It was a festive evening at the small Catholic college. A hearty dinner followed Mass for the feast of its patron saint. Now the students were gathered with the school's faculty and leaders for a bonfire and robust songs. The high point of the night was the piñata, which the school's director of student life hung from a hook. It was full of candy and shaped like a pig. Across it was written, "Americanism." The student life director held up a bat, and told the students, "Okay, everybody, let's SMASH Americanism!" The students lined up behind their teachers, their dean, and their college president, to smash whatever it was they thought was Americanism. (They had never been taught what Leo XIII actually meant by that word.)
At this same school, in an academic discussion, the college dean explained the greater economic success of Protestant countries that embraced capitalism (compared to agrarian Catholic nations) as the "effects of Freemasonry." The college president quickly corrected him, pointing out another critical factor: "diabolical intervention."
That same dean, in a conversation with me, waved off the possibility of democratic reform in America. Moral reform, he explained to me, would only come in the form of a forcible coup d'état, by which "men of virtue" would impose their will "on the people, who will fall in line when they see that they have no choice." That dean had previously criticized Franco's Spain for being too lax.
Monday, January 6, 2014
I hope the material for the "anecdotes" in John Zmirak's latest column doesn't come from his time at Thomas More: