MICHAEL was launched in 1953 and published its 400th edition this year. Its French language counterpart, VERS DEMAIN, is now in its 80th year of continuous publication. After these many years, the question can be asked: "Has MICHAEL remained faithful to its mission as enunciated by its founder?" In other words: "What is the charism of Louis Even's work?" To find out, let us consider what Louis Even wrote on the first page of the first edition of VERS DEMAIN, dated November 1, 1939, and written two months earlier. The article bore the title "On se présente", meaning "Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves", and explained why this new periodical was created:
"With modesty and perseverance VERS DEMAIN will seek to form within the population an ever growing elite of individuals who will, through reflection, study and action, bring change to the course of history. These citizens will be found within the population at large, and not only among those who have benefited from a greater education. The last three years have taught us that the population is highly educable."
From 1936 to 1939, Louis Even published "Cahiers du Crédit Social". Study circles to discuss Social Credit were established throughout the province of Quebec. At first, university and college graduates were sought to study Social Credit.
Gilberte Côté, a woman with several university degrees, was the first to join Louis Even in his work. Her contemporaries would become lawyers, judges, doctors and political leaders. After attending a presentation by Louis Even, Miss Côté organized two subsequent meetings. At each, 75 people attended; most had earned post-secondary degrees and diplomas. They understood what Mr. Even articulated, but most of all, they understood that dedication would be required for the task ahead. It is one thing to understand Social Credit but another to make it known to others, and we must share the truth.
None of these scholars showed up at future meetings. They knew they would have to commit themselves if they returned, something which they did not look forward to. There were exceptions, such as J. Ernest Grégoire, Mayor of Quebec City from 1934 to 1938, Member of the Quebec Legislative Assembly from 1934 to 1937, and Professor of Political Economics at Laval University from 1932 to 1938. But as a general rule, learned people would rather be served than serve.
Mr. Even continued: "If the population knows little or nothing of the more important political, economic and social issues, it is because they were not given the means to understand these issues, or else the explanations they received were unintelligible, at times on purpose, so that the worst absurdities might be foisted upon them."
Mr. Even's objective was the very opposite: rather than obfuscate, he sought to simplify his message. Anyone can understand Louis Even's Salvation Island, a booklet that explains the creation of money, now published as The Money Myth Exploded.
The reason that MICHAEL has endured is because of the 'the gift of self' that is at its heart. The fact that MICHAEL and VERS DEMAIN have lasted since 1939 without fanfare and publicity is quite an achievement. How has this been accomplished? MICHAEL's true strength resides in the people who devote themselves to the Movement. These are men and women who answer the call to become apostles: pilgrims whose pilgrimage is going door to door, meeting families and bringing the message of MICHAEL.
During our week of study, held in September prior to this year's Congress, we discussed the message of Pope John Paul II. In his 1987 encyclical letter, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, he spoke of the "structures of sin" that can be summed up by two features: the thirst for profit and the desire to impose one's will upon others. Both aptly describe the International Financiers' stance. John Paul II further explained that what is necessary to fight these sinful attitudes is their exact opposite. To fight the bankers' selfishness, we must practice selflessness, offering the gift of self. This has been the case with VERS DEMAIN and MICHAEL for the past 80 years.
Financiers have set up many obstacles to hinder VERS DEMAIN's growth. The greatest obstacle was undoubtedly the creation of "Social Credit parties". Many people were led to believe that the fastest route to the establishment of a Social Credit economy was to create a political party bearing the name. Far from advancing true Social Credit, the creation of such parties at both provincial and federal levels in Canada only served to hinder it. In the process, minds were closed to gaining a true understanding of Douglas' ideas, and division was sown.
There is no need to send a particular group of representatives to Parliament for Social Credit to be implemented. Clifford Hugh Douglas and Louis Even explained that true democracy consists of elected representatives expressing the people's will, regardless of party affiliation. What is needed therefore is education of the population.
If only the political leader knows a solution, an assassination would conveniently pre-empt its application. But if a multitude of men and women understand the remedy, it is unlikely that they could all be murdered. Powers that be can do away with one person, or even a President such as Abraham Lincoln in the United States or Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso, but an idea cannot be annihilated if it is held in the minds of millions of people.
The power of the Financiers lies in the population's ignorance. As the prophet Hosea stated (4:6): "My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge." In the New Testament, Jesus adds: "The truth will set you free." (John 8:32.) Mr. Even exclaimed: "Social Credit was a light upon my path. I will thank God every day of my life for having known Social Credit; the whole world must hear about it!"
In the November 1, 1960 issue, Mr. Even wrote an article titled "The Scope of VERS DEMAIN" in which he explained how the name VERS DEMAIN (literally, Towards Tomorrow) was chosen:
"When the journal was launched in 1939, the founders had to pick a name. It was on purpose that they excluded the words 'Social Credit' from the title, not in order to hide our intention of spreading Douglas' doctrine, but because:
1. "There already existed a political party that bore the name, and the Movement envisaged by the founders would follow a completely different route; care should be taken to avoid a name that would confuse people into believing that our Movement was tied to a political party." And,
2. "Too many adherents to Social Credit only saw in Douglas' teaching the principles he had enunciated in reforming the monetary and financial systems. The founders of VERS DEMAIN wished the scope to be wider in order to be able to comment on anything that could eventually affect the pursuit of the common good and human development. In so doing, they were striving to better understand and apply the philosophy upon which the Social Credit doctrine rests when it is fully understood."
Social Credit goes beyond money matters. It could be characterized by the two words, "applied Christianity". As seen in the first lesson of the book, Economic Democracy, Social Credit is a Christianity that is lived, one that Geoffrey Dobbs described as the trust that people have in one another that allows them to live in society. We trust that people will stop at a red light, proceed when the light turns green, and that all will obey other traffic laws. Dobbs added that this social credit, or mutual trust, reaches its apex when Christianity is lived and applied; when people follow God's Commandments, including the love of neighbour. It reaches its lowest point when Christian values are set aside and when the family is attacked. (A family is understood to be the union of a man and a woman.) Therefore, when we speak of religion, it is not contrary to Social Credit. Rather, the opposite is true as they complement each other. Social Credit is applied Christianity. Take away the Ten Commandments, and there will be no social credit, no mutual trust.
Social Credit is a means to achieve an end. Our ultimate goal is to go to Heaven. It is a spiritual goal, but for the time being we have material needs, such as for food, clothing and shelter. To reach Heaven, we will be judged on material matters as revealed in Chapter 25 of Matthew's Gospel on the Last Judgment, in which Jesus compares Himself to the least among men in need: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave Me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me not to drink... " (Matthew 25: 41-42). These are material goals, but it is on their provision to others that we will be judged and be led to Heaven or not.
There exists an essential relationship between material and spiritual goals. Why does MICHAEL not limit itself to religion alone, or to Social Credit alone? It is because we have a body and a soul, so have both material and spiritual needs. If we neglect one aspect, we are not true to the Gospel, nor are we true to the spirit of Louis Even and of Social Credit.
MICHAEL's goals are clearly set out on the second page of each issue:
"A journal of Catholic patriots for the Kingship of Christ and Mary in souls, in families and in nations.
"For social justice through Economic Democracy in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church through the vigilant actions of heads of families, and not through political parties."
Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) stated that souls are lost because of economic matters. This is easily explained: money is essential for individuals to survive; without money, an individual will perish. Those with the power to create money, the bankers, control our lives, as pointed out by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno. (See Louis Even's article on page 8.)
The monopoly of credit by private interests is the greatest swindle of all times, and has had untold disastrous consequences, including economic crises, wars, etc. We cannot fathom all of the evil wrought against the soul by an unsound financial system.
If VERS DEMAIN still exists after 80 years, it is because its founders practiced social credit, or mutual trust, in the Movement and in their houses, the Michael House and the House of the Immaculate, in Rougemont, Canada. The two houses are miracles of their own as they were built with generous contributions and good will, without borrowing money and resulting debt.
In October, 1963, Bryan Monahan, then Chairman of the Social Credit Secretariat (after C.H. Douglas and Tudor Jones), visited the Michael House in Rougemont. During his stay, he said that among all of the social credit groups in the world, it was the Pilgrims of Saint Michael who had best applied Douglas' principles. Following his visit, he wrote the following article that was published in the December 21 issue of The Social Crediter:
"Some years ago, C. H. Douglas remarked that developments in Alberta had demonstrated that something was possible in the name of Social Credit. In Rougemont an experiment, more portentous than that in Alberta, and in its own way unique, is moving steadily ahead. Here is a true organic growth of the germinal idea of Social Credit, thriving in the soil of an undiminished Christian faith.
"In 1939, Mr. Louis Even, in association with Mrs. Cote-Mercier, founded the periodical Vers Demain. Its purpose was to teach the practical application of Christian principles in contemporary industrialised society through the knowledge of the realities of political economy, revealed by C. H. Douglas under the general name of Social Credit.
"Vers Demain began its life in a small house in Montreal, and later shifted to a larger house in the same city. (Ed. Note: The latter was the house owned by the mother of Mrs. Gilberte Côté-Mercier.)
"The teachings of Christianity, seen in the light of their application through Social Credit, gained here a wider and more profound acceptance than has ever occurred elsewhere, and gathered together men and women of missionary zeal who accepted as their task in life not only the diffusion of these re-incarnated teachings, but also the cultivation of the understanding of those to whom they addressed themselves.
"Many of the missionaries renounced 'Full Employment', in order to gain full freedom; and in this freedom they work in the cause of freedom for all mankind. And the method? They proceed by what C. S. Lewis once called "good infection"; by example, by contact, by participation. "Ye are the salt of the earth"; "Let your light so shine before men..." (Matthew 5:13-16).
MICHAEL'S battle for social justice does not limit itself to fighting human forces; it tackles the dragon that is High Finance and other diabolical forces. In 1973, Mr. Even wrote:
"In fighting the financial dictatorship, one not only deals with earthly powers. As is the case with a Communist dictatorship and the all-powerful Freemasonry, financial dictatorship is under Satan's orders. Our meagre human weapons will not prevail. We need to use the weapons provided by the Blessed Virgin who overcomes all heresies: she who will crush Satan's head definitively and who declared at Fatima that her Immaculate Heart would triumph in the end. The weapons are Consecration to her Immaculate Heart, wearing her Scapular, reciting the Rosary, and doing penance."
At Fatima, in 1917, Our Lady said that many souls would go to Hell because there was no none who would perform acts of penance for them. When the Pilgrims of St. Michael go door to door on the Rosary Crusade, we pray the Rosary and we offer penance for the souls in purgatory. Mr. Even added:
"The Pilgrims of Saint Michael are convinced that by following Our Lady's program that each action they take and each Hail Mary recited addresses the Queen of the World. Each penance 'offered up' contributes not only to the person's sanctification but also to the advent of a better social order — more humane and more Christian, as is Social Credit. With this formula, received from Our Lady, every effort counts, and nothing is lost."
Upon closing, MICHAEL's battle is part of the battle for the salvation of souls. This gives life a purpose. It is a cause worth giving one's life to. There is a place for everyone in this battle for a better world. Certainly, it is one of the major battles being fought in our time. The industrialist, Henry Ford, once said: "The youth who can resolve the money question will do more for the world than all the professional soldiers of history." I invite you to enlist in Saint Michael's army by joining the Pilgrims of Saint Michael.