Continuing the daily serializations of my book: The Criminal’s Search for God: Catholic Reformation of Criminals, https://www.amazon.com/Criminals-Search-God-Catholic-Reformation/dp/0989242935/ref .
“The great movement after World War II which began to address the huge impact Communism had made within the academy, government, and media, so exemplified by the investigations of Senator Joseph McCarthy; was initially and very successfully represented as a national aberration that had no basis in truth, but which, after the slow release of files from the fall of Soviet Communism, was seen to be, not an aberration, but a valiant effort by heroic people, like Senator McCarthy, to save their country from Communism.
“In essence then, the later domination of the Russian Orthodox Church by the Communist Party’s security force, the KGB, was congruent with some central streams of the history of Russian philosophy and socio-political thought.
“The power of Communism to attract and hold the allegiance of the Russian people for as long as it did is also connected to its masquerading as religion.
“In relation to all that we have examined in this chapter, the traditional position of the Church regarding Communism, Fatima and the call for the consecration of Russia and the failure to answer that call, what does all of it mean in relation to criminal reformation?
“The answer may be a response to the signs of the times, when through the emancipation of class, slaves, women and youth, so painfully and vividly represented by the French Revolution, the American Civil War, the women’s suffragette movement, and the 1960’s movement of youth, the denouncement of things carried little weight coming from authority—Question Authority being a clarion call of all emancipation movements—and softer appeals to reason and self-interest were seen as the path to conversion.
“Criminals will respond to truth weightier than the criminal/carceral truth they live by when it is lived by its proponents. Talk is cheap, but when men and women walk their talk, it is priceless.
“Though it is difficult to find within the modern Catholic Church in America those men and women, they do exist, and the golden rod of faith they represent and carry forth, whether it is through their membership and leadership of Church organizations and orders, they are men and women who live by the ancient faith, the faith of our fathers as represented within the Universal Catechisms of Trent and Vatican II, and the papal magisterium, and through them and through all of the faithful, the Holy Catholic Church Christ promised would not fall under the gates of hell, still and will always, stand.
“For it is a Church outliving bad popes, bad bishops, bad priests, bad nuns, and keeping within the heart of faith, those innocent faithful who the great apparitions of Our Lady reveal as truly the heart of the Church, as her son proclaimed through Mary Magdalene and Dismas, those who the world does not see, are so often those Christ sees most clearly and holds most closely.
“An ambiguous Vatican II, the machinations of Freemasons, Communists—Catholic or non-Catholic—and other secular enemies are but wind in the willows to the infinite roar of Almighty God, creator and king of the world the prince of the world may not influence; and it is the heel of the Virgin Woman who crushes the serpent head of all worldly troubles whose only effect on the Holy Catholic Church who cannot fall though the Gates of Hell be opened upon her, as they have been since the beginning.
“I read laments outlining the end of civilization because the Church has lost her way, misguided by confused popes, corrupt priests, bishops, and nuns, yet I do not tremble for the Church and I pray the writers of laments seek greater understanding.
“The Church is not a single pope, bishop, priest or nun. The Church is Christ, Mary and the Communion of Saints; and those pilgrims fulfilling their earthly mission will stumble but Christianity will not.
“Indeed, the true Church is the Church beneath the church, not the institutional church but the supernatural church, not the result of the actions of men, but resulting from the actions of God and his apostles on earth.
“The Vatican II Ecumenical Council of the Church from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965 was a significant event in the life of the Church, where all the bishops of the world gathered and under the leadership of the Pope—Pope John XXIII who opened it and Pope Paul VI who closed it—created magisterial documents that still cause controversy through misinterpretation and misrepresentation.
“What happened during Vatican II was a struggle between liberal Catholics and conservative Catholics—though inaccurate terms as all Catholics, by their oath of baptism, have to conserve the deposit of faith—but still descriptive and useful. It was a struggle between those who wanted to liberalize her practice and language—often with very good reason—and those who wanted to conserve her practice and language, also, with very good reason.
“The liberals largely won, so well documented in two magisterial works: The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II, by Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D. (1985) Tan Books, and Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century, by Romano Amerio (1996) Sarto House.
“Reading the Vatican II documents again, confirms to me that while we may find what we wish in the often dense prose, we can lose ourselves in the interpretations by others, though seeking out the relatively balanced work commenting on Vatican II, such as the aforementioned works by Wiltgen and Amerio, will pay dividends.
“The decades-long discussion, or perhaps more accurately described, war, between the liberal wing of the Catholic Church and the conservatives over the interpretation, and in some cases, validity, of its doctrinal and pastoral documents (a war that since the beginning of the Church) is an issue that anyone involved in ministry to criminals—inside prison or out—has to come to terms with.
“I first became aware of this during the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process I was going through in preparation for baptism, but it was not an issue I deeply engaged with until about eight years later.
“From the liberal perspective, Vatican II and the Pope who opened it, Pope John XXIII—who many liberals refer to as “Good Pope John”, also opened the Church to the modern world with love, compassion, and good humor from the oft perceived closed, rigid, and overly medieval and intellectual Catholic world represented by the Pius Popes, most notably Pope Saint Pius X and Pope Pius XII, though it was also a Church of clarity and one whose writings I return to often, with those of Pope Pius XII remaining a favorite.
“From a conservative perspective—one I largely share—the Pius popes were the last great and strongly traditional leaders of the Catholic world in relation to Communism.
“For instance, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, does not have a section on Communism, but it examined economic theory.
“With all of the good things that occurred at Vatican II and also with many of the other unfortunate events that occurred during the Council, the conclusion I have reached—in harmony with the Church—is that Vatican II was a legitimate Ecumenical Council, as traditionally defined by the Church.
“It is true many of the documents greatly favored the positions taken by liberals and some even protected Communism, but that was because liberals were much better organized during the Council to ensure their perspective took precedence; but, in many cases—Mass in the vernacular being one, though I love and prefer the Latin Mass—were appropriate decisions.
“In the Western world, including Latin America, where Catholicism was well established, opening up the Mass to the vernacular was seen by many as a loss. In the mission fields, such as Africa, it was seen as a blessing.
“The Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, Section 8, saying: “…although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity”, implied to many that the Church was not the sole path to salvation as stated by Catholic tradition.
“But, while the first sentence seems to say that, the second reaffirms that the full truth is only generated from within the Catholic Church, though it may find its way to other places, as through—for instance—the Protestants via their founder, the Catholic priest, Martin Luther.
“This quality of the writings coming from Vatican II, stating one thing but perhaps implying another, is, I have come to realize, one of the methods the Church has decided upon for confronting modernity—maintaining the clarity of tradition while allowing the ambiguity of the times.
“This method softens the clarity of the Church’s one truth and allows those who would run from that sort of ‘golden rod clarity’ to stick around.
“It is not a method I particularly like, but I certainly see the wisdom of it, and it may lay at the heart of the Church’s softening of its relations with Communism, especially through the long papacy of John Paul II, the first pope from a Communist Country, who had several decades of dealing with the Communists while priest, bishop, and cardinal in Poland; and may have decided that, once pope, that there could be a more effective way of converting Communists than the historical method developed by previous popes.
“And the results may very well be seen in the recent speculation that the Orthodox Church is very close to rejoining the Roman Catholic fold.
“This being said, it is still troubling that the Church promised to not speak of Communism during Vatican II, especially considering the perspective on that silence mentioned by Romano Amerio in his book Iota Unum.
“This is troubling and little seems resolved about the trouble by characterizing thinking and speaking about totalitarianism without reference to the very model of totalitarianism since 1917, Communism.
“We see in the writings of many superb thinkers, even some who wrote against the Church, such as Ayn Rand, the essentials of truth, once we have gotten hold of the whole truth from which to view them; but sadly, many of these thinkers ended their lives in bitterness, sadness, acrimony, and ultimately failure as deep as the chasm between their discovered truth and the full truth they never accepted.
“One aspect of Fatima that I’ve not seen mentioned much is its timeliness. Our Holy Mother promised in 1917 she would call for the consecration of Russia, warning of great suffering if that consecration was not carried out.
“The Church says it was carried out within the consecration of the entire world by Pope John Paul II, and Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima children, agreed.
“However, it would seem to me, and I certainly have no special knowledge other than my study of the issue for the past couple of years, that when she promised on July 13, 1917 to call for the consecration of Russia and following it up with the specific call within a vision to Sister Lucia on June 13, 1929, she meant it to take place then and when we consider the sufferings of the world since—Communist takeover of Russia and the approximately 100 million estimated that were killed by its edicts, world-wide depression, WWII and the genocide against the Jewish people taking the lives of six million, Communist takeover of China, Korea, and Southeast Asia and the millions of lives lost in the process, and the hundreds of millions lost to abortion, the sexual abuse crisis in the Church—it is hard to see how anyone century could have been much worse.
“The still active effort to have the pope consecrate Russia, while certainly not really harmful as Russia is a criminal state and can certainly benefit from consecration, the time it should have been done was the time our Holy Mother called for it to be done, and since it was not done then, much of the damage surely has already been done.
“Our walking the talk of Catholicism, our prayers for the world, for our faith, for the Holy Father, priests and nuns, all religious and all the faithful are still the one certain way we can help Our Lord help our world.
“The ambiguity of the Catechism produced by Vatican II cuts both ways; solidifying tradition or disrupting it, depending on who is reading it.
“The faithful will hew to the traditional doctrine woven through it, the dissident will see innovation and disruption to traditional doctrine and will hew to that, and so it has always been, even since the Garden.
“Vatican II was a true council, congruent with the tradition of many ecumenical councils of the Church in the world, but it also continued the eternal war the Church in the world has been engaged, with more ammunition perhaps given to Satan than to Christ; but regardless of the quantity of ammunition, the ultimate end has already been decided by God and, as written since the Garden, Satan loses.
“Ammunition is only as sound as the gun from which it is fired.
“Though the ambiguity of Vatican II and the Catechism later promulgated by Pope John Paul II, gave many bullets to Satan in his penetration of the Church, it also identified his minions through their use of those bullets; as did the interpretations of Vatican II and the Catechism as supporting Catholic dogma identify those who stood with Peter, Christ and Mary.
“Scientific theology is clearly that from St. Thomas Aquinas and pastoral theology would describe that which has been coming from the Vatican since Pope John XXIII, but both are a reflection of the traditional theology of the Catholic Church, but expressed in different ways, for different times; a strategy straight from St. Paul.
“For John Paul II, knowing from personal experience that Communism does not work and ultimately degrades into corruption and criminality; he knew that salvation would then be possible, conversion would then be possible, for he knew that the 2,000 years of Catholic history enduring truth and practice would attract the ideological riven Communist who had seen his bright vision become a dark nightmare.
“Our Church is a pilgrim Church.
“Our Church is divinely founded and divinely protected though worldly stained, even to the point of housing satanic evil.
“Our Church—and here we must clearly include Jerusalem of the Old Covenant and stretching back to Genesis—has, yes, sometimes whored herself and the ancient condemnations as the Whore of Babylon passed on to the children of heretics as it was to me by my Mormon parents, is therefore accurate, as is the acclamation by the faithful as Holy Mother Church.
“Both Marys—the mother of Jesus and the Magdalene—were present at the close of the Old Covenant and the opening of the New, and both Marys are with us still, especially the Magdalene whose penitential life is a mark of criminal transformation unequaled.
“Now then, with the Miracle of Fatima in our mind, when the narrative within the minds of most Americans, is that Communism is dead, what is the point mulling it over once again.
“The point is, dear reader, that the very same forgetfulness of incarnate evil represented by Communism is a forgetfulness clouding the mind for time immemorial when it comes to the works of those principalities and powers allied with Satan against God and the Church; which is exactly why Our Lady came to Fatima.
“It is happening again, now, today, always, regarding the historical implacable enemy of the Church, rampant evil and the tendency of people to ignore it, deny it, hope it leaves them, us, alone.
“Communism, perhaps in new forms—while retaining its historical nature in Russia—is certainly not dead.
“The more the financial systems of the world struggle to provide fairness and opportunity to their citizens, the more Communism wends its way in through the weakened defenses.
“Do we not all fall prey to this and do we not all know the surest defense is a strong relationship with God through prayer and living a life of as much sanctity as we can, remembering that betrayal is written into our very bones and blood, beginning with Adam and Eve.
“After studying the issue, the conclusion I reached regarding the failure of the Council to vigorously condemn Communism as had so many previous popes, was that, at best, Vatican II was a council whose decisions on this issue were confused.
“My research into the subject has continued (as does my research on all the subjects of which I have written) as I have worked on this book covering the same ground, and now I am reaching the conclusion that what I saw in the beginning as confusion may very well have been wisdom.
“One of the great benefits of the ambiguity expressed in the interpretations of the Council’s work, was how it has drawn out the venom that had lain festering in the Church as those religious and laity who had simmered in dissent now flamed into a raging fire of opposition and all now know who they are and of whom they speak, as they cast off their religious garb and way of life.
“Remembering the world-wide atmosphere of the 1960s in which Vatican II evolved, where we largely moved from the historical age of the tyrants, kings, and dictators to the age of committees and dialogue; is it any wonder that the Vatican, accustomed more than any other institution in the world, to think in terms of centuries rather than years, would play a leading role in this shift, an idea with deepened resonance watching the evolving papacy of our new Holy Father Francis as a congruent link in the Holy Fathers since Vatican II.
“When I last got out of prison in August of 1969, and returned to California, I immediately was swept up in the revolutionary movement wherein criminals, paradoxically, were seen as leaders.
“Though my deepest involvement was with the counterculture themes, the mantra that most of us shared during that period was “Question Authority”; and coming out of the 1950s, where the most authoritative institutions of the culture wrapped obedience to authority in steel webs, it was an incredibly liberating—but as we eventually learned, corrosive—mantra, as those of us who lived through that time remember.
“At that time, my bibles were The Wisdom of the Sands by Antoine de Saint Exupery, which I embraced during my last stretch in prison at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary, and The Whole Earth Catalog, which someone thrust into my hands shortly after I had gotten out and said “Here, catch up.” My drug of choice was mescaline, and in that befuddled state, I believed we—the smiley long-haired bearded ones and our earth mother women—were creating a new world, which seemed to be validated in the other beaming faces (who were also peaked out on psychedelics) I encountered as I walked the streets of Lake Tahoe, Berkeley, San Francisco, Vancouver, British Columbia, and all points in between, with my small entourage.
“We believed psychedelics opened the doors of perception—as Aldous Huxley so aptly phrased— allowing us to discover our latent powers, and when The Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson was published, we knew that what we had thought we were doing was in fact what we had been about.
“Later, much later, I would discover that the real, powerful conspiracy was founded by Christ and led by Peter which had existed for millennia, radically changing the meaning of life on earth.
“This was the Catholic Church, the foundation of Western thought; and the saints of the Church had been accessing latent human powers through the grace of God ever since.
“Within this environment of change, the decision by Vatican II to focus on change or as the elements were called then: aggiornamento, development, and ressourcement, or, modernizing, evolving, and returning to sources, respectively, was a wise response to the spirit of the Aquarian times.
“One of the ideas, once obscured but now leaping out, is that rather than continuing the strong pronouncements against Communism characterizing the first five decades of the 20th Century, the Church now decided to embrace in order to convert Communism.
“And one wonders how much this approach opened the door for Pope John Paul II to play one of the leading roles in vanquishing the Soviet empire a few decades later, and to the emerging potential coming together of the Russian Orthodox with Rome.
“On the other hand, this may well be the making a bad situation a little better by acknowledging the reality on the ground; the bad situation being the failure of Peter and the bishops to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Holy Mother of God, and the acknowledgement that the Church was not able to defeat Communism during its formative stage through the intersession of the Holy Mother; the best policy now might be to dialogue with them, seeking men and women of good will with whom conversion might be possible; and that might very well be a wise strategy.
“The decision to engage rather than condemn Communism might prove to be a wise decision or it might prove to be, as the current pope and the two previously have done by calling for the abolition of capital punishment, indicate a lack of understanding of evil.
“While this may seem fanciful for men—the Vicars of Christ on earth—whose life is focused on helping sinners, but an examination of the life of most priests can reveal little opportunity to fully appreciate the hardness and clarity of evil intent, of an evil life lived consciously.
“Though the three Holy Fathers—one who dealt with the Communists, one with Nazis and one with a military dictatorship—have seen evil, one would think their knowledge would be deep but here is where the within and the without of the human soul crucially determines soul knowledge and why many traditions advocate salvation coming through self-degradation; but not sought as by Rimbaud, Rasputin and Huysmans, but having happened in life, like Pope Saint Callistus, the former criminal who became pope, perhaps one of the greatest popes.
“Again, though I am still researching and praying about all of this, it does add to the wonder that this convert feels as I come to learn more and more about my adopted faith, and am validated in my knowledge—especially for those of us approaching the Church intellectually, which is the way most penitential professional criminals will actually convert—that lifelong study is crucial to truly understand and appreciate the Church and her social teaching.
“Our faith requires us to live in the present, not in an imagined past or dreamt future.
“Our Catholic faith requires us to honor her tenets, and to live, supernaturally, in the present, and always remember, our Church is a Church of the Word, not a Church of the human, the Eternal Church underneath and above the brick church.” (pp. 400-413)