A Message from Mars
The book’s subtitle is Peace, Promises, and the Day They Take Our Money Away. No, it’s not about the latest plan to hack away at the deficit. It’s about the millennium, and the book’s title is just that, Millennium. But it is about more than just the millennium. It is about the New World Order, how the Pope will become the head of a One World Church, and how financial moguls will take over all wealth and will attempt to wipe out America as we know it. But never fear. The author, Texe Marrs, is confident that Jesus will return just in time.
This is what Marrs writes: “Though many Catholics will no doubt become very alarmed over the prospect, it is clearly factual that The Order desires that the Vatican be the fount and the headquarters of the New World Religion and intends that the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church become the Supreme Pontiff of the whole world. The Pope is to become the earth’s King/Priest. He is to marshal the spiritual resources of the planet. He will also proclaim that all religions are one, that `God’ has given divine authority, absolute rights, and responsibility to the World Leader….
“It is expected that the Pope will instill in peoples a keen desire to worship the goddess as the Queen of Heaven. Word will be put out to the faithful of all religions that Mary is an archetype of all the goddesses of the past, from Isis in Egypt, Ishtar in Babylon, and Ashtoreth in ancient Israel, to Venus in Rome and Athena and Diana in Greece. ‘Mary’ and the other goddesses will all be seen to be one and the same. It will also be promulgated that it does not matter which goddess you pray to or petition since all their spiritual energies emanate from the same source. All are to be viewed as intercessors between man and ‘God.’
“The Pope will also espouse the philosophy that the Great Spiritual Sun is sending to earth many rays of light and this is why there are many world religions. Each man and woman, so the claim will go, may follow the light of his or her own choosing. All men will be seen as brothers and as members of the global community. The belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life will be declared obsolete, bigoted and narrow-minded, and unloving.”
What is the basis for all this speculation? In the introduction Marrs explains that “there is in the world today a secretive group of powerful men who are in every sense conspirators. . . . I call these men The Lords of Money, or simply, The Order.”
He argues that the members of The Order are out to establish a Fourth Reich. They are Hitler’s heirs. Their goal is to arrogate all wealth to themselves, starting with America’s wealth. These foreigners–precisely the people who have been “buying up America”–will engineer a stupendous economic collapse this year and will take over what little they do not already control. At that point they will be able to impose a new Final Solution, but this time on the “mongrelized race” that inhabits this country.
Okay, okay. You’re saying to yourself that Marrs seems to be a fruitcake, and why is This Rock devoting precious column inches to this man? Because the principles he works from infect many people, including some Catholics.
We don’t know Marrs and can’t judge from personal acquaintance his sincerity, but we see no reason to rush to a presumption of good faith. His argument is so outlandish that the more natural, the more reasonable, working hypothesis is that the man is just out for a buck and that he knows where to get it: from people who lust after conspiracy theories–the more arcane or implausible, the better.
The verb “lust” is used purposefully. Lust is a sin, one of the Seven Deadlies, and it doesn’t refer just to sex. We should realize that from everyday usage, as when we read of someone who “lusts for power” or “lusts for wealth.” At least as common is the lust for sensationalism or the lust (which is off-kilter desire) for being “in the know.”
Now there have been and still are real conspiracies in the world, and some of them pan out. Just ask Lenin. But there are more conspiracy theories than conspiracies, and lusting after conspiracies is a spiritual (not to mention a mental) failure. It is similar to lusting after signs and wonders.
Just as some people search for a constant sexual high, others search for a constant spiritual high. They want to achieve a permanent state of (false) ecstasy, and they give credence to every fakir who walks down the street. We see this even among Catholics, among whom this lust tends to take the form of extreme credulity toward claims of supernatural apparitions.
Yes, authentic apparitions occur, but they are uncommon, even rare, while claims of apparitions are everywhere. Most purported apparitions are patently false, but those who lust after spiritual signs and wonders don’t use their critical faculties and don’t bother to make distinctions. They aren’t after truth so much as a high.
Those are the kind of people, on the other side of the Catholic/Protestant split, that Marrs appeals to, people who are never as happy as when they read about the miserable events that are just around the corner. What gives them a high are the knowledge that they will be snatched away at the last moment by their returning Lord (yes, there is considerable presumption here) and that they are privy to knowledge that others are entirely oblivious to. In other words, these folks are Protestant gnostics. They revel in a secret knowledge, but the knowledge is not only untrue, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because anything that takes people away from a correct appreciation of reality is dangerous.
Pope Leo XIII said, a century ago, that nothing is as salutary as viewing reality as it really is. When we view reality as we wish it were, we step out of life and into a fairy tale of our own fashioning. The problem then is that we tend to treat real-world “enemies” (such as Catholics, if you’re one of the Protestants Marrs writes for) as we would treat scaly dragons in a fairy tale.
Theology and Sanity is arguably Frank Sheed‘s best book (it is temporarily out of print). The word “sanity” in the title makes some prospective readers think the book has something to do with the psychiatrist’s couch. Not at all. Sheed says that since modern man does not accept the existence of the supernatural (or, he may accept it in theory but does not let the theory interfere with his day-to-day life), he is, properly speaking, insane, because he rejects half of reality and the more important half at that.
Catholic apologists need to know more than the Bible, more than how to counter particular verses or how to answer particular slanders against the Church. They need to understand the wider movements in society and need to see that the Seven Deadlies are alive and well and may manifest themselves under the guise of movements readying Christianity for the Second Coming.
You’ve heard of the Bible Belt. But where’s the Catholic Belt? According to a study conducted by the Glenmary Research Center, there isn’t one, but there are parts of the country with especially large or small Catholic populations.
The New England (43.0%) and Middle Atlantic (37.6%) states have the highest proportion of Catholics, while the South Atlantic (8.2%) and the East South Central (4.8%) have the lowest. The first two groups include all the states from Maine through Pennsylvania, while the second two include all the Old South states east of the Mississippi, plus Maryland, Delaware, and the border states of Kentucky and Tennessee.
Other noticeable concentrations of Catholics are found in southern Louisiana, where many blacks are Catholic, and in the Southwestern states, which have a high proportion of Hispanics. In the rest of the country the Catholic population runs between 15% and 25%.
Let’s learn from people who have been successful in evangelization. From American Tract, a Protestant publisher, come these tips:
“Tracts can be one of the best ways to have a personal witness in our impersonal world. They travel farther, last longer, and often say it better than any other method of evangelism. Here are some usage tips to make your witness through tracts more fulfilling.
“Pray when you distribute tracts. You cannot win a soul to Christ, nor can any tract. Only the Holy Spirit can do this work. So be sure to pray while you work. Ask the Lord to lead you to the right person. Ask him to help you select the right tract. And ask him to help the reader to understand the message.
“Offer tracts in a friendly spirit. A frowning face or an argumentative approach will lose a reading for your tract. It’s amazing how often a tract is accepted if it is offered with a friendly smile.
“Don’t force tracts on people. When tracts are distributed to everyone you meet, many will be discarded. Usually it is better to distribute a dozen tracts carefully and prayerfully than to hand out a hundred tracts thoughtlessly.
“Give tracts that are appropriate. A tract should ideally fit the needs of the person it is given to. Try to select a tract that seems appropriate for that individual.
“Talk with the person, if possible. This will help you stimulate his interest. Try to guide the conversation so you can offer your tract. If you can get him to ask for it, so much the better. At least, get him to agree to read it before you give it to him.
“Try new ways to use tracts. Use tracts in business and personal letters, when paying bills, with greeting cards, and in books you lend to friends. Give them to sales clerks or repairmen. Be creative and use a variety of tracts.
“Begin now to use a tract a day. Don’t wait for the time when you will be able to distribute hundreds of tracts. Begin by using at least one tract each day in your normal routine, and you will be amazed as you see the Lord bless your work and give you satisfaction in doing it.”
Good points, every one of them. But one key point is missing: “Make sure you use only Catholic Answers’ tracts, because they are without equal in explaining and defending the Catholic faith.” (We suspect American Tract may not endorse this point fully, but what the heck?) Catholic Answers now has available a large quantity of its “sampler” sets of tracts. Each sampler contains one copy each of 47 different titles. The price for each shrinkwrapped sampler is $6.95 plus $2.00 shipping. (California residents add $0.54 tax.)
After you distribute the tracts in the sampler, you may see some titles are especially effective in your work. You should order them in bundles of 100 copies because that way you save a bundle. Prices for bundles, depending on how many are ordered at once, range from $12.00 to $8.00 per bundle. Shipping charges vary with the size of the order.
If you would like to get a sampler, send a check to Catholic Answers, P.O. Box 17490, San Diego, CA 92177. If you would like information on ordering bulk quantities of particular titles, call us at (619) 541-1131.
Fr. Robert J. Fox is preparing again to take young Catholics, ages 15 and 22, to Fatima for two weeks this summer. Participants are given conferences on what the faith is and how they can explain it. One of the topics covered is Fundamentalism. For further information about this at-cost program, write to Youth for Fatima, P.O. Box 55, Redfield, SD 57469, or call (605) 472-2405.
Things have come to such a sorry pass that we have decided to drop one of our main forms of spiritual reading, TV Guide. No longer will we turn to this font of moral clarity for answers to the vexing problems of the age.
What prompts this? A blurb titled “True Confessions” in the January 2 issue. Actress Moira Kelly had some reservations about the explicit love scenes she was to do in “Daybreak,” which is described as “the upcoming HBO interracial romance.”
Says TV Guide, “Kelly asked her priest for permission before she would [disrobe for the film]. ‘Being a Catholic,’ said Kelly, ‘I wondered if it would be against my religion to play a girl who has premarital sex.’ The priest told Kelly ‘it was okay, as long as my artistic intentions were true and I wasn’t doing it for the notoriety or the money.'”
Imaginary flashback, 1933: John Dillinger goes to confession and asks if robbing banks is against his religion. His priest tells him it’s okay, so long as his artistic intentions are true and he doesn’t do it for the notoriety or the money.