The following excerpts are taken from a speech given by MICHAEL editor Alain Pilote, during a conference held in Rougemont on Sunday March 24, 2019.
by Alain Pilote
Our Movement is facing challenges that must be faced and overcome. Father Patrice Savadogo, former secretary to Cardinal Bernard Agre of the Ivory Coast, has helped us consider these challenges. He has known our Movement for several years and is our St. Hyacinthe Diocesan guarantor. In February, he shared questions with our members to help us determine what direction the Movement must take in the future. We were asked to look at who founded the Movement, for what purpose, our present activities, and where all this will lead us.
The first question was: “If you had to explain who Louis Even was, what would you say to a newcomer to MICHAEL?” We received many answers including the following: “In the Reader’s Digest, there once was an article titled, The Greatest Person I Ever Met. It could be said that Louis Even was the greatest person we ever met.”
A Teacher at Heart
Clifford Hugh Douglas, who developed the Social Credit financial proposals, was a genius. But God used Louis Even to make Social Credit known to a wider audience and placed the principles in the light of papal teachings on social justice. Douglas’ writings would have remained unknown were it not for the work of MICHAEL worldwide.
Mr. Even, a brother of Christian Instruction for many years, was a teacher who had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We might claim that, because of this, Heaven selected Louis Even to become the founder of the great work of VERS DEMAIN and MICHAEL. Mr. Even was a genius. He understood the significance of Social Credit as soon as he read it. He could have said: “This is all very nice, but I will leave to others the task of making it known.” But he didn’t.
Mr. Even was endowed with the heart of an apostle and had a great love of the poor. It was his Catholic faith and great love for Our Lady that led him to exclaim: “Social Credit is a light upon my path; everyone must learn about it.” Even though he was a married man with a family to support he left a career in the middle of the Great Depression to dedicate himself to spread Social Credit. He always relied on Divine Providence which did not fail him. We can conclude that this man was an apostle and a saint. Gédéon Therrien relayed the story in which a band of critics poured a barrel of used motor oil over Louis Even’s head in the1940’s while he waited on a train platform. Even such an indignity did not deter him from forging ahead with his apostolate work. This little story helps explain why other Pilgrims were devoted to following this great man over the years.
In Need of Heaven’s Help to Fight Satan
Mr. Even understood from the start that he fought not only the bankers but also a satanic power. Satan uses money to corrupt souls. St. Paul wrote: “The desire for money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 16:10). The devil uses today’s monetary system to subjugate the entire world so that people will lose their souls idolizing money instead of worshipping God. From the very beginning, Mr. Even would begin his meetings by praying the Rosary, thereby imploring the intercession of Our Lady who we know will crush the head of the infernal dragon. Without the protection of our Blessed Mother, VERS DEMAIN and MICHAEL would be long gone.
When the directors visited San Damiano, Italy, in 1968, the Blessed Virgin gave the following message to the directors through the seer, Rosa Quattrini: “Apostles of truth, make me known and loved by the recitation of the Rosary… With the Rosary, you will win all battles. Mobilize the youth, mobilize everyone.” In this message we heard that the Queen of Heaven supports our Rosary crusade and confirms to us we must be oriented to her Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart.
From 1939 to 1974, Mr. Even wrote several articles to consider whether VERS DEMAIN had remained faithful to the objectives set out at its foundation. The original text can be found on the first page of the first issue of VERS DEMAIN, dated November 1, 1939. From the article titled: Here We Are, we read: “With modest means, but with perseverance, VERS DEMAIN will seek to develop within the population an ever larger elite who, through reflection, study and action, will determine new currents in the walk of history.”
For a Better World
The founders, Louis Even and Gilberte Côté, named the new publication VERS DEMAIN since their work was moving society toward a better future and better world. Indeed, until 1961 our Movement was called “The Pilgrims for a Better World”. The term ceased being used because Father Ricardo Lombardi in Italy asked that we stop using the descriptor as he had already founded a “movement for a better world.” The founders determined his request was a sign from Heaven that the Pilgrims should be named in honour of Saint Michael, the great archangel to whom they already had a great devotion, since he was God’s great defender and the patron saint of justice.
The Pilgrims of Saint Michael continue to strive for the advent of a better world by advocating for the reform of the financial system along Social Credit lines. We can ask if monetary reform is the only requirement to obtain a better world. We also must have a world that is morally better. The founders did not call the publication “Social Credit” because we must speak not only about monetary reform but also about a world that conforms to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Of course a Dividend for everyone is needed so people can satisfy their basic needs. On this topic, Bishop Mathieu Madega likes to quote from the Book of Proverbs (30: 8-9): “Remove far from me vanity, and lying words. Give me neither beggary, nor riches: give me only the necessaries of life: lest perhaps being filled, I should be tempted to deny, and say: Who is the Lord? Or being compelled by poverty, I should steal, and forswear the name of my God.” If people spend their Dividend indulging in vice, drugs and in drinking, the situation would become worse. Social Credit is a means to secure earthly goods, but our ultimate goal is the salvation of souls. Our soul’s life cannot be ignored.
An illustration is provided in Paragraph 14 of Saint Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (on the development of peoples): “The development we speak of here cannot be restricted to economic growth alone. To be authentic, it must be well rounded; it must foster the development of each man and of the whole man.” This refers to man in both his body and soul. MICHAEL will never abandon the teaching of Social Credit (also called Economic Democracy), which is why it was founded, but to be authentic and respond to the needs of today, MICHAEL cannot neglect religion, morals and the conversion of hearts.
In the Here We Are article already mentioned, Mr. Even wrote: “VERS DEMAIN seeks to develop an elite, an aristocracy of citizens capable of thinking for themselves. 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.”
Apostles are not usually found among scholars and intellectuals. Mr. Even realized that if he were to count only on people with a higher education, it would lead nowhere and he would achieve nothing. Mr. Even instead enlisted humble people to spread the VERS DEMAIN message. Some of these could neither read nor write. Louis Even’s genius consisted of using plain language that could be understood by all in order to explain the economic and technical notions taught by Douglas. A good example is The Money Myth Exploded which is a story even a child can understand. Often children understand better than adults, since they are not biased. They have not yet been misled by the antics of a deceitful financial system.
There are many ways to help our needy brothers and sisters. We can feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit prisoners and the sick, etc. Some people send donations to local charitable organizations or send money to international aid agencies. Even though these donations are laudable and can bring relief to some people for a few days or a few weeks, the causes of poverty will not be eradicated by charity.
The problem must be solved at its root. We must tackle the very causes of poverty. Every human being must have their fundamental right to a minimum of earthly goods restored. The dignity that belongs to a person created in the image of God must prevail.
“More than any other, the individual who is animated by true charity labors skillfully to discover the causes of misery, to find the means to combat it, and to overcome it resolutely” (Populorum Progressio, n. 75). This describes very well the action of Louis Even; he really sought to educate people on the causes of poverty — the current debt-money system — and the means to combat it — the Social Credit (or Economic Democracy) financial proposals.
The fifth question we asked our members was: “What virtues must we defend today?” We know there are three theological virtues, faith, hope and charity, and that there are four cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. There is another virtue that is practiced daily by the Pilgrims of Saint Michael: humility.
It takes a good measure of humility for an adult, and any student of economics, to admit that we were taught falsehoods. We are all victims of the financial system. When Pilgrims visit families in the door-to-door crusade, we have no choice but to practice humility. We seldom get the last word! Our purpose is not to argue with the people we meet. We must befriend them and share in their concerns. The Holy Spirit guides the work of the apostolate.
Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues. Saint Thomas Aquinas defined justice as “rendering to each person what he is owed.” We know everyone is owed a Dividend since we each inherit the earth’s natural resources and are beneficiaries of progress. Saint Thomas Aquinas added: “What is God owed? He is owed our adoration.” Our first duty is to adore God.
The love of God, through adoring Him, and the love of neighbour, through a Dividend, go hand in hand. Some of our critics will say: “There is too much religion and not enough Social Credit.” Co-founder, Mrs. Mercier, reminded us in a taped commentary that contrary to what some might think, it is through Rosary processions that we will realize Social Credit, and not through the empty promises of politicians. Political parties are a dead-end. What is needed is the education of the people.
Social Credit Means We Have Faith in Each Other
Social Crediter, Geoffrey Dobbs, is regularly quoted in our study sessions. Mr. Dobbs defined social credit as the faith we have in each other. He called it the mutual confidence we have in one another without which life in society would be impossible. Dobbs held that this confidence reaches its apex when people abide by Christian values, the Ten Commandments, and respect each other. Social credit reaches its lowest level when people abandon Christian values and the Ten Commandments.
There is more to securing a better world than a simple matter of monetary reform. Mr. Even would say that we will not have a better world unless we follow the teachings of Christ and of His Church. Today, the Catholic Church is attacked from all sides. According to Cardinal Sarah, the Church is being crucified. We must not abandon Her, no more than the inhabitants of Noah’s Ark could consider jumping overboard. If a clergyman commits an error, there is no need to leave the Church, as outside the Ark one will drown. Mr. Even and Mrs. Mercier taught us to never leave the Church.
Our Social Crediters were asked another question: “What does it mean to be a Pilgrim of Saint Michael?” We could answer that a Pilgrim is another Louis Even. He showed us the way by his example and by his teachings. We must be apostles and, like Louis Even, bring VERS DEMAIN and MICHAEL’s message to our brothers and sisters and fellow citizens. A Pilgrim is someone who is on the move!
A Call to Youth
MICHAEL carries a beautiful message. It is a message more relevant than ever. People are needed to spread this message. The most important challenge we face is undoubtedly our future. Whether we like it or not, we become older with each year that passes, and no one lives forever. The soul does of course, but not the body. If no one replaces us, the number of full-time and local Pilgrims will decrease until there is no one left. Mr. Even and Mrs. Mercier invited the young to come and give a few years of their lives: one, five or ten years. They could later marry and remain friends of the Movement. They imagined that over the years, full-time Pilgrims would be replaced by younger people. But the young no longer come.
Many reasons can explain why this is so. Religion is no longer taught in schools. We can also ask ourselves whether there is a fault in how things are done in Rougemont. If Social Credit can be defined as the confidence we have in each other, we can examine the extent to which we live social credit among ourselves.
What can we do to engage the young? An examination of conscience is warranted. Should we listen to their grievances? Should we ask them why they no longer come to Rougemont, whether as full-time or as local Pilgrims? We can acknowledge that the same situation exists in local churches and in other movements; the young have left there also. Without new members, VERS DEMAIN and MICHAEL are bound to disappear. We can go on saying: “We have always acted this way, we will go on doing the same thing and things will work out.” But doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is Einstein’s definition of insanity. Let us be bold and let us ask the Holy Spirit what needs to be changed or adapted, without changing our message.
We might ask ourselves what is the best way to make our message known as far and wide as possible. In an article recognizing the 19th anniversary of VERS DEMAIN, Mr. Even explained the advantages of the written word. “VERS DEMAIN is more than a professor’s chair; it is a teacher who visits the homes. The journal adapts itself to everyone’s schedule. Each member of the household dedicates the time he wants to spend on his reading, at the time and at the speed that suits him best. There is no such thing in the teaching given orally in a public meeting or over the radio, where the rate of talk is the same for all listeners, and where a sentence once spoken does not return.”
We are told that young people no longer read today and that they can only be reached over the internet. Without abandoning the printed word, we can consider how to reach the young using other media. Let us not forget that people are not won over by what they read or hear, but rather by our dedication to our apostolate. In the words of Saint John Paul II, the financiers’ greed will only be vanquished through the gift of self, which is the opposite of that offered by the Financiers. Let us spread the MICHAEL message and ask that God change hearts and minds. Thank you.
Alain Pilote has been the editor of the English edition of MICHAEL for several years. Twice a year we organize a week of study of the social doctrine of the Church and its application and Mr. Pilote is the instructor during these sessions.
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