Friday, July 31, 2009

Still rattling those Rosaries?


My garden in three more weeks without rain.

So, just checked the ten day forecast.

We're looking at a chilly 30°C by Tuesday...


this just isn't good enough people!

"I'm Ecstatic!"

Now I'm going to be able to go to Switzerland and kill myself!


Isn't that great?!

13 Million a year

update re. "France with its burgeoning immigrant birth rate, might take a little longer. Empty in 4.93 years."

A friend comments, "It might be difficult to get the Muslims in France to have abortions."

HW, "Oh that's easy. You just do what they do in China. Strap em down."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Praying for Rain



The weather praying report is not very cheery, I'm afraid.

We're going to have to concentrate harder. Maybe make some small sacrifice (maybe I'll not have sugar in my tea tomorrow morning, see if that helps) Maybe even dig that old Rosary out from the bottom of its box.

A nice high of 35° C today, with a low of 20.

Tomorrow, a little better with 34° C and "scattered clouds".

33° C and clear until Monday when we get 32° C and more "scattered clouds".

This is not good people.

I am getting sick of being eaten alive by mosquitoes as I water the garden in the evenings.

Let's pull up our spiritual socks.

13 million a year

China Daily News has just reported that the country has 13 million surgical abortions committed a year in its registered facilities. This does not include the number killed in local unregistered facilities, nor the 10 million doses of RU 486 per year.

That's 1.083 million abortions a month.

Let's compare. Between 1970 and 1987, Canadians had killed about 1,010,586 by surgical abortions. In 1988, all legal restrictions were lifted and the number went up about 29 per cent per year. It took Canada 17 years to accomplish one thirteenth of the death toll that the Chinese currently manage every year.


And what if we killed people after they were born instead of before?

What would happen around the world?

Canada, population 33.5 million - at 13 million a year, depopulated in 2.57 years.

Let's look at another abortion-happy country, say,

Belgium, population 10,414,336, (79th in the world's population list) with a death rate of 13 million per year, (1.083 per month) would be empty in just over 9 months (ironic wot?). No more Belgians. Though perhaps there are some who might not shed many tears.

No more Swedes in 8.37 months.

Switzerland would be ready for re-colonisation in 7.02 months.

France, with its burgeoning immigrant birth rate, might take a little longer. Empty in 4.93 years.

Details

Sometimes you have to look closely to see the big picture.


Yesterday I had a few minutes on my hands and an empty church to wander around in and decided to take a few pictues.

It has struck me that the big grand panoramic photos of beautiful things, whether the great facade of St. Peter's or the Grand Canyon, do not always do enough to convey the qualities that make these things great.

I go to the church of Sanctissima Trinita dei Pellegrini often and I fear I am beginning to not really see it. I think I might be slipping into that indifferent familiarity with the gorgeous and wonderful things around me in this city.

The solution, of course, is to pay closer attention.

It's in the details.

* ~ * ~ *

St. Matthew listening to the angel.







Contemplation and adoration.





St. Anthony.






Ego te absolvo...






"I thirst."










Singin'

It raineth every day...



It's from the Bible, see. That's why everyone used to quote it.

England Green
by Grant Baynham

The rain it raineth every day
At least it sometimes feels that way
And mostly on Bank Holiday
Which seemeth somewhat mean
And yet, looked at another way,
It is but little price to pay
The rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green

Chorus: England green! England green!
The rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green


In England’s green and pleasant land
We all hold out a hopeful hand
Because we know and understand
What keeps Old England green
So let the rain rain every day
And every night between
For, oh, the rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green


Chorus

The proud and mighty Eskimo
Has umpteen different names for snow
And Englishmen all likewise know
A phrase or two to mean “it’s raining”
Stair rods, cats and dogs
A lovely day for ducks and frogs
It’s hissing (tipping) down, still what’s the odds
It’s keeping England green

Chorus

The rain it raineth both upon
The just and unjust fella
But mostly on the just, the unjust
Just steals the just’s umbrella
Let fall the rain on whomsoe’re it will
On commoner or Queen
For, oh, the rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green


Chorus

Meanwhile at Lords old England soldier on
Four wickets down for forty one
It’s looking like the follow-on
And now Vaughan’s gone for seventeen
Shane Warne nagging at the rough
Outside off stump - we’ve had enough
Great God bring on the rain, the stuff
That saves the England Team


Chorus: England Team! England Team!
Great God bring on the rain, the stuff
That saves the England Team


Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight
Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight
997 rain in sight. . .good
From Plymouth to the Pennine Way
St Abbs Head to St Austell Bay
The rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green

Chorus: England green! England green!
The rain it raineth every day
To keep Old England green


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Betjeman

It's not about Rain, but it's one of my very most favourites.

Slough
Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.

And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Basho

First winter rain--
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.


(It's Japanese. Don't complain).

Rain rain, come again!



I'm looking for poems about rain. How nice it is. How we need it to cool things down and grow our flowers and keep us happy.

I'm instituting an O's P rain poetry contest. All positive rain poetry received will be posted as a giant shout to God to please please please give us some lovely water from the sky.

(Oh yes, Mr. Evil Yellow Face is starting to get on my nerves.)


Happiness

John had
Great Big
Waterproof
Boots on;
John had a
Great Big
Waterproof
Hat;
John had a
Great Big
Waterproof
Mackintosh --
And that
(Said John)
Is
That.

-- A. A. Milne

This planet is toast; stupid other people!


"I don't feel starved to death," comments man on the street.

But you will, when the eugenicists bioethics committees decide that your autonomy and value to society isn't up to scratch.

H/T to Fr. Tim

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pop Media Bias Quiz

As we know class, Wikipedia, like all new media, is to be read carefully, with due attention to biases and the use of euphemisms, jargon and buzz words. And, as we have discussed, these neologisms are employed by the media and other bodies to obscure, rather than reveal the facts. These euphemisms come from a variety of sources and are occasionally interesting and enlightening to trace.

In the following exercise:

1) identify the media-approved euphemisms in the text provided and suggest alternative wording that clearly describes the sense of the thing described.

2) choose one term and trace its origins. (eg: "pregnancy" is a term now used to mean the time at which an embryo implants in the endometrium. This started with certain decisions, taken on the advice of physicians who were being paid to promote the new hormonal contraceptives in order to hide its abortifacient effect, made by national medical bodies in the US in the 1960s.) Give names and dates of first appearances if possible.


Women on Waves (WoW) is a Dutch, non-profit, pro-choice, women's human rights organization created in 1999 by Dutch physician Rebecca Gomperts, in order to bring reproductive health services, particularly non-surgical abortion services, to women in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Other services offered by WoW include contraception and reproductive counseling. Services are provided on a commissioned ship that contains a specially constructed mobile clinic. When WoW visits a country, women make appointments, and are taken on board the ship. The ship then sails out to international waters (where Dutch laws are in effect on board the ship) to perform the medical abortions.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Italian Summer

It's cooling off. Today, the weather site tells me it's a brisk 86°F. Rumours circulated that it was 104 on Friday.

I didn't come into the city on Friday. Good thing.

Expecting 92 on Wed.

Did I mention that I'm not really a hot weather person?

This just in from a friend visiting Scotland who says he is
reviving forgotten experiences: putting on pullover, needing blanket at night, feeling cold getting out of the shower (at nearly midday!)


and will "magic some cool air down the space/time continuum".

On Saturday, a few friends came out for a beach day in Santa Marinella


Got the awning onto the pergola thingy. When the sun blasted through the garden in the late afternoon, we hung sheets to create more shade. Lit some citronella candles to keep away the zanzare, and had a grand old time.

Tested out my barbeque. It was sort of weirdly fun, starting a fire when it is 90 degrees out. When you step away from it, you feel much cooler.


Caveman Chris make fire...

Cook meat.


Mmmm. Fire good.

I'm remembering last July in Cheshire when it rained and rained and rained, and one day it was so cold, damp and dark, I gave up and drew the curtains at four and started a nice fire and ignored it.

The good news about all this (quite unnatural) sun is that there are loads of blackberries. This means there will be more blackberry jam this year.

Which is good because I'm out.

Shock! Horror!

New Movements found to be faithless poseurs!

A while ago, I think I amused a friend of ours with one of my personal aphorisms, developed out of painful personal experience: "Never join anything".

I have recently added to my private list of life rules one I wish the Holy Father would adopt: "Abolish everything".

Particularly the "conservative" "New Movements" of which JP the Wonderpope was so fond.

Communion and Liberation are hosting Tony Blair.

Zenit reports that Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is amongst the speakers at next month’s Rimini meeting on “knowledge and faith” organized by the Communion and Liberation movement.

Twilight

Some years ago I made a very reluctant trip back to Vancouver during which time I was forced to attend Mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral, given that at the time, the True Mass was only held once a week in a little place on the dark side of New Westminster, accessible only by charter helicopter and parachute drop.

One day, I attended Mass at the cathedral and, according to the bulletin, it was the diocese's "Life Sunday" during which the Archbishop had asked all his priests to read out a letter to women.

For some reason, I had trouble concentrating on my devotions and instead, took up my notebook and wrote down a few observations of the Mass. I later wrote it into a chapter of a story I was/am thinking about/working on, about a psychotic woman who claims to be able to see daylight in a world where, for 25 years or so, all the world has been engulfed in a mysterious twilight. In the story, a faithless NewChurch priest is called on to "minister" to the woman to try to convert her to sanity, to try to get her to see the twilight that everyone else lives in.

The Priest
“The Lord is with you,” sang the beaming priest, his hands held high. His amplified voice boomed through the old neo-gothic church. He smiled warmly. He certainly was warm.

“And also with you,” replied the unsteady chorus of parishioners.

Standing amidst the potted plants, he began the Mass with the approved improvisation.

“Good evening everyone.” Smile.

A smattering of muttered “good evening father”s came indistinctly from the pews.

As the lively chatting in the pews died down, the priest surveyed his congregation from behind his microphone. He stood at a wooden ambo decorated with a cloth hanging matching the green wide-weave polyester of his vestments. Fifty feet overhead the bloodied and gilded saints gazed down on him from their painted blue vault and from a previous age. The stern faced Pantocrator held out his arms of all-embracing Justice from the dome of the apse.

“I’d just really like to thank you all for coming this evening and for your wonderful singing responses...” pause, “you really are a wonderful choir.” A smile. A slight nod.

The congregation rewarded him with a collective sigh of pleasure. The Lord truly was with them, they knew.

“This evening’s readings remind us of the mercy of God for everyone. He forgives and heals and wants us to be happy.” He paused, gauging his audience’s readiness for a piece of bad news.

“As you may have seen in the bulletin, today is Life Sunday.” He caught the shuffling of feet. “And the Archbishop has asked all the parishes to read his letter to women, telling of God’s love and forgiveness and asking everyone to show that mercy and to heal divisions in the Church and the world.” The shuffling faded.

“So, I’ll be reading the letter...” pause... “right after hour two of my homily.” The priest led the appreciative chuckling.

“And on a personal note,” he said with relief, shaking his head a little to throw off the effect of the impending letter, “I would personally like to extend a warm welcome to all the fathers in the congregation this Father’s Day evening. That’s all fathers, grandfathers, uncles, step fathers, foster fathers, godfathers, step fathers...did I say that one? So, all the fathers here, including priest-fathers...” Chuckle.

“Now,” he raised his arm towards his head in a dramatic gesture, “let us begin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“Now,” the priest went on, “I invite you to be seated and listen to the wonderful word of God.”

The evening Mass was always well populated and tonight the church was almost half full. The Philippinas brought their grandchildren and the students dropped in to hear the organ, which was world-class. Father Howard Miller sat in robed polyester splendour sweating under the floodlights trained on the newly restored marble sanctuary and potted palms. The lights reflected cheerfully off his glistening bald spot.

He was fifty-six, the star of the show, and if he was under oath and facing the rack, the wheel and the entire Spanish Inquisition he would never admit that he was tiring. He was getting tired of the smile.

While the congregation pored over their paperback misalettes, Fr. Howard took inventory. Mrs. McHenry was in her spot, scowling at him as usual from under her mantilla. The large collection of middle-aged and rotund Philipinas created the impression of a flock of restless pigeons as they fanned themselves furiously between rustling about in their plastic bags, handing sweets, holy cards, toys and rosaries to their equally restless charges. The few men under fifty – three tonight – scattered about were balanced by a small collection of the Young JPII Conservatives, clearly students, earnestly hunched over their missalettes. They huddled in a clump, all carefully dressed in pressed shirts and khakis sitting appreciatively next to their short-skirted law school girlfriends.

Three young women sat together on the tabernacle side; the vocation girls from the new group. To all these were joined a smattering of older working men who came to the last Mass on Sunday evening to fulfil what they still referred to as their Sunday obligation.

Once a week, Fr. Howard heard the confessions, the same ones every week, of the Young Conservatives and the mantilla ladies. He baptised babies, usually in the summer and not very often these days. He rented himself and the church out for weddings and took the stipends, most of which, to his credit he thought, ended up in the parish accounts. He kept his hands off the boys in the youth group and was relieved that these days so few boys presented themselves to be altar servers. It was mostly girls now who wanted to carry the processional cross and book. They were easier to handle and train too.

He brought communion to the hospital and the nursing home and had dinner twice a month with the sisters. He liked the old nuns who still knew how to treat a priest and never asked him for personal advice. He tried not to think about having nearly twenty more years until mandatory retirement.

“The Lord is with you,” he said again with arms stretched wide. The gospel was an easy one tonight.

“And also with you,” they lobbied back.

“Tonight’s reading is from the Gospel of Mark.”

...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet (So, how're vocations going sisters?)


So, the next time you see a "nun" wearing that frumpy polyester pant suit number, you can ask her if she is a member of the KKK.

Oregon's religious dress ban dates to 1923 and a Ku Klux Klan-led campaign to close all Catholic schools and force nuns and priests from public classrooms. The law, still on our books, was pushed by the same well-meaning, open-minded folks who thought it should be a crime for Japanese people to own property.

Nice to know we've evolved.

For decades, dozens of states had similar laws, most grounded in the same anti-Catholic bias. Today, only Oregon and Pennsylvania still bar religious garb for teachers.


Yep, the ACLU, LCWR and the KKK working together for an open, inclusive, non-judgmental religion-free environment for all.

Bias? What bias?

Because no one has ever walked into a Marie Stopes and found themselves pressured to have an abortion.

CPA warns of sham pregnancy agencies


Nosirree!

Political, economic, social and environmental problems...

A UN report by more than 100 independent intellectuals and scholars from Arab countries blames political, economic, social and environmental problems for undermining the lives and freedom of Arabs


One asks, “Why have obstacles to human development in the region proved so stubborn?”

I just can't imagine.

The list included
A lack of representative government coupled with human rights violations and sweeping powers for security agencies;

No security for many people outside the mainstream including abused and subordinated women, trafficking victims, child soldiers, refugees and the internally displaced;


I wonder if it is possible ... if there is any chance at all ... that there might be some ... err...other unifying factor involved in the problems described.

Something...it's on the tip of my brain...

Could it be...

Nah.

The Elders


Gee, I don't know, it looks a pretty gender-imbalanced group to me. If I were on the CEDAW committee, I might point out that one token black woman doesn't make for a representative group I think.

A bunch of old men talking about women's rights? Didn't the Andrea Dworkins of the fembot world have a few things to say about this?

The Great Liberal Death Wish

Are we absolutely sure the dinosaurs disappeared because of an asteroid?

A report by the US National Institute on Aging (NIA) says that the average age of the world's population is increasing at an unprecedented rate and that "within 10 years, for the first time in human history there will be more people aged 65 and older than children under 5 in the world."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To sum up...

I've been trying to figure out how to describe all the ... stuff I write about into a single sentence.

Natually, Kathy is ahead of me:

Cronkite was happy to receive an award
from "one world government" organization that sounds like the usual mid-20th century "world peace" "global village" "human rights" "world court" The Day The Earth Stood Still crap that's all just code for "unelected liberal elites will rule your lives -- presuming they let you live."

Don't you oppress me.

Just thinking again about this

and remembering a little altercation I once had with a young man who was having a bad day and screaming his bloody head off at someone I knew. I went over to him and told him to shut up and control himself. He rounded on me and responded, "How DARE you try to deny my right to express my anger?"

Ah, rights. And expressed in the tone and language I remembered so well from my hippie upbringing. I remember being told every day that I had the right to do whatever I wanted all the time and was particularly encouraged to "express my feelings" as much as possible. (Being naturally contrary, of course my only recourse was to become a bookish introvert). In due time, I was sent to an experimental hippie "free school" where the bullies were equally affirmed in their rights. A grand old learning experience was had by all, I can tell you.

Yes, I remember the beginning of the Rights Mania that brought us the magical land of Modernia in which Monty Python is no longer satire.

"I've got an idea: Suppose you agree that he can't actually have babies, not having a womb - which is nobody's fault, not even the Romans' - but that he can have the *right* to have babies."

"Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother... sister, sorry."

Playing Along

Been corresponding a little with a friend back in Toronto about the New Rocco:
In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading daily newspaper, Rocco Butiglione, one of Italy's best-known Christian Democrat politicians, said that he is opposed to efforts to create binding legal protections for the unborn in Italy. Instead, he said, he favors a shift in emphasis on "reducing abortion" by supporting women in need.

Butiglione spoke of a new network of pro-life parliamentarians who are not against Law 194, which permits abortion. "We do not want the law changed. Less than ever." The new emphasis, he said, must be to oppose the "use of abortion as a means of birth control."


This is really, I believe, the tip of a new iceberg of policy coming from the Secretariat of State.

Others, apparently, agree.

From: fr____@yahoo.ca
Subject: more on Rocco
To: "Hilary White"
Received: Wednesday, July 22, 2009, 5:57 AM


Saw your good article on Buttiglione. Meanwhile, another friend writes, "That is weird. I did notice that Cardinal Cottier, who used to be theologian to the papal household, wrote some gushing thing about Obama".

They must think, at the Vat, that Obama is the wave of the future and the thing is to try to direct him toward doing one or two good things rather than absolutely opposing him as many American conservative RCs want to do. This would be in line with the Vatican’s political judgement about so very many issues ...



I responded,
I've been thinking about all this.

I think it is very significant that Buttiglione is using the same expressions used by Fr. Lombardi about "reducing abortion".

Earlier this year, Lombardi accompanied the pope to Africa where the HF spoke to the Angolan officials about the badness of abortion. Later, at a press conference, Lombardi said that the pope had not intended to "condemn therapeutic abortion" but merely to say that the Church is opposed to the use of abortion "as a means of birth control".

The Italian papers (but not, strangely, the English language papers) immediately followed with headlines that said "The Vatican does not condemn abortion for therapeutic purposes" ...Corrierra della Serra ran a healine, "Vatican, Benedict XVI does not condemn abortion," etc.

There never was a clarification or correction issued and despite my efforts, nothing was made of it by anyone. Lombardi serenely carries on being Benedict's media spokesman. Sandro Magister reported the Africa quotes and I emailed Lombardi to try to get him to clarify what he had meant. When I asked if he had meant to say that the Holy Father did not condemn abortion in all circumstances, he dodged the question.

Now we have had the visit from Obama to the pope for which all the L'Osservatore Romano fawning was clearly meant as preparation and we have Bertone (Lombardi and Vian's boss) telling the media at the pope's vacation spot this week that they welcomed Obama's promise to "reduce abortion".

Next we get Buttligione pushing this motion through the Italian parliament to call on the UN for a moratorium on, you guessed it, "using abortion as a form of birth control".

Buttiglione is the leader of a gang of Italian parliamentarians who are known to be influenced by the Secretariat of State. They're kind of the Pope's boys in parliament and are regularly accused of being in the Vatican's pocket by the socialists and communists, probably justifiably.

It is clear that this business with Fisichella ["I wrote the article on request"] was meant as part of that larger plan by Bertone to shift the Vatican's public emphasis on the life issues away from the right of the unborn to the plight of women in distress. One that we managed to scupper.

But the larger plan is obviously still in place. Position the Vatican as more interested in a new stream of thought on "helping women" in order to "reduce abortion" and find "common ground" where we can all agree, more or less. This last seems to be in the areas of coercive abortion in China, abortion "as a means of birth control" and sex-selective abortion. (But even these are strongly supported by the real abortion zealots who are running the show in the White House right now).

This position of "supporting women" is much more politically viable a stance than claiming the rights of the unborn, the humanity of the unborn or the right to life. The "pure" pro-life line is being increasingly abandoned as an untenable failure by the political pro-lifers since the Obama election.

It is to be noted, however, that the pro-lifers who are dumping the absolute-evil-of-abortion line are the ones who have been looking for political and social acceptance all along. These are the "common ground" and "seamless garment" types who seem to be mostly interested in seeking friends among our natural opponents [on this blog, I've called them the Stockholm Syndrome Pro-lifers" many times]. A hold over, I believe, from the hippie-dippy 1960s philosophy that there should never be any such thing as opposition or conflict in public or private life. Let's all just hug and be friends.

I think the Vaticanistas who are trying to play along with Obama are going to be in for a few nasty shocks at some point, but at the moment, I think the main motive is the aforementioned love-peace-groovy-man hippie-dippiness that seems to be the main operating principle in the Vatican as it is in the wider Church. The one thing that the Church hierarchy of our modern era seems unable to stomach is the idea that there are some things one simply must oppose, and some people with whom one simply cannot make friends.

I suspect that at some point, there will be some harsh lessons to be learned, and I sincerely hope that Obama is up to the task of teaching them.

When are the hippies going to finish dying off?!

A report on the progress of the liturgical reform of Benedict XVI in Italy from Rorate Caeli. The Motu Proprio is, perhaps unsurprisingly, being blocked by, shall we say, clergy of a certain age.

"...it is not unknown to Your Holiness that the concrete application of the motu proprio has been obstructed in many places. Not by the faithful laymen, who have understood that the motu proprio opens up a new opportunity for those who so wish (to attend the liturgy in the extraordinary form – CAP), without taking away or imposing anything; but by the clergy who are not so young anymore, and especially the members of the episcopacy,

...in our diocese of Ventimiglia-San Remo there are not at present any Masses in the extra-ordinary form. In the beginning such Masses were celebrated in the convent of the Jesuits in San Remo, the Superior of whom had the intention to celebrate it every Sunday, but under the pressure of the Bishop had to limit the number to once a month. The old mass was celebrated only once with an exceptional attendance of around 500 persons. As a result of this, the Vice-Provincial of the Company of Jesus, who is said to have acted under the solicitation of our Bishop, forbade the continuation of the celebration of this Mass.


'Cause, of course the worst thing that could happen is people going back to the sacraments and taking the faith seriously.

Catholic bishops: working to stamp out the Holy Faith since 1965.

I should note, however, that rumours are swirling about the Traddie community in Rome (the formations can occasionally be spotted swirling over the Abbey Theatre pub behind the Chiesa Nuova some weeknights) that the new, ah ... arrangement at the Ecclesia Dei Commission is going to be addressing this episcopal problem fairly soon and with some force of authority behind it.

Control Freaks

Just ran across the following quote from a column in the Irish Independent supporting the idea of legal assisted suicide.

"Nobody, nobody, can deny you the right to control your own destiny"

I used to give talks at Catholic schools about what we liked to call 'bioethics' (to get past the gate-keepers who might object to having visitors opposed to abortion) and one of the things we liked to do was deconstruct the standard abortion slogans. How much sense does it really make to say "a woman has a right to control her own body"?

I asked the class for a show of hands of those who had control over their own bodies. There were always a few takers.

So, what age were you when you decided how tall you wanted to be?

Quite apart from the moral aspects of the statement above, one has to ask if it is based on reality. Ask the following questions: Is there a right to do something impossible? Do you, for example, have the right to flap your arms and fly?

Is there such a thing as the ability to "control your own destiny"?

Maybe a good person to ask would be a cancer patient.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sometimes there is also consolation.

Life is hard. It's The Rule. I remember once attending a lecture at King's College in Halifax and in the waiting time before it started, I was sitting at a table with a group of young girls and was drawn into their conversation. One rather bitter-sounding young lady was expounding on how she just "hated perfect people". All the people who have perfect hair, perfect skin and teeth, whose parents have paid for their education but who nevertheless get perfect grades. People who, in short, have never in their lives had any problems.

While I was in general agreement that such people were indeed vile and to be severely punished, I couldn't agree that I had met very many of them. In fact, I said, I'd never met any. Because of That Rule. Everybody suffers.

Today I received a note back from a letter I sent to the widow of an old school acquaintance of mine who, we heard through the internet grapevine, had taken his own life late last year.

Perhaps you will remember:
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"Twixt stirrup and ground, mercy sought and mercy found"

It's been 25 years at least since I met him. He was one of the cool kids in high school when I was a wallflower. He was a large, brash and outgoing, when I was a chronically shy, depressive/angsty teen neurotic. He was one of the most talented singers and actors in the choir and theatre groups in school. I moved in the same sort of circles, but we had different friends and though I admired him, he rather frightened me.

...

A decent chap, all 'round, and someone worth knowing, even slightly.

Last week, I got word that he had died suddenly. That was all we knew. I was surprised how saddened I was, since we had not known each other well, by any means.

Then we learned that he had taken his own life, after several years of battling serious depression, and my remote sadness took another form. Now his name, to which I had given little thought over the years, is in my mind over and over. His life, that had merely brushed close to mine for a few years, many years ago, suddenly seemed more precious.

His act will remain a mystery and a tragedy, even to those who knew him well. It will injure his children and his wife, his parents and siblings, his friends and co-workers. It has rippled out into the world, even as far as Rome, where I am sitting in sight of the great dome of St. Peter's Basilica, and the graves of the first Martyrs. His life, his existence, the reality of him, however distant he may be from me and from you who are reading this, is real. It cannot be erased. By his act, he has tried to remove himself from the world, to undo his own Reality. But this is the secret of living: it can't be undone.

This is what makes suicide so terrible. All acts of negation so horrific. It is an attempt to undo The Real, to become an unmaker, an anti-deity...


I am happy to quote some relevant bits from her note giving some hope that Charles had not been responsible for his act:

...those closest to him feel that it was not completely within his control. He had received a number of concussions throughout his life ... which led to a condition called Cumulative Brain Trauma. Risk of suicide among this population is fairly high. His last concussion, coupled with a stroke that he had sometime earlier last year, actually destroyed tissue in his temporal lobe, which is the area of your brain that controls things like anger and self preservation. At the point he had arrived at, the only thing that would have kept him safe was 24 hour institutionalized care. Of course, none of us knew this at the time...


It seems a strange thing to think that such sad information could be a source of consolation, but I found it so. I know that at the time I wrote about Charles, others who read the post also offered their prayers for the repose of his soul, including at least one Mass, and I hope that this information will be a help. There is no way of knowing in this life, of course, but there is always hope.

I once spoke to a young priest on the first anniversary of his ordination and he said that the thing he had learned that he hadn't expected was just how much suffering there is in the world. People don't talk about it, and that's to the good. But priests know all about it.

The two go back to back, inseperable, it seems. Suffering and hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

They've hit Japan!


It's the second wave.

Hundreds of giant jellyfish have advanced from China and have descended into Japanese and, possibly, American waters.

This is the third time since 2005 that these overgrown creatures have entered the Sea of Japan, and scientists have yet to uncover the motive for their repeated attempts at invading the relatively docile waters.


Down with Radial Symmetry!

Support Triploblastic rights!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More fallout from Vatican II?


Well, thank goodness I'm not the only one any more.

Thomas Peters, the American Papist points to the erosion of devotional practice in the Church over the last forty years for the boldness of the California cephalopod invasion we have noted here in the last week.

He says simply,
"For generations, fish knew their rightful place in God's creation because faithful Catholics observed the tradition of eating them en masse every Friday.

Sure, the idea was to offer up the pleasures of eating meat as a penance one day out of the week, but frankly, those faithful Catholics still ate mammals six days out of the week.

So really, there could be no doubt in those tasty farmyard minds about who was the boss. I mean, have you ever witnessed a cow or pig try to attack someone? Of course not! Except maybe that one time (on a Friday - surprise, surprise).

Anyway, fast-forward to 40 or so years after Vatican II, and it's clear that fish have forgotten our deal. The new generation of fishes, in fact, are now systematically, actively "testing the waters" to see if the time is ripe to have their turn at the top of the food chain.

Luckily, so far their attempts have been unsuccessful."

Friday, July 17, 2009

No One Ever Listens


Battle is joined.

Jumbo flying squid - aggressive 5-foot(1.5-meter)-long sea monsters with razor-sharp beaks and toothy tentacles - have invaded the shallow waters off San Diego, spooking scuba divers and washing up dead on tourist-packed beaches.

The carnivorous calamari, which can grow up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms), came up from the depths last week and swarms of them roughed up unsuspecting divers. Some divers report tentacles enveloping their masks and yanking at their cameras and gear.

Stories of too-close encounters with the alien-like cephalopods have chased many veteran divers out of the water and created a whirlwind of excitement among the rest, who are torn between their personal safety and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with the deep-sea giants.


H/T to Dale.

Swedish Liberal Party Offers Final Solution to the Irish Problem

If only Swift were still with us.

A Swedish political party has described Ireland’s baby-protecting abortion laws as “medieval” and “terrifying” and will try to use the Lisbon Treaty to enshrine abortion as a human right throughout the EU.
While I realise that most pro-life Catholic bloggers are focusing on the emerging knowledge that President Obama's pic for Supreme Court is a pro-abort Catholic, there seems to be few attending to the other apparently emerging news, perhaps related to the first, that she seems also to be an illiterate peasant who has likely risen to her current position of power and influence due to the effectiveness of racial affirmative action programmes.

Not at all unlike another prominent political figure in the US.

Interesting to note, of course, that those liberalized programmes designed to get more brown people into college were instituted by white intellectuals whose parents had to pay for their educations.

Ed Whelan gives throws her a little bone:
Does the fact that she is a Latina immunize her from attention to that sort of (admittedly not uncommon) foible?


"admittedly not uncommon"?

Among Supreme Court Justices?

Ah yes. Good old white liberal guilt.

Fonda on Fonda

If Jane Fonda wants to go around wearing a t-shirt with her own mug on it, I'd suggest that the silly fist-up salute pic she chose, to commemorate her glory days as the US's first open, out and proud Hollywood communist, really doesn't do her political legacy justice.

If I were her, I'd take one from her real peak cinematic moment, in her oooo-baby-tie-me-up-and-beat-me-till-I-cry Barbarella dominatrix gear.

It was her best role.

But I suppose at a well-surgeried 71, her glory days as a big-haired sex-kitten aren't really what Miz Fonda wants us to remember.

H/T, as always, to The Shaidle.

Buck up little camper. Some day you'll be able to play with the big kids.

Diogenes still does it to me:

During his meeting with President Obama, Dan Gilgoff of US News tells us, "Benedict will be aware of operating on a global stage."

How nice of the American president to give the Roman Pontiff-- who heads up a 2,000-year-old institution, founded by the Son of God, spanning the world and claiming over 1 billion members-- a shot at the big time.

Demographics

Sister Sandra Schneiders on the Vatican's Apostolic Visitation of "certain" religious communities in the US:

IHM, professor at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. "Visitations," she pointed out, "do not drop out of heaven newborn. They come about because somebody wants to investigate somebody."

She also described as a red herring the Vatican's concern for a decline in religious vocations as a major reason for the visitation. She insisted that the decline in the number of women religious follows the demographic trends for the greater female population.


Wow! Really?!

I had no idea that the average age of women in the US was 73.

That demographic crisis is worse than I thought.

"Dissenter umbrella group"

Didn't we used to have a word for that?

Weren't they called a "protestant sect"?

I's a new group and all. But it's strange how the voices all sound so...

familiar.

That's because it's the same old bunch of geriatric hippies, pagans and sex-perverts.
Call to Action, New Ways Ministry, Catholics for Choice, the Women’s Ordination Conference, Women-Church Convergance, the National Association of American Nuns (Sr. Jeanine Gramnick), the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit, and Dignity.




While the webpage and release avoid specific policy statements, they do mention those who have joined the organizing efforts, including Sr. Joan Chittister, whom is described as a “well-known author on issues of contemporary spirituality.” Chittister was the keynote speaker at Women's Ordination Conference in Dublin, Ireland in June, 2000. Another endorser is former priest Dr. Paul Lakeland, professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue at the (Jesuit) Fairfield University.


And hands up everyone who flinched in embarrassment at that "whom".

Or did you just laugh?

I did a bit of both. Must be mellowing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Making Hay




I just saw the photos up on the Transalpine Redemptorists' blog of their hay-making work. I had the immense pleasure of meeting them a few weeks ago when they made their Rome pilgrimage. They are just so very nice, and laughed at all my jokes. I told them that this video of Adam Nichols' visit had really made the rounds of the Traddosphere and had really lete everyone know about how great they are up there.

I left them this note on the blog.

I always think of the pictures in the Duc of Berry's Tres Riches Heures of the (rather well dressed) peasant women in the fields out turning the drying grass with their long wooden rakes.

The fields between my home in Santa Marinella and Rome where I work, have been a kind of pageant of agriculture as I go back and forth on the train every day. The fields in Lazio seem to get at least two or three crops of vegetables a year, with the second ploughing just having been finished. The big round hay bales have been sitting in the fields awaiting pick up for some time.

In early April all was green green green with grass and flourishing fields of Carcioffi (artichokes). Then one day, the mowers came out and suddenly there wasn't a carcioffi to be found in any Roman shop or restaurant. I'm looking forward to the second crop.

I think I might be the only person I know who watches the local agriculture the way some people watch television. It's diverting to know what's going on out there in what I like to think of as the 'real world' of the farmers. And there is something deeply comforting about seeing it all going on.

If the farmers are still out there ploughing, planting and harvesting, the world' can't be in that bad shape. Not yet, at least.


Everything that isn't being irrigated has gone golden. The fields of wheat are almost all harvested and the big hay bales are like a sudden population explosion of big round yellow dolmens. In the last couple of weeks, the fields are being turned over to expose the rich brown soil again. Ready for whatever comes next.

I'll have to get some more pics to compare and contrast.

Canonise Chesterton?

Shee, I don't know.

Maybe if, during the examination of his work in the Process, the Vatican guy went through everything he wrote and counted up the number of subordinate clauses, and found they were in the same range as Newman's we could think about it.

After all, it's the prose style that counts. Right?

Catholic voters: Setting that bar as low as she'll go

Obama's newly appointed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has hotly denied he supports "forced abortion".

Responding to
concerns Holdren co-authored a book which allegedly contained comments supporting coercive population control measures. A spokesman for the department said that Holdren disavowed such policies at his confirmation hearing.


Oh good.

With this helpful clarification, I'm sure we can continue to support President Obama's work in "reducing the number of abortions" now that we have been so reassured.

It is further proof, as some highly placed members of staff at the Vatican have also helpfully assured us, Obama can't possibly be a "pro-abortion president". Just look at the moderate positions held by his key appointees.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I wish I knew how much this meeting cost

European Bihops' Conferences get together in Lviv, Ukraine.

After three days, they come to a groundbreaking theological conclusion:
A priest is a "human being who specializes in God" in order to serve others twenty-four hours a day.

But don't reach for those blackberries yet.
There's more...
He's also
"an expert in the art of encountering God," and for this reason he must know how to "draw on the Eucharist as his highest expression of fulfillment."

At last we know, after 2000 years or so, what a priest is.

Good work boys.

Ready-thinky

AB Chaput, a fine fellow in many ways despite his penchant for eagle feathers at Mass, has some useful things to say about the problems being created by the new media.

The Archbishop highlighted the impact of technology on the media, and its effect on consumers. "America was born as a nation of readers," he says, pointing to The Federalist Papers as examples of news at its best. "Unfortunately, if [The Federalist Papers] appeared today, few of us might read them," he said.

"The reason is simple," he continued. "Reading requires discipline and mental effort. But for the past 50 years our culture has been shifting away from the printed word to visual communications, which are much more inclined to sensation and passive consumption. This has consequences. When a print culture dies, the ideas, institutions and even habits of public behavior built on that culture begin to weaken."

This technological change has impacted our ability to think about the news, argued Chaput. Visual media, he says, "thrives on brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings." But "thinking takes time."

At least, I assume they're useful.

I didn't have time to read the whole thing.
The Diocese of Tzaneen is hoping that Benedict Daswa, a teacher who was killed for rejecting his tribal beliefs, will be beatified.

How terribly unoecumenical of him.

These things happened in the bad old days of Catholicism when we thought that our Church was the best one. Good thing we have become so much more tolerant today.

Oh, wait.

It didn't happen in the 16th, or 18th, or 19th centuries.

Benedict soon realized that witchcraft was against his Catholic faith. From then on in his private life and also in public he took a strong stand against witchcraft because he said it led to the killing of innocent people accused of witchcraft activities.

He also rejected the use of muti or medicines for protection against evil or for success in sport or other activities. It was this stand against witchcraft which eventually led to his death. A few days after refusing to give money for the purpose of smelling out witches, he was stoned and bludgeoned to death on February 2, 1990.


I suppose, living in primitive backward Africa, he hadn't got the memo yet about the new Assisi Peacelovegroovy attitude of respect we now have for people of "alternate beliefs".

Getting martyred for the faith is just so yesterday, man.

I hope the diocesan officials aren't holding their breath. He wasn't a 20th century pope, after all.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oh yeah, an earthquake...


"They're really confused about where they are"

Uh huh. Sure, "confused".

"We're just basically trying to save them."

Only one guy asks, "Why are they here? Why are the squid here. I can't honestly tell ya."

I CAN!
The giant squid do venture into shallower depths at night, according to LiveScience:

During the day, the somewhat mysterious jumbo squid are known to descend to lower depths in the ocean to rest, slowing down their metabolism to deal with the lower oxygen levels there. At night, they return to well-oxygenated waters nearer the surface to feed.

Beachgoers tried to throw back the squid, which measured up to four feet long, before seagulls could feast on them. But for many of the marine creatures, the attempt was futile.

For pity sake people!

WAKE UP!

The Media is obviously trying to downplay the threat. More pro-radial-symmetry propaganda here.

That Bad Old Vatican!

A group of antinuns told the New York Times and various other media outlets they are afraid the Vatican is trying to force them to return to the bad old days when they wore habits, lived in community, said the Divine Office together every day and worked in Catholic charitable institutions.


Ummm...

have I missed something?

Oh. My. Goodness.


This, ah, person, is a Jesuit.

(No points will be docked for not watching all 6+ minutes of it.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friends?

"Does Obama have a friend in the Vatican?"


More than the New York Times can possibly imagine.

They're coming!

.


Massive squid washes up on the beach at La Jolla.

My correspondent asks the questions we should all be asking.

"Reconnaissance? First wave of the invasion? Diversionary tactic?"


They came for the aquatic mammals, but I was not an aquatic mammal, so I did nothing...

H/T to Steve, the quitter.

The Poor Darlings


And this week's bomb-turban t-shirt goes to...

the Islamic blogger who whines writes about how those poor poor Islams are just misunderstood, calumniated and slandered by Christians.

for 1300 years.

The West, whether Christian or dechristianised, has never really known Islam. Ever since they watched it appear on the world stage, Christians never ceased to insult and slander it in order to find justification for waging war on it. It has been subjected to grotesque distortions the traces of which still endure in the European mind. Even today there are many Westerners for whom Islam can be reduced to three ideas:

fanaticism, fatalism and polygamy.


Actually, I think what we've got a bigger problem with is the blowing-stuff-up, the cutting-people's-heads-off and the institutionalized-gang-raping.

But if you give me a minute, I'm sure I can come up with a few more.

The Cup of Tea of Peace

["Seraphic" hmmmm...have to assign an O's P -friendly pseudonym here, I think. I'll call her...]

Janet has a very amusing post about how to actively participate in the Tea n' Snax after a Trad Mass in England. (Part of a series, I guess)

...there is a time for socialising, and it is both BEFORE and AFTER Mass, not DURING.

Some of the rudest Novusordinarian experiences I have ever had were at a Nervous Disorder Masses in England. I was shocked. I generally remain kneeling through the whole thing on the occasions when I am forced to go to them, and especially give off, as hard as I can the "please don't bother me with your annoying hand-shake o' peace" signals. But there I was, mantilla pulled down over eyes, kneeling with hands together praying [admittedly praying to be left alone] and I suddenly feel someone's clammy hand reaching under the lace, grabbing my hand and yanking it out for a shake.

"Peace be with you" she said. "It was, thanks" I replied.

Un-fricken-BELIEVABLE.
And there is a place for socialising, and it is OUTSIDE the quiet House of Prayer, not INSIDE.

When forced to attend Mass at the hovel in Tattenhall, I used to escape the ear-splitting racket that was normal behaviour before Mass by standing around outside reading my Mass devotional. It unnerved them, I think.
Instead of the Kiss of Peace, Trids have the Cup of Tea of Peace,

Habit they appear to have picked up nicely from the Anglos. Anglican tea n' snax after err... the "service", was so nice and so friendly in Halifax, it almost made me start imaginging going over...well not really.
and by the end of Mass, you need it. All that active participation, that paying attention to booklet, sheet, men's schola, priest and your own interior disposition is EXHAUSTING. So off you go in the tea ladies' wake, digging once again in your wallet or bag to find a heavy coin with which to buy a copy of your favourite Catholic newspaper on the way.

Strangely, after Tridentine Masses The Tablet goes untouched
[heh].

You leave the church with some trepidation, for, lo, Triddies have a reputation for being mean people. Will they beat you to death when you emerge? But no, there is John gulping down cigarette smoke as fast as he can, while talking to me...

In the parish hall, the Trids cluster around the tea table for tea or instant coffee and a biscuit and then reluctantly drift away to sit at tables in the room.

OK, important English etiquette note here for ... well, let's face it ... Americans visiting Masses in England. It's all about the approach.
This being BRITAIN, there is no forced jollity or joining of groups of strangers with a whoop and a "Hai, Ah'm Sally Sue, and Ah'm new heah!" Instead there is a lot of standing around and looking shyly at the various groupings until one has judged which grouping one might safely and politely join without embarrassment to all.

Dark Scenarios

At the Sunday Angelus, (which I really should start going to more often), the pope spoke about "dark scenarios" for the future with technology running ahead while our moral compass is spinning backwards.

He couldn't have meant something like this, do you think?

"Something that had been a crime is transformed into a right."

New law in Spain.

Bit like an ice cream cone then

What they say about revenge is also true about plain old victory.

Sweet and ice cold.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Everyone, including her mother, told her all about how kids would RUIN her life

but hey, no pressure.

It's your choice, totally.

I knew that if I did not go through with it this time, no one would do the abortion. I was too far along.

So I did it.

I went to sleep with a baby and woke up without one. Groggy. Unsure about everything. Everything in the whole world.

People think abortion is such an easy choice–they say, “Don’t use abortion as birth control.” Any woman who has had one will tell you how that is such crazy talk. Because an abortion is terrible. You never stop thinking about the baby you killed. You never stop thinking about the guy you were with when you killed the baby you made with him. You never stop wondering.

So the second time I got pregnant, I thought of killing myself. My career was soaring. I was 30 and I felt like I had everything going for me – great job, great boyfriend, and finally, for the first time ever, I had enough money to support myself. I hated that I put myself in the position of either losing all that or killing a baby.

I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant. I knew what they’d say.

So I completely checked out emotionally. I scheduled the abortion like I was on autopilot. I told my boyfriend at the last minute and told him not to come with me.

He said forget it. He’s coming with me.

I remember staring at the wall. Telling myself to stop thinking of anything.

The doctor asked me, “Do you understand what’s going to happen?”

I said yes. That’s all I remember.

I got two abortions to preserve my career. To keep my options open. To keep my aspirations within reach.


She went to sleep, and woke up a murderess.

Try living with that.

Obama and Benedict

Took a stroll down to the Piazza to see what could be seen. Not much, as it turned out.


Anyone who spends any time in Rome quickly learns what a bunch of flirts the Carabinieri are.


The security around St. Peter's was OTT today, but I noticed, not so many cops as for the Gay Pride thing.

Odd.


Now there's something you don't see every day. St. Peter's Piazza empty at mid-afternoon in July.

To avoid the crowds of excited American tourists waiting to catch a glimpse of their messiah, I walked one street over past Santo Spirito in Sassia. They were getting ready for some big thing, stringing extra power cables into the building.


And these guys were waiting for some big release photo-op moment.


As I was walking across one of the bridges over the Tiber, I looked down to see the ducks and this fellow was in there plying the water. A muskrat I think.

Big day for things you don't see every day.

Ugly Church Art Makes Baby Jesus Cry

Ooo my submission to the Ugly Church Art competition over at the Crescat's made it
into the top ten.


It was on the side of the otherwise beautiful St. Joseph's church in Cortona, in Tuscany.

This one is pretty creepy too.

One of the Evil Emperor's handmaids?. Saint Morticia?

A year later, the infestation continues to spread



A year ago I wrote about the infestation of the Catholic Church, particularly in Britain, of new invasive parasitic species whose venomous bite is lethal to the Faith. I posited, at the time that Tony Blair was invited by Cardinal Cormac "Bubbles" Murphy O'Connor to speak at Westminster. The newly minted Catholic Blair praised Karen Armstrong's books for shewing him the way forward in faith.

Which faith, precisely, is still uncertain.

(Busy today, so you're getting a repost.)

A small subspecies of Catholicus Cafeterius native to the British Isles; Catholicus Armstrongiensis.

He praises Karen Armstrong's "remarkable" book that talks about the evolution of religious thought from "earliest times" when it was irrational and unforgiving, to "modern times" when faiths share common values and purpose.


Closely related to and sometimes thought by theological taxonomists to be a variety of Catholicus Tabletistis. We have a very similar species in Canada, Catholicus Winnipegiensis so I'm surprised I didn't recognise it. It explains a lot.

Unfortunately, these are extremely aggressive and invasive species and can completely overwhelm the native populations if left unchecked. It seems clear that Britain, as is Canada, is in the final stages of being totally overrun by these new varieties.

They're both quite poisonous, of course.

Their bite, if not treated immediately, stuns the prey who begins to experience a severe spiritual lassitude and confusion, sometimes called acedia, invariably accompanied by moral blindness and religious indifferentism. After this, the victim is paralysed and the second stage, by far more horrible, sets in.

Some cases of severe poisoning by C. Tabletistis have shown some odd symptoms, including the victim feeling an overwhelming urge to issue statements on "interfaith dialogue", write books about the universal common origins of all religious beliefs, attend multi-faith gatherings in Assisi, pray to the "four directions" and even, in extreme cases, wear tie-dye chasubles (oddly, this last symptom manifests itself in both sexes). They can even be subject to fits of babbling incomprehensibly, for example:

"There is nothing I look back on now and say that as a result of my religious journey I would have done things very differently but that is expressly not to say that I got everything right."


But this last symptom is rare and normally only manifests itself at large gatherings.

Perhaps most alarmingly, if the bite is left untreated, after the C. Tabletistis victim falls into a spiritual paralysis, he becomes a host for a new individual of the species. Horribly, recent research has discovered that the species is not only aggressive and invasive, but parasitic as well. It seems to implant along with the paralysing venom, some kind of retrovirus that spreads rapidly throughout the victim's system, re-writing his spiritual DNA. The result, for those who survive with any spiritual life at all, is a new individual member of the parasite species, ready to spread the virus to other victims. This secondary action of the venomous bite has led some to nickname the species "Catholicus Vrykolakas". This new discovery of the species' parasitic nature and the presence of the virus, answers many questions about how the species has spread so rapidly in areas where infestations had previously been minimal or even unknown.

Some have theorized that some of the German the bishops attending the Second Vatican Council must have carried one or more individuals of the European variety of the species with them in their luggage and infected virtually the entire hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Other instances of such infestations have been noted in history, but they have been localized, limited by the need to have a host carry the infestation to other areas. It is one of few plausible explanations as to how the entire body of the Catholic episcopate could have entered the Second Vatican Council as Catholics, and left it as an apparently entirely new species of creature, previously confined largely to French theologians and Jesuits and only seen in the upper echelons of the Church in extremely rare instances.

In the case of the Vatican II bishops, the species simply got lucky and the bishops present took the infection back with them to the four corners of the globe and the species spread rapidly through the long-established systems of communication and travel, (schools, hospitals, universities, religious orders, etc) until the proliferation became all but unstoppable.

Little hope appears to remain of preserving native species of Catholicae in Britain. Most believe that the only hope is to allow the infestation to run its natural course and, when they have exhausted the resources of the area, the invaders will die off. Some have suggested that a return to the traditional sacramental life of Britain's native religion, along with an extensive programme of public education on the dangers of contact with C. Tabletistis and C. Armstrongiensis, may preserve portions of native Catholicae in a dual action of a prophylactic and innoculation.

But others have cautioned that such programmes require greater resources than are currently available to the remaining uninfected population and that the infestations can remain dormant within a given population, a parish, say, or a religious house, that may appear untouched, only to manifest itself when few will suspect any danger, as has been the case in some of the surviving religious orders. In addition, C. Tab. and C. Arm. is able to camouflage itself, for example by affecting the traditional religious dress of some pre-infestation religious orders, thus luring in the unwary.

There is little hope for a cure for advanced cases of poisoning. In rare instances, massive doses of undiluted Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft and similar highly processed and distilled ideas have had a positive effect, but treatment is often rejected by the victim and even when accepted, is severely hampered by the action of the virus, much of which is to dampen, or entirely destroy, the faculties of reason, the ability to perceive reality and the logic processing centres of the brain. It is these faculties that are required as carriers for the victim to process the anti-viral medication.

Research continues, but fewer and fewer remain uninfected to do the work. As of this writing, the outlook is bleak for the continued survival of the Church in this country.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Rants

Today, when I was having my daily call with my editor, I used the expression "my inner Kathy Shaidle".

I think "Kathy Shaidle" needs to be coined as a verb. "To Kathy Shaidle" should mean to express oneself without the slightest nod to the accepted niceties of expression; to speak bluntly about topics considered sacrosanct; deliberately to face up to and comment freely upon subjects that are considered taboo by the bien pensants; to blast Goodthinkfulness to smithereens on a daily basis.

Colloquial: "They tried to silence me with lawsuits and visits from Ahmed the killer pimp, but I Shaidled their cringing politically correct butts".

But not in a mean, crazy, scary Nazi Eugenics way, you understand

Roe v. Wade was supposed to eliminate "unwanted" populations.

"Reproductive choice has to be straightened out," said Ginsburg, lamenting the fact that only women "of means" can easily access abortion.

"Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of," Ginsburg told Emily Bazelon of the New York Times.


Well, the logic simply follows doesn't it? I mean if the baby is "unwanted" by the mother, why shouldn't the mother be unwanted by, shall we say, her betters?

What's the diff?

Committed to Reality

or not so much perhaps.

This just in by email from longtime co-conspirator Dianne Irving.

FYI, as you probably already know, I am working with CRTL with the scientific "language" for this initiative, and so far they have been completely intellectually honest and have agreed to use the accurate objective scientific language that would protect all human beings, not just some.

That "language" is in concert with human embryology textbooks and the Carnegie Stages of Early Human Embryonic Development -- all available to anyone in stores, libraries and online.


Dianne has been doing this kind of thing, educating pro-lifers (self included) on what's what with the actual facts of life, so to speak. Dianne, BTW is well worth reading for those interested in diving in a little deeper into the life issues, bioethics, biotechnologies, the history of the bioethics movement (as opposed to the traditional Hippocratic medical ethics) and has quite a lot of articles available online. Several years ago, (OK, ten) I spent a year more or less unable to work and another year or so recovering. I didn't have a lot of energy but I could and did spend my time well by reading a lot.

A lot of what I read was by Dianne. Her work added the "anti-choice" component of my journey to becoming the crazed antichoicehomophobicracistmisogynistbigot I am today. At some point I decided I wanted to be the next Dianne Irving (only without going to the trouble of all those annoying PhDs). When I got to Toronto to become a professional anti-choice extremist one of the biggest perks of the job was that I got to work very closely with Dianne and become friends with her.

Anyway, Dianne continues to use her scientific knowledge and teaching experience to benefit the anti-death movement. Currently she is responding to this charming little missive from a group called "Republican Majority for Choice" who issued the following warning:
As many of our members might remember, Personhood would establish that a fertilized egg- far prior to what scientists and medical professionals consider the starting point for conception- has the same rights as a human being. The effects of Personhood would ripple across the nation, as these Constitutional Amendments are meant to be a direct challenge to Roe- and possibly costing the state millions of dollars in legal fees.


Watch out, Reality is coming for you.

Dianne calmly responds:
Contrary to the claim in the Republican email... prolife legislation has essentially failed since 1973 precisely because they have knowingly and willingly used either false scientific definitions in their bills, or have left out parts of critical scientific definitions -- both of which have created massive legal loopholes for abortion, the use of abortifacients, human embryo research, human cloning, human embryonic stem cell research, human genetic engineering, the use of aborted human embryonic and human fetal tissues in the production of vaccines, etc. No wonder they are now so terrified.


As I used to put it to the school groups I talked to,

when you put two members of the same species together, you generally get another member of the same species. Boy Giraffe meets girl Giraffe and usually produce a third Giraffe. (I do sometimes wonder where pro-aborts think babies come from.)

And despite those little propaganda posters on foetal development we used to see in the high school nurse's office, (so helpfully provided by Planned Parenthood) a human baby does not start as a shrimp.

Fan Mail

Always fun to deal directly with the public.

From: Dan P.
Subject: New Conservative Anglican Intiative Receives Unofficial Support of Queen Elizabeth
To: hwhite
Received: Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 8:13 AM

If your clearly incompetent journalists knew anything of the monarchy, you would know that as monarch, constitutional tradition dictates she not give her opinion or endorsement of any political matter except on the advice of her Prime Minister.

Therefore, it is NOT possible HRM Queen Elizabeth II has even given "unofficial" sanction of this group as her Prime Minister has not directed her to do so. Your organisation has taken a simple courteous response as endorsement. Perhaps my letter, that I'm not writing, is endorsing something?

Shame on you for trying to besmirch HRM name and the dignity of her position with your sub-standard journalism.


HJMW responds:

Dear Mr. P.,

Thank you so much for your kind note.

If you will read other coverage, principally that of the Daily Telegraph, you will see that the interpretation of support from Her Majesty for the new endeavour comes not from my journalistic incompetence, which I agree is very great, but from the leadership of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

I am sure your criticism of journalists, however, justly extends to the entire profession, since every other news source that has covered this subject has so interpreted it, based on the assessment of the FCA, and I believe accurately so.

In addition, looking closely, you will find that this interpretation has also been shared by the leadership of the homosexualist movement who are registering complaints as we speak.

I append some links which may be of interest.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5750361/Queen-sends-supportive-letters-to-leaders-of-church-movement-that-has-angered-gay-campaigners.html

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-13123.html

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/royalwatch/news/article_1488011.php/Queen_Elizabeths_letters_of_support

http://www.christian.org.uk/news/20090707/queens-best-wishes-to-christians-insult-gays/

http://www.inspiremagazine.org.uk/news.aspx?action=view&id=3569

Regards,

H. White


Mr. P., who can't seem to get the joke, sends his fervent apologies today:

Yes, I saw that others also failed to understand the process as well. Just because there are so many other incompetent journalists doesn't excuse your incompetence or use of a very distinguished woman's name improperly for your petty politics.


Must be a tough job, and very time-consuming, policing the entire journalistic profession.

Someone's got to do it, I suppose.

Tiergartenstra├če 4

Something that is not widely remembered, is that the people who actually worked in the Aktion T4 programme in Germany in the 1930s, started showing signs of serious mental breakdown. They started showing bizarre behaviour and abusing drugs and alcohol.

Well, when you kill people for a living, it is hardly surprising that you tend to go a little weird in the head. Comes of being divorced from yourself and the rest of the human race.


So, they're canonizing people now because of their mastery of English prose.

Well, at least with such a low bar, I've got a chance.

The Newman fans among us will forgive me, I hope, for continuing to direct my Oratorian-oriented prayers only to Philip and Fr. Faber.

John Allen indulges in a little Left-Liberal wishful thinking

While everyone agrees that John Allen is the best of the liberal journalists covering Vatican issues, he is still on the other side, and one of the things about the other side is that they are not, shall we say, deeply committed to reality.

In his post for today at NCR, Allen opines,
In what could be seen as another piece of fallout from Benedict XVI’s January decision to lift the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops, including one who is a Holocaust denier, the pope today restructured the Vatican office that handles relations with the traditionalist world -- and, in effect, gently fired the officials who presided over the earlier fiasco.

...

As a result of a document issued by the Vatican today, titled Ecclesiae unitatem, Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon-Hoyos, who had served as President of the Ecclesia Dei Commission since 2000, and Italian Monsignor Camille Perl, the number two official at Ecclesia Dei, are both out of work.

...

In broad strokes, the restructuring announced today is seen by most observers as a sign that the Vatican intends to take a more careful, and perhaps a bit firmer, hand in its dealings with traditionalist Catholics.



Ok, here's the bits he left out.

Cardinal Hoyos is 80 years old and has, in the words of one of my inside informants, been "gagging" to retire for some years now. Retirement age for active bishops is normally 75. He has a nice family home in Colombia and wants to go there. And who wouldn't. Rome, as we have seen, is still a snake pit (always has been I suppose).

The plans for restructuring Ecclesia Dei, and folding it into the structures of the CDF have been underway since there was even serious speculation that the HF would lift the excommunications. Papa, as the former head of the CDF and as the quintessential inside man in the Vatican's dealings with the SSPX, has long known that the big issues do not revolve around the Mass or the liturgy, but around the doctrinal, ah...shall we say...trends in the Church to which the SSPX (and quite a few others) have objected.

The plan all along, as far as I know, has been to dismantle the Ecclesia Dei structure as an "overseer" of traditionalists, a move intended to acknowledge that there is not the chasm between us and the rest of the post-conciliar Church as is so fondly imagined by the extreme wings of both sides of the fight. (Whether this is true is arguable, but that's the official line, a chasm does not exist. There is no "rupture", just make sure you don't look down when you take that next step...everything's going to be fiiiiinne...whatever.)

As all Traddies know (those who are not "neo-trads" that is) Msgr. Perl has never been our friend. And that's putting it politely. The fact that he has not been made the replacement for Hoyos is an extremely encouraging sign. It means that the Boss knows who is and who is not going to help him re-integrate the Trads, and traditionalism, into the Church.

The fact that he's being replaced with Pozzo, who is generally acknowledged to be a friend, is another such sign.

Sorry John. But it might be a good idea to actually talk to the people on whom you are reporting once in a while, because it looks like your "most observers" are looking the other way.

Fr. Z has more

And the ever-reliable NLM still more.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Great Canadians: Missed one

Stompin' Tom

Mummified Dinosaur!


Zoiks!

Just when you thought science couldn't get any cooler!

A mummified dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota, US, may contain traces of 66-million-year old organic material, which could provide vital information about its evolution.

The well-preserved fossil of the plant-eating hadrosaur, complete with skin and tendons, was discovered in 1999.

Named “Dakota”, it was a rare find as bacteria in the soil usually break down soft tissue quickly.

It's not Kumbayah

You'd think that if an Anglican can figure this out, the Vaticanistas would be right on top of it...

Canon Julian Dobbs, the canon missioner for the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) told the June 22-25 meeting that “so-called moderate Islam” was a myth.

The American variety of “moderate Islam” was “no more moderate than the militant Islam of Saudi Arabia or Indonesia,” Canon Dobbs said. Quoting the founder of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), he explained that "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.

“Don't be misled or misguided, the peace Islam offers is not the peace of sitting around the camp fire singing [songs]. Islam's peace is the implementation of Sharia Law and the global submission to Islamic ideology,” he argued.

...but if you did, then you'd probably be thinking of some other Catholic Church.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Funny that...

Yes, it's an odd coincidence, don't you think?
I’m not remotely religious, but I can see how it’s considered perfectly legitimate to demonise the whole of the Catholic Church, say, or even Christianity in general. But when it comes to Islam, everybody gets very tongue-tied.