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BOOK REVIEW

 

 

Joseph Ratzinger's American Mind

Vincent Philip Munoz, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson (Cambridge University Press, 2009) 242 pp., Hardcover, $97, Softcover, $26.99.



Reviewed by David Wemhoff

 

“Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” -- Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) from The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

In 1945, Germany was in ruins. The Americans, with their allies, had defeated the Germans after years of total war, and now it was time for the conquerors to rule. The proconsul they sent over to govern the conquered Germans was John J. McCloy, Wall Street lawyer, World Bank President, and Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman of the Board.

Kai Bird reveals in his excellent work, The Chairman: John J. McCloy and The Making of the American Establishment, that the mission of John J. McCloy was to remake German society into the liberal Enlightenment society known as America. McCloy, as High Commissioner of the occupied land could implement the programs, and monitor their success, needed to do that.

During the years that followed the conquest, Americans conducted a campaign of psychological warfare and social re-engineering of German society, and, indeed, the societies of all Western Europe, ostensibly to stop the spread of Communism. “American(s)” refers to those who hold to the liberal, Enlightenment principles that created the country known as the USA which, with its Constitution and Declaration of Independence in large measure, shape the society known as America. One can be a citizen of the USA (that is, CUSA) and be a Catholic, and most CUSAs are Americans. One cannot be a Catholic and an American. To be an American is to believe in American principles before the teachings of the Church, or in other words to accept the Enlightenment ideals as superior to the teachings of the Faith.

The American occupying authorities conducted a number of studies of the German populace to assess the depth and breadth of their psychological warfare and social re-engineering efforts. Anna J. Merritt and Richard L. Merritt summarized the results of these studies in two books entitled Public Opinion in Occupied Germany: The OMGUS Surveys 1945-1949 (“OMGUS”) (University of Illinois Press, 1970) and Public Opinion in Semisovereign Germany: The HICOG Surveys 1949-1955 (“HICOG”) (University of Illinois Press, 1980). These studies document not only the methods used but also the desire of the American conquerors to shape the thoughts, opinions, values, and worldview of the Germans and target populations among the Germans.

Two important areas of inquiry were the impact of American entertainment (mostly motion pictures), and the impact of American mass media, primarily Voice of America (VOA), one of the more important United States’ propaganda machines to the world at the time. In Report No. 119 from May 1948, it was noted that “The number of audiences within which AMZON Germans participated was strikingly related to attitudes toward the American way of life. Regardless of social class, the more sources of information which an AMZON German had, the more likely he was to be favorably disposed toward American policies in government or economics, ways of life, and activities ...” (OMGUS, p. 236). (AMZON is military jargon for the American Zone of Occupation which included Catholic Bavaria.) In Report No. 184 from July 1949, about 40 percent of survey respondents in the AMZON listened to VOA “more or less regularly.” VOA had the largest audience of American information programs, and VOA reached more of all segments of the German society (OMGUS, p. 307-308). The majority of VOA listeners considered the programs to be good (OMGUS, p. 308). Report No. 137 from September 1948 showed that nearly two-thirds of those aged 15 to 24 in Munich attended movies and that American films were extremely popular (OMGUS, pp. 256-257). Report No. 188 issued one year later revealed that 44 percent of the AMZON residents believed American movies showed how American life really was (OMGUS, p. 311). In that same study, respondents were forced to chose between parents or the authorities as to who should have the final say in what children should watch. (Id.) Report No. 171 from December 1952 indicated the majority of Germans interviewed saw VOA as a propaganda instrument of the U.S., and while 39 percent of the interviewees saw this as a good thing for Germany, the vast majority was silent on the question (HICOG pp. 204-205).

A young seminarian by the name of Joseph Ratzinger came of age during the American occupation of Germany. He attended the seminary from 1947 to 1950 in Munich, or Ground Zero of the American efforts to culturally re-engineer Europe. Joseph Ratzinger, like millions of other German Catholics who listened to American broadcasts and enjoyed American movies, was the target of the American psychological warfare and societal re-engineering efforts after World War II during the period known as the Cold War. His thinking was reshaped to accept America as the ideal, and one of the best tools the Americans used to do that was the doctrinal weapon of mass destruction known as The American Proposition (TAP) that was developed and disseminated by Henry Luce and John Courtney Murray, SJ during the Cold War, and injected into the Church’s veins by the likes of Felix Morlion, OP.

TAP has had the intended effect on the leader of the Catholic Church when one considers Ratzinger’s statements at the White House in 2008--nearly 60 years later--after he had become Pope Benedict XVI. When he came to the United States in April 2008, Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, met with President George W. Bush. After the President’s remarks, the Pope gave a short talk. In it he profusely praised America and the principles behind its founding, thereby ignoring at least a hundred years of pontifical pronouncements on the proper ordering of society and the church to the state. He approved of the myths about American existence and history that are continuously reinforced, in one form or another, to the captive audience in the United States:

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God ... [R]eligious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. ... Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideas and aspirations. ... [A]ll believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual group can make its voice heard. ... The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. ... Democracy can only flourish, as our founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

Ratzinger, like most people exposed to American culture and to the weaponized form of Americanism developed by Murray, Luce, and the CIA during the Cold War, may not have fully understood the effect of American propaganda when it was happening, though he should have at some point in his 80 some years. The effects of succumbing to American propaganda, especially TAP, are pernicious. One comes to view America as the ideal for the social, cultural, and political organization of peoples and societies, and that opens the door to all sorts of evil and mischief, not the least of which is domination by the City of Man.

America’s apologists, especially through TAP, say that the Church has no rightful and exalted position in society, and that all one needs is the natural law with the Holy Spirit directly enlightening everyone. None of these ideas are Catholic, but Ratzinger/Benedict has indicated his allegiance to them all the same in a number of public events, such as the one in 2008 at the White House and more recently the one before the Bundestag on September 22, 2011.

Accepting TAP and America as the ideal means rejecting Christ, for it means rejecting the Faith and His Church with its rightful place of preeminence, as the country’s religion. People who accept TAP come to believe in America as the ideal, necessarily accept a corrupt form of Christianity because America, and its propaganda justifying it, is a Protestant construct. Hence, to accept America as the ideal is to fall under the power of the Jews as Dr. E. Michael Jones pointed out in his scholarly work on the Jews, The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit and Its Impact on World History.

The Holy Spirit

While the Holy Spirit keeps him from writing encyclicals that are erroneous, Ratzinger a/k/a Pope Benedict XVI is an American in his speeches, policies, and personal opinions, which he seems to enjoy spreading about, and which the media is quick to pick up. As this is being written, a report has issued from what used to be the East German police, the Stasi, and according to Zenit.org, Ratzinger was a “fierce foe” of Communism. This bit of evidence strongly militates in favor of Ratzinger’s having become an American in thought and worldview. (It would be interesting to know what the CIA has on Ratzinger.)

This colonization of Ratzinger’s mind by the Americans to view America as the ideal explains a lot, not the least of which is the reason our joy at his elevation to the Papacy was replaced over the years by bewilderment. With his many public appearances and talks that are devoid of mention of Christ and promotion of a decidedly American worldview, and with such writings as Jesus of Nazareth, and Light of the World, we see the danger posed to Catholics. Instead of seeing the world with its many problems through the lens of the Gospels, Ratzinger/Benedict sees the world as an American would. He therefore gives credence to and endorsement of America. Being an American is not compatible with being a Catholic, and Ratzinger’s many statements while serving as Pope have caused many a Catholic to stumble and become confused without offering any solution to so many troubles that beset them, and without offering any way to evangelize the world for Christ as He commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. Catholicism and Americanism are in conflict. Catholicism orders all we do and think towards serving God. Americanism orders all one does and thinks to serving Mammon. The twain shall never meet.

But let’s face it--the Americans are brilliant--and they are able to hide this truth so adroitly by getting everyone to shadowbox. (The brilliance is akin to an evil genius most probably because it comes from a lack of scruples based on adherence to Truth.) From 13 small and relatively insignificant dependents of Great Britain in 1776, they have fashioned the country that today is the only superpower and is capable of projecting armed forces to wage war half way around the world in the Hindu Kush. With the exception of one four year period, there have been no other attempts to break the country up, and there have been absolutely no attempts to violently overthrow the government. Every two and four years, there are orderly elections held for the various federal or national offices that were set up by the Constitution. The elections keep the rich and powerful in their riches and powers while the everyday slob who fights the wars, pays the taxes, and suffers in the heat, dirt and grime for his daily bread is given the illusion that he and his fellows are the rulers. It’s a great ploy, and what has made it greater is that it has worked for more than 200 years to keep everybody down on the farm and harmless to the vested, to the real, interests, for the most part. And, it’s even a greater accomplishment when you consider that the Americans got most of the world to buy into their lies. Getting the Pope on their side helps with selling the rot.

Americans are practical--they seek to know how things work, the better to control you. They wait, watch, study, and they are nice about it. They try to get you to buy into bad ideas that sound good but are nothing more than a way to turn you from God. They use honey, because they know that attracts more flies. But should you oppose the Americans and stick to your principles, well, then it’s time for the airstrikes and a lot more violence from the “red white and blue.” And that’s what they did with the Catholic Church when they figured out how important the priests, bishops, cardinals, and popes were, they put things in motion to make sure that at some point the guy who got to the top of the Church would support America and the American ideology. That way, they would not have to worry about the Catholic Church, and service to God, getting in the way of service to Mammon. America and Americans are dedicated to service to Mammon for they reject Christ’s Church, which means they reject Christ, which means they reject God. With God out of the picture, there’s only one other option: Mammon or wealth.

Notre Dame Professor

A professor at the University of Notre Dame helps us to understand the true nature of America and what was intended by the Founders. Vincent Phillip Munoz, an Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, is a victim of the American conquest of the Catholic mind, and so he can do no better than Ratzinger/Benedict. However, with his book, God and The Founders, he has started to expose some of the myths about the American Founders perpetuated at the White House by Ratzinger. Munoz has started to shed some light on the Founders and to show what they really thought of religion, which is far different from the myths foisted on the world. Munoz’ failing is that he still accepts the American myths, and sees America’s conception of religious liberty as a good.

God and the Founders is an examination of the thought on religious matters of James Madison, who was the principal architect of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, the principal architect of the Declaration of Independence, and George Washington, the first President and also the “Father of His Country.” He analyzes, through the eyes of Madison, Jefferson and Washington, a number of cases decided by the United States Supreme Court between 1947 and 2005 implicating the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Munoz’ analysis reveals that for the most part, the courts seem to primarily favor the views of these three founders in the following order when it comes to defining church state relations in the United States: Madison, Washington, then Jefferson.

Madison believed that government should not be cognizant of religion and the religious beliefs or affiliations of the citizens. In his “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” written in 1785 in opposition to a bill pending in the Virginia Legislature to permit payment of state funds for teaching Christianity, Madison wrote that religion would not only be exempt from “the authority of the Society at large,” but religion should also not be employed “as an engine of Civil policy. ... an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation” (pp. 224-225). To Madison, religion meant only worship, or going to church, as he wrote “the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him” (p. 223). Under the Madisonian view of church and state, not only is religion relegated to one hour a week of singing hymns and chanting prayers, but the individual is supreme in determining how he or she wishes to worship, the magistrate, or the state, is incompetent in determining the True Religion, and religious beliefs can never be a cause for action in the public sphere.

Washington held to a more utilitarian view of religion in the state. Washington wanted to get things done. Ultimately a pragmatist, Washington, whose life largely consisted in surveying and soldiering, held to a three-part doctrine according to Munoz. First, the “state action must have a civic purpose” (p. 123). Second, “state action may support or burden religion as a means to further that interest, but the state may not compel an individual to practice a religion in which he does not believe” (Id.). Finally, “state endorsement of religion ought to be as ecumenical as possible in light of the civic purpose being advance” (Id.). (Catholics should immediately recognize how America has twisted the real meaning of “ecumenism.”) Washington saw that religion could be put to the use or service of the “civic purpose” which ultimately means the state, and he, like Madison, opposed religion dictating one’s actions in the public sphere as evidenced by his opposition to the Quakers’ refusal to bear arms during the American Revolution. While he believed that the state should never compel one to belong to one religion or another, he also was of the view that the state was incompetent to judge the truth or falsity of any religious set of beliefs.

Jefferson

Jefferson, who penned those famous words, “we hold these truths,” was perhaps the most radical of the three revolutionaries. Jefferson “aspired to create a society in which clergy and sectarian theological dogmas did not guide human thinking” (p. 123). To that end, he wanted the state to advance “nonsectarian religious ideas and institutions” (p. 126) and to weaken the power and influence of the various religious sects and of Christianity. In essence, Jefferson wanted Americans to embrace a form of Unitarianism that rejected things such as the Trinity and Jesus’ resurrection and embraced a creator God who gave men rights. (Remember the quote from the Declaration of Independence?) Jefferson was Jewish in his thinking, and he too, like Washington, saw that religion could be manipulated, or used, to serve the state.

All three of these men relegated any and all religions to supporting roles in society thereby leaving the determination of the issues and policies of the society in the hands of those who would conduct the affairs of state strictly in accordance with principles of utility if not also material gain. In a society where the government is nominally a democracy but more properly an oligarchy, two of the fundamental purposes of government, unity and establishment of order, cannot be achieved by the very structure of the government. Without a common religion to cobble together the people, all that can happen is for the competing powerful interests in the society to work the best manipulations of the people to enhance their power and wealth.

Needless to say, the American Founders were indeed revolutionaries, and they held to and posited beliefs on the relation of church and state that were and are radically at odds with the Truth and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Pope Leo XIII made these teachings clear when he wrote nearly 100 years after the founding of the United States that “[I]t is not lawful for the State, any more than for the individual, either to disregard all religious duties or to hold in equal favor different kinds of religion; that the unrestrained freedom of thinking and of openly making known one’s thoughts is not inherent in the rights of citizens, and is by no means to be reckoned worthy of favor and support” (Immortale Dei, para. 35.). Again in Immortale Dei Pope Leo XIII wrote “Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its reaching and practice--not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion--it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honour the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favour religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule.”

Pope Gregory XVI, writing 50 years earlier in Mirari Vos (1832), condemned the actions of a government that would not show a preference for the Roman Catholic Faith. He wrote “[T]hat absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone … spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. ... When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin ...” (para. 14.).

The United States Constitution, along with the statutes and the court declarations that have issued from the document, has done great damage by keeping Catholicism away from the people and from having any real effect on societal and governmental policies. American jurisprudence has served to keep the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Faith, out of the life of the nation and its society. This is a grievous error as Pope Leo XIII explains in Immortale Dei: “To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society, is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated. ... The Church ... is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action” (para. 32). The reason for this is clear: “A well-spent life is the only way to heaven” and the State must cooperate in the salvation of souls. Pope Leo explains: “For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavour should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the well-being of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God” (para. 32.).

The State

In sum, by its very nature, the Church teaches, the State must seek to help souls to heaven by providing the necessary material conditions and processes, both of which require the recognition of the proper role of the Roman Catholic Church. America, and the political entity that gives shape to this society, is not concerned with souls or with providing the conditions for souls to realize their true end.

In Deus Caritas Est (2005), Pope Benedict XVI wrote that “[T]he Church, as the social expression of Christian faith, has a proper independence and is structured on the basis of her faith as a community with the State must recognize ...” (para. 28). It is in this recognition that there can be accomplishment of the mission of the Church to “help form consciences in political life, and to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice as well as greater readiness to act accordingly ...” (para. 28). This most crucial of requirements of government is not met by the American State, and so the possibility of achieving a just state is diminished, if not obviated, and what evolves in its place is a State that is “not governed according to justice” and therefore becomes a “bunch of thieves” (para. 28.a). Without the proper recognition of the Church and the Faith by the United States, the very foundational principles of the country become suspect, and America must then organize itself in accordance with principles in opposition those taught by the Faith, and hence to the spiritual and material harm of the people of that society. As referenced by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Section 2244), Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus teaches that those societies, like America, that reject or do not recognize the man’s origin and destiny as taught by the Church “borrow...some ideology” and they “arrogate to themselves an explicit or implicit totalitarian power over man and his destiny.”

It is simply stunning--and a testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit and the weakness of men--to witness the same man who wrote the encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to completely ignore the truths set forth in that encyclical during his talk at the White House in 2008 in the presence of the President of the United States. On one day, he presents great Truth with an encyclical. On another day, Ratzinger strengthens the psychological chains forged by Americans to control Catholics and keep all in darkness and bondage to Mammon. In the true spirit of Americanism, the doctrine of the Church is kept inviolate, but Benedict, a/k/a Ratzinger, is telling Catholics to think, and act, and view the world as Americans, and in so doing he has placed a stumbling block for Catholics to live the Faith. Benedict, whose ideas and beliefs and worldview were formed at Ground Zero of the Cold War by the Americans to be an American, is, regrettably, helping make sure that Catholics are Americans first.

Good Job

Munoz does a good job of fleshing out the beliefs of Madison, Washington and Jefferson, all three of whom were so crucial to the founding of the United States and ultimately that societal construct known as America. But he fails as a Catholic because he does not present Catholic teaching on church and state relations, and he instead argues for what he calls a “modified version of the Founders’ approaches” (p. 218). This modified approach, which he calls “No legal privileges, no legal penalties” may get him points with the administration at the University of Notre Dame where he is a Tocqueville Professor and still seeking tenure as he said last September before one of Notre Dame’s football games, but it should not stand him in good stead with the Church and the Faith. Indeed, in this attempt to “separate church and state more intelligently, and to better protect religious freedom” (p. 221), Munoz shows just how hostile the preeminent Catholic university is to the Faith, the Church, and souls. By insisting on this revolutionary and dangerously erroneous ideology, he threatens the continued existence of the very society he claims to want to advance and protect despite his protestation that his approach will allow Americans to “govern ourselves more thoughtfully” (Id.).

Munoz exhibits the problem that has confronted and divided Catholics in the United States for at least 60 years. That problem is based on the fact that American psychological warfare and fifth columnists like John Courtney Murray, SJ, have successfully taught Catholics the Big Lie: “America is infallible, the Church is not.” As a result, you see people like “pro-choice Catholics” such as Mario Cuomo and his son Andrew who, having accepted the Big Lie, must accept that Roe v. Wade is a proper and moral decision, because, after all, it comes from America, which is infallible.

But that is what conquerors do; they destroy the conquered and themselves if their conquest is not in the name of Jesus Christ and with the sign of the Cross. Munoz’s mind has been enslaved by the Americans just as is the mind of Joseph Ratzinger has. Benedict’s many speeches praising America are a, if not the, critical factor for the darkening of Munoz’s mind so as to accept error. Benedict, as leader of the Catholics, has been conditioned to be an American and to serve America, and so Catholics are bound to follow their leader into captivity. Ratzinger, now pope, as a type of Manchurian Candidate, is a symbol of America’s occupation of the Catholic Church.

One of the great causes for hope and miracles of the day, in addition to the numbers of people entering the Church and growing it around the world even while its prelates are suffering through their American and Jewish captivity, is that the Holy Spirit still speaks through the papal encyclicals, such as Deus Caritas Est, which calls Catholics, and all people, to the truth and liberation from error. For error leads to sin, and the wages of sin is death. One need only consult antiquity and societies of the modern era grown too engrossed in serving wealth to see where it all leads. The unfortunate part is that many who consider themselves Catholic will go down with the sinking ship known as America. And, most importantly, many are in danger of the fires of hell because of the American ideas that come from the man who is pope.CW

David Wemhoff

This review was published in the November 2011 issue of Culture Wars.

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