziger Brothers, New York, for the translation of all the Letters, contained in that collection, which I have had occasion to quote.
DENIS FAHEY, C.S.S.p.
Feast of the Epiphany,