Friday, February 29, 2008

Intercalary Day

To-day is a bonus. We can celebrate this, intercalary day, this bissextum, this leap day as a gift. The calendar measures time with a large sandglass. The sun, moon and the stars take their part. We follow different reckonings, mainly roman, first pagan then christian Rome.

The calends was the day of the new moon, and the ides were the full moon. The twice six day, the bissextum, was the doubling of 24 February, the sixth day before the calends of Mars. February having, then, 30 days. Then to 1970, Saint Matthias’s day was normally on the 24th, but sometimes then on the 25th, now the 14th of May.

Some people have the fortune to be born on this day, the new last day of February. Gioachino Rossini, the great composer, was one such. I am happy to note, my dear mother was born on such a day. Because of a fanciful calculation, I am now much older than my mother. The Pirates of Penzance played on this motif.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NBC Democratic Event in Cleveland

Last night, hell, now, it has continued to snow. I was looking forward to going out last night and decided the roads were too much of a hassle. I sat home instead and watched the Clinton/Obama dealie.

This sort of thingy does very little. There are not great oratorical flourishes, there are not historic words to be studied by children and professors. Some await a ridiculous and flagrant error. Such things don't often happen and if they do, they effect a minuscule number. Chimpy looked awful and cheated [surprise] with radio apparatus and was not called on it, ignored time limits and so on ... and he sits in the executive mansion now, still. It is more of a sporting event, where fans root their side and the motions of a democratic exercise is performed. It is like a protestant religious service, some people are very excited and feel good, others are bored and waiting for it to end and there is no real Substance.

Short review: Hillary Clinton showed a bit of peevish desperation and Barack Obama's demeanor was calmer and more relaxed. This may have excited and agitated some feminists, so? Russert's questioning was poor and ridiculous in his dogged attempt to obtain a radical claim on a hypothetical chain of what ifs; which I would have had more respect for, if he had made comparison to gwbjr's disastrous decisions. Russert's rooting about Farrakhan, in a cheap attempt to entrap Obama, was disgusting.

If a change is made, it must be to the status quo and modus operandi of shrubs junior. The world and the Constitution implores.

What was more interesting, was the crowd outside the basketball arena. WKYC channel 3, the local nbc affiliate had pre-event coverage. There were two groups outside trying to get on camera. Later, to avoid their exposure, the camera chose the tightest close up on a reporter, that I have ever seen. There were at least a half dozen royal serb flags flying and signs in english, and at least one in croat, ‘Kosovo is Serbia’. There was also zealous, Ron Paul, supporters displaying their signs.

This was the thing: at this event for the party of the Democracy, there were protesters from the opposition party and citizens who wanted to voice their unscripted and ignored concerns. ‘Security’ and the police did not forbid and deny their rights to assemble. The great difference between democrats and fascists ― is ― the recognition of the rights granted by the Creator. These rights are enumerated in the founding documents of the Republic. Democrats are for the Constitution; busheviks and other fascists are not.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter

Pietro Perugino. Christ giving of the keys to Saint Peter. 1492. Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.

This had been a double feast, 18 January and 22 February. The chair (cathedra) is symbolic of the office of bishop. These two dates are, both, associated with Peter and his office. Christ built his church on Peter. Peter or Cephas, Simon Bar-Jona was the first bishop of Antioch (35-42) and later Rome (42-67). The latter day, which is to-day, has been linked to Peter at Antioch and the other date, with Peter at Rome. Some believe, that to-day is, the anniversary of, that day when this conversation occurred:

Matthew xvi.
13 And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is?
14 But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock* I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

20 Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

Now, some Anglicans and Lutherans have re-christened the earlier date as the Confession of Peter, to change and deny the theological significance. Some have played games of translation tricks and switches to deny the obvious. When Jesus spoke to his apostles and disciples, he spoke in the vernacular, i.e. Aramaic.

*Peter = rock, Petros in Greek

The scriptural and theological authority of the papal magesterium and papal infallibility given Peter by Christ. Peter, and his successors, are Christ's vicar on earth.
And he brought him to Jesus. And Jesus looking upon him, said: Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter. — John i. 42.
et adduxit eum ad Jesum intuitus autem eum Jesus dixit tu es Simon filius Johanna tu vocaberis Cephas quod interpretatur Petrus
Paul refers to Peter as Cephas, four times, in the Epistles.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

21st of February

In reference to a calendar, it is possible on even a ferial work day, many commemorations may simultaneously co-exist. Which one should stand out, when each has significance. I have no academic, literary, clerical or journalistic career. Yet, I have interests there. To semi-quote from Cicero*: “not to know that the world existed before your birth, is to remain a child.” We as inheritors of civilisation should be aware and familiar with its legacy and deposit. To assert, in any way, that one is knowledgeable and his opinions have any value, without this basis of knowledge is derisively laughable. Here follows a partial list of items worth considering:
  • 362 - Athanasius returns to Alexandria
  • 1072 - Saint Peter Damian O.S.B., Doctor of the Church
  • 1440 - Prussian Confederation is formed
  • 1543 - Battle of Wayna Daga - Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeat a Muslim army
  • 1595 - Saint Robert Southwell martyred by England, when Catholicism was treason, hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn
  • 1613 - Mikhail I is the unanimous choice of the Zemskij Sobor as the first Romanov Tsar
  • 1804 - Self-propelling steam locomotive -- Pen-y-Darren ironworks in Wales.
  • 1848 - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto
  • 1878 - The first telephone book is issued -- in New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1885 - Washington Monument is dedicated
  • 1916 - World War I: In France, the Battle of Verdun begins
  • 1918 - The last Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo
  • 1937 - The League of Nations bans foreign national "volunteers" in the Spanish Civil War
  • 1952 - The British government abolishes Identity Cards in the UK to "set the people free" †
  • 1953 - Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of the DNA molecule
  • 1958 - The Peace symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom
  • 1965 - Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam
  • 1972 - President Richard Nixon visits the People's Republic of China
  • 1973 - Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down a Libyan Airlines jet killing 108
  • 1975 - Watergate scandal: Attorney General John N. Mitchell and White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced
*Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur?
†Identity Cards Act (effective 30 March 2006) reverses this. Similarly in the US, Real ID Act -- May 11, 2005

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stations — the Way of the Cross

A moving, prayerful and wonderful devotion, especially during lent, is the reciting and meditation of the Via Dolorossa, the Via Crucis, the Way of the Cross. In attempt to empathise with the Lord's Passion on Good Friday millions of people around the world pray the stations, standardly fourteen places from Christ before Pilate and his sentencing to the entombment. Many versions are done, one written by Alphonso Liguori, several scriptural ones, living recreations with actors amongst others. Some are accompanied by familiar popular prayers, some are done before or after mass, benediction, communion service and often a verse tristiche of the moving and lovely, Stabat mater dolorosa is sung after each station. Quite often one can communally participate in this service, in many parishes at 7 p.m. on the first six fridays of lent and at noon on Good Friday. Going to different locations each week, with, perhaps, a different presentation can add to the appreciation of the experience and prayer.
I Jesus is condemned to death
II Jesus takes up his Cross
III Jesus falls for the first time
IV Jesus meets his Mother
V Jesus is helped by Simon the Cyrene to carry his Cross
VI Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
VII Jesus falls for the second time
VIII Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
IX Jesus falls for the third time
X Jesus is stripped of his garments
XI Jesus is nailed to the Cross
XII Jesus dies on the Cross
XIII Jesus is taken down from the Cross and given to his Mother
XIV Jesus is laid in the tomb
Stabat Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.
At, the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.
For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.
stabant autem juxta crucem Jesu mater ejus et soror matris ejus Maria Cleopæ et Maria Magdalene
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. — John xix. 25.
This marvelous poem and hymn is, usually, attributed to the third order Franciscan, Jacopone da Todi (c.1228-1306), translation by Edward Caswall (1814-1878), trochaic tetrameter often sung in plainsong (dom Fonteinne O.S.B. of Solesme), but many other musical settings, also.

Monday, February 18, 2008

President Obama

I believe that the hypothetical question — what would happen first, a black man or a woman to be elected president of the United States? — will be answered soon, and Barack Obama will prove the former. I had heard that question queried many times, since the 60s. The question replaced — do you think man will reach the moon? I believe the interrogator, usually, posed the question as an impossibility or as a senseless koan. I took the question at face value.

The quest to the moon was a prestige project and a challenge as a challenge, interesting but ultimately unimportant, and since it has been done, needs to be put to a rest. When the smirking chimp spoke, in a state of the union address, of going to Mars, it was not to be taken rationally. Then, most unfortunately, the chimp turned highly malevolent and brought the world to war.

The race and gender aspects, to the successor question, were not absurd, but addressed inequality, blocked opportunity and distressed spirit. The presidency has great symbolic and striving interest. We are told, anyone can grow up in America, and can become president, the propagation of the myth of american justice and fairness. Currently, we have anyone, in that, he has no merit or ability to function as the office needs nor as the Constitution allows. The only qualifications, other than nepotism and corrupt collusion, he has are, the seemingly, prerequisite Yale and Harvard degrees. There is a seemingly class distinction.

Certain universities are a filtering tracking system. One can learn anywhere, but certain places have a cach
é that others don't. This is part of the situation in America. This, along with other considerations, show class, socio-economic class, has an astounding determinative presence. Gender is equally divided between the classes. Race is not. Obama's candidacy is of greater significance than Mrs. Clinton's.

Mrs. Clinton's position as senator and presidential candidate is not, really, in her own right. There is a nepotism there, and God knows, the misfortune that nepotism, in the presidency, has caused the world.

It can easily be said, that Barack Obama is reminiscent of John Kennedy. There is a vibrancy of youth, and of oratorical ability, charisma and a feeling, if not of destiny, at least of positive enthusiasm. All the candidates are enamored with the word ‘change
’. In reference to the non-democratic party, it is patently absurd. Obama is of greater possession of that word, than Hillary Clinton, but with either one, a legally chosen occupant would be a return to the past, and that is a positive change.

However, one describes the race and ethnicity of Barack Obama, his presidency would do much to increase racial peace, and inspire, and affirm an american ideal, that has been more wished for and theoretical, than achieved or existent. Of the three probable individuals, who are now most likely to gain the office: Obama is the best bet.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sharia & Canterbury, Sanhedrin & Rome

Dr. Rowan Williams, the newly installed ‘Imam of Canterbury’, has spoken favorably on an introduction of mohammadan law within Britain. Thursday, the seventh of February, he made remarks on radio and later in public. A good deal of the population were flummoxed. The previous month, the anglican Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, stated that within Britain there are “no-go areas” for those who were not, or did not look like they were mohammadans. Immediately, he and his family needed police protection.

There is an old concept of ‘personalities of law’: people of different nations or subjects of different states living in the same area being bound to different systems of law: one law for the romans, another for the burgundians, another for the vandals and another for the franks. With the rise of stronger, centralised states this concept disappeared. All governments gravitate to increasing their jurisdiction and are very jealous of competition.

There are overlapping, co-existing constituencies. There is civil law and canon law. As the english kings Henry pointed out, with rack, rope and blade, they claim all law for themselves. The Anglican Church was such a product of civil jurisdiction over the universal Church.

North Africa and the near and middle east have been, since the mohammedan conquests of previously christian territories, quite familiar with sharia law based on the koran and mohammedan interpretations. The non converting dhimmis were, by definition, lesser subjects. Pretty much, because of the french revolution, it is considered that in the west we are all citizens with equality. Social rank and religious creed are supposed to be of no consideration in respect to law and justice. Mohammedan law is incompatible with western society, unless that society is overcome.

Now, there are anglicans, and other christians in some eleven states in northern Nigeria who are suffering persecution under mandatory sharia law. Such talk from the head of the Anglican Communion, does them harm and danger, alongside of great discouragement. In Pakistan, the erstwhile home of Nazir-Ali, the very accusation that someone transgresses, especially a dhimmi, the koran or insults the prophet is often a death sentence by popular acclamation.

A good deal of the african anglicans have been, already, put out over their mother church's acceptance of female and, then, sodomite priests. The ties that bind are being gaining more slack. But, the anglican church has prided itself on its freedom and diversity of tolerance of opinion, at least recently, and the only “no-go area” is Rome.

In Rome, Pope Benedict XVI has announced a change in a Good Friday prayer that asks for the conversion of the jews. The american militant, Abraham Foxman, and the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni, were joined with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and others in displeasure. Some were not aware that the pope was under their jurisdiction and that the mission and invitation of Jesus was to reach all men.

“Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men.” ― an unofficial translation of the contentious statement

Friday, February 15, 2008

5 years ago to-day: World, “Peace — Yes, Bush — No ”

Warsaw. “Who do we listen to?”

Five years ago to-day, in over 600 cities and Antarctica, people spoke up for Peace. They wanted the world to note, that, they were in opposition to George Bush Junior's War. Three million people, in the world's largest demonstration in history asked for peace, in the eternal city of Rome. Rome the seat of the ancient pagan empire that lived for the military campaign, the city and empire, that supposedly, was conquered by the love of Christ and where his Church is centered. Christ's vicar on earth, Ioannes Paulus Secundus, pleaded for peace. The government's civil leader, Silvio Berlusconi was not interested, he preferred Bush. The same sides were chosen in the United States, Britain, Australia, Spain and Poland. John Paul and peace are no longer here. Bush and war are.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Apostles to the Slavs

To-day, for most of those who note, is Saint Valentine. There were three martyrs of that name in the second half of the third century. There is a phrase that applies to them, as to others, “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.* After the passage of centuries, the fragile documentary evidence disappears and the oral transmission of collective memory stalls. For such saints often only their good name remained. Then some clever or clever poseur comes along and invents tales. Valentine found a clever poet with Geoffrey Chaucer and countless babbling boors of to-day, whom have an agenda not friendly to the name or cause of their subject. The self anointed experts, with self-crafted spectacles, pronounce their assertive judgments in deconstruction of the myth of the ignorant. The veracity and value of the vast output of this is not worth the contents of muck filled wheelbarrow. Those who venerated these Valentines for generations, knew why and how, we can surmise at best. We can blandly, yet safely, say the Valentines certainly had the love of Christ within them and certainly they wanted love of their fellows to continue to every age. All true christians love their fellow men and certainly Christ, Our Lord. The name Valentine is a fine christian name still, my father's own father was a Valentin, and my own father then was a Valentinovič.

To-day, on the new calendar in the west†, is also the combined Feast of the Saints Cyril and Methodius. Cyril, who entered toward his heavenly reward, on 14 February 869. Methodius lived to 6 April 885. They brought the faith, the scriptures and the liturgy to the many slavonic nations. They ordained clergy, founded monastaries and taught teachers and missionaries.

Cyril, who was known to his brother Greeks as Constantine the Philosopher, and his elder brother Methodius (né Michael) were from Thessalonika (Solun). Thessalonika was, and is (now Salonika), a greek city on the slavonic frontier. Constantine, especially of the two brothers, was a scholar and diplomatic envoy and linguist.

In 862, Prince Rastislav of Greater Moravia requested them to come to his lands to christianise and educate his people. In this both Rome and Constantinople approved repeatedly. Germanic authorities, both ecclesiastic and civil, of the empire‡ objected, accused and harassed our beloved brothers.

Their work was also in Bulgaria and the lands in between. The slavs welcomed them and they are commemorated in all their nations, they adapted greek script into glagolithic and eventually into cyrilic. They captured slavonic words into new gilded greco characters and gave us the Word and words in physical specie. They did this for us because they loved us. Slavs, whether catholic, uniate or orthodox , recognise this, even the godless communists recognised this, and tried to use the brothers against us. The holy Brothers are the slavonic Paul, Jerome and Benedict.

Amongst the slavs and the greeks their sanctity was always recognised. Rome was late in the formal canonisation, that finally was done by Leo XIII in 1880. Our last Holy Father, in 1980, proclaimed Cyril and Methodius as Co-Patrons of Europe. He saw the two as unifiers, that the two lungs of christianity may sing in the same voice, the praise of God.

Sveti Kiril i Metodi

*if you were to use a search engine you will probably land on either Valentine or George
†11 May, in the east, formerly 7 July
‡the Holy Roman Empire, the carolingian state, under Louis the German and the bavarians

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lincoln at 199

There is much interest in Lincoln, as should there be. Many fine books can be read, and can still be written, with him the subject. His observations alone are noteworthy and thought provoking, it is a loss that he did not live longer and collect them. The speculation on so much, concerning him, has not ended. His example can still inspire and is utterly relevant now. It is a great disservice, that his political party, has not honored him in achievement nor compassion. He was a martyr for our country. The funeral train that carried him was a confluence of emotion, gravitas,and respect with the emergent technical and industrial power of America. It was a memory and an image that stay welded in the minds of those who came to see it. The extant photographs of the that train, carrying that corpse of that man, are highlights of towns' archives. We do not have the extant memories to speak to us, they have to be of the same character, as those of John Kennedy's passing. We are inundated with mindless drivel by our society and its promulgators of trash and nonsense. Such memories of such men of importance, that they shaped the spirit of their time — zeitgeist, affect us importantly.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Lady and Bernadette

One hundred and fifty years ago to-day, began the apparitions of Our Lady to a slight, sickly and impoverished girl in an obscure mountain village in France. Our seer was Bernadette Soubirous .

Our little saint spoke to others, many were sceptical. The local priest was, at first that way disposed, he wanted Bernadette to get the name of Aquerò. Eventually her Lady identified herself by, “Qué soï l'immaculé councepcioũ”. Four years previously this was declared dogma.*

Lourdes is the byword of miracles to-day. And the events and study of the events have became the template and standard model for other such events. Bernadette would later enter the religious life. Her body is incorrupt. She is marked amongst those who reside in God's company, which means: she is officially recognised as a saint. The world knows of her, because of the miraculous stories of her youth. The Church does not count, officially, any wonders done or associated with the living as basis for confirmed sanctity. Her later life, lived with significant heroic vitue and humility, was her cause for canonisation.

But the romance of the wonders is what draws us to her story. Private revelations are not incumbent on the christian to believe. Franz Werfel escaping nazism discovered Bernadette's story. Werfel was a jew, and he wrote the novel The Song of Bernadette, which became a hollywood prise winning movie (when the powers that be in Hollywood were friendly towards catholicism). It is proverbial, to mention Lourdes in commenting about the cure of illness. It has become part of our, christian or not, western consciousness.

In Cleveland, there is a beautiful church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Its outside walls are heavily blackened with steel mill and factory smoke of generations past. The neighborhood is far from the vibrant catholic czech community it had been, the parish may not survive the axe of a cold blooded bishop hell-bent on consolidation.

This evening, a few dozen people, on a cold night, gathered for a lovely mass in celebration of the Patroness's feast day. I am an advocate of the celebration of such days. We are church of communion, communion of all three branches of the church: militant, suffering and triumphant. We, the living souls, the angels and the souls that have left this world gather together in the adoration of Jesus, Our God and Brother. Our Saints in heaven are our friends and advocates, and when we bring them to mind, they bring us to mind.
*On the last feast day of the Immaculate Conception, Benedict announced indulgences for pilgrimages to Lourdes in this year of jubilee.
noto bene humoroso: Soubirous is pronounced similarly as the japanese automobile

Sunday, February 10, 2008


Blessed Aloysius Stepinac (*1898, †10 February 1960), became archbishop of Zagreb, before the start of the Second World War. During the german hegemony, Hrvatska (Croatia) cleaved from Jugoslavija and became a client state. At first, Stepinac, as a nationalist, was approving of the new state. The Ustaš were fascists, Stepinac was not. In public and in private, Aloysius Stepinac urged and worked against the hateful tenets and actions of the parties in power.
"All men and all races are children of God; all without distinction. Those who are gypsies, black, european, or aryan all have the same rights.... for this reason, the Catholic Church had always condemned, and continues to condemn, all injustice and all violence committed in the name of theories of class, race, or nationality. It is not permissible to persecute gypsies or jews because they are thought to be an inferior race."
When the greater european war and the civil wars in Jugoslavija were ended, the Partisans of Tito (Josip Broz), with allied connivance, thirsted for revenge. Murders and atrocities were de rigueur. Heavy handed indoctrination and a policy of terror were programmatic.

Stepinac was primate of Hrvatska and arrested, for a short time at the end of the war. Stepinac upon release, spoke against the crimes of the new regime. For over a year, the propaganda and coercion campaign continued. Stepinac would not collaborate with communists either.

September of '46, he was again arrested and false charges were brought against him. During the show trial, he spoke on 3 October, stating his innocence and the political nature of the trial. Eight days later he was declared guilty of high treason. He was released 5 December 1951.

At the time of Stepinac's trial, my father was also confined. He was a peasant conscript. A part of the military training was political education — well it is everywhere. He could not be successfully persuaded, nor could he act successfully convinced. He was accused of being ‘a reactionary bourgeois’. Neither, reactionary nor bourgeois, was in his vocabulary. Peasants, at least not in the villages, where he had spent his life, had used those words or concepts. Before the war, the option was either: clericalist or liberal, and both were Catholic, and the villagers were all peasants. The war brought the varieties of fascists and partisans, and the partisans were controlled by the communists. The communists were known to exist, only elsewhere, before the war.

While my father was imprisoned, he heard guards and jailers speak. They all knew and said in private, that Stepinac was innocent.
Stepinac was the most visible opponent of the new regime, if Tito could use him as Henry Tudor did Cranmer, then Stepinac would not have suffered. A co-öpted church would be tolerable, it would be of utility to the new socialist state. But the Catholic Church though, is not confined to political borders; opponents, of the Church, are vexed that they cannot fully control it. A national or patriotic church independent’ of Rome is dependent on the state or its ruler(s). The communists knew this, the fascists knew that, caesars and kings knew that, the leaders of the French Revolution knew that, the supporters of Luther knew that, the various anti-catholic groups through US history knew that.

During my father's confinement he was tortured, his teeth were pulled and he was burned with cigarettes. He was also declared guilty, but sentenced to death. Conveniently, he was allowed to escape and eventually reached Italy. After time in Pozzuoli's refugee camp, he was allowed to immigrate to the US, where he was called DP.

I was born two months before Stepinac died. My father asked me one day, when I was of university age, what exactly did ‘bourgeois’ and ‘reactionary’ denote. He denied being the former, and was proud to confirm the latter.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Police and the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — ratified 1791.

Department of the Interior. 31 January 2008. Point for the police.
Now, the police are not constitutional scholars, nor enthusiasts. Their tendency is to follow a certain teutonic ideal of, „verboten ist alles, was nicht ausdrücklich erlaubt ist
.* Some people want an Endangered Species Act listing for the polar bear. This man found out what the agents of the government think of the First Amendment. He tried quietly through humor to advance his argument. The police were not amused.

U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood ruled, on the same day, that the Ferndale† police are not permitted to ticket peace activists, who encourage drivers to toot toot, and such car drivers who do. Such police and civil action is a violation of law. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan had filed the lawsuit. The residents of Michigan, now have legal precedence, that a display of a sign, that reads, "Honk for Peace", is not a threat to public order. The police and city argued, creatively and duplicitously, that such aggravating behavior was a danger to public safety. Of course, since the war began, no accident happened there, not so in Iraq. — Point for the Constitution and the citizenry.

*everything is forbidden, that is not explicitly permitted
†a suburb of Detroit Michigan

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ash Wednesday at the White House

A group of Catholics walked from Saint Matthew's Cathedral, District of Columbia, to the Executive Mansion, to bear public penance, with ashes, in reparation for the sins of the current american government; in particular, the intrinsically evil actions of the infliction of war and torture upon people. We, as a christian people, are required to witness justice before God. Some individuals, saw this as incumbent upon theirselves.

Apparently, they were not arrested in exercising their constitutional rights, nor were they particularly noticed by most of the press. The current regime has not been warm to common citizens in opposition to their actions, nor has the press acknowledged the existence of such opposition. But, sometimes, people are internally compelled to public expression.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

First Day of Lent - Ash Wednesday

We have a calendar with movable days, based on the date of Easter. The Feast of the Resurrection is the first Sunday after the first full moon in spring. The vernal or paschal moon, this year, is on the 21st of March, that falls on a Friday. Easter is, then, on the 23rd, that happened last in 1913. The only date that it can fall earlier is on the 22nd, and that was, last, in 1818. We have 40 days of Lent., Sundays are not part of that total. This year the Eastern churches have a much later Easter, and their Lent begins on a Monday, without the ceremony of the ashes.

To-day, some of us have a cross daubed by thumb on our foreheads, from the ashes, of the previous year's palms, mixed with oil and incensed.Considering how large this society is, in this country, it is somewhat odd that some people do not recognise the sight. I remember receiving incredulous looks and odd comments in college, and I know other people have when they have moved to a different area of the country, with a different demographic.

Most protestants do not engage in this practice, although in the last few years some congregations, even those who do not recognise a lenten season, have instituted a distribution of ashes. Whether this is a sign of ecumenism, or exploring an older tradition, or a passing novelty, I know not. But, for some adopting and searching the catholic roots of christianity is a path of return. The more people read the church fathers and doctors, and engage the traditional devotions, the more they see what they lost. People trickle out of the faith, people trickle in. Such catholica has a certain draw beyond curiosity. There is more within, than without, in catho
lic christianity as opposed to the branches of western christianity.

Other lenten practices include prayer, christian study, certain devotions, donation of alms and restrictions of diet, most of these are suggested, but some compliance is mandated. Fasting is now of a mild form excluding some athletes of asceticism. Friday fishing is easy for some, and fast food is lenten fare and not corporate franchaise products.

in sudore vultus tui vesceris pane donec revertaris in terram de qua sumptus es quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.
— Genesis iii. 19.

Remember man
that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return. — dies cinerum formula

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Fat Super Tuesday

Some individual donated this design, on wikipedia, for a fictive flag for a foolish fête, gratis. A major step to determine, or really to add suspense to the, selection of the next president, is happening to-day. Of all the mindless bloviating, none of these bags of wind, have made the connexion. At midnight, we stop celebration and, begin penance and meditation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rose Monday

Mainz Rosenmontag 2007.

The pre-lenten carnival season is coming to a finale. In the US, the best known parades are in New Orleans, to-morrow; Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday, laissez les bon temps rouler, mon amis! In the large Rhineland cities of Germany: Köln(Cologne), Düsseldorf, Mainz, Stuttgart, usw., the big festivities are on Rosenmontag. Clowns, musicians and floats with papier mâché characters, sometimes political caricatures parade. It is a time to be foolish, and the truth and emotion can come out without penalty. Children can feast on candy, and enjoy a daytime hallowe'en on this feast of fools.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Condoleezza Rice received a masters in political science from Notre Dame. This is a greater shock than losing to Navy.

Amidst the mentally challenged Busheviks, she is morally challenged. No one has been such a cleverly, evasive and offended appearing liar as she. In the few instances she has spoken to Congress, she twists and evades and admits very little. With so much evidence of corpora delicti and she slithers away. Barbara Boxer's finest moment was in confrontation with Kindasleezy Rice. “I personally believe — this is my personal view — that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth.” Senator Boxer limned Rice's rôle most aptly. Two month's before the invasion, Kindasleasy paltered and prevaricated, “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” The psychodrama, that is of matter here, is her devotion to bushjr, clearly it is not to the republic or the Constitution.
To illustrate in a reduction of argument, we have:

Question: Is 2 + 2, 4?

Answer: This government's attempt ...Well, if one were to look at ... Other mathematicians ... In arabic notation ... it has not been determined ... We are looking for ... I had stated to my undersecretary ... we have the appropriate people ... we have worked for the defense of the country ... I find it insulting that ... our people have unrelentingly served this country ...

Chairman: Five minutes are up, the next questioner.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Feast of the Purification, being forty days after the birth of our Saviour, and the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus at the Temple and Candlemas, when beeswax candles are blessed are to-day.

Nunc Dimittis
― The Canticle of Simeon is sung to-day, the third of the New Testament's evangelical Canticles. The other two are the Magnificat ― Canticle of Mary, and the Benedictus ― Canticle of Zachary.
nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine secundum verbum tuum in pace
quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum

Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace;
Because my eyes have seen thy salvation,
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: ― Luke ii. 29-32
Our francophone friends, on La Chandeleur, toss crêpes. In the secularised US, we wait for a woodchuck to be disturbed from his torpor and forecast the weather. If he sees, or even attempts to look for, his shadow, we will still have winter, never-the-less, and if it is only six weeks longer, we are fortunate.

To-morrow is Saint Blaise day, one of the Catholic fundays.
Saint Blaise is one of the 14 Holy Helpers. With crossed beeswax candles, people have their throats blessed. Blaise, in legend at least, saved a boy who was choking on a fishbone. The blessing goes farther, our throats may give voice to unkind and unjust words, so that the throat does not injure the body, but also the soul.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Campaign Song for the Democracy

Hard Times Come Again No More

Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o'er:
Though her voice would be merry, 'tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.

Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.

― music and lyrics of Stephen C. Foster

There is more than likely the prospect of regaining the republic. We are entering the eighth year of the usurpation. John McCain would gather the most votes for his party, if he becomes their candidate. The fascist wing dislikes him intensely, but it is impossible that they would prefer a candidate from the Democracy. It is doubtful, that they would cheat on his behalf, to the degree and zeal, they did for the candidacy which smeared him eight years ago. Surely, if he had worn the presidential sash, America would not be in the ugly state it is in, nor would the world look upon the United States as a brutish Gargantua. McCain is a militarist and a true believer in capitalism, and yet this is too moderate of a position. The american people must some day call "enough and no more". After the debacle of the Harding/Coolidge/Hoover period, a reasonable man would think that the Republicans would never haunt us again, but moneyed arrogance and the refusal to admit truth is invincible, so it seems. We are being visited by the worst, ever, collection of enemies to the Constitution, that America has known.

I have often chose the losing side. It is true, I would prefer John Edwards. I am satisfied with Barack Obama. I see that a cascade of fortune is with him. We do not fully know him, neither did we know enough of John Kennedy. There is a similarity of strong and vibrant youth. The man has promise and ability, and he can present a handsome mien to the world, especially in comparison to that of the simian buffoon which occupies the office currently. The support of Teddy and Caroline Kennedy certainly suggest this.

I propose this song, from the mid 1850s, by the historically, most, prominent, american, song composer. It was a favorite of Stephen Foster, and it is a very lyrical and poignant song sung by folk singers, though it was a pop tune in the 19th century. Whenever, we are out of office and are trying to come back, this should be our song. Look at the damage the twelve years of Reagan/Bush did and now the reign of bush the lesser.

Franklin Roosevelt appropriated Happy Days Are Here Again. Perhaps, soon we can hit the refrain again. I remember, the shock when Reagan had this used during his convention. As now, all of his party, grandiosely revere him in public, it must be remembered, that Ronald Reagan again and again always quoted dead Democrats. Well, it is with great difficulty that one could find a good Republican to quote. There was Lincoln and some Progressives that left the party, a generation plus beyond, such as La Follete, even Eisenhower only said something great on his last day in office, when it could effect nothing but only act as a warning for those that would not listen. Try to find those Republicans who inveigh against the military-industrial complex, they are all at the unicorn ranch.

Bruce Springsteen was rightly piqued that Born in the USA was ripped off, and so was Bobby McFerrin about Don't Worry Be Happy when it was used against his
wishes, by the Republicans. Taking and benefiting, from what is not rightly theirs, is their nature. So: Let us pause ...
Postscriptum: 14 August 2008. Jackson Browne, in 1986, sang against Reagan and his group’s transgressions in Central America, in Lives in the Balance. He has campaigned against nuclear arms and other political and humanitarian issues. He has given no indication of being in tune with Republicans. The Republicans are using his song, Running on Empty, against Obama. The party of owner’s rights, is transgressing the copyright of an artist. Theft, hypocrisy and entitlement; that makes for an, apt, party slogan. Earlier in this campaign, they stole from Mellencamp (another whom certainly doesn’t share their views), ABBA and Frankie Valli. Why can’t Republicans campaign without theft and distortion? Snakes have the nature of snakes. But, it must seem to them, that it is so unfair that honest, creative talent is always in the camp of Democrats.
Postscriptum 2:
During their convention, they did it again, this time they stole Barracuda from Heart. This was a nickname for Palin, when she was Sarah Heath in high school. Typical Republican theft, arrogance, meanness and ultimate cluelessness; do they not realise, that, that nickname is not complimentary.
Postscriptum 3: 9 October. The Foo Fighters discovered that their song, My Hero, was being appropriated by McCain’s campaign. “To have it appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.” The Republicans maintain they have the right to use it, so there.
Postscriptum 4: 15 October. To-day, it is Sarah Palin’s campaign appropriating, without consent the work of the Democrat, Bon Jovi’s, Who Says You Can't Go Home. Same Republican behavior: everyone’s labor is subject to their ownership and use, without consent. Is this the sort of ownership society, Repubicans have in mind? How many more additions before 4 November?
Postscriptum 5: 21 July 2009. Browne wins court case, is reported to receive compensation and the Republican party “pledges” to seek musicians’ permission, in the future. Justice was won in court, we will wait to see it lived.