Dear Friends and Benefactors,
I wish to thank all of you for your continued support towards our work,
especially in our schools. I am sure that many of you have had the opportunity
to witness the good fruits produced by them especially at this time of year as
yet another class graduates.
The importance of true education extends throughout the world into every aspect
of life. Its supreme achievement, intellectually and morally speaking, is to
acquaint the student with God so that he is able to know Him well, be conversant
with His ways and share His outlook. True education imparts, develops and
deepens this acquaintanceship. It is not just the memorization of catechism.
It is only when a person has the right views of God that he is able to see the
world accurately. This is to have a sane philosophy of life.
Any person professing the Christian religion should have a peculiar, definite
and clear-cut philosophy that rightly orders all aspects of life. A true
education gives the tools needed to bring forth solid reasons and form judgments
that are especially important when they bear upon problems and actions that
affect conduct for good or ill. When it is a question of judging between what
is in conformity with right reason and what outrages it there is only one proper
judgment. On the other hand, great freedom is given to us when it comes to
selecting among the number of things worthy of choice. The proper philosophy
helps us both to judge and select.
It is inevitable that this philosophy of life will be in conflict with much that
is popular in a world that has largely abandoned not only the values of
Christian philosophy but also those born of the true objective thought of the
great among the pagan philosophers. When religion becomes almost entirely a
matter of conformity to certain rules rather than a philosophy influencing every
aspect of life then there is the grave danger of giving in to the fashions of
thought (or what passes for thought) that impose themselves irresistibly. In
such a schizophrenic system the Christian faith does not act as the unifying
principle, to organically combine all aspects of human life into a serene,
healthy and faith-full outlook.
The great tragedy today and the great danger for Christian society is that too
many profess the faith yet hold views irreconcilable with it. They do not have
one steady beacon lighting the path, but are rather lead here and there,
deviating between this and that. There is a divorce between the faith and their
philosophy of life. There is no conformity between ideals and action.
Of course we all may, due to human frailty, fail now and then. We occasionally
slip and slide on the road. But if we keep re-orienting ourselves to our true
goal we will reach it. It is not mere weakness that really undermines
Christendom, but the contradiction between the philosophy which we profess in
holding to the faith and that professed in the practical guidance of our lives.
A true follower of Christ must logically think about the universe in a certain
way and have a certain theory of human values. Many who claim to hold to
Christianity do not hold, except in shreds, Christís view of the universe and
His scale of values. This has been so since the 16th Century, when
the world of Christendom was shattered into many warring fragments. But even
worse is that many holding the Catholic faith also experience a division between
their souls and minds. This dislocation favors the insidious advance of
Socialism and prepares the way for state slavery.
The mind of man must have a religion of some sort. And that religion which
supplies a philosophy of life that seems to meet adequately the current problems
that torment him, is the one that will usually win his loyalty. Socialism is
the religion of irreligion, or better, the religion of materialism, with its
highest good of social harmony, external justice, equality, international
tranquility and a sufficiency of standardized pleasures and goods to supply the
individualís material wants. An advantage it has and its secret of success over
Christianity is that there is perfect harmony between its religion and its
philosophy of life. Technical progress will do away with the need for painful
labor. Men are promised a paradise were there is ample leisure for pleasure, a
reduction of disease, lengthening of days and in the end a painless death.
Spiritual values are seen as an illusion and a snare. The only goods it
considers are bodily well-being, sufficiency of material goods and the
dictatorship of everyman.
An ideal completely material enjoys a great advantage in its attack on
Christians who have difficulty integrating their human values with and under the
spiritual ideal of life that Christianity upholds. Such Christians are divided,
being spiritual and material by turns in their values. Yet it is important to
remember that it is Christians not Christianity that runs the danger of being
overcome. Christianity is invulnerable. But when Christians do not allow the
light of faith to direct them in their practical problems of life they can
easily be overcome by the promises of immediate and earthly advantages provided
by such an ideal.
Worldliness is corrupting but even worse is the vulgarization of soul making it
insensitive to lofty or noble ideals. The roots of this problem stem from a
strong faith in the visible world coupled with a cautious and calculating
provision for the unseen. Such faith is not an inspiration for noble and
excellent living but rather a life insurance against possible risks in the next
world. These souls are easily impressed by the material world and the shallow
opinions of others; being stirred, tempted and captivated by them. They are
irritated by and disdainful of the abstract or spiritual. Self-sacrifice and
self-denial are seen as absurd. They pride themselves on being eminently
practical. But their notion of the practical as merely what is convenient and
useful is contrary to the truly practical, which is rather based on reality.
Indeed how inconvenient it turns out to be when one sees the future disorders
arising from such roots.
This socialist spirit is frequently the result of an education not inspired by a
Christian educational ideal, but one which considers education merely as a
drilling for the calling by which a livelihood can be earned. Interests,
aspirations and ideals do not rise above the material advantages, social harmony
and animals comforts with such a spirit. There is rather a discrediting of
purely spiritual values. Nor is this spirit peculiar to our own age, although
it has reached its fullest expression in our times. It adheres to the roots of
fallen nature, and insinuates itself into all kinds of religion, true and false.
Man is naturally religious, but also because of original sin, he is prone to sin
through self-indulgence and self-will. He longs for the infinite but finds it
hard to separate himself from the finite. So he makes a compromise between the
temporal and the eternal, the material and the spiritual, earth and heaven,
which weighs heavily on the side of the finite. He wishes to gain Godís favor
and hopes to do so by offering Him a tribute that is very close to a bribe.
This is much easier than facing the hardship involved in ordering life according
to the eternal principles of right reason and faith. Consider the example of
pagans in their religions. They are completely selfish and calculating.
Sacrifices are offered to avert the anger and win the favor of the spirits, not
to invoke aid to help them improve morally. There is no effort to purify the
interior or to become more self-controlled in order to please God. Religion is
one thing, the practical conduct of life another. Life is lived according to
the promptings of inclinations, which urge one on to pursue what is immediately
Unfortunately the taint of this touches the practice of religion on the part of
those who hold the true faith. Pharisaism brought about conflict between the
Pharisees and our divine Savior despite the same faith. Exteriorly there seemed
to be a harmony of belief, but this was only apparent. In the soul there was a
profound difference. The reason was that their philosophies of life differed.
For the Pharisees there was a divorce between their faith and their theory of
human values. They valued the material greatness of their nation rather than
the spiritual transformation of the individuals that composed it. Christís
philosophy of life was deduced from and implicitly contained in the religion he
It is fashionable today to say that history does not repeat itself. But history
itself shows us that this is false, especially where the same causes exist.
What happened once can happen again. The same tragic fate that came upon the
Pharisees can also befall Christian communities in all ages of history. We know
that the faith will never fail but history proves that the faithful can.
Failure is inevitable unless the philosophy of life is in harmony with
religion. If not there is a conflict with reality, within oneself - part of
reality, and with God - the source of reality.
Religion as an inner disposition of soul is a practical recognition of God, not
only as the object of worship but also as the Designer and Ruler of all
creation. He has the true philosophy of all things in the universe and so knows
the plan after which human life in its personal and social aspects will most
has sketched out a broad outline for us and leaves us free to do the coloring in
by the initiative of our reason and the determination of our will. He traces
for us the proper hierarchy of values and demands that the means to lifeís end
be in harmony with that end and leaves to us the choosing of these means.
Society, of which education is a large part, is the instrument of manís
formation. The social order must be directed to favoring manís efforts to
establish order within himself. The political and economic order set up by
earthly authorities must favor the true, the beautiful and the good; while
disapproving the false, the ugly and the evil. According to Godís plan the
whole universe must work to form man to the perfection of manhood.
Christian religion, being the philosophy of Christ, points out to man the
highest aim in life. It has a high respect for human nature yet does not
flatter it as does Socialism, which flatters but also debases and degrades it.
There are other religions that believe in God, but Christianity believes not
only in God but also in man as potentially a reflection of the divine. The
Christian faith is supernatural; aiming to transfigure manís nature to
participate in a divine quality, yet it does not despise the truly human, by
destroying or disregarding it. Christ revealed in Himself the humanity of God
and the divinity of man. To be a true Christian one must be a worthy and
upright man. One must have the right views on the problems of life and be clear
as to what is good and evil in music, art, politics, economics and recreation.
The true Christian cannot be a Christian in church and something else in other
activities of life.
does the use of sacraments dispense us from making an effort to form our
character. They demand the right disposition of soul, which implies not only
the absence of evil but also the positive will to choose and think what is good,
right and just. This includes the desire on the part of men to be manly men and
on the part of women to conform to the ideal of womanhood. Our end as set by
God is His honor and glory, which we can only attain by being formed to the
perfection of manhood or womanhood. This end will not be reached by means that
unman or debase us. It is folly to think we can attain this end by the use of
cruelty, hatred, criminal violence or injustice. Yet this is what the world
would have us believe.
Christianity differs in that its means and end correspond. To be a good
Christian one must practice religion and realize there is a moral obligation to
find out what is good and righteous and desire it in all aspects of life. These
principles of human living are outlined for us by Christ in the Gospels and
taught to us by those who have been appointed as faithful interpreters of His
views. To think rightly about things that have a bearing on our human conduct
is one of our first duties in life as Christians. Falsehood is the great evil
in life, not failure. Unreality and hypocrisy were denounced by Christ
severely. But he was sympathetic to those that had an allegiance to the truth
and had the purpose to pursue it, even though they sometimes failed.
must not be under any illusions. Today Christianity is persecuted more
violently and insidiously than ever before. This is so not because of the
persecution of prison or execution but because of the corruption of minds caused
by the infiltration of false principles, which mock its morality and flout its
most sacred principles, even the most basic principles of nature. It must be
defended by not only a heroic will but also a mind firmly grounded in truth.
temptation to give in to these false principles of life hits all of us and sadly
many have given way. But although the task that lies before the Christian of
today may seem desperate and nearly impossible, we know by faith that what is
impossible for man is possible for God. Professing to be followers of Christ,
we know that we are not alone and that each of us is called to realize the truth
of Christ in company with Christ. As St. Paul says: ďI can do all things in
him who strengtheneth meĒ (Phil 4, 13).
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. John D. Fullerton