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The Devil Comes to Main Street
The Devil Comes to Main Street
By John Mallon
In the latter half of the 20th Century, after two exhausting and tragic world wars with a devastating worldwide economic depression in between, the Church, in the United States, at least, faced a changing world. The 1950s, for example, faced a new style of living marked by prosperity, and seemed the very vindication of capitalism. The new prosperity brought the “Good Life” and materialism, and an idealized life in the suburbs for many. America was thriving in science and manufacturing. The Church became one of the pillars of respectability in cities and towns where unbelievers and civic dignitaries respectfully bowed their heads as a respected monsignor offered a benediction or prayer for a graduation ceremony, political convention or other public event.
However, as the Church rose in respectability and prominence in a well-ordered modern society, something else was eroding by the wayside: many of the Church’s core beliefs, especially Church teachings on the supernatural. The 1960s began with the first Catholic President of the United States, and a saint who was mistaken at the time to be a jolly Santa Claus of a Pope, whom Catholics loved for his smiling and waving but didn’t necessarily listen to. Unfortunately, this pattern was to continue through subsequent Popes, especially Pope Paul VI, who was loved for what he said on social issues but scorned when he released the magnificent, yet simple and true encyclical letter Humanae Vitae.
We entered the 1960s with masses of smiling, fresh-faced crew-cutted, cherubic seminarians ordained in the first few years of the decade. They all seemed to announce, “I want to work in the inner city!” However noble an ideal, the truth was that the poor in the inner city, generally knew their own need for God, while in the suburbs many Catholics who had grown comfortable were gradually forgetting theirs. When the Second Vatican Council came along, many Catholic celebrated what they thought and hoped it would bring, without bothering to read what its documents actually said. Nevertheless, those presumptions ran along “horizontal” lines. Social issues. God knows there were enough of them, poverty, injustice, and racial concerns. But too often forgotten was the “vertical” dimension of the Church, which connected man with God, not merely man and man. As essential as the social dimension is, it be must remembered that it collapses when not supported by, and attached to, the vertical. Like with the Crucifix, the horizontal is held in place and supported by the vertical. The horizontal without the vertical is useless. For the Catholic, action must flow from contemplation.
Anyway, by the 1980s we had practicing witches on theology department faculties in Catholic universities. In one instance a psychology professor was in the habit of leading his students on a field trip to a black mass, where some students were said to have partaken from the cup. Institutes of religious education were taken up in those days with fad theologies, like Marxist based “Liberation Theology” which reduced the Gospel to fit into ideological frames; ideologies which were already crumbling on the world stage, not to mention having been condemned by several popes. Meanwhile, if you mentioned to one of these so-trained directors of religious education from dioceses and parishes across the land that the children in their charge were playing around with the occult, and their time might be better spent studying the dangers of occult practices including satanic activity you would be met with blank, uncomprehending stares.
Now, we pay the price. Satan has come to Main Street. Where the Church neglects, the devil erects. We can see this precisely looking back on the crisis of catechesis we’ve endured over the last 50 years, until just recently. Why, in that period, had so many people, including Catholics, been seeking out various Eastern religions, psychological fads, and most dangerous of all, the occult? They seek out these things because human beings have a natural need, desire and even hunger for the supernatural, and if they are not getting it at home—in the Church—they will seek it elsewhere.
Naïve people will enthusiastically defend their involvement in occultism by saying, “But it’s real!” to which the only response is “Yes, of course it’s real and that’s why it is dangerous.” In the Creed we proclaim that we believe in what is seen and unseen, in what is visible and invisible. And what is invisible is not readily understood, while the Church has a tradition of thousands of years of discerning what is unseen, and is a sure guide to navigation.
In other words, if the hunger in these souls for the supernatural is not filled in the Catholic Church, where it rightly abides, they will seek it elsewhere, anywhere they can find it, without the Church’s time-honored tools of discernment of spirits and other Catholic traditions to guide them. These long-held tools of spiritual wisdom became locked in musty old academic libraries instead of being put to use, as they should be, in everyday Catholic life, which is fraught with spiritual dangers.
The situation in the Church has improved greatly, we do seem to be entering a New Spring, with a new, younger breed of priests and bishops willing to take on and address these matters as they haven’t been in the last century. The Vatican has stressed the training of exorcists to meet the obvious need.
This is precisely because these issues are now “in your face.” Having been allowed to become so by the scenario outlined above. It doesn’t get more “in your face” than the announcement that a satanic “black mass” will be taking place in your city, approved, if not condoned, by municipal officials as happened in that most unlikely of cities, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.
Yes, now we have the devil on Main Street of downtown America. (Although, the Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City is actually two streets over from Main Street, you get the point.) The demonic influence is not necessarily new in American cities as the demon Moloch has set up shop in the many abortion facilities littering the urban and even suburban landscape of America.
Cities don’t get much more American than Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City has been called the “Buckle of the Bible Belt” where traditional American values are strongly held, where “political correctness” is frowned upon, and where people are friendly and neighbors help neighbors. Belief in God is the norm and Christians are unashamed. Oklahoma is firmly a “red state,” standing for traditional American and Judeo Christian Values.
Nevertheless, last May, that did not stop, as yet, a group of satanists from attempting to have a “child friendly” (see photo, right), statue of the goat-like figure of Baphomet, revered by satanists, erected on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building in response to the erection of a monument etched with the Ten Commandments. Thus far, these efforts have been resisted.
One might expect a “black mass” to be announced at Harvard University, as happened last May, which was quickly quashed due to the outcry of the predominantly Catholic Boston area led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. But in Oklahoma City? Not likely. But Oklahoma City is a much smaller city where civic officials were caught off guard by the event, and unsure of how to respond. Furthermore, despite the vigorous efforts of Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, with the strong support of other Christian religious leaders and thousands of the Faithful, the event did take place.
According to the Daily Oklahoman, 88 tickets were sold for the black mass, and of that 42 people showed up. Making their way through hundreds of protesters outside the Civic Center. More significantly, an estimated crowd of two thousand responded to Archbishop Coakley’s call to prayer as he led Eucharistic adoration, a Eucharistic procession and Benediction at a nearby parish on the afternoon of the event.
As the Oklahoman reported, the “Dakhma of Angra Mainyu” who officiated at the satanic event said, “I proclaim that Satan, Lucifer rules the Earth.” While the “Dakhma” may think that, thousands of others that day in Oklahoma City and throughout the world, in solidarity with Oklahoma City, proclaimed that Jesus is Lord.
Photos: Archdiocese of Oklahoma City/Steve Sisney, also John Mallon and KOCO TV Channel 5.
Where the Church neglects,
the devil erects.