Life in a small town

The Real Presence, Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity …

*Image: Christ the King (a.k.a. The Almighty or God the Father)by Jan van Eyck, c. 1425 [St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium]. This is the Deisis (representation of Christ in majesty), central panel in the inner section of the Ghent Altarpiece

So here is some more thinking and observation from Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” (which book has largely informed this post). He is talking about “interfaith” meetings held in Kazakhstan.

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“During an interreligious meeting in Kazakhstan, in which I participated, we spoke about the most holy realities of each religion. An Imam said that, for Muslims, the holiest thing is the book of the Koran in Arabic letters, and he stressed this by saying it would be an act of sacrilege were someone to dare to touch the Arabic Koran with unwashed hands.

Hearing this statement, I suddenly thought about scenes of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand, lacking almost any clear sacral sign and surely without washing hands immediately before. Such scenes do occur in the vast majority of the Catholic churches all around the world.

I then imagined a hypothetical scene. If one day this Imam were to visit a Catholic Church, and Holy Communion was being distributed in the hand to faithful who are approaching the altar in a quickly moving queue, he would ask: “What is this little piece of white bread?”

The Catholic would answer him: “It is Christ.” The Muslim would say: “This is surely only a sign or a symbol of Christ.” The Catholic would answer him: “No, it is not a symbol or a sacred object. The Lord Jesus Christ is really present there.”

The Muslim will continue to say: “That can’t be. Christ must be only spiritually or symbolically present.” The Catholic will answer: “No, Christ is really, truly present with the substance of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”

The Muslim will respond: “Then this little piece of bread must be, according to your faith, your God and the Holy of Holies for you.” The Catholic would answer: “Yes, what looks like a little piece of bread is really our living God personally in His human Body and Blood, and not an object like your Koran.”

Finally, the Muslim would say: “The fact that you treat your God and the Holy of Holies in such a banal manner tells me that you don’t believe He is really present there. I am unable to agree with you that you really believe what you are saying.”

Schneider, Bishop Athanasius. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

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In this speculative vignette we have a summary of what I see as the complete demystification and desacralization of our western Roman Catholic Mass, now, since Vatican II, almost exclusively celebrated in the modernist “Novus Ordo” form. We Roman Protestants have willfully abandoned belief in the Divine Presence. We have abandoned Divine Worship in favour of a “social gathering of fellowship”. We and our priests have mostly abandoned the sacraments and the grace flowing from Christ through these manifestations of his love for us in the world.

We have witnessed a steady fifty year march to desanctify the Holy of Holies in keeping with the Modernist direction moving to syncretism, the belief that all religions are the same and are all about us rather than a unique gift of Truth handed down from our Creator. Somewhere along this downward trail we have joined our Protestant brethren and have ceased to believe in the Divine Presence, and even in the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

We are steadily moving towards a “One World Religion” to go with our UN mandated “One World Government”. Did anyone notice just when the Vatican started answering to George Soros and the United Nations? Anyone? Did anyone notice just when the “Vicar of Christ” started teaching more about worldly social values and conservation and nature and global warming and started ignoring the eternal Truths of Jesus Christ and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as handed down from the Apostles these last two thousand years or so? Anyone?

As Robert Cardinal Sarah writes, “The Day is Now Far Spent”. We are rather like Malcolm Crowe in “The Sixth Sense” (1999 movie) wandering along through all these confusing and troubling events around us and all the time we are the dead … short days ago we lived, loved, and were loved, and now we lie in the green fields of the Lord, facing eternity, unprepared and unrepentant. It is not too late to wake up, not too late …

But God does not give up: Now Watch Him Work.

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

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So What Now … My Church and My Nation … Wither goest thou?

Serendipity … random chance in action? Via The Lepanto Institute  I found a new and interesting  blog-site yesterday here.

The Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1571

By way of an intro here are a few gems from the blog in which he quotes from books I have read and also from an author and a book I have never heard of before …

First, a couple of writers with whom I am very familiar, C. S. Lewis, and T. S. Eliot :

C.S. Lewis

“Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing. But if the scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it.”C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 1945.

and

T.S. Eliot

“The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.”T. S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth, 1931.

and then a new writer (for me) who I have never heard of but looks very promising :

Padre Julio Meinvielle, 1905-1973

“The error of the Progressives resides in rejecting the necessity of working for the implantation of a Christian social order. In doing so they are obliged to accept the lay city, Liberal, Socialist, Communist. The root of their error and their deviation from Christian progress lies in seeking the alliance of the Church with modernity.”Fr. Julio Meinvielle (1905-1973) From the Kabala to Progressivism.

So, my disquiet with the current situation in our church, and my equally strong misgivings with the state of society and our culture of death, dismemberment and disregard for responsibilities both personal and national (witness Boy Justin’s NATO Summit efforts so far this week and this term) here in the frozen north, that is Canada and the direction Canada seems to be heading. What is one to do? Aided by my reading of many other’s comments in various blogs and so on, my thoughts are moving in a definite direction.

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

Rhetorically speaking, is it OK to make like a medieval peasant, to choose the “Benedict Option” as some have advocated, and either not know or not care who is the current National Leader, and who is Pope, to not worry about the directions of church and state, but to remain faithfully and cheerfully ignorant of the day-to-day pronouncements that come  down from our betters in Ottawa, and Edmonton, and from the Vatican?

Must a Catholic read and understand all the latest encyclicals and exhortations and synodal papers and all the latest progressive malice and pronouncements vomiting forth from the mealy mouths of our political and bureaucratic masters in their tower of power somewhere isolated from the realities of day to day citizens, one of whom recently committed suicide on the steps of the legislature?

Or can we just keep re-reading the Scriptures and the Catechism and the Fathers and the Doctors (and maybe the occasional private revelation) until such time as God sorts this all out? I don’t think that average Catholic lay people are obliged to follow any of this stuff. Priests do this, and then they teach appropriately, or at least are supposed to.

But lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, and so on. Catholic lay people have vocations to live in the world. Their obligations are few: obey the 10 Commandments, follow the commandments of the Church, obey the laws that they are taught pertain to them, stick to the demands of their state in life, perform works of mercy, etc.

This is really not that difficult. People are not obliged to go chasing after the latest news in prurient curiosity. As a matter of fact, that might wind up being a sin called curiositas, especially if it endangers one’s faith and distracts from one’s state in life through which the will of God is made manifest in our lives.

It is just because our church is Christ’s church that I disagree with any “serious considerations” of heading away from our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church towards one of the  Orthodox confessions or some conservative Evangelical congregation, or even some new age Pentecostal “feelings over objective Truth emotional consolation” because all those options also clearly lack the indefectability promised by Christ as in : “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”. This specious tack, of abandoning the church in her hour of crisis, smacks of “taking my toys and going home” when the going gets tough and real sacrifice and pain and love is required to hold to the Truth in the storm.

Albert J. Knock

This is rather like the “force of character” which Albert J. Knock was alluding to when he wrote: “The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.”  Running to another pasture is not the mark of a member of the Remnant.

I think it possible that a belief in the Indefectability of the Church is challenged by a Pope who seemingly formally teaches error, promotes the sycophantic heterodox and abets pedophiles, and is generally distastefully left  or progressive or modernist leaning. It’s the fact that the Pope is fairly clearly formally teaching error or at least is allowing the teaching of error that has really challenged my own Faith for the last few months, or even years, since shortly after Jorge Mario Bergoglio was crowned “Francis”.

But, there is no where else to go, as St. Peter confessed…except into the pit of our passions and emotions where Truth is most definitely not.  So we must suffer this cross where God has put us and push on with the history of the Papacy in mind and our Faith in Jesus Christ in the forefront. Okay. There it is. The age-old teaching, “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

It was not the Second Vatican Council that dropped that teaching; it was others speaking in the ubiquitous and very suspicious “spirit of that council”.  I have written many times before about “The Spirit of Vatican II” as towards the end of this post . “By the “Spirit of Vatican II” is meant the teaching and intentions of the Second Vatican Council but interpreted in a way that is not limited to a literal reading of its documents, or even going so far as  interpreting in a way that contradicts the “letter” of the Council.”

One needs only look at Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” (which book has largely informed this post) to find the most well-known and disastrous statements, “In The Spirit of Vatican II” about “Humanae Vitae” (a famous council document) which were the Winnipeg Statement (Canada), the Königsteiner Erklärung (Germany), and the Maria Troster Erklärung (Austria).

I think those bishops and bishops’ conferences whose predecessors issued these fatal statements fifty years ago “In the Spirit of Vatican II” have to publicly retract these ‘Statements” and make reparation for these egregious misinterpretations of the council’s intentions which led to so much grief. Head in the sand ignoring of the evil will not make it go away nor will it be forgotten in eternity. I hope that it will some day be acknowledged and atoned for.

The more I look back at things that were introduced under the “In The Spirit of Vatican II” umbrella, looking back on my own youthful rejection of the church because of these massive progressive changes, this apparent denial of Truth, the more I begin to believe that “In The Spirit of Vatican II” was coined as a code phrase, a way for the Modernists and liberal secular progressives in the corpus of the church to say, “We couldn’t get the Pope to agree, but this is our REAL purpose. We couldn’t get the Pope to agree, but we’re going to do it anyway. So there.” I think I must have read something like this in someone’s blog post somewhere.

But I made my own choice back then, and I am responsible for that choice, and the subsequent wasted years. And, like me, the faithful left in droves because they rightly or wrongly felt that they didn’t leave the church, the church left them. And now, 50 years on, we have a Modernist in the chair of Peter … now the Pope agrees … Quo Vadis my church?

Looking back on that teenager who thought he knew what was going on and was so sure he was right in his opinion that he wasted 20 years, and God never gave up on him … I promise … Never Again! So what recourse do we laity have if any Pope were to espouse heresy?

Female priests, listened to proponents of that 15 years ago in Deanery meetings, denial of the Divinity of Christ, denial of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist, see it every week in Mass as the line hurries forward to grab the host and run. Do we merely fast and pray and turn the other cheek smug in the knowledge that God’s Will be done…or, as I recently read somewhere, is it St. Michael butt-kicking pro-active time? Apologies for the blunt truth, but I don’t know how to sugar coat it, or, from another angle, is this just my self-righteous pride talking?

John of the Cross writes about the dark night of suffering and abandonment … does everyone seeking spiritual growth and union with God have a dark night of suffering when all seems lost and there is temptation to despair? I rather think that there is no way forward that does not involve gong through some sort of spiritual dark night. And we lay people are much more free to choose our path, unconstrained as we are by vows and rules of obedience, so we have to choose carefully.

First, I figure that lay people have more options than Bishops and especially priests who operate under vows of obedience. These are, so far, hypothetical, all these alleged heresies. The Church is indefectible, always remember this, much worse has occurred in history and may well occur again. When those times arrive, make sure your soul is clean and you are doing penance. Get to confession often … at least monthly … we all really need confession.

From scripture, carved on a slab of wood hanging on my kitchen wall: “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
-Joshua 24:15 (Douay-Rheims)

And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
-John 6:69 (DR)

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

My Lord, wither goest thou?

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Life in a small town

Its Friday!

Grab a coffee and have a GREAT day.

I am just realizing, with some amount of envy, that when you’re actually, really, retired, every day is Friday and you don’t NEED coffee to survive.

I can always dream … for a day when the economy returns and I can sell out and really retire.

 

Thinking of the coffin, the earthly endpoint, as a metaphorical Blue Bin for my earthly possessions.

Cheers

Joe

 

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1 December 2019 – First Sunday of Advent …

Winter is upon us in our little town, a dead truck abandoned in front of our place and minus 17 degrees Celsius yesterday AM while getting ready for church.

I find myself thinking a lot about how dire is the state of the world and the state of our church, and the state of our country these days.

Looking out from my library window over the vast panorama of my domain I find myself surprised at agreeing with David Warren, not at the agreement, but rather at what we are agreeing about.

We are agreeing about one of the few bright lights in the darkness of the Dead Marshes of our 21st century Canadian wasteland looking eastward towards the pass of Cirith Ungol and 24 Sussex Drive, the lair of Prime Minister Shelob.

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As David recently wrote: A sign of the times, as it were. At any given moment, approximately half of the (American) population is baiting the other half, or vice versa. There are (legions of) Internet sites devoted to supplying verbose ammunition to the respective sides …

Scenic view from the living-room windows and homes of my idolatrous Atheistic extended  family along the Ottawa River somewhere in Eastern Ontario. Pray for them all …

In Canada of course, it is different. This is because our Thanksgiving falls earlier in the autumn.

Another (big) difference is that one side seems to have succeeded in cutting off the other’s ammunition supply, so that if you are a “conservative” — and nearly half the population is, up here, too — you tend to be very peaceful.

(Israelis know better) … “The Israelis are also, about half-and-half, “liberals” and “conservatives,” but behave differently from us, because both sides know that if Israel loses just one major skirmish, they must all either escape, or be annihilated.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be the first time in history this had happened to them.” … “An old Jew once told me, that when he was young, he would see graffitoes declaring, “Jews to Palestine!” Now he was old, the signs read, “Jews out of Palestine!”  … 

(and) What has Trump to do with this, you ask? Apart from the fact that there are a surprising number of Jews in his family, and his entourage?  (This is the surprising agreement) … Well, I feel affection for him, and anxiety. The hatred directed at him, and all he stands for, constantly from the Left, has taken on the murderous, bigoted quality.

(Like the Israelis) If he loses one election, or one significant legal decision, his whole Party is finished; the jackals will be all over the Republicans. That’s how he has come to command the loyalty, even of people like me, who disagree with many things he says, and regret some of his policies.

For Merican Thanksgiving this year, after considering the matter from numerous angles, I would like to thank God, for Trump. In a time of real darkness, and civilizational despair, he has become, paradoxically, a point of light. I think that’s why the devils hate him so.

He is among those who still understand that Norman Rockwell poster, as it was before the caption was added. Which was sentimental, corny, and good. For as I would paraphrase:

“Stand beside him, and guide him, through the night with a light from above.”

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Paul Corrects Peter

Yesterday’s 2nd reading was from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and we find:

11And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 

13Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof . (Romans 13.11-14)

Truly, truly we live in times of almost universal revelling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarrelling and jealousy. Don’t believe me?  Just look about you at our movies, our news, our politics, our social lives, our families. Sad, sad, so sad.

And Popes have been making mistakes and errors more or less serious since the very first Pope, St. Peter.

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Fr Hunwicke

From another perceptive blogger who I follow regularly … Fr. Hunwicke writes:  Here is an extract from a very fine Advent homily given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008:

“The cry of hope of Advent expresses all the gravity of our condition, our extreme need for salvation. Which is to say that we await the Lord not as some beautiful decoration to a world already saved, but as the only way of liberation from mortal danger.”

What was so noteworthy about this is that it represented a turning away from the semi-Pelagianism which characterised the post-Conciliar selection of Advent Sunday collects; Benedict instead turned back to the authentic tones of the Sunday collects which they replaced.

Three of these … did a moderately unusual thing in the Roman Corpus of collects: they began with an imperative verb for their first word. This, in turn, was taken from psalm 79/80: ‘Excita potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos facias nos‘ … a cry from Israel to her God to come and save His vineyard; a psalm full of a sense of dereliction and of pressing supplication. …

Here is the translation which the good old English Missal gives for the collect of Advent I: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come: that by thy protection we may be found worthy to be set free from the dangers of our sins which beset us; and to be saved by thy deliverance.

Compare this with (my translation) the OF collect: Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, this will unto thy faithful people, that, running with good works to meet thy Christ as he comes, they may be set at his right hand and be worthy to hold fast the kingdom of heaven. … 

Lorenzo Bianchi says this about the newer selection of Sunday Collects in the post-Conciliar Missal:  ‘A Pelagian turn of thought becomes apparent: which does not show itself in a failure to speak about grace, but in the way it is separated from a realistic consideration of the human condition; and the manner in which the grace of Jesus Christ is made into an optional extra: just an unnecessary ornament … [in the Advent Sundays and Christmas collects of] the new Missal … sin does not appear, or even expressions explicitly linked with this concept … [instead] we find phrases which, making no mention of the fragility of the human condition, tend to bring to the fore the aspect of man’s commitment’.

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Pope Francis

We, in our inordinate self love have forgotten sin, explicitly forgotten our own sins … and brushed aside our desperate need for Christ’s grace as unneeded ornamentation.

This vanity lies at the root of the evil settling over our land and our church like a noxious vapour from the bowels of Mount Doom.

Gone are the days of sin … we are no longer sinners … and perhaps our church is no longer Catholic … In this time of judgement by subjective conscience, and the Sincretism of all religions are equal, and the pagan rituals involving the idol “Pachamama”.  

Dark days indeed … we enter a prolonged era of a sort of UltramontanistPapolatry“, where none dare speak out against the current incumbent of the Chair of Peter.

BUT! No matter the evil, no matter what may come to pass, whatever lies before me going to keep on singing and never give up.

Here is another opinion: November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Popular blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf bluntly told a reader considering leaving the Catholic Church because of Pope Francis that doing so could lead to his eternal damnation. “No. And NO! And HELL NO!” the priest wrote on his Fr. Z blog.  And Zuhlsdorf was equally blunt that leaving the Catholic Church would be a failure of courage: “Fast. Give alms. Pray. But don’t be a coward,” he wrote. … “Look, friend, popes come and popes go,” explained Zuhlsdorf, who is based in Madison, Wisconsin.“Only one thing is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro … A pope dies, you make another. We make another until Christ returns. Somehow that’s the way Church will always be even if we don’t like the choice.”
Gonna sign off for now with a YouTube link of a worship song we have been recently leading in church … this is one a lot of folks sing loud and with enthusiasm … we are not alone …
“And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore”
Cheers
Joe

From generation to generation … take up the torch … 10,000 years and then forever more.

Never give up … never surrender … Ten thousand years and then forever more …
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Thoughts on Thanksgiving, November 28th, 2019 …

Oh Earth Oh Earth Return”, Bill Douglas, (1996)

So, thinking about the black hole of nothingness to which we are led by the “no god, random chance, biochemical process, evolution, moral relativism” paradigm at the heart of our modern culture, our culture of Material Naturalism, and Secular Humanism, I find my whole being screaming out a huge NO! to that culture of hopeless chaotic death. I live and breath and think in this world here.

I have been complaining lately of the things I see as being wrong with the world and I have forgotten momentarily to maintain a steadfast thankfulness to God for all His blessings and benefits … So I challenge my readers to take a moment, every morning, to think about ten things which we are grateful for, and then think about why we are grateful and to whom we are grateful.

“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant.” Gen. xxxii. 10.

In that vein, on this Thanksgiving Morning I am just going to post the Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789   without commentary but with gratitude and thanksgiving for the thousands of blessings which we all take utterly for granted every day while we are focused on what is wrong in the moment.

I start with being grateful for my moment, and being able to think these thoughts, which I do not believe are the result of some chemical process rooted in random evolutionary chaos.

So without further ado:

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By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell (created January 6, 1941–March 6, 1943)

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

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And from yet another important and famous President in a later time of great distress and trial we have Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

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Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

Abraham Lincoln, photograph Mathew Brady

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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May you have a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving

Joe

Sunrise on The Last Day

 

 

 

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Render Unto Caesar …

Aki, Inner Thoughts, Rodrigo Rodriguez

So the last few posts since the elections I have been moaning about the world going to hell and how do I make sense of “The World”, the world that is clearly not turning out the way I thought it should. A combination of scripture and meditations and stepping back from my own opinions and desires lets me see things better, always keeping in mind that eternity matters, this world does not. Often my readings for daily meditations allude to the will of God being made manifest in the actions and orders of our “superiors”.

Alberta NDP Education Minister David Eggen (since deposed).

In religious life, within an order of religious in a monastery or in the priesthood it resembles the military in that it is not a democracy, vows of obedience include obeying orders and decisions which we may personally disagree with.

Outside of such societies we have come to feel that our own opinion is more important than anyone else’s but we still have our “superiors”, our bosses, executives of corporations, politicians, bureaucrats who wield much power, all in an ever increasing range or scope of authority the further up the food-chain a person gets.

Of course within the ever increasing “scope” of government authority we also suffer from inevitable “scope creep” as those who find themselves in positions of power struggle and push to increase their power in their various “silos” of responsibility … some would call this corruption but is an every day commonplace in our culture and much worse in other countries. The question I have is do those these persons make manifest the will of God in our lives?

“The Tribute Money” 1612-1614, painting by Peter Paul Rubens.

“19And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him the same hour: but they feared the people, for they knew that he spoke this parable to them. 20And being upon the watch, they sent spies, who should feign themselves just, that they might take hold of him in his words, that they might deliver him up to the authority and power of the governor.

21And they asked him, saying: Master, we know that thou speakest and teachest rightly: and thou dost not respect any person, but teachest the way of God in truth. 22Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?

23But he, considering their guile, said to them: Why tempt you me? 24Shew me a penny. Whose image and inscription hath it? They answering, said to him: Caesar’s. 25And he said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s.

26And they could not reprehend his word before the people: and wondering at his answer, they held their peace.” (Luke 20: 19-26)

So the Gospel outlines clearly the position of the Christian toward civil authority. “Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s” (cf Luke 20, 25). There is no opposition between the rights of political power and the rights of God, since “there would be no power unless it were given from above” (cf John 19, 11): political authority, legitimately constituted, comes from God and must be respected as a reflection of the divine authority.

This is precisely the reason why every Christian is bound to fulfill all the duties of a good citizen, and, consequently, must obey political authority, unless its orders are opposed to the law of God.  In that case it would no longer represent divine authority, because God cannot will anything bad or evil being the supreme Good. As St. Peter says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5, 29). In telling us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Jesus teaches us to give to the State all that falls under its jurisdiction, that is everything concerning the temporal order and the public good.

But He does not stop there, He says also “Give to God what is God’s”. If the coin which bears the  image of Caesar should be restored to Caesar, then there is much greater reason to restore our soul to God since our soul bears the image of God. This is to say that we owe Him everything, because we received everything from Him. And this carries further, it is the duty and purpose of every human being to restore our souls to God since He is the creator of all of us and everything in the world. We restore our soul to God by putting our will in the service of His will.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the media in the foyer of the House of Commons following the release of an ethics report (on his conduct). December 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: ajw105

But if we find ourselves in a political system (as so many of us do) whose orders are opposed to the law of God then that civil authority would no longer represent divine authority, because God cannot will anything bad or evil being the supreme Good. Such a political system would manifestly not be concerned with temporal order and the public good but rather the well-being of its “friends” at the expense of its citizens. What does one do in that case, well … obviously, as St. Peter says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5, 29).

What does that look like in real life in our modern polite Canadian society?  We read in Luke 17: “1And He said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come. But woe to him through whom they come! 2It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones”.

And then we have The Book of Wisdom in the Catholic Bible, which has this to say about that:

1 Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. 2 Give ear,you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. 3 For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. 4 Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, 5 he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places.

6 For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. 7 For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. 8 But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.

Pope Francis and the Amazon Synod controversy …

9 To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress. 10 For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defense. 11 Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed. (Wisdom 6. 1-11)

So, mercy for the lowly, “For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy” but dark days ahead for the mighty … and the realization that there is nothing that we, in our lowliness, can do about the great tides of misfortune in our time nor for the most part is there anything we can do about even the little misfortunes and sufferings of life.

It seems that as we age and become more aware of the inadequacy of our efforts to hold back the wheel of time, to prevail as the body and the mind and our energies decline, it seems that it becomes easier and easier to understand that we are miserable and powerless on our own. A moment’s inattention can lead to a world of hurt and as we age the odds are more and more stacked against us.

We are less and less able to make a material change in our lives for the better and certainly we come to appreciate how little we can affect the “polite society” all around us and the decisions and events which once we though we knew better about. Letting go of everything outside our “circle of control” is hugely liberating. Realizing just how small that circle of control really is is bracing and at the same time can be hugely depressing.

And in this new place of depression and perhaps despair, it becomes easier to understand the sufferings of life as the Will of God designed to purify us and strip us of everything we thought we loved about ourselves, thus making room for love of God to enter into our lives which, up to now, were so filled up with love of self. This progression is the “Dark night of the soul” written about by mystics like John of the Cross, but written  for “Every-man”. The more successful we are the easier it is to think highly of ourselves, to “take credit” for everything in our lives which is actually just a gift. The lowlier we are the easier it is to appreciate what a screw-up we are, how miserable we are, and how much we are in need of God’s Love and God’s help.

So, in our total inadequacy, far from taking the initiative, as Father Gabriel says “… we are reduced to accepting with love, to enduring with patience and humility all that God disposes for us. God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the soul. These are the sufferings which God himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them. 

Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support , failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude, — these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man, and which we will find in ours” if we live long enough.

We have to accept and understand that all these things are willed or permitted by God, in his plan to purify us to the inmost fiber of our being.  Additionally we must not stoop to blaming others, to blaming the malice of man, or examine the justice of events, but see only the hand of God working to chisel us into a closer resemblance to himself through these trials. We have to accept with patience and constancy, especially constancy, all these trials and tribulations which God sends us from within or without, spiritual or corporeal, great or small.

Sometimes we find it easier to accept heavy trials which obviously come directly from God, such as illness and bereavement, than the myriad daily lighter trials where other people enter into and for which we feel much greater revulsion. The immediate actions of our fellow humans, especially if their malice factors in, makes it more difficult for us to recognize the divine hand in our lives. And in our self love it is very easy to fall into sin by attributing all kinds of malicious motives to folks who have no clue that we even exist except in a general statistical way. How could they possibly do that … they must be screwing with us intentionally, right? Whole categories are malicious enemies, right? Republicans, right?  Democrats, right? Liberals, right? Socialists, right? Gays, right? Bureaucrats, right? You get my drift?

Saint John of the Cross says: “Thou must know that those are no more than workers whom God has placed there only that they might work upon and chisel at thee by mortifying thee. and some will cut at thee through words … others in deed … others by their thoughts, neither esteeming nor feeling love for thee … and thou must be subject to them in all things, even as an image is subject to him that fashions it and to him that paints it, and to him that guilds it.”

Our challenge, the challenge to our faith, is to see in every person a messenger from our Lord Jesus, charged by our Lord to exercise our soul in virtue, particularly in what we lack most. Remember those 10 mile runs in boot? Designed to build strength, and perseverance, both traits that recruits are usually particularly lacking in. This is just another 10 mile run … all these trials and tribulations are just another series of exercises to build up our soul in what we are most lacking.

Instead of rebelling and becoming angry  because of lack of consideration or even injustice we have to bow our heads humbly and accept it all as suitable treatment for our faults and bad inclinations. After decades of talk, this is where “the rubber meets the road”, it is with this realization that “death of self” truly begins. Peace and understanding is truly only found in humble acceptance, to understand in our heart that “this world” truly doesn’t matter. All that matters is God’s will.

Cheers

Joe

As we used to say … “Embrace the suck!”

 

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The Inner Struggle

Riches … and living in This World …

I Am In thy Hands, O Mary”, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, Doctor Scott Piper, Sir Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP & Sr. Maria Miguel Wright, OP;  from the album “Mater Eucharistiae”, (2013)

Mater Eucharistiae, the Dominican Sisters of Mary - Mother of the EucharistLiving in this world it is astoundingly difficult to avoid becoming attached to the things of this world, not the least because we are almost completely unaware of those attachments unless things start going against what we want, in  terms of outcomes and tastes and opinions and the physical realities of enjoyment, food listening, seeing, entertainment, sex and so on and so forth.

Had a nice get together this weekend for a fish fry with friends and acquaintances, all more or less my age, all retired service members and or their spouses as have survived the vicissitudes of time and we share many views and opinions, no surprise there.  What hammers home as we all age together is that death is no respecter of political or economic or moral views.

How so very many are no longer with us for these get togethers, a mere half dozen from the 100 plus who entered boot back in 71, and in spite of the many claimed by misadventure, these days Cancer seems to be the weapon of choice of the Reaper. We have been completely loosing that war for well over 60 years now, billions and billions spent, and billions in profits to all the usual academic and commercial interests, and the gravy train keep on rolling and no victory in sight and something like 95% casualty rate among the sufferers. Why is it so hard to admit that the current model is not working? Anyway …

Death claims the virtuous and the deviant, the affluent and the poor, the liberal socialist and the conservative capitalist, the religious and the secular, the parent and the child … death comes for us all … often when we are really not ready to depart. The only thing that seems to stand out is that those who believe in eternity and live accordingly have Hope. The rest do not, just a grim journey down into despair, and all the “stuff” we spent our lives for has no saving grace at all. Puts one in a reflective headspace to consider all this.

I have recently posted a couple of articles reflecting on what I am faced with in the aftermath of our recent federal election and also the aftermath of our recent Amazonian Synod in Rome. Both events, and the surrounding actions and reactions surrounding these events, have left me, in the present, deeply depressed and trying to see a path forward in the gloom … looking for some glimmer of light to look forward to. I think Christ has an answer … of course … both to how to view the worldly antics of our secular and religious leadership and how to go forward dealing with the daily depression.

In Romans 8, 12-17 (old missal) St. Paul compares the two lives which always struggle within us, are at war within us. The Old Man and the New Man always struggle to control the man (or woman). The Old Man, is a slave to passion and pleasure, the things of this world, a slave to self indulgence, a slave to sin, from which come the fruits of death. The New Man, is the servant of, or even better, the child of God, producing the fruits of life, fighting for the right, without question or pause, willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause, and our smart polite secular society is truly hellish when one thinks about all those practices which used to be anathema and are now common place … no longer even commented upon, truly truly, Old Man to the core.

To paraphrase Paul, “If you live according to the Old Man, according to the flesh, you shall die. But if you live by the Spirit, if, by the New Man, you mortify the flesh, you shall live”. One of my favorite, perhaps my most favorite of authors, Rudyard Kipling touched upon this truth (the battle between the flesh and the spirit) in his poem “If”. For those of you who never heard of Kipling here is a bit of bio on the man who is perhaps one of the greatest non-Catholic Christian writers in our recent history.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is best known for his novels The Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book, and Kim, and his most famous poem, “If—”.

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born December 30, 1865, in Bombay, India, to a British family. When he was five years old, he was taken to England to begin his education, where he suffered deep feelings of abandonment and confusion after living a pampered lifestyle as a colonial.

He returned to India at the age of seventeen to work as a journalist and editor for the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore. Kipling published his first collection of verse, Departmental Ditties and Other Verses, in 1886 and his first collection of stories, Plain Tales from the Hills, in 1888.

In the early 1890s some of his poems were published in William Ernest Henley’s National Observer and later collected into Barrack-Room Ballads (1892), an immensely popular collection which contained “Gunga Din” and “Mandalay.” In 1892 Kipling married and moved to Vermont, where he published the two Jungle Books and began work on Kim.

He returned to England with his family in 1896 and published another novel, Captains Courageous. Kipling visited South Africa during the Boer War, editing a newspaper there and writing the Just-So Stories.

Kim, Kipling’s most successful novel (and his last), appeared in 1901. The Kipling family moved to Sussex permanently in 1902, and he devoted the rest of his life to writing poetry and short stories, including his most famous poem, “If—“. He died on January 18, 1936 at the young age of 70 years; his ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey. Kipling’s complete works are available as an e-book on Kindle for a pittance. The literary production values are poor (not flashy) but the works are original, pure, and beautiful.

“If…”

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

by Rudyard Kipling, in A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

“Ladies in Lavender”, Joshua Bell, from the album “the Essential Joshua Bell”, (2005)

Paul Corrects Peter

If you mortify the deeds of the flesh you will live … Baptism has begotten us to the life of the spirit, but it has not suppressed the life of the flesh in us. The New Man must always struggle against the Old Man, the spiritual must always struggle against the corporeal.

Grace does not excuse us from this battle, but gives us the power to sustain it: “If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

Grace gives us the power to “Hold on”, Grace gives the New Man the power to hold on and continue the struggle against the Old Man when things go in the pot and it looks like all is lost … “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Grace …

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;

Grace …

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Grace …

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

Grace…

We must detach ourselves, from all these earthly things and creatures: “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much;” in order to keep all worldly things in their proper priority of place.

David Warren

As David Warren remarks: “Where Kipling goes wrong, predictably because he is not a Catholic, I think, is by omitting the one thing I could reliably do, to make the world a better place; however indirectly. It is to become Holy. This, truly, is “to advance one’s own cause” — in the highest sense, selfish.

It is the selfishness that is distantly reflected, as it were in mudwater at the bottom of a pit, in The Fable of the Bees. (In that, the ideology of Capitalism was foreseen: “private vices, publick benefits.” The author, Bernard Mandeville, was our English Machiavelli. He preferred selfish vices, to “virtue signalling.”)”

We are commanded “…to be Holy as your Father in heaven is Holy” … to “live in the Divine will”.  God must reign over all. There will always be attachments in the human heart, but they must be subordinate to God and to His will so that they can never usurp His place as the mainspring of our actions. The spiritual life, the life of the New Man, is a love affair with Jesus. Remember, as a small child, holding on tightly and trustingly to your father’s little finger and you walked out for the first time … remember trusting your father … we are called to Trust our Divine Father totally because he loves with an everlasting love that transcends the love of every human father who ever loved his little boy or girl.

We must be utterly convinced of the need to “Hold on …” so that we will not get self satisfied, or puffed up about our virtue, or perhaps discouraged when old sins come back to haunt us over and over again, even many years after we had thought them dead and gone. “The life of man upon earth is a warfare” (Job 7,1) and “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence” (Mat 11,12).

But this never ending struggle should not discourage or frighten us. We are children of God and can call upon his paternal help without fear of being ignored or hung out to dry. St. Paul says “You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry Abba, Father.

It’s A Wonderful Life … with the right lenses we can see what is actually important.

This world never tires of selling us that which is not important. None of our daily serving of important worldly news and information matters even one wit or is worth the time to digest it. When we are busy admiring our beautiful front lawn we are missing the exquisite treasures sitting there in plain view for those who can stop worshiping the beautiful lawn. Nothing so fertilizes the field of despair as buying what this world is selling us, all the beautiful little ponies, all the little golden calves.

Sell everything and go for the eternal treasures with every power and ability that is in you. GO FOR IT! We should be putting at least as much effort and work and struggle into acquiring the things of the eternal reality as the children of this world put into acquiring the things of this passing world.

Nothing darkens our gaze on God, nothing weakens our striving to reach God, to live in God’s Will,  as much as a single strong attachment to anything of this world, a single attachment to the Old Man. That is the great source of all the trouble and trials in our lives, and I have absolutely nothing to be upset or depressed about since absolutely nothing of this world really matters … it all winds down to dusty death and passes away no matter what we do … any of us.

Ave Christus Rex! Viva Christo Rey! Hail Christ the King! Ave Christus Rex!

Cheers

Joe

 Galadriel, “The Lord of the Rings”
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Life in a small town

Desire and Fear … the roots of all sin …

It seems that most folks I have talked to seem to have some warm and fuzzy idea of some place after death that equates to “heaven” and they feel somehow that it is their right to go there. But that is definitely not what the Church really teaches. What the Catholic Church teaches is that no one actually deserves heaven.

So lets do a little walk through that logic, the logic of “I am going to heaven because I am nice and a good person…”, a little thought experiment  (German: Gedankenexperiment, GedankenExperiment, or Gedankenerfahrung,) considering this heaven hypothesis, for the purpose of thinking through its logical consequences.

Well, I am 67 years old now. Let’s say I live another 14 years, to eighty years. Of these eighty years, I will have been able to use reason and be morally responsible for perhaps between sixty to seventy of them. Within this 60 year time span I sacrifice a bit, put it all on the line for others for a while, I get married, have a kid, maybe some grand-kids, maybe I help a few people along the way, give a bit to charity every year, and retire happily and live out the remainder of my short life doing good deeds and singing in church.

The question then becomes: “For the relatively few good actions in a very short life, should I earn an infinity of bliss and happiness?” That sounds a lot like fraud, like an impossible Ponzi scheme!” To remind us, a Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒnzi/; also a Ponzi game) is a form of fraud which lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors.

The Church rejected that view in the fourth century by declaring Pelagianism a heresy. Pelagius was a pious monk who lived in the fourth century and believed in free will but also stressed that it is our good works that save us. For St. Augustine, Pelagius’s view did not make sense. If we can merit our own salvation, then Christ died in vain, Augustine reasoned.

It seems to me that all our “goodness” amounts to simply a high level of skill in self-delusion, that is , we believe our own BS. What seems to actually be going on is simply us reacting to our carnal, worldly desires or our fears of loss of reward or social punishment in this world, and we give very little thought to “What comes next?”

So here is a prayer, a litany of our real concerns …  excerpted from: Deliverance Prayers for use by the laity” by Fr. Chad A Ripperger PhD .   In this we are praying for deliverance from our base desires and fears:

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity (pp. 96-97). Sensus Traditionis Press. Kindle Edition.

Cheers

Joe

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Life in a small town

Gnosticism, Atheism and Modernism = Liberal Socialist Dictatorship – Part 2

This post, part 2, and also part 1, just seem rather muddled to me, I am groping for a clearer vision, but what these posts are about, our modern polite Canadian society is very muddled as well. There are clear elements of evil involved but also much that is just plain human weakness and misery with evil fallout, perhaps the majority of influences are just plain human weakness and misery, which I pray can be redirected as it has many times in the historic past..

Pascal's Wager

Pascal’s Wager for modern progressives … The “I am going to heaven because I am nice” crowd.

Of course Christ had it right when he said “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Most Catholics, even most Christians, even the smorgasbord Catholics, realize that as Christians we’re called to be different.

In our modern society, our “polite society” we don’t experience much real physical persecution. We generally think in metaphorical terms when we think about “taking up the cross” and “losing our life”.

If many are determined to continue doing their own thing, in their self love and in their life of rebelliousness and sin, then they probably won’t really come to Jesus at all. The rest of us, the “remnant” interpret the “cross” as the putting to death of our natural man, which the Holy Spirit accomplishes, and in which we’re called to participate.

In that vein, here is a little YouTube video on what Catholics believe to be coming, that is THE WARNING, that is the coming illumination of conscience of souls when we will see ourselves as God sees us. Here it is …

I found that video rather refreshing and also useful in focusing my thoughts on my own sins. How about the rest of us, do you suppose that such an event might be a MAJOR wake up call if it is accompanied by something physically, undeniably, tangible such that we cannot pretend even to ourselves that it was all a bad dream brought on by eating or drinking too much?

Today, in Canada, Narcissism is the de-facto religion of our day. We are definitely determined to continue doing our own thing, in our self love and in our own life of rebelliousness and sin.

That’s a pretty blunt statement of the observed reality in which I live and the views of the national media which occasionally impact my life.

That lens, through which many seem to view the world, is held in the frame of more or less not believing in a personal God, Creator and Lord of all. This view seems to exist on a continuum from, on one extreme, “Deism”, that is god created everything in the beginning but then he went away to do other god stuff and left us on our own to figure everything out.

This was pretty much exactly my own “philosophical” view coming out of what I believed was the betrayal of Vatican II and during my late teens and on into my early 30’s. I just could not accept the notion of a “personal God” who knew and loved me, Joe, personally and individually.  If heaven entered into the picture then we believed we were going to heaven because “we were nice and hadn’t hurt anyone that we knew of”. For sure, eh?

Contrast that with the other extreme of “Atheism”, that is the faith based belief that there is no god and we are all just the result of some random biochemical process set off by some primordial burst of static electricity or “something like that”, since it is difficult to escape the “prime mover” effect but the personified prime mover gets in the way of loving and worshiping only my “self”. Born in lightning, dying in fire.

There is no heaven or hell or god, only man at the top of the food chain and most of man subordinate to the elite “Gnostics”, the elite members of the secret societies with the special knowledge and secret passwords.

This view is what was adopted by my sisters in university and seems to be the prevailing view of “smart people” these days, if they even think of this sort of stuff at all.

I recently had a lengthy post election discussion with my Atheist sister who happens to live in Ottawa, Capitol and center of government of our proud nation. In this discussion, among many things, the topic of euthanasia and abortion came up.

It became apparent, as the discussion went on, that in her considered opinion human life has no intrinsic value and should be subject to budgetary considerations and a kind of life-style/quality of life calculus … basically that it is “our” life and we can justifiably do with it as we will.

My sister’s premise includes making quality of life judgements about others and doing with their lives what we will as well. Hmmmmm. I have to think about what this says about our society coming off a major re-affirmation of our secular Liberal humanist culture and our re-electing of our socialist government.

I see all this as an error, a fatally flawed lens through which we see the world and are deceived by this established and deeply unjust and sinful view, this law of our “polite society” in which we daily move and have our being and from it draw our self image.

This unjust law, the way of our world, which I see all around me is that the poor are despised and the rich esteemed, that the humble are humiliated and the proud exalted, the virtuous are maligned and mocked and the deviants are applauded.

That the timorous and modest are considered fools and the arrogant are held as valiant, and that the righteous are taken advantage of while being mocked and derided as stupid for the crime of pointing out that the emperor is naked.

That poverty, and ill health and “ugliness” are considered shameful and unfortunate, while health and beauty and riches, pomp and ostentation and splendor, honors and perishable pleasures, are sought and prized by foolish and carnal men and all who get in their way in those pursuits are spurned and forced aside as “undesirables”.

George Bernard Shaw was a strong advocate of Eugenics and Genocide.

This sort of “quality of life”, “desirable/undesirable” calculus seems alarmingly close to the National Socialist “final solution” as applied to undesirable humans, and equally close to the social policies advocated, for example, by our “Famous Five” or G.B. Shaw.

These famous players were and are adulated by the Liberal members of my family in the mistaken notion that these individuals somehow are paragons of sophisticated enlightenment (Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario).

This was very popular point of view and still is amongst certain Liberal socialist circles, and amongst all those other popular advocates of “Eugenics”, a common and popular social position in the early 20th century until the Nazis made it somewhat unfashionable when they took things to their logical conclusion in Germany in mid 20th century.

Now we are more circumspect and discreet about how we handle the brutes and the undesirables but we still handle them harshly under the code-words of “health care”, and “quality of life”. We still kill hundreds of thousands of “undesirables” but we do so in the name of “Choice”, and “Women’s Health”, and “Quality of Life”, and we keep right on shoveling the bodies into the incinerators in a nice efficient industrialized fashion. Nothing to see here folks, just business as usual.

And even before the National Socialist German Workers’ Party rose to power, Uncle Joe and the Soviet system had already started their “Purification of the people” leading to the the Soviet Gulag. And, lest we forget, lets raise a toast to Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the later part of the 20th century. Yes indeedy, Mao was a true “Good Ol Boy” in the Stalinist mold and compared to him Papa Doc Trudeau was a schoolyard dilettante.

Mao and Trudeau … the student and the master.

G.B. Shaw of course was an outspoken advocate of and admirer of Joseph Stalin and his “social programs. So, at least in Eastern Canada, the Eastern Canada of my family and their circle of pleasant friends, nothing much has changed in the last hundred years. We still have dehumanizing socialist killers running things and making choices for the “masses”, the “brutes”, as Shaw described them.

Lauding Shaw is an odd choice for Liberals who are advocating for greater freedom and independence, we hear shades of Orwellian “Truth Speak”. Shaw was an avid apologist for the world’s most brutal and oppressive dictators,

Shaw had a passionate hatred for liberty, writing” “Mussolini, Kemal, Pilsudski, Hitler and the rest can all depend on me to judge them by their ability to deliver the goods and not by … comfortable notions of freedom.”

Castro and Trudeau … classmates in Uncle Joe’s school of socialist dictatorship.

For Shaw, “the goods” could only be delivered if the people were bound in universal slavery to the state. This enslavement was necessary for the people’s welfare; most of the population were brutes who, when left to their own devices, could not fend for themselves and thus required the state to “reorganize” their lives for them.

In Shaw’s eyes, the pinnacle of civilization had been reached by the Soviet Union. During his 1931 “pilgrimage” to Stalin’s wonderland, Shaw was given a glimpse of what he referred to as a “land of hope.”

He denied that the regime had imprisoned significant numbers of political dissidents, describing the gulags as popular vacation destinations. “From what I gather, they can stay there as long they like,” he said.

So how is that relevant to Canadian politics today? Let’s not forget that the Trudeau family was, and presumably still is, long time friends and strong sympathizers of the legacy of Uncle Joe, Chairman Mao, and Fidel Castro, among others.

The Aga Khan and Trudeau … the mentor and his acolyte

And Justin currently has a close familial tie (spends holidays with him on Khan’s private Caribbean island) and a mentoring relationship with the Aga Khan, absolute ruler and dictator for life, of the world wide organization of Ismaili Muslims.

Through Justin Trudeau, the Ismaili Muslims and the Aga Khan are the beneficiaries of much largess, hundreds of millions of Canadian taxpayers’ dollars through Justin and the Canadian Aid Programs the Liberal Party of Canada supports, and they are perhaps the oldest terrorist organization on earth?

So, these days I am not a deist and not an atheist. My own choice, obvious in my posts, is Christianity. Christianity is a faith tradition that was founded by Jesus and the apostles, and the mission of the Catholic Church is to faithfully hand on what was started by them, in terms of both its teaching and ministry.

Acknowledging the present crisis amongst the all too human churchmen of the Catholic Episcopate and the Curia in Rome, we may talk about to what extent the Catholic Church has succeeded in that mission (it is still a human institution, after all), but we cannot ignore the foundation of our Faith and still call ourselves Christians.

Christianity is not a Sunday smorgasbord, it is an all or nothing choice not a “some of this and a little of that but none of that other stuff that I don’t like” kind of choice. Furthermore, we cannot ignore Jesus’ promise that the Church would never completely fail in its mission.

In response to Peter’s confession of faith in him, Jesus said: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:17–18).

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In other words,

A church in crisis … My God My God why have You abandoned Me?

if the Church fails in its mission to faithfully and correctly preserve and pass on the Tradition that Jesus and the apostles founded, then the Church is no longer the Church and hell wins. But Jesus has promised that this will not happen. Could he fail to keep his promise? We say no, and we believe that the Holy Spirit has been active throughout the entire history of the Church to make sure that the gates of hell do not prevail against it.

The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote, “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us, while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1–2).

“Cloud of witnesses” is a way of talking about the “communion of saints,” which includes all Christians who have ever lived. It means that in a way, all those who went before us in the Faith—indeed all those who participated in handing on the Faith to us—are cheering us on in this marathon that is the Christian journey. They are our ancestors in the Faith—all those who lived (and many who died) to give it to us”.

Papandrea, James L.. Handed Down: The Catholic Faith of the Early Christians . Catholic Answers Press.

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What has gone missing, here in Canada?  What Canada and Canadians have lost, or maybe only misplaced (I pray) is that spirit of love, generosity, and devotion which I talked about previously in part 1. They have misplaced faith, and have lost their concern for anything outside of their narrow self interest. These virtues and dispositions from a bygone era have gone MIA in our modern “polite” society, where we “just want to have a pleasant conversation with our friends”. What has gone missing is Truth.

Our current society can only exist in all its manifestations within a culture that has abandoned Truth and relativized everything. Truth no longer exists as an absolute but rather we make or treat truth as relative to or dependent on something else. It is not that such judgements do not have a truth value, but that they do not have one unless relativized in a particular way.

 

Father Ripperger

We have “Normalized” evil, and no longer perceive the loss. So I have a prayer for Thursday, from Father Chad Ripperger:

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My Lord, Thou art all powerful, Thou art God, Thou art our Father. We beg Thee through the intercession and help of the Archangels Saints Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel for the deliverance of our brothers and sisters who are enslaved by the evil one. All Saints of Heaven, come to our aid.
From anxiety, sadness and obsessions – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From hatred, fornication, and envy – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From thoughts of jealousy, rage, and death – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From every thought of suicide and abortion – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From every form of sinful sexuality – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From every division in our family, and every harmful friendship – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
From every sort of spell, malefice, witchcraft, and every form of the occult – We implore Thee, deliver us, O Lord.
Thou who said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” Grant that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we may be liberated from every demonic influence and enjoy Thy peace always. In the Name of Christ, our Lord.
Amen.
Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity (p. 96). Sensus Traditionis Press. Kindle Edition.

Ripperger, Father Chad A.. Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity  Sensus Traditionis Press.

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More thoughts coming for the next post in this vein … whenever I get to actually writing instead of thinking about how to make sense of all this, trying to develop a rational context for all that I see around me. These thoughts are like a shovelful of grapes thrown at the barn wall … lets see how many stick:

… all creation and the material world are evil, created by an evil god.  All religions are equivalent. Gnosticism, Anthropocentrism – Self Worship, Albigensianism, Jansenism, the bisexual nature of man is evil created by an evil god. Dualism, Syncretism, the material world is evil, all spiritual is good, non material spirit only exists in the mind of man, man is at the top of the hierarchy, man is the judge and arbiter of all things, man has his existence as a gift of the state – Rousseau and the “enlightenment”.

we’ll see how that turns out …

Cheers

Joe

 

who knows where these thoughts come from …

 

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Life in a small town

Looking Back over 2019

This is a quote from an article by Gwyn Morgan that appeared in the Times Colonist of Victoria B.C. back in January 2019. Gwyn Morgan of North Saanich is a retired Canadian business leader who has been a director of five global corporations.

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What was Canada’s biggest business news story of 2018? According to the pundits at the Canadian Press, it wasn’t the giveaway of Canadian oil to Americans for tens of billions of dollars below world prices, caused by a lack of pipelines from Alberta.

Gwyn Morgan, a retired executive, contends that it’s time to get our priorities straight. Pipelines are much, much more important than the legalization of cannabis.

It wasn’t the loss of tens of billions more in oil and gas investment to the U.S., because Canada is too hostile to building new projects. It wasn’t the Americanization of Encana, once the largest of all Canadian-headquartered companies. It wasn’t the federal Liberal government’s forced purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan because the expansion faced insurmountable opposition from the B.C. government and Indigenous groups. Nor was it the court decision blocking the federal government from completing that project.”

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The rest of the article appears here

So I wonder what Gwyn is thinking and writing as 2019 drags pitifully to its close…

Cheers

Joe

 

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Life in a small town

Gnosticism, Atheism and Modernism = Liberal Socialist Dictatorship – Part 1

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the release of an ethics report in Ottawa on Wednesday December 20, 2017.

Another long post, sigh, just trying to make sense of what is going on. I guess I’ll just split it into two parts. I don’t actually believe that folks are really stupid, or at least they are no stupider than I am and I have had highs and lows, sometimes epic lows of the “Hold my beer … ” variety over the last 7 decades.

How does one “Love folks” with sincere charity when they often appear so eminently unlovable.  Jesus loves them … how come I have so much trouble imitating Him.

So 33% of our electorate put an Atheistic Socialist dictatorship back in power in Canada.  I am trying to restructure how I think about my country in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling sick to my stomach.

Its a bit of a stretch just now, since what I see is definitely not Christian by any stretch of the word. The “Nones” have carried the day and all that’s left is the cleanup after the “Celebration of Life” when they put our old “Western” civilization in the ground. I’m trying to come up with a “New Model” that accounts for everything I see actually happening day by day in my country and also in the world at large.

The bottom line seems to be that about a third of Canadians are happy with the status quo and have far more faith in their Liberal politicians than they have ever had in any god, and that without any material evidence, but that is enough for Canadians to keep the government as it is. Less than a third, so much for democracy, and majority rule. So much for values that build a strong economy, and a moral compass that protects life and the innocent and helpless.

The recent Alberta election saw a 70% voter turnout, the highest in Alberta history. The UCP gained about 55% of the popular vote, also the highest in Alberta history and 63 seats, reducing Premier Rachel Notley’s governing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) to Official Opposition with 24 seats in the university heartland of Calgary and Edmonton. 

Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta, strongest mandate in Alberta history.

Jason Kenny, our new UPC Premier has a strong mandate from his people, Albertans, to take us in the directions he presented during the election and he has started having hour-long “question and answer” podcasts … his version of Roosevelt’s fireside chats I guess, to keep us in the loop and present us with the UCP side of things since most of the media are drooling zombies with their loyalty to Rachel and her merry band of plunderers.

Of course, Trump uses Tweets for this sort of thing but they are more provocative and less satisfying except when I am quite amused by what I see watching all the Canadian victims of Trump Derangement Syndrome frothing at the mouth with denunciations for what is pushed by the Liberal MSM in Canada as “news” and played by the Liberals as useful cover to keep the light off them and their corruption.

And this distraction is way better for the Liberal Party of Canada, and their backers at Tides Foundation Canada, if all the left voting Canadians are foaming at the mouth about a politician in another country about whom they can do nothing and have absolutely no influence over.

Victim-hood, in a mush of envy at other’s success, and resentment about imaginary wrongs inflicted by faceless “right-wingers”, is such a satisfying state of mind for the Left everywhere, and it is especially satisfying if you can blame a politician in another country for all the bad fallout from the current policy directions you voted for.

Canadians seem to have lost something important and they haven’t missed it because they have given up all the beliefs which used to remind my parents generation about what was important, important here and now and important for eternity, in fact, important enough to die for as evidenced by the Greatest Generation.

I borrow a short quote from “Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897 editorial of the New York Sun:   

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“… Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. …”

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So, this mindset, that of blaming others for the bad outcomes of your own choices, coupled with an overweening self adoration are the foundational planks of the Canadian National Church, and is all pervasive in our population both in the east where they have placed their trust in a shiny little band of Atheistic killers.

Domine, quo vadis?

But it is also found in the west where folks are quick to anger and judgemental of the “enemy in the east”.  What Canada and Canadians have lost, or maybe only misplaced (I pray) is that spirit of love, generosity, and devotion. They have misplaced faith, and have lost their concern for anything outside of their narrow self interest.

So, where are we now, and more importantly “Quo Vadis” wither goest thou, where are we going? To Calvary? Or to Hell?

What kind of “representative government” do we find ourselves experiencing? Let’s compare the outcome of the recent Alberta election and the strong voice of Albertans with the questionable outcome of the just finished Federal election. Do we get what we deserve?

In our recent Federal election where the the turnout was only 66% and the re-elected Liberal Party’s election victory was a curious event because its candidates took nearly half the seats with less than a third of the popular vote.

It marks only the second time in Canada’s history that a governing party will take power with such a low share of the vote. Mandate is Not US!  David Moscrop, a political theorist at the University of Ottawa, tweeted that “the last and only time a party has formed government with less than 35 percent of the national popular vote was John A. Macdonald in 1867 — with 34.8 percent.”  This vote beats the 1867 record, with the Liberal popular vote settling around 33 per cent.

Something to sing about …

Canada’s electoral system is referred to as a “first past the post” system. The candidate with the most votes in a riding wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that riding as its Member of Parliament (MP).

The party whose candidates win the second largest number of seats becomes the Official Opposition. So much for democracy?  Or maybe this is a more realistic democracy than an iron clad two party system as our brothers across the 48th experience every election.

However you take the numbers it is crystal clear that Jason Kenny has a huge and strong mandate to speak for Albertans and to work for Alberta’s interests … Justin on the other hand has no mandate but rather secures his seat with an accidental result due to the electoral process. This is why we find Canada governed by the Dictatorship of the PMO, the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Canada is a diverse country and governing it requires a complex balancing of competing interests. There are some hard decisions that are best taken in private and away from public scrutiny.”

So we find ourselves governed by an unelected, unaccountable, secret cabal of close friends and cronies of the accidental prime minister. To paraphrase some of our discontented southern brethren “Not My Prime Minister!”

Many Canadians believe that they live in a “Parliamentary Democracy”. Nothing could be further from the truth, or perhaps a “Parliamentary Democracy” actually always is a dictatorship of the PMO. These Canadians will scratch their heads in confusion when presented with the idea that Canadians live in a dictatorship. But let’s take a moment to look at what is undeniably the de-facto manner of government in this country.

The Prime Minister’s Office, the PMO, and as it’s head, the Principal Secretary, have the power of yea and nay on literally everything which the parliament of Canada does or says. The government does not publish a mandate letter for the Principal Secretary of the PMO, as it does for all cabinet ministers. In fact, there is no publicly available job description for the principal secretary or any other staffers in the Prime Minster’s Office (PMO).

The Principal Secretary is the ultimate backroom operator, un-elected, and unaccountable to anyone except the Prime Minister. The PMO, is a secretive palace guard. It operates outside public view and scrutiny. PMO staffers are not public servants. They are political appointees, and their role is as much to foster the partisan political interests of their party as it is to coordinate government policy in the public interest.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (front, R), Chinese President Xi Jinping (front, L), his wife Peng Liyuan (2nd row, L), and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (2nd row, R), arrive for a gala show to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A number of experts have noted that, since the 1960s, Canadian democracy has degenerated into a kind of executive dictatorship of the PMO. Both Liberal and Conservative elected members of Parliament have frequently complained, in private, about being relegated to the role of trained seals. Their job is to clap when ordered to do so by the PMO, as it is in most dictatorships world wide where they like to make a pretense of “representing the people“.

Many Ottawa insiders will tell you there’s nothing to see here, that this style of government is all par for the course. Federal governments have operated this way for decades, they say, at least since Justin Trudeau’s father’s time.

Again, as one insider put it “Canada is a diverse country and governing it requires a complex balancing of competing interests. There are some hard decisions that are best taken in private and away from public scrutiny.”

A dictatorship in all but name … and it is true that they are arguably doing a better job than dictatorships elsewhere, like Venezuela, or Syria, or even Russia, or China depending on whether you are part of the “IN” crowd or not … how things look all depend on perspective and nuance, right?

So what does that leave us for a society … a culture of … what? Quality of life is pretty damned good compared to most of the world … our lives and our comforts are top drawer but what about the spiritual, the fabric of our relations with our families and our neighbours, and just what exactly is the point of our comfortable existence? Where is the love and generosity and devotion, where is life’s highest beauty and joy?

Cheers

Joe

 

So lets get out thinking caps on and fired up …

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