Tuesday 30 September 2014

Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the upcoming Synod of the Family

Cardinal Vincent Nichols Speaks to Journalists about the Family Synod from Catholic Church (England/Wales)

Solemn Latin Mass: St. Cecelia's Church, Toronto, Ontario on October 7th

The Knights of Columbus Council 4976 St John XXIII and the Toronto Traditional Mass Society- UNA VOCE TORONTO are sponsoring a Solemn Latin Mass at St. Cecelia's parish in the west-end of Toronto. Mass will be at 7 p.m, with Celebrant and homilist, Fr. Paul Nicholson. 

The Holy Rosary will proceed the Mass at 6:30. Please try to attend and encourage family and friends to come with you. 

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Of Christmas and Mathoms... A Modest Proposal

Anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort. LOTR
Christmas is always a bit of a conflicted time. One wants to observe the season and the gift giving that is so much a part of it but there is a difficulty. In today's society Christmas has been so secularized and commercialized that one is tempted to crawl into a hole around the end of November and not emerge until the new year is several days old. The question of how to observe the season without falling into the morass of shopping and commercialization has occupied my mind for some time now.

Perhaps Tolkien's "low philological jest" might provide some way out of this difficulty. The word mathom is descended from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning treasure. In that context it referred to something valuable, perhaps made of gold, a rich gift.
To the Hobbits of the end of the Third Age mathoms were things that they “had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away”. Weapons “were used mostly as trophies, hanging above hearths or on walls,” or collected in the Mathom-house, a word that is another Anglo-Saxon revival. In Anglo-Saxon mathum-hus meant ‘treasure house’ or ‘treasury.’ In The Shire, it is only a museum.
As fond as Hobbits were of gift giving, they had no department stores, online shopping or Christmas shopping frenzy to cope with. Their houses were cluttered with trinkets, bric-a-brac and other items for which that had no use. That certainly describes my own humble dwelling. They gave these as gifts to one another on birthdays so that one mathom might be passed from hand to hand, sometimes finding its way back to its original owner.

I would suggest that this custom might prove to be an antidote to the Christmas malaise that affects many of us at that time of the year. I am going to ask family and friends to restrict their gift giving this year to mathoms and avoid paying tribute to the commercial gods. Don't descend into the Christmas shopping maelstrom on my account. I will in turn do the same. This will be a "mathoms only" Christmas.

mathom, n.

Pronunciation:  Brit. /ˈmað(ə)m/ , U.S. /ˈmæðəm/
Forms:  OE madm, OE maþm, OE maðm, OE maþþum, OE maþðum, OE maðþum, OE maððum... 
Etymology:  Cognate with Old Saxon mēðom ... 

1. A precious thing, a treasure, a valuable gift. Obs.

eOE   Metres of Boethius (partly from transcript of damaged MS) xxi. 20   Gylden maðm, sylofren sincstan, searogimma nan, middangeardes wela modes eagan æfre ne onlyhtað.
OE   Maxims I 154   Maþþum oþres weorð, gold mon sceal gifan.
OE   Beowulf 41   Him on bearme læg madma mænigo.

 2. A trinket, a piece of bric-a-brac.

1954   J. R. R. Tolkien Fellowship of Ring 15   Anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Modernist Scottish hierarchy caught out pandering to the separatists

Damian Thompson carries a very disturbing article that exposes the Scottish bishops as supporting the separatist movement in Scotland. I consider this a shameless attempt to manipulate mainly simple, working class people; predominantly Irish immigrants in the direction of a vacuous separation that would play into the hands of the enemies of Britain on the Continent and elsewhere. It took years for Catholics to convince their ignorant protestant neighbours that they were not traitors - yet, here we have it in black and white - vile bishops throwing in with the treacherous SNP. 

But I say: Rule Britannia! 

Sunday 21 September 2014

Mercy in the Marriage Debate

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard... Mt 20:1-16

One of the insights I gleaned from today's gospel is that you cannot legislate mercy. The householder gave the latecomers a free gift for such is the nature of mercy. If he had somehow changed the rules and the agreed upon wages then this would have no longer been a gift but the required wages. The ones who worked the entire day, the ones who followed the rules, grumbled saying they expected more. They felt cheated. They wanted the rules to change so they would be paid more.

The press coverage leading up to the upcoming synod seems to reflect the sentiments of the workers who labored all day. Everyone seems to want the rules to change regarding marriage and communion and that is the one thing that will not happen. These things are matters of doctrine and cannot be changed. This sort of change would not be an act of mercy but legislation. 

Let me switch the discussion to another, more obvious example. Murder is morally wrong and almost universally a crime. Now offering a pardon to a murderer for extenuating circumstances of some sort would be an act of mercy. This is at least a conceivable situation... I will leave it to your imagination. Offering a pardon to all murderers regardless of their circumstances would not be an act of mercy but a change in the law. You would be saying to people that murder is no longer a punishable crime. It would be a license to kill.

The mass media seems to be leaning in this direction. They want a change in the law so that people will be given a license to commit adultery. This is completely consistent and quite understandable given their bias but it is utterly deplorable. Moreover the thing they want changed is no human invention but divine revelation. The synod fathers are quite aware of this. No one in the synod is going to stand up and say that Jesus was mistaken in his comments on marriage.

There may well be specific situations and circumstances that require special consideration. There may well be opportunities for the exercise of mercy. But it will not be in the pages of your newspaper, in a CNN newsbyte or even in the interviews given by prelates. And it most certainly will not be a license to commit adultery.

Thursday 18 September 2014

75th Anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland

At 3.30 am on 17 September 1939, the Polish ambassador in Moscow was handed a note, in which Moscow announced that the Polish state had ceased to exist.

In the wake of the Soviet invasion, mass arrests and deportations were carried out. By June 1941 over one a half million Poles were herded into trains, to work as slaves and forced labourers near the Arctic Circle and in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

In Poland, the invasion has often been described as a ‘stab in the back’, which Poland received from the Soviet Union seventeen days after the Nazi attack and less than a month after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

In Warsaw on Wednesday, President Bronislaw Komorowski unveiled the Katyn Epitaph – the first batch of plaques with the names of over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD police in 1940.

The epitaph is located in the Warsaw Citadel, the site of a future Katyn Museum, now under construction.

Friday 12 September 2014

"Venimus, vidimus et Deus vicit" - September 12, 1683 - The Battle of Vienna

The famous words of Sobieski reflected his belief that God is active in history, in the world. So it was on that fateful September 12th morning in 1683. The Hussar charge broke the Turkish forces, who had been besieging Vienna for the past two months, liberating the city and defeating the Turkish Empire's deepest penetration into Europe. Had Sobieski lost the road would have been open to Rome... 

Thursday 11 September 2014

Last Night at the Proms:"The Liberty Bell"

John Philip Souza's "The Liberty Bell" was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra on September 11, 2004. Liberty always triumphs over tyranny...

Sunday 7 September 2014

Fund raiser for a Toronto Seminarian

A wonderful young man, whom I know, is studying for the priesthood. The Toronto Traditional Mass Society - UNA VOCE Toronto has organized a fund raising campaign. Will you help? Do you know someone who will? 

Full details can be read here. The following is a brief part of an open letter written regarding this campaign. 

Last year, The Toronto Traditional Mass Society - UNAVOCE TORONTO had a campaign to raise funds for a young man from the Archdiocese of Toronto, Joseph Heppelle. Joseph is studying for the holy priesthood with the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest at their Seminary of St. Philip Neri at Gricigiliano, Italy. In the spring, Joseph was ordained into the Minor Orders of Porter and Lector.

We are pleased to announce our 2014 campaign for Joseph, the eldest son of eight children from a wonderful Catholic and musically-talented family.

Our goal is $20,000, double that of last year's goal of $10,000 which we able to exceed, thanks to you.

It was so edifying to see the donations come in, even from as far away as Australia (Thank you Father!!!).

I know Joseph personally, his father and mother and his whole family. They are wonderful people and I personally attest to his faith and his dedication to his studies and seminary life.

Will you help us support Joseph?

Saturday 6 September 2014

ISIS Propaganda Works

One of the more disturbing elements of this current crisis is the fact that ISIS seems to have taken over from old guard extremists in the area of propaganda. A significant number of western youth have already flocked to the ISIS banner. Indeed one of the bigger problems with this war will be what to do about citizens who have enlisted on the other side. ISIS holds an attraction for disaffected and disillusioned youth that very little in the west can compete with.

There are two questions that come to mind immediately. First of all, what exactly is the west prepared to offer to people who are living an ascetic lifestyle for a religious ideal? The West has completely jettisoned and disavowed any in its midst who might offer such an alternative. Christians who speak out against the immorality, sexual preoccupation and narcissistic self indulgence of the society around them are ridiculed and marginalized. What exactly are you going to say to a youth who has forsaken home and hearth to fight for these extremists?

The second question that comes to mind is contained in David Brooks' opinion piece for the New York Times. 
If ISIS is to be stopped, there will probably have to be some sort of political and military coalition. But, ultimately, the Islamists are a spiritual movement that will have to be surmounted by a superior version of Islam.
Who or what is this superior version of Islam and who are we to make this determination? More to the point, where is the Moslem critique of ISIS and its ilk? Where is the outcry condemning the actions of ISIS?

Here is at least one critique from someone who lived in the area.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Buchanan is right: the US is an ISIS enabler

Pat Buchanan, the maverick political thinker, has these reflections on US policy in the Middle East vis-a-vis ISIS. He further predicts that the misguided invasion of Iraq will be seen by historians as the turning point in the eventual collapse of the United States as a major superpower. He is correct. That invasion and its aftermath just (to paraphrase Hitler) kicked the door down and the whole rotten edifice began to collapse. In a sense, Bid Laden is having the last laugh from the grave. 

The decisions that determined the fate of the great nations and empires that failed to survive the 20th century are well known.

For the Kaiser’s Germany, it was the “blank cheque” to Austria after Sarajevo. For Great Britain, the 1939 war guarantee to Poland. For the Third Reich, it was the June 1941 invasion of Russia. For the Empire of the Sun, the decision to attack Pearl Harbor.

And for the Soviet Empire, it was the invasion of Afghanistan. As for the United States, historians may one day concur with the late Gen. Bill Odom. For the lone superpower to survive that century, the decision to invade and occupy Iraq was the most disastrous blunder in its history....

Monday 1 September 2014

September 1st, 2014: The 75th Anniversary of the beginning of World War II

Today, on September 1st, in the early hours of the dawn, seventy-five years ago, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War was officially under way. France and Britain declared war on Germany on the 3rd. 

Official commemorations were held this morning between Poland and Germany.