France, The Most Perfect Godless Society In The World.
By Richard Salbato
The title of this Newsletter is very unfair to France, but I have to have some excuse for writing about my great trip to Paris. My own reflections of the place and people were great, but when I learned that only 3% of the people go to Church, I spent a great deal of time and conversation trying to see why this society was so civilized, you might even say perfect, and it would seem, without the virtues of the teachings of Christ. I thought about Thomas More's "Utopia" written to influence King Henry the Eighth not to create a Church-State government, but based on Marco Polo's stories of the civilizations he saw in his travels. Probably Marco Polo witnessed the results of Confucius' great teaching on the virtues of living in perfect harmony and but even Confucius said when asked about God, "I do not talk about what I do not know about". After Confucius we have the great Greek thinkers; Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato, who added the God equation but had little to say about it. At least they also created great societies. All these societies were based on the logic of the moral law.
But what about France? What I saw in and around Paris is the best civilization in the 30 countries I have ever traveled in. The infrastructure was perfect, city roads well planned and easy to get around in, parking garages everywhere with plenty of parking, subways that were clean, modern, fast and easy to follow, sidewalks that were wide and well cared for with plenty of trees to hide the image of a concrete city, taxis and buses everywhere and easy to get, wide county roads and freeway with all the modern touches you would expect only in Disney World. The old city of Paris is kept historical and all the buildings have the 18th Century architecture, and no building over 4 stories is allowed. Outside the old Paris is the modern high rise buildings of glass and steel but even these have enough variety of styles to be interesting.
In fact France is probably the most successful country of its size in the world, with almost no poverty, many millionaires, great quality in everything from industrial products, to clothes, to food. But what strikes you the most is the harmony between the people. No one is confrontational, you never see anyone arguing or angry, and in fact they are not out to con you even though they have the largest tourist trade in the world. Paris is very expensive in just about anything but you do get you money's worth. Maybe I saw only the good in Paris because I went to see three very intellectual people, who could carry on meaningful conversations, something I cannot find in Fatima.
Before bragging about my trip to Paris, let me finish my reflection on the people. Are they without Christian morals? No! The French are a very proud and independent people. They are proud of their culture and their culture is Christian. France was founded and occupied by Catholics with Catholic morals, and although that same pride does not like outside forces to change their traditions, they have held on to those morals of their Catholic virtues, well almost. In fact one of the reasons for the drop in Mass attendance in France is the changes in Vatican II that are not according to the French idea of hanging on to their historical culture. Keep in mind that Marcel Lefvebre is French and his rebellion is more of a French rebellion than a religious one. Something that the Church should keep in mind when trying to unite with the Orthodox. These traditions mean more to some people than doctrine, which most of these people could care less about. This might be why I could attend 5 Tridentine Masses in Paris and never in the same church twice. I also attended a Pius X Society Mass, but that takes a special paragraph.
Anyway this French pride makes them do their own work, no matter what it is, and they do not bring in People from other countries to do the great works of art, like farming, the making of their great cheeses, cooking, and even the making of clothes. They do have many foreigners but they do not mix in the culture, but have their own districts and do very untalented jobs and so hidden you never see them.
No! The French do not go to Mass, but I find more virtue and morals (Ah! Almost) than any other social order in my 30 counties. What do I mean by "almost"? Well! One moral problem the French have is their tolerance for sexual crimes. A married man or woman who has an occasional affair with another man or woman, is considered "French" and no one pays too much attention to it. Getting along and making others feel good, feeling good themselves and being kind at least outwardly is the important thing, and tolerance for a little affair or a little to much wine, is just overlooked.
Anyway, France is not Godless, it is just hanging on to its Christian traditions in a somewhat exaggerated way. France may be the one country that saves Europe from jumping into the real anti-religious European Union.
Great Religious Experiences
So that is my impressions of the people and the culture but I went there for a meeting with three wonderful people and a great deal was accomplished. I also went to see the great religious shrines of Paris, Rue du Bac, Notre Dame, and the large piece of the Crown of Thorns given to Saint Luis. But first we attended a Tridentine Mass at the Church where my friend was married. Such beauty both inside an outside, altars that give glory to God, something missing in modern churches, and the rest of the surroundings in great effort to have a glimpse of the glory of heaven. Even the newest of the Paris Churches, Saint Odile, was a great tribute to God, with a Eastern style of architecture, and also Tridentine Masses.
Not far from Notre Dame is another church near the Latin quarter for Byzantine Mass and having a beautiful Iconostance wall. The Latin quarter is named such because people came from all over the world to exchange philosophical ideas and were able to converse together because they all spoke Latin. It was from this area that came the great heresies of the 18 to 20th centuries including Communism, Marxism, humanism, and naturalism. It was this thinking that brought on the French Revolution and caused the death of the monarchs and placed a nude dancing prostitute on the main altar of Notre Dame as the new mascot of the country. Although the revolution failed quickly, its ideas of marriages being illegal and sex free somewhat still infects France. If France fails it will be for the same reason that all of Europe fails, a too low of a birth rate.
No trip to Paris is complete for any Catholic without going to the place God picked to answer the French Revolution, Rue du Bac, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. It may not have been so beautiful when Catherine Laboure saw Our Lady in 1830 and bringing us the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Miraculous Medal. This is important to me for other reasons and that is that the 20th Century apparition of Our Lady of Soufanieh and Rue du Bac have many things in common. The order of the Daughters of Charity was founded by Saint Louise de Marillac, or co-founded with Saint Vincent de Paul, as she had to talk him into a real order for nuns. Her uncorrupt body can be seen on the left side of the altar. Catherine Laboure's uncorrupt body can be seen on the right side of the altar with her eyes still open. It is just below the often forgotten statue of the vision of Our Lady holding the globe. These two images have taught me a great deal about Our Lady, one that She is the dispenser of God's grace, and two that She takes our prayers, no matter what they are, and presents them to the Triune God. This statue of Her with the Globe in Her hands teaches us this second lesson. We attended Mass there and my friend bought some Miraculous Medals and chains next door in a very exclusive shop.
From there we followed the path where the Daughters of Charity walked when moving the body of Saint Vincent de Paul to his new tomb and Church not far away. Walking with the nuns and the body of Saint Vincent de Paul on April 30, 1830 was a young novice, Catherine Laboure. There we honored the body of Saint Vincent de Paul.
Not counting the meeting we had at the Marriott Hotel with our friends from Jordan and the reason for my trip, there are two other things I would like mention. We took one day to drive to Normandy, where the Allied Forces landed to free Europe and lost so many lives doing it. We stopped to see the great French farms, the quality of their livestock, and the cute little Norman towns that give the impression of being new but hundreds of years old in style. Funny about Normandy, is that although they speak French, they consider themselves Normans and look it.
The other thing worth noting, is the Pius X Society Church and Mass we attended. Not far from the heart of the old district of Paris is a very large and beautiful church that was abandoned by the Catholic Church for lack of attendance and priests. One day some priests and people of the PXS broke down the large doors and just took possession of the church. The police came and was going to arrest them but the local Catholic Bishop decided that any one in the Church would preserve it better than being empty and let them stay. At any point he can change his mind and they will be kicked out, but for now they have a place in Paris. My friend wanted my impression of them because at one time he was a member and still promotes the Tridentine wherever he can, but inside the Body of Christ now and not outside.
Before mass was perpetual adoration and benediction, then a group rosary, then the Mass with 6 altar boys and great reverence.
After Mass my friend asked my impression of them. I said,
"It reminds me of Medugorje. Everything is too perfect. More perfect than most of the churches in the True Church. It offers those who are seeking the reverence and holiness in the Church, what they are lacking with the changes made since Vatican II by liberal priests and bishops. But the end result is dividing the Church which is what the word "demonic" means, "to divide". Even holiness, or rosaries can be used to separate us from God, as Martin Luther did with the bible."
THE TRUE FRANCE
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Complete nonsense! ... If this continues like that there will be another revolution but harder than that of 1789!