Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Imitatio Christi

David Warren has a timely post here. I completely agree with his view of “The Imitation of Christ”, by Thomas a Kempis. I have been reading it, both linearly and using the “open it anywhere” method for years now. It never grows old. My personal version of “The Little Brown Book” is a Baronius Press  imprint from 2008 of the Richard Challoner translation from the 18th century. It is available as a free eBook at Gutenberg.org. A couple of passages from where I am in the book right now are particularly comforting in my current state of mind:

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Chapter XLIV Deadness to Exterior Things”

CHRIST

SON, in many things it behooveth thee to be ignorant, and to esteem thyself as one dead upon earth; as one to whom the whole world is crucified. Many things also must thou pass by with a deaf ear and think rather of those things that appertain to thy peace.

It is more profitable to turn away thine eyes from such things as displease thee, and to leave to everyone his own way of thinking, than to give way to contentious discourses.

If thou stand well with God, and look at His judgement, thou will more easily bear to see thyself overcome.

DISCIPLE

2. O Lord, to what are we come? Behold a temporal loss is greatly bewailed; for a small gain men labour and toil, but the loss of the soul is little thought of, and hardly returns to mind.

That which is of little or no profit takes up our thoughts; and that which is above all things necessary, is negligently passed over; for the whole man sinks down into outward things, and unless he quickly recovers himself, he willingly continues immersed in them.

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and

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“CHAPTER XLV  Men Are Prone to Offend”

DISCIPLE

GRANT me help, O Lord, from trouble, for vain is the salvation of man. (Ps 59:13).

How often have I not failed to find faith there where I thought I might depend upon it. And how often have I found it where I did not expect it? Vain, therefore, is all hope in men; but the safety of the just is in Thee, O Lord. Blessed be Thou, O Lord my God, in all tings that befall us.

We are weak and unsettled, we are quickly deceived and changed.

2. Who is the man that is able to keep him self so warily, and with so much circumspection in all things, as not to fall sometimes into some deceit or perplexity? But he that trusts in Thee, O Lord, and seeks Thee with a simple heart does not so easily fall (Wis. 1:11).

And if he fall into some tribulation, in what manner soever he may be entangled therein, he will quickly be rescued and comforted by Thee; for Thou wilt not forsake forever him that trusts in Thee. (Ps. 36:28). A trusty friend is rarely to be found that continues faithful in all the distresses of his friend. (Ecclus. 6:10). Thou, O Lord, Thou alone are most faithful in all things, and besides Thee, there are no other such.

3. Oh, how wise was that holy soul that said, My mind is strongly settled and grounded upon Christ. (Eph. 3:17). If it were so with me the fear of man would not so easily give me trouble, now flying words move me. Who can foresee all things, or who is able to provide against all future evils? If things foreseen do nevertheless often hurt us, how can things unlooked for fail of wounding us grieviously?

But why did I not provide better for myself, miserable wretch that I am! Why also have I also so easily given credit to others! But we are men and but frail men though by many we are reputed and called angels. To whom shall I give credit O Lord? To whom but to Thee? Thou art the truth which neither canst deceive, nor be deceived. (John 14:6). And on the other side, every man is a liar (Ps. 115:11), infirm, unstable, and subject to fail, especially in words; so that we ought not readily to believe even that which in appearance seems to sound well.

4. How wisely didst Thou forewarn us to beware of men (Matt. 10:17), and that a man’s enemies are they of his own household (Matt. 36); and that we are not to believe, if anyone should say “Behold here, or behold there.” (Matt. 24:23). I have been taught to my cost, and I wish it may serve to make me more cautious, and not to increase my folly. “Be wary,” saith one, “be wary, keep to thyself what I tell thee.” and whilst I hold my peace, and believe the matter to be secret, he himself cannot keep the secret which he desires me to keep, but presently betrays both me and himself, and goes his way.

From such tales and such incautious people defend me, O Lord, that I may not fall into their hands, or ever commit the like. Give to my mouth truth and constancy in my words, and remove far from me a crafty tongue. What I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means to shun.

5. Oh, how good a thing and how peaceable it is to be silent of others (Prov. 25:9), now to believe all that is said, nor easily to report what one has heard:

To lay one’s self open to few; always seek Thee, the beholder of the heart; Not to be carried about with every wind of words; but to wish that all things, both within and without us may go according to the pleasure of Thy will.  How secure it is for the keeping of heavenly grace to fly the sight of men; and not to seek those things which seem to cause admiration abroad; but with all diligence to follow that which brings amendment of life and fervour. To how many hath it been hurtful to have their virtue known and over-hastily praised.

How profitable indeed hath grace been kept with silence in this frail life! All which is a state of temptation and a warfare.

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Cheers

Joe

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Octave of Easter and the importance of Reverence in the Liturgy …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Continued on from my last post. First of all it appears that that large noisy crowds from the Easter Sunday morning Mass were actually not Catholic, that is they actually were a couple of families worth of non-catholic visitors attending for the rather large Easter First Communion of a couple of kids who are Catholic. That kind of behaviour is perfectly normal for unchurched secular modernist “none’s” who have no clue about appropriate behaviour in a church or place of worship. This morning the reverence and quiet returned together with the more normal behaviour of the congregation absent the unchurched sports bar crowd.

For the remainder, the regulars, the remnant, the Truth of our faith is that The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church his Spouse a memorial of his death and resurrection. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)

The Last Supper, Da Vinci, 1495-1498, oil/tempera on plaster, in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

The words that Jesus used during the Last Supper about the unleavened bread and the cup echo what He had said after He fed the 5,000: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink” (John 6:35; 51; 54-55).

Da Vinci’s “last Supper” masterpiece (image above right) was commissioned by Duke Ludovico Sforza for the refectory of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. I am quoting much of the following from an interesting web site about the Italian Rennaisance.The scene we see comes from the Gospel accounts on the night before Christ’s Passion and Death when Christ and the apostles are together in a room for supper. We are watching them at a point in the “Supper” narrative after which Christ has made a great revelation to the apostles that one of them will betray Christ (“One of you is about to betray me”, Matthew 26:21 ).

He is, of course, referring to Judas, but at this point in the Gospel there is a great outburst of emotion as all the apostles want to know who the betrayer is. We can see this emotion in the various apostles, who are linked by their hand movements. Emotions range from protest (Philip, #8) to sadness (John, next to Christ) to acceptance (Christ).

Judas, 3rd on the left from Christ is, however, shadowed and turned towards Christ so that we only see part of his face while he clutches his money bag, presumably containing the 30 silver pieces. At the time this was painted, Judas was normally arranged across the table from the other apostles in Last Supper depictions, but here he is depicted in the same grouping as John and Peter.

All of these figures would go on to play prominent roles in the Passion of Christ (Judas in the betrayal, Peter with his denials, and John who remains with Christ at the cross)“. But the point I am trying to emphasize here is that this is the evening when Christ Himself gave us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, the “Real Presence” living with us in every tabernacle in Christendom.

Sacro cuore di Jesù (“Sacred Heart of Jesus”), Pompeo Batoni, painting on the altar in the northern side chapel of Il Gesù in Rome, 1767

So we believe that Salvation comes through Christ and the sacrifice of His physical body on the cross. Recalling the words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest.

The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins.

This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. The real presence of the Creator of the Universe and everything in it including us, and who keeps us in existence moment by moment because He wills it. And we ignore this at our peril.

Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. . . . For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:51-55). This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called “real” not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real (cf. Catechism, no. 1374).

The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood. The important point here is that GOD in the person of Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe and everything in it, is truly and actually present and residing in every Tabernacle on every Alter in the Catholic world. This belief is one of the defining understandings which makes a Catholic believer “Latin rite Catholic”.

If one does not believe this tenant then one is, by definition, not a “Catholic”. That person who does not believe in the Real Presence may be Christian, they may even believe that they are indeed Catholic, but they are not a Catholic Christian. They are, at best, an ecumenical “smorgasbord” catholic in the same way that a member of the Anglican communion are catholic.

So what if one’s church turns into a spiritual “Sunday Smorg” similar in intent to the ubiquitous Sunday “Chinese Smorg” found in many small Alberta towns. What is one to do if one discovers that their particular church is drifting away from “revealed truth” into some sort of modernist quasi-spirituality arrived at by means of a popularity contest amongst competing “personal” truths?

This is an important question to some of us.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops sheds more light on this mystery thus:

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What does it mean that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine? How does this happen? The presence of the risen Christ in the Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery that the Church can never fully explain in words. We must remember that the triune God is the creator of all that exists and has the power to do more than we can possibly imagine.

USCCB headquarters in Washington April 28, 2011. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec) (April 28, 2011)

As St. Ambrose said: “If the word of the Lord Jesus is so powerful as to bring into existence things which were not, then a fortiori those things which already exist can be changed into something else” ( De Sacramentis, IV, 5-16). God created the world, in time, in order to share his life with persons who are not God. This great plan of salvation reveals a wisdom that surpasses our understanding.

But we are not left in ignorance: for out of his love for us, God reveals his truth to us in ways that we can understand through the gift of faith and the grace of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We are thus enabled to understand at least in some measure what would otherwise remain unknown to us, though we can never completely comprehend the mystery of God.

As successors of the Apostles and teachers of the Church, the bishops have the duty to hand on what God has revealed to us and to encourage all members of the Church to deepen their understanding of the mystery and gift of the Eucharist. In order to foster such a deepening of faith, we have prepared this text to respond to fifteen questions that commonly arise with regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

We offer this text to pastors and religious educators to assist them in their teaching responsibilities. We recognize that some of these questions involve rather complex theological ideas. It is our hope, however, that study and discussion of the text will aid many of the Catholic faithful in our country to enrich their understanding of this mystery of the faith.”

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And there are, in fact, other “Catholic” churches, other rites in communion with the Latin rite.

Because we believe in “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church,” some might object, “There is only one Church, so how can we speak of many ‘Churches?'” It’s helpful to consider an analogy used by the Church Fathers: While there are three distinct Persons who share the One Divine Essence, there are likewise many autonomous individual Churches that make up the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. As it is with the Triune Godhead, we must be careful not to blur true and important distinctions of the individuals in order to emphasize their unity.

Eastern Catholic Churches, 2019

When Christ founded His Church, He commissioned the apostles to go out into the world to preach and baptize. Most Catholics are familiar with the founding of the see of Rome by Peter.

The primacy of that Church was sealed with the blood of Peter and Paul, and the succession of bishops continues to the present day. What many do not know is that the other apostles themselves founded churches, and that their own successions of bishops continue as well.

As presently defined, there are 24 Catholic Churches that can be grouped into eight different rites. A rite is a liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony of a distinct people manifested in a Church.

While each Catholic Church may have its own rite or customs, in general, there are only eight major rites. History, language, misunderstandings, nationalism, and basic human weakness have resulted in the current communion of 24 Churches. And then there are additional sources of orthodoxy in the form of  Prelatures, Ordinariates, and so on in which licit Masses and Sacraments can be found.

So, if one’s own particular church falls into unbelief and heresy either by active denial of a critical truth, or by passive denial in the manner of their lack of affirmation of support of said truths;  by their conduct against  or lack of conduct in support of a critical belief, are there then any other rites readily available to us and are they a viable alternative path in order to fulfill our obligations?

More to follow as I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Last Sunday …Easter Sunday & The Octave of Easter …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Notre Dame de Paris … not the only fire in the Catholic Church. The uncontrolled flames of the “Modernism” heresy seem to have gutted her.

A week ago, on Easter Sunday morning, at Mass in my parish church, the MOST important Mass in the entire liturgical year, I had an epiphany.

Now, to be clear, my understanding of “epiphany” is: “derived from the Greek word epiphaneia, epiphany means “appearance,” or “manifestation.”

In literary terms, an epiphany is that moment in the story where a character achieves realization, awareness, or a feeling of knowledge, after which events are seen through the prism of this new light in the story”.

My epiphany was a sudden clarity of perception at the point when the Mass was ended and priest blessed the congregation and instructed them “Go forth the Mass is ended”. And the congregation responded “Thanks be to God”.

This would “normally” be the moment when many parishioners would kneel and pray for a while thanking God for all His blessings and benefits, and for once again coming into our lives personally.

Even more people, perhaps the majority of those present, would file out onto the steps of the church to discuss how things were going in their lives and shake hands with the priest, and generally turn things into a social occasion for chatting after Mass with people who had not been seen for a week and so on and so forth. That would be pretty normal and has been the scene after Mass in the Catholic church in Canada since I was a kid.

What actually happened, what I really noticed this time around, is that the church suddenly turned into a loud sports bar with people turning to their neighbour and shaking hands and just in the space of a breath the quiet of the Mass was completely wiped out by loud boisterous voices  yelling and talking and shouting over each other and over the Recessional music which is reasonably supposed to hint at an orderly and respectful egress from our Lord’s Presence and from the place of worship.

The Last Supper, Juan de Juanes 1523 – 1579, oil on panel (116 × 191 cm) — ca. 1560, in Museo del Prado, Madrid.

I noticed it this time probably because I was in the midst of the shouters instead of actually singing the recessional from the ambo as cantor. The parishioners didn’t even try to leave the pews and meet outside on the church steps .. they just couldn’t wait to share their “Good News”.

Everyone turned their back on the Lord in His tabernacle and ignored and profaned the most important and revered person in the universe to get on with their social gathering.

And this continued for the better part of half an hour. Everyone ignored our Lord, real and present in His tabernacle behind the alter before gradually winding down and moving on to a better venue, perhaps with beer and wings or wherever – the grocery store, Sunday dinner, whatever.

And the epiphany was that I realized that my fellow parishioners were/are not actually Catholic. These parishioners (rather obviously) do not believe in the real presence in the Blessed Sacrament.

And the more I thought about it the more I saw the truth of it. Almost no one believes in the real presence, no one believes in confession, no one believes in the importance of reverence in liturgy, no one believes in the traditions which have kept the faith alive for more than 2000 years. Our parishes have become nothing more than “Social Clubs”, much like all the Protestant parishes around us.

This is the norm in most Protestant sects, now so noticeably fragmenting and in decline across our land, but this is the first time that it hit me like a hammer blow to the heart that our nominally Roman Catholic congregations seem to share this lack of faith … they are, really, no longer “Catholic” in the most important matter of faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist … no longer Catholic.

Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Here in the early years of the 21st century the Catholic Church here in my normal modern parish is dead. This parish, perhaps this Archdiocese, perhaps the entire Canadian Catholic Church, is no longer “Catholic” by any traditional definition of “Catholic”.

So what is Joe supposed to do now? I don’t really know … I am at a loss and the ideas are not coming freely at this point.  So let me tell a short story about Joe. Well, as gentle reader no doubt knows, this blog is Joe’s blog, so it is no surprise that a story about Joe comes up.

I will continue this in my next post, perhaps … I need to pray and think on this and perhaps consult other more level heads as to what is appropriate to discuss and what is not.

More to follow as and when I feel moved …

Cheers

Joe

… the dream time …

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Life in a small town

Thoughts of our society … on Holy Saturday …

“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)

Yesterday was Good Friday, and as I always do now, I watched “The Passion Of The Christ”.  Good Friday is still a statutory holiday in Canada though it passes understanding why that should be in this essentially godless nation. It is a sign of the times, I suppose, that the bare bones of the old Christian culture which made the nation, still survive today, sheltering the godless in the ruins of everything good and holy.

Jesus Taken Down From the Cross, from “The Passion Of The Christ”.

I don’t know … but I look at that picture below of the ruins of the Vatican II alter in the foreground, and The High Altar behind, standing untouched with its gleaming Cross, and the Blessed Virgin weeping, holding her dead Jesus in her arms. It makes me think … am I the only one, … again … I strongly suspect not.

 

Inside Notre Dame

As I have posted before, I am tempted to consider the dictum “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Were I not already a committed Catholic Christian I suspect I would be tempted by Nazari Islam. The question of trust remains a stumbling block and I remain faithful to my Master.

Then again, there is the Prophecy of Fatima and our Lady Maryam, recounted by Archbishop Fulton Sheen years ago, a prophecy that through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima the Muslim world will be united with the Catholic world and become the one religion of the one God.

Imagine that … just for a moment … what a world that would be, no? What would the unbelieving secular progressive leadership of the west be able to do about 4 billion believers? Could the believers influence a change for the better?

So after Ottawa in October, it is an Interesting future I see – over 50% of the world’s population united against the godless bureaucracies of Mordor and the Antichrist. hmmm … We can always pray.

For now all I see is a post-apocalyptic wasteland of self worship, casual murder, and mass atrocities threatening the health and well-being of all the blind citizenry.  Maybe I am too pessimistic but that view is shared by others, far more perceptive and intelligent than I … (from The Catholic Herald) …

Cardinal Sarah kneels before the Blessed Sacrament in Toronto (University of St Michael’s College) Photo: Catholic Herald

“… Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.

Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism.

This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.”

So, in conclusion I will quote from a post from several years ago, which was itself a quote from another blogger who I think highly of, which article I commisioned:

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” … (our) new civilization has its own cosmological conception (the Darwinite vision of randomness); its own moral ethos (wherein every person is a law unto himself); its own intellectual and aesthetic norms (establishing that not only beauty, but truth, and goodness, are in the eye of the beholder).

It is governed by metastasizing rules and regulations — in which custom has, formally, no jurisdiction. Faith itself, and the conduct it has governed, is taken to be a purely personal matter, and all values associated with common belief may be dismissed as equally arbitrary. This leaves arbitrary “equality” as the one ideal: the value that denies all other values. Pope Benedict called this, “the dictatorship of relativism,” and those who resist its dictates may very well find themselves in court.

From thirty-five years ago, I recall a book that was on many coffee tables: The Culture of Narcissism, by Christopher Lasch. It was an essay in post-modern sociology, but in its season it clanged a big bell. Lasch wrote of the destruction of the traditional family by the “organized kindness” that had assumed its functions; of the radical movements that emerged in the ‘sixties to enforce the atomism that was the inevitable result.

And then he plunged into psychological observation, reviewing everything from New Age cult affiliations, to the popular obsession with oral sex. By the 1970s, the typical American was displaying not some, but all the symptoms of what had once been diagnosed, in the psychology textbooks, as pathological narcissism (Any reader who is interested should also consult Lasch’s much-ignored sequel, The Minimal Self, in which he spades deeper into the XIXth-century roots of this phenomenon, and defends the objectivity of his thesis against both critics on his Left, and inconvenient fans on his Right.)

We’re beyond that now. Even the word “narcissism” tends to be employed in pathologically narcissistic ways. And while that older, Christian worldview remains — now as a counter-culture, providing closed environments in which narcissistic behaviour is still instinctively punished — it is going underground. For this new orthodoxy also invaded, and made a conquest of most of the Church, as well as rolling over the “mainstream” Protestant congregations.

The victory of narcissism is glaringly apparent in every single liturgical innovation of the New Mass: from the turning of the priest towards the people, to the stripping of the altar now placed between them; and in every direction from there. The new gestures, from the 1960s forward, distract consistently from the divine presence, and mediate a message that is “all about you.”

And so it is with the lonely at Easter, vaguely remembering some other age. It is all about them. For most my age — and I am getting older — it has been all about us since time out of mind. We grew up in the Pepsi generation. (the) nursing homes are now filled with contemporaries of the Beatles and Elvis Presley, as one may discover in the foyer, when they’re wheeled down for a sing-along. Their memories of Christmas and Easter go back, increasingly, to broken homes, where what they actually remember is themselves being “in the way” of their parents’ private lives.

Their memories, too, are free of church attendance, and so throw back to the commercialized sentimentality of treats and gift-wrapped, heavily-advertised products around a casually decorated Christmas tree, Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies and shredded tissue basket stuffing — a kind of semi-annual pay-off for minding their own business.

And, what is the most terrible thing I have seen in there, when that past is challenged, and anything better is proposed: that flicker of defiance, that parody of faith which still declares, after a lifetime of sin and error: “I’m as good as you are!” For it was a culture of narcissism to which they bought in.

This is the new orthodoxy, which Christians must be careful to respect, as tourists remove their shoes when entering a mosque. For it is considered extremely bad form, to disturb the votaries while they are at prayer, making their devotions to the pond image.

But the winds howl, and the waters roughen, and Christ was always coming. It is something to think about, for no matter how you cut it — whether you are a traditional Christian (there can be no other kind), or a perfectly conventional, orthodox Narcissist — the message of Easter is not, never was, and by its meaning never will be, “all about you.”

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I wish you a thoughtful Holy Saturday …

Cheers

Joe

Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatum

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Life in a small town

The Fetid Swamp …

Ballad Of A Thin Man”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Highway 61 Revisited”, (1965)

Pond Scum

Have you ever noticed, somewhere along the way, as kids playing on the back 40, the result of throwing a rock into a stagnant pond covered in Green scum.

Green scum always forms when the environment is rich in nutrients and there is no circulation of cold blue water from the “lower strata” to the warm comfortable surface organisms bathed by the sun.

One throws the rock … the heavier the better … and the calm surface is shattered revealing just how shallow that top layer is and then there are the remarkable follow on effects … the large bubbles of trapped gasses and detritus, the roiling silt released from the “lower strata”.

And the bubbles just keep rising up into view, releasing their stink of long hidden corruption which the Green scum have been trying to keep contained and hidden from view under a nice Eco-friendly coating of Green.

So how do we get that circulation going?  Well there are very few ways that don’t involve disturbing the stagnant pond. To make a change to a stagnant pond requires disturbing the existing strata of power and the existing food chain, the introduction of “fresh” oxygen and new predators to disrupt the food chain and take down the number of organisms which have flourished and over populated the stagnant water for so long.

“Green” is a primary symptom but not the cause. The cause is the owners of the pond ignoring the problem for too long. So, we reduce the number of existing parasitic life forms in the ecosystem by adding the influence of large numbers of smaller organisms that choose to change to existing stagnant ecosystem to better suit their requirements …

 

Pest Control

And we stir up the pond to get new nutrients circulating and to ad fresh air to the ecosystem and to bring to light many things which have remained hidden for  … well, even years.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman arrives to court in Ottawa on Thursday, March 28, 2019,  Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Here’s a few ideas which might help any owner decide to change up the old ways of seeing things. Check out the “Hot Off The Press” article here from the Toronto Sun.

Or how about this one right here. The nightmare vision of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lurking about the province like the ghost of his long dead father before him, and snuggled up to Rachel Notley’s NDP like their new BFF was enough for Albertans to make United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney their premier-elect.

Alberta United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on election night at Big Four Roadhouse in Calgary. Al Charest/Postmedia

I posted about this incestuous relationship back in December 2016.

And in the CP photo on the right, below, we see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, BFF’s,  chatting prior to a round-table meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

And in other news about that time, December 2016, we have Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most of the premiers (where are they now?) signed a historic pan-Canadian framework Friday to fight climate change and meet the country’s 2030 emissions reduction targets (Kyoto Accords, Jean Chretien, 1997 ),

But the Headlines read: “Trudeau announces ‘pan-Canadian framework’ on climate — but Sask., Manitoba hold off” Not quite a done deal then?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley chat prior to a roundtable meeting with oil and gas producers in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/CP)

The Progressive Socialists have been trying desperately to ram Emissions Targets down our throats for almost 20 years.  but a day of tense talks failed to convince two provinces to get onside.

Now, in 2019 we have a wave of new leadership everywhere but the Left Coast and Newfoundland, preparing to go head to head with Boy Justin in the courts, the same courts which are so busy just now trying to deal with all his other booboos.

In case anyone forgot, in the heady rush of election victory, the Trudeau Liberals and their vainglorious leader have been rattled to the gunnels by silly antics, ethics breaches, leaks, miscalculations and scandals, and as I linked to above, the mere mention of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s name must bring on visions of yet another hell on the horizon.

As I have mentioned before, our politics matter. I found an interesting concise paragraph on politics at Commentary Magazine a while ago. Here is a clip from that article:

*****

At the core of every social, political, and economic system is a picture of human nature, to paraphrase the 20th century columnist Walter Lippmann. The way that picture developments determines the lives we lead, the institutions we build, and the civilization we create.

The political philosophy of Madison produces one set of results; the political philosophy of Marx produces another; (ed. and the philosophy of ISIS produces yet another)

So yes: ideas move politics in one direction or the other, toward justice or away from it. Like all things human, it’s imperfect, frustrating, and fraught with failure. It’s a long, hard grind. And it’s not always aesthetically pleasing.

But cynicism that leads to political disengagement–the world-weary, pox-on-both-your-houses, what difference does it make, I don’t give a damn attitude that seems rather fashionable and trendy these days–can lead to disaster.

Because someone’s ideas will prevail. If ones that advance justice and human flourishing win out, it won’t be by accident or by default. It’ll be the product of determined effort; of those who do not grow weary in doing good.

*****

So, enough for a Good Friday post, there are other more important things to pay attention to … for eternity.

Cheers

Joe

Quid Hoc Ad Aeternitatum

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Life in a small town

A Sea of Blue … a look into the future

Just a couple of points on what the future might hold for long suffering Canadians. Always remember of course that it is always possible, even maybe likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by some egotistical snafu by some loudmouth. However we can always pray.

Here is where we were in 2015 …

Canada Provincial Governments May 5th 2015

and a couple of nights ago Alberta did this:

A Sea of Blue … Alberta Election April 16th 2019

So now Boy Justin faces a Conservative Canada everywhere in West and Central Canada, and the voters are thinking this:

Canadian Voter Intention – IPSOS POLLING

And Boy Justin is telling Canadians that they need to tighten their belt and start paying the Liberal Carbon Tax  while ignoring the SNC Lavelin scandal … it makes you think … hmmm

Estevan Carbon Sequestering Operation …

We have had the technology to burn Coal as cleanly as Natural Gas since at least as far back as the late 70’s. Alberta alone has enough coal to meet all the energy needs of North America for the next 400 years at current rates of growth.

That’s not counting our oil and gas sector and that fact that we are a perfect environment for building and operating Nuclear power plants and selling cheap Canadian energy to the demanding U.S. market.

But none of that would put money into the pockets of the Liberal Party and their environmentalist backers like Hungarian Billionaire George Soros … Ever hear of the Tides Foundation?  Tides Canada is a major Liberal Party backer … who knew?

Cheers

Joe

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Life in a small town

A vast sea of blue with an orange island … and a couple of other things …

“The Banks Of Green Willow”, Vaughan-Williams: “The London Symphony Orchestra & Richard Hickox”, 2001

Alberta Election 2019. Blue = Conservative, Orange = Socialists

Well, the Alberta Election yesterday turned out OK. In the following image the Blue is the United Conservative Party and the Orange is the NDP and as I mentioned, the rest were just votesplitters.

Alberta Election 2019 – United Conservative Party majority

Leading and elected – 44 needed for majority

UCP 63 seats, Pop vote: 55.12% Elected: 60 Lead: 3

NDP 24 urban seats (All Academic/University and Government “Worker” Union supported Ridings), Pop vote: 32.22% Elected: 24 Lead: 0

All the votesplitters crashed and burned, none elected. all wiped out – all wasted votes by fence sitters.

Look upon this map and despair Redmonton, there really is something in your water.

On other fronts we have an interesting photo from Paris … of Notre Dame of course …

Notre Dame by AFP

The day after the night before at Notre Dame de Paris.

The High Altar stands untouched with its gleaming Cross, and the Blessed Virgin weeping holding her dead Jesus in her arms.

The modern Altar installed after Vatican II, lays under the rubble from the collapsed roof.

From another blog I follow daily, we have:

Later, one Macron (ed. some important French Bureaucrat) appeared  on the TV, talking in long syllables about the rebuilding which would follow. I thought: Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum …. (ed. translated from the Latin as “Except the Lord build the house …”, I think its close, anyway)

Apparently, the use of public money would not offend against laicite because Notre Dame is, culturally, so much bigger a thing than mere Christianity.

So that’s all right, then.

Some arty person, interviewed this morning, explained that the rebuilt Cathedral will of course be disentangled from the (Christian) myths which led to its building. More or less back to the Revolution, and the Goddess Reason. Since first writing this piece, I still feel cold about the emotions”

Inside Notre Dame

I have a hunch the “arty person” is feeling pretty smug about now … and completely missed the point … these “important” opinions have been around since at least Gamaliel’s day … Perhaps listen to wise council O thou “arty person”:

*****

Acts 5:27-39 from the New American Standard Bible:

27When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32“And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Gamaliel’s Counsel
33But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 34But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.

35And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36“For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.

37“After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38“So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;

39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

40They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

42And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

*****

And so it has been for over 2000 years now and no nation or power or person or even the Gates Of Hell have prevailed against Jesus’s Church. And a very large number of people have tried. Where are they now?

I don’t know … but I look at that picture of The High Altar standing untouched with its gleaming Cross, and the Blessed Virgin weeping holding her dead Jesus in her arms. It makes me think … am I the only one, again … I strongly suspect not.

Cheers

Joe

So, God will look after Notre Dame, … Alberta voters have taken control and freed their Province from the Socialist tyranny … all that’s left here is the Scouring … next stop Ottawa …

Justin, we are coming, with many Freman warriors … we are your worst nightmare … Trick or Treat!

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

They Also Serve … The Passion of Christ … Prayer and Atonement … Election Results

“Deep Peace”, Bill Douglas, from the album of the same name, (1996)

John Milton, ca 1629

John Milton was totally blind by age 40. “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” is one of the best known of the sonnets of John Milton (d. 1674).

The last three lines (concluding with “They also serve who only stand and wait.”) are particularly well known, although rarely quoted in context.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

by John Milton (d. 1674). This sonnet was first published in Milton’s 1673 Poems

The Gospel of Matthew, composed between AD 80 and 90

When Milton writes “that one talent which is death to hide” he is specifically alluding to the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Matthew.

And I would add, for a modern audience who might never have heard of it … they also serve who only stand and wait … and pray.  This was assumed in the day of Milton and his culture … and pray.

So here is a prayer for Passion Week, the week leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

*****

O Lord of my soul, how quick we are to offend You! But how much quicker are You to forgive us! What am I saying Lord! The sorrows of death have encompassed me. Alas! What a great evil is sin, since it could put God Himself to death with such terrible sufferings! And those same sufferings surround You today, O my Lord! Where can You go that You are not tortured. Men cover You with wounds in all your members.

Christians, this is the hour to defend your King, and to keep Him company in the profound isolation in which He finds Himself. How few, O Lord, are the servants who remain faithful to You! … The worst of it is that there are some who profess to be Your friends in public, but who sell You in secret. You can scarcely find one in whom You can trust. O my God, true Friend, how badly does he repay You who betrays You!

O true Christians, come to weep with your God! It was not only over Lazarus that He shed tears of compassion, but over all those who, in spite of His call, would never rise from the dead. At that time, my Love, You saw even the sins that I would commit against You. May they be at an end, and with them, those of all sinners. Grant that these dead may come to life. May Your voice, Lord, be strong enough to give them life, even if they do not ask it of You.

Lazarus did not ask You to bring him back to life, and yet You restored life to him at the prayer of a sinner. Here is another sinner, my God, and much more culpable than she was. Let, then, Your mercy shine forth! I ask it of You in spite of my wretchedness, for those who will not ask.”

St. Teresa of Avila,  1515 – 1582

*****

In a recent interview, given to The Catholic Herald, Robert Cardinal Sarah said in answer to question 8:

Robert Cardinal Sarah, in 2015

“First I would like to explain why I, a son of Africa, allow myself to address the West. The Church is the guardian of civilization. I am convinced that western civilization is passing at present through a mortal crisis. It has reached the extreme of self-destructive hate. As during the fall of Rome, elites are only concerned to increase the luxury of their daily life and the peoples are being anesthetized by ever more vulgar entertainment.

As a bishop, it is my duty to warn the West! The barbarians are already inside the city. The barbarians are all those who hate human nature, all those who trample upon the sense of the sacred, all those who do not value life, all those who rebel against God the Creator of man and nature. The West is blinded by science, technology, and the thirst for riches. The lure of riches, which liberalism spreads in hearts, has sedated the peoples.

At the same time, the silent tragedy of abortion and euthanasia continue and pornography and gender ideology destroy children and adolescents. We are accustomed to barbarism. It doesn’t even surprise us anymore!

I want to raise a cry of alarm, which is also a cry of love. I do so with a heart full of filial gratitude for the Western missionaries who died in my land of Africa and who communicated to me the precious gift of faith in Jesus Christ. I want to follow their lead and receive their inheritance!

How could I not emphasize the threat posed by Islamism? Muslims despise the atheistic West. They take refuge in Islamism as a rejection of the consumer society that is offered to them as a religion.

Can the West present them the Faith in a clear way? For that it will have to rediscover its Christian roots and identity. To the countries of the third world, the West is held out as a paradise because it is ruled by commercial liberalism. This encourages the flow of migrants, so tragic for the identity of peoples. A West that denies its faith, its history, its roots, and its identity is destined for contempt, for death, and disappearance.

But I would like to point out that everything is prepared for a renewal. I see families, monasteries, and parishes that are like oases in the middle of a desert. It is from these oases of faith, liturgy, beauty, and silence that the West will be reborn.

*****

…I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]… Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them..Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, Jesus to St. Faustina, n. 1160, 848

*****

And finally, for a criminally low price of 99 cents U.S. on Kindle, we have a treasure like unto “The Pearl of Great Price”. We have Daniel O’Connor, in his new book The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta

“In His revelations to Luisa, Jesus goes so far as to say that it is the enemies of the Church who are necessary in order to purge and purify her. It is difficult to think of stronger words; but it’s becoming increasingly impossible to ignore them. Today, it is sadly the Church’s enemies—Godless, secular people who have long hated her—who are doing what the Bishops should have done long ago: dealing with the sin of sexual abuse as strongly as it should be dealt with and exposing the perpetrators.

In this passage, Jesus prophesies today’s crisis to Luisa 100 years before it began; although He does not explicitly refer to the crisis as involving sexual abuse, I think it is safe to say that this is one of the major things (if not the major thing) He intended when He said to Luisa: I was praying blessed Jesus to confound the enemies of the Church, and my always lovable Jesus, in coming, told me:

“My daughter, I could confound the enemies of the Holy Church, but I don’t want to. If I did so, who would purge my Church? The members of the Church, and especially those who occupy positions and heights of dignity, have their eyes dazzled, and they blunder a great deal, reaching the point of protecting the false virtuous and oppressing and condemning the true good.

This grieves Me so much—to see those few true children of mine under the weight of injustice; those children from whom my Church must rise again and to whom I am giving much grace to dispose them to this… I see them placed with their backs to the wall, and bound to prevent their step. This grieves Me so much, that I feel I am all fury for their sake!

Listen my daughter, I am all sweetness, benign, clement and merciful; so much so, that because of my sweetness I enrapture hearts. But I am also strong, as to be able to crush and reduce to ashes those who not only oppress the good, but reach the point of preventing the good which they want to do. Ah! you cry over the secular, and I cry over the painful wounds which are in the body of the Church.

These grieve Me so much as to surpass the wounds of the secular, because they come from the side from which I did not expect it, and induce Me to make the secular rail against them.”[785] Here, Jesus says clearly what it has taken until now for the boldest of voices in the Church to acknowledge: The enemies of the Church, paradoxically, have now proven necessary for the Church in order to purge it. For the leaders of the Church—the Bishops—go so far as to “protect the false virtuous” (predator priests) and “condemn the true good” (traditional, orthodox-minded priests).

Daniel O’Connor, “The Crown of Sanctity: On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta (p. 296).”

*****

Well, I gotta check the election results, cause I wouldn’t be a good little neanderthal knuckle-dragger if I went to bed without looking it up. I guess that is just about enough for now so I will say goodnight and “Hasta la vista, baby”.

Cheers

Joe

Good news tonight here in our little Rohan of the North.

The people have spoken, and the Now Word is “GOODBYE NDP”.

Does anyone remember de-Nazification?

Its time to Scour the Shire, and Jason Kenney is making noises about turning off the taps to the East and the West Coast. We can always pray.

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Life in a small town

SpaceX, … and another take on Canadian Health Care …

Morning Dew”, Adrian von Ziegler, from the album “Wanderer”, 2011

Ledger Hauptbuch der Gemischtwarenhandlung Hochstetter, vor 1828

Mostly these few days I am buried in Year End accounting which is  mindnumbingly boring and I won’t share that with anyone.

The result of the numb mind is a very slow day for thinking and opinionating. Here is just some stuff that popped up today in my inbox.

The inbox occasionally gives some uplifting distraction for a moment or two. So here are a couple of things relating to some of my recent posts and interests.

The items below relate to that post where I was talking about “Beautiful Technology as an Idol”, and the general Idols of “Goods” we think of as “ends in and of themselves”, the “Good” in this case being the “Free” health Care we take for granted in Canada.

WATCH LIVE: ARABSAT-6A MISSION

SpaceX is targeting Wednesday, April 10 for a Falcon Heavy launch of the Arabsat-6A satellite from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The primary launch window opens at 6:35 p.m. EDT, or 22:35 UTC, and closes at 8:32 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 10, or 00:32 p.m. UTC on Thursday, April 11. A backup launch window opens on Thursday, April 11 at 6:35 p.m. EDT, or 22:35 UTC, and closes at 8:31 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 11, or 00:31 UTC on Friday, April 12. The satellite will be deployed approximately 34 minutes after liftoff.

Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters will attempt to land at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 and LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Falcon Heavy’s center core will attempt to land on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.​

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch Vehicle

The live launch webcast will begin about 20 minutes before liftoff at spacex.com/webcast.

Now it seems that the healthcare article I was going to refer to was on “Quora Digest” but it disappeared over night, which annoyance has prompted me to get rid of my Quora digest account since this website is THE MOST ANNOYING website I have ever encountered since the web was invented.

Anyway, I will just get to the point, and that is that every Province has a different health care system, controlled by each province and there are certain national commonalities resulting from the Federal Funding Model which supports each province’s health care system.

Staffing levels and availability of service (The source  of the unhappiness for the Texas born nurse living in a small town in Ontario) are a provincial issue and vary widely from East to West across the country. Alberta comes out pretty good in certain areas compared to Ontario or Nova Scotia for example.

The differences are the direct result of provincial government priorities and policies. We still have the most expensive health care on the planet, and it is an open question whether it is a “good” system depending on how your experience has been over the years in your jurisdiction. It is really a crap shoot and what ever you get it still costs bazillions in tax dollars.

The grass is always greener, right?

Cheers,

Joe

ISS Astronaut on the end of the Canadarm. No trust issues here.

Have you heard about “The Web Of Trust“? I guess parachutes are not required in space.

NO, it is not the left lib internet content rating agency which exists solely to block access to anyone who doesn’t agree with the Progressive Left Wing meme-du-jour.

 

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Here We Stand … Hae nobis propriae sedes

“Waiting On The Night To Fall”, by “Casting Crowns”, from the album “Thrive” (2014)

Yes indeed … waiting on the night to fall … and it is falling, isn’t it?  I have a small selection of Web blogs which I read regularly, at least weekly and I am going to share links here because I have found these writers helpful in my own quest … expressing other insights into the same questions and helping me avoid “scope creep” in my own quest.

Letter of Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen, April 17th, 2018

Letter of Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen, April 17th, 2018

The first one (on the list that is, not necessarily in importance) is the Canadian blogger Mark Mallett and his blog “The Now Word, Reflections on Our Times”.   Mark Mallett, a one time TV reporter, is a Roman Catholic singer/songwriter and missionary. He has performed and preached throughout North America and abroad.

The messages posted on Mark’s website are the fruit of prayer and ministry. Mark is very current and he doesn’t pull any punches, but his views are charitable and restrained with respect to the human players. He sets my bar when it comes to “Fraternal Charity” and I often write something in my own posts and then after reading what Mark has to say I edit or rewrite what I have written about the event in question.

Any postings on Mark’s site which contain elements of “private revelation” have been subjected to the discernment of Mark’s spiritual director. I included a letter from his Bishop (image on the right) which he posted on his blog-site on the “about Mark” page.  For a recent example of his work, Mark writes on Robert Cardinal Sarah’s interview with The Catholic Herald:

CARDINAL Sarah has given a stunning, perceptive and prescient interview in the Catholic Herald today. It not only repeats “the now word” in terms of the warning that I have been compelled to speak for over a decade, but most especially and importantly, the solutions. Here are some of the key thoughts from Cardinal Sarah’s interview along with links for new readers to some of my writings that parallel and expand his observations”.

*****

Father John HunwickThe second Blog-site which I follow regularly is that of the British blogger Fr. John Hunwicke, titled Fr. Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment”   Father Hunwicke was for nearly three decades at Lancing College; where he taught Latin and Greek language and literature, was Head of Theology, and Assistant Chaplain. He has served three curacies, been a Parish Priest, and Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House in Oxford. Since 2011, he has been in full communion with the See of S Peter.

Fr. Hunwicke asserts: The opinions expressed on this Blog are not asserted as being those of the Magisterium of the Church, but as the writer’s opinions as a private individual. Nevertheless, the writer strives, hopes, and prays that the views he expresses are conformable with and supportive of the Magisterium. In this blog, the letters PF stand for Pope Francis. On this blog, ‘Argumentum ad hominem’ refers solely to the Lockean definition, “Pressing a man with the consequences of his own concessions“.

Fr. John has a deep (and sometimes obscure) interest and expertise in “old” liturgical rites and prayers, pre-Vatican II Catholic and Anglican liturgical practices and also a very current and even humourous eye for the goings on in the “modern Roman Curia, The Church of England Hierarchy, and the Catholic and Anglican church at large”.  I appreciate greatly his restraint, and at the same time his dry humour, irony and even satirical observations. He helps me to stay focused, restrained, and to practice “fraternal charity”, when confronted with some of the more egregious “missteps” of our current batch of Curial managers in Rome and in the rest of the Catholic world.

*****

Third, there is the American blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, writing at “Fr. Z’s Blog“, formerly entitled: “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” – Clear, straight commentary on Catholic issues, liturgy and life by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬)    In Fr. Z’s own words: “This blog is like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.” – Fr. Z

I don’t really have any images for Fr. Z. so I guess I will just include an excerpt from a recent post “The Internet Prayer” which I enjoyed:  “… Meanwhile, here is the English (version).  A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.

(and) Finally, I’m still waiting for an improved version in Klingon.”

And just for good measure another post on cooking and “traditional” recipes:  “Lately, Sundays have found me in the kitchen making something interesting… to me, at least. 

Yesterday I had a hankerin’ for Ragù alla bolognese.  When I say “ragù” I don’t mean something in a jar!  Ragù alla bolognese is a classic from one of the truly amazing foodie regions of Italy – and that’s saying a lot – Emilia-Romagna and, so they say, Bologna in particular. 

The denizens of Bologna, as a matter of fact, have codified the “official” recipe via their chamber of commerce.   You can use this ragù (French ragoût from ragoûter… “revive flavor”) directly on various shapes of pasta or as a layer with lasagne.   Broad, flat noodles, such as tagliatelle and pappardelle are great.  I used the latter, dried.  I was a too lazy to make fresh. This sauce is easy to make, but you need patience and time.”

*****

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

David Warren

Fourth and last, for today, but by no means least, is the Canadian blogger David Warren. He posts 4 or 5 times a week, a slightly less charitable view of the world than the above three, but no less elegant in his own way.

Because David is closer to my heart, I actually have his site as my default Home Page on my browser so the first thing I see each day when I log on is whatever new words of wisdom and repartee David has seen fit to share with the world.

Irony and Satire figure in many of his posts both on his own site at “Essays in Idleness, but also he aims for a broader audience with his occasional op ed pieces on “The Catholic Thing“. There are many other writers of worthy articles in the archives at “The Catholic Thing”.

Back in 2015, over at David Warren’s site Essays in Idleness we found “Hae nobis propriae sedes” Virgil, Aeneid 3 147-149,  in English I think it is something like “This Will Be Our Proper Place“, according to Google Translate, but I’m no scholar so I may have missed the mark on that. Anyway, David is a beautiful writer and I enjoy his insight. Here is an old post in full from October 2015, or better yet, just go and read his stuff at his own site, it would certainly be worth one’s time.

*****

Hae nobis propriae sedes

If the Viking priests from the age of the Orkneyinga Saga Orkneyinga Saga(composed eight centuries ago, about matters through centuries before it), returned suddenly to their old haunt on Papa Stronsay, they would have lively conversation with the current inhabitants. As they could not speak English, nor these new monks Old Norse, the chatter would be in Latin. The Mass they would celebrate together would also be in Latin, of course, and the Vikings would have no difficulty in following it. For it was their Mass, too.

The gentle reader who does not already know about the Transalpine Redemptorist presence in Orkney may inform himself (here, and perhaps also, here). For it is more than the “romantic story,” of a genuinely counter-cultural adventure. In some sense one might say that the living centre of the Catholic Church is now more on that bleak, and beautiful island of Papa Stronsay, than in the heart of today’s pagan Rome. This seems especially so in light of the recent Synod; as to me, after reading the current pope’s latest remarks at the conclusion of it — full of his characteristic slights and insults towards traditional practitioners of the Catholic faith.

I know that many faithful are hurting, or quite understandably angry; that they feel violated and betrayed. That is why I am writing like this, reminding that Christ will bind wounds; that He will not betray us. Christ goes where He is wanted, and under present circumstances that is far, far away, “to the peripheries” — or rather, let us cut the cheap sociological blather and say, “to the ends of the Earth.” He is in love with the bright-eyed peoples of Africa; and with those suffering under murderous tyrannies in Asia and the Middle East. By contrast in Europe, and here in the Americas, in our life of fat and consumption, we now have little use for Him; and so He leaves us to find our own way, progressively, downward.

Yet in many rural and remote places, and even sometimes in little neighbourhoods within the huge, fraught cities of these once-Christian realms, His Church is flourishing. The numbers may be tiny in proportion to the general population, but wherever that old Latin Mass is sung, there are vocations, and there is revival. Where it is not, the Church is dying out; and yet here, too, where the Mass of the Ages, and through it the teaching of the ages, is no longer made available, individual novus-ordo Christians still wait and humbly pray for relief.

Christ is there, forever in the Eucharist; and wherever it is taken by the shriven with real faith and the childlike understanding, the power of the Redemption is felt. (And where it is taken by appropriation, unworthily “by right,” the power of Judgement is visited instead.) He is present in the sincerity of all private prayer and petitions, extending from that Mass, and every good and virtuous deed, done in the communion of the Saints. Christ is crucified, dead, and risen; He is alive. Try as they will, His detractors will ever fail to kill Him.

This is simply how things are, and how they always were and will be. Within every cell of the true Church is the relation between that small Christian soul, and this Tremendous Lover. (See here.)

We have often before been abandoned by priests and bishops, with their own private agendas, or strutting their fake “humility” for the adulation of crowds. We have had bad popes; we have had every sin of which men are capable, done in sacred places. This is the world, and this is what men are: fallen. Let them seek forgiveness, and pick themselves up; do what they can to rectify the damage they have caused, the pain they have gratuitously inflicted. Let them open their eyes before Our Lord closes them forever. It makes no sense to choose the road to Hell.

There is nothing new under the Sun, and I see that Saint Peter Damian’s Liber Gommorrhianus, or “Book of Gomorrah,” from ten centuries ago, is once again circulating, in English translation. (Can be ordered here.) It is from another age, when clerical corruption, including rampant sodomy and pederasty, was threatening the integrity of holy orders. Damian was an ascetic, at home in the remote Italian hills, but as I recall from a previous translation of this book, he can be unpleasantly modern in his forensic descriptions of what priests and monks descend to, when they become depraved.

He turns, with a form of mercy that is excoriating, upon the most common crime: then as now, the satanic tampering with adolescent boys. He provides, too, the context for this corruption, through cross-allusion to simony and careerist self-advancement (his Liber Gommorrhianus ought ideally to be read alongside his Liber Gratissimus) — directing fearless, full-bore attacks on the princes of the Church who make themselves comfortable, and hide the crimes. The book made its author extremely unpopular, and the defence of him, by Pope Leo IX, though brave at first, became increasingly lukewarm. But the scandals it exposed were quietly acknowledged and gradually addressed. The shame that this saint had helped to reawaken slowly triumphed over the filth of this eleventh-century liberalism.

This is not the whole story of Petrus Damiani, some of whose miscellaneous writings on the spiritual and contemplative life are also known to me through the excellent translations of Patricia McNulty (1959, here). These are precious, very positive works, curiously contemporary with that saga of conversion in the northern wilds. This lonely Benedictine would likewise be at home with those monks on Papa Stronsay, so far away from him in space and time.

It was beloved Benedict XVI, incidentally, who through his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, brought the Transalpine Redemptorists back into full communion with Holy Church. They were a product of the SSPX reaction against the liberal innovations that followed from Vatican II, and the account of their relations with Rome is complex and often vexed. So it must be in a generation when the Vatican bureaucracy is more easily alarmed and scandalized by the persistently faithful, than by the faithless and glib. But that generation is already passing into ashes.

Our task is to keep our moorings in the true and unchanging Magisterium, clinging, as it were, “to our guns and our Bibles,” or to distant treeless islands as the case may be. For wherever Christ is — however cold, windy, and wet — we are at home in the breast of Our Saviour.”

*****

Cheers

Joe

I think it’s almost time to eat … fasting makes “EVERYTHING” taste so good.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

The Four Freedoms … Responsibility and Ownership.

“River Flows In You”, Yiruma, from the album “Yiruma Piano Collection” , (2001)

So, my resolution after my  last post was, going forward, to avoid pointing fingers, avoid divisiveness, and avoid setting up others as the bad guy, the enemy, the Strawman supporting MY argument. To strive to avoid badmouthing and criticizing and pointing out the faults and failings of others in ways that pump up my own pride and ego.

In the words of my Grandfather … “Joe, if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.” To which my young self would usually reply … “But then there would not be much to say.” To which my Grandfather would then inevitably reply “That would be a nice change.” And Dad would laugh. Funny thing, the little vignettes which one ends up remembering out of all the adventures of one’s childhood.

I have repeatedly referred to GOD’s will in pointing out where many of my thoughts and my personal narrative stray from the will of GOD. And I have strayed a lot, usually in the same ways and about the same things, a kind of personal repertoire of sin. Knowing that an action or a thought is not in conformity with GOD’s will, I still fall into these habits and same old internal dialogue. Isn’t it about time to actually make a serious effort to stop.

So, going forward I resolve to work at “Living in the Divine Will”. What is the Divine Will and how do I conform my entire life to the Divine Will?  GOD has given me a template and a set of instructions and they are really pretty simple, ten basic Commandments. The Scriptures, and the Magisterium of the Church flesh out the details. And we have it from Scripture, the most important Commandment:

27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:27-28)

Now going forward I aim to look at what is good about what I see around me, even if that “good” is merely the absence of a more evil “bad”.  I want to take a look at the “Idols” of my personal world view … those things and persons and ideas which I have “worshipped” as ends in and of themselves, without GOD entering into the picture. I aim to try to illustrate how I can easily go astray whenever I lose sight of the fact that “All Good is Gift”.

So first, some Idols …  mostly things and a few people who I have thought to be “Just Awesome” and by their worship cementing the “superiority” of my ego in the firmament of my personal pantheon, all backed up by “facts” with which I can “Prove” that my judgements are correct and therefore not sinful. The First Idol … beautiful technology …  Ooooh, Aaaaah

150625-N-SN160-356 EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join their signature Delta formation with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind. The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform at 68 demonstrations at 35 locations across the U.S. in 2015. (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

150625-N-SN160-356
The Idol of beautiful Technology:  EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Jun, 25, 2015) The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, join with the Canadian Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds, for a photo shoot over Evansville, Ind.  (U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Lindsey/Released)

And what about the International Space Station, over 20 years old  now and still ticking amidst all the usual controversy and budget wars and disputes between the players. I linked to the Canadian Government Site where we can see the entire space program as one big photo op.

ISS at 20 …

And then all the rest of the “Goods”… trains, and planes, and automobiles, and toilets and sewers, and water systems, and cell phones, and stoves and refrigeration, and microwaves, and furnaces, and the internet, and supermarkets with every kind of food imaginable, good and bad, available in all seasons, 365 days a year and 24/7 in some places, and coffee shops, and bakeries and cake shops, and wine stores, and swipe cards and financial payment networks.

And the communications and transportation networks that make that all possible, and all the fuel to run the electrical generators, and the electrical grid so the lights and our large screen LCD TV’s all come on whenever we want them.

Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute

And fuel for the furnaces and to fire the engines, and fuel the planes, and fly us to our annual holidays in our favorite resort,  and last but not least in this litany a great medical/health system standing by to give everyone with a health problem free health care services.

The truth is that all this “stuff” is a tribute to courage, will power, determination, grit, hard work and sheer brain power, there is just so much good stuff, and these great things make us feel proud of ourselves when we take the time to think about it all, and all of these great things in some way become Idols. We did this … we must be great.

“Eternity’s Sunrise”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Eternity’s Sunrise”, (2000)

Canada’s budget for the Space Program is about 260 million a year and falling. It’s really a question of balancing optics and priorities, and cutbacks, and needing to make savings in one area because of uncontrollable growth in other areas.

And Canada’s budget for Health Care in 2018 was … who knows, we are always way over budget … but we do know that total health expenditures in 2018 in Canada reached $253.5 billion, or $6,839 per per man woman and child in Canada. In 2018  overall health spending reached 11.3% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). This s the biggest Idol in Canada. This is the Idol we all worship and sacrifice to, and sometimes it pays off and the gods give us a blessing, like my own recent surgery on my broken ankle.

It’s a question of optics and priorities. and “Free” Health Care is a huge vote magnet. And a 2 income family of 5 is paying $34,195.00 a year in taxes for “free” healthcare. And I and my wife (2 incomes) have been paying into this “free” system for about 45 years now, every year, year after year. There ain’t no free lunch, this is our sacrifice to our Idols.

The problem is that true “Freedoms” come with “Responsibilities”, and that is not the the same as “Rights”.

Free Republic of Albertastan

Back in ancient times, about 20 years ago, back before the Communists overthrew the government here and set up their little experiment in Social Equality, I and my optimistic friends used to entertain pleasant fantasies about a new kind of country.

We dreamed about setting up an independent Republic of Albertastan,  a kind of little Rohan of the west nestled under the looming Rockies, lots of open space for training and adventure, lots of internationally valuable resources, and with easily defended borders where everyone is welcome.  BUT the iron clad criteria for citizenship are:

#1: Prima Fascia evidence of real life Service and Sacrifice (eg. multi-tour military service with honourable discharge or equivalent non military service – equivalency to be determined by a panel of expert “citizens” and no one else)

#2: The criterion for eligibility for candidacy for political service is “citizenship” (see #1) and candidate acceptability determined on a scale relating brain power and willingness to work and accept basic subsidiarity and accountability in a hierarchy (no free rides ’cause you’re smart and/or good looking and/or related to someone and/or are a political hack, and so on and so forth). Wanting the position is an automatic fail. Only one position, one term,  per person, per lifetime. No exceptions.

#3: No person regardless of sex, creed, parentage, wealth, or belief system gets an exemption for any reason from #1 and #2. No person covered in #3 gets any say whatsoever in how the republic is run or what kind of programs are offered. Folks covered by #3 get normal respect for human life and dignity, as normal human beings, and as they have been recognized for, Oh … several thousand years … Natural Law is the foundation of civil law in this republic.

Those were the rules, the constitution as it were, of the Free Republic of Albertastan … real simple, easy to remember, and no exceptions, and everyone is welcome.

Albertastan Border Patrol

Any one who finds they don’t like this setup, or objects to any of the above or decides he or she or it demands his or her or it’s special “rights” and “privileges” will be given an escorted free ride to the nearest border crossing, 1 Gallon of water, a hamburger, and a map showing how to get to the nearest “other” place.

They would also be given a solid understanding that if they are still in sight in an hour they will be paint balled until they are out of site.  Well, it was a rather juvenile fantasy after all, but that didn’t mean that we were not proud of ourselves for “thinking” this all out … simple answers for simple people.

And we didn’t ever take into account the large Federal military presence, all under Liberal control of course as it was when we all served back in the 70’s. We just thought of them as our “little brothers”.

Freedom of Speech

But, the goal of setting up the Free Republic of Albertastan, the thought behind the dream, was in order to guarantee to all the inhabitants of Albertastan “The Four Freedoms”.

At that time we were concerned about the erosion of the Freedoms under the national and provincial government of the day, and all of us remembered the 80’s very well.

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected, and Roosevelt proposed that the government would do it for us.

Freedom of Worship

The Four Freedoms images are a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—are each approximately 45.75 inches (116.2 cm) × 35.5 inches (90 cm), and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Wikipedia tells us: “Throughout his political career Roosevelt championed the cause of human rights.[6] In his annual State of the Union address to Congress of January 6, 1941, which was delivered at a time when Nazi Germany occupied much of Western Europe,[15] he asked the American citizens to support war efforts in various ways.

He stated his vision of a better future, founded upon four freedoms: “In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms,”[2][16] some traditional and some new ones: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Freedom From Want

That was then, this is now. Most people have no memory of WWII, or the Nazis or the evils of statism.  Heck, most people have already forgotten 9/11. Many people seem to think that “Nazi” is what you call someone who disagrees with you on Twitter. Public memory is short and folks are mostly content and concerned with their immediate needs and wants. But there is a background undercurrent of change in our culture.

As a society we have already, mostly willingly, ceded Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Worship to the control of government and social media, that “erosion” we were worried about in our Albertastan fantasy. We no longer are willing to go to the line for someone else’s right to their point of view or their choice of world view. We seem to want more and more to shut down dissent.

We are still doing pretty good in the “Freedom From Want” category. We Nord-Americanos are doing pretty much better than most of the rest of the world when it comes to want. I think the next thing to erode will be Freedom From Fear, as a result of the loss of the first two freedoms over the last two decades.

Freedom From Fear

But the truth about all of this is that all these things we think we treasure are really Idols. None of them matter when looking at eternity. I mean they ARE nice and highly desirable, ideals even, but not as an end in and of themselves, except perhaps Freedom To Worship, but even that, when denied brings eternity into a much sharper focus, as we perhaps are witnessing in the underground Catholic Church in China. Maybe Faith benefits from some persecution.

What does it matter in eternity? So what does a country boy see out there in the “REAL” world? What are the “world problems” that I think might affect myself, my family and my life here in rural flyover country, what gets on the radar?

I am thinking about peace and conflict, and how I choose to drink at springs of peace or springs of conflict. After the data dump of calm emotion over the last couple of weeks, about observed events, I am thinking that I chose to observe and judge, and attribute, courtesy of lots of folks with nothing to do but emote about what is wrong in their life  and “create content”. Well guess what? I am doing the same damned thing.

Am I one of those “emoticons in suits”? Well, maybe an emoticon in Levis, and pretty thread bare Levis at that. No suits around here any more – that was all in a previous life, long, long ago. Don’t even have a tie anymore.

It’s 06:48 now and the sun is coming up on a cool dawn. With quiet time for second thought, the truth is, there are not really any problems anywhere which directly affect my immediate life … my “real” world is full of beauty, and peace, waiting for room in my soul … if I make the time and make the room to just let it in, if I don’t fill it up with other stuff.

So, I pray for “Purity of Heart”, that purity that goes beyond simple passions and pleasures. Speaking of purity here I am intending to evoke the purity which not only implies an absence of sin but goes much further to invoke the absence of all earthly affections. And I begin the quest to “Live in the Divine Will”.

I think I have quoted St. Bernard somewhere in a past posts like this: “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?

Cheers

Joe

I hear the snakes are back in Ireland … hmmm

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