Saturday, July 31, 2010

Picking apart the myth of animal homosexuality

by Luis Solimeo

In its effort to present homosexuality as normal, the homosexual movement1 turned to science in an attempt to prove three major premises:

1. Homosexuality is genetic or innate;
2. Homosexuality is irreversible;
3. Since animals engage in same-sex sexual behavior, homosexuality is natural.

    Keenly aware of its inability to prove the first two premises,2 the homosexual movement pins its hopes on the third, "animal homosexuality".3

    Animals Do It, So It's Natural, Right?
    The reasoning behind the "animal homosexuality" theory can be summed up as follows:

    • Homosexual behavior is observable in animals.
    • Animal behavior is determined by their instincts.
    • Nature requires animals to follow their instincts.
    • Therefore, homosexuality is in accordance with animal nature.
    • Since man is also animal, homosexuality must also be in accordance with human nature.

      This line of reasoning is unsustainable. If seemingly "homosexual" acts among animals are in accordance with animal nature, then parental killing of offspring and intra-species devouring are also in accordance with animal nature. Bringing man into the equation complicates things further. Are we to conclude that filicide and cannibalism are according to human nature?

      In opposition to this line of reasoning, this article sustains that:

      1. There is no "homosexual instinct" in animals,
      2. It is poor science to "read" human motivations and sentiments into animal behavior, and
      3. Irrational animal behavior is not a yardstick to determine what is morally acceptable behavior for rational man.

      There Are No "Homosexual Instnicts" in Animals

      Anyone engaged in the most elementary animal observation is forced to conclude that animal "homosexuality," "filicide" and "cannibalism" are exceptions to normal animal behavior. Consequently, they cannot be called animal instincts. These observable exceptions to normal animal behavior result from factors beyond their instincts.

      Clashing Stimuli and Confused Animal Instincts
      To explain this abnormal behavior, the first observation must be the fact that animal instincts are not bound by the absolute determinism of the physical laws governing the mineral world. In varying degrees, all living beings can adapt to circumstances. They respond to internal or external stimuli.

      Second, animal cognition is purely sensorial, limited to sound, odor, touch, taste and image. Thus, animals lack the precision and clarity of human intellectual perception. Therefore, animals frequently confuse one sensation with another or one object with another.

      Third, an animal's instincts direct it towards its end and are in accordance with its nature. However, the spontaneous thrust of the instinctive impulse can suffer modifications as it runs its course. Other sensorial images, perceptions or memories can act as new stimuli affecting the animal's behavior. Moreover, the conflict between two or more instincts can sometimes modify the original impulse.

      In man, when two instinctive reactions clash, the intellect determines the best course to follow, and the will then holds one instinct in check while encouraging the other. With animals that lack intellect and will, when two instinctive impulses clash, the one most favored by circumstances prevails.4 At times, these internal or external stimuli affecting an animal's instinctive impulses result in cases of animal "filicide," "cannibalism" and "homosexuality."

      Animal "Filicide" and "Cannibalism"
      Sarah Hartwell explains that tomcats kill their kittens after receiving "mixed signals" from their instincts:

      Most female cats can switch between "play mode" and "hunt mode" in order not to harm their offspring. In tomcats this switching off of "hunt mode" may be incomplete and, when they become highly aroused through play, the "hunting" instinct comes into force and they may kill the kittens. The hunting instinct is so strong, and so hard to switch off when prey is present, that dismemberment and even eating of the kitten may ensue…. Compare the size, sound and activity of kittens with the size, sound and activity of prey. They are both small, have high-pitched voices and move with fast, erratic movements. All of these trigger hunting behavior. In the tomcat, maternal behavior cannot always override hunting behavior and he treats the kittens in exactly the same way he would treat small prey. His instincts are confused.5

      Regarding animal cannibalism, the Iran Nature and Wildlife Magazine notes: Cannibalism is most common among lower vertebrates and invertebrates, often due to a predatory animal mistaking one of its own kind for prey. But it also occurs among birds and mammals, especially when food is scarce.6

      Animals Lack the Means to Express Their Affective States
      To stimuli and clashing instincts, however, we must add another factor: In expressing its affective states, an animal is radically inferior to man.

      Since animals lack reason, their means of expressing their affective states (fear, pleasure, pain, desire, etc.) are limited. Animals lack the rich resources at man's disposal to express his sentiments. Man can adapt his way of talking, writing, gazing, gesturing in untold ways. Animals cannot. Consequently, animals often express their affective states ambiguously. They "borrow," so to speak, the manifestations of the instinct of reproduction to manifest the instincts of dominance, aggressiveness, fear, gregariousness and so on.

      Explaining Seemingly "Homosexual" Animal Behavior
      Bonobos are a typical example of this "borrowing." These primates from the chimpanzee family engage in seemingly sexual behavior to express acceptance and other affective states. Thus, Frans B. M. de Waal, who spent hundreds of hours observing and filming bonobos, says:

      There are two reasons to believe sexual activity is the bonobo's answer to avoiding conflict.

      First, anything, not just food, that arouses the interest of more than one bonobo at a time tends to result in sexual contact. If two bonobos approach a cardboard box thrown into their enclosure, they will briefly mount each other before playing with the box. Such situations lead to squabbles in most other species. But bonobos are quite tolerant, perhaps because they use sex to divert attention and to diffuse tension.

      Second, bonobo sex often occurs in aggressive contexts totally unrelated to food. A jealous male might chase another away from a female, after which the two males reunite and engage in scrotal rubbing. Or after a female hits a juvenile, the latter's mother may lunge at the aggressor, an action that is immediately followed by genital rubbing between the two adults.7 Like bonobos, other animals will mount another of the same sex and engage in seemingly "homosexual" behavior, although their motivation may differ. Dogs, for example, usually do so to express dominance. Cesar Ades, ethologist and professor of psychology at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, explains, "When two males mate, what is present is a demonstration of power, not sex."8

      Jacque Lynn Schultz, ASPCA Animal Sciences Director of Special Projects, explains further:

      Usually, an un-neutered male dog will mount another male dog as a display of social dominance-in other words, as a way of letting the other dog know who's boss. While not as frequent, a female dog may mount for the same reason.9

      Dogs will also mount one another because of the vehemence of their purely chemical reaction to the smell of an estrus female: Not surprisingly, the smell of a female dog in heat can instigate a frenzy of mounting behaviors. Even other females who are not in heat will mount those who are. Males will mount males who have just been with estrus females if they still bear their scent…. And males who catch wind of the estrus odor may mount the first thing (or an unlucky person) they come into contact with.10

      Other animals engage in seemingly "homosexual" behavior because they fail to identify the other sex properly. The lower the species in the animal kingdom, the more tenuous and difficult to detect are the differences between sexes, leading to more frequent confusion.

      "Homosexual" Animals Do Not Exist
      In 1996, homosexual scientist Simon LeVay admitted that the evidence pointed to isolated acts, not to homosexuality:

      Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.11

      Despite the "homosexual" appearances of some animal behavior, this behavior does not stem from a "homosexual" instinct that is part of animal nature. Dr. Antonio Pardo, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Navarre, Spain, explains:

      Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals…. For reasons of survival, the reproductive instinct among animals is always directed towards an individual of the opposite sex. Therefore, an animal can never be homosexual as such. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts (particularly dominance) can result in behavior that appears to be homosexual. Such behavior cannot be equated with an "animal homosexuality". All it means is that animal sexual behavior encompasses aspects beyond that of reproduction.12

      It Is Unscientific to "Read" Human Motivation and Sentiment into Animal Behavior
      Like many animal rights activists, homosexual activists often "read" human motivation and sentiment into animal behavior. While this anthropopathic approach enjoys full citizenship in the realms of art, literature, and mythology it makes for poor science. Dr. Charles Socarides of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) observes:

      The term homosexuality should be limited to the human species, for in animals the investigator can ascertain only motor behavior. As soon as he interprets the animal's motivation he is applying human psychodynamics--a risky, if not foolhardy scientific approach.13

      Ethologist Cesar Ades explains the difference between human and animal sexual relations:

      Human beings have sex one way, while animals have it another. Human sex is a question of preference where one chooses the most attractive person to have pleasure. This is not true with animals. For them, it is a question of mating and reproduction. There is no physical or psychological pleasure….The smell is decisive: when a female is in heat, she emits a scent, known as pheromone. This scent attracts the attention of the male, and makes him want to mate. This is sexual intercourse between animals. It is the law of nature.14

      Even biologist Bruce Bagemihl, whose book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity was cited by the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in their amici curiae brief in Lawrence v. Texas and is touted as proof that homosexuality is natural among animals, is careful to include a caveat:

      Any account of homosexuality and transgender animals is also necessarily an account of human interpretations of these phenomena.…We are in the dark about the internal experience of the animal participants: as a result, the biases and limitations of the human observer-in both the gathering and interpretation of data-come to the forefront in this situation.….With people we can often speak directly to individuals (or read written accounts)….With animals in contrast, we can often directly observe their sexual (and allied) behaviors, but can only infer or interpret their meanings and motivations."15

      Dr. Bagemihl's interpretation, however, throughout his 750-page book unabashedly favors the "animal homosexuality" theory. Its pages are filled with descriptions of animal acts that would have a homosexual connotation in human beings. Dr. Bagemihl does not prove, however, that these acts have the same meaning for animals. He simply gives them a homosexual interpretation. Not surprisingly, his book was published by Stonewall Inn Editions, "an imprint of St. Martin's Press devoted to gay and lesbian interest books."

      Irrational Animal Behavoir Is No Blueprint for Rational Man
      Some researchers studying animal "homosexual" behavior extrapolate from the realm of science into that of philosophy and morality. These scholars reason from the premise that if animals do it, it is according to their nature and thus is good for them. If it is natural and good for animals, they continue, it is also natural and morally good for man. However, the definition of man's nature belongs not to the realm of zoology or biology, but philosophy, and the determination of what is morally good for man pertains to ethics.

      Dr. Marlene Zuk, professor of biology at the University of California at Riverside, for example, states:

      Sexuality is a lot broader term than people want to think. You have this idea that the animal kingdom is strict, old-fashioned Roman Catholic, that they have sex to procreate. … Sexual expression means more than making babies. Why are we surprised? People are animals.16

      Simon LeVay entertains the hope that the understanding of animal "homosexuality" will help change societal mores and religious beliefs about homosexuality. He states: It seems possible that the study of sexual behavior in animals, especially in non-human primates, will contribute to the liberalization of religious attitudes toward homosexual activity and other forms of nonprocreative sex. Specifically, these studies challenge one particular sense of the dogma that homosexual behavior is "against nature": the notion that it is unique to those creatures who, by tasting the fruit of the tree of knowledge, have alone become morally culpable.17

      Other researchers feel compelled to point out the impropriety of transposing animal behavior to man. Although very favorable to the homosexual interpretation of animal behavior, Paul L. Vasey, of the University of Lethbridge in Canada, nevertheless cautions: For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn't natural. They make a leap from saying if it's natural, it's morally and ethically desirable. Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn't be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don't take care of the elderly. I don't particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes.18

      The animal kingdom is no place for man to seek a blueprint for human morality. That blueprint, as bioethicist Bruto Maria Bruti notes, must be sought in man himself: It is a frequent error for people to contrast human and animal behaviors, as if the two were homogenous. …. The laws ruling human behavior are of a different nature and they should be sought where God inscribed them, namely, in human nature.19

      The fact that man has a body and sensitive life in common with animals does not mean he is strictly an animal. Nor does it mean that he is a half-animal. Man's rationality pervades the wholeness of his nature so that his sensations, instincts and impulses are not purely animal but have that seal of rationality which characterizes them as human.

      Thus, man is characterized not by what he has in common with animals, but by what differentiates him from them. This differentiation is fundamental, not accidental. Man is a rational animal. Man's rationality is what makes human nature unique and fundamentally distinct from animal nature.20

      To consider man strictly as an animal is to deny his rationality and, therefore, his free will. Likewise, to consider animals as if they were human is to attribute to them a non-existent rationality.

      From Science to Mythology
      Dr. Bagemihl's Biological Exuberance research displays his fundamental dissatisfaction with science and enthusiasm for aboriginal mythology: Western science has a lot to learn from aboriginal cultures about systems of gender and sexuality…21

      To Western science, homosexuality (both animal and human) is an anomaly, an unexpected behavior that above all requires some sort of "explanation" or "cause" or "rationale." In contrast, to many indigenous cultures around the world, homosexuality and transgender are a routine and expected occurrence in both the human and animal worlds…22

      Most Native American tribes formally recognize-and honor-human homosexuality and transgender in the role of the 'two-spirit' person (sometimes formerly known as berdache). The 'two-spirit' is a sacred man or woman who mixes gender categories by wearing clothes of opposite or both sexes …. And often engaging in same -sex relations. … In many Native American cultures, certain animals are also symbolically associated with two-spiritedness, often in the form of creation myths and origin legends relating to the first or "supernatural" two-spirit(s)….A Zuni creation story relates how the first two spirits-creatures that were neither male nor female, yet both at the same time-were the twelve offspring of a mythical brother-sister pair. Some of these creatures were human, but one was a bat and another an old buck Deer.

      Dr. Bagemihl applies this androgynous myth, so widespread in today's homosexual movement, to the animal kingdom with the help of Indian and aboriginal mythology. He invites the West to embrace "a new paradigm:"

      Ultimately, the synthesis of scientific views represented by Biological Exuberance brings us full circle-back to the way of looking at the world that is in accordance with some of the most ancient indigenous conceptions of animal (and human) sexual and gender variability. This perspective dissolves binary oppositions….Biological Exuberance is…a worldview that is at once primordial and futuristic, in which gender is kaleidoscopic, sexualities are multiple, and the categories of male and female are fluid and transmutable.

      In conclusion, the homosexual movement's attempt to establish that homosexuality is in accordance with human nature, by proving its "animal homosexuality" theory, is based more on mythological beliefs and erroneous philosophical tenets than on science.


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      1. The expression homosexual movement is used to designate a vast network of organizations, pressure groups, intellectuals and activists who strive to impose changes in laws, customs, morals and mentalities, so that homosexuality is not only tolerated but also accepted as good and normal. Hence, movement activists pressure society to legalize both the practice and the public manifestations of homosexuality, such as same-sex "marriage," while relentlessly assailing those who defend traditional morals. [back]
      2. For a brief overview of the evidence debunking the "it is in the genes" and the irreversibility of same-sex orientation theories see the TFP's flyer "Not Genetic! Not Irreversible! Not Natural!" [back]
      3. Cf. Simon LeVay, Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996). Bruce Bagemihl, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999). [back]
      4. Cf. Régis Jolivet, Traité de Philosophie, (Lyon-Paris: Emmanuel Vitte, Éditeur, 1950), Vol. 2, pp. 306-396. [back]
      5. Sarah Hartwell, Cats that kill kittens, at (Our emphasis.) [back]
      6. "Cannibalism in Animals."(Our emphasis.)82-88, (Our emphasis.) [back]
      7. Frans B. M. de Waal, "Bonobo Sex and Society," Scientific American, Mar. 1995, pp. [back]
      8. "Cachorro Gay?" Focinhos Online, [back]
      9. Jacque Lynn Schultz, "Getting Over the Hump," ASPCA Animal Watch, Summer 2002, (Our emphasis.) [back]
      10. Ibid. (Our emphasis.) [back]
      11. LeVay, p. 207. [back]
      12. Antonio Pardo, "Aspectos médicos de la homosexualidad," Nuestro Tiempo, Jul.-Aug. 1995, pp. 82-89. [back]
      13. "Exploding the Myth of Constitutional Homosexuality," National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, (Our emphasis.) [back]
      14. "Cachorro Gay?" [back]
      15. Bagemihl, p. 2. (Our emphasis.) [back]
      16. Dinitia Smith, "Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name," The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2004. (Our emphasis.) [back]
      17. LeVay, p. 209. [back]
      18. Quoted by Dinitia Smith, "Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name." [back]
      19. Bruto Maria Bruti, Domande e risposte sul problema dell'omosessualità, (Our emphasis.) [back]
      20. "Man is correctly defined as a rational animal; animal refers to the proximate genus; rational refers to the specific differentiation." Joannes di Napoli, Manuale Philosophiae (Turin, Italy: Marietti Editori, 1961), Vol. II, p. 165. [back]
      21. Bagemihl, p. 5. [back]
      22. Ibid., p. 215. [back]

      Great success – Catholic Prof Reinstated

      The University of Illinois finally backed down and invited Prof. Kenneth Howell to return to the classroom. 

      Read the full story: Catholic Professor Finally Reinstated

      I don't think this victory would have been possible without your participation, support and prayers.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

      But please don't think that we can sit back and rest.  The truth is being contested more and more and you and I must not allow it to be silenced in the halls that preach "academic freedom."

      Hollywood is the problem, Chivalry is the solution

      I'm writing with more good news: The timeless virtues of Catholic Chivalry came to life this summer for a new generation of boys attending the TFP Call to Chivalry camps. 

      Read about their knightly exploits here

      Please pray for the young TFP volunteers who are giving up their summer vacation to organize Call to Chivalry camps, promote moral values and, with the grace of God, inspire a new generation of bold and courageous leaders.

      Our Readers Write:
      From a veteran pro-lifer
      "I applaud these young men who value life and are not afraid to confront the world with their views.  As someone who has fought with the Pro-Life Movement for over twenty-five years, it is encouraging to see young people taking a stand."
      Carol A.

      Watch the TFP videos here

      "Stand up for what is right"
      "I felt that the evil one was alive in the rage those women had in the video.  I wonder if it was rooted in the shame they don't want to feel, perhaps because they have had an abortion. We must pray and have compassion and stand up for what is right."
      Dorene S.

      "That many people will wake-up"
      "I thank God, the Father Almighty! for brave warriors:  That's what I think of you. I pray with all my heart and soul that many people will wake-up with the good words that you're saying to them. Always say the Saint Michael prayer."
      Irene J.

      "I applaud you"
      "I think it's absolutely fantastic that you, especially being young men, had such courage to go forth & try to open people's eyes.  It is a shame that there were not more of you there.  Your behavior, in face of some radical females, was courtly & knightly & I applaud you.  We don't have a TFP over here in CA (go figure!)."
      B. Sneed

      ANF members pray, oppose abortion in Miami

      Using signs that were originally made to oppose the da Vinci Code in 2006 and recycled, members of ANF did a prayerful anti-abortion protest and mini rosary rally in front of an abortion clinic in Miami today.


      They received 3x more honks and thumbs up from the cars driving by, so these signs were very well received.DSCN6750

      Our Lady never failed them.  Small group.  Big impact! DSCN6756

      Prayer for Day 6 in the 9 Day Novena to Saint John Vianney

      DAY SIX: August 1

      O Holy Priest of Ars, whose only comfort in this world was the real presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, was it not your great joy to distribute the Eucharist to the pilgrims who visited you?

      You refused Communion to the souls who refused to reform but to souls of goodwill you opened wide the doors of the Eucharistic Feast.

      You, who each day at Holy Mass received Holy Communion with great loves, give me some of your fervor.

      With freedom from mortal sin, obtain for me a sincere desire to profit from receiving Holy Communion.

      Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession.

      Pray for me during this novena especially for:

      ((State your request here...))

      Recite the following prayers...

      Our Father...

      Hail Mary...

      Glory Be...

      2,587 rally captains – over 50% of the total of 5,000 for October 16th

      Thanks to Our Lady and to the hard work of so many dedicated volunteers, we crossed the 2,500, the half way mark in the campaign to recruit 5,000 rosary rally captains for the Public Square Rosary Crusade on October 16th.

      If you still have not had a chance to join, please do so today by calling 866-584-6012, or by signing up online at:

      Become a 2010 Rosary Rally Captain

      Sign up to become a Rosary Rally Captain in 2010.  A red rose
      will be sent to Fatima in your name.

      Friday, July 30, 2010

      This is the Key to Restoring Christian Civilization!

      by Luiz Sérgio Solimeo

      Pope Saint Pius X.

      This year marks the 100th anniversary of his publishing Notre Charge Apostolique.

      Exactly a century ago on August 25, Pope Saint Pius X published the Apostolic Letter, Notre Charge Apostolique (“Our Apostolic Mandate”).

      That document complemented, in the sociopolitical field, the Pontiff’s struggle against the philosophical and theological errors of Modernism, which he condemned in his Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (September 8, 1907).

      Although the new document was aimed directly at the errors of the leftist French Catholic movement Le Sillon (“The Furrow”), its teachings are perfectly relevant today, as the progressivist movement, like the Sillonists of old, keeps “its eyes fixed on a chimera, bring[ing] Socialism in its train.”1

      As in the times of Le Sillon, based on confusing calls for “change” and on false notions of human dignity, today they seek to build an entirely new civilization opposed to Christian civilization.

      The Gradual Side-Tracking of a Catholic Movement
      Le Sillon was founded in 1894 by a group of Catholic students on the initiative of Marc Sagnier (1873-1950), who became their leader and top ideologue.

      The movement quickly spread throughout France and particularly among the youth, enjoying the support of countless bishops. Large numbers of seminarians and young priests joined its ranks.

      However, it did not take long before strange aspects and dangerous doctrines began to surface in the movement, such as an egalitarian tendency to place priests and laity on the same footing during study workshops.

      Likewise, a kind of democratic mysticism became increasingly prominent in it, presenting democracy as the only legitimate form of government compatible with Catholic doctrine. Now, this was in blatant contradiction with the teaching laid down by the previous pope, Leo XIII in many of his encyclicals.2

      Anarchic Aspect
      As a result, the bishops began to withdraw the support they had initially given Le Sillon. By 1910, ten French archbishops and twenty bishops had forbidden their clergy and seminarians from participating in the movement.

      When the Bishop of Quimper issued that prohibition, Marc Sagnier retorted that the diocese’s priests should disobey their prelate and added: “I may be accused of being an anarchist, but I don’t care a hoot about that.”3

      For its part, Le Sillon increasingly abandoned its Catholic tone and assumed a sort of mystical and populist democratism pursuant to the principles of the French Revolution. Its publication went from being a “Catholic review of social action,” to a “Review of democratic action.”

      Legitimate Concept of Democracy
      Criticism of the purely ideological and egalitarian concept of democracy has nothing to do with democracy as a form of government. Catholic social doctrine – and wholesome philosophy as well – teaches that there are three classical forms of government, all of which are legitimate and in accordance with the natural order: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

      Also, the noun democracy is frequently used as a synonym of liberty and an antonym of totalitarianism. According to Pius XII, the word democracy, used in this broad sense, “admits the various forms [of government] and can be realized in monarchies as well as republics.”

      The Pontiff also says: “With its pleiad of flourishing democratic communities, the Christian Middle Ages, particularly imbued with the spirit of the Church, showed that the Christian Faith knows how to create a true and proper democracy.”1

      1 Vincent A. Yzermans, ed., The Major Addresses of Pope Pius XII (St. Paul: North Central Publishing Co, 1961), Vol. 2, pp. 80-82)

      Rome’s Condemnation
      Echoing the concerns of the French bishops, after much hesitation and having tried to bring Le Sillon back to the right path, on August 25, 1910, feast of Saint Louis the King of France, Pope Saint Pius X sent an official letter to the French episcopate.

      As customary in papal documents, it became known by its opening words (the Apostolic Letter was written in French): Notre Charge Apostolique (Our Apostolic Mandate).

      As in his encyclical against the philosophical and theological errors of Modernism, the Saint analyzes with great perspicacity the tendencies and errors of Le Sillon and the psychological and moral, as well as philosophical and theological causes of its deviations.

      The document shines in logic and clarity, apostolic zeal for souls and unparalleled care for the integrity of the Faith and of Catholic social doctrine. Since it is impossible to summarize such a substantial document here, we will merely point out some of its aspects, recommending that it be read in its entirety.4

      False Concept of Human Dignity
      According to Saint Pius X, the fundamental doctrinal error of Le Sillon, from which all others emanate, is a false concept of human dignity that implies a complete liberation of man from all bonds of submission to another, whether these be social, intellectual, political or economic:

      The first condition of that dignity is liberty, but viewed in the sense that, except in religious matters, each man is autonomous. This is the basic principle from which Le Sillon draws further conclusions: today the people are in tutelage under an authority distinct from themselves; they must liberate themselves: political emancipation. They are also dependent upon employers who own the means of production, exploit, oppress and degrade the workers; they must shake off the yoke: economic emancipation.

      Finally, they are ruled by a caste preponderance in the direction of affairs. The people must break away from this dominion: intellectual emancipation. The leveling-down of differences from this three-fold point of view will bring about equality among men, and such equality is viewed as true human justice. A socio-political set-up resting on these two pillars of Liberty and Equality (to which Fraternity will presently be added), is what they call Democracy.5

      Divinize Neither the State, nor the People
      Le Sillon upheld the thesis propounded by the Enlightenment6 that the origin of all authority lies in the people, who merely delegate it temporarily to someone and can depose him at any time:

      Le Sillon places public authority primarily in the people, from whom it then flows into the government in such a manner, however, that it continues to reside in the people.7

      In order to better understand that doctrinal error, consider the following:

      Human authority is a power of a moral nature that obliges one man to obey another. But what does “obey” mean, other than the submission of one’s will to that of someone else? And how can any man impose his will on another if, everyone being equal by nature, their wills are of the same weight and value? Hence, from the strict perspective of human nature alone, there are no grounds that justify the imposition of one man’s will on another; no man has a right to exercise authority over another.

      This gives rise to a problem, because if on the one hand the reasoning above is true, on the other, man being sociable by nature, he feels drawn to life in society. But life in society becomes impossible without an authority to unify, guide, and coordinate everyone’s individual efforts toward the common good, which is the purpose of life in society.

      A solution to this problem is only possible if we consider that human authority is not an independent authority that originates from within human nature itself, but an authority by participation in the authority of a being with a superior nature.

      This higher being, Who is God, stands above all created wills and thus can oblige the human will to bend before and acknowledge His authority. Therefore, the origin of all authority is God; and this explains why some men can command others: their authority to do so derives from, and is a participation in the supreme authority of God.

      Moreover, this philosophical truth, which we attain through the use of reason, was confirmed by divine Revelation. Suffice it to quote the famous teaching of Saint Paul to the Romans: “there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.”8

      Thus, those who claim that authority originates from the people or from the State are in fact deifying the people or the State. This entails a certain form of social and political pantheism9 that feeds the mystique of both populism and State-worshipping totalitarianism.

      Therefore, since all authority comes from God, both those who command and those who obey must submit to the divine will and work together to achieve the ultimate end of man, which is eternal salvation, and the immediate end of life in society, which is the pursuit of the common good.

      Change Mania and Scorn for Tradition
      When man abandons reality to chase after chimeras, he begins to dream with nonexistent worlds and magical formulas to get there. In other words, he becomes a social reformer. His slogan and goal now become “change,” which he implements by jettisoning the country’s principles, traditions and customs.

      That is what happened with Le Sillon. As Saint Pius X put it, the Sillonists, “by ignoring the laws governing human nature,” lead society “not toward progress, but toward death.” They “dream of changing its natural and traditional foundations; they dream of a Future City built on different principles; and they dare to proclaim these more fruitful and more beneficial than the principles upon which the present Christian City rests.”10

      Seductive Words, Nefarious Errors
      To seduce the incautious, the Sillonists present their errors and daydreaming “in dynamic language which, concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words, is likely to set ablaze the hearts of men in pursuit of ideals which, whilst attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.”11

      And the Holy Pope has a special warning for priests:


      Human authority is a power of a moral nature that obliges one man to obey another. Thus it participates in the authority of a higher being, Who is God, Creator of all. Therefore the origin of all authority is God.
      “There is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God.”
      St. Paul to the Romans, 13:1.

      However, let not these priests be misled, in the maze of current opinions, by the miracles of a false Democracy. Let them not borrow from the Rhetoric of the worst enemies of the Church and of the people, the high-flown phrases, full of promises; which are as high-sounding as unattainable.…Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.12

      Christian Civilization Must be Restored, not Destroyed
      And the saint goes on to present with incisive words the great lesson of this magnificent document whose centennial we now celebrate, a lesson more valid and necessary than ever:

      No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker – the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be set up unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. OMNIA INSTAURARE IN CHRISTO.13

      Let Us Not Repeat the Errors of the Past
      History repeats itself, as the common saying has it. And although history flows like a river, its ever changing events never turning back, new events closely resemble the old ones by the simple fact that human nature always remains the same. Hence the famous phrase in the Ecclesiastes, “Nothing under the sun is new.”14

      This is why history is called the teacher of life; for while man learns from his own experience, he learns a whole lot more from the pool of experience accumulated through the ages: in other words, by knowing history.

      Indeed, knowledge of past developments, above all those similar to events now unfolding, enables us to better understand the present by analyzing the right moves and mistakes of our forerunners.

      The errors of Le Sillon, its populism, and craze for novelties and scorn for tradition warn us against the dangers that such tenets pose today to society and Holy Mother Church.

      And the clear and incisive warnings of the great Saint Pius X – one of the greatest popes in history – should guide us on how to analyze the present situation and take a stand consistent with Church doctrine.

      “To Restore all Things in Christ”
      Let us close by thanking Divine Providence, on this centennial year of Notre Charge Apostolique, for that enlightening document so full of his loving zeal. The motto of Saint Pius X, Omnia Instaurare in Christo [“To restore all things in Christ”], should be our own.

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      1. Notre Charge Apostolique (“Our Apostolic Mandate”), no. 38, (paragraph numbers are ours) at [back]
      2. For example, Leo XIII, Encyclical Au Milieu Des Sollicitudes, On the Church and State in France, 1892, [back]
      3. Adrien Dansette, Religious History of Modern France, v. II, Herder, Freiburg-Nelson, Edinburgh-London, 1961, p. 284. [back]
      4. For instance at [back]
      5. No. 13. [back]
      6. The Enlightenment was an ideological movement propelled by the so-called ‘Philosophers’ of the eighteenth century who intended to completely secularize the world in every sphere: culture, politics, morals and so on. They denied the existence of Divine Providence and maintained that, just as a watchmaker puts together a clock and winds it up so it will work and then stops thinking about it, so also God, once having created the world and the laws that govern it, ceased to have any relationship with it. The ‘watchmaker-God’ metaphor is by Voltaire (1694-1778), the most famous representative of that group. [back]
      7. No. 21. [back]
      8. Romans, 13:1. Cf. Encyclical Diuturnum, by Pope Leo XIII on the origin of civil power, no. 11, at [back]
      9. Pantheism: a philosophical-religious system that identifies God with creation: everything is ‘god.’ [back]
      10. No. 10. [back]
      11. No. 1. [back]
      12. No. 44. [back]
      13. No. 11. [back]
      14. Ecclesiastes, 1:10. [back]

      Students React Cautiously to UIUC Statement on Dr. Howell

      by Kathleen Gilbert

      CHAMPAIGN, Illinois, July 30, 2010 ( - While students of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have hailed the school's decision to reinstate professor Kenneth Howell, many have also received the news with caution, saying that the decision leaves some questions unanswered.

      News broke earlier this month that Dr. Kenneth Howell would no longer be allowed to teach at UIUC after a student complained about Howell's instruction to students in his Catholicism course. The student claimed that an email from Howell explaining how homosexuality is incompatible with the natural moral law amounted to "hate speech." The popular professor had taught Introduction to Catholicism at the school for nine years, and also served at the school's diocesan-run Newman Center for 12 years.

      After the school received a deluge of criticism - including from the school's atheist club - a UIUC statement Thursday announced that the university "will continue Kenneth Howell’s adjunct appointment for the fall semester, and has offered him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism."

      Eli Lazar, a former student of Howell's Introduction to Catholicism course, called the announcement "great news," but stopped short of declaring victory.

      "I think it really shows that this campus has a University president that really feels the 'pulse' of students on campus," Lazar told (LSN). "However, this is definitely not a victory yet.  I think the President needs to address the concern that this is not just a delaying of a future firing of Prof. Howell under more accepted conditions."

      Other students who led the charge defending Dr. Howell also expressed concern.

      Alumna Trisha Tan expressed concern about the fact that the university has announced that it will be funding Dr. Howell’s position from now on, instead of the diocese, as previously. She said she would "hardly consider this to be the end."

      "While this is certainly a victory, it raises many more questions: what are the ramifications of the University's funding his position going to be now? What is the relationship going to be between SJCNC (St. John’s Cardinal Newman Center) and the University, now that the agreement under which he had been teaching has been dissolved?" Tan told LSN.

      "We must ask, indeed, if this is an underhanded attempt to silence the Church. With the University now funding the courses and the position, inevitably questions of Church-state relations will arise - questions which have been uneasily tabled for the last several decades."

      Ryan McDaniel, a Ph.D. student at UIUC, faculty member at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and a leader in the fight to reinstate Dr. Howell, noted that while the professor's teaching assignment has been re-offered, "the situation is not antebellum."

      "He was not so much reinstated as instated afresh in a new situation," said McDaniel, who added that "the real story here has become the decision by UI to end a decades-old agreement to have an Adjunct Professorship of Catholic Thought funded by the Catholic Diocese of Peoria."

      The school's statement in which it announced that it was reinstating Howell had focused upon the decision to provide the salary for its Adjunct Professor of Catholic Thought itself. Referring to the school's unique relationship to the diocese, Nicholas Burbules, a professor on the committee that reviewed the relationship, told the Chicago Tribune: "This is the time to undo something that probably should've been undone 40 years ago."

      "There needs to be a strict firewall between instruction at the Newman Center and the religious studies department," he said, going on to suggest that the Newman Center-sponsored education should not count toward graduation. McDaniel called Burbules' idea "demonstrative of his prejudice" against Catholic education. "I would like to see UI further challenged to explain itself about what was so 'improper' about the long-standing relationship it had with the Diocese of Peoria," he said.


      Your Protest Worked - Prof. Howell Reinstated!

      URBANA, Illinois, July 29, 2010 ( - Dr. Kenneth Howell, the professor barred from teaching after a student complained about his explanation of the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, in a class on Catholicism, has been reinstated by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

      News spread rapidly of the censure earlier this month of Dr. Howell, whose scheduled classes next fall had been cancelled based on one student's complaint that an email from the professor to students in the class explaining how homosexuality is incompatible with the natural moral law amounted to "hate speech."

      The university was soon deluged with opposition from within UIUC and beyond. Even the school's Atheists, Agnostics, & Freethinkers group expressed outrage at the professor's silencing. Howell, who had taught "Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought" at the university's Department of Religion since 2001, had also taught at the school's diocesan-run Newman Center for 12 years.

      According to a UIUC statement sent to, the school "will continue Kenneth Howell’s adjunct appointment for the fall semester, and has offered him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism."

      However, the statement itself focuses on the school's decision to pay the salary of instructors teaching Catholic studies courses. St. John's Catholic Newman Center had previously funded the instructors.

      "The university values its relationship with the Newman Center and plans to continue offering courses in Catholic studies," stated the school. UIUC also indicated that a university committee would continue investigating the matter.

      The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney who represented Howell in the case expressed cautious gratitude at the reversal. ADF had sent a letter to the University demanding that the school reverse the decision, or else face legal action.

      "We are extremely pleased that the university has asked for Dr. Howell to return to the classroom," ADF attorney David French told in an email Thursday afternoon, calling the move "a great victory for academic freedom, for Dr. Howell, and — crucially — for the students of the University of Illinois."

      "The university is continuing its committee proceedings related to Dr. Howell’s case, and we’ll be carefully monitoring these proceedings to make sure that his rights are protected now and in the future," he said.

      For more information, visit

      This prayer is always answered

      When we pray and ask God for graces for our eternal salvation, we are always answered, says the Doctor of the Church, Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. 

      God may not answer our prayers when or how we want, but He will answer it and will either give us the grace requested, or He will give us something even better.

      Another thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverant prayer.

      Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good.

      What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will.

      Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.


      God gives to all the grace of prayer, in order that thereby they may obtain every help, and even more than they need, for keeping the divine law, and for persevering till death. If we are not saved, the whole fault will be ours; and we shall have our own failure to answer for, because we did not pray.

      Saint Alphonsus

      Prayer for Day 5 in the 9 Day Novena to Saint John Vianney

      DAY FIVE – For July 31

      O Holy Priest of Ars, you knew how important was a good confession for the Christian life.

      It was to procure the happy fruits of millions of souls that you agreed to be in an uncomfortable confessional, which was like a prison, up to 15 to 16 hours on certain days.

      I will try to develop the habit of frequent confession, to prepare properly each time and to have always regret for my sins, so that the grace of final perseverance but also the sanctification of my soul will be assured.

      Ask this grace for me.

      Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession.

      Pray for me during this novena especially for:

      ((State your request here...))

      Recite the following prayers...

      Our Father...

      Hail Mary...

      Glory Be...

      Thursday, July 29, 2010

      Give Our Lady a rosary rally and She’ll give you a dream job…

      I know this sounds a bit over the top, and Our Lady doesn’t give everyone a dream job who does a rosary rally, but it is exactly what happened to a good friend of mine

      See,  Timm Reese from San Bernadino, Ca, really wanted a teaching job at a college close to home, so he could be close to his family.

      He promised to do a rosary rally and asked Our Lady for the job – soon, he got a call from the college asking him to come in for an interview.

      Needless to say, he got the job and Our Lady got the rosary rally.

      So, if you need a special grace, please consider doing what Timm did:

      Become a rosary rally captain in the 2010 Public Square Rosary Crusade, and with childlike trust, ask Our Lady for what you really need.

      To become a rosary rally captain, please go here:

      Being a rosary rally captain is a great way to receive Our Lady’s help, and to help others to pray the Rosary, as She asked for at Fatima.

      But if you are unsure about becoming a rosary rally captain, and you need to talk to someone, please get the very best help, advice and suggestions from our patient and dedicated staff by calling:


      Prayer for Day FOUR in the 9 Day Novena to Saint John Vianney

      DAY FOUR – July 30:


      Saint John Mary Baptist Vianney, you were so adamant against sin, yet so sympathetic and so ready to welcome the sinner.

      I come to you today as if you were still alive, as if I were kneeling at your feet and you could hear me.

      Bend towards me, listen to the repentant confidence for the weaknesses and miserable deeds of mine.

      Priest of the Lord, inexhaustible Confessor, obtain for me the horror for sin.

      You wanted us First to avoid the occasion of sin. I want to take your advice and make the resolution to break bad habits and to avoid the dangerous occasions of sin.

      Help me today to examine my conscience.

      Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession.

      Pray for me during this novena especially for:

      ((State your request here...))

      Recite the following prayers...

      Our Father...

      Hail Mary...

      Glory Be...

      Wednesday, July 28, 2010

      Supporters of homosexual “marriage” boo Bishop, show intolerance

      From Brian Brown, NOM,

      By now, you’ve heard all about the incredible display of intolerance from supporters of homosexual “marriage.”

      They’ve come to our peaceful marriage rallies in city after city to harass and intimidate us.  We’ve seen protestors draped in the rainbow flag storm the stage and scream, red-faced into the microphone to prevent our speakers from talking.

      We’ve seen them bait a five year old child, asking her if she’s being raised by her mother to be a bigot.  We’ve even heard a homosexual “marriage” supporter threaten to kidnap a child in attendance at a rally.

      I thought I had heard and seen it all, but the radicals reached a new low yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin. NOM and its supporters gathered peacefully in Madison to pray for marriage and to stand in support of marriage remaining a sacred union between men and women.

      We were honored to have Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison address the crowd.  When he led the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer, the homosexual “marriage” radicals screamed and booed him.

      Please join the original rosary rally captain…








      Around the turn of the eighteenth Century in Rennes, France, a family named D’Orvilles presented a problem to Saint Louis de Montfort.

      Mr. D’Orvilles complained to Saint Louis de Montfort that his house adjoined the city square where much sin and immorality took place. He said young people would come there at odd hours, sin and make so much noise that they would distract those in his household during the Rosary.

      He asked the saint, “What could be done about this?”

      “Make a niche in the façade of the wall that overlooks the square,” replied Saint Louis de Montfort. “Put a statue of Our Lady there, and pray the Rosary in front of her.”

      “In the public square?” replied Mr. D’Orvilles.

      “In the public square right in front of the image of Our Lady,” instructed the saint.


      Become a 2010 Rosary Rally Captain – a red rose will be sent to Fatima in your name.


      The day following the completion of the niche, Mr. D’Orvilles, his family and all the servants from his household, prayed the Rosary in the public square. His wife lead the mysteries while he stood guard with a whip to keep the aggressions of young hoodlums at bay.

      While praying, many carriages went through the public square, and some friends even called out to him inviting him and his wife to party. At first he was tempted to hide his Rosary beads in his hand, but he conquered himself and held the Rosary high so that all could see that he was at prayer.

      A strange thing happened. After saying the Rosary daily for some time, the public square Rosary became a curious attraction.

      “People came in crowds to pray, as if some great church ceremony were taking place, and soon, the disorders in the square ceased.”*

      Much of what happened in Rennes, France, is happening in America today.

      The response to the Public Square Rosary Rally has been excellent. On October 16th, 5,000 Rosaries will be prayed in public because every city in the United States and in the world is in need of conversion.

      Our Lady revealed at Fatima that God wishes to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the solution for the world’s sins and impurity.

      I’m inviting you to give public testimony to our divine faith and become a Rally Captain for Our Lady and to pledge yourself to her and the “Divine solution.”

      This story of the D’Orvilles family is one of many examples where the power of the Rosary helped to transform public opinion. You can do the same, and it’s easy. Just take your Rosary, the sign we will send you, and then stand in a public spot on October 16th with family and friends and pray. That’s it!

      To become a Rally Captain, simply go here:

      Become a 2010 Rosary Rally Captain

      and sign up on our Rosary Rally page devoted solely to receiving your pledge to Our Lady.

      On the Web site, you’ll find more details and how we’ll help you have a successful, easy and fulfilling Public Square Rosary Rally on October 16, 2010.

      As a Rally Captain we will take a red rose to Fatima on your behalf this October. This is a small way to show our appreciation to you for becoming a Rosary Rally Captain by helping spread devotion to Our Lady each year.

      Our Lady asked for prayer, penance and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. The Rosary is the prayer. Standing in a public place is the penance and sacrifice. She’s waiting for your pledge to be a Rally Captain.

      Together we can repeat history for the sake of America and help accelerate “The Triumph of My Immaculate Heart!” for the greater glory of Our Lady.

      Thank you, and may God bless you!

      * Adapted from Eddie Doherty, Wisdom’s Fool (Bay Shore, N.Y., Montfort Publications, 1993), 214.

      NEW MAP -- Find the Rosary Rally nearest you

      To see our new map and to find a Rosary Rally near you, please click on this link:

      Prayer for Day 3 in the 9 Day Novena to Saint John Vianney

      DAY THREE – July 29:

      Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney because of your love of God you showed great charity towards your neighbor.

      You could not preach on the Love of God without burning tears of love.

      During your last years, it seemed as though you could not talk about any thing else or live for anything else.

      Thus you sacrificed yourself to your neighbor by consoling, absolving and sanctifying them to the limits of your strength.

      Your charity inspires me to greater love of God, a love which is shown more by acts then by words.

      Help me to love my neighbor generously as Christ loves them.

      Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession.

      Pray for me during this novena especially for...

      ((State your request here...))

      Recite the following prayers...

      Our Father...

      Hail Mary...

      Glory Be...

      2,352 rally captains and climbing – see this amazing story

      Doing a Rosary rally – can be a great way to land the perfect job!

      Our Lady often gives very VISIBLE signs of Her goodness –

      For example, Timm Reese from San Bernadino, Ca, really wanted a teaching job at a college close to home, so he could be close to his family.

      He promised to do a rosary rally and asked Our Lady for the job – soon, he got a call from the college asking him to come in for an interview.

      Needless to say, he got the job and Our Lady got the rosary rally.

      So, if you need a special grace, please consider doing what Timm did:

      Become a rosary rally captain in the 2010 Public Square Rosary Crusade, and with childlike trust, ask Our Lady for what you really need.

      To become a rosary rally captain, please go here:

      Being a rosary rally captain is a great way to receive Our Lady’s help, and to help others to pray the Rosary, as She asked for at Fatima.

      But if you are unsure about becoming a rosary rally captain, and you need to talk to someone, please get the very best help, advice and suggestions from our patient and dedicated staff by calling:


      Tuesday, July 27, 2010

      Answer to the question: Did Saint Pantaleon’s Blood Turn Liquid This year?

      I researched the Spanish press today to find the answer to the question many of us Catholics have about the blood of Saint Pantaleon, which every year, on his feast day, turns from a hard state to a liquid state.

      Well, the answer is, the blood of Saint Pantaleon, according to press reports, did turn to liquid yesterday on the Saint’s feast day.

      Why is this so important?

      It’s important because only twice in history has his blood NOT become liquid:

      Right before World War I, and right before the Spanish Civil War in 1936. 

      So, people evidently worry when the Saint’s blood fails to  liquefy.

      Now that Saint Pantaleon’s blood has turned to liquid, as it normally does, do we have no reason to be concerned about the events in the world?

      Well, let’s face it – we have lots of reasons to be concerned. 

      In fact, it was during this month of July that the miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Fatima cried 14 times in the diocese of New Orleans in 1972.

      14 times!

      These mysterious tears show Our Lady of Fatima crying over the modern world, as Our Lord once cried over Jerusalem. Tears of most tender affection, tears of deep pain for the punishment that will come.

      It will come to the men of out times, if they do not reject immorality and corruption. It will come if they do not fight especially against the self-destruction of the Church, the cursed smoke of Satan that according to Paul VI has penetrated even into the sacred places.

      There is still time, therefore, to stop the punishment!

                                                  * * *

      But, some will say, these thoughts are not those for a pleasant Sunday afternoon. I answer: Is it not better to read this article now under the tender manifestation of our Mother’s prophetic sadness than to live through the days of tragic bitterness that will come if we do not amend?

      If they come, I am convinced a special mercy will be shown to those who, in their personal lives, have taken the miraculous warning of Mary seriously.

      I offer my readers this article so they may benefit from that mercy.

      (These last paragraphs are from the article Tears, A Maternal Warning, by Prof. Plinio Correa de Oliveira.)

      The Problem of the 4 Brothers

      by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

      ONE of the themes of the Brotherhood Campaign [the Brazilian Bishops’ annual charity drive] invited all Brazilians to reflect upon the maxim: “We are all brothers, we are all equal.”

      To such reflections, I dedicate my words of today which, regardless of their merit, at least have the distinction of being a column published in a Brazilian newspaper with a very large circulation.

      From the outset, I knew the task would be difficult. By heartfelt sentiments that spring from the innermost being, by that special discernment – tacit though it may be – that senses the simple, sublime, great truths of life, and by the mark impressed on him by Christian tradition, the Brazilian is convinced we are all equal and brothers. This is illustrated by the profound historical reality of Brazil’s miscegenation, which is based on the equality and fraternity of the races.

      Undoubtedly, the mentors of the campaign realize this. Accordingly, their objective does not lie in repeating worn-out clichés, but in evoking forgotten aspects or correcting poorly understood ideals of equality and fraternity. Only then would they be telling the public something new in respect to these themes.

      Having resolved my preliminary perplexity, I searched for something “new” that could be said. It was not long before I recalled some clues.

      Equality, fraternity . . . what is the missing word? Ah, it is liberty. Thus my mind reconstructed the trilogy of the French Revolution. And, at the same time, an amalgam of images tumultuously sprung to mind – the divinely luminous teachings of the Holy Gospel, the crystal clear concepts of Roman Law, the medieval guilds, the lyrical tirades of Rousseau, the sarcasms of Voltaire, the blood of the infamous Madame Roland, crying out on her way to the guillotine: “Liberty, liberty, what crimes are committed in your name!”

                                             *          *          *

      Nothing grand, nothing sound, nothing lasting has been constructed in cul­ture or civilization without liberty, equality and fraternity based on justice. Yet the greatest crimes of recent centuries have been committed precisely in the name of unrestrained liberty, absolute equality, and an indiscriminate fraternity.

      We need not return to the French Revolution to demonstrate this point. We need only consider the raging son to whom it gave birth; communism, a son who today engulfs the land in violence.
      More often than not, the immediate executors of this violence do not under­stand the hazy philosophical and economic lucubrations of Marx. Rather they are moved by a more basic rationale that we could outline as follows:

      a) All men are brothers;
      b) A brother should desire that his brothers possess every good that he himself has;
      c) Therefore, total equality is the natural consequence of true fraternity;
      d) Accordingly, all inequality is unjust;
      e) Thus, the brother who is a victim of injustice has the right to ask and even demand equality in the name of fraternity. The final consequence of such fraternity is pandemonium, if not indeed crime.

      It seems to me that those who have allowed themselves to become entangled in this sophism might learn something by reflecting on the nature of genuine fraternity. Such reflection would also reveal one of the most vital aspects of the Brotherhood Campaign.

                                         *          *          *

      The heart of the problem outlined above is a question readily demonstrable by the following example.

      Imagine a family with quadruplets, all boys. The lads are exactly alike in appearance, tastes, personality and intellect. Among them reigns complete equality.


      Four children visit Longwood Gardens with their parents.

      Imagine yet another family, also with four children. But these children differ in sex, age, capability, intelligence and personal appearance. Yet they know how to make these differences complement each other and work together by means of their strong mutual affection.

      Now ask yourself this: In which of the two families is the fraternal relationship more ideal? In other words, is this fraternity the result of total equality? Or does it rather spring from a basic equality tempered by an extensive range of diverse, hierarchical values?

      Having posed the problem, there came to my mind a phrase of Maurois from his biography of Disraeli concerning a group of this British prime minister’s friends: “As all true friends, they appear to be quite dissimilar.”

      Friendship has much in common with fraternal love. Both stagnate and die in the stifling monotony of complete equality. On the contrary, they live, grow and yield abundant fruit in a climate of proportionate and harmonic inequality. With this, the communist corollary between total equality and perfect fraternity topples to the ground. Genuine fraternity does not unleash class warfare and the bloodshed of brothers. Rather it gives rise to constructive cooperation and harmony.

      This conclusion, so eminently logical, seems to me of such importance that it should not be left undefended by the support of various citations. I find this support in pontifical documents.
      Let us listen to the great voice of Pope Leo XIII:

      “Once again We declare this: The remedy for these evils will never lie in the subversive equality of the social classes, but in this fraternity, which, without detracting anything from the dignity of the social position, unites all hearts in the same bonds of Christian love.”1

      And here we find the lamentations of Pius XII:

      “Brothers are not born nor do they remain completely equal: Some are strong, others weak; some intelligent, others incapable; one might be abnormal and it could even happen that he might become undeserving. It is, therefore, inevitable that a certain physical, intellectual and moral inequality exists in the same family. . . . To lay claim to an absolute equality of all would be the same as to pretend to give identical functions to the diverse members of the same organism.”2

      And, finally, we read the so-often quoted John XXIII, who cites the words of Pius XII: “In a people worthy of such a name, all the inequalities that derive not from chance, but from the proper nature of things, inequalities of culture, of possessions, of social position – without prejudice, be it well understood, to justice and mutual charity – are, in an absolute sense, not an obstacle to the existence and to the predominance of a true spirit of community and fraternity.”3

      This article was originally published in the Folha de S. Paulo, on February 26th, 1969.

      Well prepared dishes – a recipe for charity

      by Nelson Fragelli

      Nowadays we so often hear: “Home Cooking?!  How old-fashioned! Gone are the days sweating over the stove preparing nice dishes. Ready-made meals are a must! Time is precious.”

      There is a widespread notion that carefully prepared dishes with special recipes and ingredients are a waste of time. This idea harms everyone and does not consider that nice meals reflect the indispensable dedication and affection crucial to maintaining family unity. Both parents and children feel they are special when they see how much effort is spent on preparing a well laid out meal.

      Meals create an ambience capable of influencing personal relationships. St. Francis de Sales said that meals favour the charity Christians should have towards one another.

      A meal is a mirror that reflects the real tenderness of a spouse and mother. Pedro Luiz, a friend of mine, married late when he was almost 40. As a single man he stayed at home with his mother who prepared the packed lunch he took to work. Everyday he had different well-prepared sandwiches with fresh fruit juices. From his thermas, his colleagues could smell the delicious aroma of coffee. His tumbler, coffee cup and cutlery were all packed in a leather box within an immaculate and perfectly ironed napkin that could be used as a tablecloth.

      None of his colleagues had anything of the sort. They ate their sandwiches wrapped in cling wrap and drank their coffee in plastic cups. However they enjoyed seeing Pedro Luiz eat his light meal.

      But one day Pedro Luiz started taking his sandwiches out of a plastic bag bought from the supermarket. For dessert, he had a chocolate bar. His coffee now came from the office machine. And this went on for 3, 4, 5 days as Pedro Luiz ate his vulgar fare. Around the fifth day one of his colleagues enquired:

                 Pedro, what happened? Did you get married?

                 No not yet. My mother is spending ten days in hospital because of her rheumatism.

      Here we see how a simple meal can carry a message: care or the lack of. Pedro Luiz’s colleagues noticed it and made explicit today’s sad reality: whatever the reason, nicely prepared meals are frequently neglected.

      It is wrong to think that the Church, in order to avoid gluttony, recommends fast and abstinence as a general rule for society. There is a time and place for that, but for centuries the Church has always favored the confection of new recipes as a factor of development.

      Christianity benefited all the arts. Under its influence architecture reached the splendor of the gothic style never before seen on Ancient Times. The paintings of Fra Angelico and music such as Gregorian Chant attained heights of sublimity. The same happened with culinary art that had its great development in the monasteries and abbeys.

      The Benedictines from the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy took it upon themselves to elaborate recipes for fish, eggs and vegetables—since they abstained from meat. Everyday the menu served to the monks in the refectory varied. It obliged them to reflect on possible flavors and food combinations. In this way the primitivism of the pagan food culture was left behind.

      From Cluny date the first recipe books to be used to educate those peoples still imbued with barbarian customs. As they immersed themselves into the heretofore unknown tastes of Creation, the monks knew that their tasty dishes, so pleasing to the body, would encourage virtues in the soul. They imagined how delicious the mana of the desert could have been, as well as the wine offered by Our Lord Jesus Christ at the marriage feast of Cana. Did not God in this way manifest His desire that men also seek refined tastes? Would this not awaken in souls virtuous desires analogous to those felt on the palate?

      “God established mysterious and admirable relations between, on the one hand, certain forms, colors, sounds, perfumes, and flavors and, on the other, certain states of soul. It is obvious that, through the arts, mentalities can be profoundly influenced.” This thought of Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira in Revolution and Counter-Revolution he repeated and developed in countless talks and chats with his friends.

      In the Middle Ages, abbeys were accustomed to give great banquets where both lords and monks—who frequently also came from the nobility—could thus share God’s gifts elaborated with good taste. The sacrality of the rituals of the meal led to a spiritual union that calmed the wild spirits and diminished quarrels.

      The monks prepared delicacies out of charity and, in so doing, established an etiquette which in turn elevated the customs. Conversation and courtesy were perfected. Gradually this socializing begot the rituals of civil society that made Europe a model of civilization. Is this not the highest goal of a meal?

      The great abbots of Cluny—St. Odo, St. Odilon and St. Mayeul—had great chefs. St. Thomas Aquinas appreciated well-prepared dishes and ate with gusto. St. Gregory VII like elaborate dishes. St. Pius V had a famous cook, Bartholomew Scappi, who left his recipes in a well-known book.

      Almost all heresies, under the pretext of promoting austerity, were against good meals “to which the Church had sold its soul”. Luther, although a notorious glutton, was one of the worst attackers.

      In his excellent work French Gastronomy: The History and Geography of a Passion, by Jean-Robert Pitte surprisingly states:

      “Luther’s sensual tendency did not stop the Protestant Reformation—especially the Calvinist one—from adopting austerity. To understand this, one must necessarily relate the moral attitude of the protestants to their denial of the Sacrament of Confession. By denying confession, they necessarily live in fear, keeping their adherents in a state of constant anxiety”.

      Although surprising, it is nonetheless likely; since the anxiety caused by refusing the Sacrament of Confession—with the resulting lack of forgiveness—leads certain protestant denominations to seek a false austerity by renouncing a pleasure that is not only licit but necessary for spiritual elevation as is the case with a tasty meal.

      In the movie Babette’s Feast, premiered in Cannes in 1987, one can find a symbolic example of the harm Protestantism did to Christian culinary art and, as a consequence, social relationships.

      Today, with canned food, powdered mixes and the proliferation of takeaways, the preparation of meals ceases to have souls and human relationships in mind. The oven has been abandoned and food factories have taken its place. This type of food represents the triumph of matter over spirit.

      I once heard a Frenchman, who loved his meals, ask a friend if he wanted to eat something. His friend responded:

                  “No, I am not hungry.”

                  To which the Frenchman replied:

                 “But do you only eat when you are hungry?”

      Many French people believe a good meal especially enhances the relationships between souls. Fastfood tends to facilitate the disappearance of respect for the dignity of the other person.

      Although it seems to be a paradox, those who, without necessity, prefer this type of meal may be committing the sin attributed to gluttons who only think of food as satisfying their bodily needs.

      One day a family I knew received into their home an old and dear friend who had travelled from afar. He had a special preference for duck with plums. So the family prepared this dish for his arrival. Just before the meal was served, someone gasped:

                  “This is Lent, a time of abstinence!”

      Worried but without any other dish to worthily offer his friend, the head of the family consulted the cannon of the cathedral. Seeing it was an honest mistake and taking into consideration the circumstances, the old priest responded with certainty:

                 “Serve the duck. In this case, Charity comes before sacrifice. We should do penance, but not impose it upon others.”

      Good meals and a table nicely set are part of Christian charity.