St. Francis is often cited as an example of poverty – he and his
friars worked and begged for just enough food and resources to survive.
The saint is also known for his love of creation, and statutes of the
friar adorn many gardens. He is the patron of animals, ecology, and the
environment and wrote the Canticle of the Sun where he praises God and
But the saint loved God first and creation in its proper order,
stressed Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., a biographer of St. Francis.
“He loved nature and animals, and they caused him not only to pray
and praise God but to become ecstatic. Nature was a reason for him to
praise God, and he loved nature. But there was no confusion between
nature and God for Francis,” he said.
Fr. Augustine wrote the book, “Francis of Assisi: A New Biography,”
published in 2012. “One of the principal conclusions of my book is that
Francis had no political projects, whether for the Church or for the
society,” he told CNA.
“In fact, the idea that he would put himself in a position of knowing
better than other people is completely contrary to his desire to be a
servant of all and be below everyone else,” he said.
Francis’ love of creation really points to “the Christo-centrism of
his spirituality,” said Brother William Short, a professor of
spirituality at the Franciscan School of Theology in California.
“We can trivialize it and make Francis kind of a tree-hugger,” he told CNA,
but “his Canticle of the creatures is a really profound way of
understanding not just the presence of God, but the presence of Christ
within all of creation.”
Brother William noted that there are false assumptions that Francis
was eccentric and was purely a poet and mystic who was “vague on the
details” and “not very well organized.” On the contrary, he said,
Francis actually showed “very clear ideas and was very good at
expressing them” and had “organizational and administrative skill” in
founding three orders.
Another lesser-known side of Francis is the deeply religious and
pious man who put a strict emphasis on care for the sacred vessels at
Mass, reverence for the Eucharist, and obedience to the Church.
“The one case where he’s harsh in his deathbed confession is he says
if there are any friars who are not Catholic or do not follow the books
of the Roman Church for their services, they are to be arrested, put in
chains, and held to be handed over to the corrector of the order, the
Cardinal of Ostia,” Fr. Augustine said.
Of Francis’ nine letters, he added, “seven of them are basically
dedicated to chastising priests for using unpolished chalices, dirty
altar linen, and not keeping the sacrament in a suitable place.”
Claims that Francis excoriated the clergy for their decadence were
false and circulated by excommunicates decades after his death, Fr.
“Francis never displays in any authentic documents about him or his
own writings anything except absolute submission, obedience to the
hierarchy,” he said.
“The stories about him humiliating prelates and so forth about not
living poorly are stories that date to over 100 years after his death
and come out of circles of radical Franciscans who have been
excommunicated by the Pope and are against the hierarchy.”
Since the 1960s, Saul Alinsky's words and famous work, "Rules for
Radicals" have influenced political tactics and theories, especially
on issues concerning social justice. Behind his thesis, however, lurks a
deadly agenda that threatens the very core beliefs of
Christianity and the Church. Discover how Alinsky successfully pulled
the wool over society's eyes, as the experts in this docu-drama
unravel the lies and deception he spun, and ultimately reveal him as
"A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". 1 disc / 1.5 hrs. (CC)
look back on the life, ideals, and works of 1960s community activist,
Saul Alinsky, through the lens of a Catholic perspective.
Unmasking Saul Alinsky, a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
A brilliant new EWTN film unmasks
the man behind community organizing and what has greatly contributed to
today's chaotic culture.
by Joseph Pronechen
09/24/2016 National Catholic Register
Do you want an understanding of where so much of society’s problems
originated and how things went radically wrong in everything from
culture to family life to politics?
You’ll find out from A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, set to air on EWTN television on Saturday evening, Sept. 24, at 6 pm Eastern time (check schedule for other time zones). (In Western Oregon Oct 1st. 7:30PM.)
The film is no less than riveting. By the brilliant team of Richard
and Stephen Payne, the father-son filmmakers who head Arcadia Films, it
explores the life and beliefs of one Saul Alinsky, often called the
father of community organizing.
Sure, he said he wanted to help the poor, but we see how his tactics
were no less than wrong and anti-Christian. He deceived many and used
and abused elements in the Catholic Church in the process.
Richard Payne explained that St. Matthew gave the filmmakers the classic three-act structure in 7:15-20.
Act One: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you
in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.” In this act we
get the story of the rise of Alinsky, where he got h is ideas, and how
as a socialist/Marxist he began applying them to manipulate people and
Act Two: “By their fruits you will know them.” Was there good fruit in his work, or did it lead to a basket of rotten goods?
Act Three: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor
can a rotten tree bear good fruit.” Here comes the assessment of the
fruits which look ready for the trash heap. People at this point should
be asking themselves, How did we get to this precipice and is there hope
to back away
The film immediately grabs our attention with the tale of a wolf
dressing as a sheep to mingle unnoticed with the sheep in the pasture.
That sets the stage for the early years of Alinsky.
Period photos, headlines, and film bring to life the narration of
Alinsky’s beginnings and growth in a fascinating way to get to
understand the man. The Paynes blend these techniques in a way that
keeps us moving closer to the edge of our seats as details pile up about
his rise to unholy power.
Born in 1909 into an Orthodox Jewish family where the father was a
successful middle class tailor, Alinsky became an agnostic and wanted to
help the poor rise out of their condition. But how? In college he took a social pathology course that, among other
things, devalued marriage and family and ideas were constructed in
“Treat persons not as persons but symbols,” says Alinsky in one of
the vignettes throughout the film, punctuating Alinsky’s ideas in his
own words. Actor Jim Morlino of Navis Pictures portrays Alinsky as that
disguised wolf yet shows his sinister and dark edge, like a commentator
in a 50s film noir.
“Life is a corrupting process…he who fears corruption fears life…” he says another time.
“Truth is relative and is changing,” he asserts. Get the picture?
There’s a healthy dose of relativism already here in early to mid-20th century. Make truth what you want it to be at the moment. In his sheep’s clothing he says again, “The end justifies almost any
means.” And “You do what you can and clothe it in moral garments.”
That he did, we learn. It all sounded so good, helping the poor improve their lot. Who could be against that? But with what we learn are Marxist, Socialist, Communist tactics?
Of course, he must have picked up a thing or two from Chicago’s mob
bosses. Studying criminality on a fellowship, he got to known the
ruthless Al Capone and then Frank Nitti who took over for Capone. By
his own admission, Alinsky said of Nitti, “I called him the professor
and I became his student.”
In sheep’s clothing, Alinsky linked with the trade unions to help
backside workers in Chicago’s meat packing industry. A noble goal to get
them out of squalor. He befriended a Catholic who introduced him to
members of the Church and subsequently parish leaders who didn’t spot
the wolf beneath. The Paynes reveal some telling examples of the way Alinsky worked
among the sheep who maybe didn’t realize the philosophy behind the
tactics he was about to use.
One of the good examples we get is the conflict when the University
of Chicago attempted to expand its campus into a poor neighborhood.
Alinsky got the chance to apply his Marxist conflict theory using
division and deceit to conquer, casting the university into the role of
the big rich bully enemy against his poor group.
As we get other examples, one of the experts briefly interviewed in
the film says the organizing talk used was the language of peace and
light, but all this was putting into place something different — a great
evil coming in like a fog where people no longer see things distinctly.
His idea to help the poor was good, but the means were evil.
These short, insightful commentaries come at critical moments from
people including Allice von Hildebrand, Father Andrew Apostoli, Father
Mitch Pacwa, and actors playing Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko (we think
we’re seeing the priest himself), Leo XIII, Hildegard of Bingen, and St.
John Paul II, and clips of Bishop Fulton Sheen.
The Paynes bring us some shattered news in the way we learn a number
of Catholics thought Alinsky’s way was the way to go to help empower the
poor. One was Msgr. John (Jack) Egan who became a close associate and
prompted Alinsky to write what would be his last book, Rules for Radicals (which is linked to Marx).
We learn that Cardinal John Cody of Chicago shut down the priest’s
office when he realized what was going on with the organizing. But Msgr.
Egan was invited to the Notre Dame University where he stayed for
several years, working with five priests — four were Alinsky supporters —
to form the Campaign for Human Development, convinced Alinsky’s
approach was the best.
Msgr. Egan was appointed co-chair of the first Call to Action
conference where radicals took over. One recommendation was training
Alinsky organizers. At a news conference Cardinal John Krol said that
“rebels have taken over our conference.”
It should be no surprise that Msgr. Egan up to a month before he died called for ordinations of women and married priests.
In this fascinating film, the Paynes are cinematic investigative
reporters showing us how after Alinsky died, the organization used its
Marxist, socialist progress causes to influence every facet of American
political power and culture. Alinsky organizing has vastly impacted our
society’s culture, marriage, family life, morality and even spiritualty.
Over 800 Alinsky organizations are spread throughout American
As one of his ardent followers stated, it’s guised under the name of
liberalism instead of socialism. Alinsky was a major wolf, and there
were others. The Paynes make the connection by detailing for us, with
names and places and ideas all visualized, the three “hellfire movements
of Marxism” that helped Alinsky and then affected Americans.
We’re shocked to learn about Frankfurt Socialism called Institute for
Social Research in the USA, to change and bring down America by
criticizing it, developing political correctness, the sexual revolution,
and gender conflict and confusion; Gramsci Socialism targeting
specifically the Catholic Church and transform America’s Judeo-Christian
culture from the inside through law, media, entertainment, and family
life, and limit religion only to private worship; Fabian Socialism to
slowly break down the morals of the family in a stealthy, nearly
imperceptible way. Sound familiar when you look around?
The film helps us understand how these goals have affected our
society, politics (some top politicians were Alinsky followers), media,
entertainment, families, morality, culture and even, sadly, some inside
our Church. We have to be aware of that. St. John Paul II called this
culture of death.
We’re reminded the names of the devil are his tactics — liar,
deceiver, divider, accuser, adversary, lawless one, destroyer. Alinsky
dedicated his book to Lucifer. Sadly, and tragically, Alinsky said if
there is a heaven or hell, he would choose to the latter where he could
organize. We’re told not to hate Alinsky but pray for him.
Despite all this the Paynes don’t leave us stranded because
ultimately, they said the film is not a political one but a spiritual
one. The last part, beautifully intertwined with the delicacy of lace
yet the strength of steel, shows us that despite what has been done to
America, by seeing what we have to reclaim there is hope of restoration.
The filmmakers spell out the way with uplifting visual details that
multiply the effect of the narrative line which Stephen Payne delivers
in a way that brings the viewer to trust the facts as coming from a
caring authority who is also a friend.
We see what are the true social principles of the Catholic Church,
how to restore our country to a nation recognizing that rights come from
God and our God-given heritage, and how important our Blessed Mother is
in this reclamation.
The Paynes end as they began, with the story of a wolf — only this one ends differently. Don’t miss this most timely film about the wolves in sheep’s clothing at this critical time in our country and world.