(The following essay, taken from the July 23, 1955 edition of The Pittsburgh Courier Magazine section, is reproduced exactly as it appeared in that publication. It is dedicated to those brave souls who first exited Vatican 2 and founded newsletters and other publications, to enlighten the rest of us. )
Is it not a sobering reflection that the progress and improvement of which everybody boasts are really the result of the efforts of a FEW?
It is just a few strong, resourceful and dominating individuals who are LARGELY responsible for the development of a society and civilization.
It is just a handful that cares and is determined to make groups, neighborhoods, institutions and societies achieve DISCIPLINE, power and PRESTIGE.
It is just a FEW who are concerned about preserving the memory of our great and near-great so that posterity may be inspired and encouraged.
It is just a tiny MINORITY that is interested in curbing evil and creating the atmosphere in which wholesomeness may grow.
There are, unfortunately, not MANY of these people; but it is encouraging to notice that you find one or more of them EVERYWHERE.
They are the SPARKPLUGS of organizations, churches, institutions and businesses, who shake us out of our sloth and have the ABILITY to compel our support by sheer force of personality and persuasion.
Often they are TIRELESS, wearisome, and domineering, but we not only tolerate but COOPERATE with them because we know they are doing what needs to be done for OUR advantage, and what we ought to do if we weren’t so shy, indifferent, or LAZY. Even in the tiny microcosm of the FAMILY, there can be found ONE energetic, resourceful member who often pulls victory from defeat while others look helplessly on.
Most of the great ORGANIZATIONS whose efforts for the public welfare are nationally applauded and of which we all boast are actually SUPPORTED by a comparative few, while billions of dollars are squandered on meaningless trifles.
These are not the RICHEST but they are the most socially conscious and often make real SACRIFICES to benefit the unappreciative and uncomprehending.
Most of these minority folk seldom seek anything material for themselves but are satisfied to SERVE their fellow men by seeing that something worthwhile is achieved.
They often run the real RISK of being misunderstood, ridiculed, criticized and sometimes reviled for advocating that which is UNPOPULAR, uncomfortable and disturbing.
Sometimes MONUMENTS are erected to them and they may occasionally be memorialized in books, but far too many are rewarded only with forgetfulness and obscurity, while OTHERS get credit for what THEY did.
The greatest tribute we can pay to these dedicated few is to UNDERSTAND them, give them our allegiance and our spiritual and material support; for what would we do WITHOUT them?
Editor’s Note: This little essay was written mainly concerning secular pursuits, but there is much here that all of us can consider. Fewer and fewer of “the FEW” exist today, and the FEW who now aspire to run the world have none of the former FEW’s noble intentions, abilities or even the good of mankind at heart. It is one thing to abandon what should be the real work of one’s life to the capable, the decent, the well-intentioned or the honorable, even if they are not Catholic. It is quite another to fiddle while Rome burns, and this can be taken quite literally by Catholics today.
The Catholic Actionist seeks no real reward but Heaven. Yet the Church urges and expects Her Catholic co-workers today to assist and support one another in the spread of Catholic truth, in order to reach Heaven. Without that support in these times, the FEW will soon become the EXTINCT.