Life in a small town

1 December 2019 – First Sunday of Advent …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paul Corrects Peter

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

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

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

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

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

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Fr Hunwicke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never give up … never surrender … Ten thousand years and then forever more …
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The Inner Struggle

Good Reporters …

Good Reporters … report … they don’t spin, they don’t fabricate, they don’t “follow the party line”. Good reporters report the story, the whole story, and nothing but the story, and leave it up to the reader/viewer to put their own interpretation on things according to the viewer/readers own conscience or lack thereof.

Diane Montagna is the Rome correspondent for LifeSiteNews.

Diane Montagna is the Rome correspondent for LifeSiteNews.

It appears to me that Diane Montagna is a “Good Reporter”, one of the few, the blessed few. Diane Montagna is the Rome correspondent for LifeSiteNews.

She began translating papal addresses under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI for Zenit News Agency, and has served as a translator for the English edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Her work has also appeared in the National Catholic Register and Humanitas Christian Anthropological Review. Before joining LifeSite, Diane served for several years as Rome correspondent for the English edition of Aleteia.org.

She has also taught children’s and adult faith formation classes, and holds a License in Sacred Theology from the International Theological Institute, Gaming Austria and a B.A. in Italian.

One of her latest articles is a report on the Final declaration of the recently concluded conference Catholic Church, where are you going? this was an all Italian conference held in Rome. Reading this clearly reveals the difference between true reporting, op-ed, and tabloid media.

“Therefore we testify and confess…”

Final declaration of the conference ‘Catholic Church, where are you going?’

Rome, April 7, 2018

Due to contradictory interpretations of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, growing discontent and confusion are spreading among the faithful throughout the world.

The urgent request for a clarification submitted to the Holy Father by approximately one million faithful, more than 250 scholars and several cardinals, has received no response.

Amidst the grave danger to the faith and unity of the Church that has arisen, we baptized and confirmed members of the People of God are called to reaffirm our Catholic faith.  

The Second Vatican Council authorizes us and encourages us to do so, stating in Lumen Gentium, n. 33: “Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself ‘according to the measure of Christ’s bestowal’ (Eph. 4:7).”

Blessed John Henry Newman also encourages us to do so. In his prophetic essay “On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine” (1859), he spoke of the importance of the laity bearing witness to the faith.

Therefore, in accordance with the authentic tradition of the Church, we testify and confess that: 

1) A ratified and consummated marriage between two baptized persons can be dissolved only by death.

2) Therefore, Christians united by a valid marriage who join themselves to another person while their spouse is still alive commit the grave sin of adultery.

3) We are convinced that there exist absolute moral commandments which oblige always and without exception.

4) We are also convinced that no subjective judgment of conscience can make an intrinsically evil act good and licit.

5) We are convinced that judgment about the possibility of administering sacramental absolution is not based on the imputability of the sin committed, but on the penitent’s intention to abandon a way of life that is contrary to the divine commandments.

6) We are convinced that persons who are divorced and civilly remarried, and who are unwilling to live in continence, are living in a situation that is objectively contrary to the law of God, and therefore cannot receive Eucharistic Communion.

Our Lord Jesus Christ says: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8: 31-32).

With this confidence we confess our faith before the supreme pastor and teacher of the Church and before the bishops, and we ask them to confirm us in the faith.

Not much else to say. So refreshing to be allowed to arrive at one’s own conclusions without being directed towards the agenda of the media.

Cheers

Joe

With patience, humility, and charity towards all …

 

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, The Inner Struggle

Cake Made Of Flour And Rat Poison …

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

The first Sunday of the month we celebrate our Mass on the Saturday evening – last night. This leaves my Sunday morning free for thinking and reading and catching up on blogs and drinking good coffee. Every now and again I come across an outstanding post on someone else’s blog or an article in an online publication or some beautifully articulated observation.

A beautifully articulated observation about the reality which we like to pretend is a good society and within the shelter of which we pretend that we are good persons. But no amount of virtue signalling can change the underlying evil evident in our modern society, can disguise the fact that this is the worldly kingdom of the Father of Lies. Just such a beautifully articulated observation is an article by Anthony Esolen which I came across at LifeSiteNews:

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What is remarkable in our age is not that half of our citizens believe it is wrong to kill the child in the womb, the child whose existence, except in the rare case of rape, is owing to our own voluntary actions.  That would be like congratulating ourselves for believing that it’s wrong to steal someone’s car, to lie under oath to hurt an enemy, to throw our aged parents into the street, or to desecrate churches.

Where is the great moral insight?  What’s remarkable instead is that half of us believe it is all right to snuff out the life of that child – because nothing must be allowed to interfere with our “right” to pursue pleasure, as we use the child-making thing as a sweating-off spa on our way to money, prestige, a five-bathroom mansion for two, a tenured chair in Women’s Studies, the mayoralty of Camden, another year of nights out on the town, whatever.

How have we come to this pass?  Our imaginations are stunted or diseased, that’s how.
 Let churchgoers beware.  You cannot spread pro-life icing on a cake made of flour and rat poison.  Our children meet with rat poison everywhere.

Do they watch Friends on television, that un-funny amoral “comedy” about nihilist young urbanites trading depressions in the mattress with one another?  Rat poison. 

Do they watch movies like – well, the moronic Titanic, wherein a shrewish girl and a pouty boy fornicate before they are swallowed by the deep blue sea?  Rat poison. 

Do their school teachers feed them such exalted lyric poetry as that of Sylvia Plath, imagining what it would be like to smash her sleeping husband’s head like a rotten pumpkin? 

Or the bogus Laramie Project, making a hero out of a deeply disturbed young man, killed in a meth deal? 

Or Toni Morrison’s maudlin obsessions with race and adultery?

Is it an endless cafeteria of ghouls, vampires, girl-murderers – Lord of the Flies, without the severe moral imagination and the talent of William Golding?  Lord of the Flies, Lady of the Flies, Cheerleaders of the Flies, Lifeguard of the Flies, Mr. Goodbar of the Flies, Fight Club of the Flies, Hunger of the Flies? 

Rat poison, with that peculiar character of rat poison, that the more the critter consumes, the thirstier it grows….”( READ THE REST HERE)

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And what has Jesus to say about the Father of Lies? Extra! Extra! Read All About It! In the New International Version of John 8: 34-47:

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34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever”. 36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

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I tend to avoid LifeSiteNews  because, while what they report on is true and accurate, what they offer is an unrelenting reportage of failure, destruction, and the ever accelerating death throes of our culture and society.

I have difficulty finding any hope on the site and there are absolutely no viable solutions in a class with the dragons we face. If I had to report something good about the site I would have to mention an important insight first realized while reading this site, namely, to say that first, there is no hope, and second, that none of it matters.

None of it matters … this world is not important … the sweaty, reality challenged, daily dramas of our society Simply – Aren’t – Important! It’s all just so much Rat Poison.

What IS important is that ONLY Eternity is important. There is absolutely NOTHING in this world which is important in Eternity EXCEPT how we conduct ourselves in relation to this World, and in relation to Eternity. There truly is NO hope in this world, and this world, and the things of this world, are doomed to pass away returning into the cesspool from which they arose like the monster from the slab of our self worship. And make no mistake about it. If we ARE of this world (and who isn’t, to a greater or lesser degree?) we WILL pass away with this world and return to the cesspool as rats do after eating Rat Poison.

So what are we to do? How can we cope with the necrotic dissolution of everything we hold dear in this material world? Now, sitting here at 65 years old watching my friends and customers suffering and dieing and experiencing the utter powerlessness of the best of human efforts to find happiness and ease. It is a lot easier to imagine a universe where we are manifestly NOT the pinnacle of everything and most definitely not worthy of worship as we once found it so easy to do in our twenties and thirties.

In our twenties and thirties – anyone’s twenties and thirties – it is easy to love … ourselves … until the body knows discomfort, pain, death …

Once upon a time…young bodies…beauty woven around a knot of need…preening like the flowers of carnivorous plants. Each of us the most important thing in the world, such was the seduction of that knot of need. and now, only the moment, each tumbling into the next. The body knows discomfort, a slowly growing pain…over and over again…as firm and true as steps, the firm earth reverberating up through my boots, the tactile affirming reality over and over again and nothing else matters… paraphrase from “The Malazan Book of the Fallen

So why do I start to feel joy like a faint but growing light further down this sewage filled tunnel which we call “life” for want of something deeper, more accurate, less flattering to our self image? The answer to this is in a word — “prayer”. Not just a few minutes spent on my knees struggling to find something meaningful to say, or in my attendance at church for an hour, chanting the responses by rote while dreaming about what I will have for lunch, but prayer that turns every waking minute into a prayer.

Now, it has been my observation, that those of this world repudiate every mention of prayer as trite, ineffectual, quaint, superstitious, lacking in intellectual validity – in short, prayer is mocked and belittled as the refuge of idiots. And yet this is not so “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did.”

No, prayer, in reality, becomes a more or less continual awareness of Jesus living and growing within us. True, at first we are very much enmeshed in the less side of “more or less”. But as we persevere we become aware of Jesus working in us, molding us to his desire, which is our cooperation, our submission, our surrender, our companionship, as we begin to give up our own way and surrender ourselves to His way.

Mortification of self begins as a painful exercise but, practiced sincerely, one starts to get glimpses of mortification as invitation to Jesus to take the place of our self in our life. I am thinking that it is a habitual and determined opposition to the will of the Lord that is the greatest barrier to development of an intimate relationship with Him.

We continue to assert our self. We resist accepting that we cannot welcome Him into some parts of our life but steadfastly slam the door on other parts of that life. He is present everywhere and at all times and waits patiently for our surrender of those parts which we willfully try to “keep private”.

We start to realize that we want god in our lives but we insist on doing it on our terms, in our way, and not surrendering to God, to His will and His direction. That is why we only get glimpses of that light and joy at the end of the sewer.

It’s a stone cold merciless bitch, this forcing oneself to move away from the pool of narcissism and self worship and our attachments to the rat poison of our worldly lives. And it is the only path through the tunnel to Eternity.

Cheers

Joe

empty oneself of every trace of belief in one’s “goodness”

 

 

 

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Pen as Sword - Social Commentary, Politics and Economics, Uncategorized

The Elephant Acts …

“Alberta”, Bob Dylan, from the album “Self Portrait, (June 1970)

I would like to think that “The Donald” read my post yesterday, understood it and acted on it, but on balance I would have to admit that I am not that delusional. Over at “LifeSiteNews” we find this article:

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001-a-the-elephantWASHINGTON, D.C., January 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – In his very first pro-life action, President Donald Trump signed an executive order today reinstating the “Mexico City Policy” banning government funding of foreign pro-abortion groups like the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

A cultural political football, the policy was first enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was maintained by President George H.W. Bush until it was rescinded first by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993. Eight years later, President George W. Bush reinstated Mexico City and it was in effect until Barack Obama reversed it upon entering office in 2009.

The Mexico City Policy bans funding to organizations that perform abortions overseas or lobby for legalizing them in foreign nations.

Trump’s pro-life action comes a day after the 44th anniversary of the notorious Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which along with the Court’s Doe v. Bolton decision, established abortion-on-demand as the law of the land. (read more)

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Here in Canada we remain steadfast in our commitment to killing all inconvenient people. The left claims half a million marchers in the “Women Who Kill Children” march which took place yesterday. They also claim that’s about 5 times the number of folks who showed up at the Trump inauguration event.

Those are pretty good sample sizes even if they are exaggerated. They are probably significantly better samples than the national political and social pollsters typically get with their sample leading surveys conducted to prove and support those who hired them.

Let’s assume for a moment that they are accurate in their estimates. That’s 1 in 5 folks decided to attend Trumps inauguration. That would also imply that 4 in 5 folks hate Trump because he is against abortion and think it’s just A-OK to kill babies and old folks.

001-a-clueless-usefull-idiot-or-a-possessed-person

Blessed Virgin Mary as Bloody Vagina.

1 in 5 seems to be about the observed proportion of folks in the general population who seem to understand the difference between moral right and moral wrong based on their conduct and their expressed opinions.

1 in 5 might just be the proportion of folks in the general population who can actually imagine anything or anyone outside their immediate tweet circle of self worship.

Yesterday I mentioned in my post my thoughts on how we move past this polarization: “I think “Not taking anything personally, even when is is obviously intended to be both personal and as hurtful as possible, is how we get out of this conflict.”

So the first thing that pops into my mind after the initial shock and pain (which was EXACTLY what that little girl intended with her sign) is – Gee, Islam is even more anti-abortion that Catholicism. How come she decided to target Catholics rather than Muslims?

A number of things come to mind – Ignorance? Cowardice?, Hate? Pride? Black Lives Matter but Catholic Lives Don’t? All of the above and more? On the topic of Black Lives I would posit that significantly more black lives are lost every day because black women like the little beauty above choose to kill their children, than from all the other causes put together. And it is white Democrats who have been pushing this Holocaust since at least Lyndon Johnson took office. How wierd and totally disfunctional is that?

It’s difficult not to take this personally and not to imagine evil things. This evil, seen and experienced everywhere, IS personal. Maybe the Muslims have got it right! Maybe we should be praying for the coming of Sharia? And I suppose THAT is my sin – lack of charity and lack of humility.

Cheers

Joe

001-a-lotr-frodo-hobbitsA major Scouring of the Shire is LONG overdue …

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