Address delivered on December 22, 1940, by Msgr. Fulton Sheen Nothing in all the world is as relentless in unmasking a false way of life as war. It strips men and institutions bare and exposes them in their naked reality. It is easy to believe in any theory until it is subjected to the acid test of experience. Just as some children will not accept their mother’s caution that they must not eat too many bananas, but learn the lesson the hard way by becoming so sick that they can never look at a banana again, so too the world has tasted the bitter dregs of its own philosophy and learned by tragedy what it refuses to learn by counsel. In a false peace a false philosophy survives; but when war empties its seven vials of wrath upon the world, spurious faiths dissolve and Babels crumble. This World War is doing that very thing. It is shattering our illusions, and principally two of them which have become assumptions of our modern life: Firstly that man is naturally good and indefinitely progressive; and secondly that social perfection is attainable in this world.
Address delivered on January 3, 1943, by Msgr. Fulton Sheen
This year it is my privilege to address you on the subject of the Crisis in Christendom. Naturally, it will concern itself with this awful cataclysm which has brought the world to the edge of a great abyss. There are two ways of looking at this war: One as a journalist and the other as a theologian. The journalist tells us what happens; the theologian tells us not only why it happens, but also what matters. If we look at this war through the eyes of a journalist or a commentator, it will be only a succession of events without any remote cause in the past, or any great purpose in the future. But if we look at the war through the eyes of God, then the war will not be meaningless, though we may not presently see its meaning. It may very well be a purposeful purging of the world’s evil that the world may have a rebirth of freedom under His Holy Law, for "Every human path leads on to God, He holds a myriad finer threads than gold, And strong as holy wishes, drawing us With delicate tension upward to Himself." (E. C. Stedman, Protest of Faith).
In this chapter we penetrate a little deeper into the mystery by showing that this question is generally asked by the spectators, not by the actors, in the drama of suffering.It is the sufferers who manifest the greatest faith; it is the spectators who are the skeptics. No one knows this better than a priest. As we go about administering the consolation of the sacraments which Our Divine Lord provided for the suffering and the dying, we are but rarely asked; "Why does God do this to me?’
23Feb1941: The world does not know it, but the Church is doing at this moment what it has traditionally done through the centuries, preserving justice during war. She is doing for justice what London is doing for art. Just as in these days, when barbarians rain down fiery death from the skies, the British Government packs up its art treasures, sends them out into the country for safe hiding places until the war is over, when barbarians rain down fiery death from the skies, the British Government packs up its art treasures, sends them out into the country for safe hiding places until the war is over, when the treasures will once more be restored to galleries for a people that needs art for its culture and tradition.
The Church believes that a holy hour spent before the Blessed Sacrament does more good for the well-being of the world than whole days spent in talking about progress to the utter oblivion of the fact that the only true progress consists in the diminution of the traces of original sin;she believes that a penitent returning to God is of far more consequence than the cancellation of war debts; that an increase of sanctifying grace in a soul is far more value than the increase of international credit; that a group of cloistered nuns in prayer are more effective in preserving the world peace than a group of world politicians discussing peace to the forgetfulness of the Prince of Peace.
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I receive your newsletter each month and I have been our Catholic Lay Leader on USS Farragut DDG-99 for 2 years now. Before my last deployment I was sent some supplies as requested in this form and they came in handy for our time at sea! We are coming up on our next deployment and are looking for more supplies for the Catholics on board the ship. Thanks for your help! God bless!
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