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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Abnormality, Thy Name is Homeschool

For most Americans, homeschooling seems rather odd. Why bother with it? We have had public and private schools with us all of our lives, as have our parents before us and their parents before them from time immemorial. Why not stick with what works? The thought would be touching, if it were historically accurate. It isn’t.

The concept of compulsory schools with mass attendance is a radically new idea to Western civilization, no older than industrialization. Indeed, industrialization arguably could not have taken place without the mass school, and therein lies a tale.

As John Taylor Gatto points out in his impressive work, The Underground History of American Education , America’s schools were not very much used prior to 1870. The reason is simple.

The printing press was invented less than 50 years before America was discovered. The press enabled the Protestant Reformation. Because Protestant Faith argues that Scripture alone is authoritative, Protestants have a strong drive to be literate. The religious wars in Europe also drove many Protestants to find safe haven. The discovery of America was fortuitous in that it gave Protestants, that is, literate men, a place to flee.

As a result, the United States had a uniquely literate population. As numerous commentators of the time noted and US Census figures confirm, white men in America were essentially 100% literate prior to 1870. While schools existed, they were not much used. Like children from time immemorial, American children were educated at home and self-educated, not schooled.

The first compulsory school law was passed in Massachusetts in 1852. The second law would not be passed until 1864, in Washington D.C. The great wave of compulsory school laws were passed between 1870, with the last falling into place in 1917.

In 1860, one-third of the 300 high schools in the country were located in Massachusetts, where the school year was twelve weeks long, and only six of those weeks were consecutive. Even by 1890, the school year was only twelve to twenty weeks. Even by 1900, only six percent of American teenagers had graduated high school, only two percent of Americans 18 through 24 were enrolled in a college.

While most Americans had attended an elementary school of some sort prior to 1900, they spent no more than two to three years in it, if that – perhaps forty weeks total. While in school, they were generally not learning to read. They learned that at home.

Instead, they were reading. Fifth grade basal readers included works from William Shakespeare, Henry Thoreau, George Washington, Sir Walter Scott, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bunyan, Daniel Webster, Samuel Johnson, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The late-nineteenth century mass school system was America’s response to two enormous driving changes in American society: industrialization and massive immigration. Waves of Irish and German immigrants broke upon American shores between 1830 and 1860, with another massive wave entering from the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe between 1890 and 1910. These immigrants tended to be poor, illiterate and Catholic.

As I noted in a previous essay, the agrarian model of instruction required apprenticeships. For reasons beyond the scope of this article, Protestant American industrialization had to destroy that agrarian apprenticeship system. It did.

First, the states passed child labor laws, throwing young immigrant men and women out of apprenticeships and out of work. Once the streets were flooded with these legally invented delinquents, compulsory school laws were passed, requiring these same young men and women to attend school. These schools were consciously modeled on insane asylums. The youth who were to be housed in them were, after all, immigrants, poor illiterate wastrels, often swarthy non-whites (Italians, Greeks and their neighbors can take a bow here), and worst of all, Catholic. They had no rights which a white man was bound to respect.

While compulsory school laws were passed, compulsory attendance was not popular. Armed troops were required to pacify the Massachusetts countryside as nearly eighty percent of the population fought the state government. As late as 1882, thirty years after the state had passed the compulsory attendance law, the militia had to march children to school. New York City parents rioted in 1917. The examples could be multiplied. The literacy rate began a steady decline that has reached its nadir today.

The school system is so effective at passing on knowledge and forming young minds that this entire history is lost to most of the Americans who pass through its gates. We no longer remember how or why today’s school system came to be what it is. The modern college student is radically less well-read and radically less moral than the average twelve-year old was in colonial America.

So, yes, homeschooling does seem a little odd to many. It seems unnecessary, not a good fit for most families. And in a certain sense, that assessment is correct. Homeschooling is not a good fit for the modern family, if only because the family has, in modern times, ceased to exist. Family cohesion has been obliterated by the mass school.

Our society requires massive consumption. Needy, ignorant people consume more goods and services than educated, emotionally stable people do. The quickest way to create needy people is to obliterate the family. The quickest way to create ignorant people is to divorce them from their parents. The mass school is an excellent exercise in creating a market for your goods, whatever those goods might be. Unfortunately, what counts as goods for the market does not count as goods for the family.

This essay is based in large part on the soon-to-be-released book Deception: Catholic Education in America" and John Taylor Gatto’s "Underground History of American Education."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Catholics Are Stupid

With the election of Benedict XVI and the evident jubilation at his reign in many Catholic quarters, the intellectual elite has again returned to its habit of bashing the intelligence of Catholic laity. To be fair, this is hardly a new phenomenon. For centuries, non-Catholic Christians have remarked on the evident sheep-like ignorance of Catholics. The papists have a robot-like obedience to a pontiff that thinks for them because they are too ignorant to think for themselves.


It is often remarked that stereotypes do not arise out of nothing. No matter how slanderous the stereotype, at least some small part of it must have its origin in reality or the stereotype would not be adopted as true by the culture.

Consider, for instance, that slaves who are regularly whipped tend to be less than enthusiastic workers. This is a fact. It is also the origin of an American stereotype concerning men with dark skin. Similarly, Jews were, for centuries, lawfully forbidden from working in most trades. About the only profession they were permitted to work in was banking. A man’s got to make a living, but those who had reason to be dissatisfied with bankers rarely noticed this. Instead, they noticed that most of the bankers they worked with had a specific non-Christian origin. Today, suicide-bombers and other terrorists tend to be a different kind of non-Christian. While most members of Islam do not blow themselves up in crowded cafes, the stereotypical Muslim is the suicide bomber.

In much the same way, the stereotypical Catholic is stupid. Why? The answer is quite simple, and quite well-known to an industrial society: it is the classic “legacy system” problem.

The History of Ignorance

Prior to the invention of the printing press in 1450 AD, literacy was an expensive hobby. A book the size of a Bible cost as much as a private airplane does in today’s dollars. Vellum and parchment writing materials were made of calf, kid or lamb-skin. It took an entire herd of animals to supply enough skin for a single book. Only rich men could afford that kind of wholesale slaughter, or the expense of hiring a writer who could copy the book out by hand over the course of months or years.

Just as most of today’s population knows nothing about flying airplanes, so most medievals knew nothing about reading. They didn’t need to.

The printing press and Luther changed all that. By 1500, the cost of a book had dropped to two percent its former value. As literacy began to grow, Martin Luther proposed a novel idea (pardon the pun). The words of Scripture meant not what the Catholic Church said they meant, rather, those words meant whatever you wanted them to mean. Luther was the first deconstructionist.

St. Jerome famously said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” Since less than ten percent of the Roman population could read, we can be sure that Jerome was not insisting on literacy. While Catholics can practice their faith regardless of literacy rates, Protestants suffer no such luxury. It is nearly impossible to be an illiterate Protestant.

This put America in a unique situation. Protestants colonized America, which is to say, literate men colonized America. Prior to 1800, over 99% of the inhabitants of the British colonies were Protestants. America didn’t have a legacy system to maintain. Europe did.

Legacy Systems

As even the lowliest technician knows, the biggest impediment to upgrading a computer network is the legacy on the desktops. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of older machines are out there. They all have to be upgraded or replaced before new software can be rolled out.

A company that has just formed does not have this upgrade issue. It can buy the newest, cheapest equipment and begin operations before a well-established company has even finished filling out its purchase orders.

America had no illiterate legacy population. Precisely because of its peculiar foundation, American literacy ran above 95% even before the Revolution. This level was maintained through roughly 1870. Immigrants were the only fly in the “total literacy” ointment. When European immigrants came across the water, they tended to be illiterate. Literacy might have been growing rapidly in Europe, all things considered, but Americans didn’t consider all things. Instead, they simply noted that the Catholic immigrants were mostly poor and unable to read. Catholics were stupid.

Catholicism in America did not grow through conversion. It couldn’t. The Catholic population was too poor, too small and spread too thin. Few Catholics knew their own Faith well enough to proselytize even if the American population had been open to such a thing, and American Protestants weren’t. No, Catholicism in America grew almost entirely through immigration. Even as late as 1920, an estimated 75% of the American Catholic population were European immigrants.

Catholics may have founded nearly every major university in Europe, their monasteries may have kept the very skill of literacy alive during the Black Plague and the famines, they may even have invented the printing press which allowed literacy to become commonplace, but none of that mattered. Americans only knew poor, illiterate Catholics. Thus, Catholics are stupid.

The Importance of Literacy

Christ preached to a population that was between one and ten percent literate. The most literate of that population, the scribes and lawyers, rejected Him. Catholic Faith spread through the lower echelons of Roman society first, the segments least likely to be literate. It was the literate segments of Roman society that ferociously maintained their pagan ways. It was the literate population that fueled the Arian heresy. It was the secular literati of European society who insisted on burning witches and following socialism, both in its national (Nazi) and international (Communist) forms.

So, when we see modern intellectuals make snide remarks, we should not be surprised. “Anyone who has not read Foucault, Derrida or Andrew Sullivan is really not literate,” they say. Let us grant the statement without argument, as we have already granted similar statements concerning Arius, Marx and the rest. It hardly matters. As was noted before, faithful Catholics don’t need to be literate, as the world views literacy, in order to be faithful to Christ.

This essay is taken in part from information available in Deception: Catholic Education in America.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Back to the Ghetto

“Catholics have no rights a white man is bound to respect.” This is essentially the position of Illinois Governor Ron Blagojevich and numerous other commentators on the issue of prescription abortifacients, also known as hormonal birth control drugs. Those who argue that Catholics cannot be pharmacists join the chorus arguing that Catholics cannot be judges, doctors, nurses, and in the most recent revelation from Florida’s Judge Greer, cannot act as parents. Not since the Middle Ages has there been such a determined push to outlaw the right of a religious group to work in certain trades.

Federal law stipulates that a business cannot refuse to employ or trade with someone on the basis of race or creed, but it is perfectly legal for a business to refuse to trade in a specific item. If the local restaurant refuses to serve pancakes after ten o’clock, if the local burger shop will sell fish sandwiches only on Fridays or perhaps not at all, no customer can sue them for these lapses. A business is permitted to refuse the sale of any item it pleases so long as that refusal is based on the item and not the customer requesting the item.

If an employee decides not to sell an item, the business owner may take what steps he deems against that employee, especially in the state of Illinois, where “at-will” employment holds sway. Perhaps a business owner hires Bartleby the Scrivener for his marvelous accounting skills and, as a side benefit, has him man the store counter as well. Perhaps the businessman discovers that Bartleby prefers not to sell playing cards on alternate Thursdays, and cannot be induced to do so. The man can fire Bartleby or accommodate him, but how is it the state’s business which course of action he chooses?

This is especially true when we consider the doctor-patient relationship. Those who insist this relationship is private fail to consider that the pharmacist is a doctor. When a woman’s medical doctor writes a prescription, he thereby transmits a privileged medical communication from himself to another doctor. The prescription is a request for a second opinion. The first doctor writes out his opinion concerning proper treatment and asks the doctor of pharmacy if he concurs. The patient is the courier for the communication. The professional judgement of the doctor of pharmacy concerning appropriate drug usage is critical to the entire medical profession, yet Illinois governor Ron Blagovich has arbitrarily decided that pharmacists are not doctors and have no professional judgement.

Thus, the same people who insist that the government has no right to interfere in medical practice applaud Illinois government’s interference in medical practice. Apparently, the right to privacy between doctor and patient is sacrosanct except when the doctor determines that she cannot, in good conscience, collaborate in a specific kind of treatment the patient insists on having. It was not illegal for doctors to refuse to work with chiropracters, and it still is not, but it has become illegal for doctors to work with Catholics and other Christians.

In America’s early years, Catholics made up less than one percent of the population. Before 1800, one in eight Catholics in that one percent was a slave; most of the rest were poor farmers. Because they had no political clout, because they were manifestly hated by the Protestant majority, Catholics paid a double taxation and were forbidden the right to vote or hold office. Catholic churches, convents and homes were burnt; mobs harassed or murdered adherents to the Faith.

Many claim that this kind of attitude no longer holds in an America where John Kennedy won the presidency. Few people bother to note that Kennedy won the election only through his insistence that he was an avowed apostate from the Faith. To be elected, he first had to insist that he would consider his Catholic convictions useless when it came time to act on any matter.

During the course of this year, America will lose its numerical Protestant majority. It will not lose its anti-Catholic bigotry. Thus, we watch Governor Blagojevich viciously attack a woman’s right of conscience. We wait in vain for the National Organization of Women to support an Illinois doctor of pharmacy in her decision to refuse to dispense what she considers a dangerous drug. We wait for the courts to rule that Catholics should return to the ghetto from whence they came.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Caretaker Pope

Having no television, I've been listening to the streaming audio from NPR. All the commentators keep insisting that Benedict XVI is a caretaker pope.

Methinks they dost protest too much.

Vive il Papa!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Stealing Home

With the new Minuteman Project, illegal immigration is in the headlines again. The debate isn’t new, of course. 150 years ago, it wasn’t the Hispanics that worried us; it was the Chinese and the Irish. The irony is enormous. We created the very problem that vexes us.

Consider the history. Our problem with Mexico began in 1846 with the Mexican-American war, a war literally invented by the United States. We simply took the Mexican territory that is now New Mexico, Arizona and California. In his Memoirs, President Grant, who fought in the Mexican War, said, "For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory." Abraham Lincoln denounced the war as a fraud, and John Quincy Adams lamented the intentional dismemberment of Catholic Mexico.

The 1849 California Gold Rush occurred one year after the war’s end. This brought thousands of Chinese into what had been Mexico but was now, through fraud and force of arms, the United States. American California responded by making it illegal for Chinese immigrants to testify against whites. Congress responded by forbidding American ships from transporting Chinese immigrants. But due to a silver strike in Nevada, Chinese laborers were needed to build the transcontinental railroad, so they were brought in despite the laws.

Thousands of Chinese died in the construction effort of the transcontinental railroad. One year after the 1869 celebration of its completion, America commemorated the event by refusing to allow any Asian to become an American citizen. The subsequent 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act restricted their ability to even set foot on American soil. The Chinese would not be permitted to become Americans until 1943, two years after we had joined China in its WW II fight against the Japanese. Japanese had been permitted to become citizens in 1924. Restrictions on immigration from the rest of Asia would not be removed until 1968.

But, while Protestant America hated Asians, it had hated Catholics first. Between 1776 and 1830, Catholics made up roughly one percent of the U.S. population. At that time, one in eight Catholics was a slave. Most of the rest were poor farmers. The U.S. Catholic population increased to today’s 24% primarily through immigration and annexation. First, we stole Catholic Mexican territory, then Irish and German Catholics flooded in due to famines in their home countries in the 1830’s and 1860’s. We annexed Catholic Spanish territory like the Philippines in the 1898 Spanish American War but did not allow (Catholic) Filipinos to become American citizens until 1924.

And even as we let the Filipinos in, we shut Mexican and European Catholics out. A large influx of southern Mediterranean and Eastern European Catholics had streamed in around 1900. In 1892, New York’s Ellis Island opened as the primary processing station for the East Coast. By 1903, attempts were made to require inspection of aliens (Catholics) crossing the Mexican border. By 1907, Arizona, New Mexico and a large part of Texas was reorganized into the Mexican Border District in stricter attempt to stem the flow of Catholics across that border. It wasn’t enough. The per capita immigrant rate was still four times higher in 1913 than it is today.

So, by 1921, the attempt to keep Jews and Catholics out (Germans, Poles and Italians) was further strengthened through immigration quotas, quotas that became even tighter in 1924 - the same year Catholic Filipinos were finally permitted to naturalize. Those anti-Catholic quotas stayed in effect until 1965. They were justified in part by safety concerns. After all, President McKinley had been assassinated by a Polish anarchist in 1901. To a WASP, there was really no difference between an anarchist and a Catholic.

People like to portray the history of American immigration law as a history of racism. While it certainly was that, it was equally a history of anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic hysteria.

This year, for the first time in history, Protestant Christianity will no longer be the majority religion in the United States. However, even before it lost its dominance, secular humanistic atheists wielded abortifacient contraception, euthanasia and surgical abortion like swords, legally murdering America’s inconvenient and disabled. WASPs and atheists still export the American culture of death across the world.

But even as they labor to build their slaughterhouse, hundreds of thousands of Catholics steal across the border into the United States. Like the parable of the thief who breaks into the house to tie up the strong man, like the God who stole quietly into the virgin’s womb to overthrow the prince of this world, these illegals steal in to America. They are, after all, devoted to the Patroness of the Unborn, the Virgin who was herself an immigrant into the idolatrous land of Egypt.

So, here's a bit of information for the Minutemen to contemplate. When Hispanic Catholics look to the crucifix, they remember one critically important fact: God blessed the thief.

Friday, April 15, 2005

News Update on Terri Schiavo

The Empire Journal found a neurologist who says Terri Schiavo's brain scans while in the hospital were initially normal. He alleges that she suffered a blow to the cranium while in the hospital, thus the problems in later brain scans.

Allegations are that employees of DCFS intentionally collaborated in a cover-up of the evidence.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Of Living Wills

Pope John Paul II was schizoid. At least, that’s what George Negus said in his interview with Cardinal Pell. “There was this man who was incredibly conservative on social issues, domestic church issues - like celibacy, like abortion, like birth control, like marriage, married priests, like AIDS, like homosexuality, that was one Pope John Paul II. The other Pope John Paul II was this man who was very aggressive on the international stage. He's opposed the war in Iraq. He's said that the pre-emptive strikes are not morally justifiable, etc. He's spoken out against the Third World debt. He's campaigned against racism and world poverty. So there were - he was almost a schizoid figure and I use that term advisedly.”

How do we reconcile these two faces of the man? The question is rather reminiscent of one posed by James Thurber, “ ‘I don't understand’, said the scientist to the lemming, 'Why you lemmings all rush down to the sea and drown yourselves.’ ”

“ ‘How curious,’ said the lemming. ‘The one thing I don't understand is why you human beings don't.’ ”

We can make the point more bluntly. It is certain that there is schizophrenia in the world. The question is, who suffers from it: the Pope and his people or George Negus and his associates or both?

An objective observer might find it initially difficult to choose between the two. On the one hand, we have a man whose Christian Faith finds the sense of his guiding document (Scripture) forbids things like contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage while it embraces things like indulgences, the sacrament of confession and the Real and Substantial Presence of God in the Eucharist. On the other hand, we have men whose secular humanism finds the sense of their guiding document (this or that national constitution) requires contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage while it denies God’s central relevance at all.

In both cases, people have asserted that the documents themselves deny what the men involved claim they teach. For instance, many assert Scripture says not a word against contraception or for indulgences, while others assert the US Constitution, for example, says not a word requiring legal abortion or denying God’s grace. What to do?

There are many ways to differentiate one group from the other, but one way is compelling: the assignment of purpose. The Pope and his people believe that both the Church and every human being have an enormously important purpose to accomplish. The purpose is single, that each person accomplish it is of the highest importance and that the Church is necessary to each individual’s accomplishment is unquestionable.

From John Paul II’s point of view, he was the head of an organic whole that has to exist. If the Church did not exist, no man could attain what he needed to attain: heaven. John Paul II knew he existed in order to assist every man, woman and child alive. He knew the purpose each person fought to attain was critically important, and he was a critical part of attaining it.

George Negus and associates believe in purpose as well, but the purpose is not single. For some, the purpose is to maximize pleasure, others mean to maximize wealth or power, none have purpose beyond the grave. Because of this, each who carry Negos’ worldview believes his own purpose to be the most important. Those who agree with him are better men. Those who do not are not. Consequently, some men and women are more important than others.

The Pope opposed contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage and simultaneously opposed racism, world debt and poverty. He knew each of these things to be a stumbling block to attaining the only important thing. Negus and company, in contrast, oppose racism, debt and poverty only insofar as they reduce the chances of attaining personal objectives, whatever those objectives might be.

The infamous example of seven people in a six-man lifeboat comes to the fore. In the Pope’s understanding, it is better that he himself, or all aboard, starve than that any one aboard treat another one as expendable or less important than another. For Negos, it is different. He would never volunteer to die. He would expect someone else – someone who does not share his principles, someone less important – to die in his place. For John Paul, each of us was as important or more important than himself. For Negos, each of us is less important than himself.

In a certain sense, the Pope doesn’t understand why the rest of us would commit suicide. Negos and his friends don’t understand why the rest of us won’t.

Thus, the ACLU helps a husband kill his injured wife. She can find no more pleasure in life, and he can; indeed, he already has, so she must be thrown overboard. The judges who look to a national constitution instead of a living God will always make sure it is so. They can do no less. They must act so because they are themselves expendable.

You see, in Negos’ worldview, the US Constitution, any national constitution, does not need to exist. I can, if I am smart enough, obtain my goal of maximizing sensual pleasure, wealth, power, even in anarchy. The laws, the judiciary, these are tools to help me get my way. Insofar as they assist me, I will allow them to exist. Insofar as they do not, I will crush them. The executive branch, the legislature, the judges know this. If there is no God, no single purpose, then each must bow to Negos and company or be crushed.

Because they are one with Negos in worldview, they are each prospects for enforced suicide. The only way to avoid being forced to open one’s own veins is to open someone else’s first. Christianity sees a Great Chain of Being, in which each lower creature supports and glorifies the one above it. Secular humanism sees a Great Chain of Being in which each higher creature consumes the lower.

The Scriptures, the US Constitution, and a living will have this much in common: each embodies a purpose. The purpose of each is known only through the interpretation given to it. If each man is his own Pope, if each man ultimately seeks to be free of the intrusion of all government, then each man will interpret these documents as he will. But, if there is only one Pope, if Church government is necessary, then there is but one purpose, and each document will be interpreted to contribute towards that purpose.

As one of the documents points out, there are ever only two choices, thus, for the objective observer there can be only one question: who would you rather have as the interpreter, John Paul II or George Negos?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Gift for Blog Readers

I've been working on several projects recently, one of which is a new coupon system at Bridegroom Press. For those of you who might be interested, I am currently offering a free $5 coupon off any book purchase made at

You get a chance at reading more of my stuff without spending nearly as much money, while I get a chance to make sure this thing actually works in more than a test mode... :)

The coupon code is GMCHE and it is good through the end of April (only one use per user, but feel free to give the code to anyone who might be interested).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Musical Tribute

If you would like to watch a musical tribute to the Pope, check out

You need Windows Media Player to view it and a broadband connection will be helpful.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Many people are trying their hand at prophecy, making guesses at who will be elected the next pope. Study the history and the problem becomes a lot easier to solve.

Pope Pius XI was elected in 1922, a scant year before Hitler forced the Nazi movement into the public spotlight through his failed Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. The Nazi movement was an on-again, off-again threat during the 1920’s, marginalized almost to insignificance by 1929. Unfortunately, the world-wide economic depression of the early 1930’s brought them roaring back from the grave. Though the Nazis never received an electoral majority, electoral politics and the miscalculation of several prominent political figures in Germany convinced German President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler to the office of chancellor.

Thus, upon Pius XI’s death in 1939 the world was faced with a crisis of evil in the heart of Europe. The cardinals responded by electing to the papacy a man who had been the papal nuncio in Germany for over a decade (1917-1929). He knew Germany and the German people intimately; he knew perfectly well that the new-pagan Nazi regime was thoroughly evil. Of the forty-four speeches the papal nuncio had made on German soil, forty of them attacked the Nazis. In March, 1939, this papal nuncio became Pope Pius XII.

Pius XII was the only man in Europe willing to stand up to Hitler. Germany’s Nazi government immediately repudiated his election. The New York Times declared him the “lone voice” in Europe objecting to Nazism. Reinhard Heydrich of the Reich Central Security Office warned, “In a manner never known before, the Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order...the Pope does not refer to the National Socialists in Germany by name, but his [1942 Christmas] speech is one long attack on everything we stand for.”

Pius XII helped coordinate the communications of the group that attempted to assassinate Hitler. Hitler became so frustrated at his inability to silence this thorn in his side that the Nazis drew up secret plans to kidnap him. Pius' efforts saved more Jews than all other European efforts combined. The anti-Semites who assert differently implicitly call the Jews who lived through the war liars, for these same Jews uniformly praised Pius XII for his uniquely heroic efforts. The Nazi threat was ground into dust during his reign and due in no small part to his witness.

However, with Nazism crushed, a different menace arose. Communism grew through the post-war years to reach a crisis point during the late 1970’s, as Jimmy Carter’s ineffectual presidency exacerbated problems throughout the world. In 1979, as the crisis reached its height, the cardinals elected to the papacy a man who had lived through both Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes, a man who understood the communists intimately and had fought them to a stand-still time and again in his native Poland.

Pope John Paul II was virtually the only man in Europe willing to stand up to the Communists. Though he never attacked a specific Communist regime by name, he secretly assisted Poland’s Solidarity movement and diplomatically outflanked every move the totalitarians made. He frustrated the communist hierarchy to such an extent that the famous assassination attempt on his life is still suspected by many to have been the result of a Communist-inspired contract on his life. Today, the world praises him for his uniquely heroic efforts against the totalitarians. The Communist threat was ground into dust during his reign and due in no small part to his witness.

Today, there are crises developing on many fronts. Biotechnology issues, such as cloning, IVF, stem cell research and euthanasia rock through the headlines, threatening the sanctity of human life. On the political front, violent members of the Muslim community seriously threaten world peace. On the religious front, new strains of paganism run throughout Europe while the Orthodox communities crack and fall away from ancient Christian practice under the assault of secular sensibilities.

So, who will be Pope? It will be the man ready to deal with the next real crisis. Perhaps a man who knows the ways of medical science intimately, or who is thoroughly acquainted with the Muslim community. A man who intimately understands the defects of pagan philosophy or who is capable of permanently re-uniting the Orthodox and Catholic faiths. Study the background of the next Pope, and you will discover what the real world crisis is. Then wait and watch. You will see the ones who fomented the crisis crushed under the heel of the Vicar of Christ.