Catholic Dictionary: Menticide?

I was looking for something recently in my copy of Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary when I noticed an entry that caught my eye:
Menticide. Mind killing.

“The systematic effort to break down the beliefs and allegiances of a person by physical or psychological means, in order to substitute one’s own. Also called brain-washing, it has been made possible mainly because of modern discoveries in psychology and the use of mass media.”

Doesn’t that seem strange to be included in a Catholic dictionary? I wonder what Fr. Hardon had in mind when he selected to put that word in, and decided to keep it in.

Some of the clue is in his further explanation made possible by modern psychology and mass media. I know from where that comes:  Fr. Hardon, when speaking on mass communications and the Vatican II document Inter Mirifica, would always seem to work a quote from Marshall McLuhan into his talk:  “says McLuhan, ‘all of the media is engaged in a Luciferian conspiracy against the truth’.”  Obviously, Father had further strong words about mass media.

So was Fr. Hardon wanting to make it apparent that there’s a deliberate effort to kill minds?

Is it only by the media? He defines it as by psychological or physical means.

Any ideas out there? What do you think was in Fr. Hardon’s mind when he chose to put this word in the Catholic dictionary?

This article, Catholic Dictionary: Menticide? is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
Do not repost the entire article without written permission. Reasonable excerpts may be reposted so long as it is linked to this page.

John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.
  • Janet Baker says:

    Yes, this effort to kill minds is very apparent today, especially regarding the legal push to justify homosexual sin. In order to protest it, one must whisper–otherwise, one ‘offends.’ It’s most modern manifestation began at Vatican II, of course.

  • The term “brain washing” was popularized by American journalists during the Korean War (1950-1953) and perhaps Father Hardon saw applications beyond this best-known example.

  • Janet,

    You say Vatican II began this? That’s an incredible stretch of fantasy.

    About 100 years earlier, in 1864, Pope Pius IX promulgated the Syllabus of Errors. Nearly all of the things I hear people complain of Vatican II are contained in that Syllabus. So what happened in that 100 years between the Syllabus and Vatican II? Did history just stop in 1864, and suddenly restart in 1960s so that Vatican II could happen and take the blame? Certainly you don’t think there were no problems in the Church prior to Vatican II.

    The last suppression of the Jesuits in the twenties is a great example — there was no reason for it, and it was damaging beyond comprehension. Or, the suppression of the Eastern rites. Why? Again, incredible damage done to the Church.

    The rote form of manualism sought to turn theology into a mere set of rules, rather than be an appropriate exposition of the living Divine Person of Jesus and the Holy Trinity.

    I won’t even get into the mess that was eastern europe from the period of 1795-1900 or so.

    Vatican II is a handy scapegoat but the truth is, Vatican II didn’t initiate error. Error was already among the ranks of the Church.

    Meanwhile, back on the subject of menticide, do you think it is merely the effort to justify homosexual sin, or is it really an effort to justify all sin? I ask because is it not the case that the other 9 commandments are largely ignored and twisted into non issues as well?

  • Re: McLuhan’s “Luciferian conspiracy against the truth”–just yesterday we heard a reading at Mass from 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, which speaks of God’s wisdom compared with the wisdom of the rulers of this world, who are doomed to perish. One of their grave crimes is indeed that of menticide.

  • No catechetical knowledge to combat with plus luciferian compost to the power of thousands equals menticide.

  • The work of sects such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses consists in erasing the proselyte’s ability to reason. That is why so many mental disorders abound in sectarian circles. Unfortunately very few know how to counteract these mental control techniques. Priests and others continue to treat dangerous sects like if they were Protestant groups. God help us!

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