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”.

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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.

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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.”

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“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.

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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.”

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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

Love of others … Love of self

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

The fundamental binary choice every human makes is to love the self or not, to love the other, or not. We ALL have to make that choice regardless of our desires and ambitions.

Unlike the Angelic creatures, the Heavenly host, who exist in God’s eternal now and whose choices are instantly for eternity and irrevocable, mankind has been gifted by our Divine Father with a lifetime, an existence within time, a time for rousing, a time for choosing.

Someone famous and holy once remarked that “our entire life is but a single night in a bad hotel”.  Another remarked “What does it matter in the light of eternity, “Quid hoc ad aeternitatem” in Latin. And yet, isn’t the love of self our “natural state? Don’t we love “our” problems.

The tiny “personalness” of them, the importance and urgency, the “zest” they give to us in our special unique existence. How are we doing today, considering the alternative, don’t the problems make us feel alive?

Isn’t it true that daily I happily wear my Inuit sunglasses to avoid having to look upon the blinding glare of eternity?

Don’t I actually love the never ending blizzard of bills I can never pay in total, the surly complaining wife, the angry dismissive daughter, the shabby apartment, perpetually under renovation of some sort or other, the old beater of a vehicle, 300,000 miles and still truckin’, likely, more and more, to be buried in it.

Don’t I cherish my shivering pains, cramps, swellings, aches and itches, numbness and tremors, the grim brooding of never to be paid off debts, the fears of the business failure in an economy destroyed by others, these favorite fears that role through my mind when I find myself awake and contemplative at 2:00 AM?

Most especially do I not relish the dark thread of fear that I might not have been a good dad, the feeling sometimes that maybe there was a better husband for my wife if only she had hung in the game a little longer.

And the one that haunts me every minute of the blessed week, month, year, the health and joy of my kid, and the fragility of her future. The “personal” special problems that prove I am still alive and kicking, that I still matter somehow to someone, sometimes. Don’t I love the self image of “soldiering on”, to “persist doggedly”, no matter what, “never give up, never give up”?

Are not all these “problems” simply a manifestation of “Love of self”? Alternatively,  “Love of others” is a way of accepting all these “problems” if accepted with humility and meekness, without taking offense and building the castle of self love higher, of refraining from claiming special victim status, and ceasing to worry about the fairness of life.

I am starting to realize that each life “time” is but a divine “wake-up call” from God’s switchboard. We each have an unavoidable and immensely important “meeting” to get to “in the New Dawn”, at the end of this single night in a bad hotel.

During that lifetime we humans each are shaken to our very depths, so that we may wake up to understanding the truth of ourselves. The primary condition for a fruitful and rewarding lifetime is renunciation of attachment, surrender of self, detachment from all the things of this world, this one night.

It seems a hallmark of Truth that it always believes and expects the best of others and acts accordingly. It also seems a hallmark of untruth that it always believes and expects the worst of others and acts accordingly.

The measure of every institution and organization is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person, made in God’s own image and likeness, the image and likeness of his Son, on Whom we were modeled.

Man must abandon all his self centered dreams, his conceit, his arrogance, all the pretense with which he hopes to deceive himself and others, his default narcissism. If he fails to do this, brutal reality will take hold of him and rouse him forcefully in a way full of both anxiety and suffering.

Life can be difficult for those who don’t fall in line and bow to the religion of the day, the generally accepted wisdom of their society, the Barabbas of the moment. It is always easier to go along with the crowd. To just get to the end, of the day, of the week, of the year … of the life?

This is even true when the crowd embarks upon an evil venture. As long as we can avoid being blamed, being held accountable, then its all just OK, right?

I was just following orders, I just pushed my wheelbarrow, I just handled the doors, I just scheduled the trains, I just shoveled the coal, I don’t make policy, I wasn’t at that meeting, there were no minutes, I don’t remember, I didn’t know …

Witness the results yesterday of the Irish referendum on the acceptability of infanticide as social policy. And of course, eventually, euthanasia, the natural next step everywhere else, especially here in Canada. And why not Ireland? Self or Other?

But we still have to go to that meeting,

I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go. (John 21:18)

And so we have to make that choice, self or other … Self or Other … ask not for whom the bell tolls.

Cheers

Joe

Self of Other …

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Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

Controversy, “Normal” and the Media …

Waiting on the Night To Fall, Casting Crowns,

lobos-vestido-de-ovejaWhat is normal? What are lies and distortions.  How about  “they are everywhere”, or “they are just like us”, or “everybody sensible  thinks like me” or “we are the majority, and we speak for “insert your group here”, or “it’s the Jews”, or “it’s the Niggers”, whatever!

And by who and how are these ways of thinking conveyed to the general population of proles? Obviously in our culture it is the media, the talking heads and anyone with a public stump, like politicians, religious figures, artists, actors, documentary makers, publishers, bloggers, and so on.

I suspect that there have been these “purveyors” of news and ideas in every time and in every culture.  The trend setters, the agents for destabilization, the gossips, the sewing circle, the pub talkers, the town crier, the broadsheet scribbler, the PTA, eh? So, for arguments sake, let’s call this group with the agenda, which they have to sell to the general population, lets just call them the “X Group”.

Unfortunately for the “Non-X” group, the percentage distribution of proclivities and passions amongst politicians, artists, the media and academia does not translate automatically or logically into the larger sample we know as the “general population”.  “Accurate to 3 percentage points 90% of the time” is not only untested but is simply an appeal to the authority of the poling agency  to hold off difficult questions. It is the adult equivalent of “My Dad Said So!”.

The larger sample is, always was, and always will be, simply “untested”, and this “inconvenient truth” is a detail which presents a type of “catch 22” to any agenda setter.  Along with a strong bias to not test further because one already has a carefully selected sample which confirms one’s desired view or meme or belief, the usual suspects, good old fear, uncertainty, and doubt, mitigate against any attempt to truly get at “truth”.

FUDFUD affects both the the purveyors of pseudo-scientific “poles” and “reports” as well as their audience, the consumers of such pseudo-scientific dreck.  It is common practice to “intentionally or unintentional” target a certain demographic or geographical area, zone, population, community, identified population, whose expected opinions will point towards supporting whatever the latest direction the poling company’s masters want to go in.

Ask any member of x group how many x people they know and they will naturally know a high percentage of x’s. That is their group. People naturally believe that what they think and see and say is what every sensible person thinks and does and says so they project their proclivities and concupiscence, their favorite passions onto the general population and proceed to the conclusion that “x” is the norm amongst the general population except for a few “stupid” outliers. Of course there are many fewer “non’x’s” among the “x” group just as there are many fewer “x’s” among the “non-x” group(s).

So regardless of one’s political or social leaning does anyone really see any lapse of truth, any escape from reality, any “bias” about the above observations? I mean, seriously, all sides routinely throw accusations of all the above observations at every other media player with a competing view, so it just MUST be true, right? But faulty thinking and false opinions matter because for good or ill those errors and lies have real consequences in the real world. Once we stop believing “Truth”, we will believe anyone and anything, to our everlasting peril and the peril of those we are responsible for guiding.

Desolation Row, Chemical Romance, from the “Watchmen” soundtrack album

One of the prevalent popular memes in our current culture of death is the “Rainbow Myth”, that “Gay is OK”, That “Gays” are just like us. I am going to quote freely from some writing by Austin Ruse at Crisis Magazine   I am linking to his work at Crisis magazine because what is bothering me about “What is normal?” and “What are lies and distortions?” of the popular “Rainbow Mythology” of current progressives which I started writing about three weeks ago, has suddenly, lately become “Up Close and Personal” in our family.

I quote Austin Ruse because it is very difficult to get any “truth” from all the usual outlets; just not politically correct dontcha know? I have found both Austin Ruse and Crisis magazine to be reliable truthful sources over the years when examining our current progressive culture.

Modern family screen-shot-2014-04-13-at-10-24-59-am1In our broad extended family, our immediate cell (our immediate family) are the only family group who still hold to “traditional Christian beliefs, values and life style”.  In other words, we are very most definitely not a “Thoroughly Modern Progressive Family”.

All the rest of our extended family are very much poster families for the “Thoroughly Modern Progressive Family” (eg. No God, totally progressive “values”, public school educated accessory kids, parents careers are more important than the progeny, same in group/clique since high school, senior “Public Servants” blah blah blah  ya all know the drill.

All thoroughly modern progressive poster families which I am, through God’s grace related to, and therefore unable to avoid the drama of the 12 year old son announcing to our Poster Family that he is “gay”. The grief, stress and angsting melodrama (which the precocious little darling wants) will now unfold around us and will surpass the whole “abortion is murdering babies” crisis which is still unfolding around us.

So on with the story about why this development is both appropriate and totally predictable given the values of the families in question. This little burp of family emotion was predicted years ago when the subject 12 year old exhibited an inordinate fascination with little girls and princesses — not what one would expect —  but rather he expressed the desire to BE a princess. Wow, couldn’t see this one coming, right? Nah, don’t worry about anything, he’ll just grow out of it. We can just ignore it and it will go away. Can’t be seen to be “homophobic”, right?

Two of the great propaganda achievements of the progressive homosexual movement are the now culturally internalized beliefs that they are everywhere and they are just like us. Many propositions laid the ground work for that huge change in public opinion from the time homosexuality was openly mocked to today when you can get fired even for poking gentle fun. Much of the polling changes in attitudes about homosexuality are grounded not in acceptance but in this kind of fear.

From Austin Ruse” “But, these two—that they are everywhere and just like us—are two monumental but highly effective lies. Polling data shows that most Americans think homosexuals are far numerous than they really are. Gallup shows that most Americans think that 25 percent of the population is homosexual. Among those dim and dimmer millennials, it is 30 percent. That’s right, they think something on the order of 97 million Americans, including toddlers, are homosexual.

But not even Kinsey with his utterly debunked 10 percent thought homosexuals were so plentiful in the population. In fact, according to the best research—the Laumann study conducted out of the University of Chicago in 1994, and the recently concluded study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control—the true picture is profoundly different. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a measly 1.8 percent of adult men and 1.4 percent of adult women identify as homosexual. This translates into a tiny 2.1 million men and 1.7 million women. This is less than half the number of Methodists in the United States.

Because they are “everywhere,” a concomitant argument they make is that attitudes have changed because of the personal interaction people have with them. Even a casual look at the numbers would show that those would be some very busy homosexuals. The adult population of the United States is roughly 247 million.

In order for it to be even remotely true, that it is personal relationships that have changed public opinion, you would have to assume that each of these 3.8 million homosexuals are out of the closet, wearing their homosexuality on their sleeves, and are best buds with 65 non-homosexuals each. So, no, the proposition that they are everywhere is simply not true. And most Americans have hardly any meaningful interaction with homosexuals.

Are they like the rest of us? Certainly. They are children of God, made in his image and likeness, and deserving of their human dignity. But, in the choices they make, in their attractions and in their behavior, and in the results of both, they are profoundly different.”

Well, enough for tonight, even writers have to sleep sometime which kinda gives the game away, to wit, they are not gods after all even if they thought so. I’ll continue in my next post.

Cheers

Joe

Cigar_120471628Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Sometimes when I post, I look at my sig and wish that I’d follow my own damned advice.

 

 

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