Friday 30 August 2013

Pope Francis reaffirms the traditional Catholic doctrine on Church -State relations

In a startling move - startling for its forcefulness - Pope Francis has reaffirmed the traditional doctrine of the Church on the ideal relationship between Church and State. Very significantly, the Holy Father writes of cooperation between the Church and civil authority. The key here is cooperate. As such, for example, the Canadian State is to cooperate with the Church for the "integral good of the human community"..... and so on. I wonder how many Catholics will see this papal pronouncement for the shattering news that it is.

"The historical decision, by which religious freedom for Christians was decreed, opened up new ways for spreading the Gospel and contributed greatly  to the birth of European civilization.  The memory of that event offers  the present Symposium an opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the ways in which the Christian world relates to civil society and the authority that presides over it. These ways have developed in history  in very different contexts, with significant diversification in East and West. At the same time, they have retained several fundamental points in common, such as the conviction that civil power finds its limits before the law of God, reserving just space for the autonomy of conscience, with the awareness that ecclesiastical authority and civil power are called to cooperate for the integral good  of the human community".

Barack Obama said WHAT on Twitter?!!

Thank-you for participating in our sociological study of electronic media. Further details to follow.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Christians Essential To Syria

Our presence is the essential condition for a moderate Islam, which exists thanks to the Christians. If we leave, there can be no democracy in Syria. This is supported also by the Muslims themselves, who fear the Islamist's madness. Many say that they cannot live where there are no Christians.
           Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the East, 
           of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites

The United States and its allies are currently looking at the use of chemical weapons in Syria. This will be used as a pretext for some sort of military intervention in the Syrian civil war. Some time ago President Obama announced to the world that the use of chemical weapons was a red line that would trigger some sort of response from the US. Essentially he was serving notice to the combatants in the conflict that all they had to do to get outsiders involved was to drop a few chemical weapons. President Obama has held himself and his nation hostage to the warring factions in Syria.

Where do Christians stand in all of this? The Iraq war resulted in the decimation of the Christians in Iraq. Iraq and Syria were two countries that had provided some refuge for the Christian population in the middle east. In both cases the Christian minority provided a counterbalance for hostile Muslim factions. It was not an easy position to be in but it worked. Now Iraq is gone and Syria is next. The Christians in Syria are already caught between a rock and a hard place. They do not want to join the rebels and they do not wish to be seen as supporting the government so they are targets for both sides.

President Obama has drawn his red line on a completely false set of grounds. The targeting of civilians in a war is wrong whether you shoot them, blow them up, or spray them with chemicals. Lets face it... people have been dying in this war for two years now, many of them innocent civilians. The Christian communities in Syria have their backs to the wall. Now we are expected to believe that the sensitive conscience of Barack Obama has been pricked by the use of chemical weapons? Now we are expected to get excited when someone picks up an empty canister and shouts "Look! We've found weapons of mass destruction!"

The United States did not participate in the Hague Convention regarding chemical weapons and only became a participator in the Geneva Protocol in 1975. It still reserves the right to the use of chemical weapons against an enemy state which does not observe the prohibitions of the protocol. The US has used herbicides including agent orange during the Vietnam war which have had a lasting and devastating effect on those exposed. The US has been a persistent non-signatory to the Anti-Personnel Landmine Convention. The US has used weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations in Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In light of all this, President Obama's protestations that Syrian chemical weapons are a threat to the United States sounds a little hollow. 

Wednesday 28 August 2013

US military attack on Syria a "disaster": Chaldean Patriarch

Baghdad - The US-led military intervention against Syria would be "a disaster. It would be like a volcano erupting with an explosion meant to destroy Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine. And maybe someone wants this". This is what the Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako expressed to Fides Agency with regards to his concern over the prospect of an outside attack, which seems to be imminent, against the regime of Assad. At the head of the most significant Christian community in Iraq, the Western intervention in Syria fatally recalls the experience lived by its people: "After 10 years of the so-called 'coalition of the willing', that overthrew Saddam" notes to Fides His Beatitude Sako "our Country is still battered by bombs, security problems, by the instability of the economic crisis". In addition, in the Syrian case, according to the Chaldean Patriarch things are even more complicated by the difficulty of grasping the real dynamics of the civil war which has been tearing apart that nation for years: "The opposition to Assad", notes Sako "is divided, the various groups fight each other, there is a proliferation of jiahdist militias ... What will happen to that Country, afterwards?". For the Patriarch, the formulas used by Western Countries to justify any intervention appear instrumental and confused: "Everyone is talking about democracy and freedom, but to reach those goals one must pass through historical processes and one cannot think of imposing them in a mechanical way or with force. The only way, in Syria, as elsewhere, is the search for political solutions. To push fighters to negotiate, to imagine a provisional government that involves both those of the regime and the opposition forces. Listening to what the Syrian people really want in their majority". The Chaldean Patriarch is also cautious on the choice of justifying the intervention as an inevitable retaliation before the use of chemical weapons by the army of Assad: "Westerners" says His Beatitude Sako "have also justified the intervention against Saddam with the accusation that the Iraqi Rais had weapons of mass destruction. But those weapons have not been found". .

Tuesday 27 August 2013

The Culture of Death and the mentally ill

The Province of Ontario has decreed that all front line police "officers" (in truth, only a military man is an officer, but I digress); may, according to the rules of individual police jurisdictions, permit the widespread use of a taser. Well, we just saw a Toronto police supervisor using a taser on young Sammy Yatim after the lad had been shot 8 times. Not very comforting is it? Not very reassuring is it? 

And what about the mobile crisis units that have been recommended by juries for decades? I guess our mentally ill brothers and sisters are "too expensive" to spend money on. So, exchange a bullet for a discharge of deadly electricity. Welcome to the culture of death. 

Saturday 24 August 2013

George Weigel: Liberal Catholic and social modernist

Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani
Prefect of the Holy Office
In one of the strangest articles I have ever read; the neo-con George Weigel claims that the Catholic Church's centuries old teaching that "error has no rights" (a teaching that Weigel dissents from), is, in fact, an inspiration for aggressive secular humanists who are trying to push the Church out of the public arena. Hence, all the more - presumably - for the Church to reject this teaching. One might wonder why Weigel has seen fit at this time to conjour up this fantasy? Perhaps the growing realization amongst Catholics that John Courtney Murray's thesis of religious liberty has actually fed religious indifferentism and the culture of relativism. 

True, the Popes following the Council have steered clear of explicitly addressing the traditional Church teaching on State relations, but they have implicitly supported the traditional doctrine by their constant linking of freedom and liberty to truth. And a State, if it is to have the common good in mind, must link the civic good to the truth. This abandonment of basing freedom on truth caused Pope John Paul great worry in the waning years of his Pontificate, as he continued to regard Europe as a continent of "devastation". One may add, is it any different in Canada or America?

In his bizarre tirade, Weigel commences by trotting out a condescending review of the theology of the late Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office. Cardinal Ottaviani, we are told, was just about wrong on every issue that he raised at the Council. Weigel dismisses the Cardinal's upholding of Church teaching on religious liberty; and not only him, but the Church (though Weigel cunningly, and cowardly, couches this as the "universities"). Weigel's alleged proof that the Cardinal was in error is the pastoral Declaration on Religious Liberty by the 2nd Vatican Council, pushed by the once sanctioned John Courtney Murray. It has been argued, that the document places restrictions on the conception of "religious liberty": it is within the civil sphere, and leaves intact the traditional teaching of the Church. Irrespective of one's opinion of Dignitatis Humanae, the document does state that it was leaving the Church's traditional teaching "intact". This was what the Fathers understood to be voting for; the Council is against Weigel's twisting of the texts via Murray. In a masterly review, Fr. Brian Harrison demonstrates how Murray actually lost out in his attempt to push American political philosophy on the Council Fathers; though, unfortunately, most of the English speaking world are unaware of this. 

As such, Weigel's "Murrayism" ( in essence a continuation of Sillonism), and - by extension - his rejection of the traditional teaching is nothing but 19th century liberal Catholicism, long condemned by the Popes. It also puts Weigel contra the Council, and, contra the Church. As we will see Weigel is a somewhat strident dissenter on Catholic social doctrine, though couched in pious language - opposition to abortion and contraception trotted out to acclaim orthodoxy. Alas, as Pius XI pointed out, social modernism is as vile as dogmatic modernism, and Weigel certainly is a social modernist.
Pope Leo XIII
Scourge of Liberal Catholicism
Weigel's social modernism continues the historicist twist applied by earlier social Modernists (e.g. Frs. Murray and Congar's attempts to spin papal teaching - such as the Syllabus, Libertas, Immortale DeiQuas Primas [the encyclical that dare not speak its name]) to put respectability on dissent by claiming that the Popes following Pius IX - such as Leo XIII -  were really closet liberals who were repulsed by the reigns of Gregory XVI and Pius XI (here, Mirari vos and Quanta Cura are two unforgivable documents; repugnant to liberal Catholics such as Weigel who adhere to the "new jurisprudence" that, incidentally, Leo XIII condemned). This twisting papal texts is nothing new: Weigel has devoted much of his energies to dismissing, reinterpreting Church social doctrine on economics and just war theory - in fact, to such a degree that he and his fellow neo-cons were called out by theologians as being disingenuous.  His contemptuous dismissal of sections of Pope Benedict's Caritas in Veritatis opens up the question: if it is OK for Weigel to sift this encyclical why is it not OK for others to sift Humanae vitae? It is pointless to claim orthodoxy on 9.9 out of 10 points. Catholicism is take all or leave all: just read St. Augustine. 

One  may wonder how Weigel and his fellow neo-con capitalists reacted to these words of Pope Francis during an Address to Ambassadors, May, 16th:

"...we have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless...solidarity, which is the treasure of the poor, is often considered counterproductive, opposed to the logic of finance...a new, invisible and at times virtual, tyranny is established, one which unilaterally and irremediably imposes its own laws and rules...the will to power and possession has become limitless...consider the words of St. John Chrysostom: "not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not ours goods we possess, but theirs". 

To return to Weigel's opposition to Ottaviani. Let us approach this from the perspective of Pope Leo XIII's exposition of Catholic doctrine on "error". Was the holy Pope a furtive liberal Catholic - pointing towards a vision of the Catholic Church as just one voice in the crowd of religious voices, all clamoring for public attention? Was Pope Leo leaning to Weigel's view of Church-State relations and Weigel's view of "error"? Let us see what the great Pope had to say: 

"... civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder....justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness - namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges" (Libertas). 

So much for Pope Leo approving of Weigel's State indifferentism on matters of religion. Let us continue: 

"Right is a moral faculty, and as We have said, and it cannot be too often repeated, it would be absurd to believe that it belongs naturally and without distinction to truth and lies, to good and evil" (Immortale Dei).

Alas, for Weigel,  in modern times, the teaching is maintained:

"... that which is opposed to truth is, necessarily, an error, and the same rights which are objectively recognized for truth cannot be afforded to error. In this manner, liberty of thought and liberty of conscience have their essential limits in the truthfulness of God in Revelation" (Ecco che gia un anno, 1946, Pius XII).

"It must be clearly affirmed that no human authority, no State, no Community of States, of whatever religious character, can give a positive mandate or a positive authorization to teach or do that which would be contrary to religious truth or moral good... Whatever does not respond to truth and the moral law has objectively no right to existence, nor to propaganda, nor to action" (Ci Riesce, Pius XII).

Fr. Francis Connell, writing in the American Ecclesiastical Review, 1964 has this to say regarding the rights of people to adhere to "error".

"Some have tried to argue that while error has no rights, persons inculpably holding erroneous doctrines have the right to hold them. But it must be born in mind that error can be believed, spread and activated only by persons and so it is difficult to see what it would mean to say "error has no right to be spread" if one held at the same time "persons can have a right to spread error" - that is if "right" be taken in the same sense in both statements..... how can one have a genuine right to believe, spread, or practice what is objectively false or morally wrong? For a genuine right is based on what is objectively true and good".

Gravely disturbed by the continuing descent into moral relativism created by liberal-democracy; a few years prior to his death Pope John Paul write:

"Freedom is properly so called to the extent that it implements the truth regarding the good. On;y then does it become a good in itself. If freedom ceases to be linked with truth and begins to make truth dependent on freedom, it sets the premises for dangerous moral consequences..." (Memory and Identity, John Paul II).

Society may - and the Church has always said so - tolerate some evils to avoid even greater ones, but the principle of error not having rights, of freedom being dependent on truth is immutable. Weigel is gravely mistaken in proposing that the Church's teaching on error not having rights as foundational to totalitarian ideologies. The Church's teaching is founded on objective Truth; totalitarian imposition of a monolithic ethics is founded upon ego - of the masses in a social contract or, usually from a dictator, or oligarchy. Witness the various tyrants in history. Surely Wiegel might have reflected on the fact that over the centuries - not even during the reign of the Fascists in Italy - did anyone propose that totalitarianism was founded on Church teaching that "error has no rights". Weigel's position seem to be closer to those of the deranged ravings of bigoted Orangemen or other purveyors of protestant pamphlets against the Catholic Church. Strange bedfellows!

A final question remains: how can the Archdiocese of Denver publish this spiritual poison? Is the Archdiocese infested with social modernism as well? 

Friday 23 August 2013

BREAKING NEWS FROM SCOTLAND: Did they REALLY stop the sex abuse "investigation" because of Cardinal O'Brien?

The Catholic Herald (amongst others) is carrying a report that the Scottish Bishops conference stopped an audit into abuse cases due to Cardinal O'Brien's lack of support. This, according to retired Archbishop Conti in a letter originally to The Tablet.

Questions arise from all of this. Firstly, O' Brien is due the right to defend himself. We therefore only have Conti's word. And who is this Conti? A friend and protector of Fr. Paul Milarvie - a tragic priest who indulged in a "drunken homosexual incident", and "confinement". This same Milarvie was protected and promoted: he is presently a member of the Curia in Glasgow. So much for Conti concerns about homosexual crimes being committed by priests. 

Now, even if Conti's words are true. Why did it take so long for him to go public? Is he trying to win sympathy? To perhaps scapegoat a man who can no longer defend himself? And besides - each diocese has the power to investigate (for moral and canonical purposes) and turn over to the authorities (for legal purposes) for prosecution, priests and/or bishops who have been abusing older boys and/or young men (and sometimes girls, though these are rare cases). Why this obsession to do everything as a "conference" - though conferences have no canonical authority? Perhaps to absolve oneself of responsibility? 

All of this seems like a PR campaign to win back public support and to create the impression that the Scottish bishops are serious about sexual predators. And why The Tablet? Perhaps to seek a friendly hand in the PR campaign to pretend that something is being done - yet the homosexual "mafia" status quo remains intact?

I ask: what about the horrible crimes at the Carfin Grotto? What about the homosexual "mafia"? What about the persecution of priests who stand up for the truth?! Silence, silence, silence!! 

Be warned: this blog will not be silent. Pray, dear friends, that the Church in Scotland is purified of the horrible scourge of wicked priests and bishops (?) who have violated their holy vow of celibacy. 

Thursday 22 August 2013

Fragments of a Conversation

Freyr: I found this really neat link over at (The Blog Which Must Not Be Named) and it led to a text generator called The Postmodernism Generator. It generates complete essays.
Barona: Well, what does this have to do with us?
Freyr: You know how you are always worried about keeping up with new blog entries and such. We could program one of these text generators as a Catholic Blog Generator and it would post a new blog entry every day based on parameters you enter.
Barona: Sounds interesting... but it would never work.
Freyr: Why not?
Barona: I think somebody's already doing that....

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Toronto the Racist

I have been reading The Riot at Christie Pits by Cyril H. Levitt and William Shaffir and it has cleared up much of the mystery surrounding the Christie Pits riot and indeed the nature of our city. The authors, both Jews, come to the startling conclusion that the hatred of Jews in Toronto was not inspired by the events in Nazi Germany but rather by a pervasive colonial and provincial xenophobia because whatever else these foreigners were, they were most definitely not British. 
The well known tendency of colonials or ethnics living away from the Heimat (native country) to distort certain aspects of nationality or ethnicity leads to an unintentional caricature of the manners of the mother country. In the case of Toronto, along with this hyper Britishness went a suspicion of foreigners, hostility to groups conceived to be potentially subversive of British ideals (e.g., Communists, socialists, anarchists, etc.), conservatism in politics, public celebration of the Protestant religion, and an attempt (largely successful in spite of the fact they couldn't stop the streetcars from running on Sunday) to constrict the social life of the city by means of blue laws and social pressure.    p. 28
Kew Beach 1934
The seeds of the riot were sown in Toronto's Beach neighborhood. Prejudice against Jews meant that most resorts around the city were designated "gentile only" and were barred to the city's Jews. They naturally turned to the municipal beaches on hot summer weekends. This had the primarily Anglo-Canadian residents of the Beaches in an uproar. The residents felt as though the open spaces in their neighborhood were uniquely their own so this influx of foreigners trampling their lawns and soiling their beaches was intolerable. What do you do if you want undesirable people to go away? You offend them... 
Open letter to all members of the Balmy Beach Canoe Club 
Recently, as you no doubt know conditions have become unbearable, and Beach people are gradually being forced to go elsewhere to avoid the presence of undesirables. Local No. 5 of the Swastika Clubs has been formed in Kew Beach, and now has a membership of forty. Commencing Monday, July 31st, our members will appear on the beaches, boardwalk, and in Kew Gardens and adjacent parks wearing a nickel plated badge with a swastika thereon. They will simply wear the emblem. There will be no parades or demonstrations. No speeches will be made. We feel the emblem will have the desired effect. This is quite legal, and no interference can take place.  p. 85
While the full horror of the final solution had yet to be realized, Toronto residents were quite aware of the systematic persecution of Jews in Germany and indeed the Toronto Star of April 24, 1933 carried a review of Mein Kampf. They knew the swastika would be offensive and why. Within a fairly short time the swastika would appear again in Christie Pits after a baseball game. On August 16, 1933 members of the Anglo-Canadian Pit Gang, feeling that the Jews were moving in on their turf, retaliated by displaying a swastika after a baseball game.
There were arrested last night on charges of unlawful assembly, arising out of Wednesday night's rioting at Willowvale Park. They are:
     CHARLES BOUSTEAD, 18 years old, of Sydenham Street
     JACK PIPPY, 17, of Crawford Street
     EARL PERRIN, 21, of  Sterling Road
They are all alleged to be the ones who flaunted the white quilt, on which a black swastika was emblazoned, from a knoll in the park -- the act which precipitated the disturbances and fanned into flame the spark of racial feeling...    
Daily Mail and Empire, August 19, 1933       (p. 179)

The difference between the events in the Beach and the Christie Pits riot was the fact that Willowvale Park was on the border of a heavily Jewish and Italian area. While their parents had been accustomed to take such insults in stride in czarist Russia or eastern Europe, their children had been educated in Canada and they had an entirely different set of expectations. The Jews fought back. The Italians who were living side by side with the Jews fought on the side of their neighbors.

Before we all congratulate ourselves on how far we have progressed since 1933 perhaps we should take a look at current events. While we are hailed as a multicultural city with our endless festivals and political photo-ops we are still deeply suspicious of anyone who is different. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Toronto Police Service's treatment of the mentally ill and marginalized in our society. We shoot the mentally ill and look with disdain at the sight of panhandlers and people sleeping on subway grates. How far have we really come since 1933?

Cyril H. Levitt and William Shaffir, The Riot at Christie Pits, 1987, Lester & Orpen Dennys, Toronto
Toronto Public Library 971.3541 LEV

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Russians torch hundreds of Gay Bathhouses !

Gotcha ! 

No, it is actually Islamist extremists who are torching hundreds of churches in Egypt. As all of this transpires, the world sits by in silence, "human rights" activists are silent; apologists continue to rant on about the Muslim Brotherhood being "democratically elected" etc. (Hitler too was "democratically elected"). 

For further - ongoing - information on the happenings in Egypt and the Middle East, I recommend Tarek Fatah. 

Monday 19 August 2013

Muslim Brotherhood burns Churches in Egypt

A church in Egypt being burnt down by Islamists
To view the video.
Pray for Egypt that the Coptic community may survive the genocide waged against it by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Belarus KGB refuses to release Catholic Priest

You may not have heard of the case of Rev. Fr. Vladislav Lazar - a Catholic priest arrested by Belarus Secret police; due to his support for the Belarus Christian Democracy Party. The tiny nation of Belarus, continues to suffer Russification policies under the Stalinist admirer, Lukashenko. This same Lukashenko refuses to recognize attempts by this Party to be legally registered.

Minsk, August 14, Interfax - The organizing committee on the establishment of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party has sent an appeal to the Belarusian KGB and Prosecutor General's Office requesting to release Roman Catholic priest Vladislav Lazar.

"Over 1,000 people have signed the text of the petition demanding to release Roman Catholic priest Lazar via an Internet platform for voting," the press office of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party told Interfax.

"We think that the priest's arrest is an attempt to blackmail the Catholic Church in Belarus and to intimidate the Belarusian society. Due to this, we demand immediate release of Roman Catholic priest Lazar," the appeal said.

The Belarusian Roman-Catholic Church confirmed in late July 2013 that Roman Catholic priest Vladislav Lazar from Borisov had been detained but did not disclose the reasons behind the detention.

"We are aware of this fact but we have no reliable information why he was detained. We are waiting for an official announcement to arrive," acting spokesman for the Catholic Bishops in Belarus priest Yury Sanko has said.

Sanko said he declined to speculate whether the detention was related to the spy scandal previously referred to by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko due to the fact that the official information available was not sufficient.

The Belarusian KGB declined to comment on the detention of the priest. "We do not comment on this information," it said.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Is LifeSiteNews Pro ALL Life?

Michael Eligon - R.I.P
The callous slaying of young Sammy Yatim or any other mentally ill person by the Toronto Police has raised grave concerns as to the advance of the culture of death in our society. Police do not exist in a vacuum; these individuals imbibe the same influences that bombard the rest of society. Persons belonging to a  - de facto - paramilitary organization need to take extra precautions to avoid the risk of contamination by a culture of death.

The purpose of this post is to ask the question: where is the pro-life voice on this issue? We find it profoundly disturbing that this has not even been reported in LifeSiteNews. Presumably it is not considered worthy of mention as a pro-life news story... yet it should be. Surely it is more newsworthy than the opinions of an eccentric, elderly Anglican bishop on  "homophobia" unless such a news item is an attempt to titillate the sandal minded reader? Apparently, Desmond Tutu's strange ramblings on so-called "homophobia" are important to Lifesitenews, but the killing of a mentally disturbed young man in their own backyard is not. They seem to favor sensationalist, troll-inducing "news" non-items that are pure neo-con propaganda. The pro-life movement is not advanced with Campaign Life Movement's economic policies and denunciations of Marxism; the advocating of a "responsible capitalism" dubious at best, obfuscating the Popes' critiques of capitalism.

In a much earlier post, I (Barona) wrote of the confusion that people had with the socio-economic thought of Pope John Paul II. One day he is portrayed in the news as left wing and the next as right wing depending on the prevailing winds and the bias of the reporter. To the contrary, the Pope preached truth and he followed it wherever it led him. The same it was true for Pope Benedict and now for Pope Francis (I hope the pro-lifers actually heard his words on "solidarity" in Rio). The Popes are totally pro-life. This means the opposition to the taking of life from conception to natural death (something, interestingly many in the pro-life movement shout about, but, in practice jump from infanticide to euthanasia for the aged) and this includes opposing "injustice and contempt for others, for solidarity, and for responsibility for the poor and the suffering" (Pope Benedict XVI). 
Pope Benedict spoke out against the culture of death in 2006. His position is totally pro-life:

It is an "anticulture" manifested, for example, in drugs, in the flight from reality to what is illusory, to a false happiness expressed in deceit, fraud, injustice and contempt for others, for solidarity, and for responsibility for the poor and the suffering; it is expressed in a sexuality that becomes sheer irresponsible enjoyment, that makes the human person into a "thing", so to speak, no longer considered a person who deserves personal love which requires fidelity, but who becomes a commodity, a mere object.

The Holy Father in his solution to the culture of death is blunt: 

They are a "yes" to a God who gives meaning to life (the first three Commandments); a "yes" to the family (Fourth Commandment); a "yes" to life (Fifth Commandment); a "yes" to responsible love (Sixth Commandment); a "yes" to solidarity, to social responsibility, to justice (Seventh Commandment); a "yes" to the truth (Eighth Commandment); a "yes" to respect for others and for their belongings (Ninth and 10th Commandments).

Speaking out against a culture of death, means to oppose all forms of it coming from whatever source. Part of the culture of life (being pro-life) means to be opposed to injustice, contempt for others, to stand in solidarity and be responsible for the poor and suffering. Someone may be slowly done to death through injustice, just as much as from abortion. A death is a death. 

Unfortunately we are faced with a series of deaths involving mentally ill persons. These people are worthy of the same dignity as any baby. If Sammy Yatim Edmund Yu or Michael Eligon had been aborted or euthanized perhaps they might have noticed. As it was they were mentally ill or just screwed up and beneath their notice. Remove or add years to Sammy Yatim,  and perhaps the pro-life movement would have noticed? Not good enough. Not hardly. Start to notice now!

It is simply not enough to assume that if it is a policeman firing the shot then it is a clear case of self defense. This is to assume that death is justified unless there is an overwhelming weight of evidence to the contrary. The burden of proof ought to be on the one taking a life to show that such an extreme measure was necessary. This is a true pro life position.

The coverage of LifeSiteNews seems to indicate a pro life position that is as nuanced and as subtly qualified as that of any politician. They are careful to speak about innocent life in order to leave room in their ranks for those who are in favour of the death penalty. This is a false dichotomy at best. What of guilty life, ugly life, inconvenient life? This means that an 18 year old boy wielding a knife does not come into their purview. He does come into ours. We believe in the right to life - even for the mentally ill.

Barona and Freyr

Saturday 10 August 2013

Richard Wagner 1813-1883 - Beyreuth Celebrations

A bust of Wagner, and piece of Reingold
on Barona's piano
It is fitting to continue to discuss Richard Wagner within the context of a Catholic blog. After viewing the Ring Cycle, I was reminded that this incredible work is one of the great monuments to recent Western civilization - it stands there with Beethoven's 9th as a triumph of genius... The influence of Wagner cannot be escaped; his influence on music was incalculable, his genius massive... as such, any serious blog needs to take this incredible man into consideration. The fact remains, his great contributions to civilization are gifts from a culture that was born of Christianity. Wagner's accomplishments are unthinkable outside of Christendom - though imbued with German philosophy - colouring his perspective - the fact remains that Wagner could never escape Christianity. Witness Parsifal. Indeed, this opera also buries the ridiculous notion that this great man had some link to Naziism. Those thugs would have jailed the man. 
Preparations at Barona's house to celebrate
the birth of Wagner

A couple of links of note: firstly, an excellent concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of the great Richard Wagner's birth. Secondly, an excellent rendition - conducted by Bruno Walter (though I have the good fortune of owning the Wilhem Steinberg interpretation) - of the Good Friday Spell, which will lead into a discussion on Wagner and religion - with a particular focus on Parsifal. More to follow.....Wagner had not given up on religion; he was beginning to discover it... 

Barona's Gotterdammerung !

After the Ring!
 I publish two photos today: the first reflects my state of mind having completed listening to the Ring Cycle; the second, my publicity photo as Alberich the Dwarf. 

Alberich the Dwarf: Barona publicity photo

Bigotry's Home Grown Roots

Remembering the Christie Pits Riot: DiManno 

This was one time that Toronto’s Jewish community would not stand for the abuse, the Jew-baiting, which was quite prevalent in the city in those years just before World War II, when Adolf Hitler had just taken power in an economically flattened Germany and Nazism was ascendant.

This one time, Toronto’s Jews — the teen boys, at least — fought back, with help from Italian lads (the late Johnny Lombardi among them) who’d been equally resented and unwelcome as “foreigners’’ in what was an insular, xenophobic town sometimes called the Belfast of Canada because of its militantly Protestant character and the flamboyant annual Orange Parades.

The rumble erupted when a clot of boys from the self-styled Pit Gang, who’d been sitting on the “camel’s hump’’ — a knoll just south of the baseball diamond — unfurled a large white quilt featuring a black swastika.

DiManno's column comes at a particularly interesting moment for me. I have been talking to someone on the subject of the Christie Pits riot and his reminiscences passed down from his grandmother differ markedly from the account on the Christie Pits historical plaque, in the wikipedia article and in DiManno's column. According to all three of these sources the riot pitted an Anglo-Canadian group known as the Pit Gang against Jewish and Italian immigrants. The spark that touched off the riot was displaying the swastika by the Pit Gang. 

Not so according to my friend's grandmother. This bit of oral history has the foreigners displaying the fascist symbol and Canadians defending their country against these pernicious foreign influences. I honestly cannot fathom why someone would hold to such a view unless it is misplaced loyalty to a grandmother who could not acknowledge that Toronto's history is filled with such bigotry. 

For myself, such blatant display of prejudice brings back memories of racist comments from members of my own family. It brings back memories of being torn away from my friends and parochial school because my parents were afraid of those people. I do not like it one little bit. I may have been powerless when I was a nine year old child but I am no longer that child and I do not have to endure such bigotry and prejudice in silence.

Friday 9 August 2013

Wagner and the Ring: is it Icelandic or did it succumb to German 19th century Philosophy?

Freyr and I have had a long conversation on the Ring by Wagner. Firstly, I should mention that we both immensely enjoyed the Met's Production; the Ex Machina Production company involved the special effects was really well done. Wagner, a man of breaking edge technology would have approved. This post is really a statement as to the tone and atmosphere is The Ring: as an artistic interpretation it has as much validity as the next - yet, it cannot be denied that Wagner was impressed by German philosophy and departed from the Icelandic. Freyr and I are trying to dissect the possible influence of Nietzsche and Shopenhauer. The debate is not closed, but only just beginning.... stay tuned, and in the meantime.... listen to some Wagner. Happy Bicentennial!

Thursday 8 August 2013

Christians are dying while we are doing what on the Catholic blogs .....?

Recent reports from Syria are very grave. The Christian communities are under severe attack.... the same goes for our brothers and sisters in Africa. Let us take notice of this and try to live Christian lives. Are we? We could begin, by striving to become true Christians and not "political" Christians. 

Am I guilty of the latter? Indeed, I am, and struggle with it: it is human weakness, it is Original sin, it is egotism, narcissism and so on. We are all guilty. Yet, let us realize our weakness and change.... "Rad-trad", "liberal" "modernist".... Stop the name calling.... start changing, start repenting, start being Christian.... Yes, there are strawmen that we can always "beat up". What of it? Will it get us to Heaven? Attack the point, and not the person. Very Chestertonian - and, incidentally, very, very Christian. 

What are we doing? What are we doing on the web? Our our blogs conducive to building up the Faith in some small little way? Are we cause for scandal, detraction, defaming our brother or sister? Are we praying for our "enemies" - should we not wish to see them with us in Heaven? This does not mean that we wink at sin or true scandal: but we oppose sin and scandal to help the sinner. We love the sinner, do we not? 

There has been, and there continues to be much on the blog - by ostensible Catholics - that is not building up the Body of Christ. Question: let us place what we blog before a Syrian brother or a Nigerian sister. Would they be impressed? Would they say: "yes! this is helpful, this will help me in building our little church on sticks.... this will help me is surviving through the night here in Damascus..." 

Catholicism is not a political party with name calling, with labels. It is a devotion to Christ and His Church. 

Get thee behind me satan, and thy fellow "Catholic" bloggers....

Richard Wagner: Den Ring muss ich haben !

One of today's tragedies is that a colossus such as Wagner no longer strides the earth. With this man, we are dealing with a supreme intellect; consider the Ring which took over two decades to complete; yet the unity, the musical construction manifest a mind of incomparable genius (I compose this entry, as Siegfried plays in the background...).
Some background. My initiation into Wagner was listening to the Prelude to Lohengrin... the simplicity of the motif...its (paradoxically) complex development.... then there was the issue of extraordinary orchestration.  The 1877 Sunday Times was correct in the claim that Wagner used the orchestra with as much ease as a child with a toy. I obtained a score and studied it. Then, I moved onto his other operas, leading up to the Ring - including watching the Met production with Siegfried Jerusalem. This led to other developments: a piece of  Reingold and a bust of the great man on my piano. Both, probably unnoticed by Freyr on his various visits - due to coffee clouding his mind. On this point, I would recommend to Freyr a Wagnerian breakfast - venison, washed down with wine...
So, friends, Freyr and I come to a digression: is Wagner a poet who also composed? Or, is he a composer who dabbled in poetry? Freyr takes the former, seemingly to give Wagner a failing grade. I, for my part, regard him as a musician using drama as a vehicle to convey his - really - stand alone music. Consider "Der Ring Ohne Worte" as proof of this. It also, however, proves that Wagner really needed a good editor....

He may have been hounded in Germany by the police, vexed in France due to passport problems, but in England the Queen was not embarrassed to meet him...

Recommended reading: The Real Wagner, Rudolph Sabor

Tonight, on PBS, Gotterdammerung will draw the Ring cycle to a close. Do yourself a favour: listen, watch and learn.

Wagner Uber Alles?

Wotan from Die Valkure
The local PBS station, WNED, is running Wagner's Ring Cycle this week. This magnum opus is sixteen hours long and is divided into four operas. Now usually I am not a fan of opera but the Ring Cycle has held a special place in my heart ever since watching a similar marathon telecast many years ago. It really has to be watched on four successive nights... taking it all piecemeal just doesn't have the same effect. This has given rise to some serious problems however.

I am half Norse and not at all German so I have taken a great interest in Norse mythology. Hence I have read much of the Poetic Edda, Snorri's Edda and in particular the Volsungasaga in the William Morris translation. Snorri Sturluson begins his Edda with the startling statement "In the beginning Almighty God created heaven and earth and everything that goes with them and, last of all, two human beings, Adam and Eve, from whom have come families." He goes on the explain that Odin and the rest of the Norse gods were chieftains and warriors whose exploits had become legendary. This carefully worded prologue allowed him to present the entirety of Norse mythology to his predominantly Christian audience without seeming to advocate heathen worship. I for one am extremely grateful for I have enjoyed these tales for years without ever once forgetting that these gods are quite mortal.

Met stage set for Die Valkure
The problem is that poor Barona has never read the Volsungasaga much less been exposed to the mediating influence of Snorri. He simply does not know how seriously wrong the Germans have gotten much of this material. I mean who could possibly see the Niblungs as the heroes of the piece? Sixteen hours of Wagner may well be too much for the poor fellow, leaving him in a fragile state of mind open to all sorts of influences. Keep him in your thoughts...

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Solemn Mass in honour of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Next Thursday, August 15 at 7:30 p.m., there will be Solemn Mass in honour of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Richmond Hill. 

The Celebrant will be once again be Father Neil Roy, Professor at Magdalene College in New Hampshire assisted by a Deacon and Subdeacon from the Archdiocese of Toronto. The homilist is Father Paul Nicholson of the Diocese of London who has just begun his new apostolate for the New Evangelization.

Further information may be obtained from the Toronto Traditional Mass Society- Una Voce Toronto:

Monday 5 August 2013

BREAKING NEWS from SCOTLAND: Bishop of Aberdeen confirms homosexual rape in school

The Herald has an important piece on the sexual abuse crisis in Scotland. The Bishop of Aberdeen has openly stated that sexual and other crimes were committed at Fort Augustus Abbey. I thank God for Bishop Gilbert's bravery and honesty. This, after continued lies and denial by members of the hierarchy. 

You will note that the former Archbishop of Glagow, Conti was one who worked to perpetuate the cover-up. This is the same man who helped smooth things over as a friend of the disgraced Fr. Paul Milarive (of "drunken homosexual incident" infamy). Milarive continues as a force within the Glaswegian Curia etc.  So far, Bishop Gilbert is one voice crying in the wilderness. 

However, the crack in the wall is now breaking open. The "gay mafia", the child abusers, the moral and spiritual criminals who have decimated the church in Scotland will not longer be able to suppress the truth. 

As a Scot from Glasgow, writing for Witness, I will continue to speak loudly and boldly on this issue until these evil men are removed from positions in the hierarchy and clergy. Those who have committed crimes must be charged and dealt with in the courts of law. Those who have committed sexual crimes - violating celibacy, mostly through sodomy - should owe up to their sins, seek forgiveness from Christ through the Church and retire to a life of penance and prayer. The Church in Scotland needs holy priests. Please pray for Scotland. 

Leading experts and a child abuse victim praised yesterday's announcement by Hugh Gilbert, the Bishop of Aberdeen, that the allegations surrounding Fort Augustus Abbey in the Highlands had shamed the church.
His comments marked a new direction for the church, which has previously faced accusations of dismissing such claims.
During mass at a church near the school, which shut in the 1990s, he said: "It is a most bitter, shaming and distressing thing that in this former Abbey School a small number of baptised, consecrated and ordained Christian men physically or sexually abused those in their care."
The Bishop added that he was "anxious that there be a thorough police investigation".
Five men last week came forward to say they were raped or sexually abused by Father Aidan Duggan, an Australian Benedictine monk who taught at Fort Augustus and Carlekemp, a feeder school in East Lothian, between 1953 and 1974.

Friday 2 August 2013

GENOCIDE AGAINST CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA - US, EU, Saudis et al. continue to arm Islamists

Another Holocaust is looming, with the world - predictably - generally silent. The most recent victims are our Syriac Brothers and Sisters, being viciously persecuted by Islamist terrorists. These poor people, caught between the Assad regime and insurgent Sunni terrorists are easy pickings for those advocating violence and genocide. Do not forget, that for hundreds of years, Syrian Christians and Moslems lived peacefully until the advent of foreign meddling. 

Please pray for Syria: do not forget the ancient patrimony of this great land. Do not forget that the St. Peter established the first major Christian community in Antioch outside of Jerusalem.  

Bassam Ishak, a Christian member of the main opposition bloc the Syrian National Coalition, who comes from Hasakah, said he and his colleagues had tried "several times" to approach western officials asking for weapons for Christian groups to defend their areas.
"The West wants to arm the seculars or 'West friendly' people, well we, the Syriac Christians those people. We want arms to protect our communities," he said. "We spoke to western diplomats asking for help, and everyone ignored us".

A very disturbing report is carried in the Daily Telegraph

Vatican Documents for your Reader

Papal Documents Online has many older documents already converted to epub and mobi format. Just go there and follow the links. However many documents link directly to Vatican editions with their yellow parchment background. If you run into one of these you must go through an additional step to get it into your reader. First download a copy of Calibre, an excellent ebook management tool. Go to the document you desire and save it in txt format by right clicking it in your browser. Next open Calibre and input the document into the library. I did it by just dragging it from my desktop onto the library screen. Select the document in the Calibre library screen and click on convert in the menu bar. The last step is to save your new document and copy it to your reader.

Remember, under Canadian law, copyright protection extends for the life of the author plus fifty years which means that any document up to Pope Pius XII may be copied and circulated freely. However, it is illegal to distribute copies of Evangelium Vitae without approval from the appropriate ecclesiastical authorities. For that matter, it would probably be illegal for me to meet Barona in a back alley somewhere and slip him a bootleg copy of Evangelium Vitae... sorry about that.

The Church is merciful towards the sinner suffering same sex attraction

As a counter-balance to Witness' numerous posts on the sexual corruption transpiring in the Church in Scotland, I thought it most opportune to suggest that you read and reflect on Fr. Paul Nicholson's excellent reflection on same sex attraction and the Church's merciful and loving approach to person's suffering such attractions. 

No society or institution is as careful and as compassionate as the Catholic Church in dealing with individuals who experience the bitter trial of same sex attraction.   And here, I do not mean groups or organizations, priests or religious who teach contrary to the teaching of the Church. 

It is never an act of mercy or love to tell someone to remain in a spiritual Sodom.

The goodness of the Church is found in her exquisite care to make very simple distinctions.  And distinctions are what are needed here.

Thursday 1 August 2013

BREAKING NEWS from SCOTLAND: Child abuse, sodomy at Fort Augustus Abbey

Fr. Matthew Despard
It just never seems to end.... more evil coming out of the Church in Scotland. Please pray for my Motherland. 

I knew about this breaking scandal about a week ago from my sources, but felt that it would be better to wait until it was broken by the press. A full report is carried in the Daily Record

I am shocked that the horrifying reports of sexual abuse, rape and violence committed against young people has been leveled at Fort Augustus Abbey. News of monstrous rapes, beatings and sodomy against our young people! Evil and sickening! 

The Record reports that the vile, despicable Jimmy Savile had been not only a regular visitor to the school, but an abuser at the school. The Record also mentions former Cardinal O' Brien as a visitor. Let us hope and pray that this is where it ends; that this man was not involved in other acts of sexual sin. To sin is bad enough; to lie and cover one's sins as a priest and then bishop is adding evil to evil. 

All of this proves - once again - that Fr. Matthew Despard's book, Priesthood in Crisis, is dead on! That there is a major, major crisis enveloping the Catholic Church in Scotland - that, let us call it a sexually deviant mafia - has somehow managed to obtain a stranglehold on the local Church and is seeking to destroy her. 

Screenshot - August 1, 2013
 O'Brien STILL remains on the Motherwell Website
Even with this breaking news, the stranglehold continues: we, on this blog have noted the strange continuation of former Cardinal O' Brien's photo on the Motherwell Diocese website, the continued use of Fr. Paul Milarvie as a member of the Glaswegian Curia. 

Please pray that the authorities in Rome become truly aware as to the degree of the sexual perversity that spreads its filth on the Church in Scotland.