Nothing New Under the Sun…
We as traditional Catholics tend to look longingly into the past, with great nostalgia, as the ideal time of high morality and right order. However, as is written in Ecclesiastes 1, verses 9 and 10: What is it that hath been? the same thing that shall be. What is it that hath been done? the same that shall be done. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us. This yearning for the old days is, what I believe, His Excellency Bishop Richard N. Williamson often refers to as “Fiftiesism”. The 1950’s were a time of which many of the contemporary elders of tradition learned there Faith at the knee of family, religious, and the local Pastor. For many of us at the time being children, we were insulated from the world in largely Catholic parishes and neighborhoods. Yet clearly all of the sins of our day were manifest even then and for a considerable time prior to our youth. A classic example of this is that the ubiquitous guitar folk Masses of the 1970’s debuted in the late 19th century in Chicago, Il. Interestingly, it was also at about this time that Fr. Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, soon to be Pope Pius X, and later Pope Saint Pius X, saw for himself the occult workings of liberalism within the Church, the onset of which he delayed by at least 50 years from the mainstream Catholic Church during his Pontificate.
Since the Fall of Adam, mankind has been plagued by concupiscence, that is, we are inclined to an inordinate desire to sin and evil due to our wounded nature. The best we can really say about the “good ol’ days” is that the apparent ideals of the times were but a thin veneer covering a seething plague of the world, the flesh and the devil preying on this wounded nature of man.
The best illustration of what I’m speaking about occurred in the 1920’s, the so-called Roarin’ ‘20’s, which were a time of great decadence and loss of innocence of the average man and Catholic. To understand the time it must be recalled that World War I, The Great War, was over and many of the returning doughboys were coming home stripped their purity and filled with worldliness. Indeed, a popular song of the time was “How ya gonna’ Keep’em Down on the Farm After They’ve Seen Paris”. This ditty not only alluded to lost innocence but also to the changing of the agricultural economy to a post-war industrialization boom which enable the decadence and idleness of urban life to flourish. The mantra of the day was “live and let live” so many vices were given a blind eye.
I’m sure by now most of the readership is saying, but today we have so many bad things that are visited upon us: greed, corruption, abortion, Sodomy, etc. Well, I’m here to tell ya, that the only difference between now and then is the degree of the depths of sin and vice. As I said, a blind eye was turned to all vice, whereas today many of the vices, most notably abortion, birth control and Sodomy have not only become institutionalized within the law but also within the mainstream culture.
To get back to the Roarin’ 20’s, this freewheeling, anything goes spirit of the times was largely due to post war rebuilding and affluence. It gave rise to the feeling that man was independent of God, indeed, blasphemy of blasphemies, was equal to God that caused this reckless attitude of carefree, licentious living. It was not until the merciful and Providential Great Depression of 1929 and the ensuing years, did man once again have recourse to God and the Catholic Church with a resurgence of religious practice and thought. This time of hardship also ignited a fervency of indignation of sin and intolerance of immorality… it was a time of the pendulum swinging the opposite way. Alas, however, as is typical of human nature such dependence on the Providence of a Loving God is usually short-lived, as pride and haughtiness return. So this religious mindset lasted until the close of World War II which brought on another round of affluence, pride, and independent thought.
My point of nothing new under the sun and the transient nature of the sins of the past in relation to contemporary sins is exemplified in the little known song of the 1920’s entitled Masculine Women, and Feminine Men. Below is the YouTube web citation to this cleaver little ditty that was as true then as it is now. Keep in mind it was written post WWI.
Note: this video is not appropriate for grade-school children or maybe even some high school kids… use discretion in letting your kids view this video!
Here is the web citation:
Catholic Ladies! Notice the prevalence of men’s pants on women…’Nough said!
This might have all been avoided had the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary been universally promoted. It is not yet too late to do so, continue to pray and pray fervently.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.