The Brandsma Review

Pro Vita, pro Ecclesia Dei et pro Hibernia – A journal of conservative Catholic opinion from Ireland

Issue 126, May-June 2013


IN JANUARY 1933, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), led by Adolf Hitler, found itself rather unexpectedly elevated into the government of one of the most advanced, educated and cultured nations in Western Europe. This party did not have an auspicious history. Ten years earlier, it had—under the leadership of the same Hitler whom Germans now discovered was their newChancellor—attempted to seize power in a failed putsch. Astonishingly, Hitler was punished for his attempt to overthrow the government with only a brief imprisonment in comfortable conditions, duringwhich he had both the means and the leisure to write a book entitled “Four-and-One-Half Years’ Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice” (later published as Mein Kampf). Astonishingly, he was released after serving only one year of his sentence. Astonishingly, he was not deported to Austria; astonishingly, the fledgling Nazi party he led was not outlawed and disbanded; astonishingly, Hitler was permittedto continue his political career at the helm of this party, having given the authorities of the day assurances that the Nazis would henceforth strive to obtain power only through lawful means.

In the years of campaigning prior to the 1932 elections that saw his rise to power, Hitler made no secretof his intention to sweep German democracy aside and create a one-party state. The Nazis likewise made no secret of their radical ideology. Anyone with a discerning eye could see that, even in the chaotic conditionsof the time, the Nazis meant trouble of a kindnot seen before. Astonishingly, 37% of the German electorate voted for them anyway. It was not a majorityby any means, but it was enough. The rest, as they say, is history. Immediately after forming a government, the Nazis began to employ tools and methods for imposingtheir ideology on every aspect of German life, in both Church and State. This process was known as Gleichschaltung, i.e. “co-ordinating”, or “bringinginto line”. The goal of this process was to establish social control as tightly as possible and instil a desired way of thinking into the German population at large.

Replicating Nazi Social Policies

To modern westerners, the Nazi is both the ultimate incarnation of evil and of the “other”. This idealisation also makes of the Nazi the ultimate scapegoat. It has escaped the attention of all but a few that western democratically-elected governments are today replicating a disquieting number of social policies first implemented by the Nazis, at least when it comes to issues of life and the family. Examples will suffice to bear this out.
A few years ago the Discovery Channel screened a documentary titled Nazi Doctors. In the run-up to its screening, this documentary was advertised by an ad featuring a red cross—the international emblem of medicinal mercy—which began to rotate slowly, blackening as it did so. The cross then grew arms leaving the viewer in no doubt as to what was happening:the cross was mutating into a swastika, and an ominous musical score played in the background as though to emphasise the horror of this transformation.
The documentary then dealt with the various odious medical trespasses committed in the Third Reich, the notorious Aktion-T4, culminating in the barbarity of the camps. I was struck by the irony that, even as the Nazi enthusiasm for doing away with Lebens
unwertes Leben was rightly deplored, contemporary western societies have cultivated a similar enthusiasm for precisely the same concept. I was living in the United States for three years before I saw my first American with Down’s Syndrome—not because
Americans are less prone to Down’s than peoples elsewhere, but because in the years since Roe v Wade, almost all Down’s babies have been killed in utero. In addition to the enthusiasm for the abortion of unfit or otherwise inconvenient children, we see a similar
enthusiasm for the euthanasia—consensual, at least for the present—of the old, the infirm, the chronically ill, the depressed and those otherwise tired of life. Once again, it is a case of Lebens unwertes Leben.

A further example: homeschooling is today illegal in Germany. Ironically, this is a legacy of the Third Reich still on the statute books. Hitler prohibited homeschooling, for, if parents (rather than the State) were to be in control of the education of their children,it would necessarily interfere with Gleichschaltung. In 2008 the Catholic Romeike family fled Germany for refuge in the United States to have the freedom of homeschooling their children and thus avoid the leftist indoctrination they would have had imposed upon them in their home country.  The US government, however, does not recognise such as grounds for asylum, and deportation proceedings against the Romeikes are currently underway, even as—ironically—a bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants is currently before Congress. Parentsare losing their God-given authority over their own children; this authority is instead being transferred to an ideologically-motivated State. We see yet another example in the “hate speech” legislation which has appeared in various countries in recent years, and which prescribes criminal penalties for—among other things—signalling public disapproval of homosexual behaviour. This means that, in practice, free speech is no longer free. A climate of censorship and intimidation now flourishes in many countries in which freedom of speech and freedom of the press used to be considered as sacrosanct.

How has this happened? How have we arrived at this pass, wherein our freedoms are being filched from us little by little? The answer is Gleichschaltung. A soft totalitarianism, different in many particulars from the Nazi ideology, but no less intolerant of opposition— which began so softly it was hardly recognised as such—but which ineluctably hardens as the years pass by. The leftist ideology has been internalised by western governments to such an extent it is no longer questioned on any grounds beyond pure political expediency. I wonder if this was what Our Lady of Fatima meant when she said the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world?

‘Enemies of democracy’?

Democratically-elected governments are, in theory, supposed to be representative of the electorate and to govern at the behest of the electorate in accordance with the wishes of the electorate. In practice, governments once elected and comfortably ensconced in
power, tend to do their own thing—just like the NSDAP—as ideology dictates, although there are still some limits to what they can get away with. The recent public demonstrations against the imposition of homosexual pseudogamy in France were both impressive and extraordinary, far surpassing anything seen in Britain; nevertheless, the French government pressed ahead with its ideologically-motivated redefinition of marriage. When demonstrators unfurled a banner in the parliament calling for a referendum on the issue, the Assembly’s Socialist president, Claude Bartolone, shouted “Get those enemies of democracy out of here! They have no right to be here!” The man’s screaming underscores the contempt the leftist political elite has for the people over whom they rule. As to who is the true enemy of democracy in this matter, I shall leave the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

In Britain, homosexual pseudogamy bids fair to be the death not only of Cameron’s political career, but of the Conservative party generally. The extent of the crisis is revealed when one realises that UKIP—hitherto a fringe party of little significance—saw its share
of the vote jump by over 1700%. Yet Cameron pressed ahead with it anyway. In this astounding  instance, not even political expediency was enough to override the dictates of ideology. Gleichschaltung: impose the radical new orthodoxy, whatever might be
the cost. In Ireland too, the current government is determined to press forward with abortion legislation despite the fact that the majority of the population do not desire it, and Fine Gael’s heavy-handedness is certain to be severely punished at the next election.

But what are the wishes of the electorate when compared to the backing of the media and cultural elites, assisted by generous funding from foreign billionaires such as Chuck Feeney and George Soros? By these means a sham is made of modern democracy. Just as all the mainstream churches embraced the liberalism that caused Blessed John Henry Newman to abandon the Church of England, so too the mainstream political parties in almost every western country have to one degree or other adopted the ideology of the left. There is no longer any meaningful distinction between right and left wing parties; in the past 20 years, all have shifted significantly leftward.

Redefining religious liberty

The situation is not much different in the United States. Under the current administration, the imposition of ideology regularly trumps the Constitution and even the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion but the administration interprets this in a much narrower sense as “freedom of worship”—in other words, one is free to practice one’s religion within the four walls of one’s church on Sunday mornings, but if there is a conflict between religious faith and public policy, it is faith which must bend. The Affordable Care Act (popularly known as “Obamacare”) requires all employers to provide health insurance for their employees that covers contraception and abortion; exemptions are allowed for churches, but institutions which are not churches (such as Catholic hospitals, for instance) are bound by the Act, as are all businesses owned by private persons who may have a conscientious objection to abortion.

The US military has been oft used as a guinea pig for social engineering. On September 20, 2011, the government revoked the Clintonian “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, thus allowing open homosexuals to serve in the armed forces for the first time. With the
onset of the legal “marriage” of such persons, this places military chaplains in a quandary. Assurances that the religious beliefs of chaplains opposed to homosexual pseudogamy would be respected have since proven somewhat hollow. In a briefing delivered by the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, a chaplain asked if those with Biblical views of homosexual behaviour would still be free to express those views. Mullen is reported to have said “Chaplain, if you can’t get in line with the new policy, resign your commission.” If Mullen’s words were accurately reported, this is the purest Gleichschaltung, and it bodes ill for freedom of religion both within the military and without.

Hair-raising blog post

I will finish with a quote from a Texan blogger I used to read before he stopped posting four years ago. The following—after discussing President Obama’s 2009 bail-out of Planned Parenthood—is his last post. It made my hair stand on end when I first read it. It still has that effect on me today:

This may sound strange, but as time wears on, I become more and more convinced that the culture wars in America are true spiritual battles being waged on a far larger playing field than meets the eye. The big culture issues—acceptance of abortion, homosexual behaviour, contraception, and euthanasia—are all really nothing more than methods of giving the finger to God.  Something far larger and nastier than Barack Obama (blessed be He!), Nancy Pelosi, Planned Parenthood, or the North American Man-Boy Love Association is driving all this.
I suppose I’ve always known that, at least since I woke up from the Seventies, but it just seems more and more blatant. As things spin more and more out of control, and the centre fails, it seems like whatever veneer of politeness and logic that once coated the agenda is getting stripped away and That-Which-Lies-Beneath gets more and more visible.
It’s hard for me to believe I even talk like this. I’m trained in the sciences; I spent half my life in a research lab. I’m by nature a “touch it, taste it, smell it, hear it, feel it or it’s not really there” sort of guy. I don’t watch Ghost Hunters on the Sci-Fi Channel; I think alien abductees probably have a really bad sleep disorder; I might have been willing to believe in UFOs in the early 50’s, but not after 60 years of “now you see it, now you don’t”. And I believe that the house down the street with the spooky windows and the gargoyles is just a house with some bad decorators. It may have scorpions or field mice, but it doesn’t have ghosts, ghouls, or chupacabras.
But it’s gotten to the point where something is tangible; you can feel it. Some thing is abroad in the land, and it is nasty, dirty, and creepy. I wonder if it felt like this in Babylon.


Also in this issue:


Building On Sand—The Road to Techno-Utopia

Pope Francis on Renewal of Religious Life


David Manly

Dr Niall Brady

Clíona Johnson

Nick Lowry

Dr Joe McCarroll


Rev Dr David Jones

Paul Fournier

From the Editor’s Desk includes ‘A Church Built by a Litany’; Letters from Proinsias Ó
Muireagáin and Fr John McCallion; another list from Francis Book Sales; Hurling Shots from the Ditch include ‘Herod’s Good Servant?’ and ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil’; and Straws for the Camel’s Back include ‘Playing Politics’ and ‘Standing Up for Jesus’.



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This entry was posted on May 1, 2013 by in Issues 2013, Uncategorized and tagged , , .
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