March 19, 2010

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Contemplating tomorrow during the Lenten season

Shirley Vogler MeisterWhen I was a student at St. Bernard School in St. Louis, I don’t remember worrying very much about anything.

Family life was simple. Neither church nor school nor home life seemed complex to me.

My girlfriends and I always found fun things to do. I had chores to accomplish at home. I took school seriously and made good grades. I went roller skating.

Sometimes my parents would take our family to an amusement park. Of course, I used some of my allowance from doing chores to go to Saturday movie matinees.

I don’t remember worrying about much at the time—until I read Is This Tomorrow: America under Communism.

The first thing I noticed was that there was no question mark after the first title of the 10-cent booklet that resembled a comic book at first glance.

I didn’t buy it with my meager allowance, and I don’t recall who gave it to me. However, when I read it, I realized there was nothing comical about it.

The cover itself was horrifying, showing the American flag in flames and men attacking other men. One of the men being attacked was wearing what looked like a priest’s alb.

The years sped by and I didn’t think about this booklet again until I was an adult in the computer age using technological equipment sophisticated enough to automatically point out if a question mark was necessary or not.

With computers came the Google search engine so one day, while thinking back about all this, I researched and learned that the booklet was published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society in 1947, and it warned everyone about Communism.

The back cover was as colorful as the front, but more sedate in design. At the top was the heading “Fight Communism with:” and under those words were the “Ten Commandments of Citizenship.” Under that text were these rules:

  • Know your government.
  • Know the issues before it.
  • Keep up on foreign problems.
  • Be tolerant of other races, religions and nationalities.
  • Practice your own religion.
  • Use your vote.
  • Follow closely the actions of your elected representatives.
  • Join political organizations.
  • Be American first.

Politically speaking, these points are just as viable today as they were years ago.

Pondering this, I also recommend a lobbying organization in our archdiocese which keeps Catholics on top of political issues that are important to us—the Indiana Catholic Conference (ICC), our Church’s official public policy voice regarding state and national matters.

For those not aware of ICC’s wonderful work, call 317-236-1455 for information or log on to the Web site at

It is important for U.S. citizens to understand the issues at hand and to vote as knowledgeable Catholics.

Although the threat of Communism, of course, is passé, there are plenty of worrisome situations in our society today.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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