To my separated brethren.

If there is any good to come from this essay, it comes from the many graces God has given this unworthy servant. Any error must be due to my unworthiness.

Pray that I may become more worthy.

By Philip Madsen.

So many times have I heard a person say, "I only need the Bible, it gives me all I need!" despite that they needed some zealot to start them on this road whether by publication or word of mouth; some zealot who has no proven authority or mandate from God.

"But the Bible is difficult to interpret- how do you know you are getting it right?" this member of the "DEVIL'S CHURCH?" asks. Oh yes, it's the devil's Church all right. I mean it's the only Church the Devil is really interested in- his only real enemy.

"Jesus tells me," they reply, "He puts me on the right track."

"Then how do you know it's really Jesus and not your imagination or even the Devil himself?"


It is impossible to argue against a feeling with any rational statement. Such things as "How do you know you have the right Bible from all those varieties," gets the same blank look as, "Look I can prove that it is a sin for a Catholic to worship the Virgin Mary or her statue."

You see some person or some book written by another (who has no authority or proof he speaks for God) has influenced them with lies like 'Catholics worship Mary and Statues and things.' Why are people so willing to believe without proof these lies? Is it because Catholic doctrine is too hard? Whether it be a simple thing like divorce, or transubstantiation, is it like when the many walked away from Jesus? John VI. 53 "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 62 "Does this scandalize you?" 67"… after this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with Him." If the truth hurts, many will seek another path. "It makes me feel good". Well 4 or 5 pots of beer makes me feel good but that doesn't make it good for me.

Ok, let's put the boot on the other foot. How can I be sure that I am right? Let's say a hundred versions of the Bible existed all different. (Remember heretics were writing books to contradict the gospel from the days of the collapse of Judaism.). If only one can be the correct one, then why should any of them be correct? If only one from a thousand different Christian sects can be true then why should any of them be true? Can the decision be left to every individual? It might work if every individual was left to God alone and not beset with a myriad of false Christs calling, "Follow Me". How can I be sure that I am right? Let me tell you how.


It was January 1939, the clouds of war were gathering, vaguely remembered at the tender age of four and a half years, when I was placed in a single teacher State School in the small mining township of Dittmer in North Queensland. My mother enrolled me as a Roman Catholic, nominally, as we had no religion in our family. My father was C.of E, my mother was Catholic in name only, and I was not baptised.

Consequently on the monthly religious instruction day, I was put with a few other kids in front of this "man in black" a visiting Catholic Priest. This memory is not vague at all. I can still see in my minds eye the little red penny Catechism I was given. I cannot remember his teaching but I know it was about burning forever. He literally frightened the Hell and the Church out of me that day. It was a very terrified boy who beseeched his mother that evening; "I don't want to go to that boogieman again!"

The next day with some difficulty, my mother convinced the teacher that as her little boy was not baptised, he was to be placed in another group. I was very relieved and never got to see a man in black again till 1949.

In the intervening period there were some rare Church of England Sunday schools, perhaps some Presbyterian. Certainly much anti-Catholic sentiment was built up. I do not think this came from the State School environment, but rather from family and associates. At least by the 5th grade of State school I did know off by heart the Lords Prayer and Apostles Creed. I was so anti-Catholic I remember objecting to ''I believe in the Holy Catholic Church" in the Church of England's Creed.

Don't get impatient now, I'm still telling why. The good part is near the end.

Did I feel any personal relationship with a God during this time? Not really. Religion was boring and had no real attraction and only a vague memory when compared with the other exciting events of childhood. I do remember the taunts and occasional stone throwing as the convent kids passed us on the other side of the road on our way home from school. "Cattle ticks Cattle ticks Rotten Micks." etc. But there was one day in this period when the first call from God came.


I was a devoted "Boy Cub", junior boy scout, and one day when due to dress for the Saturday afternoon meeting, I could not find my scarf, the most important part after my cap, of the uniform. Well mum says, "That's it. You can't go." Was I in tears? Wolf Cubs do not cry! In desperation I snuck behind the open door of my room. I didn't want any one especially my mother to see me doing this shameful thing, my first prayer of petition on my knees, asking God most sincerely for my scarf. I opened my eyes and there it was; at my knees on the floor on top of the other soiled clothes usually thrown there till mum picked them up on washing day. A perfectly logical explanation except that I believed that God led me to that scarf and I believe today that it was His first call. However brief it was an act of Grace. It changed my life not at all. I grabbed the scarf and without any thank you rushed off, hoping no one saw me in that moment of weakness upon my knees. That would have been worse than being caught crying.


My Primary school days are over, we are now in Mt. Isa Qld., and my parents think that this sook of a kid needed a boarding school to give him some backbone. Dad really thought I was a bit of a sissy--I hated sports and loved books. Anyway it was decided to send me to the Christian Bros. Agricultural College 'St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus' Abergowrie North Qld. simply because it was the most affordable. Well this time there were tears. I was devastated. I put on a real turn I can tell you. "Please don't send me to that Catholic place." I didn't win this one, but as one of my close friends Brian was also going to be there, I resigned myself to the inevitable.

It was after dark when the train arrived at Ingham the nearest centre to Abergowrie which was some half-hours drive into the bush. This amicable and slightly inebriated fellow driving an old 4WD Jeep collected me. He was in town to collect supplies for the College and the mail for the students. My late arrival delayed his return and was no doubt the reason for his slight inebriation. This did not worry me, as it was the fairly normal state for most people in a mining town like Mt. Isa. I was a bit surprised though when he introduced himself, "G'day, I'm Fr. B…..I'm the college Chaplain .." A real Priest and a real man: I wasn't in the least terrified, but I remained subdued.

I was wearing my first ever glasses when I alighted from the truck upon arrival at the school, and couldn't see very clearly. There was a large surrounding group of boys waiting for their mail as it turned out, and I was greeted with typical Catholic charity. "Oscar Bon sausage " was the first cry. "Hector," cried another. I took my glasses off and never wore them again. "I'll get you lot " I thought. "Bloody Cattle Ticks". I may have been timid, but this bookworm felt quite superior.

The Third Act of Grace.

Actually there were quite a few non-Catholics at this school, it being the only agricultural college for all of North Queensland. In the classroom all students on the hour stood for Prayers. Non-Catholics though were obliged to move out into the gardens to study when Religious courses were held. I remember clearly on the hour every hour us chanting the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary etc. There I was all alone calling out my finale, "for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the glory". In the deafening silence my eyes met the smiling eyes of Br. Geraghty, "We don't say that part here Phil." Sinking down into my seat, "I'm gunna get even with this bloke." I thought.

So when it came to Religious Instruction time I was asked to leave with the other non-Catholics. This was my big chance to 'shoot these people down in flames'. "Please sir, I would like to stay." Here I was having to use the same excuse my mother used to get me away from the "man in black". "I don't have to go with them Sir, I'm not BAPTISED." That was magical--I was suddenly welcome to stay. I can remember my exact thoughts at that time. "I'm going to prove these people wrong, I'll ask every embarrassing question," and I did. God does work in mysterious ways.

They had a hard job of it. The Catholics in those classes must have got a much better insight into their religion because of my presence. The very first thing I required was proof of the existence of a Creator. They failed here. I did not accept then, as I do not now the classical argument that the order in the universe required an intelligent Creator. What order? We have hermaphrodites. Planets often collided. Stars exploded. The workings of the universe could not be compared to the workings of a watch, not to this scientific type. By that age I was already well clued up on making impressive bombs.

In the mean time though, as part of the course, I was studying Church History. I said before how I loved books. Here I was reading a history that I couldn't put down. I knew this was not a biased history, as many histories are. Why? Because it didn't paint a pretty picture. From the rebellion of Judas, the denial of Peter, the few good Popes and the many bad Popes. The internecine fighting within the Church, the politics, and the heresies. I learned that though the Church was of Divine institution, it was run by and composed of normal frail human beings, who often could fall into error. Sometimes it would take the Holy Spirit quite a while to clean things up. A great Saint was often raised to put things in order. In the end though, things did get fixed. I began to understand why the Protestants became impatient with the Holy Spirit. If only they had had as much faith in His Church as they had in Him. This history showed how thousands or millions could be lead astray on an emotional issue by one emotional man.

I learned the distinction between charity as an act of the Will and charity as an act of the heart, but I was still not convinced. I wanted more proof. The Liturgy of the Mass, the music and ceremony of Benediction, the Rosary prayers, most certainly effected me emotionally. How could they not? But I did not and still do not TRUST the heart. I accepted by now that the other side had misled me about Catholic belief. There was no promotion of evil, only good works and personal sacrifice were encouraged towards all men.

Somehow my place in the Chapel was always close to the foot of a Statue of Our Lady. During the evening Rosary Prayers I was almost afraid of the emotional effect this was having. IT MADE ME FEEL GOOD. And this was dangerous to my intellect. I must have understood what the Church teaches, LOVE is an act of the WILL first, emotion may be a secondary bonus, therefore I distrusted this good feeling. I wasn't ready yet.

Within the study of Church History, much was made of the miracles, first of course by Our Lord, but also by the Apostles and the Saints. When Jesus was accused of having the Devil, his answer was "if you will not accept Me, then at least accept the works that I do." Why would Jesus ask this if he thought the devil could work the same miracles? Remember Magnus the illusionist; an illusion is all the devil can manage. But these works were in history. Despite their sincerity the witnesses may have been deceived. St. Thomas had no good excuse to doubt; after all he had witnessed many miracles. I would not accept this history on blind faith as the Catholics did.

The Fourth and Final Grace (for this story)

Then it was that this scientific person learned of Fatima. Suddenly he was confronted with living witnesses. Real photographs in newspaper articles, many written by hostile witnesses, some of whom changed their lives forever, entering the life of prayer sacrifice and doing charitable works. In fact quite a lot of worldly people in their flash cars came to the big miracle out of curiosity or just to laugh at the peasants. How could this prodigious demonstration be faked? I applied my limited knowledge then to no avail. Even today with all our modern science it couldn't be done. It was the simplest phenomenon that impressed me most. Right on cue to the second, the biggest rain depression in Europe of 1917, ceased and the sky over that area cleared at Midday. The people were ankle deep in soaking mud. Within a few moments of the sun falling from the sky, the whole area was dry as a desert, mud, clothes on 70,000 people, everything dry. That is a lot of Power, and it is no good pretending that a Microwave oven and Power station could be made to do the job. It would have cooked the people as well. Despite the conspiracy of silence since, there is no disputing the historical fact of this event.

My estranged friends, when confronted with this story, have only one comment. "It is the work of the Devil!" Then why would the Devil want to do anything to promote good works? Literally thousands then, and hundreds of thousands since, have turned their lives around, turned their backs on Sodom, pornography, and everything that was evil, to go down on their knees and call out to Almighty God for forgiveness and Mercy for their past lives, and for the Grace to do good works of Charity, to promote devotion to His Mother and to His most Holy Church.

Of all the evils in the world, it is ONLY these last two "EVILS", Devotion to Mary, and to the Roman Catholic faith, which my estranged friends can point to as the 'evil fruits' of the Fatima event.

It is the fruit of these "two evils" that caused me to say in 1949, " I want to be Baptised" first, and then, " I want to have Holy Communion." It is these two evils that turned me away from entrenched atheism. Before I joined the Church the devil had me, so he never worried me. Since then he has been my constant companion. In my constant struggle against him and his allurements, it is these two "evils" that are my only weapons that succeed in defeating him. Some "evil" that! As Jesus said when accused of having a devil, " a kingdom that is divided against itself cannot stand." Let the reader understand.

One of the greatest gifts a person can give to God, Jesus and His Church, is a perfect life of good example to our fellow men. Because of our fallen nature not all succeed in this. Sometimes we fail, and sometimes we win, but the important thing is that we always struggle to do good. God can easily forgive our human weaknesses and frailties, but he despises PRIDE. If I elevate myself saying, "Look at me. I have used my talents and intellect and raised myself up to find thee." I will have received my reward, as the Lord walks past me to the man who has "put himself down" at the bottom place at the table, and says. "Friend why are you sitting down here? Come, join me at my table." Remember that one? I pray Lord that I shall never forget it. Amen.

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