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District Superior's
Letter to Friends & Benefactors

July 2008

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 advantageous.

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 practiced.

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 perfectly function. 

He 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.

The 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.

Nor 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.

We 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.

The 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 

 
 

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