by Thomas A. Droleskey

     A flume of smoke was visible thirty-five miles east 
of lower Manhattan. My wife Sharon and I were driving 
back from a 5:15 p.m. Mass at Saint Matthew's Church in 
Dix Hills, Long Island, when we saw the flume of smoke 
clearly visible from the direction of where the twin 
towers of the World Trade Center stood until early on the 
morning on September 11, 2001. It is one thing to hear 
reports of the act of warfare launched against this 
nation by disciples of Osama bin Laden (does anyone 
believe bin Laden is not responsible?). It is quite 
another to see the remnants of the carnage rising from 
the ground more than 35 miles away from the scene.

     The mind cannot even begin to fathom the thousands 
upon thousands of lives affected by the cowardly acts 
perpetrated by the suicide attackers. If an anecdotal 
sampling of a few Catholic parishes on Long Island is 
accurate, it does appear as though a number of ordinary 
people are directly affected by the loss of loved ones in 
the attacks on the World Trade Center. Scores of people 
are on their knees in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament 
and in lines to go to Confession. Special Masses are 
being celebrated this very evening for the repose of the 
souls of those killed and for the recovery of survivors. 
After giving a few remarks on the matter to students at 
the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University this 
morning, I went back to get my wife to go to Confession 
ourselves. For there is nothing to fear from any act of 
war or terrorism as long as we are in a state of 
sanctifying grace.

     A believing Catholic knows how to respond to acts of 
warfare and terrorism. Indeed, it is only a believing 
Catholic who has the ability to see the world clearly 
through the eyes of the true Faith, thereby permitting 
him to step back from the specifics of a horrific tragedy 
in order to understand the remote and proximate causes of 
the terror and destruction which have visited the United 
States of America with such fury. A review of these 
causes is important to help us realize that there is 
nothing we can endure in this passing vale of tears, 
including such wanton acts of destruction, which is the 
equal of what our sins did to our Lord and Savior in His 
Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross, and that 
it is precisely the promotion of sin under cover of law 
in this country and in the world which is what makes 
people believe that they can avenge injustices, whether 
real or imagined, by killing and maiming those they blame 
for their problems.

The Remote Causes

     1. Original Sin. All of the problems of the world 
are caused by Original Sin. Human nature was irreparably 
wounded by Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden. Although 
human beings are not evil, they are inclined to do that 
which is evil. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity 
became Man in our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb to 
pay back in His own Sacred Humanity the blood debt of 
Adam's sin. Our Lord's redemptive act on the wood of the 
Holy Cross makes it possible for sinful men to overcome 
the vestigial aftereffects of Original Sin (the darkened 
intellect and the weakened will) to scale the heights of 
sanctity by cooperating with the graces He won for us by 
the shedding of His Most Precious Blood and administered 
to us by the working of the Holy Ghost in the sacraments 
Jesus Christ entrusted to the Church He created upon the 
Rock of Peter, the Pope. There is no programmatic or 
ideological solution to the problems which face us. 
Individuals must endeavor on a daily basis to live in 
such a way so as to be prepared to die a holy death, 
seeking to please God with every beat of their hearts by 
adhering to the revelation He deposited in His true 

     2. The ramifications of sin. If human beings do not 
see themselves and the world through the eyes of the true 
Faith, then hardness of heart inevitably results. Those 
of us who have been the unmerited beneficiaries of Divine 
Mercy understand that we have the obligation to extend 
that mercy to all others, including those who have 
injured us or our loved ones. We have the obligation to 
pray for the conversion of our persecutors, praying 
especially that our Lady's Immaculate Heart will triumph 
and that everyone on the face of this earth will come to 
see in her Son's Sacred Heart the fountain of mercy from 
which we must drink. If people do not see themselves in 
this light, however, then they seek to exact revenge upon 
others. A person whose soul is captive to the Devil by 
means of Original Sin is therefore especially prone to 
calculated violence (as is a person whose soul is dead by 
means of mortal sin). Although those who fomented the 
violence on September 11, 2001, may have believed they 
were involved in a holy cause, the plain truth of the 
matter is that they were seeking to avenge injustices by 
spilling the blood of the ones they blame for their 

     3. A culture of death begets death. There are 
unspeakable truths which must be spoken. A nation which 
kills more than 4,400 human beings under cover of law by 
means of surgical abortion, to say nothing of the 
thousands of others which are killed by means of chemical 
abortifacients, cannot escape having death visited upon 
it by others. If we devalue the sanctity of innocent 
human life in the womb, then why should it surprise us 
that others devalue the lives of ordinary Americans as 
they go about their business in their workplaces? We 
cannot continue to take innocent human life under cover 
of law and be immune from the attacks of others who view 
Americans in the same utilitarian manner that many 
Americans view innocent life in the womb.

     4. The overthrow of the Social Kingship of Jesus 
Christ. The modern nation state was born in a specific 
rejection of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the 
authority of His true Church. The belief that it is 
possible to pursue justice in the framework of religious 
indifferentism and cultural relativism and legal 
positivism is delusional. A world which rejects the 
Social Kingship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His 
true Church descends into abject barbarism. Just as our 
Lord submitted Himself in humility to the authority of 
His own creatures in the Holy Family in Nazareth, so is 
it the case that all men and all nations are called to 
submit themselves in humility and in docility to the 
authority of the Catholic Church for the sanctification 
and salvation, as well for the right ordering of human 
societies by the subordination of human law and human 
culture to the immutable precepts of the Divine positive 
law and the natural law.

     5. Abandonment of devotion to the Blessed Mother. 
Our Lady told us at Fatima that we had to be consecrated 
to her Immaculate Heart in order to make reparation for 
our sins and those of the whole world. St. Maximilian 
Kolbe stressed the importance of Mary Immaculate as the 
key to restoring all things in Christ. It is necessary 
for souls to consecrate themselves to our Lady in order 
for them to understand that authentic peace, the peace of 
Christ, consists of being in a state of grace. Souls 
which are not in a state of grace are in a state of 
warfare against the Blessed Trinity, predisposing them to 
acts of violence and warfare against others. "In the end, 
my Immaculate Heart will triumph." The fact that many 
priests and dioceses do not promote devotion to our Lady 
by means of her Most Holy Rosary and total consecration 
to her explains to a very large extent why many Catholics 
embrace the culture of death which has taken so many 
innocent lives in the womb and has now reached the lives 
of ordinary citizens.

The Proximate Causes

     Fallen human nature manifests itself in many ways. 
Although we may never know the exact number of the 
proximate causes which resulted in the attacks on the 
World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 
2001, it is certainly possible at this early stage to 
list some of those causes.

     1. Lax immigration laws. Patrick J. Buchanan has 
been warning us for more than a decade about the laxity 
of our immigration laws. He has been denounced as a 
racist and xenophobe. However, Patrick Buchanan has been 
right all along. One of the terrorists convicted in the 
1993 bombing of the World Trade Center listed his 
occupation as "terrorist" when he presented his A-95 
immigration card to officials at Kennedy International 
Airport in Queens, New York, when he entered this 
country. No one bothered to look at his card. There is a 
network of terrorists well in place in this country. 
We've done this to ourselves. Disciples of Osama bin 
Laden and other terrorist masterminds are everywhere in 
this country. Alas, a country pledged to pluralism and 
religious indifferentism lacks the political will to do 
such politically incorrect things as to say that certain 
people are in se undesirable and threats to the national 
security and that they should not be admitted to this 
country (or deported out of this country if they are 
already here).

     2. Lax airport security. A lot of the personnel who 
man airport security counters in this nation are recent 
arrivals to this country. Could it be that the 
well-orchestrated attacks on the World Trade Center and the 
Pentagon were made possible by confederates who were 
placed in security positions at Boston's Logan Airport 
and Newark International Airport? Could it be that these 
putative confederates were given the signal that 
September 11, 2001, would be the day of the long-awaited 
jihad against the dreaded Satan, the United States of 
America? And if this scenario proves to be correct, we 
have to face the rather uncomfortable fact that the 
infrastructure of this nation has become dependent upon 
immigrant workers as a direct result of contraception and 
abortion. There are not enough native-born Americans to 
staff the American labor force, including security 
counters at our airports. True, human sloth could be at 
work here. Some security personnel might have been asleep 
at the switch. However, circumstantial evidence militates 
against that as the sole explanation. Either the suicide 
murderers devised clever ways to conceal their weapons or 
they had help on the ground.

     3. American intelligence is in shambles. It is never 
possible to protect a free society completely against 
acts of warfare and terrorism. However, American 
intelligence should have done a better job of gathering 
the information about bin Laden's activities. The plan 
executed on September 11, 2001, had to be a year or more 
in the making. The timing was coordinated and exquisitely 
accurate. Answers will have to be sought as to how an 
attack which involved such planning and coordination 
occurred under the radar screen of American intelligence.

     4. The iron will of those who reject the Mercy of 
Jesus Christ. This country's unqualified support for the 
policies of the State of Israel has no doubt hardened the 
resolve of anti-American zealots, people who are willing 
to give up their lives in the quest to punish the United 
States for what are believed to be crimes against the 
Palestinian people. While it is doubtlessly the case, as 
many others have documented over the years, that this 
country has turned a blind eye to the suffering of those 
whose lands were taken from them in 1948 and forced into 
refugee camps as though they were so much cattle, one 
does not advance the cause of justice in the Middle East 
by targeting innocent Israeli citizens for random acts of 
violence or by rejoicing in the deaths of innocent 
Americans in New York and in the Pentagon across the 
Potomac River from Washington, D.C. However, the iron 
will of those who reject the Mercy of Jesus Christ is one 
of the proximate causes that should give us pause for 
reflection: such people are in a state of war against us 
and they are not going to give up any time soon.

Bringing Good out of Evil

     God does not cause evil. As noted earlier, human 
beings introduced evil into the world as a result of 
Original Sin. God permits evil in order to bring good out 
of it. We may never be able to see the totality of the 
good God brings out of specific acts of evil until the 
Last Day, when the intentions of all hearts will be laid 
bare for all to see. However, it is possible to outline a 
few ways by which good can be brought out of the evil 
which took place on September 11, 2001.

     1. An increase in Faith among Catholics. As noted at 
the beginning of this reflection, thousands of ordinary 
Catholics flocked to churches throughout the metropolitan 
area in the immediate aftermath of the downing of the 
twin towers of the World Trade Center. The baptismal 
embers of many souls have been stirred as a result of 
this unprecedented tragedy. This could very well result 
in a reawakening of the faith lives of Catholics who have 
been steeped in our culture of relativism and secularism 
and positivism. Moreover, this tragedy may help many 
Catholics to actually meditate on the Four Last Things 
(Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell) before they go to bed 
every night. We do not know when the Master will call for 
us. He comes like a thief in the night. Perhaps there 
will be more and more Catholics who will come to 
understand that the most horrible thing that can happen 
in the world is to be unprepared for the moment of their 
Particular Judgments by being in a state of mortal sin at 
the hour of their individual deaths. It could lead 
Catholics to come to understand that the graces won for 
us by the shedding of our Lord's Most Precious Blood on 
Calvary are sufficient for us to handle every cross we 
are asked to bear, including acts of warfare and 
terrorism. And it could lead us to understand that we 
have the obligation to pray for those who have fomented 
such acts of violence, as our Lord enjoined us to do in 
the Sermon on the Mount.

     2. Conversion of souls to the true Church. Many 
priests risked their very lives to try to anoint the 
bodies of those wounded in Manhattan. At least one 
priest, a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department, 
died as a result of his valiant efforts to minister to 
the souls of those entrusted to his pastoral care. The 
valor and pastoral zeal of these priests will no doubt 
inspire at least a few souls to convert to the true 
Faith. Indeed, even non-Catholics are drawn to pray in 
Catholic churches during times of emergency. Although 
they may not understand that they are being drawn there 
by our Lord's Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, 
they are responding an actual grace given them by the 
Holy Ghost. Perhaps this tragedy will help non-Catholic 
Christians and unbelievers see that it is only the 
Catholic Church which offers fallen creatures the means 
to scale the heights of sanctity and to be prepared for a 
good, holy death.

     3. A re-examination of our uncritical acceptance of 
our culture of death. It is about time for some Catholic 
prelate to call a spade a spade: the killing of innocent 
human babies in their mothers' wombs under cover of law 
makes us more vulnerable to attacks such as the ones 
which occurred on September 11, 2001. People have got to 
be confronted with the reality of what is happening in 
our midst every single day by the cold-blooded killing of 
the innocent unborn. Someone has got to raise these 
issues in order to help to prompt a reexamination of this 
country's uncritical acceptance of our culture of death. 
There is a connection between the taking of innocent life 
in the womb and the acts of warfare and terrorism which 
took place in our skies and in our cities on September 
11, 2001.

     4. Acts of charity and heroism. Ordinary citizens 
lined up to donate blood at hospitals and blood centers 
throughout the New York City metropolitan area in the 
immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade 
Center. Such acts of charity, as well as the heroism of 
the several hundred police officers and fire fighters who 
gave up their lives in an attempt to rescue their fellow 
human beings, can help people on the natural level to see 
the Divine impress in each other. It can help them to 
reject the secularism of the world in which we live. Only 
creatures who bear within them the spark of Divinity are 
capable of such acts of charity and heroism. And it is 
only when we live in the shadow of the Holy Cross that we 
can come to see that we are called to move beyond mere 
natural acts of charity and heroism in order to become 
motivated by the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and 
charity to live lives of heroic sanctity in the midst of 
this passing vale of tears.

Putting Things in Perspective

     A Catholic does not live in fear. Our Lord told us 
to "be not afraid," a phrase which Pope John Paul II has 
repeated throughout his pontificate. Although we must 
avoid the sins of presumption and despair, we are called 
to live in the confident hope that we are loved by Love 
Himself, the Blessed Trinity. We are called to live quite 
consciously in an awareness of our eternal destiny to 
possess the Beatific Vision of the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost in an unending Easter Sunday of glory in 
Paradise. And we are called to be serious about the 
business of getting ourselves straight with God in the 
Sacrament of Penance if we have been negligent or 
slothful about our interior lives. We are called to 
realize that the only way we can deal with the terrorism 
visited upon us by wealthy madmen is to defeat the 
terrorism of Satan against our souls by striving ever 
more readily to cooperate with the graces won for us by 
our Lord and Calvary and by entrusting ourselves ever 
more fully to the patronage of our dear Blessed Mother 
and her chaste spouse, Saint Joseph, the Patron of the 
Universal Church.

     With prayers for the souls of those who have been 
killed, as well for the recovery of the survivors, and 
prayers for the survivors of those killed and wounded, 
may this moment of national horror help us to become 
resolved to subordinate our own individual lives and the 
greater life of our nation to the reign of Christ the 
King and Mary our Queen, the only sure antidote to the 
forces of darkness and terror that seek to envelop us 
ever more fully in a culture of both physical and eternal 

     Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And let 
perpetual light shine unto them. May their souls -- and 
all the souls of the faithful departed -- rest in peace. 

Dr. Thomas Droleskey, speaker and lecturer, is a 
professor of political science, the author of CHRIST IN 
CONDITION (www.hopeofstmonica.com), and editor of the 
CHRIST OR CHAOS newsletter.

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