The Message of the “White Berets”
The “White Berets”, also known as the Pilgrims of St. Michael, are not strangers to French Canada. Most people have encountered these men and women, young and old, who travel from parish to parish and house to house sporting a white beret atop their head and a white flag mounted on their car, in high spirits, smiling, obviously happy, and with a mission to fulfill.
Both the white beret and the white flag bear the image of a book outlined in gold that represents the work of education. There is a red flame with emanating golden rays that signifies the gift of self that the apostolate embodies and that is offered in a spirit of charity while seeking nothing in return.
Why go from house to house? It is to bring a message and an invitation for people to join the White Berets in order to add their own small contribution toward realizing the message of the apostolate.
What message? The message is the vision of a better world; a temporal order that would have all individuals pursue their destiny and actualize their full potential; a world where living would be easier and where brotherhood would flourish; a world where families would no longer worry about their children having the basic necessities, like bread on the table.
The Primacy of the Individual
The vision of a better world is one in which all people are recognized as they should be: as individual persons and the most important beings in the physical world.
In today’s world, money and material power rules and governs social institutions. Yet, different Popes have reminded us that the human person has primacy.
Gaudium et Spes (the Joy and Hope). the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the modern world, one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council, stated: “All things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown” (n. 12.)
In its spirituality, the Church is fully dedicated to the individual person. Note that the blessed sacraments are administered individually to each person. The Church’s spiritual treasury is available to each person. All that is required is a person’s will to claim their gifts. The Church invites us to draw abundantly from its freely offered treasures.
In the temporal sphere, it is the duty of civil authorities to guarantee that all individuals can obtain what they need as human beings endowed with a body and a soul. The Church reminds governments of their responsibilities in these matters. Pope Pius XII stated, in his radio broadcast on Pentecost Sunday, in 1941:
“Material goods have been created by God to meet the needs of all men, and must be at the disposal of all of them, as justice and charity require.”
There are no exceptions:
“Every man, as a being gifted with reason, has the fundamental right, from nature, to make use of the material goods of the earth.”
This is an inalienable right of the individual:
“Such an individual right cannot be suppressed by any means, even by the exercise of other unquestionable and recognized rights over natural goods.”
The Pontiff is indeed referring to material needs and material goods. He reminds governments of their duty by adding:
“It is reserved to human will and the juridical forms of the peoples to regulate, with more detail, the practical realization of that right.”
Following in the footsteps of Pius XII, Pope John XXIII emphasized the primacy of human beings in the organization of economic and social life in his encyclical letter, Mater et Magistra:
“Individual human beings are the foundation, the cause and the end of every social institution.
“Economic progress must be accompanied by a corresponding social progress so that all classes of citizens can participate in the increase of productivity.”
Father Arès wrote in Relations, a journal published since 1941 by French-speaking Jesuit priests in the city of Montreal:
“Man surpasses the state and all social institutions in greatness and dignity. Man has the supreme value to which all social life must be ordered.”
This is what the White Berets and MICHAEL have understood and proclaimed. This is why they reach out to everyone; they humbly visit individual family homes rather than, as do others, seek honours and recognition in well-paid parliamentary positions.
Man comes first, whether he is a newborn child, an adult, elderly, healthy or sick, employed or unemployed, educated or not. Each single human being is more important than all institutions and any government in the world.
Why? Because each person is endowed with an immortal soul, and has a vocation and purpose inspired by the Creator. This cannot be said of the mightiest institution or the most powerful government.
What attention is given to these important principles today?
The primacy of the human person cannot be sought in the socio-economic policies of Communist countries since they believe neither in God nor in an immortal soul. For the Communist, man’s value is based on his capacity to be productive and useful to the party and the collective. Therefore, the Communist surmises that, as man only has the duration between birth and death, the state should make the best use of him.
In Christian countries, the earlier stated principles are proclaimed, yet only lip service is paid to the primacy of the human person. Little regard is given these principles in practice.
In general, do we not give more respect to the man who seeks to increase his wealth rather than to the person who is penniless, unemployed, or disabled? A financier who seeks to invest his money will not be given the runaround, even though his sole purpose is to increase his wealth. Yet, the ‘have-not’ can expect to wait for weeks, months, or indefinitely when seeking welfare assistance for his family.
The wealthy person whose intention is to exploit local natural resources and the labour of a population is welcomed as a benefactor, but the poor person receiving welfare is seen as a burden on society. The latter will be scrutinized, and investigation upon investigation will be conducted, not with the aim of helping him, but in order to withhold financial aid.
Yet, all men have a right to a share of the wealth that God created for all, and it is society’s duty to arrange the temporal order so that this entitlement is realized.
Education and Training
The periodical, MICHAEL, has always emphasized the right of each individual to a share of earthly goods and to a proportionate share of the fruits of progress. MICHAEL offers concrete proposals for the realization of this right, namely the Social Credit proposals. However, they are not the proposals of a political party scrambling for power while falsely bearing the Social Credit name. The authentic Social Credit proposals were set forth by Clifford Hugh Douglas. Each citizen, whether employed or not, would receive a periodically issued Dividend. This would be so, even while those citizens who are workers would continue to earn a salary and producers would earn a fair profit.
MICHAEL goes beyond explaining and waiting. It educates people to denounce the system’s injustices and the intractability of its bureaucracy. It trains its members to assist others in resolving their miserable conditions.
What is at stake? The attribute of personal responsibility is at stake which, under present conditions, tends to atrophy.
Modern industry and its large businesses force hundreds or thousands of workers into roles as performers manipulated by the decisions of a small cadre of individuals. This appears to be ‘for the best’ if they wish to keep their jobs. In this way, men become dispirited and function like robots.
Party politics dehumanizes a population. People become mere voters manipulated by party organizers. Ultimately, they become mere taxpayers who are stifled between elections.
Some people call themselves Social Crediters but are driven by party politics. They are traitors to true Social Credit. Though they use catch phrases such as ‘freedom and human dignity’, they nevertheless only expect people to mark an ‘X’ beside the name of their party’s candidate on election day!
Together with the White Berets
A growing contingent of people is working toward realizing a better world. The White Berets, also known as the Pilgrims of St. Michael, participate in actualizing this better world in the door to door crusade, in their various meetings and activities. To find out more, all that is required is to join in their undertakings.
To learn what a better world might be, a world of truth, brotherhood, and rendering assistance to others, join the Pilgrims of Saint Michael.
On the other hand, if you wish to better understand the world of lies, selfishness, ambition, and self-delusion, and if you wish to maintain or aggravate the current social conditions while feigning the opposite, then participate in party politics.
Political parties fight for power, and when in power, fight to remain there. Parties who are not in power seek public office. This perennial formula has never offered society what was expected or promised. Changing the government, or switching from one political party to another, where newer recruits and former failed politicians would form a government, will not lead to a better world. A better world is only possible with Social Credit principles.
French Thomist philosopher, Jacques Maritain, said:
“What we need today is not to put ourselves and our skills at the service of our nation’s administration and its affairs; what is needed is to work at transforming the temporal order to make it more human and Christian. Since social Christianity is bound to spiritual Christianity, such a transformation of temporal matters cannot be achieved in the same way and with the means used to bring about other changes. It will have to be tied to Christian heroism.”
Through the Gift of Self
Christian heroism implies the gift of self. This gift does not translate to political parties.
The transformation to a better world will be achieved by the work of apostles in politics: men and women who will dedicate their time, effort and indeed, themselves, by a renewal of their spiritual and moral lives.
This is what the Pilgrims of Saint Michael, the White Berets, seek to do with honesty, setting aside their ego.
With unflinching charity, they carry their message door to door. They also kneel to solicit Heaven’s help by praying the Rosary with families, thereby seeking to respond to the message Our Lady gave at Fatima.
Our Pilgrims are not morose. They are a joyful lot, as conquerors generally are. People see this. Their joy is rooted in having faith that there can be a better world. They have faith in Our Lady’s promise that her Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end, at which time a better world will emerge. Our duty is to take up our part in the battle. God will grant the victory when He chooses.