by Martin McManus
Having worked in the fields of mental health, addiction and homelessness for the last ten years, I have seen how the theory of evolution and the rejection of traditional Catholic teachings on Creation have led to catastrophic damage to huge numbers of men, women and children. Before outlining this, let us take a brief look at how the theory of evolution has played a major role in the current mental health crisis we see all around us.
“‘A hair,’ they say, ‘divides the false and true.’ But a hair’s breadth departure from the heights of speculation from what is true and straight, will mean an ever-widening gap as the stream of thought is followed from the heights, down to the lower planes whereon men’s everyday lives are passed.” –
Fr Doolan, Philosophy for the Layman
To understand how evolutionary theory has impacted on psychiatry and psychology, a good place to start is the work of Sigmund Freud whose work became well known at the start of the 20th century. Up until the early 20th century, going to see a professional whose primary focus was psychological complaints was rare in Western Catholic societies and would rightly have been scoffed at by most of the population. Catholics understood that man had a body and a soul and that the priest was the doctor of the soul and the medical doctor was the doctor of the body. Medical doctors were respected and admired, as reasonable care of the body was an important business. However, it was the priests, monks and theologians who were seen as the most important doctors as they were treating the most important part of man, i.e. his soul. Much of this ‘treatment’ happened through the grace of the Sacraments.
Unfortunately, from the 16th century onwards Protestant countries and their citizens detached themselves from the authority of the Church and the grace offered to them through the Sacraments. By embracing naturalistic uniformitarianism, the philosophers of the so-called “Enlightenment,” no longer presumed stable form and function throughout the biosphere; and by renouncing formal and final causality, they set the stage for Charles Darwin and his evolutionary account of the origins of man and the universe. In the Darwinian system, the presumption of stable form and function was replaced by a presumption of flux and dysfunction, as natural scientists imbued with uniformitarian materialism no longer looked at plants or animals as integrated, created wholes but as collections of parts, like machines, that could be cobbled together part by part over long ages of time. Despite efforts by Catholic saints and scholars to defend sound theology and philosophy through the ‘Counter-Reformation,’ protestant countries and their citizens began to form their own ideas of God and His commandments. Eventually, the ‘enlightened’ beliefs of the world began to infect protestant thought and even to infiltrate the membership of the Catholic Church, as outlined in Pope St Pius X’s encyclical on Modernism, Pascendi.
By the start of the 20th century, many countries were ripe for ‘fresh’ ideas and ‘enlightened’ theories about psychological distress. Minds that had detached themselves from the safety of the Catholic Church left themselves open to the snares of the devil. These snares came in the form of Freudian/psychoanalytical theories about man. This article will not enter into all the details of the inconsistent and irrational theory that is psychoanalysis but rather point out some of the consequences of its acceptance in the psychological field, i.e. the promotion of a new understanding of man that stood in complete contradiction to Catholic teaching. Freud’s fascination with and reliance on Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis is well documented elsewhere. However, these, mainly Protestant, authors fail to point out how open Protestants were to the theories of Freud due to their detachment from the teaching authority of the Good Shepherd, i.e. the Catholic Church.
‘Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy, and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ’ (Colossians 2:8)
Catholic doctrine taught that man had been created perfect in body and soul, in a state of exalted holiness, and that this original condition was lost through the Original Sin of our first father, Adam. Through Holy Baptism, Christians became “new creations” in Christ, able to share in the life of God as adopted children. By contrast, in Martin Luther’s theology the soul of a baptized Christian was “a dunghill covered with snow.” Gone was the understanding of man’s normal condition as a “partaker of the divine nature.” In its place, Luther and his followers offered the perverse vision of a corrupted human nature as the “normal” condition of mankind. Instead of uniting the redeemed soul to Christ in a life-giving union, Luther’s “faith” merely allowed corrupted human nature to be “covered,” thus providing a convenient excuse for Christians to “sin boldly” as long as they “believed more boldly.” This set the stage for Rousseau and the Enlightenment philosophers who conceived of the original humans in total abstraction from the Creator, thus idealizing man’s fallen human nature as his original, normal condition, and even attributing many of his woes to the constraints of Christian morality. These men, in turn, paved the way for Sigmund Freud, whose theories offered titillation for the lower appetites while using pseudoscientific and academic language to give immoral behaviour a veneer of respectability.
Freud used some Latin terms to promote his apparent intellectualism. For example, he used the word ‘Id,’ which simply means ‘that,’ to describe what he termed the unconscious, impulsive aspect of man. He aroused vulgar interest in his work by focusing on sex. This obsession with sex was reflected in his inability to control his own passions. Many curious intellectuals had already been exposed to Darwin’s theory of evolution. This opened up to them the possibility that the Church had been wrong about the origins of man. Questions over other aspects of the Church’s teachings also became apparent during this time. Scholastic philosophy also fell out of favour, especially among Protestant intellectuals and public figures. These ‘enlightened’ intellectuals had no time for the admonitions of Pope Leo XIII and Pope St Pius X that encouraged people to take up the shield of scholasticism to defend traditional Christian teachings about man against falsehoods and sophisms.
Theories that appealed to man’s lower nature and that justified sexual freedom and hedonism, such as those advocated by Darwin and built on by Freud, found a foothold in many societies and groups. Freud offered a way to free one’s conscience from guilt, shame and anxiety. He offered a way to dismiss the ‘illusions’ of the Catholic Faith. Like Darwin, he implanted errors in people’s minds, so that they became confused about what was ‘natural’ behaviour. The ‘natural’ behaviours he promoted, e.g. blasphemy, fornication, and adultery, were seen as repressed due to cultural pressures, e.g. Catholic teaching on morality. Freud and other psychoanalytical psychiatrists promoted the full expression of these immoral behaviours if one was to overcome one’s neurosis. It is hard to estimate how many souls Freud, through his intellectual sophisms and his own immoral behaviour, encouraged on the road to perdition.
The Catholic Pushback Against Psychoanalysis:
Through the efforts of Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen, Venerable Frank Duff (founder of the Legion of Mary who described psychoanalysts as “pests who reap a golden harvest and take money of their ‘clients’ in exchange for weird and often disastrous advice”), and GK Chesterton, (who described psychoanalysis as ‘confession without absolution’) and through the Church’s strong criticism of speculative psychological theories, psychoanalytical theories about man failed to take root in Catholic society in the first half of the twentieth century. Carl Jung noted how in Vienna, a majority-Catholic city during his time, he barely saw any Catholics in his practice, while he saw plenty of Jews and Protestants. Most Catholics did not buy into psychoanalysis. The encouragement to return to scholastic philosophy and, particularly, St Pius X’s efforts against Modernism helped to protect many Catholics from the errors of the world. Catholics saw that the Church offered far more convincing and reasonable understandings about psychological distress. She also offered most of the solutions, i.e. the Sacraments, the cleansing of one’s conscience and clear guidance about the road to sanctity and sanity. Many hospitals that treated physical maladies were run with a strong Catholic ethos so erroneous theories about man could not find a foothold in these environments. The dangerous tentacles of psychoanalysis could not get the same stranglehold on Catholics as they did with Protestants. Its errors and dangers were too obvious to Catholic intellectuals, priests and theologians, and they protected their fellow Catholics from them.
From the 1960’s onwards, however, things changed, both outside and within the Church. In the field of psychiatry, there was a shift from psychoanalytical theories in the field of psychiatry to an embracing of biochemical explanations for mental health issues. Rather than a focus on abstract concepts such as the ‘id’ and ‘superego,’ genetic causes for psychological distress now became the main focus of psychiatry. Evolutionary theories about man became more acceptable amongst leading psychiatrists and the search was on for finding the genetic causes and solutions to psychological distress. While Freudian theories were often explicitly dismissed by psychiatrists as they were not ‘evidence based,’ the undercurrent of his theories remained prevalent in their theories and practice. Immoral behaviours, such as homosexuality, were seen as natural and healthy, since man’s cousins the chimpanzees and other ape-like creatures practiced them.
Pre-1960’s, Kinsey and his followers, who promoted the idea of sexual licence, led the charge for the ‘normalisation’ of fornication and homosexuality. Much of Kinsey’s work was based on the false notions of Darwin. He reasoned that since man’s cousins, the bonobos and other sub-human primates, practiced these behaviours, this proved that they were natural, normal and good. Evolution-based conclusions like these eventually led to the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM) while, in the meantime, hundreds of new disorders with little or no scientific basis were added to it. From the 1960’s onwards, psychiatry dressed itself up as an empirical science that had moved beyond Freudian speculation. This led to Church authorities becoming receptive to psychiatry and seeing it as an ally in treating psychological distress, e.g. John Paul II’s address to American Psychiatric Association. In this way, the shepherds were duped, and the sheep became more vulnerable to the lies of the world, the snares of the devil and the unruly passions of the flesh. It, eventually, led to our current Pope, openly talking about visiting a Jewish psychoanalyst and thus legitimising this dangerous treatment in the eyes of many Catholics.
Many Catholics see this as progress, the Catholic Church “reaching out” to the world, but one must contrast this behaviour and attitude with those of our Catholic forbearers, such as Leo XIII and St Pius X, who knew how subtly the world and the devil operate. Today, much of the criticism about the unscientific claims of psychiatry, particularly in relation to the effectiveness of its drugs, has come from atheist, agnostic or liberal researchers, e.g. Professor David Healy and Professor Peter Gotzsche, who even quotes Richard Dawkins as his Twitter tagline: ‘There is no reason to believe in anything for which there is no evidence." Unfortunately, they fail to see the underlying problem – the misunderstanding of man’s nature and his origins—as both believe in evolution and reject Catholicism. They fail to see what constitutes ordered and disordered behaviours and how the greatest effect any treatment can have is to help a person on the straight and narrow path to Heaven. While they challenge the empirical claims of psychiatry, and rightly so, most of the prominent psychiatric critics support, unconsciously or consciously, the false theories of Darwin, Freud, Kinsey and their followers.
So what does the situation look like today?
While Freudian theories are often explicitly dismissed today by modern psychologists and many psychiatrists for not being ‘evidence based,’ the undercurrent of his theories remains prevalent in modern psychological theories and practices. This is apparent in the official policies of psychiatric and psychological associations across the world which promote abortion and homosexuality while viewing the guilt, sorrow or anxiety this behaviour causes as being a result of societal and cultural norms. For example, membership in the Psychological Society of Ireland (the accrediting body for psychologists in Ireland) is contingent on affirming homosexuality.
Psychoanalysis has been replaced by speculative biochemical theories about psychological distress. Despite the scant objective evidence for the biochemical claims of psychiatry, Western societies have seen the mass drugging of their populations over the last half century. The rate of diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses has tripled over the last 30 years in the USA. In some Western countries, e.g. USA, over 1 in 5 people are on some form of drug for mental health issues. Recent statistics show that this over-medicalisation of life is not just an American problem. Statistics from Ireland show that there has been a 500 per cent increase in psychiatric drug prescriptions for children over the last decade. The over-prescription of psychiatric drugs is a serious issue and there is more and more evidence to show that these drugs do far more harm than good. As Hugh Owen has outlined elsewhere, evolution theory contributes to the belief that man is solely a biological machine. Logically, this leads to attempts to fix psychological and spiritual issues through biological means. The pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry now combine to sell biological solutions to all of one’s mental ills. They promise that sadness, anger, anxiety, deviant behaviour, or whatever ‘bad’ emotion or thought you are feeling or thinking, can be cured through fixing or tweaking the biological machine that is man.
One of the most influential Catholic theologians of modern times, Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, looked forward to and celebrated:
The remodeling of the human organism by means of hormones. Control of heredity and sex by manipulation of genes and chromosomes. The readjustment and internal liberation of our souls by direct action upon springs gradually brought to light by psychoanalysis. The arousing and harnessing of the unfathomable intellectual and effective powers still latent in the human mass.
As mentioned in Genesis Through the Eyes of the Saints:
In the fifty years since The Future of Mankind was published, the world has seen plenty of “remodeling of the human organism by means of hormones” in the form of birth control pills—resulting in the deaths of half a billion tiny children each year by conservative estimates, ten times the number of children murdered in surgical abortions. During the same period, the world has witnesses an orgy of “control of heredity and sex” not so much by the manipulation of genes as by the destruction of tens of millions of little girls (for the crime of being girls) and of children of both sexes for the crime of having some real or imagined genetic defect. And as to the “liberation of our souls” through “psychoanalysis,” there is no doubt that the psychologist and psychiatrist have replaced the priest and confessor as the liberators of souls, offering secular humanist counseling and drugs in place of Catholic teaching and the life-giving sacraments.
The more prevalent and accepted the theory of evolution becomes the more likely it will be that more and more people, including many children, will be drugged with toxic medications, when the real problem may well be a spiritual one. The World Health Organisation and the UN, rather than the Church, are now seen by the majority of people as the authorities for defining psychological disorder. Psychiatry, through the help of the pharmaceutical industry, has been very successful in legitimising itself and placing itself in a position of power and authority. However, with its foundations being so erroneous and lacking in scientific credibility, it and its members are causing untold damage to the people they supposedly treat. Psychiatry is one of the best clients for the pharmaceutical industry, but it has become an even better client for the devil by promoting sin and vice and ridiculing traditional Catholic beliefs about human nature and moral disorder. Mass medication numbs the feelings and damages the body, but it is not the major threat to people. The major threat is the promotion of sin and vice which affects the mind and damages the soul. The Church, in previous eras, knew how toxic error was to the mind and endeavoured to protect the Catholic flock from it. Unfortunately, today, many of those within the Church accept or promote error.
What to do about this?
‘Be wise as serpents, gentle as doves.’
Our Lord calls us to keep a sharp eye out for error or anything that might harm us on the path to Heaven. The Kolbe Centre endeavours to help people see the truth and avoid error. It understands the words of Aristotle, ‘The least deviation from truth will be multiplied a thousand-fold later.’ Luther breaking away from the Church eventually led to ripe conditions for the acceptance and promotion of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Darwin’s evolutionary theory helped to justify Freud’s lifestyle and his theory of psychoanalysis. Freud’s theory remained as a steady undercurrent for psychological explanations. Radical attempts to change the Faith in the 1960’s have led to the acceptance of erroneous modern psychological explanations for psychological distress by members of the hierarchy. As the shepherds have welcomed the wolf into the fold, the Catholic faithful have been swamped with falsehoods and ensnared by the lies of the devil in these modern times. Many of the faithful remain mired in confusion, doubt or despair. As a professional who has worked in the mental health, addiction and homeless fields, I have seen first-hand the end result of accepting evolution and the rejection of the Church’s teachings on the causes of psychological distress. This eventually leads to the dehumanising of patients in need of care. I personally witnessed how a psychiatric nurse called a distressed woman on the ward ‘feral’ and a psychiatrist saying that if a person killed himself it would improve the state of humanity. These are just some of the examples of how speculative falsehoods that are accepted as true by those in authority filter ‘down to the lower planes whereon men’s everyday lives are passed.’
Because most psychiatric professionals are so obsessed with fixing what they see as a biological machine, involuntary injections and involuntary electroshock are common experiences for people on a psychiatric ward. Overdoses and deaths due to overmedication are just some of the numerous effects of deviation from truth. It is also clear that many psychologists and psychiatrists are helping people on the path to hell and are being encouraged to do so by their respective associations. Today, psychiatrists and psychologists lack the proper understanding of man to really help him and due to their erroneous understandings of man they are doing far more harm than good. The solution is to dismiss the molecules-to-man evolutionary hypothesis as a myth and to return to the traditional teachings of the Church. Let us pray that professionals charged with helping people in psychological distress realise the insane path they are on before it is too late. Let us also pray that our Catholic shepherds will not scandalise the flock any longer but rather protect and nourish them with the truth.
 Sheen, F. J. (1949). "Peace of Soul," New York: Whittlesey House.
 Duff, F. (1956). "The Spirit of the Legion of Mary," London: Burns & Sons. (particularly pages 73-76).
 Chesterton, G. K. (1922). "What I Saw in America," Republished by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
 John Paul II (1993). "Address of His Holiness John Paul II to the Members of the American Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association."
 Catholic Herald (2017). “Pope Francis reveals he saw a Jewish psychoanalyst for six months.”
 The Irish Examiner (2019). "Nearly 500% increase in number of children prescribed psychiatric medication."
 “Teilhard de Chardin, ‘False Prophet of a ‘New Christianity.'” (accessed 2-22-20)
 Teilhard de Chardin, "The Future of Mankind," p. 149.