By The Hermits, Mar 3 2015 10:06PM
Amid the mayhem of the World at present, when we see a priest suing a laymen because the latter objects to the former's heretical opinions; when we see a minor opposition politician gunned down in Moscow and war edging nearer by the day; when we see American police killing more and more innocent people, and when we hear the rumour, or is it a rumour, that the British Army will come under the U.S. we need something to cheer us up.
I wrote the following fairy tale in 2005, and I seem to remember it is actually about the Church, but how and why it is about the Church, and how the story line unfolded, I do not really know. At the time we were living on a beautiful part of the Isle of Mull overlooking Iona, and the Atlantic and very close to Iona, and Staffa. Perhaps it was the great beauty of the scenery that inspired the story. Now when the Church is in such peril perhaps this story is a sign of hope.
THE JEWELER AND THE CROWN
There once was a lame jeweler called Bani who lived with his seven brothers in a cottage in the forest. The reason why they lived in a cottage in a forest was for the simple reason that the Kingdom was ruled by a wicked Governor who had ousted the rightful King from his throne. The King was in hiding or in a far away country, but no-one was sure where.
On a stormy night when the jeweler and his brothers were relaxing after their evening meal, the door was flung open and a man rushed in heavily cloaked and booted and spurred. The jeweler tried to raise himself and greet the stranger, but before he could the man fell to the ground unconscious, clearly exhausted beyond belief. One of the other brothers rushed forward to aid the man, while another plied the unfortunate stranger with brandy to revive him.
Once the stranger had come to his senses and had been given something to eat, the jeweler begged him to tell his tale.
The stranger told the brothers that he had come from a far away city in another country with a letter from the King, who was living as a poor artisan, but was trying to rally support to regain his throne. The King had fallen in love, but the girl who had won his heart had a father who insisted that if his daughter was to marry a King then she must have a crown. The exiled King protested that he had no money “That is you affair said the girls” father, no crown, “no bride and no queen”. The brothers, who were listening with wrapt attention to the stranger’s tale, were most indignant at the father’s demands. “My dear jeweler” the stranger continued “The King has asked that you make the crown for his bride but he can give you no payment yet, until he has regained his kingdom. He has three years for the crown to be made, but if by then he has no crown, the girl will be married to the richest man in the land, who courts her daily. In three years time I will return. What do you say?” The brothers to a man cried “yes” but the jeweler was silent for a long time; “Yes” he said, but with a seriousness quite at odds with his brothers’ enthusiasm. “Then I will be off” said the stranger “for the Governor’s spies are all about and my life will be in danger.” Will you not stay the night?” asked the jeweler. “No I must be off”. The eldest of the seven, for the jeweler was the oldest of them all, escorted the stranger to the door and bid him farewell; then the friend of the king rode into the darkness of the night.
The next day the jeweler called his seven brothers together. He said to them “The task I have been given is beyond my strength. I have never before made a crown, and we have no money to pay for the gold or the jewels. I cannot mine the gold, nor can I quarry for jewels. You will all have to help. Now the jeweler’s brothers from the eldest to the youngest were called by the following names, Azgad, Bezai, Michmas, Pashur, Keros, Talmon, and Padon.
To Padon, the youngest and the strongest, Bani said “You will have to go and mine the gold”, to Talmon he said you must find the emeralds from the islands in the Southern Seas; to Keros, he said“You will find the sapphires in the mountains of the Moon”. Then he said to Pashur. “You must go to Persia and there you will find diamonds the size of eggs.” To Michmas he said “You will find rubies red as blood in the desert lands to the south. “Bezai” he continued “You will go to the country of the birch trees and there you will find amethysts the like of which you have never seen before.” To Azgad he said “You have an almost impossible mission. You must go to the farthest most reaches of the North and go to the King who lives there and ask where the seven pearls of the seven stars are to be found.”
The next day the Jeweler embraced his brothers and bid them farewell as they went on their journeys, and returned to his work.
Within a few months the exuberant Padon returned loaded with gold. “We could make several crowns with all this gold.” “We could indeed” replied Bani who immediately began to work on the crown with the gold his brother had brought.
At the end of the year one starlit night in December Talmon appeared carrying a little leather pouch containing emeralds that shimmered like grass and moss on a bright Summer’s evening in the gardens of the Mountain realms. In May of the following year a weary Keros arrived and nearly falling from his snow white horse, he emptied a little basket on to his brother’s work table. Out of the basket fell sapphires that looked as if they had fallen from the sky. Deep blues that reminded one of the sky after Sunset on a midsummer’s evening, and others that looked like night.
And so Bani worked away at the crown adding the new jewels as they arrived. Then in August when the heat in the forest was so oppressive to make work on the Crown almost impossible Bezai arrived with amethysts of such a purple hue that you have never seen. “That was more difficult than I thought, after all it is not far to the country of the birch trees, but the amethysts were difficult to find and more difficult to quarry” said Bezai to his brother.
Then for months no other brothers appeared and Bani and the brothers who had returned were all filled with anxiety. Bani would spend days working on the crown helped by his brothers. He said little, but his brothers could see he was anxious for Pashur, Michmas, and Azgad as indeed were they all. “They will return” said the brothers, “But will they return in time?” asked Bani somewhat fearfully. The brothers were silent for they did not know.
Bani continued to work on the Crown which looked more and more beautiful by the day, but still the other brothers returned. In December of the third year on a night when the snow lay thick upon the ground Pashur arrived starved and cold carrying a bag of white and yellow diamonds that flickered like the stars above on a Winter night. “The King of Persia heard of my quest and was so filled with compassion for our King, when he heard of his plight, that he gave diamonds from his jewel house picking out the best he could find.
The Christmas the brothers spent together was tinged with sadness. “When will our brothers return and when will the King be married and the Queen crowned? “When indeed” thought Bani When indeed?”
In March when the daffodils began to blossom a tired and weary and very parched Michmas arrived carrying rubies that looked like fire and blood. “Indeed” said Michmas “searching for these rubies in the desert was like going through fire and shedding all ones blood.”
And so the weeks marched remorselessly on, and Bani and his brothers worked on the crown in silence, with fear in their hearts and hope fast receding. The crown had to be finished on 13th June, and it was now the first of that month.
“Shall we send out scouts for our brother?” asked Pashur on that day “No” said Bani “But go to the watch tower at the edge of the forest, and send us news when Azgad returns from the mountains of the North.
The days passed and there was but a day to go when a horn was heard at midnight. The brothers jumped out of their beds at the sound and all cried “Azgad has returned. Running out of the house the brothers saw Azgad and his brother riding on a horse white as the moon at its fullest.
All the brothers crowded around and helped Azgad down with the aid of Pashur, for he was weak beyond belief. “Have you got the seven pearls?” the brothers cried “Yes” Azgad said almost inaudibly, “But I never thought I would”
When the brothers had carried Azgad inside and laid him down to rest and fed him, and given him wine to warm him, he told his tale.
“I travelled for a year and a half before I came to the Lands of the North. I crossed mountains that were sharp as blades, and my feet were often cut to pieces, and the cold was terrible beyond imagining. Then I had to cross seas of ice that were like glass, and felt nothing ,and I thought of nothing; it was too cold to think. I simply knew that I had to do something of great importance, and often I forgot even who I was. I had arrived in the winter months when all was night and day had fled to the lands of the Sun. I met few people and felt friendless and bereft. When I asked the way to the King of the North’s castle, people looked at me as if I was mad, and indeed I began to feel mad.
Then on a June day when darkness had fled to the farthermost South of the World and all was light, I came across a little girl carrying a basket with flowers, the like of which I had never seen before. They were like large forgetmenots. “Do you know where the King of the North lives?” I asked the little girl “Goodness gracious” said the little one “He has been dead for centuries, and his castle is a ruin, did you not know?” “No” I replied forlornly and in hopeless desperation I said “Do you know where the seven pearls of the seven stars are?” “Goodness me of course I do” the little girl replied, to find them is quite easy”, and with that she whistled and said “You must let them come to you, and the only way they can is if the great white swan comes and takes you to them, there is no other way, but she usually comes when I whistle.”
A few minutes later a huge swan of great beauty appeared on the waters by the ice flow on which the little girl and I were standing. “What does the pilgrim want?” asked the Swan “He wants the seven pearls of the seven stars” the little girl said “Then he wants the impossible, however I will see what I can do. Get up on my back and I will take you as best I can to the place of the seven pearls.” I did as the Swan bade me.
I remember little of the journey. We voyaged in sunlit seas, but found nothing, and the Swan kept saying “It is an impossible task; the seas are silent. They do not seem to care about the seven pearls and do not even think they exist, but I know, but I can’t remember the place of the pearls” she said dolefully.
Then one day when I had all but given up and in fact it was only a few days ago, we came to an island of great Cedars, which I thought was strange as islands in the Southern Seas, for that was where we had voyaged to, where not the places to find Cedars.
“Ah I remember now” said a delighted Swan “This is the place. As I got off the Swans back and walked across the sand of the sea shore she said to me “You will not need me now. You will find the great oyster and all you have to do is prize it open. It will be surrounded by seven lilies which are the seven stars.”
The Island was not large and hurrying towards the centre, I came across a glade shaded by the great cedars, and in the centre of the glade was the great oyster shell but it had been opened and the pearls had gone. The seven lilies’ heads were drooping as if overcome with grief at the theft. Standing not far away from the lilies and the shell was a tall woman clothed in blue. “Do not fear all is not lost, go and look at the shell.” I obeyed the woman’s instructions, and passing through the circle of lilies I knelt down and looked at the shell, and saw nothing. “All is lost.” I said and then I wept and wept, until I had filled the shell with my tears. Exhausted with weeping and overcome with failure to obtain the pearls for the crown for our King’s bride, I looked into the shell and all my tears had evaporated and there glistening in the sun’s rays that filtered through the Cedars were seven pearls, one of which was incomparably more beautiful than all the others. I could not believe my eyes, but then I heard the voice of the woman, but saw no-one. “The pearls are yours, they are the children of your tears.” I took the pearls and placed them in my pouch, and for sheer exhaustion fell asleep. When I awoke I felt someone shaking me and then I saw Pashur and joy returned to me once more.”
When Azgad finished all the brothers clapped and cheered and hugged their brother for now the crown could be finished. Bani and the other brothers worked all night and all next day, and on the following morning, the morning of the 13th the Crown was finished.
As Bani and his brothers were eating breakfast suddenly a trumpet was heard. “The King’s messenger has come” they all cried, but when there came a knock at the door, not only was it the King’s messenger who entered but the King, and not only the King but his bride to be. The brothers fell silent with wonder, and Bani said “It is our long lost sister” “Then” said the King “You are my brothers”. Everyone was astonished especially the spouse’s father, who was positively amazed.
The coronation of the Queen was a magnificent affair, and her crowning that took place after the wedding caused great joy and enabled the King to return to his country, And his eight brothers in law were given all the rights of brothers of the King.
Whenever the Queen wore her crown nothing looked more beautiful than the great pearl surrounded by diamonds and sapphires in the centre of the cross that surmounted the Crown.
By The Hermits, Feb 24 2015 9:43PM
It is extremely difficult to understand both the World and the Church at present. Both seem to be very unbalanced. Passions run high and words cascade down waterfalls of emotion. If we are to look at two areas we will see that balance seems to have fled, or more importantly wisdom has.
The first explosion of passion has emanated with the whole debacle regarding the behaviour of the Apostolic Commissioner to the Friars of the Immaculate, who is the Capuchin Father, Fidenzo Volpi, sent personally by Pope Francis to sort out the problems of the Friars of the Immaculate. (It should be Brother; having been, myself, a Capuchin for many years, they are meant to be called Brother. I have no knowledge of Brother Fidenzo, but then I did not travel much as a Capuchin.) One wonders why the Pope hasn’t sent one of the Friars of the Immaculate to sort out the Capuchins and the Friars Minor, whose lack of poverty is in stark contrast to the wonderful poverty of the Friars of the Immaculate.
As a hermit and an outsider all I can see in this awful suffering; the bitter cup that the Friars of the Immaculate have to drink, is a hatred for traditional Catholicism (I am not putting it with a big T. I am trying to be balanced). It seems from what I can gather that some of the young friars had to take an oath to accept all that Vatican II said. Now this is very strange, if it is true. In the other Councils you would have “Anathema Sit” after a declaration of doctrine, which warned that if you denied the doctrine you would be anathematized. However, we are told, till we are blue in the face that Vatican II was a Pastoral Council. It is precisely because it was so pastoral, and I think it was Cardinal Suenens who pushed the whole pastoral approach, that we are in the dreadful mess we are in today, with the disastrous Extraordinary Family Synod of October last year, and the Family Synod, this year, which will be far more extraordinary and possibly dramatic in the extreme. Father Volpi is supposed to have refused priest friars of the Immaculate from asking to be dispensed from vows so that they could become diocesan priests. This is totally against Canon Law. What is the Pope up to appointing such a man? The situation has been aggravated because it appears that Fr. Volpi has blackened the name of th Manelli family, who are relatives of Fr. Stephano Manelli, the founder of the Friars of the Immaculate.
Now there have been scandals with regard to two of the founders of “The Beatitudes Community”, and also with regard to the founder of “The Community of St. Jean”, but I have not heard that they have been as harshly treated as have the Friars of the Immaculate.
It seems that Fr. Volpi will find himself in a rather uncomfortable position as he is now being sued by the Manelli Family. I wonder if the court will call the Pope as a witness. As he is head of the Vatican State, I think it is unlikely.
However the Pope seems to be unfairly criticized by some regarding his recent remarks regarding the Ukrainian Catholic Church. As it is made up of both Latin Rite, and Greek Melchite Rite Catholics there will obviously be tensions. Heavens above the depressing Latin Liturgy cannot compete with the Greek Melchite Rite one. That the Pope is calling for Peace hardly makes him Pro Russian and Anti Ukrainian. However if one tries to talk to journalists about history one is simply wasting one’s time in the main. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, it was in Kievan Rus that Russia was baptized. It’s a great shame that Moscow became so powerful, as the Muscovites were “the new boys on the block”. Kiev should really be the capital of Russia, and that should sort everything out. However the mutual distrust of the Russian Orthodox and the Ukrainian Melchite Rite Catholics is truly tragic, and though I am personally a Russophile, I think that the Russian Orthodox has treated the Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholics very badly indeed with all those forced conversions in the Stalinist era. The Pope really must try and do his best to reconcile the two churches.
Once again I must reiterate, all that Vatican II needed to do, if it wanted Mass in the Vernacular was to translate the 1965 Mass, which no-one ever talks about. It wasn’t in for long. However we poor fickle human beings never do something simple, we just complicate things with our own distorted malfunctioning, and sometimes malicious imaginations. Let us all learn that incredibly difficult virtue, humility. Let us this Lent try and be honest, and not devious, transparent and not opaque, sincere and not insincere. Let us become like little children, and so in that spirit I will give you Bushy’s Song from my book “The Catmoot”, which is sung to the tune of “When I go out of door” from Patience, which is the duet between Bunthorne and Grosvenor.
A RE-WORKING OF WHEN I GO OUT OF DOOR,
When we go out abroad,
We cats so many and more,
All jumping and turning,
And dancing and purring,
We’ll follow Our Good Lord.
He will lead us to a place
And show us his gracious face.
We will fly in the sky,
And sing praises on high,
As we follow in his wake.
A Gaudium et Spes young man,
A Nostrae Aetate young man,
An ultra-theological, new philosophical
Out-of-the way young man.
Conceive me if you can,
A Vatican II young man:
A progressive type,
With a sneer and pipe,
And a priestly patter pan;
Who thinks folkloric “pops”
More fun than Sunday “tops”
Who’s fond of his dinner,
And doesn’t get thinner
On clerical wine and chops.
A Vatican II young man,
Not a Council of Trent Old Man
A steady and “Constance” no time for such nonsense
A Vatican II young man.
An up-to-date young man,
An aggiornamento young man,
A Teilhard de Chardin, so charming parlando,
A Roman Curial man,
A Modernist trained young man,
A very delectable, highly respectable,
A sickly and thin old man,
A grieving and sad old man,
At a Church gone so batty, its thoughts gone so scatty,
A foot in the grave old man!
A Chalcedonian man,
A Lateran IV old man,
A feisty old cardinal who knows all the articles;
A tower of strength old man.
Receive me if you can,
A loyal and orthodox man,
Who takes the tradition and all its munitions,
For the sake of the Son of Man.
Bushy’s song whose tune and original lyrics are to be found in Bunthorne and Grovesnor’s hilarious duet at the end of Act II from Patience. Gilbert was sending up the whole aesthetic movement, which was best exemplified by Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler.
The lyrics are a send up of much of Vatican II, which though a great Council on one level was disastrous on many others, due to vagueness and a hopelessly optimistic view of modern man. I have had to incorporate some of the lines of Gilbert’s as it would be hard to better them, and I do not have the talent to better him.
All: A Guadium et Spes young man. Guadium et Spes was the flagship document of the Council. Parts of it were criticized by Cardinal Heenan as being banal, and that is very accurate. Reading them they have the feel of a sanctified United Nations document, or something that a pious member of the social services might come up with. It is like so much of Vatican II utterly enraptured with man, and putting God, albeit unconsciously in the wings, so to speak.
Nostra Aetate was the document on dialogue with Non Christian religions. It was a small document, but it has created a mine field of theological problems and great havoc. Its gestation and final emergence as the document we know began its career as a result of a meeting between Jules Isaac, a famous French Jew and John XXIII. It was a meeting of hearts and not of minds. Jules Isaac was a modern metropolitan man, although old by then, and John XXIII thought he was talking to a Jew of the Old Testament. This misunderstanding was fuelled by various interested parties for the next several years, which by turns was tragic and farcical. The main villain of the piece, and there were many, was the maverick, and immoral Irish Jesuit Malachi Martin, who ended his days in the late 90’s, or early this century as a highly orthodox man, who was living with his mistress!!!
An ultra theological, new philosophical, out of the way young man. This is the modern priest, whose formation is weighed down with huge doses of academic theology, usually of a highly dubious nature, half baked psychology, and once again is man centred. It was Good Pope John’s wonderfully optimistic, and happy nature that opened the first session of the Vatican Council by saying that the Church no longer needed to condemn error because modern man was so reasonable that he would be persuaded by the Catholic Church’s teachings. This opened a Pandora’s Box. 11 days later the Cuba crisis erupted onto the world stage. However the optimism rippled throughout the Church then and in the following decades and still is here, but optimism and hope are two different things. Optimism led to the most madcap schemes for the formation of priests, and religious and goodness knows who else, and ended up causing chaos, much of which I have witnessed, and it usually has led to a loss of Faith and the destruction of vocations and marriages. The whole problem is that unwittingly The Second Vatican Council, or its movers and shakers, were infatuated with man. The philosophy taught in seminaries would include anybody but Aquinas as far as I could see. We studied most of the German philosophers, some of whom would not have been remotely interested in God. The out of the way young man, could be the trendy priest, the rebel priest, the Marxist revolutionary, the purveyor of permissiveness and goodness knows what else, but he was and is certainly not priestly. I am not sure whether that is worse than the bureaucratic priest who has been in the Church since Constantine.
Who thinks folkloric “pops more fun than Sunday “tops”. Church music in the Western World has suffered both in its Catholic liturgies and Protestant liturgies. For the most part it has been dreadful. Folk masses, which do not use folk music at all but ersatz American folk music, which as far as I can see was created by Pete Seeger. Country and Western would have made more sense, as the great Country and Western singers are often devout Christians. Though Popes have reiterated the importance of Gregorian Chant and polyphony, their words have fallen not so much on deaf ears, but rebellious ears, and this is what is meant by Sunday “tops”. A Shaman would have a better idea of liturgical music than most modern Catholic Clergy, I am sad to say.
The Council of Trent was after Lateran IV, the greatest council since the schism between the Catholic West and the Orthodox West. A famous Anglican Canon, Donald Alchin said to me many years ago that no Church during the Reformation reformed itself more thoroughly than the Catholic Church. The Tridentine Church ends with the opening of the Vatican II, and quite what this era will be called is hard to say.
The Council of Constance in many ways prefigures Vatican II. It had to re-unite the Latin Church so it held that a Council was higher than a Pope. It wanted the Church to be governed by Councils, or some of its members did. However when Martin V was elected Pope, he put paid to that and the Pope then was once again governing the Church.
Aggiornamento is the Italian for “updating”. This became a mad craze. In every department of the Catholic Church had to be updated. Architecture, habits, theology, philosophy, and even marriage!
Teilhard de Chardin The famous French Jesuit along with the famous Austrian theologian and Jesuit Karl Rahner, have done untold harm to the Church. Teilhard has taken in brilliant theologians, and a vast army of religious and priests. His theology to a simple child would be nonsense. It is the Emperor’s new clothes. Teilhard was, as far as one can see, nothing more and nothing less than a dishonest Palaeontologist. He was involved with the Piltdown hoax, for which he could be forgiven, as he may well have been duped. But he was involved with Peking Man with an English palaeontologist. His English Palaeontologist colleague who wrote the definitive bibliography on all the writings to do with the find, failed to incorporate into the bibliography the work of a French Palaeontologist, who looking at the supposed humanoid’s remains concluded that the site was a prehistoric kitchen and the bones were monkeys’ bones. Teilhard’s theology is meant to be Scotist, but the truth is, it is all fantasy. Sadly such fine although dubious theologians as de Lubac thought his work wonderful. Teilhard is the the theologian of Evolution, which makes him something equivalent to a theological oxymoron.
Historico-critical young man. 19th century German theologians are the villains of the piece when it comes to Scripture Scholarship. Their fundamental thesis was, unless it is scientifically verifiable then it can’t have happened. In the realms of philosophy it is known as logical positivism, and it is very dull, and wrong. Miracles do happen of the most astounding nature, but they do not happen with enough frequency to convince 19th century German theologians, or such English philosophers as A.J. Ayer, and people like Richard Dawkins. The end result of such literary criticism is that Jesus ends up just as a great and good man. This leads to Modernism.
A Modernist trained young man. Modernism is the logical outcome of the historical critical method, and evolution, namely that religion is just a subjective thing. The great truths of Christianity simply become wishful thinking. The famous modernist Catholic is George Tyrell S.J., and the most famous Protestant theologian who was a modernist was Bultmann, who flourished in the 20’s and 30’s. The great scourge of Modernism in the Catholic Church was St. Pius Xth, who is now considered by many Catholic Clergy from Cardinals down to ordinary priests as being antediluvian. The great Protestant opponent of Modernism is the giant Karl Barth, of whom Pius XII said, was the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas!!!
A sickly and thin old man This stands for all those who are faithful to the Ancient teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church that cannot be changed without changing the nature of the Church. Thankfully the Second Vatican Council was only a Pastoral Council, which just to complicate things produced two Dogmatic Documents Lumen Gentium and Dei Verbum, which were both orthodox, but had unfortunate loop holes that could be used by the unscrupulous and were.
A Chalcedonian man One of the greatest councils of the Church, second only to Nicaea. It was called in the mid 5th Century when Leo The Great was Pope. It stated that Christ had two natures Divine, and Human.
Lateran IV This was the Council that recognized such new religious orders as The Franciscans, Carmelites, and ultimately the Dominicans. Guided by the most powerful Pope that ever lived, namely Innocent III it did much to reform the Medieval Church.
A feisty old cardinal describes the much maligned “Conservative” cardinals such as Ottaviani, and Siri of Genoa among others, who were not the dreadful dinosaurs that the revolutionary theologians such as Yves Congar, and Rahner would have us believe. The Cardinals were men of irreproachable morality which could not be said of Rahner, and some others.
Thankfully to be truly Christian one does not have to be a theologian, but one must accept the great truths of the Faith, which are all expounded in the first 800 years of the Church’s life and ends with the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, which takes place in 787.
Bushy’s song does for the nonsense of much modern Catholicism what Gilbert did for the aesthetic movement of Wilde and Whistler. I know that Pope Francis has received it and seems to have read some of it!!!
By The Hermits, Feb 18 2015 9:01PM
In the last several weeks we have been subjected to some remarkable utterances, and remarkable projects.
Let us look first at the utterances. On February 2nd Archbishop Henryk Hoser said the following in an interview with the Polish paper Niedziela:
I will tell you brutally. The Church has betrayed John Paul II. Not the Church as the Bride of Christ, not the Church of our Creed, because John Paul II was an expression, an authentic voice of the Church; but it is the pastoral practice that has betrayed John Paul II.
On February 8th Cardinal Burke gave an interview to France2, and here is part of what he said:
-[Interviewer:] How do you intend to place pope Francis on the good path?
-[Burke, in Italian] On this, also one must be very attentive regarding the power of the pope. The classic formulation is that, "the Pope has the plenitude, the fullness, of power." This is true. But it is not absolute power. His power is at the service of the doctrine of the faith. And thus the Pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine.
-"[Interviewer:] In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you,
and not pope Francis?
-[Burke, in Italian:] [Smiles, shakes his head] We must, let us leave aside the matter of the Pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.
-[Interviewer:] If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?
-[Burke, in Italian:] I will resist. I cannot do anything else. There is no doubt that this is a difficult time, this is clear, this is clear.
-[Interviewer:] Is it painful?
-[Burke, in Italian:] Yes.
(translated by Rorate Caeli)"
On February 11th in answer to a plea from PETERFIVE, for guidance with regard to the Synod on The Family later this year, Archbishop Athanasius, every bit as doughty as his namesake, responded with characteristic bravery:
"It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:"
The Bishop then goes on to suggest projects that will, hopefully, save the day.
1) by creating “groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God” who will use all the resources of the modern world to do this, especially the Media.
2) Organize scholarly symposiums and conferences.
3) Create a movement of Catholic families, of ‘domestic churches’, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
4) We have to illuminate “the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the ‘Kasper agenda’ demonstrating the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers.”
5) For the struggling Catholic, examples of conversions from “adultery, divorce, or sodomy.”, both past and present are needed.
6) Catholic husbands, families and single persons “must write to the pope, to their bishops, and to the competent dicastaries of the Roman curia notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events...”
7) Organize “a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as ‘The Holiness of Family and Marriage’, ‘The Call to Chastity’,” and other themes revolving around marriage.
8) Pray that we be given holy popes and bishops.
This seems an excellent programme. It just needs enthusiastic Catholics to get to work. There is no time to lose. However one of the people that we should be writing to Rome about, is Cardinal Marx, who in a recent interview, seems to be uttering heretical balderdash.
"I am astonished that most of our young people, and also Catholic homosexuals who are practicing, want a relationship that lasts forever,” Marx told America. “We must begin with the main points of the doctrine, to see the dream: the dream is to have a person say, a man and woman say, ‘You and you, forever. You and you, forever.’ And we as church say, ‘Yes, that’s absolutely OK. Your vision is right!’
“So we find the way. Then perhaps there is failure. They find the person, and it is not a great success. But life-long fidelity is right and good.”
He added, “The church says that a gay relationship is not on the same level as a relationship between a man and a woman. That is clear. But when they are faithful, when they are engaged for the poor, when they are working, it is not possible to say, ‘Everything you do, because you are a homosexual, is negative.’”
Cardinal Marx seems unaware that bad people can do good things, but if they persist in their sinful lives, they are not going to be saved. Also the insinuation of this particular excerpt is worrying when it uses such words as faithful. Such faithfulness has nothing to do with the faithfulness of marriage; it is a caricature. It bears less of a resemblance than paste to diamonds. No-one seems to want to think, or if they do, they wish to distort the true meaning of the words they are using.
It is left to such a fine bishop as Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, a Ukrainian and former Archbishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, to expose just how awful things are, and why such bishops as Cardinals Kasper and Marx can flourish today:
"One can observe at all levels of the Church an obvious decrease of the “sacrum”. The “spirit of the world” feeds the shepherds. The sinners give the Church instructions for how she has to serve them. In their embarrassment the Pastors are silent on the current problems and abandon the sheep while feeding themselves. The world is tempted by the devil and opposes the doctrine of Christ. Nevertheless the Pastors are obliged to teach the whole truth about God and men “in season and out”............In our days the voice of the majority of the bishops rather resembles the silence of the lambs in the face of furious wolves, the faithful are left like defenceless sheep....In times of the crisis of the Church God has often used for her true renewal the sacrifices, the tears and prayers of those children and servants of the Church who in the eyes of the world and of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy were considered insignificant or were persecuted and marginalized because of their fidelity to Christ. I believe that in our difficult time this law of Christ is being realized and that the Church will renew herself thanks to the faithful inner renewal of each of us."
And so as Lent starts today in the shadow of the martyrdom of the Coptic Christians in Libya, the threat of ISIS to invade Rome, and a very fragile truce, just holding in Ukraine, let us like the people of Nineveh do penance for our sins which have allowed such dreadful evils to flourish. If I was to single out one sin that seems to have been largely to blame for this terrible state of affairs, I would say it is a type of spiritual sloth that has brought about a terrible indifference, and allowed evil to luxuriate. This failure is one that most of us share in. We have been too insular, and even good groups in the Church should have been calling others to repent and did not. Such language today seems outmoded, and even not a few orthodox Catholics have perhaps not done as much as they should have done. Hopefully we will not be like the foolish virgins, who when awakened, found their lamps lacking oil; that oil of charity, zeal for the salvation of souls, zeal for the truths of the Gospel, but above all zeal for the Gospel.
By The Hermits, Feb 10 2015 1:54AM
This petition is on Life Site News.
I would strongly encourage you to visit the site to sign the petition, (the link is here, and at the end of the appeal below)
Filial appeal to Pope Francis on the future of the family
In view of the Synod on the family to be held in October 2015, we filially address Your Holiness to express our fears and hopes regarding the future of the family.
Our fears arise from witnessing a decades-long sexual revolution promoted by an alliance of powerful organizations, political forces and the mass media that consistently work against the very existence of the family as the basic unit of society. Ever since the so-called May 1968 Sorbonne Revolution, a morality opposed to both Divine and natural law has been gradually and systematically imposed on us so implacably as to make it possible, for example, to teach the abhorrent "gender theory" to young children in many countries.
Catholic teaching on the Sixth Commandment of the Law of God shines like a beacon in the face of this ominous ideological objective. This beacon attracts many people -- overwhelmed by this hedonistic propaganda -- to the chaste and fecund family model taught by the Gospel and in accordance with natural law.
Your Holiness, in light of the information published on the last Synod, we note with anguish that, for millions of faithful Catholics, the beacon seems to have dimmed in face of the onslaught of lifestyles spread by anti-Christian lobbies. In fact, we see widespread confusion arising from the possibility that a breach has opened within the Church that would accept adultery -- by permitting divorced and then civilly remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion -- and would virtually accept even homosexual unions when such practices are categorically condemned as being contrary to Divine and natural law.
Paradoxically, our hope stems from this confusion. Truly, in these circumstances, a word from Your Holiness is the only way to clarify the growing confusion amongst the faithful. It would prevent the very teaching of Jesus Christ from being watered down and would dispel the darkness looming over our children's future should that beacon no longer light their way.
Holy Father, we implore You to say this word. We do so with a heart devoted to all that You are and represent. We do so with the certainty that Your word will never disassociate pastoral practice from the teaching bequeathed by Jesus Christ and His vicars -- as this would only add to the confusion. Indeed Jesus taught us very clearly that there must be coherence between life and truth (cf. John 14:6-7); and He also warned us that the only way not to fall is to practice His doctrine (cf. Matt. 7:24-27).
Asking for Your apostolic blessing, we assure You of our prayers to the Holy Family -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph -- to enlighten Your Holiness in these crucially important circumstances.
The link to sign the petition is here.
By The Hermits, Feb 8 2015 10:43PM
The World situation is dangerous. On the face of it things are very worrying because of America’s inexplicable hostility to Russia; or is it inexplicable. What is it about Russia that seems to aggravate the West so much. I think that we have to look at the spiritual realities behind the whole strange animosity that seems to grow by the day in the heart of the West.
In 2002 a document was leaked in America, whose author or authors were anonymous. It was called the “Secret Covenant”, and on one level it was fairly typical of those manifestos ascribed to the Illuminati, who seem to have as their adherents the Rockeffelers, George Soros, the Gates’, and the Rothschilds. Whether any of this is true only time will tell, but the voice that was reading this secret document, which was meant to sound frightening, but for an English audience would, be simply laughable, appeared at the end of the document to be reading the words of a devil. That of course on one level would be true; for the Devil wants the destruction of the human race, whatever the cost. This, according to the document ,would be brought about by poisoning the human race through poisons in foods, in vaccines, the encouragement of obesity, the destruction of morals and through war. Ultimately the message of this document was to get as many human beings to hate each other and be damned. Well none of this is new. You do not have to concoct something that is plain as pike staff to anyone who understands the battle between the Devil and God, and the spirit of Antichrist versus Christ. One could go on ad nauseam about Bohemian Grove, the Illuminati and the Freemasons until one is blue in the face. Excellent though such people as Alex Jones are, who runs Infowars, the battle against the Devil will be won by the little, the lowliest and the lost, to quote Rabindranath Tagore, slightly out of context I dare say.
Catherine Docherty tells the story of Barbara (I think that is her name) an elderly Russian peasant woman walking through a Russian forest at the beginning of the 20th century. It was night and she was frightened. A man appeared and she was relieved to have the safety of the man’s company, but did not like what he was saying especially regarding Our Lord and Our Lady. She made the sign of the Cross and the man began shrieking and disappeared, but before he did, he said that he would destroy Russia, or words to that effect (We no longer have the book, so I cannot remember exactly what it was about, but it was really all about Communism). The woman passed out, and when she came to her senses a young woman appeared before her and said that she and her son would not allow this to happen. She realized that the young woman was the Mother of God.
A few years later in the Summer of 1918 that most eccentric of mystics, the English writer, and artist, Caryll Houselander was going on a shopping errand to the greengrocer’s when suddenly she had a vision of Christ on the Cross. It was Christ the King, and his wounds flashed like jewels. The next day it was reported that Nicholas II had been killed, and she realized that the face of Christ in her vision was the face of Nicholas; the World was only to learn later that not only was he killed but his entire family. They are now canonized saints, and a magnificent Cathedral stands over the place where stood the Ipatiev house, their final prison and their place of execution.
Caryll Houselander saw in the death of the Tsar something very Christ-like. His death was somehow linked with the deaths of millions of Russians who would suffer because of the Satanic creed of Communism. This is corroborated by something that was published in the magazine “Orthodox America “
“In 1917, Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow saw in a vision the Saviour speaking to Tsar Nicholas: You see, said the Lord, two cups in my hands: one is bitter for the people, and the other is sweet for you. In the vision the Tsar begged for the bitter cup. The Saviour then took a large glowing coal from the cup and put it in the Tsar’s hands. The Tsar’s whole body then began to grow light, until he was shining like a radiant spirit. Then the vision changed to a field of flowers, in the middle of which Nicholas was distributing manna to a multitude of people. A voice spoke: The Tsar has taken the guilt of the Russian people upon himself and the Russian people are forgiven.”
If this is apocryphal then it is very like what Caryll Houselander saw, and what Barbara experienced. Whatever forces were intent on getting rid of Nicholas and there are those who think the Bolsheviks were simply the tools of this ever elusive Satanic elite, one is in no doubt that Russia had to be destroyed, because the Tsars were autocrats and profoundly Christian and nothing must stand in the way of democracy and progress. Quite what this mythical beast progress is, would be hard to guess. I think that the progress in the 20th century and in our present century is a progress in war, destruction, domination, manipulation of peoples minds and genes, and a concerted attempt to destroy Christianity.
Willy Wimmer, one time deputy head of OSCE, has said that since the fall of the Iron Curtain America and the Britain have been trying to encircle Russia, and this began in the Balkans War in the early 90’s. I think it fair to say that it started in the Mid 19th century, to be accurate. Lode Vanoost, a Belgian politician and former adviser of OSCE said that the present situation in the Ukraine is reminiscent of the events leading up to World War I, and Nicholas Sarkozy, the former French President said “Crimea has chosen Russian, and we cannot blame it [for doing so], we must find means to create a peace keeping force to protect Russian speakers in the Ukraine.” What a pity that Sarkozy did not show such statesman like qualities when he was in power!
However Vitaly Klitscho, now Mayor of Kiev, and former World heavy weight boxing champion strikes a strident note when he says that Ukraine needs more than patriotism, it needs weapons to fight “these terrorists”. One would have thought the really very presentable Klitscho could have called his fellow countrymen “rebels”, which might have been nearer the truth. However those in the East are rebelling against the rebels who overthrew a lawfully elected government. Klitscho is Orthodox and should know better, and as the Pope pointed out recently, Christians are killing Christians in the Ukraine, and that is wrong. Though the Russians were known for their barbarism during the invasion of Eastern Europe and Germany at the end of World War II, the Ukrainians were considered equally bad, if not worse. We will never really know the truth this side of the grave. However we do know that the history of the human race, since the fall of Adam, is one long litany of woe, and much evil. It is the sheer overwhelming love of God that brings good out of that evil.
I will finish with two comments. The first is severe and comes from the lips of Loode Vanoost. Commenting on the recent meeting in Munich between the EU, US, and Russia he noted that “hypocrisy has reached a level so profound that [its behaviour] is not a serious way to get peace.” A much more wry comment on the present situation comes fromWilly Wimmer who says: “It is better to have Polish apples in Russia, than U.S. tanks at the Russian border.” Hopefully his sage advice will win through, but knowing the appetite for power and violence in fallen human nature, I fear it will be left to God to bring goodness out of another terrible war, and hopefully after that we can really begin all over again.
By The Hermits, Feb 1 2015 10:31PM
Father Seraphim Rose is one of the most important spiritual figures of the 20th century and is not well known in Catholic circles. He died in 1982 at the age of 48, and he was greatly mourned throughout the Russian Orthodox world and particularly in Soviet Russia. He was born into a middle class family in San Diego, California. He was a quiet and studious child, but did enjoy games, and all the things that boys did in those days. When it was time to go to University or “College” as they call it in America, he chose Pomona College, and was in the same year as the film star Richard Chamberlain, and Kris Kristoffersen was in the year behind. Interestingly when he was small he joined the Scout Cubs and his den mother, presumably the equivalent of “Brown Owl” in Britain was none other than Gregory Peck’s mother. At Pomona he studied philosophy and Oriental languages and then abandoned his Congregationalist Christianity.
However, having gone through a Nietzchean odyssey, nihilism gave way to a profound conversion which led him to Orthodoxy, and Russian Orthodoxy in particular. He came under the influence of St. John of Shangai, a magnificent example of a Russian miracle worker, monk and spiritual guide. Seraphim (his original name was Eugene) together with his friend Gleb Podmoshensky set up an Orthodox bookshop in San Francisco where St. John was then Archbishop. Finally both men realized that they were called to be monks and so founded St. Herman monastery near Platina north of San Francisco.
The two men moved there in 1971, and from there the monastery produced the magazine Orthodox Word, and the monastery became a beacon of light in the Orthodox world. Sadly Seraphim died after being there for only 11 years, and it would seem Father Herman, as Gleb became, never got over the shock of his great friend’s passing, and after strife ridden years the monastery passed to the Serbian Orthodox, Herman having departed a somewhat broken man, whose life as a monk had been controversial to say the least.
However since Seraphim’s death he has been in many ways a prophet for our times. His very Russian criticisms of Catholicism have to be seen in context, but they are illuminating. For it is obvious that the Catholic Church has changed dramatically since The Second Vatican Council, and perhaps it has changed most, not so much in its teachings but in its atmosphere, if one can speak of such a thing. Sin seems to be diminished, most people will be saved, and we have to develop as human beings, and finally asceticism is downplayed. The Cross has been cast into the shade, and sacrifice and penance are to be done in only a very limited way. Too many in the Church ape the World. So it is left to such men as Seraphim Rose to call us to our senses and show us that what matters is the Cross. In his short life, despite his irritating criticisms of Catholicism, which is very Russian (He had indeed become Russian. He apparently spoke it like a native) he cast a light on so much of what was wrong in The Church, and is even more wrong today. Perhaps we should pray to him to help Pope Francis, no stranger to Orthodoxy, and in fact very sympathetic to it.
By The Hermits, Jan 27 2015 9:03PM
THE POPE AND THE PATRIARCH
"The example I mentioned just now, about the woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven caesarean births: this is a form of irresponsibility. [Some might say:] “No, I trust in God”. “But, look, God gives you the means, be responsible”. Some people believe that — pardon my language — in order to be good Catholics, we should be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood. This is clear and it is the reason why in the Church there are marriage groups, there are experts in this area, there are pastors, and people are trying. And I know of any number of solutions which are licit and have helped for this. You did well to ask me this. Something else is curious, which does not have to do with this directly, but is in fact related. For very poor people, a child is a treasure. True enough, here too one needs to be prudent. But for them a child is a treasure. God knows how to help them. Maybe some are not prudent in this area, that is true. Responsible parenthood. But we also need to consider the generosity of those fathers and mothers who see in every child a treasure."
This was the somewhat controversial part of the Pope Francis’ press conference that he gave on the return flight from his visit to the Phillipines, and it gives one the impression that the Pope thinks on his feet, and that certainly gives a marvellous spontaneity to his utterances, but can bemuse, shock, and unwittingly scandalize. He has recently apologized for saying “Some people believe that — pardon my language — in order to be good Catholics, we should be like rabbits”. Then he goes on to say that there are solutions when it comes to responsible parenthood, a most unfortunate phrase that almost could be Malthusian, the very thing that he condemns in the press conference. There are solutions that are licit he informs us and then we find ourselves in the Jesuit world of casuistry. Just as we are coming to terms with this quick succession of ideas then we are presented with an absolute gem, “For very poor people, a child is a treasure”. Here I believe we have the real Pope Francis, but so often he is thinking on his feet, but not like a Chesterton, whose extraordinary absentmindedness was because he was thinking so profoundly and would then be able to make absolute sense, be coherent and wise, despite the paradoxes in an essay, which was the result of his ruminations.
Pope Francis does not have that ability to synthesize, and everything comes tumbling out. If only there was someone who was truly wise who could help him to be spontaneous, and coherent, because popes need to be coherent in a world that is fracturing by the day, and a Church that is far to influenced by that same fracturing world, and too trusting of its great gurus.
The Patriarch of Russia, Patriarch Kyrill is the first Patriarch of Russia to address the Duma, and he addressed it on abortion, urging them to ban abortion. In Russia for a very long time now, going back to the beginning of Communist Russia in the 1920’s abortion has been used as a form of contraception. So now we witness this extraordinary scene of the Patriarch exhorting the Duma to ban abortion. In many ways the Russian Orthodox Church is speaking with a rocklike confidence, which is lacking in the Catholic Church. One should not be surprised because Venerable Bartholomeus Holzhauser prophesied that in the Fifth age of the Church, it would suffer very greatly from heresy. As this fifth age began in something like the year 1517, and appears not to be ended yet, we must look to the Orthodox world to rediscover our roots. The Orthodox may have got second marriages wrong, but theologically they have never suffered from scholasticism, and that is the problem of the contemporary Catholic Church whose modern way of thinking could never have come about but for scholasticism, and Pope Francis needs not to look at the present Orthodox practice regarding re-marriage, but he must look instead at the great Fathers of the East, who along with Ambrose, Jerome
By The Hermits, Jan 20 2015 5:41AM
If a girl under the age of consent is having sex she is being raped. That is what the law says. Doesn't matter if the girl says she wants to have sex, it is rape! So why in England, Wales, and Scotland are girls as young as ten being given long term (3 year) implants of progesterone contraceptive? To make it worse the implant has not even be tested for use on women less that 18. The article printed below from Life site news, and the source article from the Daily Mail, concentrate on the physical abuse of giving contraceptives to such young girls. They do not cover the physical long term damage of giving high dose hormones to pre-teens and young teenagers whose menstral periods are not well established. How many of them will have impaired fertility later in life? How many of them will have impaired hormone balance or impaired immunity, and then there is the possible problem of increased risk of certain cancers, both due to the hormones themselves, to early multiple partners, and to sexually transmitted diseases. But most importantly of all it is corrupting the young! Leading them, indeed giving them, NHS santioned permission to sin.
‘This is rape, by definition’: UK is giving 10-year-olds contraceptive implants, records show
British girls as young as 10 are being injected with long-lasting contraceptive implants untested on anyone under 18—on the taxpayers dime.
Pro-life and pro-family organizations have spoken out against the revelations, brought to light through freedom-of-information enquiries by the Daily Mail, on the grounds they encourage the exploitation of underage girls for sexual purposes.
“Doctors who do this think they are helping the young girls deal with their own sexually active lives but they are actually part of the problem, by encouraging their sexualization and the sexualization of the culture,” Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told LifeSiteNews.
Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust agreed. He told the Daily Mail, “Fitting young girls with contraceptive implants is quite simply indefensible. It is giving them the green light to engage in illegal sexual activity and robbing them of the protection that the age of consent law is intended to give.” The age of consent is 16.
And Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told LifeSiteNews that under no circumstances should a 10-year-old be enabled to continue sexual activities. “A sexually active ten-year-old is being abused, by definition. Ten-year-olds can't give informed consent, and certainly can't give consent for sexual activity.”
According to the Mail, three 10-year-old girls were given the implant, a heavy dose of the hormone progesterone, since 2010, along with one 10 or 11-year-old, 53 12-year-olds, 281 13-year-olds, 3,000 girls aged 14 and 6,300 15-year-olds.
Though never tested on anyone under 18, the implant is known to cause nausea, mood swings, acne, and headaches among adults. The Daily Mail quoted several unnamed sources in defence of the practice, including one at the University of Leicester, which implanted one of the 10-year-olds. Said he or she: ‘Only under extremely rare circumstances would a patient under the age of 13 ever receive a contraceptive implant,” while another health official insisted the police, social workers and parents would all be informed.
The problem with that claim, said Tully, is that the law does not require parents be informed when a minor is given contraceptives of any kind, or abortions, if the doctor deems the child to be mature enough to make the decision.
Tully’s fear is that prescribing contraception to girls under the age of consent allows predators to coerce them into sexual activity without fear of being discovered. “This is likely to be regarded as a green light by those who wish to exploit these girls.”
What is more, he said, the prescribing of contraceptives to preteens will promote the agenda from some lobby groups to reduce the age of consent. “There is constant pressure on younger and younger youth to engage in sexual activity,” he said. Not only such organizations as the Family Planning Association, but teachers, schools, legal authorities, the advertising and film industries all promote the sexualization of youth, and, he added, “for whatever reason the age of menarche (the onset of menstruation) is lowering among British girls. This means that 10-or 11-year olds could get pregnant, and makes contraception seem merely prudent to many.”
“Our concern is that the child taking contraceptives is much more vulnerable to pressure to have sex and to having an abortion,” Tully said.
Tully said that there is also pressure on the legal, medical and counselling professions to acknowledge a “de facto lowering of the age of consent from 16 to 13.” Not only civil libertarians, but religious groups such as Quakers and Methodists in Great Britain were arguing as early as 1972 to lower the age of consent to 14 in recognition of the practices of youth themselves. But a BBC poll in 2010 showed 84 percent of Britons opposed.
Tully said doctors, school nurses, social workers, and police all should respond to children younger than 16 seeking contraceptives with counselling but an effort should be made to change their behavior. “In general, the law should be upheld, but I’m not saying there should be lots and lots of prosecutions.”
Dr. Harrison took a harder line: “This should be a criminal child sexual molestation case. Physicians who administer long-acting contraceptives without involving a police investigation should be considered complicit in the crime of child sexual molestation.”
If the girl’s parent or guardian does give consent, a doctor should notify police on suspicion of child trafficking, Dr. Harrison added. “There are zero circumstances under which it is OK to allow a 10-year-old-girl to undergo continuous exposure to sexual activity. Zero. None. This is rape, by definition.”
The link to the Daily Mail article is here.
The side effects of the nexplanon implant (the one they are using) are even worse than the articles cited. For a snapshot of what real women are experiencing with it, have a look at this discussion forum, and this is happening to mature women, most of them mothers, how bad will it be for girls just entering puberty?
But as I said above, the real horror of this is that it is corrupting children, girls at the threshold of life. Ones that we are commanded by Jesus Christ to care for when He said: "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin".
By The Hermits, Jan 15 2015 1:18AM
Gazans freeze amid rubble as post-war reconstruction stalls, international aid runs out
As we remember the Christ Child having to flee as a refugee from violence let us remember and pray for those still suffering in Gaza, the very area that Jesus, his Mother Mary, and St Joseph would most likely have passed through on their flight into Egypt.
This update on the plight of the civilians in Gaza is taken from RT.
Many thousands of Gazans face a freezing winter living in tents pitched amid the rubble of their ruined homes – as the UN is urging half a billion dollars in emergency aid for shelter to the war-battered region.
More than four months after the 50-day summer war with Israel, 17,000 Gazans still remain displaced, having to live in temporary shelters. A total of 120,000 homes are estimated to have been destroyed in the Israeli air strikes that claimed 2,000 Palestinian lives.
“The whole area is in ruins and it’s practically impossible to live here,” Gazan resident Mahmud Hammash tells RT. “Even the undamaged houses are not fit for living. And the freezing cold has only made matters worse. A week ago the situation for all of us was unbearable.”
Hammash refers to last week’s winter storm, which killed three infants who froze to death. Gale force winds then brought with them freezing temperatures and torrential rains which led to large areas being flooded.
The enclave’s crippled infrastructure aggravated the impact from harsh weather conditions.The situation is catastrophic, according to Amjad Al Shawa, a human rights activist and head of the Palestinian NGOs network in the Gaza Strip. He says shortly after the war the international community vowed to help Gaza. It’s still only a promise, though.
“Last October, we had the donors’ conference for Gaza construction, which was held in Cairo,” Al Shawa told RT. “There was about $2.7 billion that the international community was ready to pay… Only 2 percent of that money arrived.”
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who visited Gaza on Tuesday, urged the international community to “act rapidly to rebuild Gaza."
"The inhabitants of Gaza are living through a real tragedy," he said, AFP reported.
Garcia-Margallo traveled to the war-battered region together with Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), who warned of “negative consequences" in case reconstruction is further delayed.
"The winter storms have heightened the vulnerability of a population that is struggling to recover from the 50-day conflict,” the UNRWA said in an earlier statement. “Reconstruction is slow and discontent is growing as funds and support fail to materialize.”
The agency said it has only received $135 million from the international community, and was facing “a funding gap of $585 million for shelter assistance." UNRWA says it will run out of money for the Gazans in February.
The money it has so far received was distributed among 40,000 families who desperately need to repair their homes.
One of the factors hampering the reconstruction effort is Israel's blockade of the territory.
There’s no relaxing of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in sight, now that the successful Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court have only added to straining relations between them.
By The Hermits, Jan 13 2015 1:12AM
On 28th October the Church, no doubt, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of that much lauded Vatican II document Nostra Aetate. It’s more prosaic title is The Declaration On the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, which is hardly encouraging.
Dialogue with non Christian religions, especially with Judaism and Islam has brought tolerance centre stage among Catholics, but whether it has really changed the attitude of Jews and Moslems towards Christians is rather doubtful. This curious document, from what I can gather, emerged as the result of pressure brought to bear on the Council to get the Church to apologize for its treatment of the Jews throughout Christian history, and to prevent this happening you ended up with Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism getting on this rather curious religious bandwagon. This could not have happened if the Holocaust had not taken place.
Now if you listen to some political/historical commentators you will be informed that those who control the world are ultimately the bankers, who have esoteric views of the world and the human race. It is they who masterminded the two World Wars, out of which appeared, like a new born child, the State Of Israel. This was intended to add fuel to the fire in the Middle East, and lead to a Third World War between goodness knows who. A recent article on Infowars indicates that the setting up of ISIS was all about a fomenting a war between Western Christians and Moslems. This may be the case, but one thinks the ‘Christians’ will be Westerners and not properly Christians.
Fifty years on from Nostra Aetate things between the West and the Islamic world could not be much worse, and if this is the fruit of dialogue then Heaven help us. Dialogue can only be a short prelude to preaching the Gospel. Dialogue instead has led to retreat. Pope Benedict XVI allowed a mosque to be built in Rome, but King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not return the compliment. No Catholic church was built in Saudi Arabia. The missionary activity of the Church could not be at a more low ebb; that does not mean that there are no missionaries. What it means is that the missionaries will not be going out to convert and save souls, no they will be preaching more of the social gospel, which is all well and good, but it is not enough.
And when Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “it is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”(Matthew 4: 5-6).
Has the Word been preached over the last 50 years with passion and conviction for the salvation of souls and the betterment of the peoples? No! I fear the devil has done rather well, especially in the failure of the Church to try and convert the Moslems. They deserve to hear the Word of God in all its glory and beauty. We have failed them; dialogue is simply not good enough.
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