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’

A Guide to Perfection

Perfection can be had in this life.’ – St Thomas Aquinas

Following on from the previous blog on perfection, this blog points to a guide for those aspiring to perfection:

If we have accepted that the desire for perfection is a natural and healthy desire that can be fulfilled, we must search for a guide to help us towards perfection.  In this life we encounter many false notions of perfection. Many routes to perfection that are purposed to us only lead to our own demise. We have to be careful that we find the right path and then stay firmly on this path.  This path is found through the narrow gate and ‘strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!’ (Matthew 7:13).  There have been many people who have tried to guide people towards this path. One of the best recent guides in the ways of perfection is Fr Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, a Dominican priest and, probably, the greatest theologian of the twentieth century.  This blog provides a very brief summary of the wisdom he has to share about the route to perfection:

I have outlined in previous blogs how the road to sanctity is the normal path that we are called to take.  This is also the path to perfection. Our modern times have brought with them many false notions of the normal life and what order and disorder look like.  These errors have become so prevalent that many of these false notions of perfection and normality have attempted to replace the fundamental truths of the Catholic Faith. These modern falsehoods have distorted people’s understandings of what perfection and normality looks like. Yet, the Catholic Faith remains true and will always remain so.  Therefore, our understanding of the path we must take in this life must be built on these truths as Garrigou-Lagrange points out:

            ‘If the Blessed Trinity truly dwells in us, if the Word actually was made flesh, died for us, is really present in the Holy Eucharist, offers Himself sacramentally for us every day in the Mass, gives Himself to us as food, if all this is true, then only the saints are fully in order, for they live by this divine presence through frequent, quasi-experimental knowledge and through an ever-growing love in the midst of the obscurities and difficulties of life. And the life of close union with God, far from appearing in its essential quality as something intrinsically extraordinary, appears alone as fully normal.  Before reaching such a union, we are like people still half-asleep, who do not truly live sufficiently by the immense treasure given to us and by the continually new graces granted to those who wish to follow Our Lord generously.’  

Given the infallible truths that are contained in the dogmas of the Catholic Faith, such as the Resurrection, the Real Presence and Sanctifying Grace, Garrigou-Lagrange highlights the logical consequences of these truths, i.e. ‘only the saints are fully in order’. He points out how the saints provide examples of what full human development looks like just as a fully developed oak tree gives us an idea of what a fully developed acorn looks like. Today as we drift further and further away from the truth, we lose track of what normal human development should and could look like. People are becoming more and more disordered in their thoughts, words and deeds leading to mass societal disorder. Modern theories that try to explain the normal development of man and the current psychological and social disorder we see around us without recourse to the traditional and infallible teachings of the Catholic Faith are only providing false, dangerous and destructive notions of what order should look like.  Garrigou-Lagrange further explains why false notions about normality are so prevalent today:

      ‘Frequently the term ‘normal’ is applied to the state at which Christians as a rule actually arrive, and not sufficient attention is given to inquiring to what state they ought truly to reach if they were entirely faithful.  Because the generality of Christian souls do not here on earth actually reach the stage of living in an almost continual union with God, we should not declare that this union is beyond the summit of the normal development of charity. We should not confound what ought to be or should be with what actually is: otherwise we would be led to declare that true virtue is not possible on earth, for, as a matter of fact, the majority of men pursue a useful or delectable good, such as money and earthly satisfactions, rather than virtuous good, the object of virtue.

         In a society which is declining and returning to paganism, a number take as their rule of conduct, not duty, the ordinary good, which would demand too great effort in an environment where everything leads to descend, but the lesser evil. They follow the current according to the law of the least effort. Not only do they tolerate this lesser evil, but they do it, and frequently they support it with their recommendations in order to keep their positions. They claim that they thus avoid a greater evil which others would do in their place if, ceasing to please, they should lose their situation or their command. And so saying, instead of helping others to reascend they assist them in descending, trying only to moderate the fall. How many statesmen and politicians have come to this pass! A somewhat similar condition exists in the spiritual life.’     

Garrigou-Lagrange explains how our notions of normal are informed by what we observe of the spiritual development of the ‘average man’, rather than being based on a clear understanding of what man is called to be.  The prevailing and toxic influence of paganism within our cultures has distorted man’s understanding of what he can and should be. If an acorn did not develop into a fully developed oak tree, we would say that it is defective acorn as it did develop as it should have. If a man does not develop eventually into a saint by knowing, honouring and loving God in this life we can call him defective or disordered, i.e. he has not become what he was supposed to become. The defective tree that the acorn has grown into can be simply chopped down and discarded while the disordered man, having a rational eternal soul, free will, and having been called to a much higher and nobler end goal, receives eternal punishment for refusing to choose the end he was designed for. ‘Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire.’ (Matthew 3:10).  At moments, we all have a sense that we should be so much more than we are.  However instead of aiming at perfection, we, often, as Garrigou-Lagrange points out above, reject normal human development and choose average human development while making compromises with the world that will cost us for eternity! What a disastrous and tragic choice and one that is sadly encouraged by many psychological ‘experts’ today (as was pointed out in the previous blog).

‘Perfection lies in union with God through charity’ – Garrigou-Lagrange

The central message of Garrigou-Lagrange’s masterpiece, ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life – Prelude of Eternal Life’, quoted above, is that perfection is achieved through love.  In this book, he provides guidance about how to achieve this. He also provides many more insights into the problems that trouble our own souls and minds and those we detect within our societies. He provides clear guidance on the path to perfection, basing this on the writings of saints and masters of the spiritual life who came before him, especially the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, St John of the Cross and St Francis de Sales.  It is not in the scope of this blog to outline all the glorious light that this book provides but to give readers here a brief taste of the challenge that Garrigou-Lagrange holds out to readers. For those who wish to be average his writings will be dismissed. However, for those who wish to be a normal human being in the fullest, truest, most liberating, and most perfect sense of the word, then his work is most definitely worth studying and taking onboard. 

Perfect charity demands serious effort, a veritable struggle, a spirit of abnegation or renunciation, in order that our affection, ceasing to descend toward the things of earth or fall back egotistically on ourselves, may always rise more purely and strongly toward God.’ – Garrigou-Lagrange

Now, the battle against the enemies we face in this life is not easily won as the quote above indicates. Initially the battle we are asked to fight and the path we are asked to tread may seem like an almost impossible mission and an incredibly narrow path. However, in reality, Garrigou-Lagrange highlights how the road to perdition at first seems broad but then becomes narrower and narrower, ‘whereas the narrow road, which leads upward, becomes ever wider, immense as God Himself to whom it leads.’ In truth, the path to sanctity is the only one that guarantees liberty of spirit. There are many steps that are outlined along this road such as spiritual reading, purification, mortification and spiritual direction, but one of the key steps is also one of the simplest. This is prayer, which helps us to empty ourselves thus allowing us to taste God and see how sweet He is as Garrigou-Lagrange points out: ‘Whereas the egoist always thinks of himself and refers everything back to himself, we shall begin to think always of God dwelling in us, and to refer everything to Him. Then, even when the most unforeseen and painful events occur, we shall think of the glory of God and of the manifestations of His goodness, and we shall glimpse from afar the supreme Good toward which everything, trials as well as joys, should converge. This is truly the life of prayer, which allows us to see all things in God; it is the normal prelude to eternal life.’ 

Eventually, through persistent effort and docility to the Holy Ghost and His inspirations, one can find peace of soul in this life as described in ‘The Imitation of Christ’ (a book frequently quoted by Garrigou-Lagrange): ‘If your thinking is straight and you see things as they really are, you will never allow trouble or adversity to depress you.’  Studying ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life’ is a great way of getting your thinking straight and helping you to ‘see things as they really are’.  It confirms what other spiritual writers say about the need for a virtuous interior life, such as Fr R. J. Meyer: ‘Vice denotes weakness and imperfection; virtue denotes strength and perfection. Vice is a habit by which one does amiss; virtue is a habit which one never uses amiss. Vice is a flaw, owing to which something is not in a condition becoming its nature; it is, therefore, a disposition against nature. Virtue is an excellence, owing to which something is in a condition favourable to its nature; it is therefore, a disposition according to nature’ (‘Science of the Saints’)

He who considers himself his own director, becomes the disciple of a fool.’ – St. Bernard

We must look to those wiser than ourselves to direct and guide us and not foolishly overestimate our ability to direct ourselves. Whilst it may be hard to find a prudent, wise and charitable counsellor in these current times there are guides to be found through reading and studying. For those who aspire to be perfect and who aspire to live a truly virtuous life the guidance of Garrigou-Lagrange is a great aid. His work can be accessed online for free here. Hopefully you will find the wisdom he provides refreshing and inspiring and, God willing, he will help to guide you towards perfection in this life and eternal happiness in the next.

God bless

Note: If this blog has sparked your interest in the works of Garrigou-Lagrange here is another article encouraging people to read more from and about him.   

Sanctity & Sanity (1/2)


‘Every theory which discredits the true nature of man or denies the need of a Divine Remedy is only intensifying the disease which it attempts to cure.  The psychopathic messes into which many tumble are due either to a want of a knowledge of human nature or to a want of a genuine religion.’ – Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘Peace of Soul’

The following blog is the first of a two-piece article on the relationship between sanctity, i.e. a holy and virtuous life, and sanity, i.e. peace of soul.  The first piece gives a brief overview of this relationship from a scientific, philosophical and historical perspective. The second piece will provide examples of people who have lived holy, peaceful and joyous lives.

Wickedness and Insanity – The Current State of Affairs:

Whereas the expert is tolerant of some fashion and prepared to take seriously the proposition that he is no more than the table he is looking at, he is unduly annoyed, if it be suggested that the word soul is in place in a discussion on psychology, that the science of ethics has a number of loose ends unless some kind of immortality be admitted, that a serious philosophy cannot avoid the conception of a divine being.  He seems to feel that the game is not being played fairly, that he is being forced to present at some séance.’ – Fr M C D’Arcy, ‘Mirage and Truth’

Today, there are many different solutions proposed to solve mental health issues.  Some of these include medication, exercise, dietary changes, slowing down/staying more present, getting out into nature and going to see a counsellor or psychotherapist.  While all of these can be of some benefit, there is one sure fire method of maintaining one’s sanity in the crazy world we find ourselves in. This solution to psychological difficulties is rarely talked about in our modern times.  This solution is living a holy and virtuous life.  This effective solution for psychological issues has fallen out of favour in our world today as people grasp at more ‘progressive’ solutions, which condone or even encourage sinful lifestyles or encourage people to take prescription drugs that are often toxic and ineffective.  Many professionals dismiss or only pay lip service to any talk of the soul or the importance of a moral life. Hence, many of our modern approaches are causing far more harm than good. One can find numerous professionals highlighting the problems with the psychotropic drugs people are being prescribed (see here: www.rxisk.org ; here: https://joannamoncrieff.com/; and here: https://davidhealy.org/psychiatry-gone-astray/ for just three examples). I have highlighted elsewhere how dangerous counselling can be if the counsellor is detached from the truth themselves.

It is his own perfection that man is instinctively reaching out after in all his restless strivings, or rather it is God, Who alone can complete and perfect man.  We are unhappy because we are not perfect, and we are not perfect because we have not that plenitude of existence for which we crave and for which we have the capacity.  Perfection means fullness of life, and fullness of life means complete happiness.’ – Fr Edward Leen, ‘In the Likeness of Christ’

Even when one is taking good care of one’s body, is getting out into nature often and is taking the time to slow and appreciate things around them, it does not keep one immune from psychological difficulties.  While the body may be healthy, there is still lack of peace in the mind for many.  There is a restlessness of the soul, which manifests itself in one’s mind and body.  There is a desire for perfection that burns within us and which can spring into our consciousness as pain or bewilderment or disillusionment or deep sorrow that we cannot quite explain. Psychiatrists often explain this away as a chemical imbalance in the brain (with scant and poor evidence to back up this assertion) and sociologists explain this restlessness as a reaction to social inequality or social injustice (yet the socialist utopias they have dreamt up and forced on people have only turned into dystopian nightmares).  These modern explanations for this restlessness lack grounding in evidence, logic and reason. The ‘old’ explanation for this restlessness is rarely talked about today. It is even more rarely accepted as the true explanation, i.e. one’s distress is caused by not living an ordered life in accordance with God’s will. Once this explanation is accepted as the reason for most psychological difficulties today, the solution becomes obvious – living an ordered life in accordance with God’s will, i.e. living a holy and virtuous life. (I say ‘most’ as I am not ruling out the fact that, in some cases, psychological agitation is caused by a physiological issue or the oppressive social circumstances one finds oneself in but, even with these factors at play, a strong Faith is still key to overcoming or managing them).  A sincere desire to find and follow God’s will will bring one to the truth, i.e. the Catholic Faith. But some might ask, where is the evidence for the Catholic Faith contributing to psychological well-being?

Sanctity and Sanity – The Scientific Evidence:

No psychological theory which condones sin can ever be one that contributes to the mental health of individuals or a society‘ – Fr Ripperger, ‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’

I have highlighted elsewhere the empirical evidence for the claim that the Catholic Faith is of benefit to people’s psychological well-being.  I have also spoken about how unholy practices are promoted by psychological professionals and how they misunderstand and misdiagnose emotional reactions due to their lack of understanding of what man is.  A brief examination of the actual evidence for psychiatric interventions will lead one to see that these are not the solutions.  A critical examination of socialist/communist experiments in the twentieth century clearly shows us that these are not the solution either. In 1878, in his encyclical, Quod Apostolici Muneris, Pope Leo XIII clearly foresaw why trying to remove mention of God and eternity from the public sphere would only lead to disaster in the twentieth century: ‘After being consigned to oblivion the rewards and punishments of a future and never-ending existence, the keen longing after happiness has been narrowed down to the range of the present life. With such doctrines spread far and wide, and such licence in thought and action, it is no wonder that men of the most lowly condition, heartsick of a humble home or poor workshop, should fix eager eyes on the abodes and fortunes of the wealthy; no wonder that tranquillity no longer prevails in public or private life, or that the human race has been hurried onward to well-nigh the verge of ruin.’ Applying a critical scientific mind to the claims and practices of psychiatry and socialism highlights how damaging these approaches are.  But what does a brief examination of Church history teach us about psychological distress and its treatment?  This is what I will explore next but before we do that, we must get a clear understanding of what we are actually talking about. 

Sanctity and Sanity – The Philosophical Argument:

‘The least deviation from truth will be multiplied later a thousandfold.’ – Aristotle

To help someone with a psychological issue, one must understand what psychological order and psychological disorder look like. Now, in our modern times, because of psychological professional’s false understanding of man and his purpose in life and the embracing of these ideas by many of the Catholic hierarchy, confused and dangerous ideas about what order and disorder look like have become more and more prevalent in our society.  Prior to the Vatican II council, and before the majority of Catholics accepted the errors of the world, most Catholics had a clear understanding of what order and disorder looked like. As Catholics had a clear understanding about what man was and what the purpose of life was, this understanding revolved around virtue and vice, holiness and sin, morality and immorality. It was rooted in the understanding that we are all children of God. Dom Anscar Vonier, in his book, ‘The Human Soul’, gives an example of what Catholics were taught to believe when it came to defining disorder.  Man belongs to God, to mankind, and to himself.  He sins because he puts himself in opposition to God or to mankind, or to himself.  Belonging to God, he owes to God duties of religion; they are the most necessary and the most sacred part of his moral life.  He owes to God subjection of intellect and will.  To neglect any of his duties towards God, or to rebel against God with intellect or will is a grievous disorder, because man has placed himself in opposition to the uncreated order and harmony.  As a member of mankind, the human individual has towards mankind duties of love and justice.  The violation of those duties puts him into opposition to the human order; he is in a state of disorder.  Finally, man is not a simple entity; he is a composition of spirit and body; harmony and order for him are attained when the body obeys the spirit. If man were not a composite being, he could not sin against himself; there would be only the two preceding disorders; but being two in one, it will be disorder, if the lower part of his being is not subject to the higher part.’ Catholicism teaches that the body’s subjection to the soul, man fulfilling his duties to his fellow man, and man subjecting himself to God, are the foundation blocks for an ordered life. Deviation from any of these leads to disorder within man. This deviation also contributes to disorder in the world.  As modern psychological theories either reject or ignore this Divine order and as more and more people embrace modern errors, it is no wonder that disorder both within man, e.g. increased rates of psychological distress, suicide, and in our society, e.g. homelessness, continues to grow. 

Sanctity and Sanity – The Historical Evidence:

‘The Church…teaches us the laws that govern reality and the consequences of breaking them.  This is what Our Lord meant when He said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  For moral freedom – like every other freedom – is limited by the order of the universe…we are free to reject the teachings of Christ in His Church, just as we are free to ignore or disobey the laws of engineering; but we will find that the rejection of her laws never leads us to the perfection of our personality, as we foolishly hoped. It results, instead, in a morbid affirmation of the ego, which can even lead to self-destruction.’ – Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘Peace of Soul’

For hundreds of years, the majority of people in the West understood, followed and lived the teachings of the Catholic Church. By the grace of God, most people adhered to the natural and Divine laws. This led to peaceful minds and harmonious societies.  People were nourished on the Divine Charity that emanated from the Church thus helping to make their burden light and the yoke sweet. As a result, psychological disorders were rare. Despite what modern scientists continuously tell us, we have not become better at identifying psychological disorders nor have we become more enlightened about or more effective in treating psychological distress.  While being ignorant of the central cause and most effective cure for psychological distress, even atheist professor of psychiatry David Healy highlights how modern treatments for ‘schizophrenia’ are worse, in terms of outcome and life expectancy, than those provided 100 years ago and that current approaches are often directly responsible for creating chronic illness and drug dependence.  Psychological disorder is on the increase mainly because we have become disconnected from the Faith.  We are tumbling into ‘psychopathic messes’, as Bishop Fulton Sheen puts it, due to our abandonment of the Catholic Faith.

But what about all those claims that the Church, especially in the Middle Ages, treated everyone as if they were possessed and treated men and women suffering from psychological issues in cruel and degrading ways?  Carol Robinson in her book, ‘My Life with Thomas Aquinas’, highlights how false these accusations are: ‘Most references to ‘medieval’ treatment of the insane in textbooks are wildly inaccurate. Snake pits were a device of the ancients; the chained inmates of Bedlam were a post-Reformation scandal; and diabolism as an all-pervasive explanation was Seventeenth Century. True history does honour to the Church. The admirable Gheel system of allowing freedom of the village to harmless lunatics was started by a cult to St Dymphna, and still persists. Medieval references to the care of the insane were simple and salutary, including such advice as playing music to cheer the melancholy.  Above all what honours the Church is that mental disease never became a major problem while the world still lived within the framework which she made.’ Even those who are no friends of the Catholic Church and who promote falsehoods about progress in psychiatry admit that the Church was not involved in the abuses prevalent in Irish mental asylums during the 18th and 19th century as these were run by secular government-run institutions.  A critical and accurate examination of history highlights how adherence to the Catholic Faith established order in society and order in the minds of its faithful.  The Faith gave people what their soul needed.  This is particularly true when comparing our modern psychological theories to the nourishment that was given to men’s minds and souls during the greatest age of the Church: ‘Instead of expanding men’s souls, as every branch of knowledge in the thirteenth century had the power to do, springing as each did from the source of all Truth, our intellectual offerings have contracted men’s minds and shrivelled their souls.  Men have been directed to look, in our day, not out beyond themselves to the Immensity and wonder of God, but in upon the workings of their own minds.  They have been taught a great deal of distasteful nonsense in the name of psychology and sociology, and treated to a number of myths in an unclean practice called psychiatry, first brewed for the world in the impure mind of an Austrian Jew named Freud.’ (Sister Catherine, ‘Our Glorious Popes’).  The Catholic Faith gave man what he needed as the Church knows what man is, i.e. a combined body and soul designed to know, honour and love God.

Following the Evidence:

God has created man. He is therefore man’s beginning. He has created man for Himself. He is therefore man’s final goal.  The proper order of the universe demands that men recognize these two facts and act accordingly.’ –  Frs Farrell & Healy, ‘My Way of Life’

An objective scientific analysis of the claims and practices of psychiatry and psychology in our modern times brings one to the conclusion that they are causing more harm than good.  An objective historical and scientific analysis of the relationship between psychological distress and the Catholic Faith brings one to the conclusion that the Faith is of huge benefit to people’s psychological well-being.  Unlike the pseudoscientific claims of psychiatry and modern psychology, practicing the Catholic Faith can be truly said to be an effective evidence-based approach for psychological distress. This is a recognition of the facts.  However as these are not Catholic times that we live in, it is highly unlikely that these facts will be recognised and acted upon by those who like to promote ‘evidence-based’ approaches to psychological issues.  This is the sad situation we find ourselves in today, i.e. the very thing that would solve psychological issues, the Catholic Faith, has been pushed out of education, health and social policies and practice and any remaining remnants are being rapidly swept out too.  Given this, instead of looking for the government or the health service to help us with psychological issues we must look elsewhere for solutions. No better place to look is the examples of saintly men and women thus inspiring us to bravely carry the crosses life inevitably throws at us.  Hence, the second part of this article on ‘Sanctity and Sanity’ will look at these examples so one can live a holy and peaceful life and, ultimately, an eternally happy one.   

Staying Sane as Society Goes Insane


The organization of society is intended to aid man, considered formally as a person destined for God, to attain union with Him.’ – ‘The Mystical Body of Christ and the Reorganisation of Society’ – Fr Fahey

To help people on the road to true happiness, society needs to guide and direct people along this path.  First, one must know and identify the destination, i.e. Heaven, and have a good and accurate understanding of what a human being is, i.e. a soul and a body, so we can be guided there safely.  One must identify what helps and what hinders us on this path. 

It is the function of society – or the union of men working together to achieve happiness – to provide the conditions of life in which men can work successfully to attain true happiness…We might say briefly that society provides the peace and the harmony which enable men to work together to attain the common good of all men.’ ‘My Way of Life’ – Frs Farrell & Healy.

The ‘common good’, in the above quote, does not refer to what the majority of people believe to be good but rather what is good objectively.  The ultimate common good remains the same even if all the citizens in a particular nation happen to be unaware or ignorant of it.  Direction towards the common good, which involves the promotion of the virtuous life, is essential for the mind.  The mind is nourished on the truth.  Those who live a life perfectly in accordance with the truth and direct their soul on a straight path towards Heaven live a perfectly happy life (As happy as can be achieved in this valley of tears on earth at any rate).  The lives of the saints who lived lives completely dedicated to knowing, honouring and loving God are the examples of how a life should be lived.  Carol Robinson in her excellent book, ‘My Life with Thomas Aquinas’ describes how ‘the normal man is the hierarchical man, of whom the exemplar is the saint…The saint is the most sane of men, because the concept of sanctity includes perfect sanity.  That is why peace is the fruit of holiness, because peace is defined as the tranquillity of order, which tranquillity consists in all the appetitive movements in one man being set at rest together.’  A society with true happiness/Heaven as the objective for its citizens, i.e. the common good of all, would be ordered in such a way as to promote and encourage sanctity and, therefore, sanity as well.   It would realise that there are many temptations that can pull people away from the straight and narrow path and it would structure itself so the snares of the devil, the corruption of the world and the passions of the flesh would have less chance of gaining an upper hand on people and leading them to their eternal demise.  As Pope St Pius X advised the French Hierarchy, in his Letter on the Sillon, at the start of the twentieth century, ‘The social machinery ought to be so organised as by its natural action to paralyse the efforts of the wicked.’ Social efforts, in this regard, not only protect the soul but they protect the mind as well.

Ireland 2019:

These modern times in Ireland are particularly crazy as the social machinery works against the common good and encourages people to lose both their mind and soul.  The legalization of homosexual ‘marriage’ and ‘abortion’/the killing of innocent babies, have been the two most obvious recent examples of this.  The promotion of vice through TV, internet, advertising, smartphones, and the lack of systematic attempts to stop this, are just more signs of the social machinery working towards the corruption of souls.  This promotion of disorder contributes to people’s passions getting a hold of their reason and minds becoming detached from reality.  Vice and sin have become so much part of the air we breathe that what was once considered evil is, now, considered ‘normal’ or acceptable.  As Fr Ripperger points out, ‘Culturally, in the past, fornication was looked down upon as a great moral and societal evil because of all the evil effects to the individual and society, one of which is the general erosion of morality within a society.  As fornication and sexual licence became more pervasive, the society began finding it difficult to judge fornication as morally evil and today it has virtually no evil connotation at all.  What started out as particular individual difficulties with respect to passions has affected, over the long haul, the universal judgement of society about the evil of fornication in general.’ (‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’).  Our society is becoming sicker and sicker and its contagion is spreading.  There are some people pushing back courageously against this contagion at a personal or familial level as they find strategies and ways of keeping themselves and their loved ones safe. For example, parents taking their children out of school and homeschooling them to protect them from corruption.  At a societal level, the battle is being lost and the ‘progressives’ and ‘liberals’ are marching on, while leaving a trail of destruction in their path.  God have mercy on them!

There are some noble efforts to push back against the disorder in society, which usually come from conservative nationalist movements, but these groups must remember the wise words of Pope Leo XIII from his 1888 encyclical on ‘The Right Ordering of Christian Life’, Exeunte Iam Anno, ‘They who strive by the enforcement of law to extinguish the ever-growing flame of popular passions, strive indeed for what is right and just; but they will labour with little or no result so long as they obstinately reject the power of the Gospel and refuse the assistance of the Church.  These evils can be cured only by a change of principles, and by returning in public and private conduct to Jesus Christ and to a Christian rule of life.’  For those who challenge the idea that the Catholic Faith is not the solution to societal ills, Pope Leo XIII replies with these words from St Augustine, ‘Let those who say that the teaching of Christ is hurtful to the State, produce such armies as the maxims of Jesus have enjoined soldiers to bring into being; such governors of provinces; such husbands and wives; such parents and children; such masters and servants; such kings; such judges, and such payers and collectors of tribute, as the Christian teaching instructs them to become, and then let them dare to say that such teaching is hurtful to the State. Nay, rather will they hesitate to own that this discipline, if duly acted up to, is the very mainstay of the commonwealth.’  Unfortunately, Pope Leo XIII’s words fell on many deaf ears during his time. Today, the rot has gotten so bad that one sees the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, attempting to push Catholicism out of health and social policies altogether, tweeting that ‘Religion will not play a role in our health and social policy anymore’. The damage that this is doing and would do will be catastrophic. May he realise the error of his ways before it is too late!

In the midst of the social chaos around us, one could become disheartened and potentially fall into despair.  This service, Truth and Freedom Therapy, acknowledges that there are some natural ways of fortifying yourself against the craziness of the world, e.g. basic healthy nutrition and exercise, getting away from the city and its toxicity, talking to a good Catholic friend or therapist, but it also acknowledges its limitations and knows what it cannot provide.  To keep one’s sanity in the current climate one needs as much grace and supernatural assistance as possible as Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany points out in his brilliant book, ‘Liberalism Is A Sin’, ‘Unless supernaturally fortified and enlightened, human nature under this moral oppression soon gives way to “human respect”’.  The danger of giving into human respect is a huge temptation today with the faithful vastly outnumbered and ridiculed for sticking to the truth.  We need every drop of grace that Our Lord blesses us with.  We need to nourish ourselves on the Faith, reject the world and its madness and give the world what it needs, i.e. the Truth, rather than expecting anything from it.  People who are determined to hold onto the Faith, their reason, and their sanity, face a tricky battle today, but, as Henry Sire points out in his powerful book, ‘Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking and Restoration of Catholic Tradition’, ‘The great missionary successes of the Church have been won by men who had no illusions about the world that they faced, and who knew that their task was to give it the things that it lacked.  Gregory the Great did not patronise armed hordes to show how he could immerse himself in the chaos of his time; he fostered monasticism, a withdrawal from the world that ended by conquering the world.  St. Augustine did not go to England with an obsequious wish to flatter the cult of Thor and Woden; he went to offer it the light of Rome, and by doing so he conquered a nation for Christ.  To know that one faces an unpropitious world does not imply an inability to evangelise it, or despair at doing so.  The Church has never faced such a mortally hostile world as the one that crucified its Saviour, yet the lesson of the crucifixation is that the world is saved in its very hostility.’ 

So, while the social machinery encourages and promotes the efforts of the wicked today, let us not marvel or wonder at the hatred the world has for the truth and those that live it (1 John 3:13). Instead let us acknowledge the reality of the challenge before us and let us ‘be wise as serpents and simple as doves’ (Matthew 10:16) and use these times to sanctify ourselves. 

God bless you in your endeavours. May you respond to and be nourished on the abundant graces He generously offers.   

Validating Emotions

Emotions, and especially passions, are the source of the greatest good, and of the greatest evil.’
– Harvard Professor of Philosophy, Charles A. Dubray

In the psychotherapeutic field one often hears about the need for feelings or emotions to be ‘validated’. This type of talk has come particularly from those who are on the left side of the political spectrum and particularly mental health professionals who lean towards left wing politics, e.g. websites – Psych Central, Psychology Today.  In reaction to this type of talk, some of those on the right side of the political spectrum, have dismissed feelings as irrelevant in informing serious political discussions, e.g. Ben Shapiro, Stefan Molyneux.  This blog examines what is understood by ‘validating’ feelings, looks at how emotions are treated in modern psychological services and concludes by outlining what it means to truly validate emotions. 

Take a look around you. If you can slow down your own mind enough, sit and look at people as they go about their everyday business.  Many people are extremely agitated and anxious.  There is a restlessness that pervades our society.  Many people are feeling overwhelmed by the psychological pressure and emotional turmoil they are under. Mental health services can not keep up with the public demand, pharmaceutical companies have never been richer, and psychotherapists have never been busier.  Amongst all this anxious activity, one hears the cry that feelings must be ‘validated’.  It seems to come from those who are truly entangled in their emotions and want to be heard. What is certainly valid is that people are in distress and need help.  How people, especially those professionals in mental health services, decide to deal with and interpret or ‘validate’ emotional expressions is vitally important in helping people and society regain emotional stability.        

Emotions should be acknowledged (See footnote). Acknowledging feelings is essential in helping and communicating with people.  Feelings could be indicating an objective reality that the person is experiencing or has experienced, i.e. feeling more agitated after taking prescribed drugs, feeling guilty after aborting my unborn child, feeling sorrow after lying to my friend. What feels subjectively bad and what is objectively bad can overlap due to the nagging of our conscience which can trigger an emotional response in us.  Due to this, it is worth acknowledging feelings as they can, sometimes, be the first signs of something going wrong.  However, feelings are far from infallible guides. 

Feelings are often disconnected from the truth, especially if the experiences involve the passions as passions blind us to the truth, e.g. I feel good after casual sex (fornication) and so does the person I had sex with so what’s the harm in it?, I get a thrill out of petty theft so what’s the harm?, I felt happy on the day I was ‘married’ to my same-sex ‘partner’ so what’s the harm?. Our conscience can be misinformed and/or blinded by our passions/feelings.  Feelings are often wrong and can lead the conscience, which is informed by the intellect, astray. Therefore, feelings and one’s conscience need to be measured in the light of reason and evidence to see if there is any objective truth in the emotions experienced.  

Reason and evidence can guide people to the truth.  It is particularly important for mental health professionals to have a firm understanding of what is objectively true/good as they are the ones working with people who have lost their way. If the client/patient has no idea of what is objectively good/true, then it is even more incumbent on the professional to have a good idea of this.  Professionals also need to be humble enough to acknowledge that the personal experiences and emotions of clients or patients are worth hearing and exploring, especially in areas where there is no clear understanding of what is objectively true/good, e.g. a certain drug may not have caused agitation in many patients but there is always the possibility that it could have in the patient in front of you.  A correct formation and education in the truth about human beings and a humble attitude are essential traits in a mental health professional, particularly in any professionals that hold the power to force treatment on someone or take away their basic human rights.  The more responsibility one has, the humbler he should be. ‘For he that is the lesser among you all, he is the greater. (Luke 9:48).

While it is not possible to classify every emotional reaction as good or bad, a good and clear education about the nature of human beings and an accurate understanding of human psychology helps the professional to have a clearer understanding of emotional expression in humans. This formation also helps to give a clearer idea of when people’s feelings are disconnected from reality.  Being humble helps the professional to treat the person in front of them as an individual who has unique experiences and insights.  The basic premises of good psychological health care are summed up in: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength. This is the first commandment.  And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Mark 12: 30-31) (Or ‘All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them.’ (Matthew 7:12)).  As mental health services become detached from these premises, it only leads to a rigid and totalitarian approach, which often is initially packaged as ‘care’ and ‘compassion’.  There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing today in mental health services.  Once society has detached itself from the divine guidance above, decreased freedom is the inevitable outcome. 

Increasingly, in the liberal/secular/Marxist paradigm that dominates mental health services, some emotional responses are seen as ‘right’ and others are seen as ‘wrong’. If you are annoyed or become irritated that the psychiatrist is not willing to validate the feelings you have that the drugs you are on are damaging your brain (which many do) and you express this to him you can be labelled as ‘non-compliant’ or ‘irrational’. If you don’t believe that you need the drugs you might be seen as ‘lacking insight’ and if you keep up the opposition, you might get diagnosed with another disorder such as ‘oppositional deviant disorder’ (While working on psychiatric wards I have seen this happen).  If you are feeling guilty about having had an abortion or about engaging in homosexual activity, the kind, warm hearted therapist will ease your worried conscience. Most likely, they will ‘validate’ your feelings with good eye contract and basic counselling phrases like ‘that’s tough’ and ‘poor you’ while telling you that you have done nothing wrong and that it is only society and the Christian culture you were brought up in that is making you feel guilty (This is what the Psychological Society of Ireland are currently doing). 

Authorities such as psychiatrists, can physically restrain you and force treatment on you if you disagree with their pseudoscience.  Psychologists and psychotherapists can encourage you to become a slave to sin and the devil by comforting you and helping you find ways of rethinking or reimagining your ‘negative’ emotions.  Your emotions and concerns may be acknowledged, i.e. the professionals may acknowledge your emotions by acknowledging that they are what you are experiencing, but they will eventually dismiss these emotions as not being in accord with their interpretation of reality.  In many cases, a softly, softly approach may be taken to convince you that their interpretation of reality is correct. If that doesn’t work some mental health professionals (who are often detached from reality themselves but have lots of letters after their name after many years of study) can bring the full force of the law down on you to force you to see the world their way.  If a professional or others are going to tell you that your feelings are not in line with reality or that ‘feelings don’t matter’ or ‘facts don’t care about your feelings’ (as some notable right wing political commentators suggest and are applauded for) they must do this with humility and they must be sure that they know the facts and have a good knowledge of the truth.  It is easy, due to pride, to force our false interpretations of reality on others and by doing so, we may be missing genuine concerns that the individual expresses which indicate that there is something seriously amiss. 

If today’s mental health professionals knew the truth of human psychology, they could really help people who have nagging consciences. They could then direct them appropriately, e.g. confession, catechism classes. Instead they mostly exacerbate the problem as Willibald Demal (‘Pastoral Psychology in Practice’) explains, If ever-recurring impulses or emotions which either cannot be defended before the tribunal of our conscience or appear to be indefensible do not find a natural outlet and are forcibly repressed from consciousness, they simply continue to grow in the subconscious and cause the gravest disturbances.’ The liberal/secular/Marxist mental health professionals are coming up with more and more convoluted ways of suppressing one’s conscience and the feelings that arise from it, while the Church, which many of these professionals criticize for suppressing people, has always acknowledged that emotional expression is part of what makes us human as Bishop Fulton Sheen (‘Peace of Soul’) points out: ‘[The Church] does not deny emotions, any more than it denies hunger; the Church only asks that, when a man sits at table, he shall not eat like a pig.  Our Lord did not repress the emotional zeal of Paul; He merely redirected it from hate to love. Our Lord did not repress the biological vitalities of a Magdalene; He merely turned her passion from love of vice to love of virtue.’  This is the healthier and nobler way of handling emotions, i.e. by directing them towards Love itself.

So, the ultimate judge of whether an emotional response is reasonable is whether it is line with the truth/reality.  Now, as there are so many variables that inform emotional expression, e.g. life experiences, temperament, character, education, understanding, what is and is not an appropriate emotional expression is difficult to decipher.  There are no fixed standards for emotional expression. To try to create fixed standards, could impede the cultivation of the personality of the most remarkable of individuals.  For example, if we were to apply today’s standards of ‘normal’ emotional expression to the lives of the saints many of them, such as St Francis of Assisi or St Martin de Porres, would likely have been diagnosed with mania, locked up on a psychiatric ward and drugged up for being too exuberant in their love of God, their neighbour and the animals of this world.  Other saints, such as St Dominic and St John Vianney, who were known to weep at the thoughts of all the offences committed against God, would likely to be diagnosed as ‘depressive’ and put on drugs that would blunt their emotions, such as SSRI’s, today.  While under the control of reason and guided by the light of faith, the emotional expression of these saints was an essential part of their being. 

Unlike, the Catholic Faith, which celebrates the cultivation of one’s unique personality and which has given many sainthoods to those who may be considered ‘mad’ or, at least, eccentric, by today’s standards, psychiatry and modern psychology is only coming up with more diagnoses and formulas to destroy individuality and numb emotions in the name of ‘scientific progress’.  In their efforts to control the emotional expression of the masses, psychologists and psychiatrists, informed by Marxist or liberal ideologies, have helped to tear down walls that gave people a chance to express themselves and their emotions in a safe and healthy way.  As Bishop Fulton Sheen (‘Peace of Soul’) notes,Life may be likened to children playing…the playground established by the Church might be a rock in the sea, surrounded by great walls; inside of those walls the children may dance and sing and play as they please. Liberals would ask the Church to tear down the walls on the grounds that they are a restraining influence; but if this were done, you would find all the children huddled in the centre of the island, afraid to play, afraid to sing, afraid to dance, afraid of falling into the sea.  This is exactly what it is happening today as the walls come crumbling down. 

The wisdom written on these desecrated walls has also been cast aside in our current era but fragments of great advice can be found such as those offered by Professor Dubray in the early part of the 20th century.  He speaks about how emotions need to be cultivated, controlled and ‘made an auxiliary in striving for the noblest aims’. They should be evaluated by and brought under the control of reason. Reason should be the master of feelings as feelings are blind in themselves and are not universal but vary across individuals. 

Until we get back to a stage where we truly understand what exactly a human being is and what human beings were created for, we will struggle further in our attempts to understand and evaluate the appropriateness of human responses. There will continue to be constant endless bickering between those who encourage ‘validating’ of feelings and try to create their own reality based on these feelings and those who dismiss feelings rashly and don’t believe that feelings are relevant in any serious discussion about life.  Let us understand ourselves and let God use us and our human frailty, which includes emotional expression, in the way He sees fit.

As Prof Dubray (‘Introductory Philosophy’) makes clear, ‘To try to eliminate all feelings from morality, and look upon them as obstacles to be removed, as the Stoics and Kant did; to look upon duty as being by its very nature a burden to be carried painfully and by dint of effort; to place the ideal of man in a state of perfect calmness and rest undisturbed by any feeling or emotion, is to misunderstand human nature, to overlook human psychology, and to give a rule unfit to guide men, since it fails to take men as they are essentially.’ Let us understand human psychology and emotions and use the energy they can inspire in us for the greatest good. If there is any real ‘validating’ to be done, let us first validate the true meaning of our existence.  Then let us validate the true dignity of each human soul by acknowledging the sadness that can come in this valley of tears and let us try to help each other to carry our crosses as we strive to find or stay on the straight and narrow path.  In this way, we do not give emotions the worship nor the disdain that the world thinks they deserve but, rather, we place them within the divine order to which they belong. 

This is truely validating emotions.     

Footnote:

Acknowledging emotions is not meant, in the sense, that strong emotions should be associated with objective reality if they contradict plain facts or conclusive evidence. Neither is it meant, in the sense, that talking about feelings is always useful as some people like to suggest.  For example, if someone rejects basic facts, e.g.‘2+2=4’ or first principles, e.g. ‘something cannot be at once one way and the contradictory way’, then Prof Dubray suggest that ‘nothing is left but to stop thinking altogether or go an asylum’.  You can still care for the person who is thinking like this but engaging in any conversation rather than pointing out the absurdity of their feelings may only validate the falsehoods they are expressing. Acknowledging emotions is meant, in the sense, that emotions indicate a psychological reality for people. In most cases, outside of the above examples, one can safely acknowledge them, i.e. acknowledge that certain feelings are real for the person you are speaking to, without encouraging the belief in obvious falsehoods.  For the above examples, where somebody doesn’t have an obvious biological/cognitive impairment that is disrupting their reasoning, the Irish expression, ‘Ah, would you cop on’ is probably useful in these cases as it is not too harsh but gets to the point quickly.  Gentle and firm encouragement is sometimes needed to help people see the absurdity of their feelings or beliefs before they get in a lot of trouble trying to live a life formed on false and unstable foundations.

The False Philosophy of Modern Psychology

Every theory which discredits the true nature of man or denies the need of a Divine Remedy is only intensifying the disease which it attempts to cure.  The psychopathic messes into which many tumble are due either to a want of a knowledge of human nature or to a want of a genuine religion.’ – (Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘Peace of Soul’)

The last blog, ‘2+2=4?’, gave a brief insight into how mental health professionals can push falsehoods on their clients. It highlighted how mental health professionals can convince or persuade their clients that the client’s refusal to accept falsehoods is due to psychological or emotional issues that the client is experiencing or has experienced in the past. This can be done in a subtle and clever way under the guise of care (as outlined in the blog) or these falsehoods can be pushed more directly and violently on people, e.g. involuntary electroshock or involuntary injection of ‘non-compliant’ patients by mental health professionals (as outlined in the first blog, ‘Introduction/Bricks in the Wall’).  This blog looks at how modern psychology gives the false answers from the outset and how it is sending many people the wrong way.   

‘An error in definition is always fatal’

Fr Doolan’s quote above outlines the importance of accurate definitions in philosophical endeavours.  This applies equally to psychological endeavours. To help a person, one must understand what a human being actually is.  In the blog, ‘Be Yourself’, it was outlined how important an accurate answer to the question, ‘what am I?’, is if one wants to be truly free.  As the discipline of psychology is concerned with understanding the human mind and human behavior, it is essential that those who study and practice psychology have a clear understanding of what a human being is. Defining the object of study, i.e. human beings, is the first task that a psychologist must do. Understanding what a human being is involves scientific analysis and speculation to reach the right answer. One must be very careful in this initial process to avoid error as this will have devastating results further down the line if an error in definition has crept in.

 ‘A hair,’ they say, ‘divides the false and true.’ But a hair’s breadth departure from the heights of speculation from what is true and straight, will mean an ever widening gap as the stream of thought is followed from the heights, down to the lower planes whereon men’s everyday lives are passed.’ – Fr Doolan (‘Philosophy for the Layman’)

A thorough examination of philosophical science, driven by good will and a sincere love for the truth, will bring one to the conclusion that a human being is made of a soul and a body, with the soul being the more noble part of man.  Further philosophical analysis informs us that God is the Creator of each individual’s soul.  The Catholic Faith shows us that the purpose of human being’s existence is to know, honour and love God and it gives us the necessary supernatural assistance to help us do so.  Continuous deviation from or a rejection of this task of knowing, honouring and loving God will only mean misery and destruction for ourselves and the society around us.  ‘As we approach God we approach unity and perfection; as we descend from God we descend into multiplicity and imperfection.’ (Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy’).  Any definition of man that does not acknowledge this true nature of man is already set out on the wrong path.  Any psychological service that does not work with the person in helping them to achieve the task of knowing, honouring and loving God is only intensifying the disease it is attempting to cure.   

Breakdowns:

When a person is experiencing a psychological breakdown, it is often a sign that the person is deviating from the task that they were created to fulfil.  An analogy will help to make this clear.  If a car has broken down and you are unable to start it, it indicates that something is wrong with the car as it is not performing the function it was designed to do.  If a person is living a disordered life where God is dismissed, mocked, ridiculed and insulted, it is a sign that something is wrong as they are not fulfilling the task that they were created for.  The car needs fixing and so does the person.  One fix involves a mechanical or electronic readjustment so the materials necessary to start the car work efficiently.  The fix for the person usually involves a divine remedy which nourishes the soul so that the person can work efficiently in their task of knowing, honouring and loving God.   Viewing sinful behaviour as ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ behaviour is like the mechanic viewing the car being unable to start as ‘normal’.  Both require interventions.  A competent mechanic who understands what a car is and what it was designed to do is far better than one who believes a car being unable to start is ‘normal’ for cars!  A competent psychologist who understands what a human being is and what human beings are designed for is far better than one who believes sinful behaviour is a sign of good health and ‘progress’.  However, unlike the car, people who are offered fixes from mental health professionals have a choice over whether they accept the fix or guidance offered.  God gifted humans with free will and gave them a choice over whether they decide to live a life ordered towards His divine plan or not.  

It is not our privilege to measure out the kind of God we shall have…If there is any fitting to be done, it is we who are to fit ourselves to God, and not God to ourselves.’ (Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy’). 

Modern psychological services are encouraging people to not live life in accordance with the divine plan or they try to twist God’s plan to fit the client’s disordered lifestyle. These psychologists encourage people to continue in their disordered lifestyles and they blame society for any pangs of conscience that a client engaging in sinful behaviour experiences.  For example, being registered as a psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) is contingent on affirming and encouraging homosexual behaviour (see: https://www.cancer.ie/sites/default/files/content-attachments/psi_guidelines.pdf)  and the PSI blames societal ‘stigma’ for women feeling bad after an abortion (see: https://www.psychologicalsociety.ie/footer%202/PSI-Guidelines-Policies–Papers).  By not understanding what human beings are and what they were designed for, modern psychologists push man away from the Truth and further into a disordered and chaotic lifestyle.  If the distressed person believes and acts on false information provided by the mental health professional the inevitable result will be more misery in this life and an increase in the likelihood of experiencing eternal misery and torture in the next.

Clear Reflections:

Bishop Fulton Sheen highlights how necessary it is for us to gain a true picture for those leading a destructive life: ‘As a drunkard will sometimes become conscious of the gravity of his intemperance only through the startling vision of how much he has wrecked his own home and the wife who loved him, so, too, sinners may come an understanding of their wickedness when they understand what they have done to Our Divine Lord.’ (Peace of Soul).  Just as there is a duty to point out the destruction the drunkard is causing for their own good, it is a duty of mental health professionals to point out the sinful behaviour of their clients for their own good. If people living in sin are not given the truth about their situation and not encouraged to change their lifestyle and seek divine remedies, then the chains around them will only become tighter. There are solutions and people should be directed towards these.

It is the intention of this service, Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT), to provide an alternative to the predominant, false and destructive direction modern psychological services are going in.  A true understanding of what it means to be human is the foundation for TFT. Understanding what us, human beings, are and acting on this knowledge is the starting point on the road to freedom.  This is the way to happiness.

Introduction/Bricks in the Wall

Here is a link to an article I wrote for the website of Prof David Healy (a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist who speaks out against the current corruption in the mental health field). It provides an insight into my experiences working in the ‘progressive’ mental health services of New Zealand and coming up against brick walls, before coming home to Ireland and the Faith.  See: https://davidhealy.org/being-the-right-peer/ 

More blog posts to follow soon…