On September 20, the Catholic Defense League resumed its practice of having an annual banquet at which a Minnesota Catholic was honored for his or her activities on behalf of the Church. This year's event was held at St. Helena's parish in south Minneapolis where nearly 200 showed up to honor Marlene Reid of Shoreview as the 2010 "Defender of the Faith." Archbishop John Nienstedt was also in attendance to celebrate a Mass for those in attendance and speak to them about the Church, the Sacrament of Marriage and the threats to that human institution.
Marlene, who has been active for many years, besides raising a family, was one of the early activists who spent countless hours lobbying and agitating on behalf of her fellow Catholics to alter discriminatory legislation and achieve fair treatment for Catholic born and unborn. She began to be active about the time of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973.
Marlene was kind enough to give Stella Borealis her recollections of her incredible experiences, a portion of which she delivered to the banquet attendees. Because of its length I will post it five installments to make it easier for readers to assimilate this extremely important, and very interesting, memoir of Minnesota Catholic history
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
By Marlene Reid
Part one of five
There are so many people who played key roles in my efforts over 37 years of activism. I want to thank them at this time, even though their whereabouts may be unknown. I would like to introduce, and thank, my husband of 56 years - Dan, who has been the wind beneath my wings. The wind from the Holy Spirit also came into play, and maybe a little fire as well. Dan always saw to it the car was filled with gas for my next trip into the vineyard, or the lion’s den. Some of my family is here too. I would like to thank them for their support, with a minimum of grumbling, throughout the years. Long before there was hamburger helper, I had discovered 100 different quick ways to fix ground beef. They didn’t seem to mind! Tonight they will hear why I didn’t have time to bake as many cookies as our next-door-neighbor, Betty Grausnick.
Once, our son Todd complained that if we were a “normal” family he could be driving the station wagon to school so the high schoolers wouldn’t have to wait for some Committee hearing at the legislature to adjourn before I picked them up at St. Agnes. He survived, despite the inconvenience! I guess you could call this the confessions of a Mother of an “abnormal” family.
I told President Dick Houck that it is cruel and inhuman treatment to hand me a microphone, then limit me to 30 minutes. Because of the time crunch, I am going to read most of my remarks.
Walt Disney once said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” In some cases, I think that’s exactly what we did, but didn’t recognize it as such at the time.
Back in 1973 I was a busy housewife, and mother of six. I had retired from my profession as a Medical Technologist, and was managing a little time for tennis and bridge! Our five oldest children were attending parochial schools. I guess a little angel whispered in my ear to check out their religion texts. I did, and what I saw shocked me beyond belief.
Our 7th grader’s religion text spent a whole chapter on the transistor radio. The message went something like this: “If you are having a bad day, feeling lonely and misunderstood, you can find solace by turning on your trusty companion, the transistor radio. The songs of today are very much like the psalms in the Old Testament. They tell the story of man’s journey and struggles here on earth.” Mind you, these were the hippie songs of the 60’s and 70’s. Search as I might, I couldn’t find any resemblance to the psalms. I wondered, “What’s going on here? A priceless opportunity to teach our children the core principles of their faith was being squandered.”Our 6th grader’s book was more insidious! The message (I’m paraphrasing) was: “There’s no longer any need for Catholic missionaries to serve in the 3rd world countries. We now have Communist agents who are working hard to promote Social Justice among the poor and downtrodden.” The authors were so arrogant they didn’t even use the word Socialist to try to throw off nosey mothers. As I delved into this notion I found that the approach was known as Liberation Theology, but I didn’t know it at the time. Nor, did I know then that when Pope John XXIII ushered in Vatican II, throwing open the Church windows to let in fresh air, some bad seeds also blew in, and sprouted, forming a renegade contingency that promoted many abuses under the guise of change and progress “in The Spirit of Vatican II.”
Being naïve as I was, I figured I would just have to point out these erroneous teachings to the right people and “bingo” everything would get fixed. I found our parish priest sympathetic to my concerns, and he invited me to come the following week to a regional Council meeting where representatives, some lay, some clerical, from five parishes would be meeting to facilitate “the Spirit of Vatican II.” These regional meetings were very democratic. The parish priest was given one vote and could systematically be neutralized with his pastoral authority completely relinquished to the “group-speak.” But, at the point when I was making my presentation I still believed this group of Catholic Leaders would be as outraged as I to discover that some change agents had wormed their way into the Catholic textbook business, indoctrinating our children.
Was I in for a surprise! The group reacted as though I were a hold-over from the glacier age. One local pastor uncharitably informed me that I was “a threat to my children.” I was awe-stricken - I who had held nothing but the highest respect for priests and nuns! I stumbled out of the meeting, sobbing, and shaken to the core. I went home and cried for three days straight. I burst into tears every time I thought about it. Then I licked my wounds, and started my research with a vengeance!In retrospect, perhaps I should thank that priest. He awakened, not a sleeping giant (the giant was already stalking our land), but more like a David – a David without a sling shot or a sword. I soon discovered that the pen is mightier than the sword, and those soap-boxes with a microphone attached are powerful weapons. The real giant to be reckoned with was, and is, Secular Humanism which was recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, on two different occasions, as a Religion. I made the analogy that it was like a huge octopus with its tentacles reaching into every facet of our lives – from abortion, euthanasia, and pornography, to radical feminism, sexual liberation, educational indoctrination, dissolution of the family, and an all-out war on our Judeo-Christian culture.
[end of part one of five]