Monday, March 29, 2010

Protest Achieves Victory as University Cancels "Corpus Christi" Blasphemy

March 29, 2010

corpus-christi-blasphemyTFP Student Action is glad to announce that Tarleton State University finally pulled the plug on Corpus Christi. Thank God, our prayers were answered.

The blasphemous play, which portrays Our Lord and the Apostles as homosexuals, was scheduled to perform on March 27. However, the university issued a news release on March 26 confirming the cancellation, adding that the offensive play will not be rescheduled.

How it Happened

Thousands of Catholic students and concerned parents joined TFP Student Action’s online protest. A flood of phone calls and emails ensued. "Staggering" is how one press report described the sheer amount of emails flowing into key university inboxes. The message was simple: "Blasphemy is not free speech. Cancel the play."

Countless people registered their rejection of the outrageous play.

Lt. Governor Condemns Play

Adding to the crescendo of peaceful protest, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, David Dewhurst, condemned the play pointing out how freedom of speech does not give one the right to use government funds or universities to portray acts that are morally reprehensible.

"Texans don't deserve to see their hard-earned tax money used to debase their religion," he said. "This lewd display runs completely contrary to the standards of scholastic excellence and common decency that we demand in our publicly-funded institutions for higher learning."

We Acted but God Won

A word of gratitude: TFP Student Action is grateful to everyone who participated in this impressive anti-blasphemy effort. It is so encouraging to see what can be achieved with persistent prayer and peaceful action. Let us now thank Our Lord and His Blessed Mother for answering our prayers and blessing this campaign with success.

To report similar problems on campus, contact us here.

If you wish to thank Tarleton State University for canceling the play, write to president Dr. Dominic Dottavio: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Scholar Claims Clerical Abuse Reports Before the French Revolution Discredited Catholics

An very impressive article by Elizabeth Lev shows how before the persecution of the Catholic Church during the French Revolution, revolutionaries started a huge uproar denouncing decades-old cases of sexual abuse cases. They seem to insinuate that all clergy were somehow involved.

This prominent Catholic writer says “selective” and “salacious” reporting of clerical sexual abuse scandals is being used to discredit a “powerful moral voice” in public debate. While she acknowledges genuine abuse, she says present day anti-clericalism echoes the slanders of pre-Revolutionary France. Elizabeth Lev is the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Mary Ann Glendon.

To read this fascinating and chilling story, click here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vatican Splendors Coming to St. Louis!

ST. LOUIS - One of the largest collections of art, documents and historically significant objects from the Vatican ever to tour North America is coming to the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis for a limited engagement beginning May 15, 2010. “Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art” will present unique objects illustrating the Vatican’s impact on history and culture through 2,000 years.

Approximately 170 objects will be presented in galleries and recreated environments that enhance the visitor’s understanding of their historical and artistic significance. Items in the collection – which include mosaics; frescoes; paintings by Renaissance masters; works by well-known sculptors; intricately embroidered silk vestments; precious objects from the Papal Mass; uniforms of the Papal Swiss Guard; historical maps and documents and relics – are on loan from The Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Vatican Library, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Apostolic Floreria, the Papal Swiss Guard, and private collections.

Highlights of the exhibition include artwork by Michelangelo, signed documents and personal objects such as his drawing caliper, and tools used in work on the Sistine Chapel and Basilica of Saint Peter’s; works by masters including Bernini and Giotto; objects dating back to the first century; venerated relics (bone fragments) of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; the first geographical map of Australia; objects discovered at the tombs of Saint Peter and Saint Paul; and historical objects from the modern and ancient basilicas of Saint Peter’s in Rome.

The exhibition will only appear in three North American cities, after which the items must return to the Vatican, from which they cannot be absent for more than a year.

All descriptive labels in the exhibit are bilingual in English and Spanish, as is an audio tour, available for an additional charge.

Tickets for “Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art” can be purchased online beginning April 19 at and at all Ticketmaster outlets, including select Schnucks stores. To charge tickets by phone, call 1-800-745-3000 or 1-877-2VATICAN (1-877-282-8422). Tickets also may be purchased at the Missouri History Museum box office located at the museum. All tickets are timed entry and subject to availability. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. Tickets are $19.50 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $13 for children (age 6-12). Children five and under are admitted free with adult ticket purchase. A special group discount for 15-or-more tickets is available by calling 1-800-916-8212 or emailing For more information, visit or

Hours for “Vatican Splendors” will be, daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Vatican Splendors” is organized and circulated in conjunction with the Congregazione per l’Evangelizzazione dei Popoli of the Vatican City State. The exhibition is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in association with the Missouri History Museum. Objects in the exhibition are on loan from the The Reverenda Fabbrica of Saint Peter, the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, the Vatican Library, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Apostolic Floreria. Additional objects are on loan by the Papal Swiss Guard and private collections.

For more information, see

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Which Is the Annunciation?

Being Modern: Apostasy or Sacred Obligation?
Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Fra Angelico: Annunciation

In this article we discuss four pictures, two works of art from the fifteenth century, and two others from our times.

The two paintings - "The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" and "Saint Dominic in Prayer" - are the work of the famous fifteenth century artist Giovanni da Fiesole, better known as Fra Angelico. The work in metal, also representing the Annunciation, was done in our times by the artist H. Breucker. The sculpture was done by A. Wider, another contemporary artist, who has attempted to portray Saint Benedict, patriarch of Western monasticism.

H. Breucker: Annunciation

Such striking (if not shocking) differences in the rendition of the same and similar subjects, i.e., the Virgin Mary and saints of the Catholic Church, demand some commentaries.

The famous scene of the apparition of the Archangel Saint Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin constituted a moment of grace for mankind. Heaven, which the guilt of Adam had closed, opened and a spirit of light and purity came down in angelic form, bearing a message of reconciliation and peace. This message was addressed to the most beautiful, most noble, most innocent, and most benevolent creature ever to be born of the race of Adam. The Gospels recount the elevated and ineffable simplicity of the dialogue between the two.

The artist's task, challenged by such a theme, consists in expressing the moral values of that incomparable event in his rendition of the faces, attitudes, gestures, and setting as well as in his choice of colors and shapes.

Since this is printed in color, our readers can gauge Giovanni da Fiesole's success in this objective. The nobility befitting the angelic nature, his light and totally spiritual fortitude, his intelligence and purity - all are admirably mirrored in this figure so highly expressive of Saint Gabriel.

The Blessed Virgin is less ethereal, less light. One could almost say less intangible. This effect is reasonable since she is a human creature. Nevertheless, something angelic is perceived in the whole composure of the Queen of Angels. Her facial features surpass those of the heavenly emissary himself in spirituality, nobility and innocence.

Something else is to be noted here; the attitude of one toward the other: By nature, the angel is superior to Our Lady. The Virgin, however, is superior to the angel by her sanctity and by her incomparable vocation as Mother of God. This accounts for the elevated dignity found in the rendition of both the Virgin and the angel and the reciprocal veneration with which they address each other.

There is, yet, a more profound reason for this attitude. Although unseen. God still manifests His Presence by a supernatural light that seems to radiate from both personages-a light that washes over all of nature with a splendor of pure, peaceful, and virginal happiness. One almost feels the most pleasant temperature, the very light and fragrant breeze, the joy that permeates the whole atmosphere.

How could a moment of grace be better painted? With a profound sense of the whole, Fra Angelico knew how to create the lines and colors needed to express all the theological and moral content of this Gospel episode famous a thousand times over. Indeed, his picture is more than just a painted scene. It is comparable to a sermon because it forms, elevates, and stimulates one who contemplates it toward the good.

A garish opposite is Breucker's modern "Annunciation." If a feeble minded person or someone delirious with a high fever were to ramble about the Annunciation, he might have conceived something like this. See how extremely extravagant the work is. It lacks the most elementary values and is devoid of any expression that would denote not only that which is elevated and supernatural but anything balanced or healthy as well. In short, everything works together to make this modern work a brutal and shocking antithesis of the picture from the fifteenth century. One is a marvel of spirituality and faith; the other, a product of a mentality that only knows how to see what is material-a psychology closed to the supernatural, a temperament that finds pleasure solely in horizons without beauty, nobility or anything which provides light, oxygen, life, and hope of eternity for the soul.

In his allocution on May 24, 1953, the Holy Father Pius XII defined the so-called modern spirit as "materialistic thought transposed into actions." In like manner, the example of art depicted here can be classified as materialistic thought transposed into art.

Fra Angelico: St. Dominic

Now, look at the picture of Saint Dominic. Elements of the spiritual shine admirably forth in it. It is more a portrait of the soul than of the body. The effort of thought, the exertion required for reading, the serene but strong strain of intellectual work, a countenance befitting one who understands and takes pleasure in understanding all, ultimately, are expressed here with unequaled discretion, intensity and veracity.

And still other aspects of the soul appear: the liveliness and exuberance of a young man, the equilibrium, innocence, piety, and temperance of a perfect religious.

In comparison to this second masterpiece from the fifteenth century, consider the statue from the twentieth century. Certainly there are considerable factors bearing on such a comparison: a) the materials of a painting and those of a sculpture are not the same; b) the talents and temperaments of the artists are also different; c) finally, the spirit of the two subjects. Saint Dominic and Saint Benedict also differ.

A. Wider: St. Dominic

Is there a shock, a violent contrast? By no means. Does Wider's sculpture merit the censures that we made of the work by Breucker? No. On the contrary, Wider's statue expresses-with much propriety, precision and strength-the idea that one may have of the patriarch of Western monasticism, who was a model of gravity, austerity, manly tranquility, profound recollection and great wisdom.

No one can deny that this sculpture corresponds satisfactorily to the requirements of an authentic artwork marked by orthodox and well-balanced piety.

Are we against the modern? By this word one understands that which not only pertains to but is typical of our times but rathersomething a) inherent to it b) different from the past, and c) distinct from the future.

More and more - not only in the field of art but in other areas as well - clever, pertinacious, and all encompassing propaganda is introducing a certain spirit of materialism, sensuality, and delirious extravagance. The style animated by this spirit masterminds the construction and reconstruction of entire cities; it marks the external design and interior decoration of the majority of new buildings of great, medium, or even small importance, in all parts of the world. It exhibits its works in universal art expositions, and so on.

The man in the street instinctively reacts against it ... but only slightly. Thus, this spirit already is - or is on the way to becoming-the style of our twentieth century, which distinguishes it from the past, and God willing, from the days to come.

If it is this and only this that one calls modern, if to be modern is to accept the mark or stigma of materialism-not only of radical materialism but also of "moderate" materialism with all its hues and misrepresentations-then it is undeniable that we are anti-modern because we are Catholic.

However, if one takes into account that alongside this offensive current of our century there are still artists animated by another spirit, and if one means by modern that everything contemporary is modern-whatever be its inspiration, then we cannot be anti-modern because we are not idiots. There is no other name for anyone who, in the ocean of cultural productions of the twentieth century, would judge everything preconceivedly and indiscriminately bad-both the works engendered by the children of light and the works influenced by the neopagan spirit, that is, the spirit of darkness.

Considering these two definitions of modern, which is the more true? It is a problem of semantics. However, one thing is certain: if the materialistic style should not be called "modern," then another name should be devised for it, which has not happened yet. And this name ought to take into account that the modern torrent contains not only the materialistic ingredients we are talking about, but also gnostic and satanic elements (which are the subject matter for another article).

To give a name to this current is an interesting assignment on which we invite our readers to test their wits. However, naming this phenomenon is not the most urgent thing. The twentieth-century man in the street still does not accept the "modern" in the depths of his soul. Let us preserve him from this disgrace. Let us be "modern" in the sense that we behave in accordance with the problems and dangers of our century.

This is what we are trying to do in these articles, amidst the clamor of much applause and to the muffled and furious snarls of hatred of some-certain though, whatever the case, of fulfilling a sacred obligation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Neither Health Nor Care

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) joins with Americans across the nation in denouncing the Passion Sunday passage of the health care reform bill in the House. This bill, which passed on a final vote of 219-212, does not promote health care but rather moves the country yet one more step down the road toward State intervention and socialism.

Adding insult to injury, the measure attempted to placate pro-life sentiments with an executive order that cannot guarantee the protection of innocent unborn life. No one can deny that taxpayer-funded abortion is now embedded in the law of the land. Those who changed their votes based on the assurances of this order will soon see just how empty it is.

However, what must especially be remembered is that centralizing health care in the hands of the State will harm the speed and efficiency of the medical assistance being provided. It will destroy the natural and trusting relationships between physicians and other health providers with their patients. It will create a huge bureaucratic machine which will absorb hard-earned taxpayer dollars needed for medical services.

This bill has been termed historic as indeed it is. It is the repetition of the sad history of socialism that has caused so much suffering all over the world.

During the debate, the sides were clearly drawn. The left defined itself by unifying with almost fanatical zeal, the Catholic left, socialists, “progressives,” liberals and so many others.

The passage of this bill has however united all pro-life movements in unanimous rejection of the measure. It has removed any illusions about dealing with the Culture of Death. It has brought new resolve to the new pro-life majority who must now unite in peaceful and legal action to reverse a health care law that provides neither health nor care.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why You Need Mary To Carry Your Cross

This does not mean that he who has found Mary by true devotion will be exempt from crosses and sufferings.

Far from it; he is more besieged by them than others are, because Mary, the mother of the living, gives to all her children portions of the Tree of Life, which is the Cross of Jesus.

But along with their crosses she also imparts the grace to carry them patiently and even cheerfully; and thus it is that the crosses which she lays upon those who belong to her are rather steeped in sweetness than filled with bitterness.

If for a while her children feel the bitterness of the cup which one must drink in order to be the friend of God, the consolation and joy which the good Mother sends after the trial encourage them exceedingly to carry still heavier and more painful crosses.

Taken from The Secret of Mary by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort

Friday, March 19, 2010

Saint Joseph, Martyr of Grandeur

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

To even begin to comprehend the nature of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, we must bear in mind two awe-inspiring facts. St. Joseph is the virgin-husband of Our Lady and the guardian-father of Our Lord.

The husband must be proportional to the wife. Saint Joseph's spouse is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the most perfect of all creatures, and masterpiece of the Creator's handiwork. In her incomparable person, we find the sum of all the virtues of all the angels, and saints, indeed all creation until the end of time. Even these poor considerations, of course, fail to convey adequately the sublime perfection of the Most Holy Mother of God.

From among all men, God chose one man worthy to love and honor the Mother of His Only-Begotten Son as her husband He was a husband proportional to his wife in love of God, purity, wisdom, justice-in every virtue. Saint Joseph was that man.

However there remains something even more incomprehensible. The father must be proportional to his son, and, as we have noted, the Son for Whom God sought an earthly father was none other than His Own.

There could be but one man fit for such an awesome responsibility, the man God created for precisely this vocation and whose soul He crowned with every virtue. That man, too, was Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph is proportional to the Blessed Mother and her Divine Son. What greater homage could we render him? It is beyond our power to imagine the grandeur of Saint Joseph's exaltation.

Words cannot express the depth of his penetration of the most holy soul of Our Lady and the degree of his intimacy with the Incarnate Word.

Saint Anthony of Padua is commonly depicted holding the Child Jesus. Because the Divine Child rested in his arms for a few moments, we deem Saint Anthony particularly blessed. Yet how many times did Saint Joseph hold the Christ Child in his arms?

Saint Joseph's were the pure lips that taught Jesus and answered His questions. Consider Saint Joseph's carpenter shop in Nazareth, where a son learns the trade of his father.

If you can conceive of a man with the purity, humility, and wisdom to govern the Holy Family as its lord, you may begin to appreciate the sublime virtue of Saint Joseph. But how did Saint Joseph's contemporaries react in the face of this grandeur? Saint Luke provides clear testimony. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)

These last words reveal a bitter truth. In their petty selfishness, men find it difficult to accept that which is great-much less that which is divine. We may think that men like to deal with important matters. Indeed some men do enjoy such things, but in a superficial and selfish manner. What attracts men is not so much grandeur as mediocrity, a mixture of good and evil in which evil predominates.

So we can understand why the innkeepers of Bethlehem were unwilling to make room for the Holy Family. Saint Joseph and Mary showed them the most tender kindness. Their majesty was unmistakable, even in their poverty.

However distinction is only acceptable when it is accompanied by wealth, for the latter pardons the former. Moreover, greed incites flattery, which takes the place of respect. Thus, when a poor man of great distinction knocks at the door, there is no room. It would have taken but five minutes to arrange ample accommodation for mediocre rich men, but there was no room in the inn for Saint Joseph or for his wife with Child. And even had they known that the Child was the promised Messiah, they still would not have received them. As Donoso Cortes aptly reminds us, "The human spirit hungers for absurdity and sin."

The Child Jesus resembled Our Lady. She was the prefigure of the Redeemer. Saint Joseph also looked like Him, but there was no room in the inn for the Holy Family. Thus history records the first refusal of the Hebrew people. Our Lord knocks at the doors-at the hearts-of men through the paternal intercession of Saint Joseph and He is refused.

Saint Joseph, prince of the House of David, the royal family from which would come the Hope of the Nations-knocks at the door and is rejected. But in this rejection lies his glory. Taking another step toward martyrdom, he leads his august spouse to a poor stable, where the Lord of the Universe will be born.

To this glory would be added many others: the glory of being considered a person of little worth; the glory of taking upon himself the humiliation, ignominy, and opprobrium that was to fall upon Our Lord; or the glory of being scorned by men for the grandeur of his soul. Even to this day; that same glory leads us to implore, "Saint Joseph, Martyr of Grandeur, pray for us!"

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Equality at the Starting Point - What an Injustice

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira
I hear people repeating at every moment that justice demands all persons should have the same opportunities when beginning their life, education, or career. According to this view, education should be equal for all, and the curricula in the different professions should also be equal. This, then, would result in the more worthy persons inevitably standing out from the others. Thus, merit would find its encouragement and recompense, and justice would finally reign over the earth.

At times, in today's world where many a piece of foolishness seeks to put on a "Christian" disguise, this way of viewing things presents itself in certain "Christian" colors. Thus, it is argued that at the end of each man's life, God will reward each according to his merits without considering his station in life at birth. From the standpoint of Divine Justice and everlasting consequences, the value of the place where each person made his start is negated. And it becomes praiseworthy, right, and Christian for men to try to organize their terrestrial existence according to these norms of celestial justice, placing the advantages of earthly life equally in the reach of all so that they will be attained by those who are more capable.

Before analyzing this principle in itself, it is good to note some of the ways it is being applied in one place and another.

There are businessmen who consider the inheritance of their businesses to be a questionable privilege. Accordingly, they do not want their sons to become the owners of their businesses merely by the right of inheritance. Instead these sons will be employees like all the others, starting out at the bottom with the most humble duties and responsibilities. They will only rise to the position of running the businesses if they are the most capable ones.

In fact, it is not rare to find affluent persons who feel a certain uneasiness of conscience about transmitting their goods to their sons: won't they be benefiting from a questionable or unjust privilege if they are allowed to acquire goods that did not come from their own work or personal merit?

Another example may be noted — this time in the field of education. Some families of good social position and advanced education consider it an imperative of social justice to establish uniform standards in the primary and secondary schools. In order to achieve this, they would close or reform all educational institutions of different levels in existence today.

In this way, the doctrine according to which all starting points must be compelled to become equal is gaining ground. If this doctrine is implemented fully, it will result in consequences that will stifle initiative, destroy achievement, and overthrow the whole regime of private property.

Before continuing, it is important to emphasize the picturesque contradictions into which the defenders of these theses habitually fall. Since they are deifiers of merit as the only criterion of justice, they tend to feel that if students are given equal conditions, merit will invariably assert itself. Accordingly, they generally favor schools of progressive or modern education that are contrary to rewards and punishments, on the pretext that both of these create complexes. In this way, the idea of merit and its inescapable corollary, guilt, are eliminated from the education of the future citizens of a civilization based on merit.

Ironically, these very deifiers of merit usually show themselves to be favorable to the idea that all tombs should be equal. Thus, at the end of a terrestrial existence organized only according to the criterion of individual merit and at the very moment of entry into a happy or unhappy eternal life according to the principle of merit or guilt, any special recognition of merit must be excluded. Equal tombs are established for the outstandingly wise man and for the common man, for the innocent victim and the infamous murderer, for he who has spread schisms and heresies and for the hero who has lived and died defending the Faith.

How can it be possible at one and the same time to praise merit so much and also to deny it?

What a contradiction! But the contradiction of these adepts of equality (and for everyone at the starting point) is even more shocking when they at the same time declare themselves to be enthusiastic defenders of the institution of the family. Considered from a thousand different aspects, the latter is the most resounding negation of equality at the starting point. Let us see why.

There is a natural, mysterious, and sacred fact that is intimately tied to the family. It is biological inheritance. Obviously, some families are more gifted than others in this respect; this frequently depends on factors that have nothing to do with medical care or highly hygienic rearing. And, moreover, biological inheritance brings with it important consequences in the psychological order. There are families that, during the course of many generations, have transmitted artistic gifts, a gift for speaking, a talent for medicine, an aptitude for business, etc. This transmission by the family of the same characteristics down through the generations destroys the principle of equality at the starting point.

Furthermore, the family is not merely a transmitter of biological or psychological gifts. It is an educational institution, and, in the natural order of things, the first of all pedagogical and formative institutions.

For this reason, the person who has been educated by parents highly gifted in art, culture, good manners, and morality, always has a better starting point. The only way that the impress of parental influence can be eliminated is by suppressing the family and by educating all children in state schools according to the practice of the Communist regime. From this, we see that there is a more important hereditary inequality than that of patrimony, that is to say, there is one that results directly and necessarily from the very existence of the family.

And what about the inheritance of the patrimony itself? If a father really has the heart of a father, he will necessarily love his own son more than others, his son who is flesh of his flesh and blood of his blood. Moved by this love, he will work according to the Christian law and spare no effort, sacrifice, or vigilance to accumulate a patrimony that will protect his son from the many disasters life can bring. Having this desire and zeal, the father will produce much more than he would if he did not have children. And, then, at the end of a lifetime of work, he will die happy because he knows he is leaving his children in favorable circumstances. Let us suppose that at the moment of his death, the state were to come and in the name of the law, confiscate his inheritance in order to impose the principle of equality at the starting point. Would not this imposition trample underfoot one of the most sacred values of the family, a value without which the family is not the family and life is not life? That value is paternal love — yes, the paternal love that protects and assists the child.

Far beyond the very idea of merit, it protects and assists him, simply and sublimely because of the simple fact that he is his child.

And that real crime against paternal love, which is the suppression of inheritance, can it be committed in the name of Religion and Justice?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Can We Morally Cut Our Nuclear Arsenal?

For years now, nuclear disarmament (even unilateral disarmament) has been vehemently debated in Catholic intellectual circles. Since the Obama Administration is now negotiating a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russian Federation and this Catholic debate influences to some extent the realm of public policy, it seems opportune for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property—TFP to pronounce itself on the moral legitimacy of America maintaining and improving its nuclear arsenal and delivery capability, particularly as the TFP’s viewpoint runs contrary to that expressed by some Catholic commentators.

The Erroneous Position: Morally Acceptable Only if Pursuing Gradual Nuclear Disarmament

According to these Catholics, a nuclear arsenal would only be justified as an interim measure, while the nation pursues its gradual dismantling, thus tending to bring about a peaceful world. However, they argue, since this progressive dismantling has not occurred, the moral justification for maintaining that arsenal no longer exists. Thus, for example, Canadian diplomat Douglas Roche claims: “In the eyes of the Catholic Church, nuclear weapons are evil and immoral and must be eliminated as a precondition to obtaining peace.”1

This position is wrong. As we shall see, Catholic teaching permits America to have and use a nuclear arsenal, and world conditions today are such that it would be gravely imprudent for America to reduce its nuclear arsenal and delivery capabilities. Only when the world undergoes a moral conversion could America prudently do so.

* * *

A. The Principle of Legitimate Self-Defense

According to natural law and Catholic morality, the principle of self-defense applies both to individuals and nations. This pertains to personal or territorial integrity, as well as natural and supernatural values without which life loses its meaning.

A corollary of this principle as it applies to nations is that they should develop the means to cope with current or potential threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as to restore justice, safeguard their citizens’ rights and the nation’s honor, even, if necessary, by means of a defensive or preemptive war.2

In other words, the principle of self-defense justifies maintaining a standing army, properly equipped to carry out its mission. For America, in the present context, this includes the right to maintain, improve, and expand its nuclear arsenal and delivery capabilities. Besides playing a critical deterrence role, these weapons and delivery systems provide America with the proven ability to carry out large-scale, focused strikes on multiple military targets simultaneously that can quickly and drastically alter the configuration of a war.

B. History Teaches: “If You Want Peace, Prepare for War”

There is no doubt that, in theory, one should seek to preserve world peace by avoiding as much as possible the risk of armed conflict and thus making it unnecessary to maintain nuclear arsenals or even, to some extent, large stockpiles of conventional weapons. In theory, it is also preferable that disputes between nations be resolved through diplomacy, international agreements or treaties, rather than by wars or armed standoffs.

However, not all things that are better in theory can be carried out in practice. History shows that unilateral gestures of good will are seldom sufficient to resolve conflicts. A strategy of effective deterrence coupled with the effective determination and ability to wage war is usually the only way to preserve peace.

The wise maxim coined by the ancient Romans still applies today:“Si vis pacem, para bellum”—“If you wish for peace, prepare for war.”

C. Strategic Decisions Must Be Based on an Objective Analysis of Reality

A moral and strategic assessment of a fact or situation depends not just on good intentions or principles, but also on an objective examination of reality. Since morals and political science are practical and normative sciences, in order for their principles to be correctly applied, it is essential to start with an accurate assessment of reality. Otherwise, if the assessment of the facts or situation does not correspond to objective reality, one can come to false conclusions, even when based on correct principles.

An example of a completely different nature can make this point clearer.

The Gospel teaches us that Saint John the Baptist rebuked Herod Antipas for his immoral behavior, as he was living with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (cf. Mark 6:18). Now then, if Herod were not in fact living with his sister-in-law, Saint John the Baptist would still be right about the intrinsic immorality of adultery (a question of doctrine) but would be wrong about the actual behavior of the tetrarch of Galilee (a question of fact).

So also, in order to study the legitimacy of our nuclear arsenal and delivery capabilities one must consider both aspects of the matter: the
question of doctrine (the lawfulness of the use of nuclear weapons) and the question of fact (whether the actual situation allows for such use).

It is obvious that if the use of nuclear weapons were doctrinally unlawful in every situation, then the assessment of a particular set of facts justifying the use of America’s nuclear arsenal would be pointless.

D. Is It Morally Licit to Employ Nuclear Weapons? In What Conditions?
There is no doubt, however, that it is lawful to use nuclear weapons in
some circumstances. Nine years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki while the world sank deeper into the Cold War, Pope Pius XII accepted in principle the legitimacy of using nuclear weapons as a last resort, stressing however the need to do everything possible to avoid nuclear war through diplomatic negotiations.

In a speech on September 30, 1954, the Pope laid down the following conditions for the legitimate use of nuclear weapons:

1. Such use must be “imposed by an evident and extremely grave injustice;”

2. Such injustice cannot be avoided without the use of nuclear weapons;

3. One should pursue diplomatic solutions that avoid or limit the use of such weapons;

4. Their use must be indispensable to and in accordance with a nation’s defense needs;

5. That same use would be immoral if the destruction caused by the nuclear weapons were to result in harm so widespread as to be uncontrollable by man.

6. Unjustified uses should be severely punished as “crimes” under national and international law.3

E. Life is Not the Supreme Value for Man

One should note, moreover, that Pope Pius XII is referring here only to goods of the natural order: “the protection of legitimate possessions” or “the defense against injustice.” He is not analyzing the possibility of having to use such weapons to defend supernatural values; in other words, to prevent or eliminate situations that place the salvation of souls in great and imminent danger, for example, the imposition of a regime that is gravely contrary to Natural Law or which persecutes Catholics who show fidelity to their Faith.

Nor is the Pope ruling on the opinion of those who hold that human life is the supreme value for man. While life is the most excellent natural good, its preservation is not the ultimate end of man. As moralists Lanza and Palazzini write: “Life takes on meaning and is fully realized only if it is directed toward the search for God, with all other, particular and contingent ideals being absolutely dependent of that which is the supreme good.” They also explain that man’s ultimate goal—God’s glory and man’s eternal salvation—is the “supreme normative principle of human action.”4

Therefore, when man’s ultimate supernatural goal is at stake, the defense of human life cannot be placed above that ultimate good.
Judas Machabeus expressed this truth in his famous phrase: “It is better for us to die in battle than to witness the ruin of our nation and our sanctuary.”5 And the Divine Savior was adamant: “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?6

F. The Objective Reality: To Reduce America’s Nuclear Arsenal Is Gravely Imprudent Today

As mentioned earlier, a strategic decision must also be based on an objective analysis of the present reality and the foreseeable future. On this fundamental point, the words of Pope Pius XII in 1953 are particularly instructive:

The community of nations must reckon with the criminals without a conscience. These are unafraid of unleashing total war to achieve their ambitious plans. Therefore, if the other nations wish to protect the lives and property of their citizens, and rein in the international criminals, they must prepare for the day when they will have to defend themselves. This right to defense cannot be denied, even today, to any State.7

Is the world today free from international “criminals without a conscience,” who could resort to “total war”? Who could seriously think so, in light of, for example, the 2005 statement to foreign reporters by Chinese Red Army Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, a dean at China’s National Defense University:

...if the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition onto the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.... [The United States] will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed.8

G. Disarmament Only with the Restoration of Ethical Principles

In a message to the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament, in 1982, Pope John Paul II explained the real problem: The arms race is the fruit of an ethical crisis and only with a restoration of ethical principles can a possible global disarmament have a chance at being effective. Otherwise, any such initiative is doomed to fail:

The production and the possession of armaments are a consequence of an ethical crisis that is disrupting society in all its political, social and economic dimensions. Peace, as I have already said several times, is the result of respect for ethical principles. True disarmament, that which will actually guarantee peace among peoples, will come about only with the resolution of this ethical crisis. To the extent that the efforts at arms reduction and then of total disarmament are not matched by parallel ethical renewal, they are doomed in advance to failure.

The attempt must be made to put our world aright and to eliminate the spiritual confusion born from a narrow-minded search for interest or privilege or by the defense of ideological claims: this is a task of first priority if we wish to measure any progress in the struggle for disarmament. Otherwise we are condemned to remain at face-saving activities.…

In current conditions ‘deterrence’ based on balance, certainly not as an end in itself but as a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament, may still be judged morally acceptable. Nonetheless in order to ensure peace, it is indispensable not to be satisfied with this minimum which is always susceptible to the real danger of explosion.”9

H. Morally, Our World Today Is Much Worse than in 1982

Now then, the “ethical crisis” and “spiritual confusion” have only worsened over the last 28 years. The breakdown of moral standards in individuals and in the world’s political, cultural, and economic realms; the clerical sexual abuse scandals, the near destruction of the institution of the family everywhere, are leading the world to an ever-greater state of chaos.

Communism continues to dominate many countries, including China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea; the Russian Federation cannot be trusted, as shown by its 2008 invasion of Georgia. It is no secret that the influence of the true Communist Party—the former KGB—in the Russian government is dominant.10

Terrorism has taken on worldwide and apocalyptic dimensions and is protected by countries that already possess or are on their way to acquiring nuclear weapons.

All this makes the considerations of John Paul II in the above-mentioned message to the United Nations even more valid today than they were in the early years of his pontificate.

I. The Role of the United States in the Defense of Christian Values

Over the decades, the United States has repeatedly come to the defense of peoples whose freedom or Christian values are threatened. We fought against Hitler’s neo-pagan Nazi regime in Europe, and after that against Communism in Korea, Vietnam, and Grenada.

Without delving into the political reasons or intentions of our nation’s leaders in those conflicts, we must emphasize the generosity with which the American people paid a bloody tribute in the defense of Christian values, which in turn obtained from Divine Providence special graces for our country.11

This spirit of generosity is still alive in our people and our Armed Forces in spite of the unprecedented moral crisis sweeping our country. Consequently, the United States can still play this great role of charitable intervention in defense of values without which life is not worth living.

If our nuclear arsenal and delivery capabilities are decreased or dismantled, however, the only military force seriously capable of confronting the international “criminals without conscience,” as Pius XII called them, will be greatly impaired. Only these “criminals” profit from this self-imposed state of weakness.

Conclusion: Moral Conversion Is the Indispensable Prerequisite for Nuclear Disarmament

In grappling with these complex and consequential strategic issues, it is not legitimate for Catholics to ignore their supernatural aspect. As Pope Pius XII observed, “the Christian desire for peace is practical and realistic” and “the genuine Christian will for peace means strength, not weakness or weary resignation. It is completely one with the will for peace of Eternal and Almighty God.”12

This Divine will was manifested anew to men, and this time by the Mother of God herself, in 1917, at Fatima, Portugal, in apparitions to three little shepherd children. She asked for prayer, penance, and a change of life, in sum, a moral conversion of the world. It is the TFP’s long-held opinion that until the world undergoes this conversion, there are simply no conditions for America to reduce its nuclear arsenal and delivery capabilities.

When this moral conversion occurs, it will be the fulfillment of Our Lady’s prophetic words at Fatima: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!”

March 11, 2010

The American TFP

1 Douglas Roche, O.C., Nuclear Weapons and Morality – An Unequivocal Position (Address to U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Panel ‘Ethics, Policy, and the Proliferation of WMD’), Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, 2005, p. 10, at

2 “A people threatened with an unjust aggression, or already its victim, may not remain passively indifferent, if it would think and act as befits Christians.” Pope Pius XII, "Christmas Message of 1948," Vincent A Yzermans, ed., The Major Addresses of Pope Pius XII (St. Paul: The North Central Publishing Company, 1961), v. 2, p. 124.

3 “In principle, is modern ‘total war’ permissible? Specifically, is ABC [atomic, biological and chemical] warfare permissible? There can be no doubtespecially because of the horrors and the immense suffering resulting from modern warfarethat to initiate it without just cause (in other words, without it being imposed by an evident and extremely grave injustice that cannot be avoided through other means) is a ‘crime’ worthy of the severest national and international sanctions. In principle, one cannot even consider the question of the lawfulness of atomic, chemical and bacteriological war, except in the case when it is indispensable to defense, within the conditions mentioned. Even then, however, one must strive by all means to avoid it through international agreements or by creating limits for its use that are so clear and narrow that its effects are confined to the strict requirements of defense. When this form of warfare entails an extension of harm that completely escapes the control of mankind, its use should be rejected as immoral. Here it would no longer be the ‘defense’ against injustice and the necessary ‘protection’ of legitimate possessions, but purely and simply the annihilation of all human life within range. This is never permitted for any reason.” Pope Pius XII, “Sintesi di verità e di morale espressa alla VII Assemblea Medica Mondiale,” Sept. 30, 1954, in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Vol. XVI, 2 Marzo 1954 – 1 Marzo 1955, p. 169 (our translation from the French original).

4 Antonio Lanza and Pietro Palazzini, Principios de Teologia Moral (Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, 1958), Vol. I, p. 108 (our translation).

5 1 Mach. 3:59.

6 Mark 8:36-37.

7 Pope Pius XII, “Per il VI Congresso Internazionale di Diritto Penale,” in Discorsi e Radiomessaggi, Vol. XV, 1969, p. 340 (our translation from the French original and our emphasis).

8 Austin Ramzy, “Don’t Mess with us, Time, July 28, 2005, at,9171,1083955,00.html

9 Message of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to The General Assembly of The United Nations, June 7, 1982, at (our emphasis.)

10 Cf. Yevgenia Albats, KGB – State Within a State (London-New York: I.B. Taruris Publishers, 1995); Edward Lucas, The New Cold War – Putin’s Russia and the Threat to the West (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2008).

11The great Catholic thinker Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira often manifested this opinion, which is in line with the Christmas message of Pope Pius XII on Dec. 24, 1948.

12 Pius XII, "Christmas Message of 1948," Yzermans, ed., The Major Addresses of Pope Pius XII, V. 2, p. 124.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Commotion at George Washington University

The student newspaper at George Washington University called it a "commotion." TFP Student Action called a normal day's work.

It takes a fair amount of courage to defend the truth on a decidedly liberal campus such as George Washington University in the nation's capital. Nevertheless, TFP Student Action volunteers welcomed the challenge and visited the university on March 8.

Their mission was simple: Defend innocent life and challenge abortion and its culture of death, which includes opposing same-sex “marriage.”

As TFP bagpipers announced their arrival with resounding tunes, hundreds of students who were walking to class received a hard-hitting flier: “10 Reasons Why Abortion is Wrong.”

For the full story, click here

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Saint Joseph Will Help You

Saint Joseph gave me everything I asked for," said St. Teresa of Avila.

Pray this novena and discover St. Joseph's power to help you in the most desperate causes.

The novena is from March 11-19. Please go to Saint Joseph with invincible childlike confidence like St. Teresa of Avila, who said:

"For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his feast day and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill directed, he directs it aright for my greater good."

Novena to St. Joseph.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Condemned Captain Put Trust in Our Lady

Another day, after taking possession of rich spoils, the captain ordered John to guard the treasure, especially a chest filled with jewels, for the night; John obeyed with a sullen face. The next morning, the chest of jewels was missing. John questioned the sentinels, but nobody could give him any information. The only person to have entered the tent just before the changing of Ciudad's guard was the captain.

The young captain condemned John to death by hanging, in accordance with the military code. John, his hands and feet bound, spent most of the night without sleeping. His friend Alfonso Ferrus slipped under the tent to free him, but John refused. He knew that the sentinel would be hanged in his place. Left alone, he fell asleep and he had an incredible dream. He saw the French shepherdess again, who transformed herself into the Queen of Heaven, and said to him, "Trust me. I will save you." John awoke, recited one Hail Mary with enthusiasm and felt consoled. He walked with a firm step to be hanged. He promised the Good Mother to give up soldiering, if she delivered him from this terrible fate... He did not doubt Mary's help for one moment. John, in the gallows, declared his innocence. And added: "I have confidence that the Blessed Virgin can still help me."

The drum beat a second time and the noose was around John's neck when a rider arrived in haste. It was Colonel Ribera, who revoked the execution order. He wanted to be the judge of that affair himself. Meanwhile, Alphonso Ferrus arrived out of breath. He had the chest of jewels in his hands, which he had found in the captain's tent. The latter was condemned and executed on the spot.

Mary was faithful to her promise. John also kept his word. He gave up his life of soldiering and went in search of God's will. He later became the great Saint John of God.

Excerpt from The Beggar of Grenade (Le mendiant de Grenade),
by Hunermann

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Little Girl Who Inspired Archbishop Sheen's Vow

The Catholic Church, in her 2000-year history, is never wanting in awe-inspiring stories of heroism and martyrdom.

From the persecutions of ancient Rome to the Communist atrocities of the 20th century, the Church always had faithful sons and daughters who exhibited extraordinary courage and resolve in face of the most extremes of adversities. One little known story though no less edifying is that of a little Chinese girl-martyr at the time when China had just been run over by the Communists. It is the poignant tale of a little girl’s faith, zeal and keen Catholic sense overcoming fear and oppression.

The narrative that follows is an adaptation of the English translation of an unnamed priest’s first hand account of the events that happened during the Communist takeover in China (presumably around 1949.) The story was extracted from a collection of beautiful Eucharistic stories and miracles compiled by Fr. Karl Maria Harrer and published originally in German (Die schönsten Eucharistischen Wunder.)

Uncertain Times

When the Communists first came into town, the parish priest started to feel uneasy about his fate not knowing how the intruders would act. During each day that passed, he paid keen attention to every din or commotion that transpired outside the church as he knelt in prayer inside. He was on edge expecting to be executed at any moment.

Just a day after the unwelcome band of soldiers arrived, someone paid him a visit. Thinking it was the police, he was struck with terror. Could this be his end? But contrary to his worst fears, the man at the door turned out to be cordial. As they conversed in Chinese, he was told to proceed with his daily routine. As they parted, his guest accepted a cigar, bowed and eventually left seemingly contented.

Days, weeks and months passed without any untoward incident. He would run into soldiers in the streets but they would only look at him with a straight, cold face but not without a dose of curiosity. Once, he felt perturbed when a certain inspector dropped by to see him.

Turning the Tables

One beautiful summer’s day, just when things seemed to be settling down, the dreadful gang of communists finally descended on the town to turn things upside-down. Four soldiers and the inspector unceremoniously barged into the priest’s school house.

The inspector announced to the shocked schoolchildren that sweeping and drastic changes would be implemented from then on. In one fell swoop, the fearsome commander and his cohorts began tearing down the crucifix, holy pictures, blackboards and statues from the walls and laid them on the desks.

In a stentorian voice, he barked orders at the terrified children to put the articles in a box and to take them to the toilet while he threatened them with his handgun. In spite of the harsh treatment, the children resisted but eventually complied reluctantly.

An Icon of Resistance

But deep back in the room, sat a little girl in her desk; unmoving, with hands folded, and lips tightly shut. As the inspector caught sight of her, he immediately rushed in her direction and shouted curses at her. Mad as hell, he threatened her, “Take this!” But the girl only looked down and hardly flinched thus sending the rest of the terrorized children to gawk with bated breath.

Amidst the ghastly silence, a shot rang out shattering glass and driving the children into tears and screams. The violent disturbance attracted curious townsfolk to gather in front of the school.

The inspector kept on shouting furiously. And yet the little girl remained silent, still frozen like a statue, a big tear rolling off her cheek. At the point of losing composure at the girl’s staunch yet quiet defiance, he turned his ire at the crowd and snapped, “Go find this girl’s father and bring the townspeople here in the church!”

Desecration of the Hosts

As the church filled with people, the little girl’s father was ushered in with hands bound behind his back and placed to the right of the communion rail. Immediately, the girl was forcefully shoved into the communion rail.

The inspector spoke to the crowd and mocked the people’s belief in the Real Presence. And in a malicious and sarcastic tone, he announced that they were tricked into believing that God is present in the tabernacle. In fact, he told them he and his gang of soldiers would stamp on the Hosts with their boots to show nothing would happen.

Then the soldiers rushed on to the tabernacle and forced it opened with their revolvers. The tense crowd watched in silent disbelief. The inspector seized the ciborium, took the lid off and scattered the Hosts on the sanctuary floor.

Egging on his soldiers, he ordered them to go and step on the Hosts. And without hesitation they carried out the dastardly act. Not content with that, he taunted the crowd, “Do you still believe in those fairytales your priest told you?”

Turning to the child’s father he asked him if he still believed. No sooner did the father say yes did the inspector order him to be hauled away.


A non-commissioned officer then entered the scene who spoke with the inspector. They reached an agreement and the inspector submitted to higher authority. The crowd was told to disperse leaving the little girl alone in the communion rail.

The soldiers incarcerated the priest in the church’s coal bin where a small opening allowed him to see the area of the sanctuary where the Hosts lay strewn on the floor as well as the little girl who was leaning on the wall.

A Beautiful Lady

While peering through the opening, the priest saw a lovely young woman clad in beautiful garments enter and smile. As she hugged her, she said, "Poor child! Poor little one, what have these men done to you? Come with me. Will you?" The child broke into sobs and sought comfort in the woman’s arm and they left.

Witnessing a Marvel from his Cell

As time went by, the priest lost track of hours and days while imprisoned in the coal bin. He endured the stillness of the surroundings and at times he heard sounds he wasn’t used to. One morning, he heard the door open quietly. Through the little opening, the priest saw the little Chinese girl sneaking ever so carefully into the sanctuary, kneeling and bowing in homage. As she lowered her head, she took a desecrated Host with her tongue. She raised her head, folded her hands, closed her eyes and prayed in silence. Several moments later, she arose and departed.

Every morning the priest witnessed the uplifting scene that became a source of comfort inside the dark and somber environs of his makeshift prison cell. There he eagerly waited the break of dawn expecting to see the sweet, enchanting, little girl receive and adore the Host. Though it occurred many times, he couldn’t recall how often times she came to practice the soul-stirring daily ritual.

A Heroic Death

But alas, the day of final reckoning arrived. As the little heroine went through her daily pious exercise one morning; knees bent, hands folded and absorbed in deep prayer, the church door behind her burst open. Tumultuous screams stirred the air and a shot rang out.

As the priest hurriedly looked through his peephole, he saw the pallid little girl crawl agonizingly along the floor as she reached a Host to receive Holy Communion. When the soldier drew near to check on her, she tried in vain to pull herself up and to fold her hands. Instead she fell on her back and hit her head on the floor with a thud. The little Chinese girl-martyr lay dead motionless on the floor. For a moment, the soldier stood hesitant not knowing what to make of his deed and its fatal outcome. Finally, he turned around and stormed out of the church.

Set Free

The moving yet harrowing scene left the priest in a state of shock. While he pondered on that painful experience, his prison door opened and the same soldier went in to announce that he was free to go.

Without any hesitation, he scampered towards the sanctuary to see the lifeless little girl. As he knelt besides her, the soldier approached him and uttered, “Sir, if in every town there was such a little girl, no soldier would ever fight for the Communists!”

Fortunately, the priest still had time to give the little martyr a decent burial. As he left the cemetery and walked along the road, a man approached and invited him into his car. He dropped him off at the border.

Edifying Example

The story above moved Archbishop Fulton Sheen to make a vow to pray a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament for the rest of his life. But who wouldn’t be? Indeed, the little Chinese girl’s zeal to receive and adore the desecrated Hosts on the sanctuary floor is really worth emulating much more in our days when lukewarm Catholics take for granted the Real Presence in the church tabernacle. Her acts of reverence put to shame those who present themselves before the Blessed Sacrament in questionable attire or those who fail to show respect by observing silence. May this little Chinese girl-martyr be a shining and glorious example for all of us. May she spur us to make a firm resolve the next time we visit a church to thank Our Lord Jesus Christ for the privilege and opportunity to adore Him FREELY in the Blessed Sacrament!


  1. HARRER, Karl Maria, Die schönsten Eucharistischen Wunder, Heft 1-5 (je 48 Seiten) Miriam Verlag

The Little Chinese Girl-Martyr of the Holy Eucharist,

Last visited, March 5, 2010

  1. LUCIA, Rev. Martin, Let the Son Shine Out,