This talk was digitally transcribed and will be edited as soon as possible.
Today is Monday, July 5, and I was having a chat with a friend this morning. friend who sends me links to videos or resources that he thinks I’d be interested in. And often they are very interesting, but one was a link to a message from father Baron another was a link to a quote from Gk Chesterton. And I wrote back. And my response led to a little bit of discussion back and forth, and it raised an issue that I think, requires some treatment in a lengthier talk than I then I would be interested in giving in an email, discussion back and forth, I really, I can’t afford to spend too much time typing because I have so much typing to do for work. And I need to conserve as much of that physical energy as I can to devote to my work. And so I’d rather talk about the topic and I think it’ll be helpful for for others as well. I’m often critical of Gk Chesterton. And he receives a lot of fanfare among among conservatives and Catholics, because his quotes and and expressions are very witty, and entertaining. He’s He’s an enjoyable reader, if you’re looking for some witty cultural commentary and criticism. And Father, Baron, likewise, he’s a bishop in the church, he’s very eloquent teacher, I personally enjoy his teaching very much, it’s very, very clear and helpful. I find it great to see a bishop who engages with the public through social media. I wish more bishops would do that, so that priests wouldn’t do that. Because I don’t believe that priests are ordained to address the public there are deign to, to serve a parish under the authority of a bishop. But it would be great for bishops and priests and not priests of Pope’s if they would make use of these resources available and speak directly to the, to the world. The Holy Father, Pope Francis has done a great job with this considering his age, he’s 84 years old, and he does a very good job making use of media that’s available. His work during the pandemic shutdowns was really wonderful. He addressed people directly. And that was really great to see it’s it’s great as a Catholic to see the pope address the church directly by means of these available technologies. It’s pretty cool. But anyway, the problem that I have that I think is a serious problem with writers like Gk Chesterton, and with the messages of a father, Baron, and other priests and church leaders and conference speakers, is that first of all, the talks are always general. They’re always talking about problems. They’re talking about issues. They’re talking about ideas. And, and we wonder why if there’s so much eloquence among Catholic men, like Gk Chesterton and Robert Barron, if there’s so much eloquence, if there’s so much knowledge, if the answers are right, if they know the truth, and there’s so much readiness, intelligence, eloquence, and so on. Why does the Catholic message not gain any traction? Why do we see Catholicism disappearing from our actual lives on the ground in modern society, while all of the resources and communications of Catholic speakers and conference speakers and, and book writers and all these things, all of these resources are increasing and yet Catholic Culture is declining. I’ve often shared statistics that are collected by Georgetown University that showed the trends in ordinations religious vocations and Catholic education. You can access these statistics online if you go to Google and search ca R a church statistics, CA R a church statistics you should see results from Georgetown University. And I recommend that you go and look at those statistics. What you’ll see is that almost every area of of church influence in our society, through ordinations, religious vocations and Catholic education are sharply declining. And yet we have all of these resources, more Catholic resources than the church has ever had access to in history. Why is it that if there’s so much Catholic material available, that there’s so much real world decline. And I’ve talked about this before. But I’d like to get into it maybe a little deeper than usual. And be an example of what I talked about. We’ve got plenty of resources, we’ve got plenty of information, we don’t even need people talking on the internet. We don’t need conferences and conference speakers. We don’t need people traveling to Expo halls for conferences. in the information age. We don’t need anyone to write new books, when all of the works of the doctors of the church, the Fathers of the Church, the saints, are available to us in ways that were not available to past generations. We don’t need new authors making more books. We don’t need conferences and conference speakers. All of this talking. When we compare the amount of talking and writing, which is just talking, when we compare all of this talking to what’s actually happening on the ground, in our society, we can see that this conference culture is not effective. It’s not. It’s not the real Christian mission. It’s not how things work. And the reason why is because all of these conference speakers have something in common. All of these authors writing all of these books. They have something in common. And what it is, is they talk about ideas. They talk about general issues. They offer commentary and criticism. And then they stop. They dwell in a world of talk and ideas. And once they have reached the limit of that world of talking, they stop. I’ve used this illustration before, they’re like an engine running in a car. But the car is always in neutral. The engines run and run and run. But the car never moves. There’s never any change. The engine doesn’t do anything. And this is the problem with all of this. Talking, all of these TV shows all of these Catholic podcasts and lectures. And you may say well, here you are talking on the internet. I’m going to show you that what I do is different. And I’d like to see other men take up the work that I’ve taken up because there’s so much work to do. And there’s so few workers. The talk and the writing of these men stops with talking right And the problem is that for all of this education, all of these degrees, all of this wittiness, all of this eloquence, all of this wonderful multimedia production and editing, the videos are beautiful the podcasts are world class. And yet, there’s no effect on the ground, that everything continues in decline. And the problems are never actually addressed. They’re talked about, they’re acknowledged. But they’re not dealt with. And this is the this is a sign for us that something is wrong with this message. It’s not what it appears. And we have to dig a little bit deeper. And realize that all of this talk ministry is a waste of time, maybe even, maybe even a distraction from what we actually should be doing. The title of this talk, as I was thinking about it, is trying to solve are trying to remove symptoms, rather than causes, trying to remove symptoms rather than causes. And this is what I’d like to talk about. And do something about, not just talk about it. I’ll start with a little personal story back in 2009 2009 2010. around there, I had just started the classical Liberal Arts Academy. I was doing mission work with the missionaries of the poor. And the CIA was growing very quickly news about the CIA was spreading online pretty quickly. And I received an email one day from ew tn. And ew tn contacted me some representative from from the network. And they contacted me to ask me if I would, if I was interested in appearing on one of their shows. And talking about the classical Liberal Arts Academy. It was father Benedict, gross shells show. And they were interested in having me come on the show and talk about Catholic education. And I turned the offer down. Because I was consumed. With my actual work, which, which didn’t need to be published, it didn’t need to be talked about. The work that I do in the classical Liberal Arts Academy, the mission of the classical Liberal Arts Academy is to research to restore, to publish and to teach the classical liberal arts that is the classical Catholic curriculum that was studied and taught by wise men in saints through history. In 2010. We were barely getting into that work. In God’s providence, the online program was growing. And the money that was received through the online program was allowing us to do the work of the mission in a self sustaining way, which was awesome. But there was so much work to do. And there was nothing to talk about. Because if the work didn’t get done, it wouldn’t matter what we talked about. And so I turned down the invitation from ew tn and that’s why Nathan schmidtke appeared on ew tn and kind of represented the classical Liberal Arts Academy, even though there was nothing to talk about. He ended up talking about the teaching of Sacred Scripture and St. Augustine’s work on Christian doctrine, and he did so you’re in the name of the classical Liberal Arts Academy, but but I was not interested. In that publicity, because there’s just so much work to do. There’s nothing to advertise or talk about. That’s true to this day, I still don’t advertise the classical Liberal Arts Academy. Because the works, the works not done, works not ready. There’s nothing for the there’s nothing to actually offer as a replacement or alternative to modern education. There’s so much work to do. So much work to do. That advertising, it wouldn’t even make any sense, you’d be advertising nothing. Because we’re barely barely scratching the surface. What I’ve always told Catholic, see, Catholics have this idea that to work in education, you have to be some kind of clever super teacher. There’s this myth of the super teacher. And almost every modern teacher tries to act out this mythical character of the super teacher. This, either movies about it, your movies about the great teacher, this great teacher, like Goodbye, Mr. Chips, or Dead Poets Society, we always have these movies about the super teacher. And the reason why we’re so obsessed with the super teacher, is because the modern curriculum and school system is so terrible, that the only chance it has to do any good is if some extraordinarily gifted flamboyant teacher comes in and actually causes it to work. And what actually works is not the school system, not the curriculum, it’s just the individual influence of that man. The problem with this fantasy story of the great teacher, is that a man who has that character who has all of that skill, and charisma, that man is not going to be a school teacher. Or if he is, he’s not going to be a school teacher for long. And that’s why this myth of the great school teacher fascinates people, but it’s not realistic. Nevertheless, people who get into education, usually, because they can’t do other work. They get into education, because there’s millions of jobs available. The requirements for these jobs are very low. The turnover in modern schools is close to 30%. In many places, meaning that 1/3 of the faculty is changed every year, there’s constantly jobs, and schools often, because the modern school system is so unsustainable, they often have more jobs available than they have applicants. And we can see proof of this and the fact that we’ll see public schools now offering alternative routes to teaching, as they say, so we can’t get enough people to go through the college programs and, and go through the licensing programs. There’s not enough people receiving the training and licensing that’s necessary for all of the jobs that are available. And so the schools actually have to create up alternative routes to allow the schools to find enough teachers. When there aren’t enough trained, licensed teachers available. It’s very easy to find jobs in education. Because the system has more job openings than there are qualified teachers. And the schools know that they’re going to turn over a third of the faculty anyway every year. So it’s worth giving someone a try. And if they’re terrible, just don’t renew their contract the next year, so it’s a low risk. Low Risk hiring. Hire fast fire fast, as they say. What’s ignored is the educational experience of children which suffers from this ridiculous game of professional education. The children are almost an afterthought, their actual education not even a priority. So people get into education rarely as their goal in life, rarely as their goal in life. Usually as a desperate attempt to try and remain in the lazy college culture, you only have to work 180 days a year. It’s a pretty easy life. Many people get into teaching just because it’s an easy way to get a job. I would say most people get into teaching for that reason, it’s an easy job. When someone gets into teaching who is actually well prepared for teaching, people immediately know that he’s not going to be in education for long because he can do other things. As soon as I started working in teaching, I remember one day I was I was only 25. At the time. I was actually still studying I was still in in, still hadn’t even finished my my bachelor’s degree because I was I was already in a program where I started master’s degree studies, while in my bachelor’s program, so I hadn’t even finished my degree. And I had a full time teaching job at a classical School, where I was the Upper School classics teacher. And I was in the faculty lounge. And an older science teacher, man who is probably in his 60s, came in to the faculty lounge and asked me When are you going to get a real job. And the reason why was because he knew that I really didn’t meet the character of the school teacher, that I could obviously do more. In fact, I was already working on improving the school’s curriculum, I installed a grading software system that the school began to use, I was already doing administrative work. As a 25 year old classroom teacher. I was teaching the entire day. I had no lunch break, I taught the entire day I taught in four different languages. Over the course of the day, I taught English, Latin Greek and an AP Spanish literature course. I taught the LSAT prep class, I taught the middle school Latin classes, I taught the senior level great books, courses. And everyone had this expectation that I wouldn’t be there for long. And that’s how teaching is in this super teacher. fantasy. It’s just a fantasy, it doesn’t work. But the Modern School depends on Super teachers. Because the system itself can’t educate children. And what I’ve often taught people who’ve asked me about education, because anytime someone looks at what I’m doing, or they look at the classical Liberal Arts Academy and learn about our mission, or they’re interested in starting a local, classical private school, or they have some interest in education, they immediately assume that they need to become one of these super teachers. One of these Stand and Deliver type charismatic classroom lecturers and performers that entertain the children, and magically make them all learn and love education. And I tell them, that that’s not how education actually works. That’s how modern education has to work because the curriculum and the school model don’t work. everybody complains about their teachers and blames their teachers because the system is no system at all. It completely depends on charismatic, persuasive, attractive individuals that come and go and rarely are a part of any child’s educational experience. You can probably think back to your own education and think of one or two teachers who really engaged with you and entertained you as one of these super teachers. But that’s it, that’s the normal experience, all the rest of the teachers are pretty crummy. And they have a severe effect on your education on your, on your thoughts about different subjects and so on. They influence career decisions by their lack of skill, because the system itself is powerless. And there’s no super teacher to make it work. But I tell Catholics who contact me that this work that needs to be done in education, doesn’t require any super teachers doesn’t require this silly idea of the Hollywood super teacher. I have a different model that I talk to people about. And as soon as I talk about it, all interest in the work ends. And this is the problem with modern Catholicism. What I tell people is that what education needs, what all of these children need. for there to be a renewal of Catholic education, a revival of Catholic learning and culture. What’s needed are what I call blue collar scholars, blue collar scholars. We don’t need these fruits in bow ties who want to stand at lecterns in front of classes for attention. No one needs that. That doesn’t help anything. That’s just modern education. In a Catholic classroom, everyone imagines themselves to be super teachers, because they imagine that their talk is so interesting. their ideas are so amazing. their personality is so engaging and interesting. But the truth is, there they’re not engaging. They’re not interesting. And even if they can put together one class that is enjoyable for the students, the whole education remains poor. And all of this effort poured into this one, don’t be class is not addressing the greater problem, the giant elephant in the room. It’s great that this guy is earning himself a paycheck, that he’s popular with the students and so on. And I was that teacher when I taught here in Charlotte. I was that popular super teacher. And as I did it, and as I experienced that, I just thought to myself every day, this is all such vanity. These courses are so relatively insignificant in the big picture of these kids lives. And for every one teacher that they praise, who showed who can show results for his classwork. For every one popular and effective teacher, there are 30 poor teachers. And the overall effect on the student’s life is they received a bad education. They receive the bad education, and they talk about this one teacher or these two teachers who are great. And we imagine that that’s a sustainable plan for education. Now, let’s go back, back back back into the 1500s. This same problem was present at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Protestants were often charismatic individuals, they were able to command a crowd. They were smart. They were eloquent. They were very industrious. And they attracted crowds. They were talented individuals. You can go back through Protestant history and name these talented charismatic individuals. Martin Luther, john Calvin JOHN Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, john Owen, Richard Baxter, we can go through Protestant history and name these celebrity Protestants, charismatic, talented, industrious men. And when these individual men went to work, they often had a great influence on the Christian community and drew many people away from Catholicism after them in their Protestant cause. the attractiveness of their talent led to conversions to Protestantism and to the development of large church communities as it were, all gathered around this one charismatic individual. And this is why heresy and schism is often so difficult for the church to resist because the leaders of these movements are usually charismatic, talented, industrious individuals. And they gather around themselves, a crowd of people who are awed by their gifts or abilities or industry. And these communities develop around these individuals. And they continue while the individual lives. And then when the individual dies, they find that there’s actually nothing there. There’s no actual culture, there’s no actual system. It was just that individual. And when he dies, the community disperses. Many of them go back to where they came from. Some of them try to replace that charismatic leader. But the reality is, is the bubble pops, once that charismatic leader dies. And we see it was just a distraction, a deception, an image, a false appearance, that the death of that individual finally reveals, the super teacher is this idea of this charismatic, talented, industrious individual. And this is why we find such a relationship between Protestantism and modern Catholicism, where most of the ideas in modern Catholicism are simply Protestant ideas that Catholics without discernment or examination, imbibe from Protestant influence around them. And then the Catholics actually do things. Following the example and the ideas of the Protestants and I gave an example of this in my talk about how Laura berquist, founder of Mother of divine grace school, misled 1000s of Catholic families, when she took a Protestant educational movement, brought it into a Catholic circles and then ran with it. This is what modern Catholics are doing. They’re, they’re not beginning with real Catholic principles, and building on them. For all their talk, they’re beginning with Protestant principles. And they’re simply employing those principles in Catholic circles. And it’s attractive. It allows for the rise of these celebrities within Catholic circles. The Taylor marshals the father copies, the Frank Pavone ins and so on. People who gather around these individuals imagine that something is really developing something is happening something is something is growing until that that leader either falls into some scandalous sin like father karate and disappears, or it goes on continues with his teaching and publishing and talking and all this activity because remember, these leaders are always industrious. until they finally die, and then the whole thing just immediately disperses like a puff of smoke. And we find that it was all a waste. All of the money invested in this individual, all of the time devoted to this individual that could have been devoted to the actual church. But was diverted into this individual sideshow is now found to be a waste. Every one is left with nothing because the charismatic leader is removed. And that’s the danger of this culture of talk and writing. That what I said is what’s actually needed. Our blue collar scholars and this is where in the 1500s and 1600s the Jesuits were so powerful. The Jesuits were a Catholic religious order. They were not. It was not some movement led by some Maverick individual. It was an approved religious mission within the Catholic Church. And the Jesuits were so wise that they knew that the Protestant success was just a mirage. While the Protestants were celebrating their great individual teachers, they’re super teachers. The Jesuits were researching, restoring, publishing and teaching the classical liberal arts. What we see in the raw to studiorum is a complete system of learning that was designed like a modern franchise business, to be installed anywhere, to require very little talent from individual brothers or teachers. This system of education could be installed anywhere. And one two or three Jesuits could teach effectively, hundreds of local students and provide them with a real classical Catholic education, the Jesuits focused on the system. And this is what’s different about saints like St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier, and the other Jesuit leaders that rose up because they were true saints, and not just Maverick individuals seeking their own attention or profit. They weren’t seeking to become conference speakers to be the keynote speaker at a conference. They weren’t seeking to have their books listed on Amazon among best sellers for a certain category. That wasn’t their interest. their interest was actually to evangelize society, and to lead people to conversion. Remember, the Jesuit motto was a MDG. To the greater glory of God. Their desire, their mission was to glorify God, not themselves. Not St. Ignatius of Loyola ministries, LLC. Their mission was to glorify God. And what they concentrated on was building a system that was reproducible and was effective, like a business franchise in modern terms that could be installed anywhere the Jesuits set up camp. And the system would effectively teach the students very little was required of the actual teachers except a mastery of that curriculum itself. There was no charismatic super teacher needed. And it was actually said of the Jesuit schools that while the Protestant schools at that time had more attractive individual teachers, Yours super teachers, the Jesuit system proved more effective than the Protestant, charismatic super teachers. The Jesuit system was superior to the individual here in their Protestant school masters that could accomplish great things. I can name some of them. Men like john comenius men like Charles hoole, john brinsley, you can look these men up if you’d like, individual school masters who are great, but their effects could not match the effects of the Jesuit system. And what the church shows us is that when we look at the long game, when we think about long term results, when we talk about sustainability, when we talk about legacy systems, even if they are inferior in comparison with the effect of an individual super teacher, the systems benefit more students. They’re more stable, the long term results are better, and they’re reproducible. In business terms, again, you can scale an effective educational system. There’s no way to scale or to increase the number and size of a school system that depends on Super teachers. And this is the problem that Catholic schools have. The Catholic schools were built on this idea that there would be an endless supply of talented, industrious, selfless nuns who are themselves well educated. Who could make the system work in the Catholic schools. But those nuns were immigrants from Europe. They came from from countries where there were so many religious vocations that often men couldn’t even be ordained to the priesthood or admitted to seminary because there was no need. For more priests. An example of this is the case of john Norman, who ended up being a bishop in Philadelphia and being a leader in the Catholic parochial schools, he could not be ordained in his home country, because there was simply no need for priests. He had to agree to become a missionary to America, in order to be ordained. And that’s what brought him to America. And so there was an overflow of religious men and women in Europe, who came to America and got involved in the work of the Catholic schools. But that source of super teachers was a mirage. It only had short term possibilities. And yet the school the church, embraced the modern school system and just pretended like the flood of super teachers would continue. While it didn’t. And the whole thing is collapsing still. Because the system was not an effective system. It was actually an unsustainable and poorly conceived system that depended on Super teachers that were not in its control. And that’s what’s led to this continued collapse of Catholic education in America. The Jesuits show us, just like the church herself, in all that she does shows us that the system is more important than the talented individual, we placed way too much emphasis, we give way too much attention to the super individuals because they really don’t accomplish anything in the long run, unless they somehow lead to the improvement or development of a system. system that remains in place after they’ve gone this is the problem with the talking culture. This is the problem with the college professor culture. This is the problem with the bow tie culture. The Christian men who wants to be lecturers who want to write books. They’re constantly trying to to promote themselves as Super teachers and charismatic conference speakers. You can look at their descriptions there their quote, unquote, biography, which is just a little blurb that tells about how, how dynamic a speaker they are, how many books they’ve sold, or how many, how many views and listeners their podcasts have that’s, that’s the goal, those statistics and numbers. But in the long game, these individuals are mere distractions, what remains are the systems and the problem with modern education is that there’s no system the system doesn’t work. And that’s why Gk Chesterton is in the end useless, very entertaining, if you like his style, witty, great commentary, criticism. But when you close the book, nothing changes. When you finish reading, nothing changes when one of father barons talks as entertaining is that as it may be, and again, I’ve said I enjoy father barons teaching. But once the video is over, you just go back to what was before the video began. Nothing changes. There’s no solution. And everyone wants to be the next father Baron or the next. Gk Chesterton. But that’s not what anyone needs. We don’t need more Gk Chesterton’s we didn’t need Gk Chesterton at all. We already had plenty of cultural commentary and criticism. We could go back to desert darious, Erasmus in the 1500s and find even better commentary and criticism than Chesterton could offer. What the church needs what what we need in our society, our workers, people who put the system ahead of themselves, people who sacrificed their lives, who sacrifice their physical bodies, their time, their resources, who put all of their personal skill. And even more important than their skill, even more important than their talent, who put their physical energy and time into the construction or restoration of systems that help the maximum number of people and are sustainable. This is what the Jesuits taught us. This is what the apostles taught us. When we see St. Paul, traveling from city to city. And we let the Protestants interpret St. Paul for us we imagine this charismatic ministry leader you know, Paul of Tarsus ministries Incorporated, traveling from city to city selling books, selling tickets to conferences. We imagine the modern super teacher because that’s projected back into Sacred Scripture and will show paintings and pictures of the individual man, Paul standing and delivering the great message and all the crowds in awe. But this is not what we read in the actual history of The acts of the apostles. Why do we read the actual acts of the apostles, we find that the church had a hierarchy. There was a system that was created by Jesus Christ. Notice Jesus Himself wasn’t a super teacher, Jesus came to install and teach a system to establish a system. He intended to establish the system to train its first leaders, and then make it reproducible. It takes true wisdom and humility to do that. And I’ll talk about why in a few minutes. But the apostles show us a humility, and a focus on the system on order on the submission of individual personalities. We read that all the Christians laid their possessions at the feet of the apostles, that’s the image, all people working to serve the system, not seeking to start their own ministry, start their own publishing, activity and so on. But all people offering what they have to serve the system. And when we actually read the act of the apostles, we find out that St. Paul was not traveling, like some kind of conference speaker giving captivating lectures to audiences. We read that he was actually going from city city, city to city sorry, and he was delivering to the cities. What the apostles in Jerusalem had decreed and written down concerning the controversial issues that were raised, that were argued among the apostles and then judged by the apostles as the hierarchy of the church. It was the decision of the hierarchy of the church that Paul was delivering to the cities as he traveled. It was the equivalent of a modern encyclical. The hierarchy of the church had decided the issue and judged, and Paul, being a faithful missionary was establishing churches, he was creating franchises of the Catholic Church, as it were, and again, I’m just using modern business terminology. But every local church was the equivalent of a franchise of the one Catholic Church, which had a hierarchy and structure and leadership and authority. And none of its members, none of its teachers, none of its priests or bishops. had any individual ministries. They were ordained and appointed for one purpose, and that was to deliver the teaching of Christ and the apostles to every place to install the system in every place. And the system took over the world. When the Jesuits rose up in the 1500s, and the church and so much so much of its institutions that had been developed through time were under attack by the Protestants who rejected the philosophy of the Catholic Church and who followed individual talented speakers and writers. The problem was that these individuals, these schismatic individuals that gathered crowds around themselves, began to divide and break up the church and cause all kinds of schism, division. All kinds of trouble in the church and the Jesuits, when they were formed as a military Special Operations force to combat Protestantism and evangelize the world. They invested in the in the reconstruction or restoration of a system that could be franchised as it were globally. This method of the Jesuits was so effective that after a century or so, Protestants were sending their children to the Jesuit schools in many places, because the schools, as far as the classical learning that they offered were so effective, even though the teachers in the schools were what I call blue collar scholars, they were workers. They weren’t talented, charismatic, captivating speakers. They were workers, if you read the route to studiorum, and see what the actual duties of the school masters are. It’s very difficult. painstaking, humble work. It’s not standing and lecturing. It’s not speaking at ceremonies and preparing lectures or publishing books. It’s quiet private work, reviewing student exercises, walking students through translation exercises, quizzing students. It’s industrious, humble, painful work. That’s the work that needs to be done. And that’s the work that no one is interested in. We come to a fork in the road where option A is b, this worker who serves a system, a proven system that requires workers, the workers don’t need to be talented or charismatic. They just need to be motivated by love of God to work, and work and work and work. The other option is to try to become the super teacher. And what we see is everyone takes the super teacher route, they would rather work in a secular public school. These men would rather work in a secular public school where they could enjoy a certain a certain attention, a certain quality of life, a certain reputation, a certain image, they would write they’re so committed to that desire for this image, as the as the super teacher was so committed to that desire, that they would be willing to work in a school that doesn’t even teach the Christian faith so that they could have that image. The image is what they’re after. Remember, in the movie, a man for all seasons, Richie Rich, was was ambitious and covetous, seeking some kind of honorable position or office. And he begged Thomas More Time and time again, to give him some connection or make a recommendation for him so that he could enter into some some office that gave him some reputation and was impressive. And Thomas Moore would never do it. And what did Thomas Moore tell him he should do? Thomas Moore told him, be a school teacher. Be a school teacher. That was Thomas Moore’s advice. To Richie Rich, be a school teacher. And Richie Rich’s response to Thomas Moore was, who would know? Who would know if I was a school teacher? And Thomas Moore, his response was, your students would know, God would know. And I think he says something like that’s pretty good company. And then the store and again, a man for all seasons is a play written about the life of Thomas Moore. So we can’t we can’t refer to that as if that was actual historical evidence from the life of Thomas Moore. I’m not sure if it was. It could be historical fiction. But you see, that’s the that’s the message. what the world needs is not someone to fill another ambitious individual place. what the world needs is what Thomas Moore would advise, be a school teacher. But who will know your students? God, you yourself would know, that’s pretty good company. The work of the renewal of Catholic education is going to require people willing to work. People who are humble people who really believe in the resurrection and are willing to sacrifice their physical life, to serve a mission, and to contribute in some way to a system. An effective proven system that will be left behind and continue even when they die. And this collective investment of life after life after life in this system, is what makes it so great. Fortunately for us in the 21st century, while there’s a lot of work left to do, to restore what’s been lost and abandoned. We have that collective investment of past centuries of saints and wise men. And we can simply recover what they’ve left us. And continue it by adding our own individual sacrifices. And these sacrifices are not convenient sacrifices, like if I get some spare time, or if I retire, and then I have some free years. all expenses paid, or if you pay me for it, if you pay me a full time salary, then I’ll help you 40 hours a week. No, that’s not what this is. That’s not what this work is. You don’t get to enjoy a comfortable life and do sacrificial work. What’s needed is men and women, who are motivated by love of God want to devote their lives to this brief life through which we have the opportunity to merit eternal rewards, who wants to invest their life, their time, their money, their physical strength, who wants to invest themselves in recovering this system, and leaving it in place when they die, so that the next generation can take it up and continue what has been lost. We have to deal with the causes of the problems. Talking about the symptoms and the effects is useless. It doesn’t take any wisdom to know that our society is screwed up. Anyone who acknowledges that is not wise for doing so. A man who’s sick isn’t wise when he realizes that he’s throwing up and he’s sick. Or he’s coughing up blood. When he tells someone, hey, I think I’m sick. We don’t applaud him and say wow, that’s pretty impressive. You must be a wise man to know that you’re sick. What philosophy teaches us is that wisdom is the knowledge of causes. Wisdom is the knowledge of causes. And what a wise man will do is he will develop solutions that remove and prevent the cause of the problems. We can all talk about the symptoms and the effects because they’re obvious. It’s obvious to see the effects and the symptoms. If we go out to the garden and see that a plant has withered. It doesn’t take a Master Gardener to say hey look, I think that plant is is sick because it’s it’s all yellow and falling over. You know, thanks, Captain Obvious. That’s not the challenge of gardening. Anyone, a three year old can come out here and point to the dead plant. That’s not with anyone needs, that’s not helpful. And you know the kind of person who is just the constant. The constant critic, the constant commentator, who just enters the room and states the obvious. No one needs that. We don’t need a Gk Chesterton to eloquently tell us that something’s wrong. Everyone already knows that we feel it, we experience it, we know it. What’s needed is a wise man, wise men to not talk about the problems, but to figure out what the causes of the problems are, and then to effectively remove those causes to prevent those causes, and when the cause is attacked, when the cause is removed, all of the effects are immediately destroyed. The change might not happen immediately in time. It’s like a river running downhill if we found out that there was a certain point along the course of a river, where some poisonous liquid was entering into the river, and was poisoning the entire river from that point on downstream, affecting 1000s and 1000s of people living in the valleys below. And we were able to find that, yes, it was true that this water was poisonous. Everybody knew that because they were sick and dying. It didn’t take any wise man to to recognize that the water was poisonous. But a wise man would think, hey, let’s go up the river. And let’s see if we can find a cause of this poison in the water. And let’s say the men after weeks and weeks of difficult travel up this river through through hills and mountains, they finally found this place where some poison was entering the flow of water, and they were able to cut that source off to remove the source on a given Saturday. That’s Saturday, the problem all of the problem was solved. It would take time for the clean water to now begin making its way through all the villages. But that project, all of the effects and symptoms of that poisoning, were immediately solved the moment the cause was removed. And then it was simply a matter of time for the clean water, no longer poisoned, to make its way down to the people. And as that old water made its way out. Sure, people could still suffer some of the negative effects even after the cause was removed. But that was just a matter of time. Once the cause is removed, the remedy was provided in the Gospel itself. This is the truth that we learn that Christ came into the world and destroyed death. So in the macro level, at the universal level of human life and salvation, this is what we experience in the Gospel. Through his passion, by His resurrection and ascension by the coming of the Holy Spirit, Christ once and for all removed the cause of evil. And the effects of that remedy, are working themselves out through the world. Of course, we can voluntarily choose to read poison ourselves as as human beings do, and refuse to receive the remedy. We can say no, we found out that there’s another stream over here. And that’s poison to we’re going to go get our water from that other source. We don’t care that this is now clean. We’d like to continue poisoning ourselves. Well, that’s what most people choose to do. But when it comes to Catholic culture and education, the cause of the cultural breakdown, the cause of the all of the evil effects and symptoms we see of vocations crisis, the lack of Christian culture, the law In disappearance of Christian writing, and literature or art, when we look at these things, and we say where has all the culture gone? Why is there no interest in in the priesthood? Why is there no interest in religious life? Why are there no Catholic musicians? Why are there no Catholic authors or poets or artists? Why does the Catholic schools fail? Why are the Catholic schools disappearing? Why are Catholic families breaking apart? Why are Catholics dependent on unbelievers in all different areas of temporal life? Aren’t we supposed to be the wise ones? Aren’t we supposed to be the light of the world that that helps everyone else and guides everyone else to happiness? Why does everything seem to be the other way around? It’s because there’s a cause of these evils. And while we talk about the symptoms and the effects, and we criticize things, and we complain about all of the evil people and the bad things and the bad consequences, no one is willing to go remove the cause. No one is willing to fix the problem. And that reveals a genuine disinterest in the problem itself. And most people are complaining just to excuse themselves from doing the same things. They pretend like it’s inevitable because after all, the democrats control the house. You know, it’s it’s useless because now we’ve got a pro choice pro abortion president. So forget it, there’s nothing to do. There’s no vocation. So you know what, we’re just going to start doing this. Or maybe we should, or maybe we should ordain women, maybe we should just, yeah, let’s just make excuses. and treat all of the effects. All of the symptoms of the problem, let’s just pretend that they’re all inevitable. Instead of tracing out the cause, and then if we’re sincere, removing the cause, at whatever cost is necessary. That’s the work of wise men. Wise men know the causes of things. They don’t talk about the symptoms and the effects, which, as I said, little children could comment on, they don’t Polish their commenting skills, they don’t Polish their eloquent criticisms. They don’t work on improving the quality of the video, through which they point out that the tomato plant is dying. They study to know the causes. And once they know the causes, they then work to remove the causes. This is the difference. As another example, this is the difference between Ancient Medicine and modern medicine. In Ancient Medicine, if we read the writings of Hippocrates, or Plato or Aristotle, the purpose of the physician was to study the symptoms and effects that could be observed in a sick person’s body. And to determine what the cause was, and then to remove the cause from the person and then give time for health to return to the body once the cause was removed. This was the purpose of Ancient Medicine. So if someone came to the doctor, and they were obese, and their obesity was causing them all kinds of pains and problems, their joints hurt, they couldn’t go to the bathroom, they were always sick, they had all they couldn’t work anymore. And the person is eating three meals a day is blown up like a balloon from overeating. And the physician would say, well, the cause of your symptoms, the cause of these problems is very simple. You simply eat too much food, and you’re destroying your body by overeating. So what I recommend is you eat only one meal a day. No snacks, no drinks. If you’re thirsty, just drink water with maybe some lemon in it. That’s it, that’s all your body needs. If you choose to eat three, or four or five times as much food as your body needs, you’re simply going to destroy your body. All of these problems you have are the effects of this one, cause that’s in your control, eat one meal a day, no snacks. And all of these problems will go away. That’s what an ancient physician sought to do. And obviously, it was more complex when issues were more mysterious. But if you read the writings of Hippocrates, they would seek to study to know how the normal body in its natural circumstances functions. And then they would seek to find the cause the unnatural cause that was producing the problems in the human body. And then they would work to identify and remove the cause, and then give time for the recovery of health. Modern medicine often doesn’t address the cause, or it does so in a dismissive kind of way as an option. One optional treatment would be to actually stop eating five times the amount of food you need every day, that’s one option. But there are others. Here, you could take this medication, which will help with digestion, this medication will help you go to the bathroom more easily, this medication will relieve that joint pain, oh, by the way, there’s this surgery you could have. And by this surgery, we could actually physically remove all of the fat from your body. And we could we could bypass your stomach, we could staple your stomach so that it’s only half the size, so you feel full. So there’s lots of options for what we can do to to cure this problem, where that’s not curing. That’s not healing. That’s not true medicine, that’s not wisdom. And modern Christians think like this, they take this idea of how modern medicine works, and they just bring it everywhere they go. So the removal of causes, is just considered one possible remedy. And that’s what we see, throughout Christian culture. We’re content to have the problems, we’re not interested in removing the cause. We’d like to find a way to be able to keep the cause in place, and simply remove the pain caused by it. And that’s what we find many Christians doing. That’s what we see Christians doing in education. That’s what we see Christians doing in different areas of business, oh, I’m content to work for this secular company. Now, there are some problems like, I have to go to this diversity training, where I’m basically taught how to not express my religious beliefs, while I’m at work almost the entire day, every day, you know, so I have to learn, I don’t really like that much. But it does give me a paycheck and does give my family health insurance. And I get two paid weeks of vacation. So this whole, like, don’t talk about your religion thing at work is just, you know, an evil that I have to deal with. And that’s how modern Christians live. They’re not in the world, to direct temporal affairs, according to the will of God. They’re just looking to minimize the effects to minimize or hide the symptoms of the problems rather than removing them. And like the Jesuits, doing so, for the glory of God. This is the problem. This is why we don’t need conference speakers. We don’t need book authors. We need to ask the question, and I’ll talk specifically here about education more, we need to ask the question, what’s the cause of the problem? And only wise men will be able to write the identify the cause, just like a wise physician will be the only one who can identify the cause of a mysterious illness. We need to identify the true cause. And once we have identified the cause, we need to attack it and remove it. Whatever it costs us, Hitler was the cause of the suffering in Europe in the 1940s 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of men offered their lives to remove the cause. That’s what true interest in solving problems looks like. We didn’t try to clean up Auschwitz, we didn’t try to force the concentration camps to submit themselves to semi annual safety inspections. To try and make sure that the, the mass murder was at least, compliant with OSHA standards. We didn’t try to build bomb resistant buildings in London, so that when the Germans flew over the city and dropped bombs in the middle of the night, the buildings would be safer. The Allied forces gathered together, put their lives on the table, and took out the cause of the evil. The evil that we face is no less dangerous, no less destructive than any political tyrant ever was in history, when we consider that the soul is more important than the body. If that’s true, then the suffering of souls should be of greater concern to us than the suffering of mere bodies. I mean, after all, look at St. Maximilian, cold day. The Holocaust simply sent him to heaven. Spiritually, it wasn’t so great and evil, as anything that might have threatened to send him to hell. He was a great physical, a great political, a great temporal evil, and men sacrificed everything they had in this world. Investing in the plan by which it would be stopped, and not only stopped, but prevented from rising again. As Christians, we need to ask ourselves, do we really care about the problems? Or are we just interested in having some Chesterton time? Where we can giggle at the witty expressions of criticism? At the clever commentary, at the captivating conference, talk, the interesting new book? Are we actually interested in removing the cause? And this applies to every area of our lives. Are we actually interested in identifying and removing the causes of the problems at all costs? Or are we content to leave the causes in place, place stupid, and simply try to soften the effects of those causes. modern Christianity, the problem with it, the reason why it’s dying? Is because the world knows what Christianity is supposed to be. The world knows the world can see a crucifix and say, Wow, that’s pretty wild. The world learns about the life of Jesus and says, that’s pretty crazy. The world knows these stories. The world knows what heroes are. And they know that that’s what Christianity is supposed to be. Christianity is supposed to be a religion, where people believe that they’re going to have eternal life. That they’re going to rise from the dead and live forever. There are people who believe that diseases are no big deal. They’ll go in like father Damien, or Mother Teresa. They’ll go in and pick up the people covered with leprosy or We’re dying from AIDS and other diseases, because they don’t care if they die from those diseases, because they believe in the resurrection of the dead and that this life is just a temporary time of probation or trial by which they have the opportunity to merit everlasting life. People know what Christianity is supposed to be, they know about St. Francis. They know that St. Francis would kiss lepers and would exchange clothes with homeless people. They know these stories they know about Mother Teresa, they know about Jesus. It doesn’t take much to know that Jesus Christ was a man who came to remove causes of evil. Everyone knows that removing the cause is the right way. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows that in every area of life, everyone knows that if you sincerely want to solve the problem, all you have to do is remove the cause. Some are not able to learn what the cause is. And that’s their problem. They’re willing, but they simply don’t know. Others. And these are the culpable ones. Others know what the causes are, and refuse to remove them. The world is looking for Christians to be people who believe in the resurrection from the dead, who sacrifice their lives for the removal of the causes of evil. When Christians do that, people will join them. That’s what inspires conversions. True Faith, working through true charity. That’s what inspires people to want to become Christians. That’s why it was said in the early church, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. That’s the idea. the suffering of Christians, which testifies to the resurrection, voluntary suffering, of Christians, which testifies to the resurrection is what draws people to the faith. When people ask how do you know that Christianity is true? One common response people make is, do you think the apostles would have subjected themselves to imprisonment, poverty, torture, execution, and so on? If they didn’t believe that Christianity was true? We give that response? Because it’s so true. And yet, we don’t think about the implications of that response. If someone were to point to your life and say, Does he really believe that Christianity is true? Would someone be able to respond with the proof that we give to prove that the apostles really believed? Could someone say, why would Frank claim to believe in Christianity and take upon himself so much personal suffering and sacrifice, so much? personal loss, sacrificed his career sacrificed his physical health, he he ended up dying when he was only 46 years old because of the exhaustion from the work that he did. Why would anyone do that? If they didn’t really believe that what they said was true. That’s what we say about the apostles. Well, we want to prove the sincerity of their teaching. But what about us? What about us? We have work to do, we have causes to attack. And we have to be careful that we don’t merely criticize effects, and symptoms. Much of the political action that Christians engage in is lazy. Faith, fake criticism and attacks of symptoms and effects of true causes. The true cause of evil in every individual’s life is their own heart, their own unbelief, their own disobedience. The cause is their spiritual death, that they live in the true remedy. Is that they must be born again. And the means by which they’re born again, is through having the gospel preached to them. Where God grants them the virtue of faith, to respond and believe the gospel. The true cause of the evil is sin. The true remedy is evangelization. Abortion is not the problem. Abortion is an effect of the problem. Homosexuality is not the problem. Homosexuality is a symptom of the problem. socialism is not the problem. Unbelief is the problem. Jesus said, Go into the world and make disciples get at the cause. And sacrifice everything you have to remove the cause wherever you can. That’s our duty. Conference speakers are not helping. Book writers are not helping. The work that needs to be done in many places is ground work. It’s grueling, humble work that no one is going to see except the people who benefit from it, and God and our own eyes, we’re going to see it. Motivation has to be the glory of God. In education, the work is restoring the system of the classical liberal arts, the classical Catholic education that was studied and taught by Wiseman and saints all through history, which has been destroyed and cast out of society by modern thought and modern philosophy, modern political movements. And as long as Catholics Go on, pretending that you can teach your children nothing like what the saints were taught. And you can give your children an education that didn’t even exist 150 years ago, and just pretend that that’s okay. As long as you can soften the effects. You’re going to get what you deserve, and, and the world in general is going to get what it deserves. But we don’t need any conference speaker showing up after the fact saying, Hey, you know what, this is a real mess. No da, we know it’s a real mess. The question is, whether or not we’re going to fix it. And we’re not going to fix it. Unless we remove the cause. I hope that’s helpful. I’m going to cut off here because we’re already over 90 minutes. I ask that you please share information about these talks with others. I’m willing to take up controversial topics and the aftermath of them. When the comments and emails and other contacts began coming in from all different sides. I’m willing to sacrifice the time to talk about the issues. And to get down to the details. Like I said, it’s not just idle talk. My work in the classical Liberal Arts Academy is my effort to remove the cause. And there is so much help needed so little help received. Because as I said, Everybody wants to be the super teacher. They’re looking for a paycheck. It’s like going to a homeless person and asking a homeless person to pay you for for help. It just what are you talking about? This is our work to do. This is not work that pays us. This is work that we produce, we invest in this work. There’s so much work to do. We don’t need talented, charismatic, captivating speakers. We don’t need conference speakers. We don’t need to be on television shows. There’s no books to write. What Catholic education needs is an army of humble workers, like the Jesuits were people who are willing to put their lives on the table and say I’m here to help remove this cause of evil. I’m willing to take up the cross and try and help get this work done so that this system can be restored and this system can be part of my legacy that I leave behind something that something that’s bigger than me something that will will outlive me and conserve and help many, many other people for years and years to come. And I’m content to play some, some little part in that. And to contribute to this collective investment of Wiseman and saints, and unknown workers in school teachers who have lived throughout centuries, developing and making the system possible, I’m willing to make my investment. And try to help restore that since it’s been lost and promoted. That’s the kind of help that I asked for. You can invest a million dollars and it’s not going to help anything. Because the million dollars doesn’t produce any willing worker. It’s not cash donations that are necessary. There’s just work to do. It’s blue collar scholar, work, it’s just a million simple tasks that needs to be done. And if they don’t get done, this cause just remains poisoning this river, generation after generation after generation. And it’s a cause that can be removed. So I asked for your help. You can help by promoting the classical Liberal Arts Academy, you can help by studying in the classical Liberal Arts Academy and actually learning these subjects so that you could then offer to help others in the future. You can help just with day to day tasks that need to get done. And this is true of other areas in your life as well. It’s true of your parish, your parish needs your help. There’s helped me to know they don’t need you to give the homily on Sunday. They need people to cover a Sunday school class people to help with simple ministry around the church, to visit hospitals to serve in a million different invisible ways, making your personal investment in the system that was established by Christ and His apostles to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. We don’t need eloquent critics and commentators we need workers, people who actually take up their cross and sacrifice their lives and invest their lives in the kingdom of God and the systems that have been established by Wiseman and saints. And that needs to be restored and maintained and promoted. That’s the work that needs to be done. We need to fight against causes, not ideally talk about effects, and consequences. I hope that’s helpful. God bless