I had the privilege of teaching dead languages to comatose seminarians for many years at the seminary of Bathsheba Bible College. There I had the even greater privilege of working with Fr. Stanley, a renowned old professor. Once at lunch in the faculty dining room he sighed and said, “The collapse of western civilization is going to be very inconvenient.”
He sure had that right. Anyone who is paying attention has a feeling of imminent collapse all around us. The Diocese of Frostbite Falls sure seems to be on a toboggan slide to insignificance. So how did it all happen? (Keep in mind that I am an inveterate curmudgeon descended from a long line of pessimists, and am quite possibly absolutely wrong or at least over simplifying things.) I suppose things have been unravelling since the Thirty-Years War, the French Revolution and the invention of processed cheese spread, but I want to talk about the part of the Great Unravelling that I remember. I noticed it with the coming of artificial birth control. I grew up in a small town of big houses where the Catholics came to breed. A family of seven kids was pretty standard back then. Then, in July of 1961, in the heart of beautiful downtown Skokie, Illinois, the Searle Company began the manufacture and sale of the oral contraceptive, or as the Singing Nun called it in her ballad, “…the little golden pill.”
I was born just four short years after the end of the Second World War. The 1950’s were all about consumerism. Like Scarlet O’Hara in the movie, “Gone with the Wind” the entire country shook its fist at heaven and said with one voice, “As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again!!” 1929 to 1949 were pretty hungry years in the USA and the world in general, first the Great Depression then the World War (Part 2) with its rationing of food and luxury goods. This was followed by the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War. At the same time, we had the post-war housing shortage and the BABY BOOM. There were a lot of soldiers who had spent years overseas thinking about the girls they’d left back home. When the soldiers were repatriated they could do a lot more than dream. The post-war baby boom peaked around 1948 and stayed pretty high for around the next 10 years and then the birth rate in America started to plummet and continued to plummet until recently when it seems to have levelled off, well at least to be dropping more slowly, if not quite a plummet. All those new houses in the suburbs, all those babies, all those returning soldiers who wanted to give their families the luxuries they swore they would never do without if they could just get back home.
The 1950’s and sixties were a glorious era of consumerism. I believe the Age of Materialism started in the Wars; First, Second, Korean, Cold, and Vietnam. The Cold War with its McCarthy Era Anti-Communist witch hunts and the Vietnam War with its hippie backlash created a kind of fashionable Marxism which Hollywood is still infected, along with most institutions of higher learning. (And you’re hearing this from and old hippie who actually studied the Communist Manifesto and carried around the little book of the “Sayings of Chairman Mao”. I would actually get a bit weepy when watching documentaries about union organizing.)
Don’t forget that Marxism is a materialist religion. It denies the existence of supernatural reality. Reality is what you can get your hands on. Forget “pie in the sky when you die,” as warns an anthem of the Industrial Workers of the World written by Joe Hill, an early union organizer.
Long-haired preachers come out every night, tell you what's wrong and what's right. But when asked how 'bout something to eat, They will answer in voices so sweet,
You will eat, bye and bye, In that glorious land above the sky
Work and pray, live on hay You'll get pie in the sky when you die
And the Starvation Army, they play And they sing and they clap and they pray
Till they get all your coin on the drum Then they tell you when you're on the bum
Holy Rollers and Jumpers come out And they holler, they jump and they shout
Give your money to Jesus, they say He will cure all diseases today
Pope Leo XIII had a vision in which the Lord told him that the 20th century would be the Devil’s own century. It most certainly was, not just for its carnage and war. Worse than war was the murder of the human soul by the worship of pleasure and possessions that became the hallmark of the century. Left, Right and everything in the middle has come to believe in “Reality” so-called. The supernatural is just a myth. The Marxist materialist is not much different than the prosperity gospel Christian. If I don’t have it NOW, what good is it?
The highest goods are pleasure and possessions, power and position. The monasteries, convents and seminaries that created western civilization are empty because what good is self-denial? Why deny yourself pleasure and property in this world? “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die!” (c.f.1Cor 15:32) Or as the mega church Protestants would have it, “Eat drink and be merry, because you were saved at a revival and don’t have to worry about your eternal salvation,” or as the progressive Catholic would have it, “Eat drink and be merry, and go to a lot of meetings because if there’s life after death and God and all that stuff, God would be just too nice to ever send anyone to hell.” If it ain’t here it ain’t real. Didn’t the Bible say, “Grab for all the gusto you can get!”
Now enter the little golden pill. If the greatest good one can confer on oneself and on one’s loved one is stuff, it is unwise to have too many children because who can afford all that stuff for 10 children. We now have the pill so we only need to love 1.5 children per family by giving them stuff. Of course we want them to have the Sacraments and a little bit of religion in case there really is a God and heaven and hell, and besides, sacraments like Baptism, Confirmation, First Communion and Marriage, are wonderful rites of passage and you have a swell party and get lots of stuff.
A little religion and a lot of stuff. Heckuvadeal, no? We really like stuff and the pill made it possible to have more stuff and thus every marriage bed has become an altar for the worship of the god of stuff. What altar is complete without sacrifice? What sacrifice is offered on our beds, the altars of the god of matter, that god who confers so much wonderful stuff? The sacrifice is children just like in the days of the god Moloch. The purpose of the pill is to prevent ovulation and thus to prevent pregnancy. It also has a secondary effect. If one of those sneaky ova get fertilized and becomes a human being despite the pill, that little, new human being will not be able to latch onto the womb of its mother and then must die, sacrificed to the god of matter just surely as a baby thrown onto the fires that burned in the belly of the Canaanite god Moloch.
The carnage wrought in the post-pill, post-abortion holocaust far exceeds the butcher’s bill of the 20th century. Just since 1980, there have been about ONE BILLION 500 MILLION abortions, far more than the entire death toll of all the wars of human history. Add to this the number of unknown abortions caused by the pill, and the god of matter must be pleased indeed. I just don’t have time or energy to talk about the objectification of women and the disrepute into which both motherhood and fatherhood have fallen because of the recreational sexuality made possible by the pill and abortion.
It is interesting to think that all this sexual chaos that is drowning us in the 21st century is, at least in part, Searle’s gift to the world. Remember that the little golden pill was first manufactured and distributed right here in Skokie at 4901 Searle Parkway.
“History. Read it and weep.” From the books of the Prophet Bokonon
Next week: the tirade isn’t over.