Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Please pray for Ireland!!!

Please, please pray with me that the outcome of the abortion referendum in Ireland will be NO.
Abortion is the greatest form of genocide because it is the genocide of complete innocents. This referendum is the enemy’s will, not God’s, and our prayers and fasting can and will, make the greatest difference in rising against it! Please pray this prayer daily with me! We can't sit back and do nothing for our God.

O Mother of Salvation, pray for your children in Ireland to prevent the wicked act of abortion from being inflicted upon them. Protect their holy nation from sinking deeper into despair from the darkness which covers their country. Rid them of the evil one who wants to destroy your children, yet to be born. Pray that those leaders will have the courage to listen to those who love your Son, so that they will follow the Teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on King Alfred the Great's Cause for Canonisation

I had not realised that King Alfred had a developed cultus, or that his Cause had been introduced at Rome before the Protestant Deformation. Well, you learn something new every day, and I look forward to doing so!

Paul Comtois of Québec, Farmer, Politician, Hero, Saint

How low has 'Catholic' Quebec fallen! This was in its glory days, when Catholicism reigned supreme, and before Pierre Trudeau and his communist henchmen began la révolution tranquille, which has totally destroyed the influence of the Church in what was once one of the most vibrant Catholic regions of North America.

From the article,
“When he finally was given this permission (to keep the Most Blessed Sacrament in his personal vice-regal Chapel), it was on condition that he be personally responsible for its safe and proper keeping. And my father was a man who lived up to his obligations at all costs.”May the Martyr of the Blessed Sacrament, Paul Comtois, pray for us and, especially, for his people of Quebec!

From Andrew Cusack (link in sidebar)

From time to time there are men in history whose heroism runs so counter to the spirit of the age that the arbiters of passing fashion must simply ignore him rather than run the risk of acknowledging his embarrassing greatness and goodness. God has graced the New World with many of his saints, some of whom — Rose of Lima, Martin de Porres, Mother Seton — have already been raised to the altar, others — Fulton Sheen, Fr. Solanus Casey — are certainly on their way, but yet more remain unsung and almost forgotten. Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lieutenant-Governor of Québec until his heroic death, is just one of these such saints.

Jean-Paul-François Comtois was born in Saint-Thomas-de-Pierreville, in Québec’s Yamaska County on August 22, 1895. His father, Urbain Comtois, was a merchant of old Québécois farming stock while his mother, Elizabeth (née McCaffrey) was of Irish descent. After completing the cours classique at the Collège de Nicolet, Paul Comtois was admitted to the Université de Montréal. He studied agronomy at the Institut agricole d’Oka, an agricultural institute run by monks at a Trappist monastery, and received his degree in 1918.
His studies completed, Comtois returned to Pierreville to run the family farm, Ferme des Ormes, whose land had first been cleared by his grandfather in 1835. In 1921, he married Irène-Anne-Rachel Gill, who provided Comtois with three sons and two daughters.
Paul Comtois continued to farm for two decades, earning the médaille de bronze du Mérite agricole in 1926, but became an increasingly active participant in the civic affairs of his community. He was made the head of the local school board in 1928, and ran as the Conservative candidate for the the Nicolet-Yamaska constituency in the 1930 federal parliamentary election, losing by just one vote! Comtois was chief evaluator for the Agricultural Commission from 1935 to 1936, when he became the general manager of the provincial Office du crédit agricole, a post he held until 1957. In the mean time, he served for a year on the Housing Committee in 1948, co-founded the agricultural cooperative in his native Pierreville, and was made president (from 1945 to 1961) of the Caisse populaire de Pierreville, one of the cooperative credit unions founded by the Church to provide for the financial well-being of rural Québec.

L’hon. Paul Comtois, Lieutenant-gouverneur du Québec
From 1948 to 1961, Paul Comtois was mayor of the parish of Saint-Thomas-de-Pierreville, and he was made Prefect of Yamaska County in 1956. One year later, he avenged his 1930 electoral defeat by being elected to the House of Commons for Nicolet-Yamaska in the 1957 election. That August, Comtois was appointed to the Privy Council and was made Minister of Mines in the cabinet of the legendary Canadian Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker. After four years in the Canadian cabinet, the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, appointed Paul Comtois Lieutenant-Governor of Québec, the personal representative of the Queen in  the province.
Comtois took to the viceregal office with great assiduity. A popular socialite, he was a member of the Garrison Club and the Quebec Winter Club. A devoted Catholic, he was active in the Knights of Columbus and the League of the Sacred Heart. As is custom for Canadian viceregal representatives, Comtois was made a knight of the Venerable Order of St. John. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sherbrooke in 1962, and another from McGill University a year later, and was made Commander of the Ordre du mérite agronomique.

Lieutenant-Governor Paul Comtois opens the annual session of the Parliament of Québec.
Yet while the Lieutenant-Governor and his wife attended balls at the province’s best hotels and were invited to dinner parties in its most prominent homes, the entire family said the Rosary together every day, often outdoors despite the harsh winter cold. The family lived in the official viceregal residence, Bois-de-Coulonge, in the Quebec City suburb of Sillery (a city named after the holy Frenchman Noël Brûlart de Sillery). Comtois sought permission from the Cardinal Archbishop of Québec, Primate of Canada, to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the private chapel at Bois-de-Coulonge. The Cardinal was hesitant but eventually agreed to Comtois’s pious request.

“My father once told me that he had difficulty in being granted the special permission from the Cardinal to permanently keep the Blessed Sacrament in the private chapel,” Comtois’s daughter Mireille recalled later. “When he finally was given this permission, it was on condition that he be personally responsible for its safe and proper keeping. And my father was a man who lived up to his obligations at all costs.”
After midnight on the evening of February 21, 1966 — a bitterly cold night of -24° Fahrenheit, -31° Celsius — the Lieutenant-Governor, his family, and some guests returned to Bois-de-Coulonge from a social event. A half-hour after the assembled had said their good-nights and retired to bed, a ferocious fire erupted in the basement of the 105-year-old manor.
“The fire started as though it were in a matchbox,” Lt. Col. J.P. Martin, the Lieutenant-Governor’s aide-de-camp, reported. “It was incredible to see with what speed the flames spread through the building.”
As soon as the fire was noticed, the governor immediately took charge, guiding his wife and children out of the house into the cold winter’s night outside. His daughter Mireille, however, noticed her father would not yet leave the tinderbox house.
“As I was racing through the building to escape from the fire, I came upon my father in the chapel. As I was going to run to him, he firmly ordered me to jump from a nearby window and I did, wondering why he did not do likewise. The last I saw of him, he was standing under the sanctuary lamp in his pajamas and wearing around his neck the souvenir Rosary from his father which he said every night and wore to sleep.”
Having been assured that all his family and guests had escaped the inferno, the seventy-year-old Paul Comtois returned to the private chapel in which he visited the Lord every evening before bed to save the Blessed Sacrament from the desecrating fire. He reached the chapel, already engulfed in flames, but managed to make it to the tabernacle and remove the pyx containing the Body of Christ. Leaving the chapel, he descended the staircase which collapsed about him, and the Lieutenant-Governor was burned alive in the inferno. The fire in which Paul Comtois died was so hot that the first firemen on the scene could not approach within a hundred feet of the building.

“I was told,” Mireille continues, “that when they found him, his body was badly burned and his arms were no longer intact; but my father was a big stocky man and under the upper part of his body they found the pyx used to carry the Holy Eucharist. His body had saved it from the flames. … I can still picture him standing there in the light of the sanctuary lamp.”
Maurice Cardinal Roy, the Archbishop of Québec & Primate of Canada, said that “Mr. Comtois, as a Christian, gave an example of wisdom and goodness, humility, and radiant faith.”
“I jumped to safety from a second-storey balcony, injuring my back in doing so and was hospitalized for some time after,” said Mac Stearns, one of the family’s guests that evening. “My wife and I were good friends of the Comtois family. We were in the habit of visiting one another. I grew to be a close friend and admirer of Paul Comtois. He was a very sincere person, deeply concerned with the problems of humanity.”
“His tremendous religious faith impressed me greatly and was no doubt instrumental in my embracing the Catholic faith some time after his death. Knowing his great fervor for the Blessed Sacrament, I have no doubt whatsoever that Paul would do all in his power to rescue the Holy Eucharist from the fire.”
Paul Comtois’s heroism stands in direct contrast to the cowardice of the changing establishment of the time in reporting his death. “The left-wing press: Le DevoirLa Presse of Montreal, Le Soleil of Quebec City, played down the wonderful deed,” wrote Fr. J. M. Laplante, O.M.I. in The Wanderer (10 March 1966). “In other times, that news would have covered the world with headlines. But nowadays? I doubt if La Croix and Les Informations Catholiques Internationales of Paris, or the liberal Catholic weeklies, will give much coverage or comment to that sublime act of faith.”
“But what an act of reparation,” Fr. Laplante wrote, for the errant priests who do not believe in the Holy Eucharist and desecrate the Blessed Sacrament themselves. “The fact that, in 1966, a politician, a statesman, the Anglican Queen’s immediate representative in Québec, imitated the gesture of St. Tarcisius should be shouted from the rooftops. … Yes, His Excellency Paul Comtois, host of Christ in Bois-de-Coulonge Manor, gave up his life for the sake of Christ the Host!”
Sister Maureen Peckham, R.S.C.J., wrote in 1988 of the Lieutenant-Governor’s heroic death in her introduction to John Cotter’s The Affirmation of Paul Comtois:
“Over twenty years have passed since, in an act of gallant generosity, a supernaturally splendid ‘beau geste’, Paul Comtois, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Québec, laid down his life for his Friend in the Blessed Sacrament. His story, far from making the headlines, was considered, by the secular press, not newsworthy, and, by the Catholic press, an embarrassment. The Church of the second half of the twentieth century is, to its shame, not noted for its faith in the Blessed Sacrament, and, one can only deduce that it was fear of being considered foolish and old-womanish — or, worse still, old hat — by an unbelieving world that caused the leaders of the Church in Québec to pass over, in blushing silence, Mr. Comtois’s noble deed.”
“Yet, Paul Comtois was a man of the world, a well-known socialite, one who had reached the heights of worldly glory; he was one whom the world could recognize as its own. Furthermore, his chivalrous and brave death should, even on the human and wordly level, have merited the title of hero. That he, who had been honored by the world during his lifetime, should have been ignored by the world at the moment of his death, can only be explained by the fact that he died for One Whom the world does not recognize and has ever refused to acknowledge.”
“The glorious martyrdom of Paul Comtois, passed over as it was by an unbelieving world, and by an all too unbelieving Church, has, nonetheless, remained in the faithful memory of God’s true friends. That one of these should today be putting into print Mr. Comtois’s shining witness of charity, in its radical and essential loveliness, is indeed a welcome and joyous event. May this inspiring story enflame the hearts of all who read it with an undying love for the Lord of the Tabernacle.

And an article, in French, from Vers Demain, Paul Comtois donna sa vie pour sauver la Sainte Eucharistie.

21 February - Feria

On this day according to the ROMAN MARTYROLOGY:

February 21st anno Domini 2018 The 6th Day of Moon were born into the better life: 

In Sicily, under the Emperor Diocletian, [fourth century,] seventy-nine holy martyrs, who through diverse torments won the crown of their confession. 
At Adrumetum, [Susa] in Africa, [in fourth century,] the holy martyrs Verulus, Secundinus, Syricius, Felix, Servulus, Saturninus, Fortunatus, and sixteen others, who were crowned with martyrdom for their confession of the Catholic faith in the persecution under the Vandals. 
At Bethsan, [about 452,] the holy martyr Severian, Bishop of that see. 
At Damascus, [in the year 743,] holy Peter Mavimeno. Some Arabs came to see him while he was ill, and to them he said, "Whoever does not embrace the Catholic Christian religion will be damned, as your false prophet Mohammed is," whereupon they killed him. 
At Ravenna, [in the year 556,] the holy Confessor Maximian. 
At Metz, [about the year 500,] holy Felix, Bishop of that see. 
At Brescia, [in the seventh century,] holy Paterius, [twenty-third] Bishop of that see. 
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 21 MARCH – EMBER WEDNESDAY IN THE FIRST WEEK OF LE...: Dom Prosper Gu é ranger: The fast of today is prescribed by a double law: it is Lent, and it is Ember Wednesday. It is the same with...

Memes of the Day

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Up-and-Coming Catholic Production Company Produces ‘The Hidden Rebellion’

What a concept! Someone is actually telling at least part of the truth about the evil, vile, Satanic, French Revolution. Maybe, next they can make a movie about the Martyrs of Compiègne, Blessed Therese of St Augustine, O.C.D. and her Companions, 16 defenceless women who were slaughtered by the Revolution simply because they were Religious! I will be doing an in depth post about them on their Feast Day 17 July.

From Impacting Culture Blog

–By Sam Hendrian–
On the rise in the entertainment industry is an up-and-coming Catholic production company called For You, Joan, LLC. Founded by Daniel Rabourdin, a French immigrant and former host/producer of Theology of the Table at EWTN, its goal is to produce universally-appealing movies that powerfully yet subtly transmit important messages about our modern times. Its first production as an independent so far is the compelling docu-drama The Hidden Rebellion (2016). Winner of the Silver Remi Award at the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, it tells the story of a little-known but massive genocide of Catholics in the Vendee region of France during the post-Revolution Reign of Terror. Daniel generously took the time to speak to Impacting Culture about his experience bringing this important film to life.
The historical story of The Hidden Rebellion has been on Daniel’s heart for a long time. “It was a topic that I knew from my childhood,” he explained. Having been strengthened in the knowledge of his Catholic faith from a young age despite the anti-religious attitudes of the schools he attended, he feels a particular calling to fight for religious freedom wherever it is oppressed. “[The story of the Vendee] is close to what is starting in America on so many college campuses,” he said in a tone of cautionary concern. “Freedom of expression is taken away.” By cinematically conveying the historical plight of Catholics in the Vendee, he hopes to awaken the people of America to modern threats against religious liberty and inspire them to save their country from going the secular direction that France did after the French Revolution.
There are three main points Daniel wants audiences to take away from The Hidden Rebellion, particularly in America. The first one is to “[be] aware of a clever ideology that is denying their vision, their own civilization.” Daniel believes this secular ideology has “acquired most of the young minds in America,” and he wants to offer an alternative. The second point is “to learn to stay serene and full of the Christian hope that at the end, the victory belongs to God and not to us.” Finally, he hopes audiences will receive a valuable lesson in some of the Church’s social teachings through the film. “Render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s, and to God’s what is God’s,” he affirms is one of the film’s crucial messages.
The Hidden Rebellion is just the beginning for Daniel’s company. He would love to do a Hollywood-style narrative film version of the Vendee story one day, as well as a reality show about the art of the family meal. He is also currently employing graduates of JPCatholic as assistants and editors, and he is quite excited about all of the company’s projects to come.
Watch out for a screening of The Hidden Rebellion coming to JPCatholic sometime soon. To ask for a screening of The Hidden Rebellion for your organization or parish, contact Daniel Rabourdin at To find out more about the film, visit the website here
Filming a scene featuring the Reign of Terror leader Robespierre.
Daniel directs a family dinner scene.    
Premiere of the film in France.    

How I Became a Member of Clan MacGregor

Some 50+ years ago, I was a young romantic, much taken with the history and Clans of Scotland. I discovered that my Great Grandmother was a Campbell, but as an 'unreconstructed Jacobite', as I was at the time, (I have long since left that behind and taken the Oath of Allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen). I was horrified! Whilst I wanted to belong to a Clan, I wanted nothing to do with the Campbells.

In my research, I discovered the old 'broken man' concept of Scots Law, in which a man of no Clan could petition a Chief for membership, a concept still valid, as shown by The Lord Lyon's webpage, Who is a member of a clan?,

'Every person who has the same surname as the chief is deemed to be a member of the clan. Equally a person who offers allegiance to the chief is recognised as a member of the clan unless the chief decides that he will not accept that person's allegiance.'
I did some research and I wrote three Chiefs whose Clans had been 'Out' in '15 and '45. Each letter read something like, 'You may think this silly, but I should like to be a member of your Clan.' I received no answer from two of them. However, the third, Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor, Chief of Clan Gregor, not only answered, but he said, 'Not only do I not think it silly, I am honoured you would want to be a MacGregor', accepted my allegiance and granted me membership.

I wrote him several times, addressed to his Estate in Scotland. It was quite exciting. I would wait weeks for an answer, with no idea where it might come from! He was on active service, and I seem to recall Athens, Hong Kong and one or two other 'exotic' places from which his answers were posted.

Three or four years ago, I wrote to our current Chief, Sir Malcolm, and told him this story he replied, saying, 'An interesting story in respect of my father and one that is probably not too uncommon'.

Over the years, as I've studied my Clan, I've discovered a rich and varied history. I discovered that Clan Gregor is a branch of Siol Alpin, the Seed of Alpin, along with six other clans, all descended from King Cináed mac Ailpín, son of Alpin. Our Motto, 'S Rioghal Mo Dhream, translates as 'Royal is My Race'. Our plant badge, worn on the bonnet as identification during battle is the Scots Pine, which all seven clans of Siol Alpin share.

We have five official tartans approved by our Chief, the four illustrated here, and a green and white pattern, based on the MacGregor Red, which is worn only by Scottish dancers of the Clan.

And here is an article, written by the Chief, entitle 'Our Tartans', giving a bit of their history.

Our Cap Badge, which I wear, is the Crest of the Chief's Coat of Arms, a lion's head erased Proper, crowned with an antique crown Or, encircled by a strap and buckle bearing the Clan Motto, indicating my status a a non-armigerous clansman.

At any rate, as I told the Chief when I wrote him, '50 years on. I am still proud to be a MacGregor. I wear your crest, properly, in a strap and buckle. and am, after all these years, still studying and learning more about MacGregor history'.

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on The Lord Of The Rings and Catholicism

I first read the Lord of the Rings before it became well known in North America only because some friends had brought the books back from a visit to Britain. In the ensuing 50 years, I have reread it a number of times, reaching new insights each time. I was almost 15 years away from becoming a Catholic that first time, but even then, I could see the deeply Christian thought behind the tale.

I agree with the Chevalier in that I enjoyed the movies, but only as a separate work of art, not in any way connected with the books. I like to think that Jackson got his inspiration from Tolkien, and then wrote his own story.


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Memes of the Day

Monday, 19 February 2018

Gabriel Garcia Moreno, Regenerator of Ecuador

Gabriel Gregorio Fernando José María García y Moreno y Morán de Buitrón (December 24, 1821 – August 6, 1875), was twice President of Ecuador. He was, personally, a monarchist, who would have preferred to see a Spanish Prince on an Ecuadorian Throne, but he accepted that that was unlikely. He was actually elected for a third term, but was assassinated on the orders of the Freemasons before he could begin it.

Realising that his election to a third term was quite likely his death warrant, he wrote immediately to the Pope, Blessed Pius IX, saying,

I wish to obtain your blessing before that day, so that I may have the strength and light which I need so much in order to be unto the end a faithful son of our Redeemer, and a loyal and obedient servant of His Infallible Vicar. Now that the Masonic Lodges of the neighboring countries, instigated by Germany, are vomiting against me all sorts of atrocious insults and horrible calumnies, now that the Lodges are secretly arranging for my assassination, I have more need than ever of the divine protection so that I may live and die in defense of our holy religion and the beloved republic which I am called once more to rule.
His last words were, '¡Dios no muere! (God does not die!)'. Blessed Pius wrote of him, when he heard of his murder, that he had 'died a victim for the Faith and Christian Charity for his beloved country'.

During his time as President, he had Ecuador consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Christ the King, and in his Presidential uniform, carried a Cross through the streets of Quito. He was the only Head of State in the world to officially protest the loss of the Papal States to the Freemasonic Kingdom of Italy.

A excellent biography by Mrs Mary Maxwell-Scott, Garcia Moreno, Regenerator of Ecuador is available from Kindle for $.99.

The article 'Gabriel Garcia Moreno' from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Here is the Rule of Life or Regula that he wrote for himself, and which was found on his person after his assassination.

1. Every morning when saying my prayers I will ask specially for the virtue of humility. 

2. Every day I will hear Mass, say the Rosary, and read, besides a chapter of the Imitation, this rule and the annexed instructions. 

3. I will take care to keep myself as much as possible in the presence of God, especially in conversation, so as not to speak useless words. I will constantly offer my heart to God, and principally before beginning any action. 

4. I will say to myself continually: I am worse than a demon and deserve that Hell should be my dwelling place. When I am tempted, I will add: What shall I think of this in the hour of my last agony? 

5. In my room, never to pray sitting when I can do so on my knees or standing. Practice daily little acts of humility, like kissing the ground, for example. Desire all kinds of humiliations, while taking care at the same time not to deserve them. To rejoice when my actions or my person are abused and censured. 

6. Never to speak of myself, unless it be to own my defects or faults. 

7. To make every effort, by the thought of Jesus and Mary, to restrain my impatience and contradict my natural inclinations. To be patient and amiable even with people who bore me; never to speak evil of my enemies. 

8. Every morning, before beginning my work, I will write down what I have to do, being very careful to distribute my time well, to give myself only to useful and necessary business and to continue it with zeal and perseverance. I will scrupulously observe the laws of justice and truth, and have no intention in all my actions save the greater glory of God. 

9. I will make a particular examination twice a day on my exercise of different virtues, and a general examination every evening. I will go to confession every week. 

10. I will avoid all familiarities, even the most innocent, as prudence requires. I will never pass more than an hour in any amusement, and in general, never before eight o'clock in the evening.

And here is a video about him and his 'Regula'.

Happy Family Day

Today is Family Day in God's Country, a/k/a Alberta. Here's my take on families. It's definitely true of mine!

On Amateur Theologians and Philosophers

This was written by a Facebook friend of mine, Rebecca Ann Robinson. I think it is apropos, not only of Michael O'Brien, but of many other people, who, completely without training, set themselves up as 'experts' in any field. I do not claim to be an 'expert' in anything. It is true that I have studied history formally, and that I have spent a good part of my adult life studying theology and philosophy, but I am no expert on any of them. I am still learning, and whilst I am ever ready to share my Faith with someone, I will not make absolute theological (unless, of course, it is a Infallible Dogma of the Church) or philosophical claims, as 'OBrien does.

Rebecca's Essay:

So: Yesterday I finally read a book that is, for many people I have encountered, an instructive guide treated with reverence normally reserved for the writings of saints: "A Landscape With Dragons" by Michael O'Brien. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it's a guide to separating good, wholesome children's fantasy fiction from the morally dangerous stuff, written by a Catholic man who makes his living painting religious artwork and writing novels.
Prior to reading this, my only experience with O'Brien's work was a few articles he had written that are available on the Internet, all having to do with his favorite whipping boy of the past 20 years, Harry Potter. Indeed, he is better known for the books and articles he has written criticizing Potter and his fans than he is for his own creative work. The articles I read combined florid overwriting with hysterical paranoia, judging the books and their fans with emotion rather than reason and attempting to manipulate the reader into agreeing with O'Brien. They also seemed very bitter and sometimes even downright nasty (such as when O'Brien called Potter fans "dreaming slaves"). I was so disgusted by the man's attitude and his non-arguments that I dismissed him as a stupid jerk and a bad writer, probably a bad artist, too, and decided not to read his celebrated book on children's fantasy.
I changed my mind recently because I got into another heated discussion with parents who base their rejection of certain kinds of fantasy on O'Brien's book. It's not that I found the arguments from the book compelling; I didn't and I don't. However, if so many people of my acquaintance are going to treat this book as if it is just below Holy Writ, I figured I'd better read it so at least I could do it and them justice. I also decided I wanted to know more about O'Brien. For starters, was his art any good?
So I looked it up, and here is what I want: I want every Catholic to go out and buy as much of O'Brien's art as he or she can afford. First of all because it is amazingly beautiful and I want a lot of it myself. Second because it is obvious what the true vocation of this wildly talented man is, and I wish he could make a good enough living using his real gift instead of gaining recognition and valuable income from putting forth really poor non-arguments. Both we and he deserve better.
Then there's the book, which was written before the first Harry Potter novel came out and so is blessedly free of his characteristic bile on that front. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the book is elegantly written, the overall tone calm if not always gentle, and the writer clearly much more intelligent than I previously gave him credit for. He even made some good, thoughtful points. However, I still believe that he does not know how to read speculative fiction and that his central premise is deeply flawed.
In a nutshell, O'Brien's thesis is this: Humans have a (presumably inborn) set of immutable symbols fixed in their minds and souls, and we are no more free to tinker with this symbolism than we are to break the natural law. Good fantasy fiction uses symbols in the ways that O'Brien has discerned are correct. Dangerous fantasy inverts the symbols and is therefore not only immoral, but will also corrupt the incautious or inexperienced reader. The first part of this premise is surprisingly Jungian for someone who professes such virulent horror of Jung. The second part is audaciously authoritarian for someone who has absolutely no qualifications for teaching others how to read fiction or how to order their spiritual lives.
What O'Brien's theory means in practice is that books that have dragons in them - or even just reptiles - have to follow the "rules" of proper dragonish behavior. Dragons must be evil. He will not allow them to be good or even ambiguous, because according to him, the evil dragon/serpent is a universal symbol. (He does admit that there are good and lucky dragons in Asian mythology, but swiftly dismisses them because Asians blur the distinctions between good and evil. He offers no supporting evidence for that statement and apparently sees no reason to apply that same broad brush to other pagan peoples, like ancient Romans, for instance.) He applies this same unyielding grid to other imaginary creatures, but dragons take up the bulk of his argument. Anything that he thinks resembles a dragon or serpent is fair game, so he takes swipes at the "carnivorous worms" of the Dune novels and also the dragonish form of the cherub in Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wind in the Door". Indeed, L'Engles Time books take a fair beating, partly because one of them contains a good and wise pet snake, partly because O'Brien is unable to understand L'Engle's simple wordplay and literary allusions.
He even goes so far as to offer the suggestion that maybe God made dinosaurs so that we would have a living representation of the invisible "dragons" (namely demons) who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
He admits that of course reptiles living and extinct are not really evil themselves. Real dinosaurs were, like all animals, innocent. A cuddly stuffed toy that looks like a friendly dragon, though? Dangerous. (Yes, he really made a scathing mention of soft toys. And yes, it so happens that my three-year-old daughter sleeps with one every night, so I find that particularly interesting.)
Where does he draw the line, I wonder? Are turtles okay? What about those Lacoste shirts with the tiny alligator emblems? Are people who wear snakeskin boots and lizardskin watch bands righteous Christian knights like St. George, proudly triumphing over the wicked reptile, or nefarious sorcerors coyly proclaiming their true allegiance?
One of the oddest details, for me, was that he criticized the great Victorian Christian fantasist George MacDonald for using a tiny snake as a guide to Paradise in the luminous fairy tale "The Golden Key", yet approvingly quoted and described at length MacDonald's fantasy novel "Lillith", which lays out the author's hopeful belief in universalism.
He criticized C.S. Lewis, too, although respectfully and with the charitable assumptions that he completely withheld from L'Engle. No, it had nothing to do with incorrectly presented reptiles that time (why didn't he get onto him for giving King Caspian a ship with a dragon's head on it?), but with his rather astonishingly obtuse misreading of "That Hideous Strength".
He was very reverential toward Tolkien, who is of course orthodox on dragons but also writes about wizards and magic in a way that would bring down O'Brien's wrath if he applied his own principles consistently and fairly instead of just reserving his good opinion for the authors he likes.
I have no problem, really, with O'Brien's having a set of standards and writing about them. I do have a problem that he offers his standards as definitive and that his overly admiring readers hold him up as an authority. O'Brien is not primarily a fantasist - as far as I know, he has written one book of fantasy - and he has absolutely no educational background in fantasy or literature of any kind, or in theology or philosophy. Indeed, he is a high school dropout. In a way that makes his accomplishments as a writer more impressive, and it certainly doesn't mean he is wrong or has no right to speak. But it does mean there is no reason to take his arguments more seriously than anyone else's.
So. Buy his paintings! Seriously, they are stunning. Maybe if we buy enough of them, he can afford to devote himself more to his canvases and quit writing this stuff.

A Slightly Different Post

I am a history geek. As a boy, I read everything historical I could lay my hands on, novels, biographies, factual historical accounts, you name it. I majored in history in university and have continued my study of it throughout my adult life.

I have a special interest in the Great War, 1914-1918. As I've mentioned before, in my Remembrance Day posts, my Grandfather Oxley was a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and my Uncle Roy Wisemiller was a Private in the AEF on the Western Front.

I also enjoy watching videos that deal with historical subjects on YouTube. A couple of years ago, in surfing YouTube, I found a channel called 'The Great War'. Starting in 2014, they have been presenting weekly videos of what happened in that week in the war 100 years ago. Since I didn't discover them until 2016, I had a bit of catching up to do, but I finally did, going through each week in chronological order until I was current.

They also do biographical specials on people who became better known later, like Hitler and Mussolini, called 'Who Did What'. One of the interesting things is a series of episodes called 'Out of the Trenches', in which the host and narrator, Indy Neidel, takes questions that viewers have sent in regarding various topics dealing with the war. They also do special episodes on any number of topics such as weapons, naval warfare, what it was like on the home front, etc.

Below is a special episode on the role of animals in the war, which I really enjoyed. I urge my readers to check out the channel


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 19 FEBRUARY – MONDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT: Dom Prosper Gu é ranger: Each feria of Lent has a proper Mass, whereas in Advent the Mass of the preceding Sunday is repeated during...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 19 FEBRUARY – FERIA: On this day according to the ROMAN MARTYROLOGY: At Rome, the birthday of St. Gabinus, priest and martyr, brother of the blessed P...

Memes of the Day

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Difficulties of Thomas Woods

A ten year old article that sill has trenchant points to make. Too many 'conservative' Catholics buy into the 'Austrian School' of free-market capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism has been repeatedly condemned by the Popes, for reasons Mr Storck makes clear in this article.

I was onced 'condemned' as a 'secret marxist trying to infiltrate the Church' because I quoted Their Holinesses Pope Leo XIII's and Pope Pius XI's 'Social Encyclicals'. And, I've had more than one Catholic, who espoused this condemned theory of economics, express stark disbelief when I quoted them. 

From The ChesterBelloc Mandate

Over the past week or so a small controversy has broken out over my article criticizing Thomas Woods' two lectures given at the Mises Institute in 2002 and earlier this year. Mr. Woods then replied to me, and as I was away for nearly two weeks, I am belatedly replying again to Woods. Unfortunately I will largely have to repeat myself, since Woods did not choose to actually engage my arguments, but rather largely ignored them.

The main point I made in my criticism of Woods was that as a Catholic, in fact a Catholic who has made a point of claiming special loyalty to the traditional Magisterium of the Catholic Church, Woods could hardly dissent from the teaching of that Magisterium without creating a contradiction. I refer the reader to my original article for ample citations to the effect that the Popes, whether Thomas Woods likes it or not, have in fact taught authoritatively in the area of economic morality. I find it astounding that Woods can claim they had no right to do so, as they, presumably, were well aware of the issues involved in such teaching, and in fact addressed the very question of the legitimacy of such teaching more than once.

Woods opines that these papal actions are akin to the Popes telling an architect of a church building what materials or building techniques would be best to use, since such an action would involve a judgment about architecture, which is beyond the competence committed by our Lord to his Church. So with economics, Woods asserts, it is beyond the competence of the Magisterium to make the kinds of statements it has made about economic morality. All the Popes can do is to state broad goals - "the workingman and his family to be prosperous" - and then let economists figure out how to achieve that goal. But the two cases are not parallel. Why? Because economic actions are intimately involved with ethics. When Leo XIII teaches in Rerum Novarumthat a free agreement between employer and employee is not sufficient to guarantee the justice of a wage, since "there is a dictate of nature more imperious and more ancient than any bargain between man and man, that the remuneration must be enough to support the wage-earner in reasonable and frugal comfort," he is making a moral judgment, although it does indeed touch on economics. It bothers Woods that Pope Leo would say such things. When I pointed out that if a sociologist or a psychologist were to claim that their sciences trumped some teaching of the Church, we would certainly reject their claims, Woods, amazingly, replied, that contrary to a sociologist making a claim on behalf of abortion, "there is nothing intrinsically immoral about a worker and an employer reaching an uncoerced labor agreement." This is amazing, because Woods is assuming the thing he wants to prove. For Pope Leo asserted that there was indeed something "intrinsically immoral" about such an agreement if it did not provide a sufficient wage for the worker to live on. Moreover, and more importantly, notice that Woods says "there is nothing intrinsically immoral" about a totally free wage agreement. Is not this a moral judgment? It is hard to see how economics, whether Austrian or otherwise, could pronounce about the morality of anything. So perhaps, without noticing it, Mr. Woods has strayed into the domain of morals, which is exactly what I claimed from the beginning.

Toward the end of my article I pointed out some economic facts which tended to disprove Woods' doctrinaire attitude toward Austrian economic theory. This part of my argument Woods ignored altogether. But, to take Woods own example, what worker would ever reach an "uncoerced labor agreement" that did not provide him with enough to live on? The fact of the matter is that the supposed freedom provided by free-market capitalism is a pseudo-freedom. Those with economic power will dictate to those without economic power. "Work at this wage or starve." This is the kind of "uncoerced labor agreement" that Woods champions. But in fact, anyone accepting a contract that does not provide for an adequate wage because of "necessity or fear of a worse evil" becomes "the victim of force and injustice" - those are the words of Pope Leo again, not Karl Marx. And there are types of economics which recognize these facts, such as Institutionalism, an economic school which analyzes the economy in terms of legal, social and economic structures and institutions.

But since Woods hardly replied to anything I actually wrote, I will say nothing more and leave my original article as his best refutation. When he replies to my points, both those about ecclesiastical authority and those about economics, then it will be time to say more.

One final note. Mr. Woods, I understand, is a convert. That is all to the good, and I am a convert myself. But perhaps when Mr. Woods was being instructed in the Faith no one thought to tell him that it is the Church herself which sets the limits to her teaching. Perhaps no one told Mr. Woods that he had to give up his habit of private judgment and simply accept all that the Church believes and teaches. It was formerly the glory of Catholics that upon submission to the See of Peter we accepted the teachings of the Magisterium. No, we did not abandon our intellects, but we recognized in the voice of the Church the voice of One whose words were always those of eternal life. The logic of a Catholic dissenter, such as Thomas Woods, is impossible. He has confered the charism of infallibility on Austrian economics, and he himself admits, indeed proclaims, that papal teaching and Austrian economics do not agree. But his difficulty is simply that of many another man who refused to abandon his private judgment. In the past, in the days before the Second Vatican Council, days that Mr. Woods claims he would like to see return, the Magisterium would have made short work of his dissent, if it had ever heard of him. Submit or be excommunicated. The choice has been offered to many another dissenter and heretic throughout the history of the Church. I myself long for those days, for the restoration of authentic and traditional Catholic praxis. But if ever we should be blessed with such a restoration and genuine renewal, I fear that Mr. Woods will have asked for too much. For he would be among the first to feel the healthy discipline of a teaching Church that enforced her doctrines on her members and actually required Catholics to conform their lives and opinions to Catholic teaching.

Pizza For Supper

Here's what my Dear, Sweet, Cuter and Shorter Half made for supper! It was delicious! Crust from scratch, homemade sauce, with cheese, onions, and garlic.

And this is for dessert later. She quite inadvertently ran out of cocoa, so there will be no icing. Oh well, fewer sugary calories won't do me any harm!

Chevalier Charles Coulombe on 'The Counter-Revolution'

The Chevalier speaking on a new movement called simply, 'The Counter Revolution. They have a Facebook presence and a website, if any of my readers are interested.

He refers to the members as being young men. I commented on this video on YouTube, 'Charles, mon ami, I belong and I'm 70!'

My Missal

As I said in my post, Being Catholic in Wilber, Nebraska,
For the first time in my Catholic life, I'm actually considering buying a Missal of Paul VI. In the past, I saw no reason to do so, since every Priest seemed to be making up his own Mass as he went along, no matter what was printed in the missal or what the rubrics said. Why invest in a missal if I couldn't even follow the Masses I was hearing?
Well, I did buy one. Since I'm 70 years old, with two ultimately terminal diseases, I didn't think it was cost effective to invest in a nice, leather-bound missal which can get quite expensive. Since I almost never attend daily Mass because of the time it's celebrated, even a Sunday Missal in leatherette or vinyl will run about $25.00-$30.00.

So, in the interest of economy, I ended up buying the 2018 St Joseph Annual Sunday Missal for the princely sum of $1.97! True, there was a $3.00 S&H charge, but I figure I can afford $5.00 p.a. for a few years.

It's quite complete, with all ten Eucharistic Prayers. (May God grant that I never hear any of them except the first  four!) It has all the 'suggested' Prefaces laid out by Sunday, the Prayers over the Gifts, the Post Communion Prayers, etc. And, since in this Diocese, Mass is celebrated strictly according to the book, or as Fr Z would say, by doing the red and reading the black, for the first time in my Catholic life, other than when I've been blessed by being able to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, I can follow the Mass in my own Missal!

Deo gratias!


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 18 FEBRUARY – SAINT SIMEON (Bishop and Martyr): Simeon, the son of Cleophas (Matthew xiii. 55), was ordained Bishop of Jerusalem in 62 AD and was Saint James’ immediate successor in t...


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 18 FEBRUARY – FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT: Dom Prosper Guéranger: This Sunday, the first of the six which come during Lent, is one of the most solemn throughout the year. It ha...

Memes of the Day

And a quote From St Benedict, to go with the one below.

One does not have to own a farm,
one just needs to be raised on one!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Back of the World - The troubling genius of G. K. Chesterton.

The title of this post is taken from the title of an essay I recently read in 'The New Yorker'. The author claimed to 'love' Chesterton's writings, and then proceeded to bring in all the left-wing canards against him. You know the drill. 'Chesterton was a fascist', 'Chesterton was an anti-semite'. That sort of thing. The entire essay was proof of the old saying, 'With friends like that, he doesn't need enemies'!

The Story of My Spiritual Director

The 'Catholic Encyclopedia'. 1913, defines 'spiritual direction' as, 
In the technical sense of the term, spiritual direction is that function of the sacred ministry by which the Church guides the faithful to the attainment of eternal happiness. It is part of the commission given to her in the words of Christ: "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19 sq.). She exercises this function both in her public teaching, whether in word or writing, and in the private guidance of souls according to their individual needs; but it is the private guidance that is generally understood by the term "spiritual direction".Catholic Encyclopedia, article 'Spiritual Direction.
It is not easy to find a Director. I was very lucky in finding mine, who has now passed (R+I+P), and I've been unable to find another. I worked in management in a major drug store chain when I lived in Kansas City, KS. I lived just a few blocks from one of the stores I was posted to. There were a number of Churches within walking distance of my house, including the Cathedral of St Peter directly across the street from my house, and Blessed Sacrament Parish which the Latin Mass Community of St Philippine Duchesne shared with the NO congregation.

I had a Priest as a customer, and as we chatted whilst he was shopping I discovered that he was extremely conservative for an NO Priest. I also discovered, from mentioning him at the TLM, that several of the men in the Community used him as their regular Confessor, which was high praise, indeed.

Since his Church was within easy walking distance of both my house and the store, and because his Saturday evening Vigil Mass was more convenient than the one at St Peter's, on weekends when I couldn't make it to the TLM because of working on Sunday, I started going to his Mass. In our conversations at the store, I had revealed that I was a Traditionalist, so when he gave me Holy Communion, he used the old Latin form of administration, and not the truncated 'Body of Christ' of the Novus Ordo. When I confessed to him, he also used the Latin absolution.

After a few weeks of confessing to him and attending his Masses, I asked him if he would be my Director. He agreed. We would meet as often as we felt it was needed, or when I felt a special need, to discuss my spiritual life. He helped me write a Rule of Life, based on my Rule as a Carmelite Tertiary, and heard the vow I took to observe it.

Whilst I did know something about his family, all I knew about him was that at one point in his life he had belonged to a Religious Institute or Order, and that he had been a Chaplain in the US Forces. I knew that his brother was a very liberal NO Priest, that he had a sister who was a nun, and that I had attended university with his niece, that my wife had gone to high school with his nephew, and that they and their parents, Father's brother and sister-in-law, attended the same Latin Mass Community I did. Family gatherings must have been interesting!

One day, after our direction session, we were sitting in the living room of his rectory, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. He was under doctor's not to smoke, but he would 'bum' one from me when I stopped at the rectory to visit. I told him that I had heard that he had been a Religious and asked him which Order he had been in.

He replied, 'You don't know the Matt Horvat story? I'll tell you the Matt Horvat story!'

He had joined the Jesuit Order in 1947. The Jesuits have (had?) a very lengthy formation, and he was finally ordained in 1960. As the Vietnam War was heating up he requested, and received, permission from his Superiors to enlist as a chaplain in the US Military. When his enlistment was up, he returned to the States to discover that the Jesuits had become quite a different Order.

The Second Œcumenical Council of the Vatican had happened whilst he was in the military, with all the intendant 'reform' of Orders and Institutes. He took a look at what the Jesuits had become, said, 'This is not the Order I joined', and walked away! No laicisation or anything.

He 'married', invalidly, of course, since Canon Law absolutely forbids an ordained Priest, or those under a vow of perpetual chastity from attempting to contract marriage (Code of Canon Law, 1983, Can. 1087 Those in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage, and Can. 1088 Those bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute invalidly attempt marriage.).

He had children, and a successful business career. When his children were grown, his 'wife' died, leaving him a widower. At some point after that, our Archbishop, whose Cathedral was across the street from my house, called him. As Father told the story, His Excellency said, 'Matt, don't you think it's about time to come home?'

A few months later, he was Pastor of St Mary-St Anthony Church in Kansas City, KS, where I met him. Father has passed way, and of your charity, I ask for your prayers for the repose of his soul.

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the soul of Thy servant Matthew, Thy priest, whom in this life Thou didst honor with the sacred office, may rejoice in the glory of heaven for evermore. Through our Lord. 

Memory Eternal!