A Quiet Little War


The following is a newsletter sent out to all subscribers in September, 2007, during repeated attacks by “hackers” on StudiObrien. Numerous subscribers did not receive it, and as a result of partial crippling of the website the letter was not saved in the Newsletters archives. For your interest it is republished here.


A Quiet Little War

Those of you who have read my novels, or my articles on globalization, know that I believe that the radical model of “world governance” currently being promoted by the United Nations Organization and by other organizations will be a new form of totalitarianism, if it is ever fully realized. It’s my conviction that the globalism of the new world order will not bring order but instead will bring a semblance of order through total control over all sectors of private and public life. It will, in the process, infest life in the human community on this planet with all manner of disorders and anti-human dimensions. That kind of globalism embodies within its core presumptions certain errors about the meaning of the human person, and the human community. In a sense it represents the worst kind of ultra-nationalism, but inflated to the planetary scale, lacking the lavish diversity provided by numerous different cultures and nations states–a diversity that is essential for any human civilization.

Recently, I visited with a sane and sober (and spiritual) priest from Belgium. He urged me to find any books or articles by a Belgian priest, Msgr. Michel Schooyans, a writer I hadn’t heard about at the time, and now encourage everyone to read. Msgr. Schooyans is a highly respected political philosopher, a professor emeritus of Louvain University, and a member of Pontifical academies. In 1997, Cardinal Josef Ratzinger wrote the preface to Schooyan’s book, The Gospel: Confronting World Disorder.

I also urge you to read an important article by Schooyans, which can be found at the website of the Catholic Education Resource Centre:


Hacking Battles

Long-time subscribers to Studiobrien’s monthly newsletter will know that during the past year the studio site has been shut down several times by hackers, including the days we were off line last week. For those good-hearted innocent people who don’t know what hackers are: They are a class of clever internet afficionados who specialize in the destruction or crippling of other people’s websites. They do it by decoding their way through the locks that are designed to block such disruption. They are usually highly literate in computer skills, and are either ideologically motivated or are like those wild kids who get thrills from throwing rocks through windows. Very intelligent wild kids, I should say. Sometimes they are random mavericks, and sometimes they are hired saboteurs.

My guess is that the hacking job on Studiobrien is ideologically motivated—some of it militant Islamicist, since we’ve been crippled twice by a Turkish hacker group that leaves its signature propaganda on the studio home page. Other hacking has come from Italy and regions unknown. It is costly and time-consuming to repair, but it doesn’t do real long-term damage; it’s more harassment than anything.

However, sometimes hackers do real damage, kill real human beings. A case in point is the recent massive bombardment on the extraordinary pro-life website www.standupgirl.com. This site receives millions of visitors every year and is fulfilling the desperately needed role of giving true information and wise guidance to young people. Brilliantly designed, it presents the truth about human life in creative, honest and beautiful forms, including a strong personalist approach. It saves lives continually—not only the lives of unborn children, but also large numbers of young women who would otherwise become secondary victims, suffering the psychological and emotional damage that happens when people take the lives of their own children. Several hundred have written in to say that Standupgirl was the crucial factor in their decision to carry their unborn child to birth. Many photographs of newborn babies and smiling toddlers sent to the publishers of the site testify to its unusual effectiveness. That is why it is so hated, though it offers only love. That is why it is so heavily attacked, though it attacks no one and only seeks to help others find the path of fruitful living.


Today, Standupgirl is up and running again—until the next wave of malice hits. Please pray for its apostolate; please pray that hearts will be changed, lives saved, and souls saved.

The Potterization of a Generation

Since my article last month on the final volume of the Harry Potter series, I have received a good deal of hate mail, some of it displaying astonishing vehemence—at times Satanic malevolence. I continue to be puzzled most of all by the few remaining Christian voices that promote the series. That the Pope and the exorcist of Rome diocese long ago warned against these books and their spin-off films, seems to make little difference in the thinking of some public figures. Their indifference is in itself symptomatic of a deeper problem:  that is, the disconnect between faith and culture. Defenders, regardless of how articulate they may be, have few serious points to make and seem to be impelled by gut attractions, loyalties, peer pressure (high and low), dismissing serious considerations regarding the Potter series with a back-hand swipe by calling thoughtful criticism “hysteria” or “fundamentalism.”  And so the potterization of culture continues to spread….the normalizing and trivializing and glamourizing of what is profoundly disordered and dangerous in the real world. Spreading, most sadly, with the help of Christian pro-Potter columnists and educators who give the consumption of poison “credibility.”

The critic David Haddon, whose insightful article on the Potter controversy will be appearing soon in an issue of Touchstone magazine, recently wrote a valuable insight:

“. . . As Dr. Louise Cowan told us when I studied literary criticism under her at the University of  Dallas: After evaluating every other aspect of a literary work, the critic still has the obligation to evaluate it at the anagogic level or, as I would put it, at the level of the transcendent moral order ordained by God. This, I fear, is what Christian critics enthralled by Rowling’s spell have singularly failed to do. But the reality is that, by violating the taboos against murder and suicide and by justifying this murder-suicide with a complex, multilayered set of extreme circumstances in her creation, Rowling undermines the moral order itself in the minds of young readers. Thus, she violates the ultimate barrier of the sacredness of human life that protects civil society from violence. This enormity shows how severely skewed is Rowling’s moral compass and will help us discern the pattern of Rowling’s transgressive Post-modern narratives from the beginning. . .”

It is not a valid argument for Christians to say, “Well, that’s all right for Christian fiction, but you can’t demand that a non-Christian author be held to such standards!”

No one is demanding that J. K. Rowling write by Christian standards. She is absolutely free to write whatever she wants to write and to publish whatever she wants to publish. The point is: because what she has written violates the moral order of the universe, as evidenced in the anagogical level of interpretation (and other more obvious levels), her books are unhealthy material for young readers, and thus Christians should not be promoting them. The entire history of the people of God, Old and New Testament eras, is the struggle to resist assimilation by paganism and the later neopagan anti-Christ forms of religion. We are now in the midst of a universal assimilation unprecedented in scope and power, quality and quantity. This alone should alert us to the possibility that Potter books and similar cultural phenomena may not be, after all, merely a bit of harmless literary fun.


My novel The Island of the World, is now at the printer and will be published by Ignatius Press in October of this year. The Croatian edition of the book will be published before Christmas by Treci Dan publishing house in Zagreb, Croatia; the Italian translation of this novel will be published by Edizioni San Paolo in Milan, the translation to begin in 2008 for publication in 2009.

In the interim, I hope to continue painting the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.

With prayers for you all, and asking yours,

in Christ victorious,

Michael O’Brien