Wednesday 21st February 2018

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Where Is Hopalong Cassidy Now That We Need Him?

August 29, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK

I see few counterparts of Hopalong Cassidy, Flash Gordon, and Nancy Drew these days. They have been replaced by pot-smoking “dudes,” sleep-around women, and homosexual super heroes. The world of rock music is worse. It seems as if modern rock stars go out of their way to project an image that is the antithesis of the clean-cut matinee idols of the past.
What else can be the purpose of the bizarre hairstyles, tattoos, body-piercings, and open allusions to their dissolute lifestyles than an assault on traditional values? Most of them make Elvis look like a choir boy.
The heroes of old were All-American boys, wholesome women, brave and courteous, self-effacing, devoted to God and country. They lived chaste lives in their on-screen personas. That is why some modern audiences find them “corny.” Young people who grew up with the role models of the past found it necessary to face the fact that the “real world” was not populated by people like their movie heroes; that even good men and women — cops, soldiers, nurses, and crusading attorneys — were not quite as virtuous as their childhood heroes. The experience was part of growing up.
It strikes me that young people in our time must experience the above phenomenon, too, but in reverse; that they learn not everyone they meet has a stash of drugs and is as sexually active as the characters played by Katy Perry and Brad Pitt. The people who make movies these days have created a new breed of hero for us, people who are part of the world of drugs, sex, and rock and roll. “Good kids” are depicted as prudes and phonies, toadies seeking to ingratiate themselves with the grown-ups.
That is a big change. Hollywood in the past would cater to a Christian audience that lived by moral standards more strait-laced than that which prevailed in show business circles. Nowadays Hollywood challenges those standards. The show business folks have become “missionaries,” and we the backward masses in need of conversion, in the new relationship between the creators of pop culture and their audience.
As far back as the late 1930s, George Orwell understood what was at stake in the relationship between society and popular entertainment. St. Ignatius Loyola is reported to have said, “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.” Orwell agreed (though he and Ignatius Loyola would disagree about many other things).
Orwell did not fear the power of Hollywood hedonists. His concern was that nationalists and corporate interests were shaping the values of society through the books and magazines marketed to the young. His essay “Boys’ Weeklies,” written in 1939 for the British magazine Horizon, threw the spotlight onto the power of juvenile entertainment to mold young minds. (The essay can be found in the anthology Orwell: An Age Like This.) Orwell deplored the influence of conservative forces exerted by these boys’ weeklies, but he knew it was effective.
The boys’ weeklies he focused on were what people in England at the time called “penny dreadfuls”: pulp magazines such as Gem, Modern Boy, Magnet, Champion, Wizard, and Hotspur. The impression I get from reading Orwell’s essay is that these publications were British counterparts of the comic books popular in the United States at about the same time, but with more text and fewer illustrations, perhaps British versions of what were called “Big Little Books” in this country.
Orwell attacked this pulp fiction for giving impressionable British youth a world where the heroes are soldiers, explorers, detectives, and historical figures such as Robin Hood, where the “‘good’ boys are ‘good’ in the clean-living Englishman tradition,” who “wash behind their ears, never hit below the belt, etc. etc.”
Beyond this, it was a world, Orwell continues, where “foreigners are funny,” where “Frenchmen are still Froggies and Italians are still Dagoes,” Indians are “comic babus,” Chinese are “sinister, treacherous” men in pigtails, and Negroes “comic and faithful.” The assumption “is not only that foreigners are comics who are put there for us to laugh at, but that they can be classified in much the same way as insects.”
Even worse, Orwell continues, the boys’ weeklies provided young people with an inaccurate understanding of working-class life: “Nearly all the time the boy who reads these papers — in nine cases out of ten a boy who is going to spend his life working in a shop, in a factory, or in some subordinate job in an office — is led to identify with people in positions of command, above all by people who are never troubled by a shortage of money.”
Orwell deplored the manner in which stories that appeal to young men “about Martians, death-rays, grizzly bears, and gangsters” were “wrapped up in the illusions which their future employers think suitable for them,” leading boys to “the conviction that the major problems of our time do not exist, that there is nothing wrong with laissez-faire capitalism, that foreigners are unimportant comics and that the British Empire is a sort of charity-concern which will last forever. Considering who owns these papers, it is difficult to believe that this is unintentional.” Every “adventure story gets mixed up with snobbishness and gutter patriotism.”
Orwell, as usual, has a point. Though I would take exception to his claim that the inculcation of these values was a con job carried out by capitalists and their media lackeys. My hunch is that the adults who published this juvenile fiction in Great Britain genuinely believed that bravery, honesty, and patriotism were admirable character traits, irrespective of whether Britain’s employers wanted their future employees to be people who believed in these things.
In fact, I would go so far as to contend that even the British corporate bosses held to this vision of what made a good man or woman, even if they may have honored it more in the breach.
The point just now, however, is that Orwell correctly understood the extent to which juvenile entertainment is a powerful force in shaping what Hegel called the “Zeitgeist,” the spirit of the age, the widely held ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of the members of a society.
It makes a difference when young people grow up with people like Miley Cyrus and Kanye West as their role models, rather than Nancy Drew and Jack Armstrong. Look around the mall or at the crowds at a rock concert to see the effect. It is hard to overestimate what it says about us as a society that we have permitted such a devolution to take place.

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FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Athanasius Schneider invites world’s bishops to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

ROME, January 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In an exclusive interview two weeks after issuing a profession of immutable truths about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider is inviting his brother bishops around the world to join in raising a common voice…Continue Reading

Cardinal Eijk Asks Pope to Clarify Questions About “Remarried” Divorcees

As Katholisch.de, the official website of the German bishops, reports today, Cardinal Willem Eijk, the Dutch cardinal and Metropolitan Archbishop of Utrecht, requested that Pope Francis bring light into the confusion concerning the question as to how to deal with…Continue Reading

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

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  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

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Today . . .

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

The document ‘defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone’ The “liberating truth” of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” is as relevant today 50 years after its promulgation, and maybe even more so, said Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila in his new pastoral letter, “The Splendor of Love.” “The 50th anniversary of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is an occasio

Correcting Fr. James Martin

Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School. The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job. Fr Martin tweets: Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without…Continue Reading

Dozens of U.S. bishops sign up for Amoris Laetitia seminars at dissident Catholic colleges

CHICAGO, February 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, a key promoter of the progressive agenda advanced under Pope Francis, has invited American bishops to a series of conferences about Amoris Laetitia in February. Catholic News Agency reported this week that it had “obtained” a letter by the Archbishop of Chicago about the seminars. Called “New Momentum Conferences on Amoris Laetitia”,  the series is advertised as a “tailor-made program that goes from why Amoris Laetitia provides New Momentum for Moral…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Sues President Trump After He Defunded Its Programs Pushing Sex on Kids

There’s nothing, it seems, that the abortion chain Planned Parenthood won’t sue over. On Thursday, affiliates of the abortion chain in seven states sued the Trump administration for cutting funding for their questionable teen pregnancy prevention programs. The Daily Nonpareil reports the lawsuits argue that the Trump administration wrongly cut their funding prematurely and without cause. Nine groups, including Planned Parenthood affiliates in Washington, Iowa, North Carolina, South C

Scholar stumps Cardinal Cupich, asks if Pope’s ‘paradigm shift’ means ‘radical’ doctrinal change

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A respected Catholic historian and philosopher challenged Cardinal Blase Cupich during a lecture last week about Pope’ Francis so-called “revolution of mercy” that has caused what many are defending as a “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice. Professor John Rist, after listening to a February 9 lecture at Cambridge Universityin which Cardinal Cupich praised Pope Francis’ “paradigm shift” in Catholic practice, asked the Cardinal at the end of the lect

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Notre Dame Professor… Criticizes University’s Provision Of “Simple Contraceptives”

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNA/EWTN News) — After the University of Notre Dame announced it would fund “simple contraceptives” in its insurance plan, one Notre Dame professor has criticized the move, calling it “a giant leap into immorality.” “Now the University [of Notre Dame] is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway,” wrote…Continue Reading

Fulton Sheen’s Final Resting Place Not Yet Final

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s niece has said her uncle’s remains belong in Peoria, Ill., but a lawsuit seeking his internment there has been returned to a lower court for further consideration. “I just hate that this is dragging on and on and on,” Joan Sheen Cunningham said, according to The New…Continue Reading

Blessed Paul VI Revisited

By DONALD DeMARCO Unlike the daily news, papal statements are news that stay news. On January 1, 1977, Pope Paul VI delivered a Day of Peace message entitled, If You Want Peace, Defend Life. The need to conjoin peace with life is more relevant today than it was better than forty years ago and warrants…Continue Reading

President Trump Bans U.S. Aid for International Abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a week of taking office on January 23, 2017, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, now called the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance, which bans U.S. funding for abortions overseas. The expanded policy prohibits $9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from funding foreign organizations that perform or…Continue Reading

Approval Of Miracle Opens Door To Paul VI’s Canonization

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) — The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has approved the second miracle needed for the canonization of Blessed Pope Paul VI, allowing his canonization to take place, possibly later this year. According to Vatican Insider, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved the miracle by a…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The “Inner Room” Of Lent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Go to your inner room and pray to your Father in private.” Another Lent is upon us. With the Mass of Ash Wednesday we hear once again the Lord’s call to grow into a deeper awareness and love of the Father who is always lovingly aware of us. The tasks of Lent in prayer, fasting,…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Delving Into The Great Mystery Of The Eucharist

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 16 The Holy Eucharist is the greatest Mystery left to our faith by Our Divine Redeemer. Thus, to delve into it is something we do on our knees, as it were, spiritually speaking, since we are considering the Presence of a Divine Person under the appearances of bread and wine. We have His word…Continue Reading

The Effects Of The Sacrament Of Matrimony

By DON FIER For a variety of reasons (a defect of consent, a diriment impediment, or a defect of the required form), many supposed modern-day marriages entered into by Catholic persons are invalid from their origin in the eyes of God and the Church. However, as we saw last week, depending on the circumstances, the Church has procedures by which…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Concerning what our Blessed Mother said in Fatima about the rosary, I am confused as to whether or not she meant us to meditate on the mysteries while we are praying the Hail Marys or whether she meant us to meditate on the mysteries right before we say the Hail Marys. The consensus seems to be that we are…Continue Reading

Abraham Had To Be Tested

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Lent Readings: Gen. 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18 Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9:2-10 In the first reading today we hear about Abraham’s nearly incomprehensible act of faith and love for God shown in his willingness to sacrifice his own son. We have to be careful not to read this in a vacuum. This test, which…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the thirteenth century, many alliances were solidified by a marriage between members of royalty from other nations. There were also quite a few royal persons who were known for their holiness by following Christianity, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Ludmila and St. Wenceslaus of Czechoslovakia. Related to all of these saints, Princess Agnes also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading