Thursday, October 4, 2018

Save Us From the Deniers of Hell - Return to Order

Anyone who wonders why the Catholic Church is in its present crisis need only read Dr. Scott Bruce’s “Do We Still Need to Believe in Hell?” The Wall Street Journal article (9/15-16/2018) recently appeared in its popular weekend review section.
It was a rather typical yet brutal appraisal of the notion of Hell. The author believes Hell is a medieval invention adapted from the ancient myths that talk about a place of punishment for evildoers in the afterlife.

Dr. Bruce recognizes the sociological value of Hell as “a frightening deterrent for sinful behavior,” however, he claims that Hell was (and no longer is) a cornerstone of Christian doctrine and that it was (and no longer is) something about which priests preached.
The author looks forward to a day “in some, better future,” when the idea of Hell might be retired from use. It would be “an important step in the maturation of human communities that can mete out justice on their own, without supernatural aid.”
A Cause for Concern
Such a sad commentary is to be expected from the Wall Street Journal with its materialistic and secular outlook on life. Light-hearted musings about Hell serve as a curiosity for those intent upon building a material paradise on earth.
However, Dr. Bruce is a Catholic. He is not only a Catholic but a professor of history at a Catholic university. His is not just any university but the Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York City.
What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
This is a cause for concern, for Dr. Bruce runs no risk in speaking against Hell. He will not be called to task by Fordham for his critique of Hell in the nation’s leading newspaper; he will never be asked to withdraw the book he has just edited about the same topic; and he will tranquilly continue teaching with the many similarly minded professors at Catholic institutions everywhere.
Such inaction on the part of administrators is not surprising to those who have followed the decadence inside the Church in recent decades. Everyone knows there is a lack of concern for orthodoxy at many of the nation’s Catholic institutions. This example just shows that there is no attempt to hide it.
Hell is Scriptural
The denial of Hell helps explain why the Church is in crisis. The Hell-deniers do irreparable harm to the Church, souls and society. The dogma of Hell is foundational for the Church. Take it away and the whole structure of Church teaching comes crashing down.
The notion of Hell has been held from time immemorial. Even Plato, unenlightened by Revelation, perceived the need for Hell, declaring: “Such is the judgment of the gods who dwell in heaven; the good are reunited with the good, the wicked to the wicked.”
What does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about Marriage?
The existence of Hell is clearly defined in the Bible. It is mentioned many times in both the Old and New Testaments. It is also unequivocal. Hell-deniers find little room for doubt in the graphic descriptions of this place of terrible punishment of endless duration. Numerous councils have defined Hell as an article of faith. Countless saints have all consistently spoken of Hell in dramatic terms.
“I am filled with fear and trembling,” says Saint Bernard, “and all my bones are shaken at the thought of that unhappy country of the damned.”
Saint Anthony Mary Claret categorically states, “It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God.”
The denial of Hell is, therefore, a denial of biblical truth and Church tradition. It would imply there is no Revelation. Hell is reduced to metaphor and folklore as insinuated by Dr. Bruce’s article.
No Need for the Incarnation and Redemption
The deniers of Hell call into question the need for the Church. The dogma of Hell is a crucial piece in the logical narrative of the Faith. Without Hell, Christianity would not make sense.
Indeed, if Hell does not exist, then Original Sin cannot exist. For it was as a consequence of man’s fall from grace that Hell became a punishment for those who die unrepentant and unjustified. If there is no Hell, there is no need for the Incarnation and redemption. Without Hell, sins have no consequences. Thus, Jesus Christ need not have become flesh nor died a terrible death on the Cross. His death would be meaningless and illogical. Likewise, Christians would not be bound by a debt of gratitude and love, for Christ would have neither saved nor redeemed them. Christianity would be a great hoax without the notion of Hell.
No Moral Order Without Hell
Moreover, it is in the moral order that Hell becomes important. If there is no eternal hell, then there can be no moral order. The moral order can only be based on an absolute difference between good and evil. If the eternal reward for good and evil deeds is perceived as equal—whether heaven or nothingness—then vice and virtue become optional.
Unanchored in justice, such societies sweep away all morality, honesty, and public order. Take the fear of eternal punishment away, and Hell will be installed on earth. This was many times proved by the sinister ideologies of the twentieth century.
The deniers of Hell undermine the already crumbling moral order. They deprive justice of its sanctions; virtue of its rewards.
Hell and Fatima
To those who say that Hell has outlived its usefulness in the modern age, one need only recall the message of Fatima in 1917. During the July 13 apparition, Our Lady showed the three children a vision of Hell. In so doing, she affirmed the special relevance of Hell for the present.
She not only confirmed Hell’s existence but tragically warned that untold numbers of souls were going there. To prevent this, she asked for repentance and amendment of life. The denial of Hell is a direct attack upon the Fatima message that was mercifully given by God to guide Catholics in these tragic times of sin and iniquity.
What better lesson for today than a strong awareness of the existence of Hell? How many blasphemies and sins could have been averted had Our Lady’s revelation of Hell been taken to heart! How many of the scandals inside the Church would have been avoided had all Catholics, priests and faithful alike, remembered Hell in all its hideousness.
And yet, there is a danger more insidious than those who ignore the Hell that they know exists; it is the danger of the Hell-deniers, who ridicule the notion and incite others to disbelief. They do incalculable harm to souls and the moral order. They offend a merciful God and Our Blessed Mother who desire the salvation of all.
At Fatima, Our Lady gave the shepherd children a prayer in which they were to call upon Jesus to “forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell.”
Today, this prayer might well be modified to ask Our Lady to “save us from the deniers of Hell.”
As seen on Crisis Magazine.
Save Us From the Deniers of Hell - Return to Order: Save Us From the Deniers of Hell Anyone who wonders why the Catholic Church is in its present crisis need only read Dr. Scott Bruce’s “Do We Still Need...

Monday, September 24, 2018

An Appeal to the Divine Shepherdess

September 25 is the feast of the Divine Shepherdess. This devotion dates back to 1703, when Capuchin Friar Isidoro of Seville, a scion of Spain’s most noble families, experienced a mystical illumination in which the Virgin Mary asked him to spread devotion to her as Shepherdess of Souls. He commissioned a painting, preached this devotion, and it is well-known today in Spain.
This Marian invocation came to mind while pondering the widespread homosexual corruption we are seeing in the Church.
The present situation is truly tragic.
We need to put ourselves in the perspective of the Church that has long been in a process of self-destruction that is now in a very advanced stage.

The Action of the Wolves
Ravenous wolves outside the flock are destroying of Catholic morality and doctrine. Through media and the culture, they have undermined Catholic morals and practice. They have promoted heresy and error, which lays the foundation for the physical abuse of sheep. They have infiltrated into the flock, in sheep’s clothing, and in all their undisguised hideousness. They made deals with certain shepherds.
As a result, the wolves have decimated the flock over the last few decades. The scandals served as catalysts that made the sheep feel unprotected by the shepherds. In face of the immensity of the crisis, the sheep are now exasperated and desperate. They are taking measures of self-defense which is entirely within their right. They are loudly complaining to the shepherds, some of which do not heed their cries.
Thus, many are now claiming the need to put the flock under the care of the sheep to fight off the wolves.
The Nature of Sheep
The good intentions of these sheep are praiseworthy. Indeed, some of these sheep are extremely competent and organized. They are movers and shakers that know how to get things done. However, they are limited in their ability to deal with this problem.
This is because a sheep is always a sheep. When confronted with wolves, even the most competent sheep will inevitably lose. Sending sheep into the dens of wolves will not resolve the problem. It is not the fault of the sheep, just the nature of the predators and all the resources of culture and society that support them.
What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
The Role of Shepherds
There is no doubt that many shepherds have not protected the sheep as they should. However, to change the structures of the flock by giving functions of the shepherds to the sheep is a quick road to disaster.
This is because a shepherd is a shepherd. He is equipped with the authority, skills and knowledge to deal with wolves. The shepherd’s office is endowed by God with graces and charisms to teach, govern and sanctify. Shepherds often have sheepdogs whose hatred of all things wolf is in their DNA. When a shepherd, even a weak one, seriously confronts a wolf, the wolf will almost always lose.
Dancing with Wolves
The worst thing about the present crisis is not that we are entrusting faithful sheep to other more competent sheep to stave off the wolves. Rather, many are proposing that the task be delegated to others who are not even part of the flock. They are asking independent observers, often friendly to the wolves, and who hate the flock, to oversee it. They are asking the government to get involved.
Yet worse, ex-members of the flock join the chorus asking that sheep oversee the flock. Wolves also demand that the Church be structured differently, and even promise their friendship should things change.
What does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about Marriage?
What Wolves Want
The objective of the wolves is always the same regarding sheep. Wolves want to kill and devour sheep. To accomplish this purpose, they need to get rid of shepherds—even bad shepherds. The very office of shepherd is a symbol that frightens wolves. He is also an obstacle, since the shepherd guarantees the continuity of sacramental life that strengthens the sheep. As long as shepherds exist, there will be the possibility of good shepherds that will rise up and kill wolves.
Thus, wolves want sheep without shepherds. They want weakened sheep without grace. That is why they would suggest that sheep and non-sheep oversee the flock. That way they might ravage more easily the Church of Christ with their false doctrines and immoral behavior. They might also lead the faithful away from the verdant pastures which nurture the sheep.
The strategy of the wolves is to make the shepherds the common enemy of both wolves and sheep. The real common enemy of both shepherds and sheep should be the wolves.
The Separation and Mutual Hatred of Wolves and Sheep
A crisis like ours always happens when the Church tries to make a deal with the world—to peacefully co-exist with the wolves. In our particular case, it is much graver since we have sought to get along with the evils of the modern world with its denial of sin and adoration of progress.
Thus, we live in a world of intermingled sheep and wolves. It is a hypersexualized culture that destroys all morality and modesty. It is relativist world in which there are no absolute truths, moral norms or certainties. We live in a broken society in which the family and community are coming apart. Our secular society has dethroned God as the center of our lives.
That is why any real solution cannot be an administrative or regulatory fix. It will not be resolved simply with the dismissal or resignation of shepherds, however corrupt they might be.  It must be a moral solution. We must return to a hatred of sin. We must again establish that healthy separation and mutual hatred between wolves and sheep. We must condemn immorality by working against the corrupt world. God must return to the center of our lives and be proclaimed in the public square.
We must return to orthodoxy at all levels inside the Church. It was not power, secrecy or authority that led to the scandals. It was the abandonment of orthodoxy in the Faith that created the conditions for abuse to happen. For without moral principles, the worst abuses and abominations are made possible—and indeed happened.
Indeed this is a crisis of Faith for which we have been justly chastised. Saint John Eudes notes that “The most evident mark of God’s anger, and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifest when He permits His people to fall into the hands of a clergy who are more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. “
An Appeal to the Divine Shepherdess
The first step to solving the crisis is to recognize that anything short of a moral reform is not serious. We need to humbly admit that for decades our problem has been unholy shepherds, unholy sheep and cunning wolves. To change the structure of the shepherd and the flock will only play into the hands of the wolves.
The second step is to realize that Catholics, both sheep and shepherds, must do all we can humanly do to make this moral reform happen—and eradicate the wolves in our midst. That means rallying behind the faithful shepherds that uphold Church teaching and resisting all who do not.
However, given the immensity of the crisis, an intervention is needed.
That is why we must repair to that pasture where the Divine Shepherdess appeared. Our Lady at Fatima speaking to the three shepherd children brought a message of warning and hope. She warned us of the growing moral corruption and proposed solutions that we should take to heart. Above all, we must humbly appeal to the Divine Shepherdess that she intervene as promised and restore shepherds and flock bringing the triumph of her Immaculate Heart.
An Appeal to the Divine Shepherdess - Return to Order: An Appeal to the Divine Shepherdess September 25 is the feast of the Divine Shepherdess. This devotion dates back to 1703, when Capuchin Friar Isidoro of...

Friday, September 21, 2018

How Science Gets God Wrong


To the scientific community, religion is a mystery that should not exist. The greatest mystery is the God problem. There must be some kind of scientific explanation to account for why people believe in God.
Since the Enlightenment, secular scientists have held that God is an imaginary being, created by weak people who need psychological support to deal with the stress of life.  However, this weak thesis falls apart in the face of so many religious people (including famous Catholic scientists) who have strong personalities and experience no problems adjusting to life.

Solving the Mystery of God
Nevertheless, this very unscientific myth never seems to die. A reincarnation of this opinion can be found in a recent University of Michigan study. The team of researchers concluded that “friending” God can restore purpose in life for those who are lonely or anti-social. Once again, it seems the mystery of God is solved.
The study is the result of surveys from three separate studies, in which 19,775 people discuss their purpose in life, loneliness, friendships and religious beliefs. The study team found that those who lack purpose and friends see God as a means to fill the void in their lives.
“For the socially disconnected, God may serve as a substitutive relationship that compensates for some of the purpose that human relationships would normally provide,” lead author Todd Chan explained in a university release.
The new study builds upon prior research that concluded that socially disconnected people will often project human-like qualities upon pets, imaginary beings and God. However, the study warns that trust in God in no way compensates for being socially connected with real people.
“These results certainly do not suggest that people can or should rely on God over people for purpose,” adds co-author Oscar Ybarra. “Quality human connections still remain a primary and enduring source of purpose in life.”
What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
In other words, believers are simple-minded misfits who cannot integrate themselves into modern society. God may be “friended” as if on Facebook, but such a link is a poor substitute for being part of the fashionable crowd.
Pitying Secular Scientists
Such scientists are to be pitied. The first reason is that they are not real scientists. Their premises are biased against the existence of God. Theirs is a depressing materialistic outlook that, if taken to its final consequences, strips purpose from life and creation.
These scientists have blinded themselves to the existence of a spiritual world. Instead, they try to project their materialistic premises upon a spiritual realm. This also is unscientific. Real scientists need to apply the right criteria and methods to the circumstances. They also need to be aware of all possible causes—even those outside their field of competence.
What does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about Marriage?
This spiritual world has never been the product of the imaginings of weak individuals. Ancient philosophers taught long ago that man is a composite being made up of body and soul. It has long been held that man has a spiritual side that is superior to the material. This superior side of man’s nature is recognized as that which makes every man unique and gives him dignity.
This spiritual side gives rise to political, social, cultural, and religious activities and sciences that tower above the physical and exact sciences of these scientists. Indeed, they satisfy the innate need for the good, true and beautiful and ultimately prepare the way for eternal salvation.
Without this spiritual side, man is reduced to matter, chemical reactions, evolutionary meanderings and algorithms. Indeed, some postmodern scientists have affirmed this as the logical consequence of a world without the soul.  No person, however socially active, will find purpose in a life thus conceived.
Getting It All Backward
The most tragic aspect of these scientists is that they have it all backward.
They try to make God the creation of human imaginings when it is the other way around. Man is the creation of an unimaginably magnificent God.
They imagine the fickle affections of others to be the highest social achievement. They cannot imagine the affections of a God (who defines Himself as Charity) that unites himself to the faithful in prayer and the Holy Eucharist.
Scientists try to explain backward that which is already known. In times of great trials, including the breakdown of relationships, people have recourse to God. However, this is not to compensate for lost love, but to ask for a superior aid that human relationships cannot provide.
God answers prayers and showers blessings upon those who call upon Him. The testimony of countless faithful Christians is evidence of real benefits and even miracles received. All of this is documented should these scientists wish to see it.
A society centered on God will radiate Christian charity and improve relationships for all. Modern society is a dog-eat-dog world of clashing self-interests.
Those who truly love God are commanded to love their neighbors as themselves. The Church is the source of vibrant community, not a collection of socially challenged misfits.
Discovering the Real Purpose of Life
Scientists need to understand that the soul is made for God and will never find rest and happiness outside of Him. As social beings, people need others to help them in their quest for sanctification. However, they are just the means to a much higher end, God. The purpose of life cannot be social fulfillment in a life that is so fleeting.
The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. Anything less will only lead to unhappiness.
Scientists studying the purpose of life might start by seeing the role of science as a means to help others understand better God’s creation. Their purpose should not be that of creating a God that validates their unscientific myths.
As seen on CNSNews.

How Science Gets God Wrong - Return to How Science Gets God Wrong Science Gets God Wrong. To the scientific community, religion is a mystery that should not exist. The greatest mystery is the...

Monday, September 10, 2018

On Those Things a President Cannot Solve

by John Horvat II
There are many issues that President Trump can solve. His first great accomplishment was solving the election. Almost all conservatives adopted a thank-God-it’s-not-Hillary approach to the Trump presidency. There was a general sigh of relief over a bullet dodged.
As time passes, the administration now stands on its own merits beyond being not-Hillary. In this respect, President Trump’s economic policies have helped expand the economy. His pro-life stances have been encouraging. His choices for justices are significantly improving the makeup of the Supreme Court. While there are many good things to celebrate, there are also those things that President Trump cannot solve. And these issues are tearing the nation apart.

It should be stressed that this is not the president’s fault. His actions can influence these issues but not fix them. His efforts may improve the situation but not solve it. Government action or legislation alone is not sufficient to change things. These are festering matters left unsettled for decades that are now coming due.
A Generalized Moral Rottenness
Perhaps the best way to describe the situation is to say that there is a generalized moral rottenness that permeates all of society. It has found its way into every political current, social class, and institution. It corrodes every type of relationship and dealing.
Everyone senses it. It wounds and lacerates the hearts of many who see this moral rot in youth, their children, marriages, and the general tone of life. Ask anyone, and each will have a story to tell of this breakdown. It comes as no surprise since the nation’s moral decline has long been acknowledged especially since the sixties.
The Difference Between Deterioration and Collapse
However, what is new about this moral decay is its present phase. A process of deterioration can take decades or generations before things collapse. For many years, a decaying house, for example, might appear sound to the superficial observer and then suddenly come crashing down. When that happens, all the ordering structures collapse and turn against themselves. The falling beams that once provided support now become agents of destruction.
Inside a collapsing building, trust is broken. Hatreds and resentments arise as each frantically blames the other for the disaster. The whole cooperative framework breaks down.
What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
Processes of deterioration still follow the logic of the structures they undermine. At least they maintain the same form. However, when collapse takes place, things follow no logic. There is no form, and everything becomes much more complex and unpredictable.
This collapse is now happening in America. Not to be overdramatic, there are still some structures in place, especially economic ones, that survive. However, even these remnants are ticking time bombs corroded by debt, fevered speculation, overregulation and bad economic policy. In many other fields, the deterioration phase is ending, and the collapse phase has begun. Things are falling down, fragmenting and coming apart—and there is little the president can do about it.
The Social Collapse of Society
This moral rottenness is mainly found in the social sphere. This is amply documented by many sociologists who study the collapse of society. People’s lives are shattered by an unbridled culture of intemperance in which people want everything, instantly and effortlessly. Thus, individuals, who should integrate themselves into society, seek only their gratification. When their individual lives collapse, they are like drug addicts who turn against their best interests and those of society. They become agents of their own destruction.
What does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about Marriage?
As a result, things are collapsing around us. There is an epidemic of loneliness affecting tens of millions. One-fifth of the adult population suffers from some form of mental illness. Some 45,000 Americans take their lives annually.
A similar thing is happening with the intense sexual instinct God gave the human race to form the families that should make up an ordered society. These constructive impulses have become destructive in the form of an alphabet of “genders” that are exploding notions of reality, identity, law, and community. The family, which should be the basic building block of society, is likewise unraveling and turning against itself. It is often a place of abuse, violence, divorce, and abortion.
Weinsteinization of All Things Rotten
So it is with many institutions, manners, and relationships that once were part of liberal society. The extent of the corruption is coming to light in the Weinsteinization of all things rotten in business, government, academia, and Hollywood. Social institutions are hollowed out and cannot bring about the needed changes. Liberal courts and secularist ideologies do everything possible to deny government any morality-building role it could have.
The crisis extends to rotten elements in the Church and religious communities that usually would serve as crucial ordering agents in times of crisis.
This putrefaction has also entered the political process and thrown it into convulsions. It affects all political currents, in differing degrees. Politics, which should be directed toward the organizing of society for the common good, has turned upon itself within a polarized climate where all is sensational, shallow, and fake. The post-war political order is in a meltdown.
The Limitations of Government Action
Thus, the things that President Trump can solve should be recognized. These involve those fields in which common sense might still prevail. The accomplishments in these areas (and they are not small) should be applauded. These efforts are essential and must be pursued with all vigor.
However, it is unfair to hold President Trump accountable for the things he cannot solve, which are the result of lengthy processes of moral rottenness that have now reached a point of collapse. His action might retard or mitigate the fragmentation, but nothing can be reconstructed from rot.
A society in a state of moral rot cannot be rebuilt, reversed or restored with the external means of money, jobs, government programs or executive orders. Even renewed economic growth will not long endure in this climate of rot and acrimony.
The Need for Moral Regeneration
The only way to fight moral rottenness is with moral regeneration.
Moral regenerations involve organic internal processes whereby people realize the need to reform their lives in accordance with moral law and principles. They usually happen during times of collapse, not in periods of decay. The circumstances compel people to act since there often is no other alternative.
Unfortunately, there is so little to work with today. The shortcomings of institutions, even the Church, have never been greater. These would be the normal catalysts to lead a moral regeneration.
Likewise, a culture of unrestraint keeps people from thinking of the present crisis correctly. The idea of sin, repentance and conversion is foreign to this frenzied society. Few in leadership positions, whether it be government, academia, or industry, speak in terms of calling upon God’s mercy.
Factors Favoring Regeneration
However, some factors favor regeneration. There are still many Americans scattered through the nation who see the present crisis and are saddened. These Americans grieve for the sins of the country; they pray and act, working toward a restoration of the moral law, so well expressed by the Ten Commandments. They desire an explicit return to God without whom nothing might be done.
The continued actions of these individuals are crucial because they attract blessings upon the land. Moral regenerations rely upon the work of God’s grace upon souls. Grace multiplies the capacity and efficacy of any action, no matter how small, and makes regeneration possible. Those who fight for America in this manner can also confide in the fact that God will not despise humble and contrite hearts.
What usually sparks moral regenerations is some kind of reckoning in times of collapse and ruin. Like it or not, America will face a moral reckoning to set things right. Everyone senses the need for it to happen. It will be a crisis that will unify the nation, galvanizing it to see things in a different light. Indeed, the times call for the perspective of Our Lady of Fatima who, in 1917, spoke of these things and offered solutions that can no longer be ignored.
As seen on Crisis Magazine.
On Those Things a President Cannot Solve - Return to Order: On Those Things a President Cannot Solve There are many issues that President Trump can solve. His first great accomplishment was solving the election...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Book: Lighting the Way to a Life That Makes Sense

The new book Lighting the Way: Stories that Show How Our Culture Went Wrong and How We Can Restore Order is a collection of stories arranged to illustrate an idea.
The idea is that of the organic Christian society. That is an unfamiliar idea to many, although we live in and around many such organic communities or situations.

Co-authors John Horvat and Norman Fulkerson are very familiar with the topic. Mr. Horvat is the author of the award-winning book, Return to Order, and Lighting the Way is intended to be its companion book. Mr. Fulkerson is the author of An American Knight: The Life of Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC. Both men have extensively studied and written about the present deterioration of Western culture. Both are members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, which is the publisher of the book.
The Organic Society
The idea of organic communities is unfamiliar because modern life has conditioned us to think in terms of large institutions and the bureaucracies that come along with them. We are surrounded by governments on the national, state, and local levels. In addition, there are partially independent government agencies like school boards and road commissions. All of those can be impersonal and inaccessible.
There are also large corporations that dwarf us. We shop at stores whose owners we will never see. Since the rise of the Internet, we do not even know where those businesses are located. We buy products and often do not even know in which country they are produced. When we have a problem and call customer service, we are often connected to a call center in Asia.
In this environment of “bigness,” we know that we long for something else—something deeper and more personal. Consciously or unconsciously we seek them out. We might have a favorite waiter, cashier or teller. Many gravitate to farmers’ markets, flea markets, and other settings for that personal touch. Unfortunately, those relationships are often short-lived. The waiter or cashier gets a better job somewhere else and they disappear from our lives without any notice. The booth at the market closes or moves away.
What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?
Many of these harmful effects of an impersonal society are discussed in John Horvat’s earlier book Return to Order, which calls us to return to a more natural and intimate setting which he calls “organic society.” However, many readers found that idea so unfamiliar as to be confusing. “How,” some readers asked, “can we build organic societies if we have never even seen one?”
The companion book, Lighting the Way attempts to show us that we have seen or experienced aspects of organic society throughout our lives.
The “New” World That Is All Around Us
The book is divided into five parts, each with its own theme—although there is a fair amount of overlap between them.
The first section borrows another idea from Return to Order, that of frenetic intemperance. This is the all-too-common desire to have everything that we want instantly and effortlessly. Our society conditions each of us to consume products at an ever increasing rate. We want to do more, have more, know more, experience more, to make our own rules.
What does Saint Thomas Aquinas say about Marriage?
In real life, we rapidly find that we are limited by the amount of time in our day, expense and responsibilities. We also find out that we want many things that are not good for us—either on a moral or physical plain. Part one shows us why those restraints are often helpful and that ignoring them can be disastrous.
The most helpful and readable section may be the second. Here we can see how others have embraced or created organic structures. Most of these are very practical. Mr. Fulkerson introduces us to cheesemakers, curers of hams, distillers of bourbon, bakers of cakes, and restauranteurs who have carved out for themselves niches in the economy in which their skills have made them prized members of their communities. In so doing they have improved the quality of the lives of others and created financial security for themselves. The “lesson” is that each of us has a particular set of God-given strengths that help us to find our place in life.

In the third section, we learn how fairness, justice, and service sustains organic societies. These situations have an incredible range. We see stories of a king and a family of financiers. We also see a “good” computer hacker and a dedicated owner of a shoe repair shop. The context may be national and international. It also may be very, very local. However, that is less important than the idea that a sense of justice should permeate all that we do.
Section four discusses “representative characters,” those leaders that can be found in every walk of life. These people make the best of their own world and come to be recognized by their peers and others as the best of what they are. There is a happy and knowledgeable taxi driver. At the other extreme is a eulogy for a departed king. Many of these stories are about soldiers who, like the subject of Mr. Fulkerson’s American Knight, leave us speechless when they show their leadership through sacrifice.
The last part is about dreams and aspirations—the good that happens when individuals commit themselves to a passion that enriches the lives of others. Among these stories, two stand out. Samuel DuPont of the vast Longwood Gardens and Helen Widdowson of The Black Rose of Hanover, a tearoom in a Pennsylvania town, have both done the same thing, albeit on very different scales. Each found a goal that guided them to create a place in which others can find beauty and refreshment for their souls.

Stories that Show How Our Culture Went Wrong and How We Can Restore Order

Companions and Connections
Even though they are companions, Return to Order and Lighting the Way are connected by their ideas and messages. They are, however, very different books. One is theoretic, and the other is practical. Depending on the reader’s frame of mind, either could be read independently of the other. However, much is to be gained by reading them both. Which one should be read first depends on your inclination. Those who prize the concrete application can read Lighting the Way first and then turn to Return to Order with a sense that the ideal world discussed in the second book is possible. Those who enjoy playing with ideas would probably prefer Return to Order and then use Lighting the Way as a kind of list of suggestions or an aide to explaining the ideas to others.
The important thing is that both of these books mark out a path in the hectic world in which we can all-too-easily come to see ourselves as cogs in a great machine that is spinning out of control. One often hears people yearn for a simpler, more virtuous life. Applying the ideas in both of these books can help get you there.
Lighting the Way to a Life That Makes Sense - Return to Order: Lighting the Way to a Life That Makes Sense. The new book Lighting the Way: Stories that Show How Our Culture Went Wrong and How We Can Restore Order is a …