Truth and Freedom Therapy – A Therapy or An Apostolate?


‘Therapy’: ‘Treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder.’ (Oxford Dictionary)

This website and the service provided is dedicated to helping people to relieve or heal their disorders. This is partly achieved by pointing out the flaws and errors in other therapies, particularly those provided by psychologists and psychiatrists today. It highlights how psychological and psychiatric theories are built on sand and shows how their disciplines and the vast majority of these professionals are detached from reality. These professionals can not relieve or heal disorders as they do not understand what order is. In essence, they cannot give what they do not have. Various blogs on this website have attempted to show this.

Truth and freedom therapy offers an alternative therapy to these flawed and dangerous approaches. It is a therapy that is grounded in reality. Yet, the more I have reflected on the work I do and the blogs I post the more I realise ‘therapy’ does not quite capture what this service offers nor does it capture the focus or end goal of this service.  

This service is based on the reality that we have immortal souls that are destined for either eternal happiness or eternal damnation. This reality cannot be ignored or minimised. Truth and freedom therapy tries to offer people information that will help them to save their souls and attain eternal happiness.  It tries to draw people away from the errors of the world which attempt to deceive people into believing that this life is all we have. It points out the delusions of those who believe that a loving relationship with God is not essential for true happiness. It guides people toward God, His Divine Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His Blessed Mother.  It attempts to point out how sanctity and sanity are intimately intertwined. It highlights how happiness and holiness cannot be separated. It tries to give some guidance on how to sanctify ourselves.  Essentially, it is pointing to the practice of the one true faith, i.e. the Catholic faith, as the means to sanctify ourselves. This is the means of maintaining peace of soul and mind as we traverse through this valley of tears. And, more importantly, it is the only means of attaining eternal happiness for eternity. So, while this service may qualify as a therapy given the definition above, at its core it really is an apostolate. Its end goal is to bring people closer to the truth so that by accepting and following Truth Himself one can be truly free.

Given the emphasis and focus of this service it appears insincere and slightly deceptive in calling this service a therapy when really, at its core, it is an apostolate. I have engaged in an attempt over the last two years to draw people away from the errors of psychology and psychiatry toward the truth of the Catholic Faith. It has been designed in a way to draw people to Truth Himself. In this process, He has drawn myself closer to Him and He has helped me to realise that the solution to the difficulties of this life is much simpler and more straightforward than some of my long-winded blogs have made them out to me.  It is essentially loving Him who is Love Himself.  This is the royal path to true liberty.  Yet, this liberty is not the freedom that the world understands or promotes.  This path is rejected by the world as the world knows that this path involves captivity.  As Fr Faber explains in his excellent book on the interior life, ‘Growth in Holiness’: ‘Grace is the opposite of nature; nature everywhere cries liberty, grace cries captivity.’ God calls us gently to this captivity by revealing to us how much He loves us. He leaves it in our hands whether to accept His invitation to love Him in return. ‘It is true that love may lead to surrender of its freedom, indeed this is usually the goal of great love, nevertheless it is a free surrender, or it is of no worth.’– Archbishop Goodier (‘An Introduction to the Study of Ascetical and Mystical Theology’).  In our world today, especially with the draconian measures being used against us in this manufactured ‘pandemic’, many people are crying for ‘liberty’.  On this website, I have continuously emphasised the spirit of liberty. I have realised that on this website and, most certainly, in the world the graceful cry for captivity is rarely heard. Those who do cry for captivity go against the world’s maxims. They are the ones who are swimming against the current of false ‘liberty’, i.e. licence to do what you want.  These souls are given the graces and strength to keep swimming by their submissive and obedient adherence to Truth and Love Himself. Yet, in all this effort, these are the ones who are really free – ‘Liberty of spirit consists in exemption from cares, from remorse, from attachments; and captivity is the only road to this royal liberty.’ – Fr Faber (‘Growth in Holiness’) (See footnote).

To know and serve God is the only freedom’ – Don Sarda y Salvany (‘Liberalism Is A Sin’)

So, the end goal of truth and freedom therapy (or really this Catholic apostolate) is helping people to become captive to the good God so that they can be truly free.  There is no other route to true liberty. While tyrannical governments restrict natural liberties more and more today, they can never stop us from knowing, loving and serving God.  God gives everyone sufficient grace so that they can choose to serve Him. It is a voluntary choice to do otherwise. How sad for those who choose worldly illusions of ‘freedom’ over true freedom! ‘[Sinners] prefer to be ‘free’; that is, they prefer not to be obliged to free themselves from some slavery.’ – Archbishop Goodier.  How sad it is for those who abuse the gifts God has given them! – ‘How can one be free who is separated from the Most High? What harder or more miserable captivity is there than for the soul to have escaped from the hand of its Creator? How happy are they who find themselves laden with the strong fetters and chains of the gifts of God’s mercy, so that they are unable to gain the power to set themselves free…O free will, thou are the slave of thine own freedom, unless thou be pierced through with the fear and love of Him who created thee!’ (St. Teresa of Avila). 

Sin has produced the disordered times we find ourselves in. The enemies of Christ hold the reigns of worldly power and the conciliar church led by pope Francis are aiding the devil. Yet, the Catholic Faith still remains the shining light of faith, hope, and charity, in a world where these virtues are forgotten about or distorted. These complicated times call for a return to simplicity and Tradition if we are to remain captive to Our Lord and free. The Latin Mass, the Sacraments, Our Lady and the Rosary are key here. The anxiety, the depression, the fear that many of us are experiencing in these dark times can only be lifted by the light of faith and a more childlike trust in the goodness and love of our Heavenly Father who knows our needs before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8).  No therapies can do what a deep, sincere, devoted, and voluntary captivity to Love Himself can do. And the vast majority of therapies today only confuse people more or wrap them further in chains.

So, with this in mind, I am changing the focus of this service/website. It will be focused on apostolate work rather than therapeutic work. I will not be providing counselling or therapy sessions. Rather, I will write occasional blogs, focused on guiding people toward Catholic books, literature, and devotions that will help them develop their spiritual life. I will encourage people to get to the Sacraments wherever they can and find good traditional Catholic priests for guidance and spiritual direction. I, as a layman, might be able to provide some good reading material and some general advice but I cannot provide what good priests can and neither can any other psychological professional. We cannot fill the void left by Catholic priests, bishops and popes abandoning the flock to the wolves of the world since the Vatican II council. I have given my critique of modern psychology, psychiatry, and other therapeutic approaches over the last two years to show that these professionals are doing far more damage than any good in their attempts to fill this void. I invite readers to assess these claims for themselves. Instead of looking for answers to the problems of life from deluded and disordered psychological professionals it is far safer and surer to return to the truth and the simplicity, beauty and majesty of the Catholic Faith. Hopefully, you will see through the illusionary promises of happiness that the world and its slaves offer and by doing so, you will then become captive to the truth.

‘No man can serve two masters’ – Matthew 6:24

The great English martyr, St. Thomas More, served the right Master. He was captivated by Our Lord and His religion. St. Thomas described this life as a prison and we who traverse it as prisoners. He composed a prayer longing to be released from this prison and to attain Heaven where he would be free to love God for all eternity: ‘Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with Thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this wretched world; nor so much for the avoiding of the pains of purgatory, nor of the pains of hell neither, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven in respect of mine own commodity, as even for a very love of Thee.’ (‘Sir Thomas More (The Blessed Thomas More)’ by Henri Bremond – p. 146). In his glorious martyrdom, in which he loyally remained captive to Our Lord, his prayer was fulfilled and he was released from this prison. We now have recourse to him so we too may have strength and faith like his to remain loyal captives to Our Lord.

Finally, I will leave you with three quotes from three books I highly recommend, ‘Self Abandonment to Divine Providence’ by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, ‘The Imitation of Christ’, ‘How to Be Happy, How to Be Holy’ by Fr Paul O’Sullivan (available through TAN books) which emphasise the way to true freedom and give advice on how to conduct ourselves in this life to attain this freedom.  May they inspire you to a holier and happier life. 

St. Thomas More, pray for us

‘Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence’ by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

‘God assures to the souls who are faithful to him a glorious victory over the powers of the world and of hell’:

All these monsters [Lucifer and his slaves] come into the world only to exercise the courage of the children of God, and when these have learned enough, God rewards them with the pleasure of killing the monster, and calls new athletes to the arena.  And so this life is a continual spectacle which is the joy of heaven, the training of the saints on earth and the confusion of hell.

Thus, all that is opposed to God’s order does but result in making it more adorable.  All who freely serve iniquity become the slaves of justice, and the divine action builds the Heaven Jerusalem with the ruins of Babylon.’ – p. 160

‘The Imitation’: Book 3, Chapter 38:

On How to Govern Ourselves and on Having Recourse to God in Danger:

Christ: My child, strive diligently for perfect interior freedom and self-mastery in every place, in every action and occupation, so that you be not the slave of anything, but that all things be under your control.

          You must be lord and ruler over your actions, never a bondsman or a mercenary. You must be a free person – similar to a righteous Hebrew – one who is transferred to the rank and the liberty of the children of God. Children of God stand above present things; they contemplate those that are eternal.

           They look upon transient things with the left eye; with the right eye they look at heavenly things. They do not allow temporal things to attract them, nor do they cling to them; instead they make those earthly things serve the end and purpose for which God made and ordained them. For the Divine Artist did not leave anything in all His creatures but what is orderly and governed by laws.

‘How to Be Happy, How to Be Holy’ – Fr Paul O’Sullivan

If we only thought of Heaven, it would console us in our bitterest sorrows. This is what St. Paul means when he says: ‘What are the sorrows and tribulations of this life in comparison with the glory that awaits us?’

            We act like prisoners and slaves content with their miserable lot, who do not long for and sigh for their freedom. We are content with this vale of tears, this poor life with all its miseries, pains, and sorrows.

            The happiness of Heaven should be our aim. It is perfect, complete, absolute. There we shall have no pains, no sorrow, nothing but infinite, immense, complete and perfect happiness. There all our desires shall be satisfied. Our joy will be full.

            Mother of God, help us to understand what Heaven is.’ – p. 167

Footnote:

Extended passage from Fr Faber on this ‘spirit of captivity’ which he describes as one of the weapons to combat the rebellious human spirit found in all of us:

The first [weapon] must be what ascetical writers often call the spirit of captivity. Grace is the opposite of nature; nature everywhere cries liberty, grace cries captivity; and without a resolute good will to take ourselves captive, we shall never beat down the human spirit. The spirit of captivity consists, as an eminent mystical writer tells us, sometimes in submission to a written rule, parcelling out our daily actions so far as our state of life will allow, sometimes in subjection to our director, even against our own judgment, and without feints or wiles, sometimes in conformity to the law of Providence, especially where it thwarts and mortifies our natural liveliness and inclinations, and sometimes also in submission to that attraction of the Holy Spirit which is to many of us like a special revelation. There is also a captivity to frequently recurring, though not daily or obligatory, practices of devotion, a captivity to interior recollection with all its difficulties, trials, and repressions of natural activity; and all mortification is itself but a shape of captivity.’ – p. 190-1

Schizophrenia – What is a Catholic to Make of It?


‘The world holds us to be fools, let us hold it to be mad.’– St. Francis de Sales, ‘The Devout Life’

The vast majority of people today are disconnected from reality.  The vast majority of people are living in their own subjective fantasies disconnected from the truth about existence.  However, in the crazy times we live in Western society, it is the ones who are most insane who are the ones guiding others. For example, the highest number of atheists are to be found in the disciplines of psychiatry and psychology (1). These are the professionals who are appointed as mental health advisors and given the care of the psychologically disturbed. The fact that Joe Biden has recently installed ‘Rachel’ Levine, a dreadfully sick man who seems to believe that he is a woman, to one of the most senior health roles in the USA, only confirms that the world is mad as St. Francis de Sales says. Now, this insane system is set up very well and very cleverly. It has developed gradually over hundreds of years. People have become so brainwashed that anyone who questions the diabolical nature of these current times and provides an outline of the cause and true solution so that we can return to a more sane society will be dismissed as mad, fanatical, delusional, psychotic, schizophrenic, or at the very least, a fool.  Now, this is nothing to marvel at. It has always happened to people who have spoken the truth and it happened to Truth Himself (although the pseudo-scientific terms of psychiatry where not yet then invented by the Jewish mob). To illustrate how some people who speak the truth are dismissed as madmen let us look at how psychiatry uses the terms ‘psychotic’ and ‘schizophrenic’ to ridicule and reject these men and the truth they speak.

Defining ‘Schizophrenia’: 

                                         The World Health Organisation outlines five symptoms for the diagnosis of schizophrenia: hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there), delusions (fixed false beliefs or suspicions not shared by others in the person’s culture and that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary), abnormal behaviour (disorganised behaviour such as wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self, strange appearance, self-neglect or appearing unkempt), disorganised speech (incoherent or irrelevant speech); and/or disturbances of emotion (marked apathy or disconnect between reported emotion and what is observed such as facial expression or body language).  Now, the last three symptoms are often caused by the drugs people are put on to treat ‘schizophrenia’ or they may be due to experiencing a severely traumatic episode such as sexual abuse or they may be a result of excessive alcohol or drug consumption: ‘Many lose their reason by indulgence in strong drinks, and end their days in a madhouse. By surfeiting many have perished (Ecclus. Xxxvii. 34).’ (‘The Catechism Explained’ – Spirago-Clarke). These explanations for these symptoms are far more reasonable explanations than any vague and unscientific theories about dopamine imbalances, which are put forward by psychiatrists. Further, it is the hallucinations and delusions that are the main criteria for the diagnosis of psychosis or schizophrenia and psychiatry has become the decider of when someone is or is not experiencing hallucinations or delusions. Psychiatrists have the power to decide whether someone is or is not in touch with reality and if someone does not agree with their assessment the State gives them power to detain you and to force you to accept treatment.  Therefore, psychiatrists need to be in touch with reality themselves, otherwise how they can assess whether someone else is?  So, let us look at Catholic teachings from men who were truly in touch with reality and assess how a Catholic would respond to these ‘symptoms’ versus how a typical psychiatrist would respond to them:

Global Conspiracy Theories:

                                           Many people have spoken out against the danger and evil of secret societies that seek to spark revolution and disorder across the world.  Speaking about secret societies and their revolutionary aims, Pope St. Pius X said, ‘Revolution is inspired by Satan himself. Its object is to destroy from top to bottom the edifice of Christianity, and to reconstruct on its ruins, the social order of Paganism.’  Pope Leo XIII warned about the perversity of Freemasonry: ‘To wish to destroy the religion and the Church which God Himself has established, and whose perpetuity He insures by His protection, and to bring back after a lapse of eighteen centuries the manners and customs of the pagans, is signal folly and audacious impiety…In this insane and wicked endeavour we may almost see the implacable hatred and spirit of revenge with which Satan himself is inflamed against Jesus Christ.’ (my emphasis). Long before the conciliar/Novus Ordo church became friends with the world these two great shepherds warned the faithful about the dangers in their midst and the secret, evil attempts of men to destroy Christian civilization.  Pope Leo XIII asked his bishops to ‘tear away the mask of Freemasonry’ and expose it for what it is, while highlighting the devious ploys that they use to ensnare souls in their traps: ‘Generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and purposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless licence of vice, as when this had been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring.’ Here, Pope Leo XIII only repeats what Freemasons have said themselves, as outlined by Fr Delaporte in his excellent book, ‘The Devil: Does He Exist and What Does He Do?’:  “‘Our final end,’ wrote one of the high dignitaries of that gloomy empire, in 1819, ‘our final end is that of Voltaire and the French Revolution, the annihilation of Catholicity, and even of the Christian idea, forever.’  This then, is their object.  Another will give a sketch of the proceedings; ‘It is decided in our councils that we want no more Christians. Let us make no martyrs, but make vice popular amongst the masses. Let them breathe it through the five senses.  Make hearts vicious, and you will have no more Catholics!’ If that be not diabolical language, what is?’” An obedient and humble Catholic would see that these statements come from authoritative sources and conclude that secret societies have been at work for centuries in attempts to overthrow Christ as King in society.  Now, how would psychiatrists interpret these types of ‘conspiracy theorists’ (as that is what they would call them) today? They would most likely cite them as delusional and paranoid.  These statements would clearly tick the box for ‘fixed false beliefs or suspicions not shared by others in the person’s culture and that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary’. (Psychiatrists would, of course, provide the contrary evidence, i.e. what the majority think and/or their own authority as State sanctioned reality makers). (2)

Being Monitored and Influenced By Beings We Cannot See:

                                               We are surrounded by invisible spirits who influence us for better or worse.  On rare occasions they manifest themselves clearly to our senses. This is most notable in the lives of the saints. Other times, we have some vague sense of their influence. Sometimes if one’s mind is exhausted, one has been through trauma or one lets one’s imagination wander far then one can experience hallucinations. The Catholic Church has always acknowledged this (3). However, the influence of the spiritual world cannot be dismissed. Certain truths must be and have been acknowledged by various men, such as the truth that one can either use the influence and help of one’s guardian angel to obtain eternal salvation or one can use the influence and power of the demons in this life which will ultimately lead to one’s demise if these chains are not broke before you die.  As Fr Vonier in ‘The Human Soul and Its Relations with Other Spirits’ outlines, ‘[Man] may ignore forever, and tender ineffectual, the Angelic partnership; but the day he is resolved to turn it to good account, he will find it to be a mine of hidden moral wealth.  Man may make evil use of the Angelic partnership, as he does of the World in which he lives.’  The angelic and demonic influences are real influences. They can influence our thoughts and our feelings and this may sometimes lead to a sense that one’s thoughts are not one’s own. Some people seem to experience this influence more than others, while others, particularly the saints, saw these spirits with their own eyes. Refusing to give way to the psychiatrist’s more ‘scientific’ or ‘rational’ point will likely get you labelled as hallucinating or at the very least, delusional. 

In addition, people experiencing what is termed ‘psychosis’ or ‘schizophrenia’ often experience the sensation of being constantly watched or under surveillance. Now, in our world today, where there are human forces watching our moves, through CCTV cameras or the monitoring of our social media activity, this is not such a ‘paranoid’ belief. But what if behind it all these people are beginning to realise that they are being watched, but not just by human eyes? Fr Meyer, in ‘Science of the Saints’ clearly outlines this reality: ‘The evil one is wont to study, what kind of conscience each soul has; whether delicate or obtuse.  If he finds it to be delicate, he endeavours to make it more delicate still, in order that, having brought it to a state of extreme anxiety, he may the more easily put it to confusion and flight.  For instance, if he knows that a soul consents to no sin, mortal or venial, nay that it cannot so much as endure the shadow of sin, he does his best to make it judge that there is sin where there is no sin. The obtuse soul or conscience, on the contrary, he strives to make still more obtuse, so that, if before it made light of venial sins, it may now care little for mortal sins also, and daily fear them less.’ An obedient and humble Catholic would see that these conclusions about the angelic and demonic world come from authoritative sources in the form of books approved by the Catholic Church when its leaders were still interested in feeding the flock with truth and protecting it from error. He would conclude that we are continually being monitored by demonic powers. He would acknowledge that our weaknesses are being continuously studied by them and fresh attacks launched.  He would know that this is the reality of the spiritual battle in life and this battle has a major effect on our psychological state. This would be nothing new or surprising to a Catholic and the person reporting these beliefs to him would be seen as perfectly sane. But what is the most likely outcome if you try to explain all this to a psychiatrist today? They may nod their head and even smile to establish a ‘therapeutic relationship’ but behind the smiling they are likely labelling you as hallucinating and delusional.  You have probably told them enough to make them conclude that you are ‘hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there’. (4)

Conclusion:

                                                    Psychiatry may prove a valuable role in people’s life for helping them to suffer meekly and humbly and thus prove a source of good for some people’s sanctification as God, in His infinite goodness, can draw good out of evil. However, apart from this benefit, psychiatry is not a Catholic’s friend.  It is a pseudoscience which has produced terrible fruits and one established and dominated by enemies of Christ (1).  A Catholic who knows his faith and a typical psychiatrist have very different understandings of reality and what sanity or insanity looks like. Either one or the other is in touch with reality. Both cannot be.  The influence of truly Catholic leaders such as popes, bishops, priests and theologians for deciding what order and sanity looks like has decreased, the influence of psychiatrists in deciding these things has increased. There are attempts to wed the Catholic Faith and psychiatry but it is like trying to wed water and oil. They have different frameworks for understanding what sanity is and what order looks like.  Psychiatry is disconnected from the reality of this life, the Catholic Faith is wedded to it. Psychiatry is an ally of Freemasonry in its attempt to established a new non-Catholic world order (5). The shepherds of the Church have now allowed the wolf of psychiatry into its fold and allied themselves with this toxic unscientific nonsense (6). Now some of these shepherds even use psychiatric labels to tar people who speak the truth, such as the attacks on Archbishop Vigano (7) and those ‘rigid’ and ‘insecure’ traditional Catholics (8) who adhere to the teachings of such great popes as Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X.  It is not a new tactic to use psychiatry as a way of discrediting people who speak the truth. The Russians did this to the writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who exposed the Gulags and the horrors of the Communist regime, labelling him as ‘schizophrenic’. However, it is a new thing for Catholic bishops to use psychiatric labelling to dismiss faithful Catholics who are only repeating what previous popes have said and done. Catholics who know that the devil is at work in secret societies throughout the world are considered paranoid, foolish, mad or dismissed as ‘conspiracy theorists’ by the world and their supposed shepherds. Now, some people end up in the snares of psychiatry because they genuinely have lost touch with reality. This is admitted and has been seen while working on psychiatric wards by the author.  However, it appears that it is the ones who are in charge of these wards who are likely to be the most insane. People, whether some or many, have been caught up in the snares of psychiatry because they have remained in touch with reality while psychiatry and psychiatrists have lost touch with it.  These people may get labelled with ‘schizophrenia’ thus discrediting anything they have to say in the eyes of the world.  Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, Fr Delaporte, Fr Vonier, Fr Meyer, and countless other Catholic popes, bishops, priests, theologians, and laymen, who shared their views would likely be seen as having, at least, some symptoms of ‘schizophrenia’ and ordered to a psychiatrist to have treatment for their ‘conspiratorial’ and ‘paranoid’ views.  Psychiatry holds the worldly power today and chooses who to deem mad and who to deem sane. It is dominated by atheists and other enemies of Christ who reject or do not know the Truth (1). The effects of the disordered society we currently live in will be felt more or less by us all, depending on the weight of the cross the good God wills to put on our shoulders. Disorder brings suffering but if this suffering is accepted with meekness and humility it can turn towards our sanctification.  The evil of psychiatry can be turned to the good of our souls.  So, if you find yourself or your family member in the hooks of psychiatry for simply being Catholic or adhering to the insights of the writers mentioned above, well, to paraphrase St. Francis de Sales, ‘Psychiatry holds us to be fools, let us hold it to be mad.’ 

God bless you in your efforts to live and speak the truth 

Footnotes:

(1) For psychology professors see: Gross, M. & Simmons, S. (2009) ‘The Religiosity of American College and University Professors’, Sociology of Religion, 70(2), pgs. 101-129.  Available at: https://academic.oup.com/socrel/article-abstract/70/2/101/1637811?redirectedFrom=fulltext

For psychiatrists, see:  Psychiatrists Are The Least Religious Of All Physicians — ScienceDaily

(2) This would be especially true if the person was experiencing common effects, such as facial tics, extreme physical restlessness and agitation, from the drugs that they were put on, and one was unable to articulate themselves clearly.  One ends up looking mad and what they are saying would sound mad to the vast majority of psychiatrists.

(3) A brief glance at the Summa Theologica on the remedies for sorrow (see here: Summa Theologiae FS Q[38] Of The Remedies Of Sorrow Or Pain (summa-theologiae.org)) where St Thomas shows the benefits of a pleasurable activity, crying, sympathy from friends, sleep and baths, highlights how Catholic teaching never ignored or neglected the influence the body had on the mind.  He certainly provides far better answers to the problem of interior sorrow than the quackery of psychiatry.

(4) If you happen to be going through a rough time, can’t articulate yourself well, and have taken some of the toxic drugs that they recommend, it is very likely that you will end up with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.  If you don’t comply there is always the chance you will be put on a compulsory treatment order and perhaps given involuntary electroshock which was still common practice when I worked on a psychiatric ward in New Zealand in 2017.

(5) For just one example, see: Freemasonry and psychiatry in Poland – Tadeusz Nasierowski, Jonathan Britmann, 2012 (sagepub.com)

(6) See article on this website, ‘The Theory of Evolution and Mental Health’, for more on this

(7) See: Archbishop close to Pope suggests Archbishop Viganò suffers from a delusional mental illness | News | LifeSite (lifesitenews.com)                                         

(8) See: Pope Francis on the young who like Latin Mass: ‘Why so much rigidity?’ | News | Lifesitenews

(9) See other articles on this website, ‘False Shepherds’ and ‘The Nutters Running the Nuthouse’

Impostor Syndrome


‘Take away from my conscience the mask of vain, pitiful excuses which prevents me from seeing myself as You see me and know me, as I really am in Your eyes.’ – Fr Gabriel, ‘The Divine Intimacy’

There is a condition called ‘impostor syndrome’ which appears to be becoming more and more popular in the psychotherapeutic and psychological fields today. It appears in many of the most read and most popular online psychological and medical journals, e.g. Psychology Today, Medical News Today, while it also makes its appearance in popular newspapers and news magazines, such as The Independent and Time magazine.  There are twos video on YouTube on impostor syndrome which have attracted the attention of 2.4 million and 3 million people so far. There are also numerous people making their own videos on this condition. These articles and videos on impostor syndrome advocate for the reality of this condition and provide tips about what to do about it (1).  The following article will examine exactly what this ‘impostor syndrome’ is and what treatments are proposed to solve it. Then, having exposed the problems with these proposed treatments, which mainly promote ‘vain, pitiful excuses’, it will look at the real solution to these problems.

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

According to the research on these experiences, impostor syndrome is mainly characterised by doubting your own abilities, skills, and talents, and a persistent fear that you will be exposed as a ‘fraud’. This anxiety and fear was initially identified amongst ‘high-achieving’ women, i.e. women of above average intelligence that had worldly success in academia.  Subsequent studies suggested it was prevalent amongst ‘high-achieving’ men as well. The people that mainly experience impostor syndrome are those who are driven to be the best that they can be in whatever discipline they take on. They agree with such statements as ‘Oftentimes, I downplay my achievements because they are just very average’, ‘I tend to work hard towards one goal and, once I have reached it, I consider it normal and set a new goal for myself’, ‘Even if people praise me and my skills, I don’t think I am as competent or accomplished as they think I am’, ‘I believe that there’s always room for improvement and that stagnation equals decline’ and  ‘I think you should always prepare presentations/meetings thoroughly.’ (2) By this, one can see that they are driven to keep succeeding in whatever task or role they undertake.  Yet, when they have achieved what to the world looks like success, they very often remain unsatisfied with themselves and see themselves as frauds or impostors.  Modern psychology describes this as negative thinking and encourages the reframing of this critical thinking to more positive thoughts, such as ‘I know I can do this’, ‘learning to accept and believe compliments’ or ‘learning how to be your own person.’  Now, no doubt, there is some merit in this approach, especially for those who are naturally self-deprecating or those of a melancholic temperament. Encouragement is necessary for us at times. However, this approach only touches the surface and fails to address the underlying reasons for this sense of not being all that one can or should be or why this experience is so prevalent today. Modern sociological explanations for these thoughts and feelings often focus on ‘internalised sexism/misogyny/racism’.  These are put forward as the reasons why people do not feel good enough despite success in the world. However even with the huge growth of modern psychological treatments where positive thinking has been repeatedly emphasised over the last 40 years and the growth of all sorts of pride and liberation movements, these feelings and thoughts of being a fraud or an impostor appear to be only on the increase. So what is going on?

Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Now, there usually comes a time in a person’s life where they realise how futile and vain their efforts are and how even their achievements and the praise they receive for them do not give any lasting interior satisfaction. It comes with a sense of one’s insignificance. You can be told over and over again how good you are, how good your life is, and how brilliant your achievements are but yet not believe it. It is the lament of Solomon in chapter 2 of Ecclesiastes:  “I said in my heart: I will go, and abound with delights, and enjoy good things. And I saw that this also was vanity” and “And when I turned myself to all the works which my hands had wrought, and to the labours wherein I had laboured in vain, I saw in all things vanity, and vexation of mind, and that nothing was lasting under the sun.”  These experiences are most keenly felt in the experience of a mid-life crisis where even the best of one’s achievements appear vain, futile, and of no real value. This can sometimes send people into despair. More praise for external achievements is only seen as flattery and often leads to ‘vexation of mind’. During these periods there is a sense that there is something internal niggling at us that tells us we are not all that we should or can be. Modern psychology diagnoses this as ‘impostor syndrome’ and proposes the solutions. However, copious amounts of positive thinking and sociological explanations about ‘internalised inferiority’ have still not helped to alleviate this sense of being a fraud.  So, what are we missing?

Trying To Escape From That Which We Cannot:

Let us regard all ideas of what we ought to do simply as an interesting psychological survival: let us step right out of all that and start doing what we like. Let us decide for ourselves what man is to be and make him into that: not on any ground of imagined value, but because we want him to be such. Having mastered our environment, let us now master ourselves and choose our own destiny.’ – C.S. Lewis, ‘The Abolition of Man’, p. 32

The ultimate springs of human action are no longer, for them, something given. They have surrendered – like electricity: it is the function of the Conditioners to control, not to obey them. They know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of conscience they will produce. They themselves are outside, above…The final victory has been won. Human nature has been conquered.’ – C.S. Lewis, ‘The Abolition of Man’, p. 37

C.S. Lewis, over 75 years, gave an insight into the thoughts of those who sought to escape that which we cannot escape, i.e. reality.  Today, modern psychological and sociological theories, and practices deriving from these, are attempting to make man happy and to put him at peace, as they attempted in Lewis’ time. Yet, like those in Lewis’ era, in their attempts to do so, they have floated off away from reality. They are trying to build this happiness and peace on false foundations and escape from something which they cannot escape from, i.e. the natural law and conscience. Lewis, in the quote above, outlines how, during his lifetime, there were ongoing attempts by Conditioners, i.e. psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and those who saw themselves as ‘enlightened and progressive reformers’, to escape from the natural law and the pressure this put on our consciences.  These attempts have only been sped up by the ‘Conditioners’ in our times as modern psychological and sociological theories explain away or ‘produce’ conscience while they imagine themselves to have overcome this last hurdle of human nature. ‘Man is now free to be happy and at peace!’ they pronounce. Yet, misery, despair, and angst are only growing in our societies despite all their efforts. The beast of conscience has not succumbed to their desperate methods.  The laments of Solomon are heard across the world even amongst those who are deemed successful in the world’s eyes.  So, if modern psychological and sociological theories have failed to produce peace in men’s minds and hearts, if they have failed to shake off from many this feeling of being an impostor, where does the real solution lie? 

We do not want to be like the rest of men.  We spend our days in seeking distinction, for we will not admit that the commonplace is the gate of eternal happiness.  We go here and go there, we do this and do that, in order that we may talk about it, and be talked about… We live and hope and love as if there were no God, as if were alone, as if we had no hope save in what we achieve for ourselves… We are too busy arranging for our happiness to listen to Him, whereas He has already made all the arrangements necessary for our happiness.’ – Fr Eugene Boylan, ‘This Tremendous Lover’

Feelings of being a fraud or not being all that you should be are often our conscience speaking to us to let us know how miserable and wretched we really are.  One may have been given huge amounts of praise from the world, one may have gained numerous degrees and distinctions, and one may have impressed colleagues and friends with displays of one’s skills and abilities, (‘We go here and go there, we do this and do that, in order that we may talk about it, and be talked about’) but one still can feel empty or sense one’s life really is a failure or think that one is really a fraud.  How many people of worldly success, such as actors in Hollywood, have been hooked on drugs and died miserable deaths, despite what looked like lives of success to worldly eyes?  How many people are ‘too busy arranging for our happiness to listen to Him’? Modern psychology would not even ask this question. It would likely say that these poor high-achieving souls suffered from ‘impostor syndrome’. If it is a woman or a person of a racial minority that experiences this sense of being a fraud, then modern sociological theories put it down to ‘internalised sexism’ or ‘internalised racism’.  Modern psychology and sociology work hard at explaining away the pangs of conscience that sting us.  They refuse to acknowledge what man really is, i.e. a body and a soul, and as the Book of Proverbs says, ‘Where there is no knowledge of the soul, there is no good.’  What is most dangerous is that these modern theories suffocate and ridicule the true fix to these feelings of being an impostor, i.e. addressing what your conscience is indicating to you.  There are moments of grace in life where people who have achieved a lot of worldly success realise the futility and vanity of all that they have done.  These are moments of interior humiliation. There comes a realisation that our achievements are nothing in the grand scheme of things.  It can be a time to be humbled. It can be a time to really start examining what success in life really means or if we really are as good as the people around us tell us we are.  Instead of flattering ourselves or others flattering us the real solution lies in humbling ourselves to the dust and acknowledging that the worldly success we have had in life is often nothing but vanity and show.  There are moments when God breaks through despite our frantic search for distinction from the world and the busyness of our lives. These gentle moments of grace, if responded to with good will and a contrite and humble heart, can lead us toward peace of soul and they can help us to realise that ‘He has already made all the arrangements necessary for our happiness.’ 

‘Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:48)

The reality of whether we are a success in this life can only be measured by how we measure up to the truth.  We all desire happiness. As St. Augustine says, ‘All men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness’.  He defines happiness as ‘joy in truth’.  The more we come to know and love the truth, the more perfectly we follow the path of truth, the happier we are and will become.  Now, there are times in every man’s life where he has a strong indication that the road he is on is not the right one. These feelings become apparent for many despite the trappings of worldly praise and success. He begins to sense that he is far from the road that leads to perfection. The anxiety this causes in us is at the root of the worldwide and prevalent phenomenon of ‘impostor syndrome’.  However, it may not be considered a disease or a syndrome. It may be called a grace in many cases. It is blessing to begin to realise the futility and vanity of worldly success and praise.  These are the moments that we realise that we are not good enough and become aware of our own misery and nothingness.  We can choose either to be humbled by these experiences and really examine our lives in light of the truth or we can explain them away as ‘negative thinking’ or ‘internalised prejudice’.  We can reach for the nearest psychologists, therapists, or sociologists to placate our concerns and tell us we are ‘good enough’. Or, alternatively, we can listen to Truth Himself as He speaks to us in those moments of distress and near despair who reaffirms to us that we are unworthy, misery, nothingness (3), but Who then reminds us that through His infinite Love and our generous co-operation in returning this love He will make us all that we can and should be. 

Finding One’s True Self:

The world flatters us, the truth does not.  Truth tells us to be careful not to be deceived by flattery and those false prophets dressed in the clothing of sheep.  He tells us that we must be better than we currently are and that we need to curb our evil inclinations through discipline and vigilance. As Fr Edward Leen (‘Why the Cross?’) says, ‘The religion of Christ does impose restraints, but what it restrains is not human nature as such, but human nature that is tempted to be faithless to its true self.  It curbs only those instincts which menace ruin to human personality; as a consequence, it remains essentially a law not of self-repression, but of self-expression.’

With a bit of effort, we can then shake off any feelings of false shame and the notions of being a fraud or an impostor as we begin to live the life we were created to live, i.e. a life that is centred on knowing, loving, and honouring God.  We can then be and express our true selves. This is the ultimate solution to the problem of the impostor syndrome.

To put myself consciously in acquiescence and harmony with all that I apprehend as the good and the true, carries me (in that inner region of my being which is my true self) beyond the limitations of goodness and truth as I apprehend them conditioned by sense and by mind, to the very essence of God Himself in Whom all goodness under all its manifold aspects is one and absolute and infinite.’ – Fr R.H.J. Steuart, ‘World Intangible’

Dear reader, what has been written above is an attempt to guide you and others away from the false and dangerous snares that the world wishes to entangle people in when the inevitable interior difficulties we experience in life appear. This article gives an indication as to where the real solution to feelings or thoughts of being false to our true self lies.  It points towards Goodness, Mercy, and Love Himself. Now, the devout Catholic life is the way to this true life (4). It is the way of harmonising ourselves with all that is good and true. It is where your true self is to be found. This is the way that leads to peace and happiness. This is the message that this article, wishes to impart. Perhaps, this will then incite you to explore further articles on this website which hope to encourage you on this path.  At least, it is hoped that the blogs written here in 2020 will spur you on to investigate the claims of the Catholic Faith further. 

Ultimately, faith is a gift from God so, as this is my last article of 2020, I hope and pray that you will be blessed with this gift and that you will enjoy a truly happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.  

God bless

Footnotes:

  1. There are doubts over whether this condition meets objective criteria to truly classify it as a psychological condition, with it even failing to make the list of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual, which has at least over 200 various diagnoses and includes such questionable disorders as ‘binge eating disorder’, i.e. gluttony, and ‘disruptive mood dysregulation disorder’, i.e. throwing temper tantrums. However, it is definitely true that people are experiencing anxiety about being seen as a fraud and impostor and this is why it is worth investigating.  
  2. Taken from: http://impostorsyndrometest.com. Note: the thoughts and attitudes towards oneself displayed as symptomatic of impostor syndrome cross over with many of the traits of conscientious people, i.e. those who are sensitive to the dictates of their conscience. This gives more evidence to the points made in this article that this ‘impostor syndrome’ is used as a way of explaining away the niggling of one’s conscience.
  3. The following are some of the words Our Lord uses towards Sister Josefa Mendenez in the private revelations she experienced, as outlined in the book, ‘The Way of Divine Love’. They are written here to give an understanding of how Our Lord speaks to those He loves: My one desire is to reveal to souls the love, the mercy and the pardon of My Heart, and I have chosen you to do it for Me, wretched as you undoubtedly are. But do not be anxious, I love you, and your misery is the very reason of My love. I want you for Myself, and because you are so miserable I have worked miracles to guard you carefully…Yes, I love all souls, but with very special affection those who are the most weak and little.’ – p. 424. ‘Gaze well and long on this Heart. It is the Sanctuary of the miserable, hence yours, for who is more miserable than you? Look deep down into My Heart. It is the Crucible in which the most defiled are purified, and afterwards inflamed with love. Come, draw near this Furnace, cast your miseries and sins into it; have confidence and believe in Me who am your Saviour.  Once more fix your eyes attentively on My Heart. It is a Fountain of Living Water. Throw yourself into its depths and appease your thirst.’ – p. 432. It is the love of God and us returning this love with our whole being that will make us our true selves, i.e. the saints God wills us to be.
  4. Note: this is not the false expression of the Catholic Faith offered by the Novus Ordo and its adherent today but rather the Faith expressed so supremely by the Traditional Latin Mass/the true Mass (see: Getting Closer to the Truth – Protestant Services or the Novus Ordo? – Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT)) and lived by countless canonised saints previous to the Vatican II revolution in the Church (see: Sanctity & Sanity (1/2) – Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT))

Freeing Yourself From Chains


‘They that trust in Him, shall understand the truth.’ – Wisdom 3:9

The current lock downs, restrictions, and mask wearing are causing much suffering and anguish. This is being seen in the increased prevalence of suicides, anxiety, psychological and emotional issues.  People are on edge as they try to adjust to what the global leaders are calling the ‘new normal’.  Disorder, anxiety, and confusion reign.  The chains of restrictions are becoming tighter and they are slowly suffocating people (in both a metaphorical and actual sense with the forcing of masks on people). These restrictions are trying to suffocate and extinguish the natural enjoyments people have, such as visiting loved ones, healthy social interaction, hobby restrictions, etc. People are beginning to be fed up with all of these restrictions, especially as Christmas approaches. They earnestly desire to get back to ‘normal’ life. Eventually, the pressure of these abnormal conditions may prove so much that they may just take that vaccine that they were very skeptical about in the first place.

There are others, a minority, who will refuse the vaccine and push back against the government enforcement of it.  Most of these will be basing this stance on the erroneous principles that have brought us to where we are currently at in the first place, i.e. liberalism. They will shout and push for ‘freedom’ without really understanding what freedom is.  In the last article, it was highlighted how this desire for freedom amongst many is really a desire for licence to continue in their ‘normal’ sinful life.  At a societal level, it appears clear that the lessons that the good God is trying to teach us are not being learnt.  Yet, at a personal level, even amidst the madness, chaos, and disorder around us, we still have the choice of freedom or chains.  In our clamour to push back against the COVID restrictions and the chains they put around our natural liberties, it appears that many of us are forgetting that the biggest chains we have are those we put around ourselves through sin. This is the major point to remember in these communist times and it is the point again and again emphasised by many spiritual writers. 

Where is our focus?

Trying to fix things around us can feel so much easier and more rewarding than fixing those things within us that we know we need to get a handle on.  As Dom Gerard Chautard, in his classic book, ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ (1), points out: ‘To live with oneself, within oneself; to desire self-control, and not allow oneself to be dominated by exterior things; to reduce the imagination, the feelings, and even the intelligence and memory to the position of servants of the will and to make this will conform, without ceasing, with the will of God: all this is a program that is less and less welcome to a century of excitement that has seen the birth of a new ideal: the love of action for action’s sake.  Any pretext will serve, if we can only escape this discipline of our faculties: business, family problems, health, good reputation, patriotism, the honour of one’s congregation, and the pretended glory of God, all vie with one another in preventing us from living within ourselves. This sort of frenzy for exterior life finally succeeds in gaining over us an attraction which we can no longer resist.’  This ‘century of excitement’ he talks about was the 19th century, when there were no TVs, no 24/7 news channels, far fewer disturbances by social justice warriors, and far more people who lived simple countryside lives, detached from worldly affairs.  The frenzy for exterior life has only erupted further since that ‘century of excitement’. The 20th century and the start of the 21st century have been filled with people desperate to avoid and distract themselves from themselves. Now, lest people accuse Dom Chautard of encouraging all people to become contemplative hermit monks, ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ explains how he is far from advocating for passivity and it explains how the interior life fuels the exterior life. He simply speaks about getting one’s priorities right before one embarks on a campaign to sort out the world’s problems. A reminder of this is essential especially in times where people are so eager to fix the current madness around them (2). The current times can exhaust, perplex, and depress us so it is now, more than ever, that we need strong interior lives built on the love of God. As Dom Chautard explains, ‘Only a burning and unchangeable love is capable of filling a whole life with sunlight, for it is love that possesses the secret of gladdening the heart even in the midst of great sorrows and crushing fatigue.’ It is this ‘burning and unchangeable love‘ that will see us through these mad times.

And for those who need a bit more persuading to be convinced that sin causes imprisonment see here a rousing sermon by Fr Chazal, a missionary priest in the Philippines, who highlights how the draconian restrictions and chains that the world and the devil are putting on people today is only a relatively minor reflection of the chains so many people put on themselves by refusing to serve the right Master.

God bless you in your efforts to sanctify yourself and may you find brave priests during these times to help you to do so.

Footnotes:

1.) A free pdf copy of this book is available here: http://www.cmri.org/0-olmc-mission/catholic-books/soul_of_the_apostolate.pdf

2.) There has been an enormous increase in psychological services over the 20th century as psychological and emotional problems continue to increase as people have drift further and further away from the Faith and the effective solutions to problems of the soul and mind, i.e. the Sacraments and a strong interior life. Please see here for a short outline of this development of psychological services and its connection to the false theory of evolution. Now, there are some people genuinely looking for and longing for the Truth and the truth about themselves. God will guide these generous souls to Him and He will help them to see through the lies and deceits of those who claim to help but are really entangling people in more chains, e.g. the Psychological Society of Ireland and psychiatry, in general. But more often, due to the scars of Original Sin, especially pride, we do not search long or hard enough for the truth about ourselves as we are afraid to admit the extent of our own misery and uselessness. We will distract ourselves often with many activities where we think that we are making a positive impact on the world. If we do go for therapy, most of us will only accept help from those who offer ‘sweet little lies’, while trying to numb the voice of our conscience that tells us that all is not right with the answers that are proposed to us. We can face our conscience and overcome this fear of our own wretchedness by looking at the infinite love and care that God has for us as Fr Chazal briefly touches on in the video above.  Through this, we can acknowledge and bravely face the truth about ourselves and, with our willing co-operation, begin to allow Him to heal us. This is the path to true liberty.

COVID – Truth and Freedom

It may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody‘ – Bob Dylan, ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’

The restrictions enforced on us by nefarious global powers have sparked conversations about civil liberties and have led to protests demanding ‘freedom’. While I usually focus on more personal advice about psychological issues the COVID madness is having such a detrimental effect on people’s minds that it needs to be addressed.  The following article gives the solution to the current situation at both a personal and societal level. It explores why calls for freedom cannot be separated from the Truth and service.

Currently, the enemies of Christ[1] have their teeth in the bones of nations around the world.  Will God pull the bone from the dog’s mouth and discipline this vicious dog with a good whack across the head to alleviate the suffering this dog is causing His unruly children? Or, as His children have deliberately played with this vicious dog, will He allow them to continue to suffer the consequences of their foolishness? Before answering this question let us examine the situation before the COVID madness.

Before the COVID madness, most people had already made their mind up about whether they wanted to know, honour, and love God or not. In Ireland, this was most blatantly obvious in the three most recent Referendums on sodomite ‘marriage’, the murdering of innocent babies, and blasphemy. Before the COVID madness, Irish people had already chosen to become slaves to the devil rather than servants of Our Lord. Now, that the devil and his minions are beginning to show people their true colours in the form of tyrannical rules that stamp on people’s natural liberties and heighten societal disorder some people are demanding their ‘freedom’. Yet, for many, these demands for ‘freedom’ appear to be demands that things return back to the way they were pre-COVID.

Now, God could easily remove the restrictions imposed by COVID in an instant and give people back the natural liberties they demand.  However, so far, He has not, and it does not appear that He will.  And why should He? Why would He give certain liberties to us when He knows that they are likely to be abused? When we look at the following meditation on God’s goodness from St Francis de Sales in ‘The Devout Life’ can any of us honestly say that we have not abused His goodness: ‘God did not bring you into the world because He had any need of you, useless as you are; but solely that He might show forth His Goodness in you, giving you His Grace and Glory. And to this end He gave you understanding that you might know Him, memory that you might think of Him, a will that you might love Him, imagination that you might realise His mercies, sight that you might behold the marvels of His works, speech that you might praise Him, and so on with all your other faculties.’ Have we used what He has given us for His Grace and Glory? Or have we squandered the gifts He has imparted to us? Or, even worse, have we used them to spit in His face and nail Him to the cross? And if God decided to allow these tyrannical restrictions to be lifted what would the vast majority of people do with the restoration of some of their natural liberties? Would they follow what St Francis de Sales says above or would they continue to ignore God and use the gifts He has given them for their own destruction and that of others?

Let us acknowledge that the measures being imposed on people throughout the world are unscientific and unnatural. They contribute to more and more disorder in our societies. Yet, God has allowed them to unfold and allowed His enemies, who have carefully orchestrated this ‘shamdemic’, to dominate mankind. In this sense, the oppressive restrictions are just as God is infinitely just and loves His children dearly.  He orders everything for the greatest possible good. Our enemies and the challenges they cause us serve as a chastisement for our sinfulness. ‘He that spareth the rod, hateth his son: but he that loveth his son corrected him betimes’. (Proverbs 13:24). The draconian measures being imposed on people are a just punishment for our drifting away from God and the Faith.  God permits that the enemies of Christ become our masters as a consequence of refusing to acknowledge Christ as our King and Master.  As Christ has told us, no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). The longer we refuse to acknowledge Christ as Our King and serve Him willingly the longer these enemies of Christ will dominate over us and our nations until chaos and disorder reign supreme.  We are seeing this in the current COVID hysteria. 

The COVID restrictions are a just punishment for the abuse of the gifts God has given us. Now, that some of the freedoms we have, such as freedom to travel, freedom to see our loved ones, freedom to attend Mass, are taken away from us, there is a small but vocal pushback that demands the restoration of these freedoms. But what will the majority of us do if these freedoms are restored? Will we travel to abortion clinics to murder innocent babies? Will we travel to shows or concerts that promote indecency or ridicule God? Will we spread scandal and commit detraction while socialising? Will we continue to abandon our loved ones to care homes where they are drugged up and treated like nuisances? And finally, but most importantly, will we continue to attend religious services that are deeply offensive to God, i.e. any non-Catholic services and the Novus Ordo?[2] Amongst the calls for ‘freedom’, there are also calls for ‘freedom of speech’ from many COVID protestors. If this means demanding freedom for the truth to be known and expressed then this is great but ‘freedom of speech’ as a principle in and of itself is one that no Catholic can support as Catholics should really pray: ‘Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round my lips; incline not my heart to evil words’ (Psalms 140:3-4). Catholics should encourage the publication of truth but we must also demand that the government create laws that suppress error, especially in relation to religious error.  If protestors achieve their demands for ‘freedom of speech’ what then will we do with this supposed ‘freedom of speech’? Will we blaspheme God and His mother? Will we calumniate our neighbour? Will we let our tongue, (‘a fire, a world of iniquity’ – James 3:6) roam where it will? The gifts that God has given us come with responsibility.  This is the responsibility to use our faculties as He wills us to use them, i.e. for His glory and honour. Are we willing to accept this responsibility? Are we willing to support laws, such as laws against blasphemy, that support this responsibility? If not, then why would God take away the chains that are currently being imposed on nations? The scourging we are currently undergoing will cease when we learn the necessary lessons and only God in His infinite wisdom knows when this will be.

Aristotle, with his natural wisdom, said, ‘The least deviation from truth will be multiplied a thousandfold later.’ Christ, with His Divine Wisdom, said, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’ (John 8:32) and, ‘I am the way, the truth, the life.’ (John 14:6). We have been deviating from the Truth/Christ in Europe for hundreds of years with the most significant deviations happening at the ‘Reformation’, the French Revolution, and Vatican II.  The more we deviate from the truth in our own lives the less free we will be. The same applies to society. Hence, the current disorder we see around us.  It is not that complex really. God designed us to know, honour, and love Him. We must serve Him if we are to be free. Liberty is a consequence of and a reward for noble efforts to serve God. The freedom we innately desire is not going to be achieved through incessant demands for more liberty.  Rather, it is to be won by service. Liberty is to be achieved by crying for the ‘spirit of captivity’ which Fr Faber (‘Growth in Holiness’) highlights as the first method to combat the disordered human spirit that demands liberty at any cost:

The first [weapon to combat the human spirit] must be what ascetical writers often call the spirit of captivity. Grace is the opposite of nature; nature everywhere cries liberty, grace cries captivity; and without a resolute good will to take ourselves captive, we shall never beat down the human spirit. The spirit of captivity consists…sometimes in submission to a written rule, parcelling out our daily actions so far as our state of life will allow, sometimes in subjection to our director, even against our own judgment, and without feints or wiles, sometimes in conformity to the law of Providence, especially where it thwarts and mortifies our natural liveliness and inclinations, and sometimes also in submission to that attraction of the Holy Spirit which is to many of us like a special revelation. There is also a captivity to frequently recurring, though not daily or obligatory, practices of devotion, a captivity to interior recollection with all its difficulties, trials, and repressions of natural activity; and all mortification is itself but a shape of captivity.’ Finally, Fr Faber points out that ‘liberty of spirit consists in exemption from cares, from remorse, from attachments; and captivity is the only road to this royal liberty.’ (my emphasis). This is true liberty. It requires hard work and constant vigilance while we traverse through this valley of tears but the aids to keep strong in this journey are many and the ultimate reward of eternal peace and happiness is more than worth the fight.  C. S. Lewis in his book, ‘Screwtape Letters’ gave an excellent description of this battle that is going on for our souls between the devil and his minions and Christ, putting the following words in the mouth of a demon:

One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth.  He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself – creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.  We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons.  We want to suck in, He wants to give out.  We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over.  Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.’

It is our choice who we will serve. God respects our free will. We must make this choice. There are servants of the devil offering false freedom and there is Christ and His Church offering true liberty. Both attempt to captivate us.  One ensnares us and robs us of our individuality and liberty while the Other removes our chains, makes us the person we were born to be, and sets us free.  So, let us offer ourselves to Him who wills our happiness more than we do ourselves. When we and our nations become captive once again to Our Lord and Our Lady only then will we be really free.  This is the one and only solution to the disorder and madness within and around us. May God give you the grace to see this.


EndNotes:

[1] In YouTube talks about the COVID situation presenters speak about the ‘global elite’, ‘mega rich oligarchs’, ‘globalists’, ‘elitists’ or  as Dave Cullen (a YouTuber speaking out against the restrictions) describes them: ‘nefarious, unaccountable international entities that no one elected who thirst for totalitarian control’. These are all essentially the enemies of Christ. There is a vast web of them around the world with control residing in the hands of those who detest Catholic nations and the Catholic Faith due to it being the One True Faith. For more information on the enemies of Christ please see this piece written in 1890. This Catholic periodical, La Civilta Cattolica, is a Jesuit publication and stretches back to 1850. Unfortunately, today, the Jesuits in the conciliar church are primarily enemies of Christ but one hundred and thirty years ago they were strong defenders of the Faith/Truth and were pointing out who the real enemies of Christ and Catholic nations are. For comparison, see this wretched article by a Jesuit on the COVID situation from 2020 which supports the New World Order. It is also worth checking out E Michael Jones’ piece on COVID-19 and its enforcement in Argentina here.

[2] I have already mentioned the problems with the ‘New Mass’ here (especially in the discussion section) but for more information on the Novus Ordo see here.

The Ignorant 19th Century Priest and The Enlightened 21st Century Editor


Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, not in theoretical or practical indifferent towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being.‘ – Pope St. Pius X, ‘Letter of Pope St. Pius X to the French Bishops on the Sillon’

When it comes to psychological or emotional issues, such as depression, the world today likes to pretend it is more knowledgeable, enlightened and cultured than the ignorant fools of yesteryear. It forgets or rejects Catholic doctrine and guidance which provides answers to the perplexing and sorrowful difficulties people experience in this life. For this blog I have decided to imagine how a modern editor of a imaginary popular psychological magazine which offers ‘self-help’ tips might respond to an article on psychological advice offered for publication by a 19th century priest.  Let us imagine that he has just received the following article called ‘Means Against Sadness’, from ‘The Way of Interior Piece’, written by Fr De Lehen and published in English in 1888 (see endnote).  It has been submitted for publication in 2020. Here are the edits and comments I reasonably suspect this editor would make:  

Dear Fr De Lehen,

I appreciate the submission of your article, ‘Means Against Sadness’ to our magazine. You make some very reasonable and helpful points. However, I can not proceed with the publication of this article as it currently stands. It will require quite a substantial amount of editing before it is fit for publication in our magazine.   I have crossed out the words that really will not appeal to our modern readership and replaced them with more appropriate words. Please find these edits below:

Means Against Sadness:

‘Here are two rules[MM1]  suggestions that seem to be of the utmost importance here.  The first is that you make use of the natural means offered you by Providence[MM2]  your life circumstances, in order to shake off sadness. Do not overburden yourself with laborious occupation, spare your corporal[MM3]  physical and spiritual[MM4]  psychological strength; reserve for yourself some leisure hours in which to pray[MM5]  meditate, to read, and to enjoy good conversation. Cheer your soul[MM6]  mind with thoughts of eternal[MM7]  happiness, and shake off depression by spiritual and physical diversion taken in the Lord[MM8] .

Comments: [MM1]‘Rules’ is too strong a word; [MM2]Too many religious connotations; [MM3]People don’t use this language anymore;  [MM4]Too religious in its connotations, ‘psychological’ is better;  [MM5]Meditation is popular today, prayer not so much;  [MM6]Too religious; [MM7]Many of our readers don’t believe in life after death so this would put them off;  [MM8]Too religious

           Seek also a discreet and trusty friend[MM9]  counsellor to whom you can pour out your heart. To such a one disclose everything that is not the secret of another[MM10] . Perfect confidence enlarges and enlightens the mind. A sorrow long concealed oppresses the heart. Speak out, and you will discover that you have made the matter over which you are grieving much more serious than it really is. Nothing so quickly dispels gloom as the simplicity and humility with which, at the sacrifice of self-esteem[MM11]  you reveal discouragement and dejection, and seek light and consolation in the holy[MM12]  healthy communication that ought to exist between the children of God you and your counsellor. Confine yourself to those of your acquaintances whose conversation is cheerful and recreative. It is not necessary that your circle should be large, nor must you be too fastidious[MM13] fussy. Be ready to converse with all peaceable and reasonable people. Again, whenever you feel sadness creeping over you, read, work, or take a walk. Change occupation, that weariness may not attack you. In short, do whatever your frame of mind may suggest provided there is nothing sinful in it [MM14] it works

Comments: [MM9]There are lots of great professionals out there today and friends are not trained to manage psychological difficulties; [MM10]Detraction is not really a big deal anymore; [MM11] This does not make sense. Pride in oneself is a good thing!; [MM12]Again, too religious!; [MM13]Might be a bit too complex a term for our readers; [MM14]Let’s avoid this type of moralising!

If you feel that, in spite of these helps and rules suggestions, sadness asserts its reign, then follow the second rule suggestion: Endure patiently. Interior desolation carries the soul more speedily forward on the way of pure faith than all exterior exercises could do. [MM15] Challenges in life can help to make our minds stronger in the end. But do not let yourself be held back by it them. Do not indulge in relaxation which will aim at usurping possession of your interior[MM16] . Keep battling and stay focused. One step when in this state is always a giant stride, and is of more value than thousands when the soul is in consolation the mind is more peaceful. Despise your dejection and go on quietly, for this state of soul is more useful, more meritorious to you than gigantic, heroic strength and courage[MM17] , for ‘life isn’t waiting for the storm to pass…it’s learning to dance in the rain.’

Comments: [MM15]Too negative and too many religious connotations – soul and faith are both mentioned;  [MM16]What’s wrong with indulging in relaxation?;  [MM17]Soul mentioned again!

                   O how deceitful is that sensible courage that finds everything easy, undertakes all, suffers everything, and unhesitatingly attributes all to self! Ah, it nourishes self-esteem and confidence! It pleases the world; but to the soul it is a refined person[MM18] . Challenges and trials give us a sense of our weakness and our dependence on each other.  Society is delighted if we are productive, robotic-like workers or joyous consumers. It does not value the interior trials that we go through as only we or those closest to us have a sense of the battles we have to face.

Comments: [MM18]Too negative in the language used and too much focus on the soul. It is better to talk about societal problems and interior struggles as, while we avoid mentioning the soul, this still appeals to our readership. 

                   A soul that, like Christ in the Garden of Olives, is sorrowful unto death, and with her crucified Lord, cries out: ‘My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34) is much more purified, much better fortified in humility than the valiant one who rejoices in peace over the fruits of her virtues.’[MM19]  Let us look to heroes from the past, such as Nelson Mandela who faced many battles but courageously overcame any fears to become the great leader that he was. Keep battling and as Mandela said, ‘The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.’

Comments: [MM19]Christ is too divisive a figure.  Mandela appeals to a bigger audience and he is less divisive. (This is fine just as long as we don’t mention him being the leader of the terrorist Communist group, UmKhonto we Sizwe, (MK) that killed innocent women and children).

So, Fr De Lehen, if you can just change the article to reflect the edits suggested then your article would very likely be suitable for publication.  You will have noted my explanation for the edits above but my overall reason is that many people do not want to know about religion and Christ is an especially divisive figure today. However, they still need advice on how to deal with sadness. Now, no doubt, you have some good common-sense advice to offer, but psychological services have moved on from direct talk about the soul or religion. In these more enlightened times, we understand more about psychological problems than in the 19th century. Whilst admittedly your times did not have near as many suicides or the levels of addiction to prescription and illegal drugs compared to our times I am sure if you were able to see the progress we have made in our knowledge in the 21st century and the amount of psychological services we now have for all age categories and conditions then you would understand why I cannot accept the article as it is.  If you can polish it up as I have shown above then it would appeal to our readership which is far more educated, cultured, and enlightened than the credulous and ignorant audience you were writing to.  May the advice I share also help you to see things more clearly as well. 

Sincerely,

Editor of ‘Psychology Matters 2020’ (PhD)

Endnote:

Fr De Lehen’s excellent advice from ‘The Way of Interior Peace’, published in 1888 by Benzinger Brothers (without the ‘progressive’ edits):

Means Against Sadness:

‘Here are two rules that seem to be of the utmost importance here.  The first is that you make use of the natural means offered you by Providence, in order to shake off sadness. Do not overburden yourself with laborious occupation, spare your corporal and spiritual strength; reserve for yourself some leisure hours in which to pray, to read, and to enjoy good conversation. Cheer your soul with thoughts of eternal happiness, and shake off depression by spiritual and physical diversion taken in the Lord.

           Seek also a discreet and trusty friend to whom you can pour out your heart. To such a one disclose everything that is not the secret of another. Perfect confidence enlarges and enlightens the mind. A sorrow long concealed oppresses the heart. Speak out, and you will discover that you have made the matter over which you are grieving much more serious than it really is. Nothing so quickly dispels gloom as the simplicity and humility with which, at the sacrifice of self-esteem you reveal discouragement and dejection, and seek light and consolation in the holy communication that ought to exist between the children of God. Confine yourself to those of your acquaintances whose conversation is cheerful and recreative. It is not necessary that your circle should be large, nor must you be too fastidious. Be ready to converse with all peaceable and reasonable people. Again, whenever you feel sadness creeping over you, read, work, or take a walk. Change occupation, that weariness may not attack you. In short, do whatever your frame of mind may suggest provided there is nothing sinful in it.  If you feel that, in spite of these helps and rules, sadness asserts its reign, then follow the second rule: Endure patiently. Interior desolation carries the soul more speedily forward on the way of pure faith than all exterior exercises could do. But do not let yourself be held back by it. Do not indulge in relaxation which will aim at usurping possession of your interior. One step when in this state is always a giant stride, and is of more value than thousands when the soul is in consolation. Despise your dejection and go on quietly, for this state of soul is more useful, more meritorious to you than gigantic, heroic strength and courage.

                   O how deceitful is that sensible courage that finds everything easy, undertakes all, suffers everything, and unhesitatingly attributes all to self! Ah, it nourishes self-esteem and confidence! It pleases the world; but to the soul it is a refined person.

                  A soul that, like Christ in the Garden of Olives, is sorrowful unto death, and with her crucified Lord, cries out: ‘My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34) is much more purified, much better fortified in humility than the valiant one who rejoices in peace over the fruits of her virtues.’ – p. 250-1

Pushing ‘Freedom’ on the World: A Scientific Investigation into the Fruits of Liberalism

Speaking proud words of vanity, they allure by the desires of fleshly riotousness, those who for a little while escape, such as converse in error: Promising them liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption.’ (2 Peter 2:18-19)

                      There are groups of people, usually identified with the term, globalist or elitist, who wish to force their own false ideas on the world’s populations. These people usually consist of people who have their own ideas about what will bring the citizens of the world happiness and freedom.  Amongst these people consist many academics who believe they are leading the way in enlightening the masses about progress and human freedom.  They have certain ideas about how the world should look, and they are determined to influence decision makers, so the world begins to look the way they want it to.  Often, they will use the name of ‘science’ to justify their claims.  One of the ways of the best ways of pushing one’s ideas is through the use of elaborate and complex sociological, psychological, and political theories that few study, and even fewer understand.  One example of this comes from research funded by the CATO Institute, a thinktank which has a major influence on academic research and public opinion, particularly in the USA.  The following blog outlines its attempt to push its own brand of ‘freedom’ on nations around the world.

Introduction:

                  In 2012, the CATO Institute helped to develop a method of measuring supposed personal freedom across 152 countries, calling this the ‘personal freedom index’. It was developed through analysis of various countries by researchers rather than through the completion of questionnaires by citizens in these countries. This ‘personal freedom index’ lists countries that have the least restrictions on such things as ‘religious freedom’, ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘sexual freedom’. (Footnote 1).  Its researchers then compiled a list of these 152 countries, numbering them from highest to lowest in order of ‘personal freedom’.  The theory of the researchers is that the type of ‘freedoms’ they propose are crucial for recognising the true dignity of human beings. According to their theory, these ‘freedoms’ should lead to individuals feeling more free, as restrictions such as restrictions on religious practice and sexual acts and other ‘coercive’ laws such as censorship that impact on ‘personal freedom’ are removed.  It is their theory that the most peaceful and happy society is one where people have the ‘right to choose to do, say, or think anything they want, provided that it does not infringe on the rights of others to do likewise.’ (1). The theory goes that less restrictions on the types of freedoms mentioned above should have an impact on people’s perception of their freedom.  As one’s sense of freedom is strongly correlated with one’s life satisfaction, it should also lead to happier societies.  

Method:

                      The best way to assess if the removal of certain types of so called restrictions within a country leads to a sense of more personal freedom is to look at what the data says on the subject. To do so, we would need to examine countries that were included in the ‘personal freedom index’. We then need to find data from samples within these countries that answered questions on perceived personal freedom as well. Thankfully, we have this data available.  From 2010 to 2014, global research was conducted that collected data from individuals from 64 countries across the globe. This was known as the World Value Survey (WVS) (see: https://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/wvs.jsp). It represents one of the largest efforts to collect and examine data on various psychological, sociological, and political positions, views, and opinions held globally. This data was collected around the same time as the ‘personal freedom index’ for various countries was being developed by the CATO funded researchers. One of the questions asked to individuals is the following:

‘Some people feel they have completely free choice and control over their lives, while other people feel that what they do has no real effect on what happens to them. Please use this scale where 1 means ‘no choice at all’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of choice’ to indicate how much freedom of choice and control you feel you have over the way your life turns out’

‘No choice at all’ – 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10 – ‘A great deal of choice’

It is theorised by liberal researchers that if restrictions on ‘personal freedom’ were removed, people would feel that they had greater freedom of choice and control in their lives.

From the 64 countries in the World Value Survey who answered the question above, 54 of these countries also have a personal freedom index score.  Let us examine the results.

Results:

A simple correlational analysis was conducted to identify if there was any relationship between scores on the personal freedom index and the average score for one’s sense of freedom.  This produced a correlation of .19.  Statisticians advise that a correlation must be at least .3 to indicate a weak relationship between two sets of data (2). A correlation of .19 indicates that there is no relationship between these two sets of data, i.e. the data suggests that the personal freedom index of countries does not significantly affect the sense of freedom of individuals within these countries.

If one inspects the data, one notices major discrepancies between countries which are supposedly ‘free’ (based on CATO’s understanding of this), i.e. the personal freedom index, and countries where its citizens score highly on the World Value survey freedom question, i.e. the average freedom score. The two tables are outlined below for one’s own analysis:

Position:Country:Average freedom score (WVS): Position:Country:Personal Freedom Index:
1Mexico8.44 1Sweden9.53
2Trinidad and Tobago8.17 2Germany9.34
3Colombia8.16 2Netherlands9.34
4Kuwait7.96 4Ireland9.28
5Romania7.88 5Australia9.23
6Slovenia7.88 6Hong Kong9.09
7Ecuador7.86 7Slovenia9.03
8New Zealand7.8 8Poland9.02
9United States7.73 9New Zealand8.97
10Uruguay7.73 10Estonia8.85
11Australia7.69 11Chile8.81
12Brazil7.69 12Taiwan8.73
13Sweden7.62 13United States8.71
14Cyprus7.54 14South Korea8.61
15Thailand7.53 15Uruguay8.6
16Malaysia7.5 16Spain8.57
17Taiwan7.48 17Cyprus8.46
18Peru7.45 18Romania8.39
19Philippines7.42 19Argentina8.26
20Kyrgyzstan7.38 20Peru7.63
21Argentina7.36 21Ukraine7.6
22Turkey7.35 22Ghana7.57
23Pakistan7.34 23India7.36
24Ghana7.29 24Georgia7.28
25Jordan7.27 24Ecuador7.28
26Azerbaijan7.23 26South Africa7.24
27Ireland7.22 27Armenia7.17
28Nigeria7.22 28Turkey7.16
29Chile7.18 29Singapore7.05
30China7.13 30Brazil7.02
31South Africa7.12 31Thailand6.84
32Kazakhstan7.03 32Trinidad & Tobago6.75
33Lebanon6.97 32Philippines6.75
34Spain6.95 34Mexico6.31
35Netherlands6.9 35Lebanon6.25
36Bahrain6.88 36Kazakhstan6.14
37Hong Kong6.87 37Kyrgyzstan6.12
38Rwanda6.85 38Russia6.06
39Germany6.8 39Tunisia5.93
40Singapore6.77 40Kuwait5.91
41Poland6.67 41Morocco5.9
42Algeria6.66 42Jordan5.89
43Tunisia6.64 43Colombia5.87
44South Korea6.57 44Malaysia5.86
45Ukraine6.56 44Bahrain5.86
46Armenia6.52 46Azerbaijan5.79
47Zimbabwe6.43 47Rwanda5.37
48Yemen6.4 48China5.33
49Egypt6.36 49Algeria5.15
50Estonia6.35 50Egypt4.75
51Georgia6.24 51Nigeria4.69
52Morocco6.18 52Zimbabwe4.59
53Russia5.95 53Pakistan4.56
54India5.41 54Yemen3.23

There are some countries that maintain similar positions on the personal freedom index and the average freedom score, i.e. USA, New Zealand, Egypt, but the charts are mainly distinguished by the large differences between country’s scores on the personal freedom index and the average freedom score.  For example, Germany scores 2nd on the personal freedom index and 39th on the average freedom score, Netherlands 2nd and 36th, Estonia 10th and 50th, Mexico 34th and 1st, Hong Kong 37th and 6th, Kuwait 40th and 4th, Poland 41st and 8th, and Colombia 43rd and 3rd.  Together with the non-significant correlation this indicates that a country’s rating on the personal freedom index has no impact on the sense of freedom of its citizens.  In some instances, it appears that there is a negative relationship between a country’s scores on the personal freedom index and the sense of freedom of that country’s citizens, e.g. Netherlands and Germany.  

Discussion:

                         The results indicate that increased ‘personal freedom’ as defined and advocated by the CATO Institute does not lead to an increased sense of freedom amongst individuals.  Even in countries where this ‘personal freedom’ is almost fully implemented, e.g. Germany and the Netherlands, its citizens still have a strong sense that they are not free.  Germany and the Netherlands may be seen by many as some of the most free and progressive countries in the world, yet its citizens rate themselves as less free than those in Communist China.  Now, it is not easy to identify what exactly is causing the average rates of freedom amongst the citizens of countries and there appears to be no obvious identifiable pattern (see footnote 2). However, the evidence does show that it is clearly not the ‘freedom’ that is advocated for by the CATO Institute that is affecting people’s sense of freedom. If the implementation of liberal ideology is meant to make citizens free and happy it certainly is not doing so.  If it is designed to frustrate people in their search for freedom, leave them exposed to error through freedom of speech and ‘religious freedom’, and lead them into immorality through ‘sexual freedom’, the empirical evidence suggests that this is what it does (See footnote 3).  Often those who espouse liberalism cite science and scientific evidence as a way of justifying their claims.  They claim that their ideas will benefit and give freedom to all mankind. Yet, when one looks at the effects of the implementation of these ideas, the actual evidence tells us otherwise.

Conclusion and reflection:

                       For those with a scientific mind who like to apply reason, logic and evidence when trying to assess whether certain theories actually work the above study hopefully provides an insight into the effects of liberalism on countries. It shows that liberalism does not work for the good of citizens, despite the clamour from the globalists and elitists that it is the way forward. (See footnote 4). Liberalism appears to be driven by a frustration with the psychological chains one feels around oneself.  Liberals tend to put the blame firmly on external circumstances or institutions for restricting their ‘freedom’. Liberals with some intellectual ability tend to wrap their theories up in pseudoscientific language to try and justify their claims. Instead of promoting true freedom which all citizens would benefit from, they promote licence, which only corrupts individuals. Instead of examining their own conscience and identifying where they are going wrong, they tend to point out where society is going wrong. They tend to promote their own ideas and behaviours as normal thus keeping themselves locked in chains and encouraging others to join them in these chains (See footnote 5).

So, the author will leave the reader to reflect on these results.  If the reader has followed what has been laid out and has agreed with the conclusions set forth then the reader may realise that the ‘freedom’ promoted by many today does not actually lead to freedom.  Once the illusion of liberalism as the way to freedom becomes apparent, one can become cynical or disillusioned and abandon the search for freedom or one can instead continue to search for freedom and better understandings of what it actually is. The references in footnote 5 give an indication of where to start this search and many other blogs on this website have already pointed toward the answers.  A deep and solid sense of freedom and peace is possible, but the scientific data, as outlined above, shows that it is not the illusionary ‘freedom’ offered by the world.

All the sovereignty and freedom of the world compared with the freedom and sovereignty of the Spirit of God is utter slavery, anguish, and captivity.’ – Ida Friederike Coudenhove, The Burden of Belief’  

God bless you in your search for it,

Footnote 1: The researchers who developed the concept of ‘personal freedom index’ have erroneous understandings of ‘freedom’ basing their understandings on the philosophical errors of Hobbes and Plato. More recently, the CATO Institute has expanded its concept of ‘freedom’ to include ‘transgender freedom’. The author has put ‘personal freedom’ in quotation marks to note this. Footnote 5 explains the true understanding of ‘freedom’ in more detail and offers references for further information.

Footnote 2: The question about ‘freedom of choice and control over the way your life turns out’ in the World Value Survey does not capture all that it means to be free. It also refers to one’s sense of control as well as freedom. This may explain why no obvious pattern can be identified across countries. While it is not a perfect measurement of freedom it does give some sense of how free people feel and thus it is useful for the purposes of this study.  

Footnote 3: Germany and Netherlands are examples of societies that have become morally corrupt.  They were some of the first countries to accept immoral practices, e.g. abortion, prostitution, homosexuality, that inevitably follow when one adopts liberal ideologies.  As the seed of liberalism is Protestantism it is not surprising that these countries, who abandoned the Catholic Faith before many other European countries, were some of the first to fall into moral corruption.  Their citizens are far from free or satisfied compared to other countries. They will continue to be frustrated in their clamour for freedom so long as they persist on their illusionary path to ‘freedom’ through liberalism. Their low scores on the question about freedom of choice and control in one’s live may also be explained by the rejection of the truth that man has free will by both Calvin (the Netherlands) and Luther (Germany). It is likely that these false understandings still have a significant effect on the mentality of Dutch and German people today.    

Footnote 4: Life satisfaction is a good citizens wish to have.  One’s sense of freedom and life satisfaction are strongly correlated. This relationship is highlighted in a 2009 paper by Italian economist Paolo Verme, “Happiness, freedom, and control.” (3) Verme finds that: ‘The variable freedom and control is by far the most significant predictor of life satisfaction. It shows the highest coefficient, the highest odds ratio, the highest z-score and one of the lowest standard errors. For a one step increase in the one to ten freedom and control scale, happiness is expected to change about 36 percent of a step on the one to ten happiness scale …’ (4)  As the Personal Freedom Index has statistically no relationship with one’s sense of freedom it is highly likely that it has no relationship with life satisfaction either. Thus, promoting ‘personal freedom’, as outlined by the researchers, is not going to be of benefit for the good of the public.

Footnote 5:  It is noted that political and social changes are needed to promote true liberty amongst citizens. This true liberty is far from the ‘personal freedom’/licence promoted by the CATO researchers. Yet, a sense of freedom or a ‘spirit of liberty’ will only be partly achieved through the removal of external obstacles. It will be mainly achieved through the removal of our internal obstacles, e.g. envy, greed, pride, lust, etc., that block us from being truly free and peaceful. As outlined by Thomas A. Kempis in ‘The Imitation of Christ’: ‘Strive diligently for perfect interior freedom and self-mastery in every place, in every action and occupation, so that you be not the slave of anything, but that all things be under your control. You must be lord and ruler over your actions, never a bondsman or a mercenary. You must be a free person – similar to a righteous Hebrew – one who is transferred to the rank and the liberty of the children of God. Children of God stand above present things; they contemplate those that are eternal.’ It all comes back to the truth essentially and living a true life, as this is the only way that you can be free. A liberal mindset is not the solution in the personal sphere nor are liberal projects the solutions in the public sphere. This mindset and these projects promote and encourage the choice of evil and liberals celebrate this as if the choice of evil is liberating. As Archbishop Lefebvre, paraphrasing St Thomas Aquinas, said in his classic book, ‘Against the Heresies’: ‘To be able to choose evil is a defect, and can only be a defect: one chooses, essentially, one’s own destruction; one commits suicide. To seek what is sin is to seek one’s own imperfection, that is, non-being…It is necessary to fix firmly in mind the idea that the power to do evil is a defect of human liberty, a flaw of freedom.’ Or as Pope Leo XIII said, ‘Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object.’ And ‘True liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for his would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law.’  For an outline of the errors of liberalism and what external efforts, i.e. religious, social and political laws and practices, are needed to protect and promote true liberty, one can read the encyclicals explaining and condemning liberalism, Mirari Vos by Pope Gregory XVI, Quanta Cura by Pope Blessed Pius IX, Humanum Genus by Pope Leo XIII, or within the various encyclicals by Pope St. Pius X or read the encyclical ‘Libertas – On The Nature of Human Liberty’ explaining what liberty really is by Leo XIII. Or for an overview of these encyclicals one can read ‘Against the Heresies: Comments on the Papal Encyclicals condemning Modern Errors infecting the Church and Society’ by Archbishop Lefebvre.

References:

1.) From: Vasquez, I. & Porcnik, T. (2015) Introduction to ‘The Human Freedom Index’.

2.) https://www.dummies.com/education/math/statistics/how-to-interpret-a-correlation-coefficient-r/ [Accessed 27/08/20]

3.) Verne, P. (2009)‘Happiness, Freedom and Control’, Econpubblica Centre for Research on the Public Sector, Working Paper, 141.  Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1499652[Accessed 20/08/19]

4.) Wilkinson, W. (2011) ‘Happiness, Freedom and Autonomy’ Available at:https://www.forbes.com/sites/willwilkinson/2011/03/23/happiness-and-freedom/#5ceeac83fe5f[Accessed 21/08/19]

The Best Way to Help Our Loved Ones


Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee’ (Ps 54:23)                            

                                     When we see our loved ones struggling or living lives of disorder, it can break our hearts.  Having counselled many family members over the last number of years I have seen the anguish that family members experience when they see a loved one going astray. They are desperate to find help for them. Oftentimes, this help will be offered in the form of modern psychological and psychiatric services, who promise to take ‘good care’ of their family member for them.  Having been behind closed doors and heard how many of these services speak about family members and how disconnected from reality these services and professionals are, I would be very reluctant to advise family members to encourage their loved ones to comply with these services and their interventions. More often than not, these services cause the loved one more psychological and physiological problems through the imparting of toxic falsehoods and corruptive ideologies. Alternatively, they force the family member to be docile and compliant by giving them toxic drugs or more ‘intensive treatments’ are given, such as electroshock. (This certainly makes the family member very docile and ‘compliant’!). Some family members are conned into believing the falsehoods of psychiatry and modern psychology. Other family members see through these lies and fight for their family members while these barbaric and destructive treatments are forced on them (These family members are the ones that are usually ridiculed by psychiatrists as ignorant of the progressive ‘science’ that is psychiatry or modern psychology).  Some family members are happy to see that their family members are less of a nuisance and more docile than they were before and they are glad to follow the psychiatric authorities, rather than help their family member get to the root of their troubles. All in all, modern services can be a minefield for family members looking for help for their loved ones.

                                   The suffering of those we love is a cross we all have to bear at some stage in our lives. There are lots of promises of care, help and support from various services and professionals today. At times, we can feel overburdened by the demands that caring for a family member places on us. We can see this in the various calls for more public services as parents and carers feel under more and more pressure and strain. However, due to the attempts to remove God from these services and the move away from Catholic services to the ‘progressive’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘enlightened’ services outlined above, true charity also gets kicked out of the window. Health care becomes professionalised and coldly clinical rather than a vocation while services develop better marketing campaigns to cover up the cracks. As public workers are not drinking from the replenishing well that is the Heart of Jesus they burn out and/or begin to care less about the people they are meant to serve. ‘Because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.’ (Matthew 24:12). If calls for more public services involved asking services to be truly Catholic once again, then this would give evidence that people have realised that services cannot be effective unless they are built on truth and charity, i.e. the love of God and one’s neighbour. Sadly, this is not happening, and things will only continue to get worse as charity grows colder.

                                    Now, people sometimes contact my service asking me if I could help a family member that is struggling with psychological issues. Sometimes I cannot meet the family member they are concerned about, but the family member is often eager for at least some advice or guidance. The answer I give to family members, which I know can only do good if followed, remains the same answer that I give to the people I counsel directly – sanctify yourself.  There is nothing extraordinary about this advice. It has been the advice given to many for thousands of years.  This advice is based on abundant evidence, which shows that living the Catholic Faith is the best means for increasing one’s happiness and peace of soul in this life and the only means of attaining eternal happiness in the next. 

‘The multiple relations which bind a man to his family, to his city, to his country and to his God, make incessant calls on his activities.  He must endeavour to respond to all in a spirit of fortitude, kindness, forbearance, devotedness, prudence and justice.  He must in all things strive to be ‘good’. But he must aim at this goodness not for the sake of being good but because God would have him so.’ (Fr Edward Leen, ‘In the Likeness of Christ’)

                                     When I cannot work directly with a family member, the approach I take is to encourage other family members to do the most charitable thing they can do for their family member, i.e. live a life of virtue.  In this busy world where we are eager to fix those around us, many of us forget that the first responsibility we have is the sanctification of our own soul. If we want to help those around us, we must help ourselves first.  Charity does truly start at home. We must develop a spirit of fortitude, kindness, devotedness, etc. We must fill our own hearts with faith, hope and charity and then allow this to overflow into the lives of those around us. As St Gregory the Great says, “To offer sacrifice spiritually to God is to offer Him something that gives Him glory. Now of all goods, the most pleasing that man can offer to God is, undeniably, the salvation of a soul. But every one must first offer his own soul, according to what is said in Scripture: ‘If you wish to please God, have pity on your own soul.’” Dom Chautard explains this quote: ‘When this first sacrifice [of one’s soul] has been consummated, then will it be permitted us to procure the same joy for others.’ (‘The Soul of the Apostolate’) (See footnote)

                                      So, given the state of public services today, particularly those offering psychological help, what can we do for our loved one when we see them descend into madness or disorder? Well, the same thing that we should be doing anyway – sanctifying ourselves and trying to know, honour and love God more each day.  Follow the example of St Monica who trusted in God’s mercy and never gave up on her son, St. Augustine. Her saintly life helped her son mend his ways. We can offer up our tears, sacrifices and prayers for our family members. If we love our family members, i.e. if we will them good, and we want our sons/daughters, wives/husbands, brothers/sisters, mothers/fathers, etc., to have peace of soul and be truly happy, then we can do no better thing to show this love for them than by being a shining example of true charity. And how do we do this? Through hard work, personal effort and discipline.  Through finding a prudent, wise and charitable priest as a spiritual director who will guide us in the ways of perfection; through good spiritual reading that will enlighten our minds; through sacrifices and penance that will discipline our unruly bodies; through mental prayer that will ground us in the present while reminding us of the link between the present and eternity; through mortification of our pride that will help us in the ways of humility.  Ultimately, through making ourselves pleasing to God and responding to the grace He bestows on us. We are all called to be saints, but we must focus efforts towards sanctity on ourselves first. If we do not conquer ourselves then we have no hope of helping others with their demons. As Fr Eugene Boylan points out in his excellent book, ‘This Tremendous Lover’, ‘The greatest service we can render our neighbour is to sanctify ourselves.’

So, whether it is a family member or a friend you are concerned about, may Our Lady guide you in the ways of sanctity so you can then truly help them,

God bless

Footnote: The book, ‘The Soul of the Apostolate’ is an excellent book for anyone trying to help and guide others. A free copy of it is available here: http://www.cmri.org/0-olmc-mission/catholic-books/soul_of_the_apostolate.pdf or for purchase here: https://www.tanbooks.com/soul-of-the-apostolate-3562.html

The Imitation of Real Cures


‘Shun profane and vain babblings: for they grow much towards ungodliness.’ (2 Tim 2:14-16)

As society descends into further chaos and madness prevails, many people are looking for cures to for the confusion, anxiety and depression they are experiencing.  There are many services and therapies offered to us that promise to restore peace and happiness.  One insurance company, which specialises in alternative therapies, even offers insurance for over 200 different types of therapies! This includes such things as rhythmical massage therapy, block clearance therapy, and assemblage point shifting, to name but a few of the strange array of therapies offered to people today.  As people and professionals drift further and further away from an accurate understanding of what man is and what he needs for happiness and peace of soul, the range of therapies and the psychotherapeutic market only continue to grow and expand. Now, if used wisely by both the professional and the client, some of these alternative therapies may help people gain some healthy balance in their lives, e.g. vitamin & mineral therapy, nutrition therapy, allergy testing, art therapy, music therapy, animal therapy.  Some are dangerous due to their origins, e.g. yoga, tarot/card reading, while with many others, e.g. life coaching, psychosexual counselling, one must be on guard against error and misdirection. There also therapies that offer clever imitations of the real solutions. These are the ones to be really skeptical of.

The Real Cure – The Truth: 

Now, it has been pointed out elsewhere how the Catholic Faith is the ultimate solution to the various difficulties we face in this life.  The embracing and practicing of the Catholic Faith in all its glory gives our very nature the satisfaction it inherently craves. It means living life in accordance with the truth. This is epitomised by saints who truly lived the Catholic faith. Now, there are many who reject this truth and look for happiness through various other means.  This rejection may take place because people have found what they imagine are alternative, more progressive or more enlightened solutions to their problems.  The promise of a solution is often packaged as a new therapy or innovative approach.  Therefore, let us examine whether these offers are really new or whether they are innovative. Let us analyse three of the latest therapeutic approaches/treatments (mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and relapse prevention) by acknowledging what truth they contain and then ultimately showing where they miss the mark.

Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is one of the most popular therapeutic fads that people are engaged in. And yes, let us give credit where credit is due – it is true that slowing down and staying present is important.  This is especially true today as panic and worrying about the future has taken over many people’s minds. But, let us also recognise that this advice to stay present is not a new idea or concept. It was emphasised by Our Lord almost 2’000 years ago when He said, “Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34). We have to tackle each day at a time and if we are caught up worrying about the future or lingering in the past, we won’t be able to focus on the here and now.  Mindfulness is a clever imitation of an idea that the Catholic Faith has always emphasised. At the same time, it also tries to kick God out of the picture and offer a non-Catholic solution to life’s issues. It promotes hedonistic indulgence in the present rather than a true understanding of why we should try to remain present as emphasised by Jean-Pierre de Caussade in his classic book from the 18th century, ‘Self Abandonment to Divine Providence’:

The present moment is always full of infinite treasure, it contains far more than you have the capacity to hold.  Faith is the measure; what you find in the present moment will be according to the measure of your faith.  Love is also the measure: the more your heart loves, the more it desires, and the more it desires the more it finds.  The will of God presents itself at each instant like an immense ocean which the desire of your heart cannot empty, although it will receive of that ocean the measure to which it can expand itself by faith, confidence and love.

Trying to stay present without this understanding or with a false understanding of why you are trying to do so may lead to temporary relief at the natural level but this will not last long as mindfulness is only a forgery of the real solution.  (Note: one way of becoming more present is the practice of mental prayer. A guide for this practice can be found here).

Cognitive therapy:

Cognitive therapy is a type of therapy developed by Jewish psychiatrist, Aaron T. Beck. Moving past all its pseudoscientific claims and convoluted language, cognitive therapy is essentially a way of trying to see how thoughts impact on behaviour and one’s sense of happiness.  Now, credit should be given where credit is due and here one must acknowledge that examining one’s thoughts and how they impact on one’s behaviour and emotions can be useful. However, truth must be the reference point for analysing one’s thoughts.  Cognitive therapy is not so much focused on the truth or the reality of the thoughts that one is having. Rather it is a way of overcoming ‘negative thinking’. What counts as ‘negative thinking’ is interpreted by or, at least, influenced by the professional. This is why cognitive therapy is often used to explain away healthy and natural episodes of anxiety and guilt. God is often also kicked out of the picture or seen as a nuisance in many incidents. (The problems with this subjective approach that is not grounded in reality are outlined further here) Examining our thoughts to see where our mind has wandered to and how it is affecting our behaviour and happiness is not something new or innovative. The Catholic Church has always encouraged us to do so. However, it has done so for a far more noble reason than the reasons cognitive therapists encourage us to do so. The Church asks us to ground ourselves in reality and to check our relationship with Truth Himself.  Instead of cognitive therapy the Church encourages a daily examination of conscience.  This helps us to acknowledge the faults we have committed during the day. It helps us to see ourselves and our imperfections more clearly. As St. Francis de Sales says in ‘The Devout Life’, ‘An illness is already half cured when the cause is known.’ While the Church sees that guilt and anxiety can help inform us of our wrongdoings she also tells not to be overwhelmed by the failings we see in ourselves and to approach this practice in a peaceful way.  This is emphasised by Venerable Liebermann, speaking about how to conduct an examination of conscience:  

The best course, I believe, to follow, is to put yourself calmly in the presence of God – looking to Him in this work as in all things else. When you feel your heart in tranquillity and calmly united to God, begin to open gently the eyes of your soul on yourself, to see in what you have offended against God. I say – open the eyes of your soul gently, for I believe that there should not be too much anxiety or too much keenness exercised in seeking out your faults. Do not scrutinise too closely your conduct (do not ‘peel your soul’) with an excessive care – in fear that something should escape you, should remain overlooked or forgotten. Above all, do not allow your soul to leave God in the hunt after its fault, but let it remain peacefully in His presence in order to discover them. For that reason it can and ought always to remain like St. John attached to the Lord, casting simply a look on itself and its conduct without leaving God on Whom it rests.

          I prefer that one should follow this method even though in this way several faults should escape your examination, rather than that we should search diligently on our own account, and by our own industry discover them all. It ought to suffice for us to have a sincere desire to know all the faults we have committed and to confess them, and our contrition shall be incomparably more perfect by an examen carried out as directed. Nay more, I believe that by this method we shall discover our faults much better and that we shall penetrate more deeply into our interior to know the source of them, for we shall know them by the suggestion of God.’ (Quote taken from ‘My Last Retreat’ by Fr Edward Leen)

Cognitive therapy or examination of conscience? One approach mainly tries to rationalise and justify our vices; the other approach encourages us to humbly face Reality, acknowledge our sins and commit to trying to do better.  Cognitive therapy is a pseudoscientific imitation of the real solution. It tries to morph reality to one’s own way of thinking rather than acknowledge that one cannot escape the truth and that it is only by knowing the truth, that you will be free (John 8:32). (For more information on examination of conscience, see ‘Science of the Saints’ by Fr. R. J. Meyer, especially lesson xiii and xiv)

Relapse Prevention:

Having worked in the addiction for close to ten years this is a term that is frequently employed and emphasised. It is a type of therapeutic approach to addiction that helps people identify the people, places and things that could trigger old habits and behaviours. Once a person has experienced addiction there needs to be an acknowledgement that they still carry a weakness in this area and they will have to be on guard against the return of old behaviours.  This is all reasonable and compatible with physiological and psychological truths. However, again, there is nothing new or spectacular or enlightening about this approach.  Our own life experiences and a brief reflection on our own behaviours teach us that we are prone to certain vices. This could be in relation to food, drink, drugs or sex, etc.  We know that we need to avoid certain people, places and things to avoid overwhelming temptations.  This is also what the Church teaches and emphasises. It knows that we are prone to fall and that the more we engage in certain vices the harder it is for us to kick these destructive habits. As Fr Scupoli in the 16th century said in his classic book, ‘The Spiritual Combat’, ‘[We] are more susceptible to occasions of sin than snow is to fire.’ The Church does not call the approach to destructive habitual behaviours ‘relapse prevention’ but simply calls it ‘avoiding the occasions of sin’.  She also emphasises all the seven deadly sins, especially sins of the intellect such as pride, rather than just those sins that are related to the flesh, e.g. gluttony.  St Thomas Aquinas teaches us that while sins of the flesh are the most shameful sins we can commit as it makes us like beasts, the sin of pride is the worst type of sin as we boost of goodness that is not ours.  This is why somebody who lives what looks like a clean-cut life free from addiction can still be hooked on vice, i.e. pride, as he glorifies himself rather than God. He can still be, and often is, more a slave than the heroin addict living on the street, who at least may maintain some sense of humility due to the circumstances he finds himself in. Relapse prevention mainly emphasises purity in one’s behaviour. The Catholic Faith guides our behaviour as it knows the traps we can fall into but it emphasises purity of one’s heart.

Relapse prevention is a clever imitation of the wise advice to ‘avoid occasions of sin’. It emphasises the need to avoid destructive behaviour but, as it fails to take full account of the nature of man and all that man is called to be, it only provides partial answers and, often, misleading advice. (For advice on how to kick bad habits one of the greatest guides is St Ignatius of Loyola and his spiritual exercises or for advice on how not to develop bad habits in the first place one should check out part IV, ‘Needful Counsels Concerning Some Ordinary Temptations’, of ‘The Devout Life’ by St Francis de Sales). 

Summary:

When God and the wisdom of the Church are kicked out of services they are replaced with approaches that seem reasonable but are flawed, unreliable and doomed to fail as they lack understanding of the reality of man and the impact sin has on his mind. These approaches offer incomplete and distorted cures with the vast majority of its practitioners unaware of man’s end goal.  When professionals do not know our true end destination it proves impossible for them to guide people.  This is happening across services today.  This appears obvious in some cases but not so much in others.

In our world today, there are clever imitations or false cures that appeal somewhat to our reason but also to our desire to justify our own imperfections. Ultimately, due to neglecting or scorning the spiritual help people actually need to regain psychological balance, more focus is put on biological fixes helping Big Pharma make huge profits or leaving the door open for the introduction of draconian regulations and communist government initiatives.  Counterfeit approaches that borrow from the real solutions can only cover up the cracks for so long.  Ultimately the whole society suffers as a result and chaos ensues. The solutions to this chaos are not to be found in the modern psychotherapeutic fads of our times. When one tries to kick the infinite, i.e. God/Love Himself, out of services, the wounds soon reappear even when efforts are made to bandage them up. The internal wounds are too deep as services lose more and more touch with reality. Today, it does not look like they are changing their disordered course any time soon but only accelerating on their destructive path.  At the societal level, these internal wounds will continue to get worse until the majority of people, especially those in authority (see footnote), come back to their senses. Yet, for individuals there is still hope and there are ways and means of gaining peace of soul and happiness.  It involves not falling for cheap imitations and the flattery that comes with these offers, but continuously looking for and filling oneself with the real cures. This takes work and effort. The cure may initially taste bitter but with an intellect thirsting for truth, a truly humble and charitable heart, and a good will, you will soon come to taste the sweetness that the world does not know.  

God bless

Footnote: This refers to government authorities but more importantly Church authorities, many of whom would not agree with what I share above.  Key to Church authorities returning to sanity is the Traditional Latin Mass. I have outlined some of what the empirical data says on this matter here.

Healing The Scars That Evil Leaves


Nearly all avoidance of evil and all practice of virtue must begin in our thoughts. If we deliberately allow ourselves to think evil, we shall soon find ourselves speaking evil and doing evil.’ – Fr Eugene Boylan, ‘This Tremendous Lover’

The idea that we should avoid evil is firmly rooted in our soul. We have an innate sense that evil we expose ourselves to or evil we are exposed to can have a detrimental effect on our minds. Exposure to particularly traumatic or evil happenings can leave its scars. This innate sense that evil can really damage us is backed up by empirical evidence. In recent times, research in psychology has highlighted how early childhood trauma impacts on our mental health.  Research into psychiatric disorders is also highlighting how early childhood trauma, e.g. sexual abuse, has a strong relationship with hearing voices and seeing visions. With this research becoming more evident there has been a shift away from medical models that overemphasised the biological roots for psychological issues to one that recognises that the type of environment we grow up in and the evil that we are exposed to often leaves its scars.  This has resulted in more talk of ‘trauma informed care’, which is better than the dominant ‘diagnose and drug ‘em’ models. Yet, with credit given where credit is due, there really is nothing extraordinary in this shift of emphasis. A brief reflection on one’s own experiences and a short consideration of the lives of others will help us to see that traumatic experiences do often leave their scars in various ways. This understanding that exposure to evil has detrimental effects on one’s minds is also nothing new. It has been written about and more clearly explained long before psychiatry and psychology became professional disciplines. Let us look at some of this wisdom from the past.

It is better for us not to know low and vile things, because by them we are impeded in our knowledge of what is better and higher; for we cannot understand many things simultaneously; because the thought of evil sometimes perverts the will towards evil.St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, First Part, Treatise on the One God, Q. 22 (The Providence of God), Article 3, h (Reply to Objection 3)

Our minds tend to be corrupted by evil.  St Thomas, the Angelic Doctor of the Catholic Church, clearly understood this.  Rather than focusing on ‘better and higher’ things which purify and lift our minds, our minds can be poisoned when we focus on or know ‘low and vile things’. St. Thomas wrote in a time (the 13th century) where evil and immoral practices, e.g. homosexuality, murder, were far less prevalent and where most minds were kept free from knowledge of this vileness.  The time in which St. Thomas wrote is often referred to by modern secular historians as ‘The Dark Ages’ yet this period, especially the 13th century, was one of the most truly progressive and enlightening periods of history.  Minds were kept safe from the dark knowledge of low and vile things so they would not be impeded in knowledge of what is better and higher. These ‘dark ages’ helped minds such as those of St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure rise to higher levels of sanctity and philosophical insights than men have reached since. Our modern pagan times (or our ‘enlightened times’ as many believe) make it harder for one to keep focused on what is better and higher. This is because sin is so prevalent and is seen as ‘progressive’ by many, e.g. abortion as ‘health care’, LGBT ‘pride’. As we are often swamped in the filth of ‘low and vile things’, the mind struggles to reach to better and higher things.  Yet, if we want to maintain good mental health and, more importantly, avoid our will being perverted towards evil we must take St. Thomas’ advice and try not to know, or, at the very least, not focus on ‘low and vile things’. We must do what we can to keep our minds pure and our wills incorrupt in our current times and avoid exposing ourselves deliberately to evil. Focused efforts on purity and sanctity will only help in establishing one’s sanity while ‘holiness consists in hating and waging war against all that is evil and cleaving to that which is good.’ (Fr Auguste Saudreau, ‘The Ideal of the Fervent Soul’) This is what we must do for the health of our mind and soul.  What we expose ourselves to will have an impact on our thoughts and actions.  As St. Francis de Sales says, ‘let us have good thoughts: then we shall never have evil movements. Let us shun immodest company: then we shall not be provoked to lust.  To cure ourselves of our vices, it may be well to mortify the flesh, but above all we must purify our heart.’ (‘The Devout Life’)

But what happens when we are exposed to evil or have evil inflicted on us without our consent? Sometimes due to these experiences, e.g. sexual abuse as a child, people will find that they are more inclined towards evil and immoral practices, e.g. homosexuality, and will sadly give themselves over to it, doing so often with the encouragement of psychological professionals. Others will resist some evil inclinations but find themselves distracting themselves from the reality of their trauma in other ways, e.g. alcohol, drugs, gambling, binge eating, etc.  Others will find themselves able, by the grace of God, to face reality, understand themselves and their behaviour and find peace of soul amidst the crosses they have been given.  Still, others will find themselves in psychiatric services, diagnosed with a psychiatric condition such as personality disorder or schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, drugged up, and told that they have a biological condition which will be needed to be treated with psychiatric drugs for life. (This is a common experience for people and I have seen this for myself while working in psychiatric services where many people’s traumatic stories were missed due to an overfocus on supposed chemical imbalances).  There are many different paths people take when they are exposed to evil at a young and innocent age. Some decide to indulge more in the evil they have encountered while others try to understand and combat their perverse inclinations towards evil.  Many struggle to make sense of the hatred they have for the evil inflicted on them along with the hatred or guilt they feel towards themselves. All seek answers to help them to understand the disorder, angst and restlessness they identify in themselves. As our society becomes more and more disconnected from the truth and more and more people are exposed to evil, this sense of disorder is only increasing. So what is the solution? 

Far from seeking out that which is evil, Love dreads meeting with it’ – St Francis de Sales (‘The Devout Life’)

The first step is to identify what is evil and to avoid meeting it.  There is a terrible amount of confusion about evil in our world today. This confusion is not helped by leaders, e.g. the hierarchy in the Church, who have responsibility for helping souls to avoid evil, but who in some, if not many, cases, have helped to corrupt souls by exposing them to evil or confusing them about what constitutes evil. Due to how evil can be cloaked in the guise of virtue, we must be ‘wise as serpents’ in our endeavours to avoid meeting evil.  If we want to have peace of soul and liberty of spirit, we must focus on what is better and higher, not what is low and vile. We must love with is good and pure and dread meeting evil. This website and service endeavours to point out some of the most obvious examples of low and vile things, e.g. abortion, fornication, homosexuality.  It tries to point people towards better and higher things, e.g. the teachings and true representation of the Catholic Faith, virtue, sanctity.  While countless modern psychological theories compete for people’s attention and money, the fundamental principle for finding peace of soul, no matter how traumatic your life has been, remains the same, ‘Turn away from evil and do good: seek after peace and pursue it.’ (Psalm 33:15). We have a responsibility to figure out what exactly this means and what it entails (1).

Ultimately, the best approach for identifying and avoiding evil is a life of prayer. So, to end, let me share this prayer of Fr Martin Von Cochem, written in his classic book, ‘The Four Last Things’ that may give help to you in your endeavours:

‘O my God, grant me grace that on earth I may love the light and eschew the works of darkness, in order that I may attain to the contemplation of the eternal and perpetual light!

God bless

Footnote:

(1) If you want a more detailed philosophical outline of what evil fundamentally is you can check out St Thomas treatise on the distinction between good and evil here.