Growing up in the South Bronx neighborhoods of New York City before the era of computer games …heck, before the dawn of personal computers even, we only had the television as the opiate of the masses. We, therefore, had to rely on our own devices for entertainment, exercise, interests, imagination, and knowledge. Back in the day Ma’ Bell was the only source of interactive audio communication and she held the reins of it tightly in her hands. As an instance, if you wanted an extension phone, that is, a second phone for the same line in your home you would pay extra … and quite a bit extra at that for the convenience. There were some gifted and enterprising young guys who figured out that the phone company only could detect a second line because of the increased voltage of a second ringer on your line; they therefore disabled the ringer in the second phones and set about wiring an extension phone in a handful of select relative’s and friend’s apartments. These “extra” phones were hard to come by, remember, as I said Ma’ Bell kept tight reins over communications; but if you saw a friendly phone repairman in the neighborhood and asked for broken phones for a school science project, most were happy to oblige. I guess this was the nascent birth of what is today known as hackers. Hey, perhaps this is even how Steve Jobs got his start, who knows?
Additionally, in those days there were electronic shops in every neighborhood such as Radio Shack, Lafayette Electronics, and others. There were also many mail order catalogs and suppliers found everywhere from comic books to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics that not only had complete how-to articles but also adverts for supplies which enabled most teens and preteens to build everything from radios to rockets. Those with an electronic aptitude were able to fix most every household appliances from radios to televisions to washers with a few parts from a quick trip to the neighborhood Lafayette Electronic shop. Parts, I might add that were made in the good ol’ USA and generally cost little of your weekly allowance.
Alas, whether you are old or young, we all know that such things have changed. It is now most expedient to toss many fundamentally sound items simply because of planned obsolescence built into such items. With integrated circuits it is usually cheaper and easier to throw out broken, yet repairable items, than it is to fix them. The Greeniesof today, with their incessant talk of filling landfills, think nothing of dumping a TV or other major appliance but prattle endlessly on about using reusable shopping bags verses paper, or kitchen cloths instead of paper towels. …but I digress.
Today, those electronic shops, where electrical components were readily found are long gone; the last remaining is Radio Shack, which no longer resembles the shops of the past. Now RS seems only interested in cell phones … yes they do carry some other things but these largely sit on the shelves collecting dust, and any corresponding or prerequisite parts are either unavailable or must be ordered. In essence, RS has become a sales outlet for completed merchandise rather than a supplier of electronic parts. Today’s consumers know more about operating a device than building one; or even how it works. Today everyone wants a thing “turn-key” that is operating off the shelf. This puts them at the mercy of producers and manufacturers, predominantly overseas, but more importantly feeds the mentality of the throw-away society.
The “mentality of disposable things” has very much affected the way moderns think. From abortion to euthanasia, these horrific concepts are a product of this disposable mentality. If one isn’t productive off the shelf, or if one requires any effort to bring back into productivity, than the heave-ho theory applies. So is it any wonder if the same attitude of planned obsolescence and off the shelf use extends even to religion.
Few today want to consider deep philosophical, religious, or doctrinal issues. They want practicality. Indeed, the usurpation of the Second Vatican Council is illustrative of this action. Originally, called to tweak some issues misunderstood in the Twentieth Century, it was seized by radical elements as a means of dismantling the Catholic Church. Suddenly, it was to reconcile the Church to the Modern World rather than the other way around. Occurring simultaneously on the conveyor belt of the radical and revolutionary 1960’s, it was fast-tracked in to the burgeoning planned obsolescence of the emerging radicalized youth. Religion today consists of weekly 35 to 60 minutes of community prayer in a church building and practically nothing more. Certainly nothing doctrinal is to be discussed, nothing controversial, and most sermons given by the pastor are to be insipid and cursory and not insightful or demanding of introspection. Such was the backdrop of His Excellency Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a prelate of deep Faith, and doctrinal, religious, and spiritual understanding, in forming the Society of St. Pius X.
Initially, those, both clergy and lay alike, flocked to him because they were of like mind, most if not all were raised in the pre-VCII Church and understood their Faith in a deep and abiding way. They were outraged by the radicalized Modernism of the New Church, that is the Novus Ordo Missa, and the “new”, sacraments, catechism, evangelization, and all the other illicit innovations ushered in by this council. Indeed, the combination of His Excellency, with the strong prelates formed under his watch together with knowledgeable and doctrinally savvy Faithful soon formed a burr under the saddle of the NewChurch. It became, in essence, the conscience that they tried so hard to obliterate with the sweeping changes of the false council; and so it remained for the next four decades.
Meantime, the secular society forged ahead forming a superficial membership who preferred expediency over in-depth understanding; practicalities to sound principles; off the shelf “turn-key” to building and understanding; instant gratification to sacrifice and deferral. The SSPX, meantime, urged its adherents to eschew the accoutrements of this greater secular society at large, most especially TV and recently the Internet and cell phones. The convenience of these items is largely outweighed by their impact on the Catholic family. Initially those of the Faithful brought up in the pre-VCII Church understood this instruction and avoided these fingers of the devil in their homes and families. As the generations of traditional Catholics progressed the fire in the belly cooled and slowly the concepts and devices of the greater secular society crept in. With it new attitudes toward materialism, comfort, and certain aspects of instant gratification began to emerge within the ranks.
Now the stage was set! Just like the market changes in the retail electronic industry decades earlier a new market was emerging; a market, so to speak, accepting of secularization of the Traditional Movement within the Catholic Church. As the good Archbishop and his first and second generation of priests understood the Catholic needs of its Faithful, the succeeding generations of prelates of the SSPX saw and were a part of this new “market” and they are playing to this new “market” demand. The difference is that the good Archbishop knew the needs of his flock were based solidly on traditional Catholic teaching, that is, the Sacred Magisterium; while today’s traditional Catholic priests are willing to compromise and adapt to an emerging market that reflects aspects of the secular society in its ranks. Through this adaptation subtle concepts of the “New” Ecumenism, Religious Liberty, the continuum of the Catholic Faith through VCII, and the adoption of the Code of Canon Law of 1983 are being introduced. It is the epitome of the, “boiling frog”. No longer is the monolith of the traditional movement a solid immovable force to be reckoned with; it is fragmented and the New Rome has sat back to see if this fragmentation may dissolve this one remaining obstacle to their Modernist plans.
It is irrelevant whether this change in tack of the traditional movement originates with the clergy or the Faithful; either way the outcome is the same …compromising of the Catholic Faith and betrayal of Christ’s Mystical Body on Earth. Beware the devil is in the details and the Faith lies in the subtleties; be vigilant; watch and pray!
We battle not against flesh and blood, nor do we battle against those who are our friends within the Traditional Catholic Movement, we battle against powers and spirits in high places who orchestrate such wicked changes. Though we continue to fight the good fight, for this battle we must seek the refuge of Mary, the scourge of Satan; she remains our last and best hope. Pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.