Dear Friends and Benefactors,
While we are celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, rumors of war trouble the joy of Christmastide. On the brink of a world-wide conflict engineered to usher in the "New Age", we must not forget that a much worse war has been going on for years. The target is not the oil of the Middle East, but the innocence of the youth. The divine Babe in the manger reminds us that we need to become pure and simple like little children if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God". Now, a clean heart, a pure soul reflects God's light and condemns this world of darkness; this is why the world and its prince will do everything to soil the white garment of Baptismal innocence. And so, under the guise of education and entertainment, television and school have been used to thoroughly poison the minds and hearts of the youth.
"... the distinctions and dividing lines between children and adults have largely vanished... children are talking and behaving in ways that would have been considered improper for adults only a short time ago. Adult sexual behavior? Yes, but along with that, adult cynicism and adult crime and adult depression, alcoholism, and suicide..... television has this effect because it destroys notions of mystery, hierarchy, and sacredness." ("Psychological Seduction", by William K. KILPATRICK) Catholic parents must realize that original sin is not only a fact of the past but a present reality: even after Baptism, the soul remains wounded with malice and concupiscence. Now, television exploits these effects of original sin by marketing lifestyles of pleasure-seeking, of self-centered gratification, while ridiculing the Catholic beliefs. Allowing their children to immerse themselves in TV, parents are in fact allowing the world's values (materialism, secularism, sexual license...) to influence their thirsty minds. All the good effects of TV cannot undo the harm done to young children: corrupted morals, passivity of mind, absence of family life. Even TV news are bad: not only because they are heavily biased, but also because they feed a morbid curiosity and cause needless fears. Children see on TV more tragedy in a week than their grand-parents saw in a lifetime! On the other hand, reading limits exposure by gauging it to the child's level of maturity. A book does not assault a child's emotions like TV does. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that children watching TV overdose on violence and sex, so that they become themselves aggressive and promiscuous. Remember, Our Lord curses those who scandalize the little ones! But even if TV were not the show-window of the world, even if it were not controlled by Christ's enemies, the following facts would still be true:
#1. TV watching is the major obstacle to literacy and learning in America today. TV demands a short attention span, reading a long one. TV does your thinking and imagining for you; reading develops both thinking and imagination.
#2. TV watching means passivity. Time spent in front of the tube is time spent not playing, which should be the major occupation of childhood. Through play children develop their imaginations, practice new skills, and learn self-control.
#3. TV watching destroys the family life ...not so much from the behavior it promotes, as from the behavior it prevents. All those hours in front of the tube are hours spent not learning the skills of ordinary family living (working together, ironing out hassles, etc.) that help young people grow in character. Those are hours without sharing love and experience. The TV does all the talking while the children are ignored, and the wife has to compete with movie stars! Thus, the football fanatic father watches games for hours and finds no time to play with his children. If dad can be mesmerized, so can junior!
#4. TV watching is psychologically addictive. It starts out as a baby-sitter, something to keep the little one busy until supper is ready. It expands to take up more and more hours of the child's day (more than 3 hours a day for the average American youth!), thus robbing him of life experiences. For our modern youngsters whose active experiences are displaced by TV, the world shown on television becomes the real world. By the time parents sense what is happening, the children are so plugged into the TV that they have turned their parents off. And yourself, you may admit that most of what you see on TV is worthless junk, a waste of time, a passive escape from real life, and yet you want to keep watching it!
Too many Catholics sacrifice what rightly belongs to God (time, family, soul) to the idol in the corner of their living room. Too many claim that they have no time for the family Rosary but find hours to waste in front of the tube. Check the time you spend in prayer and spiritual reading versus the time you devote to TV, and you will know whether Christ is truly the King of your life. If the scales tip on secular TV’s side, the impact of worldly values is stronger than God’s values. Remember that your child learns primarily through imitation: what example do you set before him?
The conclusion should be obvious to all: TURN OFF THE TELEVISION SET, AND TUNE IN CHRIST!
In a way the dangers of TV are limited in so far as parents can find out what their children are watching and practice unashamed censorship. But it is more difficult to offset the evil influence of the school which is not truly Catholic. How do you know what is taught in the classroom when teachers are not required to follow a standard textbook?
"The simple truth is that the American classroom has become a place where intense psychological warfare is being waged against all traditional values. A child in an American public school is little more than a guinea pig in a psych lab, manipulated by a trained 'change-agent'." (BLUMENFELD, "N.E.A.: Trojan Horse in American Education") Everybody (except the American Bishops!) knows how bad is sex education in the schools. Today's K through 12 sex education programs are "how to" courses that teach and condone fornication, homosexuality and all types of perverted sex acts. Not only do these programs saturate children with an overtolerance for perverts, but they lead them into becoming conscienceless bi-sexual robots capable in engaging in any kind of sex act without guilt! And parents deceive themselves when they think, it is enough to have their children excused from attending the sex-education classes. The same filth is taught in health education classes or by peers. But it is now the only poison. Now American public schools are teaching death education and they are quite successful considering the increasing number of teenagers who commit suicide! A good friend of ours (Ph.D.Ed.), working for the Department of Education, told me that al1 curricula are now steeped in sex and death education. Values clarification is another technique used to destroy the moral sense of our youth. Its purpose is to convince the child that he has the right to develop his own personal values, free from his parents' influence, free from religious beliefs: thus there is no right, no wrong, and personal pleasure is the highest goal in life!
Parents who send their children to public (or N.O.) schools MUST read the book "Child Abuse in the Classroom" by Phyllis SCHLAFLY, or the excellent summary by Phoebe COURTNEY "Target: America's Children" ("The Independent American", P. 0. Box 636, Littleton, CO 80160. $4.25).
The Nov. 26, 1875 Instruction of the Holy Office to the U.S. Bishops is quite relevant today. Concerning attendance at non-Catholic schools, the Holy Office warned: "It must be ascertained whether, in the school to be attended, the danger of perversion is of such a nature that its evil effects are unavoidable, whether the daily things that are taught and done are contrary to Catholic teaching and morality and cannot fail to cause spiritual injury. Such a danger must, quite obviously, be absolutely avoided, at the cost of any sacrifice whatsoever, even that of life." Thus, I know of several families which used to live in a small town in Michigan. After discovering that their children were required to read obscene books in English class (with the approval of the principal!) the parents pulled their children out of the little country school and decided to move to St. Marys (Kansas), leaving their homes and jobs without knowing if they would survive. But they knew, they were responsible for the souls of their children, arid for their salvation no sacrifice was too great. Taking care of this first duty, and trusting God's Providence, they are now rewarded with their children in a truly Catholic school and plenty of work. But not every family can move near one of our schools, or start a new one with other families. Those who cannot should home school. Home study is NOT such a great sacrifice, and no college degree is necessary to teach your own children. You know your own children better than anyone else and have the deepest love and concern for them. You do not need to know everything in order teach. Your dedication and individual attention more than compensate for a lack of credentials, and a good home study program can be easily handled by any parent. With an excellent traditional Catholic home study program like Our Lady of Victory School (P.O. Box 5181 Mission Hills, CA 91345) the courses are neatly laid out for the teacher, with books, homework, and tests.
Home schooling takes a time commitment, but not as much as you might expect. The school work can often be done in half-days and in 4-day weeks, since you don't have to teach a full classroom. And good organization and self-discipline will help to ensure a well-run household. Children can be trained to help with the cocking, laundry, and other chores. If you are afraid of being unable to work with your own children, consider that gaining their respect through proper discipline and example should be a top priority, whether or not you are home schooling. Consider especially that home schoolers are not exposed to drugs, violence, foul language, New Age fairy tales, sensitivity training, psychological manipulation, and the many other harmful influences commonly found in today's schools. Moreover, less susceptible to peer pressure, home schoolers develop greater independence and, because home schooling is a family activity, the bonds of the family are strengthened.
Dear Friends, you receive with this mailing our issue of "Verbum" dedicated to the Kingship of Christ, this kingship acknowledged by the Magi when they adored the Christ Child and offered Him gold, incense and myrrh. Yes, He is the King of Kings and He must reign in our lives, not only on Sunday morning, but everyday of the week, in school and at home.
On behalf of Bishop Williamson (His Excellency is now in Mexico on a pastoral visit) and of all of us at the Seminary, I would like to thank you for your wonderful generosity which proves that you know where to invest your money. The economy may collapse, but your heavenly bank account will remain safe! The storm looks threatening, but we know that, under the mantle of His Immaculate Mother with the daily Rosary, the New Year 1991 will bring us closer to His Kingdom. May the Christ child, the Lord of History, give you His peace and joy!
Sincerely yours in the Holy Family,
Father Pierre Delaplace