Continuing in our presentation of the Crimson Cross - the posthumous arena for 7 of the 15 charter recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy - we honor today the sixth of the seven alphabetically as we present today a tribute to a Jesuit priest who had the gift of foresight in putting two and two together to foretell what his warnings would amount to today: Violence and Atheism and a portal for the Antichrist. Three of his books focus on that as we honor today a loyal Jesuit who left us in June 1992 in paying tribute to Father Vincent P. Miceli, S.J. with the Crimson Cross and enshrine him posthumously in the Tower of Trent Hall of Honor.
Vincent Peter Micelli was born into an Italian immigrant family in New York City in 1915. One of ten children, Vincent manifested a scholarly propensity from the earliest age, garnering a 95% average at Cathedral High School in the City. He also developed a staunch work ethic which he exhibited throughout the 77 years of his life. While still in school he would leave school and begin work at 3 p.m. until ten p.m. delivering books six days a week.
When he was 21, he became interested in the Society of Jesus and received his degree from Spring Hill College in Alabama in 1942. Following major seminary, he was ordained in St. Mary's Kansas which was then still a Jesuit school. Since, of course, it was closed down and taken over by the Society of St. Pius X in keeping Tradition alive. Tradition would stay with Fr. Miceli throughout his life for he remained orthodox to his dying day.
He acquired his S.T.L. from the Jesuits' St. Louis University in 1950 and was privileged to be in Dietrich von Hildebrand's last class in 1960 before obtaining his Ph.D. from Fordham University in 1961. His Doctoral Dissertation was on the French Existentialist Gabriel Marcel and published as his first book in 1965 as Ascent to Being: Gabriel Marcel's philosophy of communion. When he began to write, Vatican II had not yet taken place. Seminaries were still teeming, though soon they would be reduced to vacant buildings. Parochial Catholic schools were still full not aware of the drastic changes ahead that would plummet ecclesiastical discipline into a tailspin from which the Church has yet to recover.
Fr. Miceli cautiously watched the progression of Vatican II while teaching at various Jesuit institutions. He did not share the same enthusiasm for change that many of his brother Jesuits did and that skepticism would serve him well when so many others were abandoning the ship or selling out to the progressivism and liberal theology that so permeated not only his beloved Order, but every parish as well.
During these years he wrote much, but didn't really begin publish much of his work until 1971 when he released his book Gods of Atheism which soon received tremendous plaudits, most notably from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen who called his book "as complete a study of atheism as exists in any language." Father illustrated how though trillions of dollars have been spent trying to defend against Communism physically, America has been infiltrated mentally and morally as the fifth columnists have capitalized on the capitalization concept of money and power being the god and have instilled atheism so insidiously into the fabric of American society. Fr. Vincent showed why Communism was definitely atheistic and why it was the ultimate spirital evil.
What has proven from his book is that today,
in an age of unprecedented and proliferating crises, there is scarcely a turmoil anywhere in the world in which the catalyzing power of communism may not be discovered. Atheistic communism is a sword of division; it cuts asunder families, communities, nations, empires. It has, indeed, succeeded, directly or indirectly, by action or example, in keeping the world in a state of military conflict since its seizure of power in 1917. Father warned Christian parents that they must firmly and surely innoculate their offspring with Catholic doctrine to be able to recognize the dangers ahead. He alerted all that this cancer was working its way into the very fabric of American society including our schools and government, enabled by liberalism and modernism and how Catholics had to resist it at all costs. Unfortunately few heeded his wisdom, yet they had been told by none other than Dr. von Hildebrand himself who wrote, "Fr. Miceli is the type of priest we need so much in this crisis of the Church. He is equipped with the intellectual weapons that enable him to be a defensor fidei. And he provides clear answers to this threat, which has even infiltrated the Church!" Another luminary, Frederick Wilhelmsen of Triumph Magazine exclaimed, "the Miceli style clearly comes into its own in this major study." The fruits of Fr. Miceli's work translated into many conversions. Yet, the ravages of Vatican II were taking their toll for new relativism and relaxed disciplines were a shock to the system of many Catholics.
Father Vincent saw this first hand both in his parish work, his teaching assignments in Jesuit high schools and while teaching philosophy in the seventies in Rome at the Angelicum and Gregorian Institute.
In 1989 he published his work Women Priests and Other Fantasies which was a compilation of many of his essays, several published in L'Osservatore Romano. Subjects he covered in this book were Children as Blessings;
The Morality of Nuclear Weapons;
Abortion: God’s Viewpoint;
The Virtue of Patriotism;
The Forgotten Encyclical;
Hans Kung: Credible ? An Inquiry;
Detente All Round: Prelude to the Antichrist;
Evangelizing the United States;
Sisters as Symbols of the Sacred;
Modernism and the Priest;
Christ and Revolution;
Christian Marxism: Sacrilegious Demagoguery;
The Governor’s [Cuomo] Crooked Wisdom;
Trojan Horse in the City of God;
The Need for Fortitude;
St. Thomas, Justice, and Marxism;
Christian Zeal and Personal Renewal;
Dietrich Von Hildebrand: Philosopher and Prophet of Truth;
Atheistic Humanism in the U.S.A.;
Transubstantiation: Anchor of Orthodoxy;
The Church and the Family;
St. Thomas, Human Liberty and Academic Freedom;
Pope John Paul II and Catholic Universities.
There were many more pieces like these -- including the Miceli essay on women priests, keynote of this very large volume. Fr. Miceli wrote in his introduction: "This book declares that the truth is the highest object of theology and philosophy. Unfortunately it is not always the highest object of theologians and philosophers."
Four years later he released his third book, The Roots of Violence in 1989. It was twelve years before 9-11 but anyone reading his prophetic work could have seen what lay ahead and is unfolding today for he wrote back then, "we are living in an era whose atmosphere is saturated with the flames of hatred." One reviewer of Fr. Miceli's book remarked, that at the time, violence remained (maybe) a distant threat for most Americans: guerilla wars, terrorist hijackings, crime in the inner city. Now it's moved closer to home -- to upscale suburban schools, for instance, and to the Internet. Hollywood's sludge is sicker than ever. And then there's the child-porn-addicted molester in the town next to yours. How has a dire situation become so much worse? Because efforts to address the “root causes” of violence keep missing the mark. It’s not poverty, or handguns, or even low taxes that’s causing the explosion of savagery in our society. The real root, as Fr. Miceli revealed, is the soul of post-modern man: “a demonic reality similar to a hydra-headed serpent ... a persistent, ever-increasing plague with many sources and causes: Behind the 'metaphysic of murder': hatred of God's created order, and a refusal to serve Him."
Today this hatred, violence and non serviam mentality has reached epic proportions. It is alarming not just what is happening, but that more did not take Fr. Vincent seriously when he was alive. Father clearly in his book showed how Sacred Scripture testifies to the connection between the hatred for truth and the violent actions that flow from it. Why the lie is "the father of violence" -- and atheism is the lie that leads to the most terrifying violence of all, and why ours is more than ever the "Age of the Persistent Lie," with lies the common currency of politics, the media, commerce, education, and as we have seen over the past decade, common among the hierarchy of the Church where scandal is increased ten-fold. Father illustrated the two
kinds of atheism. One that leads to totalitarianism, the other to the worst features of our own degenerate society as we sink lower than Sodom and Gomorrah. These are all aspects of modern violence that make it more barbarous than that of earlier civilizations. Fr. Miceli laid out clearly how
“violence” differs from “power” and “force” and how the loss of that distinction has crippled society’s self-defenses against crime and terrorism. As another reviewer wrote,
"Violent delights have violent ends," wrote William Shakespeare. Fr. Miceli proves that literally true, in his hair-raising chapter on "The Violence of Lust" which the reviewer warned was not for the easily traumatized for Father held little black in proving that sodomy is always a form of violent exploitation of another, regardless of whether the participants are "consenting" and that there is no such thing as "private life" for private lust always flows over into public mores whether in poltical or ecclesial circles or the common day citizen. We can see today in 2004, especially after the abominations in Massachusetts, San Francisco and elsewhere that sodomy is a runaway monster threatening to violently intimidate and engulf all in its path. Father hit at how violence was part and parcel of pornography and due to the internet and other high-tech advancements such as video cams, everyone is inundated with violence. He exposed the psychobabble that every bishop should have realized. He wrote, "the modern world is drowning in violence because it has thought it possible to substitute Mammon for God, Libido for Liberty, the cacaphony of the media -- television, the secular press, exploding radios -- and narco-mysticism for the voices of reason and revelation as the ideological guarantee of the happy life." In surveying the casualties today, we can see the terrible carnage which only reaffirms Fr. Miceli’s words and shows how stupid most of the world has been for dismissing Fr. Miceli as an alarmist. Well he should be and he was for he could see so many losing their salvation.
His final book was released a year before he died and will forever be his legacy. That was Antichrist, published in 1991. In this monumental work, Father Vincent related the prophecies of the Antichrist and applied them to history, indeed the major disasters of our times. He showed how the great apostasy, warned of by the Mother of God at La Salette and contained in the Third Secret of Fatima, was making it possible for the world-wide collapse of Catholicism. He held nothing back in painting a harsh, realistic picture of the current state of the world. Showing how the failure of authority and the abandonment of the moral fabric and Church doctrine was widening the portal for the Antichrist to come forth. That was 14 years ago. Look what has happened since. He studies many of the false prophets in history and showed how satan can throw off even the elect. He identified the precursors to the Antichrist and including several who are in power today, and revealed the portents of the coming climax of evil which will be incarnated in the person of the false Messiah who will be the Antichrist. Father illustrated how the presence of mini-Antichrists within the Church have been working as demolition squads with animus delendi - the desire to destroy - the Mystical Body of Christ. Were it not for Our Lord's promise in Matthew 16: 19, this would be even more frightening for what lay ahead, as Fr. could foresee, is hell itself on earth. Only those with heroic virtue will be able to survive the enemy which St. Paul has identified in Ephesians 6: 12 as "principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness: against the spirits of wickedness in the high places." Now fourteen years later we can see all the clearer the truths of Fr. Vincent's warnings. Take heed.
By the time Father's book had been released it was known that he had contracted cancer. He chose not to take pain killers and drugs that would make it more comfortable for him so that he could suffer for Christ with whatever time he still had left on this earth. Mercifully God took him home in the early summer of 1992 leaving behind many mourners who realized this writer would be sorely missed. He had written often for The Wanderer until he, like so many Traditional Catholic writers, had a falling out. Also like so many Traditional Catholic writers, he found his way to The Remnant where he wrote several articles until his death. He was survived by his sister Sister Ignatius who was a nun for the order founded by Saint Frances Cabrini in Colorado. His books are still widely read and more pertinent than ever. For this loyal priest who, as Dr. von Hildebrand called a "Fidei defensor" - Defender of the Faith" and "fearless" we resent to Father Vincent Peter Miceli, S.J. posthumously the Tower of Trent Trophy and Crimson Cross and declare this day Father Vincent Miceli Day in all of Christendom.
For other charter members honored in this inaugural presentation of the Tower of Trent, see Charter Recipients of the Tower of Trent Trophy