Sunday, December 23, 2007
O EMMANUEL, our King and Law-giver, the desire of the nations and the Saviour thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God.
Much has been made in the media of this alleged ‘milestone’, but Melancholicus is not impressed. Of itself it means little, and it certainly does not mean that Britain is on its way to becoming, let alone has already become “a Catholic country”, as this headline in The Telegraph seems to indicate.
Truth is, only a tiny handful of Britain’s Christian population, irrespective of denomination, bothers to attend Sunday worship at all. The numbers attending Anglican services have typically been small for many years. Now for the first time since the Reformation, the average number of those attending a Catholic Mass (approximately 861,000) is found to be slightly in excess of the average number of those attending a service of the established Church (approximately 852,000). This tells us that the size of one small drop in the ocean is slightly larger than that of another small drop in the same ocean.
This development is regarded with an unwarranted significance in some news sources. One could be forgiven for imagining as a result that the number of practising Catholics in the UK is on the increase. The numbers attending Mass have been boosted artificially—as they have been in Ireland—by the arrival of Catholic immigrants from eastern Europe, especially from countries such as Poland. Underneath this inflation, however, the Catholic Church in England and Wales continues to decline. In 1960, in excess of two million British Catholics attended Sunday Mass; today, less than half that number continue to do so, even though the overall Catholic population has increased during the same period. Catholics now make up about 10% of the British population.
There is one religion in the UK, however, the adherents of which are steadily increasing in number.
And increasing... and increasing...
O KING OF THE NATIONS and the desire thereof, Thou cornerstone that makest both one, come and deliver mankind, whom Thou didst form out of clay.
Friday, December 21, 2007
O DAY-SPRING, Brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
GIVE us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, a share in the glory of today’s festival of Thy blessed Apostle Thomas: and grant that we may be uplifted by his patronage and drawn with fitting devotion to equal him in faith. Through Our Lord.
The so-called Gospel of Thomas has nothing to do with St. Thomas the Apostle, having been written in the second century by an anonymous author, and is an apocryphal work of sayings attributed to the Lord Jesus. Much of its content is clearly lifted or adapted from the canonical gospels, but it also shows leanings toward gnosticism.
Sensible folk, however, were not amused by this risible piece of politically-correct lunacy.
Some wag came up with the following version of O Little Town of Bethlehem shortly after ‘winterval’ made its first appearance, and Melancholicus at once committed it to memory.
O Little Town of Birmingham,
How bright we see thee shine;
A friend in need for every creed
Except of course for mine.
For in thy decorations,
No star or crib appears;
Nothing to tell of what befell
These past two thousand years.
How Christlessly, how Christlessly,
Thy fair streets are bedecked;
For minarets and TV sets
Yet in thy stores ho-hoeth
An hundred santa claus;
Without this quaint pecuniary saint
They’d have to close their doors.
O gentle mayor of Birmingham,
Remember such as us;
Not just the sheikhs and New Age freaks
And Labour councillors.
We hear the great glad tidings
From Dartmouth to Dunkeld;
O Come to us, abide with us,
Our Saviour—name withheld.
It would be screamingly funny if it wasn’t so maddeningly serious.
Choir excises 'Christmas' from carol
When communicants inform Cranmer of such stories as this, they need to be more mindful of His Grace's blood pressure. Incredible as it may seem, a school choir has replaced the word Christmas in 'Silver Bells' with the more generic 'festive', so that instead of singing the line 'soon it will be Christmas day' they will say 'soon it will be a festive day'. And the reason? Unsurprisingly, in this absurd age in which we live, it is 'so as not to offend any students'; so that 'everybody feels welcome and has a sense of comfort with the celebrations'.
Christians excepted, of course.
On a scale of 1 – 10, this sort of politically-correct revisionist nonsense offends Cranmer 147. It is a Christmas carol, for goodness' sake, and intended for a Christian celebration; not for performance at a meaningless multi-faith mish-mash of politically-correct pointless pap.
Yes, it may be Canada, but the reporting of such an occurrence in the publicly-funded arena in any nation where Her Majesty the Queen plays a constitutional role is concerning indeed. Her Coronation Oath to maintain the Protestant Reformed Religion ought to ensure that Christianity be maintained in the public square; not relegated to the private realm for fear of causing offence. And if that means 'Silver Bells' continue to be rung across the realm and sung about joyously, then those who take offence will just have to lump it.
Just where will all this lead? Festival trees? Merry Winterval? Seasonal diversity parties? One thing is certain: Allah will not be excised from Eid in the spirit of comfort to all, and neither will Mohammed be excised from Ramadan as an expression of goodwill.
But Cranmer is yet to find one personage of minority ethnic persuasion who has actually complained about Christmas. It appears to be a crusade of the post-Christian liberal grinches who are so obsessed with 'human rights' they invoke the spirit of the Inquisition to enforce their godless dogma. And so blinded are they in their quest to eradicate Christianity that they cannot see the uncompromising religio-political force that is moving in to fill the vacuum.
It seems we are moving towards an era when the church's silver bells will no longer be rung under dhimmi laws. And what will that leave us with?
Silver Call to Prayer?
It doesn't quite scan.
With thanks to Cranmer.
From Catholic World News:
German Church leaders ask Turkey to build church in Tarsus
Berlin, Dec. 20, 2007 (CWNews.com) - German Catholic leaders, supported by their country's government, have petitioned the government of Turkey to allow the construction of a church in Tarsus, the birthplace of St. Paul.
In an interview with the magazine Cicero, Cardinal Karl Lehman, the president of the German bishops' conference, mentioned the appeal. He disclosed that Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne had introduced the petition to Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan, with support from the Christian Democratic Union.
Cardinal Lehmann told Cicero that Islamic countries should be pressed to allow greater religious freedom for their Christian minorities. "While it's possible to build a mosque taller than St. Peter's in Rome," he pointed out, "I'd be arrested for celebrating Holy Mass in Saudi Arabia."
Well, the Turks ought to accede to the wishes of the German bishops, even if only for decency’s sake; after all, Germany has provided a welcome and a fertile job market to several generations of Turkish gästarbeiters.
If, on the other hand, the Turks refuse to allow the proposed church to be built — which is not unlikely, given the pattern of difficulties endured by Christians in that country — that at least would constitute further evidence of endemic religious intolerance in Turkey and might provide political ammunition to those who oppose allowing this rogue nation to join the European Union.
Keeping Turkey out of Europe is more important than building a church in Tarsus.
The most noteworthy aspect of this story is that the president of the German bishops’ conference, his eminence Karl Cardinal Lehmann, seems to have finally taken his head out of his ass broken through the fog of ecumaniacal and politically-correct nonsense for which he is well known, and at long last to have admitted the reality that Christians really aren’t treated all that well in Muslim countries. His observation that whereas it is possible to build a mosque in Rome taller than St. Peter’s basilica while in Saudi Arabia he would be arrested for the egregious crime of offering Mass, cuts right to the heart of the matter, and it is refreshing to hear such unexpected realism from someone like Lehmann.
Maybe the penny is starting to drop after all.
Islamic pressure closing churches in Indonesia
Jakarta, Dec. 20, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Indonesian Catholic bishops have called public attention to rising Islamic pressure against Christian churches, Vatican Radio reports.
Bishop Martinus Situmorang of Padang, the president of the country's episcopal conference, is the co-author of a new report on the campaign by Muslim activists to close down Christian churches. The report shows that from 2004 through 2007, 108 churches have been closed because of Islamic pressure.
The report notes that Indonesia's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and challenged the government to honor that promise, protecting the Christian minority from Muslim extremists.
Catholics constitute just 3% of the population in Indonesia. About 85% of the country's 220 million people are Muslims, giving Indonesia the world's largest Muslim population.
108 churches closed in Indonesia in the space of three years! Can you, gentle reader, provide me with an example of a western country that has closed 108 mosques in a similar space of time?
Thought not. This is surely illustrative of the vast gulf that exists between the standard of treatment accorded to Muslims in the west and that endured by Christians in the Mohammedan east.
The Indonesian constitution may guarantee freedom of religion, but since when have Islamists shown themselves willing to obey such things as laws and constitutions? Freedom of religion, in Indonesia as elsewhere, must be guaranteed by enforcement of the law, else it is a dead letter. But it is clear from this and from so many other news stories where the sympathies of the Indonesian government lie.
At last, somebody speaks the truth. As soon as Israel decides fror peace, there will be peace. Hamas will have the state it desires, from the River to the Sea, and all religions will be welcomed, as they are in all the other Muslim countries. Just ask the Chief Rabbi of Riyadh, or the Archbishop of Mecca.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel, that openest and no man shutteth, and shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring the prisoner forth from the prison-house, and him that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Last Sunday was the third Sunday of Advent — or Gaudete Sunday, as it is often known. This Sunday is one of only two days in the year in which the celebrant may wear rose vestments in place of the usual violet. Most regular attendees of the Novus Ordo Missae will probably never have seen rose vestments in use, as they seem to have fallen into complete desuetude since the liturgical changes of forty years ago, much like black vestments, which one almost never sees at contemporary funerals.
If one looks at the Advent wreath currently adorning the sanctuaries of Catholic churches, one will notice four coloured candles arranged in a circle around a white candle. Three of these coloured candles are violet, and one is of a rosy pink hue. The candles reflect the liturgical colour of the day on which they are first lit, and the rose/pink candle is lit on Gaudete Sunday. If he has them to hand, a priest celebrating Mass on this Sunday may wear vestments that match the colour of the candle.
Melancholicus’ local parish lacks a rose set, but he was interested to see that rather than resorting to violet, the celebrating priest (the PP, no less) turned himself out in the closest thing to rose that he had available, namely the red set. This is not, strictly speaking, liturgically permissable, but Melancholicus is inclined to give Father full marks for effort. Incidentally, red vestments were also worn in the parish on Gaudete Sunday in 2006, and that by a different priest. Obviously the instinct towards the return of rose is there, even if the clergy err by resorting to red because they can’t get the proper liturgical colour.
Since his days as a seminarist, Melancholicus has a few sets of vestments in different liturgical colours, but no rose set. He would like to be able to present a rose set to the parish, because he knows they would be used. Vestments of such a colour are difficult to come by, but if anyone reading this knows of a spare set knocking about somewhere... Melancholicus would be grateful.
As would the parish.
The annual Hajj is such big business for Saudi Arabia that it is second only to oil as the country’s top earner.
Melancholicus was nonplussed when RTÉ radio 1 ran a feature on the Hajj, according this Mohammedan effort a level of respect and religious awe they would never accord to any Catholic pilgrimage to Rome, the Holy Land or one of the Marian shrines.
Yesterday Melancholicus stumbled upon this video of a Muslim woman from America on the Hajj; this was her first experience of this pilgrimage, and she was clearly quite emotional. The Hajj must be to Mohammedans what the Chartres pilgrimage is to traditional Catholics at Whit-weekend, and Melancholicus can identify with such spiritual emotion since he has felt it himself. Chartres, however, does not attract anything like the numbers involved in the Hajj, but on the up side, no one at Chartres has ever been killed in a stampede.
But this American is no ordinary Muslim pilgrim. Her name is Leslie Rohn. She is white. She was not born into Mohammedanism, but chose to embrace it in her adult life. As such, she is a convert. Her former religion: Christianity. Specifically, she was a Catholic.
Now while Melancholicus acknowledges that Ms. Rohn is not without personal culpability in choosing to abandon the one true ark of salvation, i.e. the Church, in favour of the darkness of a wicked false cult founded in the seventh century by a shyster who had stayed out too long in the sun and had a penchant for underage girls, we must at least ask ourselves why she has chosen to do so.
It has always been a mystery to Melancholicus why westerners — particularly those of the female variety — would convert to a religion like Islam, when the track record of the latter regarding the treatment of women especially would hardly inspire much confidence in their future safety.
But the key phrases in Ms. Rohn’s conversion story are that she “had grown dissatisfied with Catholicism”, and that she was “looking for a closer relationship with God”.
This is not a soft, liberal lefty who abandoned Christ in high dudgeon because the Church wouldn’t allow contraception, abortion, homosex, women’s ordination, or any other of the myriad progressivist causes du jour. Rather, this is someone for whom religion is a serious business, and Melancholicus surmises that she must have been so scandalised by the laxity, worldliness and sheer profane goofiness of the conciliar church that she could no longer believe the Church to be a divine institution or the religion professed by the Church to be true.
The Mohammedans, as we all know, take their religion seriously (perhaps a little too seriously). Melancholicus can imagine Ms. Rohn’s joy at discovering the raw bloody meat of Islam after being fed with nothing but the stale, sour milk of conciliar ‘catholicism’. It is a pity that she did not discover a traditionalist Catholic group such as the SSPX before beginning this romance with Mohammedanism; that might at least have given her what she was looking for and kept her in the Church — although the SSPX and the Mohammedans are in many ways not that far apart.
While the decision to become a Muslim was hers and hers alone, this story nonetheless speaks volumes about how Catholicism has been weakened by the conciliar revolution, weakened even to the extent that we are now witnessing defections to the religion of Mohammed. The bishops and theologians of the conciliar church have much to answer for.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
O ROOT OF JESSE, Which standest for an ensign of the people, before Whom kings shall keep silence, Whom the Gentiles shall beseech: come and deliver us, and tarry not.
The song, Fairytale of New York, sung by Shane MacGowan and the late Kirsty MacColl, is a vulgar and somewhat trashy piece for which Melancholicus has never much cared, but he must admit to having experienced a certain malicious glee when this bastion of political correctness was compelled to withdraw its edited version of the song and play the unexpurgated version instead after being inundated with complaints from listeners.
The fact that so many people objected to this pathetic attempt at pc-inspired censorship gives us hope that there are still some in Israel who have not yet bowed the knee before Baal, and that there are those who have yet resisted brainwashing by the propaganda of Ingsoc.
From RTÉ entertainment news:
BBC backs down over Pogues classic
BBC Radio 1 has reversed its decision to censor the classic Pogues and Kirsty MacColl song 'Fairytale of New York'.
The station had decided to bleep out the word "faggot" from the song because it could be offensive to listeners.
But BBC 1 controller Andy Parfitt said last night: "After careful consideration, I have decided that the decision to edit the Pogues song Fairytale of New York was wrong."
AdvertisementParfitt said that the song did not use the word with any "negative intent".
Listen to a special programme on the story behind 'Fairytale of New York' here.
He said: "Radio 1 does not play homophobic lyrics or condone bullying of any kind. It is not always easy to get this right, mindful of our responsibility to our young audience. The unedited version will be played from now on."
He continued: "I want to stress that everyone at Radio 1 and its music team take the issue of language very seriously and enormous care is taken in ensuring that offensive language is edited from records where necessary."
"I understand absolutely, in a climate where questions about editorial standards are at the fore, the thinking behind this decision. While we would never condone prejudice of any kind, we know our audiences are smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom," said Parfitt.
He concluded: "In the context of this song, I do not feel that there is any negative intent behind the use of the words, hence the reversal of the decision."
“Homophobic lyrics” indeed. Despite the occurrence of the word ‘faggot’, there is no mention of sodomy at all in this song. When will these people ever relax and get a life? Are we all children, that we must be dictated to by these self-appointed arbiters of correctness as to what words we may or may not use in our discourse? This is all a pointless row over nothing. Besides, are homosexuals and other minority groups really so traumatised by the existence of certain words that they have to go running to nanny every time they perceive any slight, real or imagined, against themselves? If so, they should grow up and start living in the real world. People should not be forced to accord others an automatic respect simply on the basis of skin colour, exotic oriental religion or peculiar sexual habits. In the real world, as opposed to the culturally-constructed unreality fostered by political correctness, respect has to be earned.
In politically-correct culture, minority groups are treated like a sort of protected species that the rest of us are expected to handle with kid gloves. Melancholicus is not impressed. Not being a ‘minority’ himself, he enjoys no such vicarious protection. On the contrary, several of the ‘cultural categories’ to which Melancholicus belongs are regarded in the pc-Weltanshauung as ‘majoritarian’, and hence legitimate targets for attack and discrimination. He is white, male, heterosexual, and — worst of all — a Roman Catholic. His religion can be insulted with impunity, in speech, writing, and broadcasting, and Melancholicus must simply accept that as a fact, for there is nothing he can do about it. The BBC, in particular, is noted for its anti-Catholicism as well as for its simultaneous molly-coddling of sodomy and Islam. Melancholicus wonders why it should be apparently so acceptable to attack and ridicule Catholicism, but why Islam ought to be treated with respect and deference in all public discourse.
Here’s a BBC-related link I stumbled upon the other day. It’s fun.
Arriving at the post office to purchase his stamps, Melancholicus was surprised and gratified to note that the true significance of Christmas has not been censored by An Post. Their themed stamps for this year’s festive season bear an unmistakably Christian — and Biblical — impression.
Here are two examples of the 2007 Christmas range. I wonder, did An Post lose any sleep at all over the fact that Mohammedans, pagans and other ‘minorities’ (including rabid secularists of a type that would put the ACLU to shame — we have plenty of these in Ireland) would be traumatised and upset by such a clearly religious theme instead of the generic snow-covered fields, pine trees and robins?
The first example (55c) shows the presentation of the divine infant in the temple, fulfilling the beautiful messianic prophecy of Haggai 2:7; the figure on the left is clearly Simeon receiving the desired of all nations, and about to utter Nunc dimittis.
The second example (78c) is a little more ambiguous, but Melancholicus reckons it must be in the cave/stable/whatever in Bethlehem where the Saviour was born; this is probably the feast of the Epiphany, and the three men are most probably the Magi. They look regal and serious, and the large white dot under the 78c is clearly the star that led them to Bethlehem.
Bravo to An Post for these beautiful images, as well as for refusing to bow the knee to the tyranny of multiculturalism.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
O ADONAI, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give him the law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us.
This blog was actually set up as long ago as October 2006, but no posts were actually published until late February 2007. Thereafter about a dozen posts altogether appeared in February and March, after which Melancholicus fell into a despondent funk and abandoned not only his blog but just about everything else as well.
Many months and not a few pills later, at the beginning of October, he decided to resurrect Infelix Ego, whereat he made a complete clean sweep of all that had gone before, deleting the old posts because they pleased him not, and revamping his blog with a new template customised to his liking.
Thereat he began posting again, and his original goal was to publish a modest one post per week. However, he soon found that he really enjoyed this blogging mullarkey, so much so that he has surprised himself by reaching his 100th post before the end of 2007.
Perhaps the time has now come to publicize Infelix Ego, but Melancholicus cannot imagine who on earth would actually enjoy reading his turgid prose.
In any case: ad multos annos!
From Catholic World News:
Turkey: propaganda encouraging assaults on Christians?
Istanbul, Dec. 17, 2007 (CWNews.com) - An Italian missionary serving in Turkey survived a stabbing attack on December 16, but the AsiaNews service argues that the latest assault on a Catholic priest illustrates the dangerous effects of "a widespread campaign of defamation and hatred against Christians" in the predominantly Muslim country.
Father Adriano Franchini, a Capuchin priest, was hospitalized after being stabbed by a teenage assailant in St. Anthony's church in Izmir, a coastal city. The Italian priest-- who has served in Turkey for 27 years-- was reported in stable condition, and doctors said he should recover quickly.
However an AsiaNews analysis by Mavi Zambak notes that the attack on Father Franchini falls into a pattern, matching several other recent acts of violence against Christians including the murder of Father Andrea Santoro in February 2006. Zambak remarks:What all these cases have in common is the fact that all the culprits are young Turkish men, all supposedly unbalanced, crazy or mentally feeble, who ostensibly acted according to investigators on an impulse triggered by watching TV programmes and reading online material that focused on “missionary activities” by religious and secular Christians.
Father Franchini had been accused of proselytizing Muslims, the AsiaNews analysis points out. The accusations against him were part of a continuing propaganda barrage aimed against Christians in the Turkish media. The violent attacks, Zambak suggests, can be attributed to the hatred roused by those attacks, which Turkish officials have done nothing to counteract.
Of course our political leaders, dying to admit Turkey into the European Union at the soonest opportunity, would not care to raise issues such as this with their Turkish counterparts. They would not even care to be reminded of Turkey’s appalling human rights record, of its resurgent islamism, or of the fact that Turkey has not even acknowledged — never mind regretted — its culpability in the first genocide of the twentieth century.
Do we in Europe really want this rogue nation to be admitted to full membership of the EU? What sort of grubby political and/or financial gains are our politicians going to receive on the back of this betrayal? Moreover, the leftists in our midst are vocal whenever anyone says or does anything that carries the slightest whiff of ‘racism’ against Mohammedans and other immigrants in countries like Ireland; but why are their voices not raised in protest against the incomparably more serious abuses of human rights that take place on a routine basis in countries such as Turkey?
If we ever get a referendum on the issue — which Melancholicus very much doubts — every citizen of this union should do his duty by refusing admittance to the bosom of Europe to this barbarous state. Now Europe is already a sty of many evils; but we should beware lest we increase them. Though the shepherds may be negligent, even tyrannical and corrupt, how does it improve matters to open the door of the sheepfold to the wolf?
Monday, December 17, 2007
O WISDOM, Which camest out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.
Today, December 17th, we enter upon a more solemn and urgent observation of the Advent season, during which holy mother Church counts down to the days until the appearance of the infant Saviour on Christmas Day.
This period, from December 17th to 23rd, is sometimes referred to as Sapientiatide, which name derives from the first of the great O antiphons sung at the Magnificat in the office of Vespers.
Each of these days has its own proper Magnificat antiphon. These seven antiphons are called the “Great Antiphons”, or more simply, the “Great O’s”, since each of them begins with the invocation O, thus:
Dec 17: O Sapientia
Dec 18: O Adonai
Dec 19: O Radix Jesse
Dec 20: O Clavis David
Dec 21: O Oriens
Dec 22: O Rex Gentium
Dec 23: O Emmanuel
There is a little-known fact about the order of these ancient O Antiphons. This is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel). Take the first letters of each of the titles and write them backwards, thus counting down the days of the feast: EROCRAS or “ero cras”. This means in Latin “I will be (here) tomorrow”.
The song O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is simply a slightly modified sung version of the seven O Antiphons [the above two paragraphs quoted from Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s page on the the O Antiphons here].
Melancholicus loves the O Antiphons, and even though since he abandoned the seminary he no longer has access to solemn vespers chanted in choir, he always makes sure to chant each one in the evening of its proper day. The music for the Great O’s may be found in the Liber Usualis, and on the net Fr. Z has very helpfully provided the gregorian notation on his website, and even links to mp3 files so that visitors can hear the antiphons sung. Well worth a visit.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Some of these hits are doubtless owing to Melancholicus viewing the content of his own profile on occasion, but he can hardly have done so THAT MANY times!
Therefore, he must have had a few visitors, and these visitors have doubtless found their way there from Infelix Ego.
Melancholicus has not promoted this blog in any way; he has not informed even friends or family of its existence. He has not thus far even approached fellow bloggers with a view to exchanging links, but has kept himself very quiet in his own little corner of the internet. Infelix Ego he regards as a private journal wherein to ramble on at length about whatever claims his passing interest, even though it is live on the web and can be read by anyone who knows where to find it. Because as far as he knows, no one links to Infelix Ego. No one at all!
But the fact that his profile has been viewed 135 times means that this blog must have some readers, even if they are only of the casual variety who, stumbling upon Infelix Ego by accident, have been so shocked by the right-wing views expressed therein that they have not since returned.
But perhaps Melancholicus has acquired a regular readership, even if it be only one or two souls. It is strange to think of this blog having attracted a reading public in so short a time, especially when it has not been promoted or advertised anywhere else.
So, if Infelix Ego does have any regular readers, Melancholicus invites you to make yourselves known, and to leave a comment or a greeting on a post of your choosing. Especially if you are yourself a blogger.
Don’t be shy. Melancholicus often writes like a grumpy, self-righteous, reactionary curmudgeon, but he’s not such a bad bloke really.
It would be really cool to see if anyone out there has actually found me.
From Catholic World News:
Leading cardinal sees papal resignations as future norm
Rome, Dec. 13, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Roger Etchegaray (bio - news), the vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, writes in a new book that the resignation of the Roman Pontiff "in the future should be something normal," the Apcom news agency reports.
The French cardinal reportedly discusses papal resignation at some length in his forthcoming book, in the context of his recollections about the final days of Pope John Paul II.
Ah, Lord, alas that Thou shouldst have taken Alfons from us, and hast left us Roger!
The Lord bless him, and lift him up, and make His face to shine upon him, and give him peace.
May he be welcomed by the angels into paradise, and may he hear those blessed words from the mouth of the Just Judge: Euge, serve bone et fidelis, quia in pauca fuisti fidelis, supra multa te constituam, intra in gaudium Domini tui — “Well done, good and faithful servant: because you have been faithful over a little, I shall set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
Melancholicus is saddened, because although the sacred college contains more than its fair share of fifth columnists, marxists, and general goofballs (the majority of whom were elevated in the previous pontificate), Cardinal Stickler was one of the good guys; he was Catholic.
The traditionalist movement, in particular, has good cause to be grateful to his eminence for his tireless efforts on behalf of the restoration of the traditional Latin liturgy, and we would do well to repay his goodness to us by offering our prayers and sacrifices for the repose of his soul.
Cardinal Stickler was one of the commission of nine cardinals appointed in 1986 to investigate the juridical status of the traditional Latin Mass. The commission found by a majority of 8 to 1 that Paul VI had never abrogated the Old Mass, but its findings were never officially made public.
In the closing years of the twentieth century, when the young Melancholicus was just beginning, in terror, to explore the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood, he was given two books to read by the then vocations director of the Dublin archdiocese, which explored the issue of celibacy from diametrically opposing viewpoints. One of these was typical dissident boilerplate so vacuous and forgettable that he cannot now even locate the work on Google; the other, however, was The Case for Clerical Celibacy: Its Historical Development and Theological Foundations by his eminence Cardinal Stickler. Melancholicus was as impressed by his eminence’s writing and scholarly erudition as he was nauseated by the work of the modernist author.
And so, though a callow youth without much education in sacred matters, Melancholicus was steered firmly on the path of orthodoxy by the guiding hand of a true son of the Church.
May he rest in peace.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
U.S. women tell Italians about sharing Islam with Christians
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ROME (CNS) -- Muslims living in predominantly Christian countries need to reach out to educate their neighbors about their faith and to join others in building more open and just societies, said two young American Muslim women [This is rich. So now we have to learn from the Mohammedan to accept Islam on its own terms so that we won't worry about being blown up as we go about our daily business. It is clearly implied here that it is racist to be concerned about the threat of Islamism and its concomitant violence and terror. Obviously it seems that the onus to be "open" and "just" is on Christians; the Mohammedans, however, are encouraged here to take full advantage of the victim status they have arrogated to themselves with the help of western leftists].
As part of a two-week speaking tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Zeenat Rahman and Aalaa Abuzaakouk spoke Dec. 10 to a group in Rome that included young Italian Muslims full of questions about how to promote acceptance in Italian society [This piece is all about the "acceptance" of Muslims by western populations, as though Muslims living in western countries were somehow "in danger" from their neighbours. There is no word at all about the glaring disparity between the treatment of Muslims in western countries, and the treatment of Christians in Muslim countries, an issue Melancholicus has raised time and time again. There is likewise not one word about Muslims integrating into western society. The onus is on the Mohammedan to conform himself to the laws and customs of the nation into which he has immigrated; we in the west have no obligation whatsoever to change our way of life in order to accommodate these aliens who despise us and our culture].
The meeting with Catholic and Muslim students and a separate meeting with the press were coordinated by the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican [The Holy See is still deluded, thinking it can dialogue with Mohammedanism on an equal footing. When will the Holy See ever realise that it shares no common frame of reference with these people, and that constant appeasement makes them only more arrogant and demanding?].
For many Muslims in the United States, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks brought the realization that most of their neighbors had no idea about what Islam taught or how the vast majority of Muslims lived, the young American women said [So here's an ideal opportunity for proselytism then].
After the terrorist attacks, "I felt the importance of engaging with civil society and letting people know that Islam is not a violent religion," [I do wish they wouldn't waste precious time and effort trying to convince the rest of us that Islam "is not a violent religion", when they could more profitably devote their energies to resisting the fanatics and extremists in their midst. If only they would do that, we might actually believe them when they keep insisting that Islam is a "religion of peace"] said Abuzaakouk, who grew up in northern Virginia, attended a Muslim school for 13 years, then graduated from Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington [Gah! Fucking Jesuits! I knew they'd raise their ugly heads somewhere in this contemptible freak show].
"Before, we were complacent. We did not engage with others or let them know who we are," she said.
Rahman, who grew up in Chicago and attended public schools, said, "I think we have made some progress in winning hearts and minds" since 2001. "Ours was a very insular community, focused on maintaining our faith and cultures."
The very public questions about Islam and violence "forced us to engage publicly, to let people know who we are," said Rahman, a graduate of the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies [and you think, missy, that "letting people know who you are" will change people’s views about your religion? To me that smacks of arrogance. It's like saying, "We have arrived! Here we are now! What are you going to do for us?" A better response would be to police your schools and your mosques and to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies in western countries trying to root out the extremists instead of covering for them].
While Rahman said she grew up with Christian, Jewish and Hindu friends and Abuzaakouk said her childhood friends were all Muslims, they both described the years of high school and college as key times in forging an individual religious identity and sense of belonging.
Rahman said, "Adolescence is the crossroads of inheritance and discovery; who you meet at the crossroads makes an enormous difference."
Abuzaakouk said, "Identity development is a process. There were times when I emphasized one over another," being Muslim or being an American of Libyan descent.
She said attending Georgetown was an important part of the process because it emphasized "spiritual development, intellectual development and social service." The university's "religious heritage is emphasized, but it does not exclude others," she said [Of course not, since only orthodox Catholicism is excluded at Georgetown. Every other "tradition", including Mohammedanism, is welcomed and encouraged].
She now works for the Muslim Public Service Network in Washington, promoting Muslim involvement in politics, civil service, law, the media and nongovernmental organizations [in other words, the gradual infiltration and occupation of the institutions of state. Melancholicus challenges this woman to deny that such is the ultimate aim].
Rahman is a program coordinator for the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, a program promoting interreligious dialogue and community service for teens and young adults ["interreligious dialogue" from a Mohammedan perspective means accepting Islam on its own terms. This acceptance is not of course reciprocal].
She said her group focuses on helping young people tell their own stories, "speaking from their own experience rather than about dogmatic or theological differences, which makes it easier to identify shared values" and plan shared projects for the good of the whole community.
In addition, she said, "through storytelling you open up space for the voices of women in a way that theological dialogue often does not in many traditions."
While both said the United States' long experience with diversity makes it easier to be a Muslim in America than in Western Europe [O! As if butter wouldn't melt in these women's hypocritical mouths! Apparently it's sooooo hard to be a Muslim in Europe! What about being a Christian in the Middle East, or North Africa, or Pakistan, or any other of these God-forsaken places?? There is really no comparison. These people have some neck to whine about the treatment they receive in the soft, liberal, easy-going west, where the institutions of state are so compromised by the nostrums of political correctness that Mahommedans and other minorities are all too often accorded a privileged position denied to the rest of us! The mind boggles!], they encouraged the Italian Muslim students to tell their peers about their faith and to find ways to work together to share their stories with the wider community.
Thanks be to Heaven that it ended there, for Melancholicus is truly puce with indignation.
Pope speaks on St. Paulinus, precursor of Vatican II
So the whole purpose of St. Paulinus’ life was to point to Vatican II, as some kind of Teilhardian ‘omega point’? I’m sure the Holy Father didn’t say that, and Melancholicus is simply reading into the story owing to the utterly inappropriate headline given to this news item by the unnamed CWN reporter.
With all due respect to the Holy Father, however, Melancholicus would say that to compare St. Paulinus of Nola with Vatican II is to do St. Paulinus a great disservice. We wouldn’t wish to identify him with the robber-council of Ephesus now, would we, so what profit is there to be had from mentioning the good saint in the same breath as Ephesus’ spiritual descendant?
Regular readers of Infelix Ego will have noticed by now the strong animus Melancholicus has against Vatican II. He makes absolutely no apology for this stance. Truth is, Vatican II defined no new doctrine binding on the Catholic faithful; those teachings of Vatican II that are binding were binding already before the council, so they are not unique to this single council, having been defined better elsewhere. What is unique in Vatican II is the plethora of non-binding and non-doctrinal novelties to which no Catholic is obliged to give assent. Therefore Melancholicus can be AS RUDE AS HE LIKES towards the Second Vatican Council without fear of either heresy or schism.
From the BibliaClerus website:
This program offers Sacred Scripture, its interpretation in light of Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Magisterium, with appropriate theological commentary and exegesis. The downloadable version allows you to connect Sacred Scripture to the complete works of many Doctors of the Church, Councils, Encyclicals, teachings of the Popes, Catechisms, as well as commentaries from secular literature, etc.
The Congregation for the Clergy, the curial dicastery responsible for looking after the Church’s personnel, has recently released a package of prayers and other material for use by the lay faithful. The Congregation recommends prayer for vocations, for the sanctification of priests, and Eucharistic adoration to assist our priests in their difficult task, and to make reparation on behalf of those who err. It can be found here. It looks like a tremendous useful — not to mention charitable — endeavour.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The authorities in West Jakarta stop a parish priest from celebrating mass
by Mathias Hariyadi
The Christ’s Peace Parish Church was shut down under pressure from Muslim extremists who have challenged its legal status. Its resident priest wanted to celebrate at least Sunday mass, but local authorities have “strongly advised” him against it. Some 4,000 local Catholics now feel like they have been forced “underground,” denied the right to practice their faith.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian authorities have prevented the parish priest of Christ’s Peace Church in South Duri (West Jakarta) from celebrating mass. The Catholic parish church in which the function was supposed to take place is at the centre of controversy ever since a group of Muslims have challenged its legal status. As a result of strong pressures from Muslim extremists Tambura Sub-district officials banned all activities in the church to avoid “social tensions.”
The parish priest, Fr Matthew Widyalestari MSC, signed an agreement forcing him to cease all activities in the church but expressed a desire to celebrate a Sunday mass for his 4,000 parishioners who now find themselves unable to practice their faith.
On Friday after a meeting between local Catholic leaders and officials from the West Jakarta District and the Tambura Sub-district, local political authorities insisted on cancelling the Eucharistic function as well. The same reason or excuse was given, “public order,” and the fear of sectarian clashes as Father Widyalestari told AsiaNews.
“The faithful want their spiritual needs fulfilled; they feel like they are on a most wanted list, forced underground to find another place to practice their religion,” the priest said.
But “technically it is difficult to find the right place”, said another priest, Father Lestari, MSC. “Some parishioners go to mass at the Provincial House of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but that place is not big enough for thousands of people.”
The Christ’s Peace Parish has at least 4,000 members and usually held three masses on week-ends. It has used the same building since 1968.
Some weeks ago a group of local Muslims calling themselves the Cooperation Forum for Mosque, Prayer Rooms and Koranic Group of Duri Selatan, challenged the legal status of the church and its presence in the area because it does not have the right permits required by places of worship.
In 2005 the Interior and Religious Affairs Ministries issued a joint decree designed to put a stop to violent attacks against so-called “illegal churches” by making it easier to get building permits.
However, attacks have not stopped and local Christian communities are still in a legal no man’s land, at risk of having to give up all forms of religious practice.
Spare a thought, dear reader, in the coming Christmas season to remember these our poor persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, as they try to hold fast to their faith in a Mohammedan land.
This story is indicative of the kind of difficulties experienced by Christians all over the Muslim world. On many occasions, the persecution they experience is far more serious — and violent — than that reported here; at least the priest has not been shot dead, nor his congregation raped and beheaded.
But the next time some tiresome windbag whines about the plight of Muslims enduring ‘racism’ in the west, you might like to stop the prating fool’s mouth, gentle reader, by reminding him or her where real persecution is to be found, and that it has a Muslim face.
Spe Salvi, on Christian hope, was released on November 30th. That’s less than two weeks ago. This must be the biggest-selling papal encyclical of modern times; Melancholicus can’t imagine them queueing up to buy JP2’s Redemptor Hominis or Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio in anything like similar numbers.
Melancholicus has downloaded his own copy from the website of the Holy See and is reading it on his computer screen, but it’s not the same as holding the printed and bound volume in one’s hand, so he’ll be looking forward to Veritas finally getting in their shipment, hopefully before Christmas.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Melancholicus would agree — in part — with aspects of his friend’s theory, but he cannot but conclude that here, as in so many other instances, issues of religion are merely a useful prop wherewith to buttress a political position, not the root cause of the problem itself. For who will seriously maintain that in these days of religious liberty and indifferentism the unionist population of the six counties dreads most of all being subsumed by the Roman Catholic Church, as opposed to being absorbed by the Republic of Ireland, which is an entirely different matter.
Furthermore, the religious dimension of the conflict is more apparent to the protestant side. The Republican paramilitaries, as well as the political parties on the nationalist side, are not motivated at all by Catholicism; the community they represent may be composed of Roman Catholics, but the political ideology that drives them owes far more to the writings of Karl Marx than to those of the Roman pontiffs.
It would seem, however, that the religious clash between the Council of Trent on the one hand, and the Thirty-Nine Articles on the other, is a smokescreen pure and simple, for no one on either side of the divide seems to know much about religion, one way or the other. It reminds one of Hugh Trevor Roper’s observation that there has never been any lack of hot-headed young men ready to rise in arms against Popery, without knowing whether Popery were a man or a horse.
From, as usual, Catholic World News:
Religious knowledge weak in Northern Ireland, survey finds
Belfast, Dec. 10, 2007 (CWNews.com) - A new study has uncovered a surprising lack of religious knowledge among both Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
Contradicting the impression that residents of Northern Ireland are generally more religious than their neighbors in the Irish republic, a survey by the Millward Brown Ulster firm found that the level of religious knowledge is roughly the same on both sides of the border.
The survey -- the first of its kind in the region -- found that Catholics in Northern Ireland show the same level of religious knowledge as those in the south. Among Protestants, however, the residents of Northern Ireland are less knowledgable. Overall, only 42% of the poll respondents knew that there are 4 Gospels, and just 54% could name the persons of the Trinity. The survey uncovered a striking decline in religious knowledge among younger respondents. On each question and most others, Catholics scored substantially higher results. Only 21% of those aged 16-24 knew the number of the Gospels, and only 33% could identify the persons of the Trinity.
Commenting on the poll figures, Stephen Cave of the Evangelical Alliance of Northern Ireland said: "Overall the figures are not good but the drop in knowledge, almost halved within a generation, indicates that the Christian faith is becoming less meaningful to those under 25 years of age." His colleague Sean Mullen of the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland added: "The notion that Christianity can be transmitted through the culture from one generation to the next is clearly no longer valid."
The survey was conducted by Millward Brown Ulster for the Iona Institute, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland, and the Evangelical Alliance of Northern Ireland. The full results of the survey are available from the Iona Institute.
This is interesting news, since Melancholicus has long since taken for granted the popular but mistaken impression that folk were generally more religious in Northern Ireland than in the Republic.
So much for religion — as opposed to issues of community, identity and politics — being the primary motivating factor in the division of the Northern population.
So, whether they live north or south of the border, and whether they belong to the Roman, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian or other communions, Irish people don’t know a whole lot about religion at all. Not many people know much about their own tradition, never mind anyone else’s.
This rather surprising level of ignorance uncovered by the Iona Institute’s poll we might safely attribute to three causes: the secularism of modern western society, the current crisis of faith which grips all mainstream churches, and shoddy education — particularly shoddy catechesis — in both faith schools and in seminaries. Ecumenism has doubtless also played its part.
It is particularly interesting, however, that the state of religious knowledge is poorer among protestants than among Roman Catholics. So much for the much-touted dictum of protestants knowing their Bible well, whereas Catholics are ignorant. This is all the more ironic when one looks at the edifying collect for this week — the Second of Advent — in the Church of Ireland’s Book of Common Prayer:
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ: Who liveth.
I wasn’t nearly as depressed when I woke up this morning as on the last occasion I had dreamed about her. Actually, it was rather nice and quite touching — she even kissed me, which her dream persona has never before done. I felt vaguely at peace with God, the world and even myself when I awoke. I had also had a refreshing night’s sleep.
But that’s two dreams about L. in the space of only a couple of weeks. I wonder if God is trying to tell me something?
Should I, perhaps, write to her? Or is it best to let sleeping dogs lie? I can hardly imagine that she is dreaming about me like I am about her, but I already know how she feels. I just don’t know how she’d react after all this time. I guess I feel that by writing to her, I would be disturbing her, or even distressing her by dragging old emotions back up to the surface.
And I definitely wouldn’t want what happened the last time to happen again.
Even though it’s now been a year and a half, it’s not like I’m spoiled for choice now, is it? Nobody has come along to take her place in all that time.
My novena to St. Francis Xavier finishes this evening. I just hope his answer isn’t indecipherably cryptic.
Or perhaps it is best to just forget about women altogether and go back to the seminary ...
Monday, December 10, 2007
She died last Thursday, 6th December. She was only 24 years old.
Melancholicus is blogging the death of this young woman only because everyone else is, and because there are a few points he wishes to make that he has not thus far seen elsewhere.
Since Ms French was a celebrity of sorts, the last week of her life and her sad death have attracted an enormous volume of publicity. However, this kind of thing — death from cocaine, and from drug overdoses — takes place all the time. Many young people die from substance abuse each week, and their deaths are seldom reported in the media. Ms French’s death is viewed as especially tragic, since not only was she young and talented, but she did not belong to the poverty-stricken underclass, the people who are associated in the Irish mind with drug abuse. She was a model by profession, and appeared to have the world at her feet.
And boy, was she pretty.
The newspapers, by and large, have engaged in a kind of collective hand-wringing over the extent of drug use among the bright and the beautiful in contemporary Ireland. Last Saturday’s Irish Independent devoted ten pages — plus a supplement — to Katy French’s untimely demise. There was a great deal of sorrow and regret expressed in these columns, as though the writers had known Ms French personally — which Melancholicus doubts. There was also a great deal of shock; Melancholicus surmises that this is due at least in part to the fragile nature of our human mortality being forcibly brought home, by the deaths of three young people in similar circumstances in such a short time, to a great many people for whom death is an unfamiliar and far-off thing. Young people (at least those under the age of thirty) tend to think of themselves as invincible and able to withstand any shock to their systems, chemical or otherwise. When he was 25, Melancholicus shared this assumption of invulnerability with the rest of his peers; today he is 35, and is starting to feel the effects of his age.
Then there were those who were nasty, for whom the death of this unfortunate young woman was an occasion for spite and sarcasm. Melancholicus has read their blogs, but has no intention of linking to them. Those with a morbid curiosity can go googling if they wish.
Some kind souls have at least stopped to remember her grieving family; Melancholicus cannot imagine how terrible it must be for her parents to have to bury their child. Many have pointed out that at 24, Katy was too young to die. Melancholicus agrees; her life was cut terribly short. But on the other hand, there are many who are not given even the 24 years enjoyed by Katy French. There are many whose lives end even before they have learned to walk and to talk; and there are not a few that die even in the wombs of their mothers, sometimes even by the choice of their mothers.
Melancholicus did not know Katy French, so he has no idea whether the glowing portrayals of her in the newspapers are an accurate reflection of her personality, or whether they owe more to the ubiquitous instinct for instant canonisation that we encounter whenever someone — particularly someone young — dies.
In the midst of it all, however, nobody has troubled to spare a thought, never mind a prayer, for the one soul at the centre of all this brouhaha: Katy French herself. Inches of column space are devoted to recollections of her short life, and extensions of condolence to her bereaved family. But her life on earth is now a matter of the historical record, and forever fixed in time. Nothing that she said or did in her 24 years can be changed now. None of her choices and decisions, for better or for worse, can be undone. She has now entered eternity, and not one writer, so far as Melancholicus has been able to determine, has actually given any thought to Katy’s spiritual well-being at this present time.
This is illustrative of the thoroughly de-supernaturalised view of life and death that has obtained in western culture as the Catholic faith — once the dominant religion on this island — continues to retreat into irrelevance, helped in no small part by the men ordained to protect and spread that same faith. Now Katy was herself a protestant, but that does not change the fact that she has a soul which is still living now, after the death of her body, and that she was — like all of us — a sinner in need of God’s mercy. Insofar as life after death is even thought of at all, it is usually in the context of a living on in the memories of one’s friends and relatives — which, at least from the perspective of the deceased person, can hardly be called life — or else of an automatic entry into some kind of generic paradise.
Furthermore, even among those who do hold to Christian or quasi-Christian notions regarding the hereafter, there is a tendency towards universalism, and this tendency ensures that the welfare of the soul is forgotten, even before the body has been committed to its final place of rest.
It is not our place to assume we know, or can guess, Katy’s final destination. Death, and what follows, remains a great mystery, even though so brightly illumined by the Christian faith. It would be an impious act to adduce arguments either way, for the true state of the soul at the moment of death is known only to God. Katy knows where she is now; we who have survived her do not. Accordingly, it is our duty to pray for her that she may be loosed from her sins, and while fond reminiscences of her life are not out of place, these are of benefit only to others — not to Katy herself. Could she address us from beyond the curtain, she would probably be much more interested in what’s going on in the picture below than in what the media has made of her obituary. Her priorities now would be somewhat different to her priorities of only a few weeks ago.
As far as Katy’s own religious beliefs were concerned, they were as muddled and syncretic as those of any young person, whether Catholic or Anglican, reared with the vacuous mess that passes for catechetical instruction in these thoroughly secularised times. Although a protestant, she claimed to practice as a Catholic, seeing no difference between the two religions. That comment says more about the state of the Church than it does about Katy. She appears to have at least been open-minded where matters religious were concerned, and did not share the ignorant knee-jerk prejudice against religion that Melancholicus has encountered so often among students at the university where he works. She seemed to have been spiritually inclined, and in search of rest for her soul; given enough time, she may have found her way to the fullness of the Truth. Tragically, however, she didn’t have the time she needed. She declared that her calling (her “vocation”, as the Church would put it) was to be a wife and a mother — a much more exalted, and more difficult state than that of mere modelling, and a brave thing for a young woman to say in this feministical age.
Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
1. Thou art all fair, O Mary * and there is no spot of sin in thee.
2. Of thee, O Mary, thy Son was clothed in humanity * whose raiment was white as the light, whose face did shine as the sun.
3. Thou art the exaltation of Jerusalem, thou art the great glory of Israel, thou art the great rejoicing of our nation.
4. Blessed art thou of the Most High God * above all the women upon the earth.
5. Draw us, O maiden undefiled; we will run after thee * because of the savour of thy good ointments.
I WILL rejoice greatly in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. Ps. I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made mine enemies to rejoice over me.
O GOD, Who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare for Thy Son a worthy habitation, we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst preserve her from every stain by the foreseen death of this Thy Son, so Thou wouldst grant that we also being cleansed from guilt by her intercession, may come to Thee. Through the same our Lord.
Friday, December 07, 2007
There isn’t one.
H/T to Diogenes.
Today, December 7th, is the feast of St. Ambrose, c. 340-397, bishop of Milan and Doctor of the Church. He is most famous for his correction of the emperor Theodosius, who in the year 390 had massacred 7,000 of the citizens of Thessalonica in retaliation for an uprising. After this bloody deed had been carried out, Ambrose would not permit Theodosius even to enter his church, let alone attend the celebration of the liturgy or receive holy communion. By comparison, today’s bishops are afraid to turn away from the altars public figures who pursue lifestyles of manifest grave sin, or who publicly uphold positions at variance with the teachings of the Church. To stand up to a fourth-century Roman emperor was a far more courageous act than to resist the petty politicians of today with their media backers. Theodosius even had the good grace to perform eight months of penance in atonement for his sin; the temporal powers of our time cannot even acknowledge that they have sinned, never mind be willing to undertake penance.
Ambrose also had the distinction of baptizing into the Catholic faith another great Doctor of the Church of late antiquity: St. Augustine of Hippo.
In the pre-1960 Roman calendar, it was also the vigil of the Immaculate Conception, one of the great Marian feasts, which occurs tomorrow, December 8th. The feast of St. Ambrose terminates with the office of none, and this evening’s vespers will be first vespers of the Immaculate Conception.
When I was young, all I wanted was a girl with big tits.
So I found a girl with big tits, but there was no passion.
I decided I needed a passionate girl. So I found a passionate girl, but she was too emotional, everything was an issue and she cried all the time.
Then I decided I needed a stable girl. So I found a stable girl, but she was boring. She never got excited about anything.
Then I decided I needed an exciting girl. So I found such a girl, but I couldn’t keep up with her. She kept rushing from one thing to the next, and never settled on anything. She had no direction, and no ambition.
So I decided I needed an ambitious woman. I found an ambitious woman, and married her. She was so ambitious that she divorced me and took everything I had.
Now all I want is a woman with big tits.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
At least the Venezuelan people were offered a referendum; Melancholicus reckons that Chavez resisted the temptation to appropriate by force what he was denied by vote, owing to fear of the international community (and particularly the US); Chavez seems to think it important at least to appear to transform Venezuela into a communist ghetto by democratic means.
In Caracas, over 100,000 people marched against Chavez and against his attempt to turn himself into a communist dictator; clearly the Venezuelans are not as enthusiastic about their president as are the socialists of the Emerald Isle.
Yesterday, Melancholicus attempted to do some Christmas shopping in Dublin (bad idea), and on his weary pilgrimage through the streets, his eye was drawn to the forlorn and mournful-looking flyers posted up on lamp posts by the Socialist Party “After the Referendum: Where now for the Venezuelan Revolution?” and advertising the inevitable public meeting to chew the fat regarding how best to help their buddy Hugo.
Moreover, Chavez is only playing the socialists for support; Melancholicus is of the opinion that Chavez is more interested in Chavez than he is in socialism.
If proof were ever needed, this attitude on the part of Irish socialists shows only too clearly that the triumph of socialism is the only thing that matters. That the Venezuelan people, exercising their democratic right, have in no uncertain terms indicated their repugnance for Chavez’s socialist republic, does not seem to trouble the consciences of these indoctrinated and thoughtless idiots, who would be quite happy to help Chavez along with his ambition to become dictator for life, if only Venezuela could thereby become another Cuba.
Why don’t these fools emigrate to Cuba, since they seem so enamoured of communist government?
Chavez is clearly a dangerous man, and the result of the referendum is merely a setback to his plans, not the end of them. He will keep trying, by fair means or foul, until he achieves his aims — or until someone stops him.
Which brings to mind a certain piece of English literature apposite to the situation:
Brutus opens the letter and reads:
“Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake, and see thyself.
Shall Rome, &c. Speak, strike, redress!
Brutus, thou sleep’st: awake!”
Such instigations have been often dropp’d
Where I have took them up.
‘Shall Rome, &c.’ Thus must I piece it out:
Shall Rome stand under one man’s awe?
My ancestors did from the streets of Rome
The Tarquin drive, when he was call’d a king.
‘Speak, strike, redress!’ Am I entreated
To speak and strike? O Rome, I make thee promise:
If the redress will follow, thou receivest
Thy full petition at the hand of Brutus!
— from Julius Caesar (Act II, scene 1), by William Shakespeare.
| My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is: |
The Right Reverend Melancholicus the Dejected of Wallop upon Deane
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
Right Reverend? That’s a very bishoppy title, and Melancholicus definitely has no ambitions in that direction! It is also, moreover, the title given to bishops of the Church of England, no less. I guess that at least entitles us to a seat in the House of Lords.
Melancholicus wishes to ask the kind readers of Infelix Ego to pray for two friends of his, namely Jim Bohl, a former FSSP seminarist, and Robert Lane, a young man who has tirelessly striven for the restoration of the Old Mass in his native Galway. Both were recently diagnosed with cancer, and in each case it looks serious.
Mother of mercy, take pity on them.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Pope and Hillary Rodham Clinton are on the same stage in front of a huge crowd.
‘Her Majesty’ and His Holiness, however, have seen it all before, so to make it a little more interesting, the senator says to the Pope, “Did you know that with just one little wave of my hand I can make every Democrat in the crowd go wild?”
He doubts it, so she shows him. Sure enough, the wave elicits rapture and cheering from every democrat in the crowd. Gradually, the cheering subsides.
The Pope, not wanting to be outdone by such a level of arrogance, considers what he could do. “That was impressive. But did you know that with just one little wave of my hand I can make every person in the crowd go crazy with joy? This joy will not be a momentary display like that of your supporters, but will go deep into their hearts, and they will forever speak of this day and rejoice.”
The senator seriously doubts this, and says so. “One little wave of your hand and all people will rejoice forever? Show me.”
So the Pope slapped her.
Monday, December 03, 2007
The full text is available in English on the website of the Holy See. Click here to read.
Due to the straits of his life at present, Melancholicus sometimes finds it difficult to keep his sights set on the glory of God, and of the joys which hereafter await those who remain faithful until the end. Sometimes it is tempting to believe that God has forgotten, or does not care, about the travails of His people on earth, particularly when fervent prayers have gone unanswered for so long. Sometimes it seems as though God and His saints are deaf to earthly entreaties, and that Heaven has rolled itself up like a blanket, only to disappear completely.
In these circumstances it is easy to despair, and to seek comfort instead in earthly things, since Heaven is silent. Yet faith tells us that God and His saints have not abandoned us, and that they are with us always, even and especially at those times when Heaven seems most silent and the grace of God most absent.
Melancholicus could here rehearse the familiar parable of the footsteps in the sand, but that would be too cloyingly sentimental for his phlegmatic disposition.
Whence the importance of the virtue of hope, and of fortitude as well. Melancholicus has not yet finished reading the Holy Father’s new encyclical, but he has found it thus far an important and inspiring document, and it will be his staple reading in this season of Advent.
Today is also the feast of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary of extraordinary piety and miracles, and a saint for whom Melancholicus has a special affection. St. Francis was a Jesuit, but let us not hold that against him. Let us instead begin a novena to St. Francis this very evening.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
To be fair, Hookie is a competent broadcaster, an engaging personality, regularly interesting and informative, and in the battle for Melancholicus’ attention with RTÉ’s Drivetime programme, he wins more often than not.
But yesterday evening’s edition of The Right Hook really took the Fortnum & Mason. George’s guest was the actress and human rights activist Vanessa Redgrave; and while some might have considered the conversation more of a fawning session than an interview, what annoyed Melancholicus most of all was the unthinking soft leftism evinced by Hookie throughout.
Perhaps his slot on Newstalk should more aptly be re-named The Left Hook?
Ms. Redgrave was in Dublin yesterday, speaking in her capacity of human rights activist at a dinner for the Irish branch of Amnesty International. Neither Hookie nor Ms. Redgrave seemed in any way sensible to the glaring fact of Amnesty’s having contracted a wee bit of a credibility problem through their well-publicised advocacy of so-called “abortion rights”.
But anyhow, that’s not the issue.
From the beginning, their discussion of human rights abuses and the activism designed to fight such abuses focused on fashionable left-wing causes. After the obligatory shot at the Nazis (to be fair, the Soviets came in for a good deal of criticism as well), the so-called “war on terror” was addressed. What astonished Melancholicus was that here the criticism was directed entirely at the US, Britain and Israel. Now while Melancholicus would certainly be at one with Hookie and Ms. Redgrave on the illegal British and American-led invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq, that’s beside the point. Britain and the US are hardly pure as the driven snow, but they are most assuredly not the leading abusers of human rights in the world today (unless of course one would describe state-sponsored abortion services as an abuse of human rights, but one couldn’t really see either Hookie or Ms. Redgrave losing much sleep over the number of abortions carried out in these countries daily). The detainees of Guantanamo Bay received excessive attention, the CIA was duly slated over the issue of extraordinary renditions, but not a single word was said about the appalling human rights abuses that take place on a routine basis in Muslim countries. Likewise, not a word was said about the horrendous treatment of Christians and other religious minorities in the same. Even while Hookie and Ms. Redgrave were on the air, Mrs. Gillian Gibbons, 54, a teacher from the UK, had already begun her sentence in a Sudanese prison. Her crime: she allowed her class in Sudan to name a teddy bear Muhammad, for which she was arrested and convicted of the charge of “insulting Islam”. As she languished in her cell, there were protests in Khartoum by crazed sword-wielding fanatics calling for the unfortunate woman’s execution. Yes, it was not sufficient to send Mrs. Gibbons to prison: these prehistoric savages wanted to cut off her head!
If that is not an abuse of human rights, then Melancholicus does not understand the meaning of the term.
Hookie also drew attention to his guest’s socialism, and that in a positive light. Melancholicus was not surprised to hear that Ms. Redgrave is a socialist, but he was more than a little bemused by the fact that neither Hookie nor Ms. Redgrave seemed aware that socialism has been responsible for some of the most outrageous violations of human rights in the twentieth century. To add the icing to the cake, Hookie then pressed his guest for her views on New Labour’s betrayal of its socialist roots in Britain. Melancholicus cannot recall Ms. Redgrave’s comments at this point, but by then he had heard enough.
They were like peas in a pod, the two of them; soft leftists, idealistic and irenicist, but totally lacking in any grasp of the real situation in the world as far as human rights are concerned. As such, they are indistinguishable from the countless millions of other soft leftists which make up a goodly share of western society. These people mean well, but they really haven’t a clue. That much should be obvious, when one squanders precious airtime waxing indignant over Guantanamo, and that in the very shadow of the real elephant in the room, now looming totally unnoticed.
Talk about straining out a gnat and then swallowing a camel. Our Lord used those words against the Pharisees, but in a different time and context they could be applied just as fittingly not only to Hookie but to most of those who ply their trade in the newspapers and on the airwaves. And so the consensus of soft leftism continues undisturbed, and the five-hundred pound elephant continues to evade detection.