Raining On The Parade
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Today is the day of the "big parade" after the "big game." The people of New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast will line the streets of the Crescent City this afternoon to welcome their "heroes," the winners of Super Bowl XLIV, the New Orleans Saints. "Party Gras" is what many are calling the celebration. Let it me known to one and all that this article aims to rain on that parade but good.
Mind you, as I pointed out in Still Nothing Super About the Super Bowl two days ago now, I know full well what it is to be caught in a frenzy over a professional sports team. Growing up in the baseball-soaked atmosphere of the New York City metropolitan area in the 1950s when there were three major league baseball teams (the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers, the incarnation of all evil in the world, the New York Yankees, and the New York Giants, whose best and most competitive days were between 1901 and 1936, although they won the World Series in 1954 after losing it to the Yankees in 1951, fifteen years after their previous appearance in the Fall Classic) vying for the public's attention and affection, I would have considered anyone who told me that professional sports were a waste of my good Catholic time as worthy of being committed for mental observation at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens Village, New York. Baseball was simply part of the lifeblood of most New Yorkers, although there were probably a few alien life forms, as I saw things in the first decade of my life, in and around the New York City metropolitan area who had no interest in sports whatsoever.
Although many middle-aged men in the New York City metropolitan area were absolutely devastated by the departure of the Dodgers for Los Angeles, California and the Giants for San Francisco, California, at the end of the 1957 season, those of us who were younger and who did not have a deep emotional attachment to those teams were able to transfer our allegiance to the National League's expansion franchise, the New York Mets, when that team began play in the Giants' former home, the Polo Grounds, in Harlem, New York, on Friday, April 13, 1962, two days after their first road game in St. Louis Missouri, which they lost by a score of 11-4, the first run scoring against them as starting pitcher Roger Craig balked, permitted Cardinals' first baseman Bill White to score. (I just found a link to the box score of that game. I must admit, having been thoroughly immersed in the naturalism of the moment, to have had a moistened eye when happening upon the photographs of the starting players at Ultimate Mets Database: Game of April 11, 1962.) Forty years of my life were spent in following the New York Mets on an "up close and personal basis" as I attended over 1,600 games at the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, and a number of other ball parks around the country.
One does get around to growing up, however. It took me long enough. Although I should have walked out of the now demolished William A. Shea Municipal Stadium when "rock" music was introduced into the place in 1980, I did walk out for good on Tuesday, July 16, 2002, rather than many any further compromises with the creep of coarseness and impropriety (doing this as I was promoting a book about the early years of the Mets and my own prominence in the stands as a fan). I knew that I could no longer abide the indecency and the filth that had crept into what I had long thought was a legitimate diversion. I knew that I could not take my newborn daughter into an environment of diabolical music, an environment where products dealing with subjects that are thoroughly inappropriate for public discussion, no less in the presence of the young, were being advertised, an environment where men and women dressed immodestly and spoke profanely without any thought as to the possibility that there might be souls around them who would find such dress and speech offensive, if not an occasion of sin. Enough was enough. (Please see Out of the Old Ball Game and a review of There Is No Cure for This Condition, BOOKS YOU CAN BOOK ON, that was being marketed at the time.)
What I wrote two years ago when I first wrote
Nothing Super About the "Super Bowl" and was republished in Still Nothing Super About the Super Bowl two days ago bears repeating here:
Some will say that we have to accept the "cockle" with the "wheat." True enough when it comes to dealing with our fellow human beings, each of whom shares the combination of "cockle" and "wheat" that we have within our own immortal souls. True enough when it comes to dealing with the evils that are found in supermarkets and gasoline stations, where horrible "music" is played almost all of the time. Ah, my friends, there is quite a difference.
We must shop for food and for other supplies. We must drive on roadways featuring billboards containing offensive material. There is no obligation whatsoever to engage in a totally discretionary, voluntary activity such as going to--or watching on television--a professional or a collegiate (or even scholastic) athletic contest where horrible "music" is played and horrible images displayed. One chooses to do such a thing. There is no moral necessity or imperative to do so. One chooses to have sounds and images from Hell to be burnished into his immortal soul. And only a fool thinks that he is strong enough or holy enough or wise enough or good enough to diminish the impact of those images upon his immortal soul as he wastes time watching millionaires playing for billionaires and as multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations that have no allegiance to any particular country, no less to to laws of Christ the King or to the honor due Mary our Immaculate Queen, assault him with images and sounds that are designed to entice him to think about and to wallow in sin and the self-indulgence that is sloth.
Moreover, we don't knowingly invite out-and-out "cockle" into our homes unless we have been so brainwashed by the popular culture as to think that there's "nothing wrong" with something that contains a "little bit of bad stuff" if "everyone else" is doing the same thing. What sane individual would say, "Come on in, Mr. Devil. Make yourself comfortable right here in my living room. Anything I can get for you now as you try to take me down to Hell with you for all eternity? Have you brought any of your friends over with you? Don't worry. We're strong enough to withstand your entreaties. A little 'bad' with the 'fun stuff' won't take us down to Hell with you for all eternity, now will it?"
"You can come and go and please in this, Mr. Devil. After all, we pay our cable and/or satellite bills on time, which money goes directly into your pockets. We help your friends at ABC (and ESPN) and FOX and ABC and CBS and CNN and other networks blaspheme Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother. We help to subsidize your other projects at these networks and their subsidiaries. None of that matters, right, Mr. Devil? Hey, the 'game' is on. Have some chips, Mr. Devil. We'll be watching your commercials soon enough as we listen to your 'stars' from American Idol."
Oh, some will protest that this is "extreme," that it is to be a Jansenist not to see what a great "game" might be played today.
It is not to be a "Jansenist" to note that nothing in this life, not even a well-played (perhaps even "exciting") football game (and I am not a fan of football) is worth placing ourselves deliberately in the near occasions of sin and exposing ourselves to sounds and images that from the devil and are designed to lead us to Hell for all eternity, desensitizing us to further and more outrageous assaults upon our senses in the name of enjoying the "game." It is not to be a "Jansenist" to suggest that none of should have television screens (or sets) in our homes and that we should withdraw from using our discretionary time and money on things that place our immortal souls in jeopardy in a variety of ways, including by organizing our lives in such a way that the "game" controls our lives every week (or day, in the case of baseball or basketball or hockey) during a particular season of play, and that enrich the very enemies of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who control the entertainment media and the world of corporate America and multinational corporations.
While, as established above, I full well understand the attachment that one can have to a team or a game, I do not see how Catholics can, at least at this very late date, ignore the creep of indecency and immodesty into the lives of their "teams" and their "games." Would Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the very Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of God the Holy Ghost, pay money to sit in a seat as mostly naked women prance around as "cheerleaders" on a field in front of thousands of other spectators in a stadium and millions of viewers around the world as the holy virtues of Modesty and Purity are undermined and assaulted in front of His very holy eyes? Would Our Lord sit patiently as the evil "rock" music is blared loudly out of public address systems? If He would not do these things, they why do we think that we have license to do them or turn a blind eye and a deaf ear voluntarily to the abject evils that are in front of us and for which we must pay money to view and hear?
Indeed, why should anyone who fashions himself as a defender of Catholic tradition be critical of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service, which has been performed on many occasions, including with conciliar "popes" as presiders, with indecently dressed congregants and lectors and "extraordinary ministers" and altar servers and "leaders of song" and dancers galore when he accepts such indecency and immodestly in the midst of the world with a "I can't do anything about it, I'm here for 'the game'" shrug of the shoulders? Seems to make no sense to me whatsoever.
Saint Paul spoke to us very directly that there is never any "time off" from being a disciple of Our Lord as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church, never a time when we can immerse ourselves uncritically in things that are offensive to Our Lord and injurious to the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood to redeem:
Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are. Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
Let no man therefore glory in men. For all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; for all are yours; And you are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (1 Cor. 3: 16-23.)
Father Frederick Faber explained that Our Lord had made three private revelations, one to Blessed Henry Suso, O.P., and the other two to Saint Gertrude the Great, concerning the necessity of making reparations for the moral offenses associated with the "Carnival," moral offenses that were on display at the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 7, 2010, and at every home game of a National Football League team, including the New Orleans Saints and their immorally dressed "Saintsations" cheerleaders who have an entire program to recruit young girls to be as indecent and immodest as they are:
There are three very beautiful revelations by which God has been pleased to make known how acceptable to His Divine Majesty is this reparation at the Carnival. One is to the Blessed Henry Suso, the Dominican; the other two to St. Gertrude. I will quote one of these last, as embodying the spirit which I am anxious this treatise should convey. It is from the fourth book of her Insinuations of Divine Piety.
At the time of the Carnival, the Lord Jesus appeared to her sitting upon the throne of His glory, and St. John the Evangelist was sitting at Our Lord's feet, writing. The Saint asked him what he was writing and Our Lord answered for him. "I am having every one of your devotions your congregation offered to Me yesterday, and all those they are going to offer these next two days, carefully noted down in this paper. And when I, to whom the Father has committed all judgment, shall faithfully render to everyone after his death, "good" measure for all the labors of his pious works, and shall add moreover the measure 'pressed down' of My most salutary Passion and death, whereby all man's merit is marvelously ennobled, I will take them with this paper to the Father, that He also, out of the omnipotence of His paternal kindness, may super-add them to His measure of 'shaken together and running over,' for these benefits kindly done to Me in this persecution by which worldly men on these days harass Me. For, as none are equal to Me in faithfulness, muss less can I omit to recompense My benefactors, seeing that even King David, who all his life through never omitted to heap kindnesses on his benefactors, yet, when he came to die, and committed his kingdom to Solomon, said to him, 'Thou shalt show favor the sons of Berzellai, the alaadite, and they shall eat at thy table, for they came to meet me when I fled from the face of thy brother Absalom. A kindness shown to men in the time of adversity is more acceptable than in the time of prosperity; so I the more gratefully accept this fidelity which is shown to Me when the world is especially persecuting Me with sin."
The Blessed John, sitting and writing, seemed sometimes to dip his pen into an inkhorn which he held in his hand, and out of it to write black letters, and sometimes he dipped it into the loving Wound of the Side of Jesus, which stood open before him, and out of that he wrote red letters. Again, he touched up the red letters, partly with black and partly with gold. And the Saint [Gertrude] understood that by the black letters were indicated those works which the religious did from custom, as the fast which they commonly begin on this Monday. By the red letters were expressed those words which were done in memory of the Passion of Jesus Christ, with a special intention for the emendation of the Church. As to the red letters partly blackened and partly gilded, she understood that by those partly blackened were meant works done in memory of Our Lord's Passion, to obtain for ourselves the grace of God and other gifts concerning our salvation. Those words, on the contrary, which were done purely for the glory of God, in union with Christ's Passion and for the salvation of all men, renouncing all merit, reward and favor, simply to give praise and show love to God, were expressed by the red letters, partly gilded. For although the foregoing works obtain from God a copious remuneration, those which are done purely for the love of God's praise are of much greater merit and dignity, and confer upon a man an infinitely greater augmentation of eternal bliss.
She then perceived that after every two paragraphs there was a vacant place, and she asked Our Lord what that denoted. He replied: "As it is your custom to serve Me at this season with devout desires and prayers in memory of My Passion, I have first the thoughts and then the words, by which you serve Me, carefully written down, every one of them. The vacant place means this, that the works which you do, you are not accustomed to do, like the thoughts and words in memory of My Passion." The Saint rejoined: "And how, O most loving God! can we laudably do this?" Our Lord replied: "By keeping all fasts, vigils and other regular observances in union with My Passion. And whensoever you refrain yourself in seeing, hearing, and speaking and the like, always offer it to Me in union with that love whereby I refrained all My senses in My Passion. With one glance I could have terrified all My adversaries, with one word I could have convicted of falsehood all who contradicted Me; yet was I like a sheep led to the slaughter; and with My head humbly bowed down, and My eyes fixed upon the ground; and before My jude I opened not My mouth for so much as one word of excuse from the false charges laid against Me." The Saint answered: "Teach me, O Best of Teachers, at least one thing which I may do especially in memory of Thy Passion." Our Lord replied, "Take, then, this practice, to pray with your arms extended, thus expressing the form of My Passion to God the Father, for the emendation of the Universal Church, in union with that love wherewith I stretched out My hands upon the Cross." And she said: "And as this is not a common devotion, should I seek out secret places to practice it in?" And Our LOrd answered: "The custom of seeking out secret places pleases Me well, and is a fresh adornment to the work, as the gem adorns the necklace. Yet," He added, "if anyone should bring this devotion of praying with extended arms into common use, he need fear no contradiction, and he will pay Me the same honor as one pays to a kin who solemnly enthrones him."
What is it, then, for which I am pleading? Only for this: that you should not altogether cut yourselves off from the glory of God, as it it were no concern of yours, and that you and He were not in partnership! This is really all. God is going to give you His glory for your own in Heaven to all eternity. Surely you cannot altogether disclaim connection with it now; surely its interests very much concern you; its success must be your success, and its failure your failure too. You cannot stand aloof form the cause of Jesus on earth, and even keep up a sort of armed neutrality with God, when you desire as soon as ever you die, without so much as tasting the sharpness of Purgatory, to be locked in His closest embrace of unutterable love forevermore. Yet this is the plain English of the lives of most Catholics. And can anything be more unreasonable, more ungenerous, more mean! And you wonder we have not converted England! Verily we do not look like a people who have come to kindle a fire upon the earth, nor to be pining because it is not kindled. Ah, Jesus! these are Thy worst wounds. I think lightly of the ruddy scars of Thy hands and feet, of the bruised knee and the galled shoulder, of the thousand-wounded head and wide-open Heart. But these wounds--the wounds of coldness, neglect, unpraying selfishness--the wounds of the few that were once fervid and now are tepid, of the multitudes that never were fervent and so cannot even claim the odious honors of tepidity--the wounds wherewith Thou wert wounded in the house of Thy friends--these are the wounds to be wiped with our tears, and softened with the oil of our affectionate compassion. Blessed Lord! I can hardly believe Thou art what I know Thou art, when I see Thy people wound Thee thus! And my own wretched heart! It too, lets me into sad secrets about many's capability of coldness, and his infinity of ingratitude. Alas! the concluding chapters of the four Gospels--they read like a bitter jest upon the faithful! And then, we live as if we would petulantly say, "Well, we cannot help it. If Jesus chose do to and to be all this, it is His own affair. We only wanted absolution; we only wanted a machine to be saved by--a locomotive into Heaven--the cheapest and roughest that would do the work, and land us at the terminus. You devout people, in reality, stand in the way of religion. It may be hard for us to define enthusiasm; but you surely are enthusiasts. What we mean is, you are all heart and no head. Mere heat will not do instead of talent. Earnestness is not theology. There are other things to be done in life besides going to Mass and Confession. How can we have confidence in people who let themselves be run away with religious fervor? All this incarnation of a God, this romance of a Gospel, these unnecessary sufferings, this prodigal bloodshedding, this exuberance of humiliations, this service of love, this condolence of amorous sorrow, to say the truth, it is irksome to us; we are not at home in it at all; the thing might have been done otherwise; it was a matter of debtor and creditor; everyone is not a poet; everyone cannot take to the romantic. Really, there must be a mistake in the matter. God is very good, and His love is very well in its way. Of course He loves us, and of course we love Him. But really, by a little practical common sense, and a few wholesome reasonable precepts, and a strictly conscientious discharge of our relative duties, might we not put this tremendous mythology of Christian love, with all possible respect, a little on one side, and go to Heaven by a plan, beaten, sober, moderate path, more accordant to our character as men and to our dignity as British subjects? If 'the Anglo-Saxon race really fell in Adam,' why, obviously we must take the consequences. Still, let the mistake be repaired in that quiet, orderly way, and with that proper exhibition of sound sense which are so dear to Englishmen."
Well! if it must be so, I can only think of those bold words of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: "O Jesus! Thou hast made a fool of Thyself through love."
O poor desolate glory of God! Thou art a foundling upon the earth! No one will claim thee, or acknowledge kindred with thee, or give thee a home. Cold as the world is, and pitiless the pelting of incessant sin, thou liest crying at or doors, and men heed thee not. Poor homeless glory! earth was meant for thee once as much as Heaven, but there have been robbers abroad, and it is not safe travelling for thee along our roads now. But there are some few of us still who have pledged ourselves to Heaven, that from this hour we will take thee to our homes, as John took Mary; "Henceforth our substance is thy substance, and all that we have is thine." (Father Frederick Faber, All For Jesus, written in 1854, republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 66-71.)
We cannot and we must not immerse ourselves in the activities of the world that demand from us to voluntarily look the other way as indecency and immodesty (to say nothing of needless strife and competition as Father Charles McGuire noted in his sermon on
Agony and Contention in Sports) are placed right in front of our very eyes. There is enough of indecency and immodesty that is placed in front of eyes as we go about our daily business (driving on highways, checking out at supermarkets and convenience stores, simply encountering indecently dressed and profanely spoken people on the street or in some place of business) without our having to pay money, whether to a sports team or a cable television provider or a satellite dish network, to have our souls, which are the temples of God the Holy Ghost, polluted?
Our Lady is not pleased when Catholics, who are supposed to be setting examples for others, place themselves voluntarily in situations where overt sins against modesty and decency are committed very publicly, thereby prompting many others to commit their own sins of thought, word, or deed against holy purity. She told us this through Jacinta Marto as the latter was in a hospital bed in Portugal:
More souls go to Hell for reasons of the flesh than for any other reason. . . .
Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Divine Lord very much."
Why should any of us think that there are exceptions to this, that scantily clad women at football games or that rock music with its adulation of immorality or vile images televised on projection screens can be "tolerated" as "necessary" evils in order to enjoy "the game"? Would any rational, sane Catholic want to assert with a straight face that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not offended very much by the costumes of the "Saintsations" (the name itself is a mockery of sanctity) and other such "cheerleading" groups associated with the teams of the National Football League. If He is offended, why aren't we? If we flee from the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service because it is an offense to God, whey can't we flee from volitional cultural activities that contain offenses to Him and to Holy Purity?
Mind you, this is to condemn or to pass subject judgment on no one. This is only to raise yet again issues that most Catholics in the United States of America, including those who recognize that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI is a false "pope," are unwilling to face, namely, the ugly, pernicious influence of Americanism and the inevitable creep of immorality that has entered into our daily lives as a result of its religious indifferentism, naturalism, semi-Pelagianism (which will be the subject of an article to be posted tomorrow on this site), materialism, pluralism and moral relativism that are incapable of being stopped absent a conversion of this nation to the Catholic Faith and the Social Reign of Christ the King.
May Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, help us to plant seeds for the conversion of our nation to the true Faith, helping us also to be converted in our own lives on a daily basis as we die to self and make reparation for our sins through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us.
Saint Apollinaria, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints