Monday, March 31, 2008

Cesar Chavez —‘¡Sí, Se Puede!’

‘¡Sí, Se Puede!’ “Yes, It can be done!” (yes we can), has been borrowed to be Obama's slogan.
Cesar Estrada Chavez was born near Yuma, Arizona on 31 March 1927. Chavez’s family were cheated out of their home and ended up as migrant farm laborers in California. He became a community organiser and eventually founded, with Dolores Huerta, the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, which became the United Farm Workers (UFW).

In 1966 there was a strike of grape pickers and a 340 mile march, from Delano to Sacramento, from the fields to the state capital. In front of all his marches there was the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a pilgrimage for justice. The strike lasted five years and people were asked to boycott grapes. There followed government investigations and legislation. Senator Bobby Kennedy became an ally, and friend, to Cesar Chavez.

More strikes, more organising, Tejas, Wisconsin and Ohio. He fasted for the cause. Later, he protested the use of pesticides on grapes. Higher wages, better, safer and healthier conditions through peaceful action to attain these modest goals was his mission. Even before, this active work for labor, citizen and political rights, he became an enthusiast of Saint Francis of Assisi and Mohandas Gandhi. A Father Donald McDonnell* introduced catholic social and labor literature to Cesar starting in 1952, in San Jose. Before the UFW, Cesar was a member of the Community Service Organization, and then the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee.

By the early ’70s there was much success for the movement. Counter-resistance was organised, by the fascist power structure: the landowners, police forces, moneyed power, their political representatives — the Republican party. Bringing in strikebreakers from across the border being a favorite and successful tactic. This created a lower payed and more pliable workforce than unionised, citizen labor.
“Oh, the grape boycott? Well, I’ve classified it in the past as immoral. And I think it is.” — Ronnie Reagan, 1968.

A symbol is an important thing. That is why we chose an Aztec eagle. It gives pride ... When people see it they know it means dignity.”

Chavez showed that peacefully, united people could win. Fasting was both a spiritual practice, and an active practice, as was marching and speak
“A fast is first and foremost personal. It is a fast for the purification of my own body, mind, and soul. The fast is also a heartfelt prayer for purification and strengthening for all those who work beside me in the farm worker movement. The fast is also an act of penance for those in positions of moral authority and for all men and women activists who know what is right and just, who know that they could and should do more. The fast is finally a declaration of non­cooperation with supermarkets who promote and sell and profit from California table grapes.”
Cesar Chavez died on the night/morning of 22-23 April 1993 near where he was born. During that last day, he was at a frivolous, yet expensive lawsuit trial where a California grower was suing for boycott damages, sustained in California, but in an Arizonan court friendly to moneyed interests.

Chavez was married with eight children, and he was a fervent, believing and practicing Catholic. Cardinal Roger Mahoney presiding at his funeral, said Cesar was “a special prophet for the worlds farm workers.” A cause may be opened up for him one day. The Bishop of Monterey, California, Richard Garcia may be supportive of the idea. And there will be celebrated the 8th Annual César Chávez Mass this Sunday, April 6th, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California.


“Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak... Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.”

“We maintain that you cannot really be effective in anything you are doing if you are so loaded with violence that you cannot think rationally about what you have to do. We know that violence works. I’m not going to say it doesn’t work. Total violence still works and is working many places. I disagree that it has long-lasting good results. I disagree with that. But violence works only when it’s total violence, and non-violence works only when it’s total non-violence. And you can’t have anything in between.”

“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.”

“If you want to remember me, organize!”

“Who gets the risks? The risks are given to the consumer, the unsuspecting consumer and the poor work force. And who gets the benefits? The benefits are only for the corporations, for the money makers.”

“I had a dream that the only reason the employers were so powerful was not because they in fact had that much power, in terms of dealing with the lives of their workers at will, but what made them truly powerful was that we were weak. And if we could somehow begin to develop some strength among ourselves, I felt that we could begin to equal that, balancing their power in agriculture. ”

“From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.”

“We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.”

We shall strike. We shall organise boycotts. We shall demonstrate and have political campaigns. We shall pursue the revolution we have proposed. We are sons and daughters of the farm workers revolution, a revolution of the poor seeking bread and justice.

“...when the farm workers strike and their strike is successful, the employers go to Mexico and have unlimited, unrestricted use of illegal alien strikebreakers to break the strike. And, for over 30 years, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has looked the other way and assisted in the strikebreaking. I do not remember one single instance in 30 years where the Immigration Service has removed strikebreakers. . . .The employers use professional smugglers to recruit and transport human contraband across the Mexican border for the specific act of strikebreaking.”

“The whole idea of the union, it’s not only the union, but it represents, together with you and me, all our brothers, Chicano and white and black and everything, represents an idea that poor people can get together and win. Because they, if we build a union in agriculture today, the balance of power is going to turn around, because, in the rural areas, the growers have undisputed power, and the fight is to keep the workers from organizing so they could equal that. If we could organize the workers, without interruptions from the Teamsters Union, I bet you in 5, 6 years, we will be electing state legislators from the rural area, we’ll be ele
cting judges, we’ll be electing city councilmen, and those workers will be taking hold of governmental agencies through their organization. That’s the fight. Because the moment the worker gets a union and feels secure with his job and his income, what is the next step that he thinks of? Automatically he thinks about politics. ”
Father McDonnell sat with me past midnight telling me about social justice and the Churchs stand on farm labor and reading from the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII in which he upheld labor unions. I would do anything to get the Father to tell me more about labor history. I began going to the bracero camps with him to help with Mass, to the city jail to talk with prisoners...

noto bene: John Steinbeck, in 1936, released In Dubious Battle, about a strike in the California apple orchards. Compare the settings and contrast the socialist Jim Nolan
s devotion to the cause and his fate, to that of Cesar Chavez’s. The cause of the workers was as desperate, but the motivation of the organisers was different. Chavez’s starting point was christian witness in fellowship, though their opponents were on the same page.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Doubting Thomas Sunday (Low Sunday)

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The Incredulity of St Thomas. 1601-2. Sans Souci, Potsdam.

Caravaggio, limned this gospel scene of the Apostle Thomas, who in order to believe in Jesus’s Resurrection, had said,“Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”*

Jesus came, eight days later, and said, “Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.”†

Thomas, now had to believe, his incredulity was completely demolished. He made witness and confession, and was the first to say, “My Lord, and my God.”‡

Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed.
Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book.§

This is beautiful baroque. This scene was done centuries before by Duccio and in countless icons. Art on the walls was, as Gregory the Great (†. 604)||, to teach people who could not read about the faith. In the Catholic Reformation, the almighty brush spread truth with pigment. The protestant heresiarchs (and others to this day) instilled doubt of what had been accepted for more than a millennia and a half. The direct confrontation with Christ ended doubt. We can all say with Thomas, “My Lord, and my God”, even though we did not see as eye witnesses and read Scripture specifically detailed.

The tenebræists loved this scene. In the years soon after, masterpieces were done of Christ and his doubting Thomas by: Rubens 1613-5 (Antwerp), Honthorst c.1620 (Madrid), ter Brugghen c.1621-3 (Amsterdam), Guercino c.1621(London, Vatican) and Rembrandt 1634 (Moscow).

from the Easter carol, O filii and filiae (Ye Sons and Daughters) v. 7-10, by Jean Tisserand, (†.1494)

Ut intellexit Didymus
quia surrexerat Iesus,
remansit fere dubius, alleluia.

Vide Thoma, vide latus,
vide pedes, vide manus,
noli esse incredulus, alleluia.

Quando Thomas vidit Christum,
pedes, manus, latus suum,
dixit: Tu es Deus meus, alleluia.

Beati qui non viderunt
et firmiter crediderunt;
vitam aeternam habebunt, alleluia.

But Thomas, when of this he heard, was doubtful of his brethren's word; wherefore again there comes the Lord, alleluia.
"Thomas, behold my side," saith He; "My hands, My feet, My body see, and doubt not, but believe in Me."
When Thomas saw that wounded side, the truth no longer he denied; "Thou art my Lord and God!" he cried
, alleluia.
Oh, blest are they who have not seen their Lord and yet believe in Him! eternal life awaiteth them
, alleluia.
* from John xx. 25
† from John xx. 27
‡ from John xx. 28

§ John xx. 29-30
|| Epistle 105 of Book 9
post scriptum: from the Introit at Mass — "Quasi modo geniti infantes, rationabile, sine dolo lac concupiscite", — the day is also known as Quasimodo Sunday.
1 Peter ii. 2
sicut modo geniti infantes rationale sine dolo lac concupiscite ut in eo crescatis in salutem
As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation:

Friday, March 28, 2008

“Catholic Schoolgirls Against The War” *

In Rome, on Easter morn, the Pope spoke about Iraq in his “Urbi et Orbi”. He spoke thusly on, “especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon and finally Tibet, all of which I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good”. While the first latin high mass was celebrated, in more than a generation, at Saint Stephen, Cleveland on Easter morning, and in Chicago, at Holy Name, mass was interrupted by a demonstration, by a group calling themselves, the silly yet provocative, “Catholic Schoolgirls Against The War”. They squirted simulated blood, on themselves and others, and raised a ridiculous ruckus. The mass continued.

If they had hung nooses outside a black church, or spray painted swastikas on a synagogue, it would have gotten more notice and more disapprobation, malediction, and opprobrium and yet would have been of a less serious nature. A mass is to be continued, after beginning, even if under military fire. This is more than insult or vandalism; it is sacrilege. These people identify themselves as catholics? they act as if they were virulent anti-catholic bigots. For peace activists, they can very well be 1920s KKK crackers or any other group which hates catholicism. I was going to post on this, but after Easter week, and then I was sent a communiqué by electronique courier. Committing sacrilege at an Easter mass, is misguided, counterproductive, irrelevant and hateful. This was not advocating peace!! This was a hate crime. Some may applaud them, not I. I question if they are Catholic. To some only ex-Catholics are representative or worth notice. I am wary of people who identify themselves as christians, when I see them acting not in a christian manner.

If Cardinal George is, as they accuse, supporting bushjr, then a protest at the chancery or his residence would have been appropriate. This war BELONGS to bushjr and his cabal. To refer to the one honest and worthy statement that Colin Powell made to bushjr, when bushjr began his war machinations, "you break it, you own it". All protests should, be at least in some way, directed at bushjr. There has to have been a federal office building in downtown Chicago, in walking distance from the cathedral; but there would have been a police force there.

The Catholic Church in America has virtually no political power in the country. To push at the Catholic Church, so as to influence bushjr, is practically like pushing at an apple orchard to influence bushjr. It would be proper for the Catholic Church to denounce, in clear terms, this wretched war and the vile architects and “deciders”, though, how productive would it be? Still it might be necessary. It is doubtful, that bushjr would set up a Dachau or Gitmo for the Catholic hierarchy in his, supposed, last year of usurpation. The international church has shown when pressed by bushjr and rice, that they were against the war. The US came to Rome and pressed hard, and was rebuffed, rebuffed, although not by distinct denunciation. The point was: the US through bushjr and rice wanted a blessing†‡, and got squat, while, perhaps, most catholic americans sided with bushjr, the church, the universal church, did not!
*The name of the group sounds reminiscent to some mocking, queer, parading groups. It is doubtful, that, many of them had been to mass any time recently, if at all. It was a group that anyone could join, anyone who disliked catholicism. I am sure it was not a closed group.
†John Paul the Great, when the words spoken are released, must have thoroughly disagreed and probably censured our american tyrant. To spare public scandal, those words said to that vacuous warmonger, that conversation is not known to us.
‡Rice, more recently, could not get an audience with Benedict. The deafening papal silence in favor of this war adventure is witness to their opposition, as was Thomas More’s to Henry VIII.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

radioactive cats

Danny Westneat, in the Seattle Times, has recently shared with the world, a most illuminating tale: a federal border agent told a group of citizens of an incident, where, “government now has the ability to detect radiation in a cat inside a car going by at 70 miles per hour.” A motorist was stopped and had his vehicle searched. There was radiation in his car. The source was a cat, which had had undergone medical treatment, three days prior. Apparently, we can assume, after this was satisfactorily ascertained, he was then free to go. Fortunate he.

Radiation lingers. When the cat has left the vehicle, there still would be radiation. How sensitive was, or can be in the future, the police detecting equipment? By accident, what if the police personnel were to be both overzealous and given to harshness and rudeness [read brutality]? The possibilities of cascading mistakes could be horrendous. Washington state is a calm place, what if Joe Motorist and his feline companion were negotiating a road outside Baghdad? What if a human, previous occupant, of two hundred pounds more in weight than the cat, were to have such medical treatment? Would not his larger, radiation signature linger?

In that article, the relating officer, was depicted, as rational and experienced, yet, he too, was worried about certain aspects of the new police powers, and so too the writer. If paranoia is active in the powers of the state, alongside such technological sophistication, are not our civil rights and freedoms endangered? There are criminal bandits, and would be assassins, wanting to do harm, there are also governmental forces willing to do other types of harm, constantly and thoroughly, and argue that their actions protect us from the other dangers.

The odds, that I, will encounter Osama and his comrades, whom are hiding in a central asian cave, are infinitesimally small. The odds, that, I can avoid the surveillance of the police and the state are smaller still.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

4000 American Troops Dead in Bush’s War

Veterans’ Memorial Bridge which connects the west side of Cleveland with the east, over the river Cuyahoga, near Saint Malachi’s, and Detroit Road with Superior Avenue was the site to-day at 5.00 p.m of a peace action. It commemorated the death of 4,000 american serviceman in Iraq.

Strands of small, white, christmas tree lights were battery lit. The names and ages of the military dead were writ on paper sheets, twined and taped, to the bridge itself.

One local television reporter, Debora Lee, and her cameraman covered it. This was more than usual for a peace event in Cleveland. For most people, the maxim of Gandhi applies:
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
It was a very blustery hour and the end of the hour was wet. The application of the mini placards was done sloppily in the gusts, but it was completed. All the known Americans in uniform were noted, but the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans were not.

Some of the participants held up signs to the homebound traffic coming from downtown. A very high proportion, beeped in assent and/or held up the two finger peace gesture. It was remarked that, only one driver, displayed the half a peace sign salute. Police cars, black and white and unmarked, made frequent passes and u-turns before West 25th and downtown; the pacifists, apparently, needed monitoring.

A pair of people shared two bongos, one proud peace pooch was stationed, a few peace signs and a veterans for peace banner were visible. A few joggers passed through, regarding the demonstrators as no more than more avant garde artwork on the bridge. A former candidate for congress was there, she had lost her son, as did some others, there, lost loved ones, also. The names, that one could read while walking, showed the many nations the fallen had originated from. The United States has had children of many lands come here, so that they can die elsewhere.
post scriptum: Who but family would remember these dead, however decent and virtuous they may or not have been? Three of the 4,000 — Casey Carriker, 20; Kevin Smith, 20, Josiah Hollopeter, 27. May God give them, and the many thousands, rest.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day of Memory for Truth and Justice

A military junta seized the government in Argentina on 24 March 1976. They ruled tyrannically and with bloodthirst for seven years. Every resident who they did not deem “with them”, was in danger of abduction, torture and murder in secret. More than 30 thousand were “disappeared”. General Jorge Rafael Videla, the junta headman, in a news conference confirmed the usage, They are neither dead nor alive, they disappeared. This is now called extrajudicial murder and is considered an international war crime and a crime against humanity.

Every event and movement has its own vocabulary, this one had, and has, stark and sober and brutally, fearsome ones. The disappeared, desaparecidos, were victims of government terror. When the germans did this under their, fascist regime, they used the term “Nacht und Nebel”, same program -- auf deutsch. This was terrorism, real terror caused by the ruling government or occupying force, not a nebulous and distant bogeyman bandit, but a secret, present brutality acting in the dark.

This was Argentina’s “dirty war”*, no noble defense of the homeland or conquering warrior triumphs, but murder of your brother, because he would not submit. Those who had unapproved thoughts and tendencies were made to vanish and never be seen again. Of course, all wars are dirty, but this sort is parasitic and cannabalistic and done for exercise of evil alone and is done to to civilans. How “dirty” can it be?

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, woman in white head scarves, who were mothers of the dead, gathered in the capital square. Their continual presence and witness of sorrow and cries for justice gained the world
s attention. Eventually, democracy and freedom returned to Argentina; and the wheels of justice are moving — now.

The Day of Memory for Truth and Justice, Día de la Memoria por la Verdad y la Justicia, was enacted by statute in 2002 and first celebrated in 2006 as a government holiday. The concept is universally applicable. It is a national day of reparation, of penance and confession of the nation's sins, of course, the surviving guilty are trembling. On the christian calendar, March 24th is the eve of Saint Dismas, San Dimas Day. He was the penitent, fellow, companion of Christ's crucifixion. He was the only one who in Scripture, simply, called Jesus,
“Jesus”. Saint Dismas is a patron of prisoners. We have to recognise, that, Argentina is a catholic country and understands sin and penitence. The United States is a calvinist country and calls all its acts holy, because, it believes itself irresistibly, and unconditionally elect. People and nations are responsible for their actions, whether they accept them, or not.

* This was part of a greater, militaristic, fascist movement, Operación Cóndor, which was co-ordinated by secret military agencies first enjoined 25 November 1975 by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay in Santiago, Chile. Pinochet had taken control of Chile earlier, later this movement spread through latin america with blessing, especially from the Reagan administration, after all it was labelled anti-communist and all is then permitted.

Noto Bene: To-day, 24 March would also be the Saint Day of Oscar Romero †1980, martyr of El Salvador.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The second part of Holy Week is a season unto itself, the Triduum, the three days. These three days merge into one whole, the final moments of Christ’s earthly life, his farewell, passion, death and his defeat of death.

These are unique days and situations. Thursday one mass is said in the evening*, and it does not end until the vigil mass of Sunday is ended. Holy Thursday, the Sacrament is taken in procession to the altar and tabernacle of reposition. The Mandatum of the washing of feet occurs, before the Eucharist, hence, the anglicised, “Maundy”.

Unlike the manner familiar for many protestants, the church is used each daily for communal celebration. Of the more than 360 days of the year, only on two is there no mass proper: Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Good Friday is the most solemn and sad day of the year. It is also busy. There is a liturgy, now again, since 1955, in the afternoon. It had been for centuries in the morning. On Passion Sunday, in the old rite, the Passion according to Matthew is the Gospel read; in the new rite, a three year cycle has the Synoptic Gospels read successively. On Good Friday, the Passion according to John is the Gospel in both rites. In the new rite, a general distribution of the pre-sanctified Eucharist is done. In addition, there are many popular devotions that can be done, some were done in the old Tre Ore service: the stations of the cross, the seven last words of Christ, hymns and prayers. As with popular devotions, they differ, from place to place and parish to parish, and since are not mandated or regularised.

There is often music set to the Seven Words. James MacMillan composed for them in 1993. Last year, he did music for Tenebrae. Tenebrae is a service of penitential psalms and the Lamentations of Jeremias. Tenebrae is a service of darkness, symbolically only the Light of Christendures, it is of the same solemn sadness, traditionally the evening office of Wednesday in Holy Week, but now more mobile.

Special songs of these days include: Stabat Mater Dolorosa, Pange Lingua Gloriosi, Ubi Caritas, O Sacred Head Surrounded, Anima Christi, Vexilla Regis, All Glory Laud and Honor, Behold the Wood of the Cross. The negro spiritual, Were You There has been adopted as well as adaptations of the penitential psalms.

Holy Saturday has no service.‡ We wait by the tomb in shock and sadness. We defer to the hebrew reckoning of days, with the next day beginning at sunfall. With the vigil mass of Resurrection Sunday, the Paschal (Easter) season begins. It has been taken that Christ's body lay 40 hours in the tomb, there is a devotion commemorating this. Christ went to harrow hell and preach the gospel there to the righteous dead.

With the Easter Fire, we enter the church, with the Gloria and the sounding of bells is signified the empty tomb, the fallen shroud, and the Resurrection of the Body, and the defeat of Death. The Mass begun with the Last Supper is now complete. There are so many elements involved, and each needs to be appreciated by themselves, here, above, is only a summation.

Now, 2008 had its interesting calendraic anomalies. Good Friday was the day of the full moon, Holy Thursday was the vernal equinox, because of this, Easter came quite early. Holy Week and the Easter Octave clears the calendar of saints days, only a few celebrations are transferred: Saint Joseph and the Annunciation, and a special transfer for Patrick in Ireland alone. Perhaps, the oddest pairing was the extreme solemnity of Good Friday being the same day as Purim in the jewish calendar, which is virtually a carnival day, which in certain incidents of the historical past has included some most unfortunate events.

Politically, other intrusions have tried to detract from the christian celebration and commemorations. Osama bin Laden has, ludicrously, accused the pope with planning war against mohammedanism. Some rabbis have objected to the little celebrated latin rite prayer for the conversion of jews. The BBC is running a series, concluding Easter Sunday, that rewrites the Passion to clear Judas and Caiaphas amongst other novelties. These are 2008’s distractions.
*A Chrism Mass is said in cathedral, but not always on Thursday. That mass ought to have all the priests in the diocese in attendance.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. --
John i. 4-5
in ipso vita erat et vita erat lux hominum
et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebræ eam non conprehenderunt
‡Amongst the slavonic peoples, latin, byzantine and eastern orthodox, a basket of food is often blessed in church; the orthodox using the julian calendar, have a late Easter this year.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Survival of Catholic Japan

Oura Tenshudo. Site of meeting, discovery and reunion.
Father Bernard Thadée Petitjean was in the newly constructed church in Oura, dedicated to the 26 recently canonised japanese martyrs, on the 17th of March 1865, in Nagasaki (yes, the same Nagasaki that suffered atomic destruction), Japan. A group of fifteen peasants from the Urakami district to the north came to him, and said they believed as he believed, and had been waiting, over two hundred years, for him to come. Their leader and catechist, Peter, spoke and questioned Petitjean to ascertain his genuineness. The christians of Japan found their absent priest. They stood firm in secret faith, the same faith of the original apostles, which they tried to maintain and persevere in the direst of bloody persecutions, tortures and martyrdoms. They had survived wave after wave of persecution and martyrdom. They had been isolated and hidden. They lived secretly. They had only the availability of two sacraments, baptism and marriage. Yet, they believed as Peter in Galilee, Antioch and Rome, and as Peter in Urakami.

The first to speak, to Petitjean, was Yuri Isabelina Sugimoto. She said softly to him, “The hearts of all of us are the same as yours.” Petitjean and other frenchmen had wondered if the faith had still survived. Now they would know. He was asked if he was observing kanashimi no setsu (season of sorrow). Yes, it was Lent. They had kept the calendar.

The seeds of their faith were planted by Saint Francis Xavier in 1549 and their keeping of the faith was highly perilous since 1614, when the last public celebration was allowed for Easter, and most deadly dangerous after the closing of Japan in 1639. They had sometimes drifted into admixture of other beliefs, in order to mask and camouflage, and through loss of contact with the rest of the church had some confused practices, yet they were Catholic christians still and wanted communion.

At one time, the figures tell us, that 300,000 japanese were of the faith, 10% of the country. Over the years, tens of thousands were murdered, yearly tests were given to apostatize and detect the remaining catholics. The nobles and warriors left, the peasants clung to their beliefs. When the french built the first church, in Japan in 250 years, which was permitted only for foreigners, it is estimated that 50,000 natives still believed. Roughly half were reunited. Some would not recognise the newcomers as genuine. These cryptic believers were separatists, hanare.

Father Petitjean, recognised that they were the descendants of the 16th and 17th centuries, and he encouraged the Kakure Kirishitan to come out in the open. They suffered continued persecution and martyrdom. Christianity was not free till 1873. After a time Petitjean went to Osaka, but eventually saw that Nagasaki was the center of christianity in Japan. The largest church in the orient was completed in 1925, and was the cathedral dedicated to Mary in Urakami. It was ground zero for the second atomic attack.

Would the faith survive such conditions in America? The faith was mostly suppressed in England from 1533 to 1829, a longer time, but less thoroughly and less severely than for the nipponese, the communists from 1917 or 1945 to 1989 in eastern europe, the 1790s in France and different times for other lands, and from the early 7th century and ongoing under the mohammedans. Father Faber wrote the hymn, Faith of our Fathers, to describe the english situation, is it not more à propos for our japanese brothers? But now, though free the rest of the japanese nation seems not very interested.
A good place to begin reading, is with Shusaku Endo’s, Silence, and Neil Fujita’s, Japan’s Encounter with Christianity.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm(Passion) Sunday

Holy Week begins with the Messiah astride a burro into the city of Jerusalem. The Saviour of the world has a small pack animal as his steed. Sancho Panza also had this animal as his mount. An ass colt carries Jesus now, as did another burro carry Mary and the infant Jesus away from the murderous Herod and onto exile. This burro brings Jesus closer to that bloody death.

The Judaen capital city, He is triumphantly greeted and saluted and his way is made on palms. This impromptu processional is made without a parade permit from the authorities. By the end of the week, the authorities will authorise, at several places, his travel path to crucifixion. Some of the same cheering crowd will rant and clamor for a most cruel denouement.

To-day’s mass relives this. It is a long mass, not easy for children to stand through: a long gospel on the passion. There is a dialogue, that, has the congregrants give voice to the crowd. There is something striking when a child, is seized within the moment, zealously chants, “Crucify!”, while another has a baby bottle roll along the floor. Previously, there was a procession carrying palms, candles, thurible and boat. Now are read the parts of Judas, Caiaphas, Peter, Simon from Cyrene, Barabbas, Pilate and the rest; and of course, the Via Dolorosa and Calvary. An aural, sometimes dramatic, reading that limns the high drama of the suffering and torment that God endured to redeem His people. When one puts himself into the story, he can become very shaken, and then there is the Communion of the last supper again given. The christian story and God's love of us unto death.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saint Joseph Day 2008

15 March 44 b.C., the ides of March, Julius Caesar met his end. There is still time to tell his tale.

Saint Joseph, most likely, was a young fellow in Galilee, at the time. Joseph was a good, honest and just man. He became the foster father of Our Lord.

Because of Holy Week, coming so early this year, the calendar has been changed. The Feast of Saint Joseph cannot fall in Holy Week; in Holy Week there is no feasting. The day is transferred to the nearest day before Palm Sunday, which is saturday the 15th. Except for Ireland, Saint Patrick is not on the calendar this year and has been bounced out of Holy Week altogether. Because Patrick is patron to the Irish, he shares to-day with Joseph in Ireland. The day before Palm Sunday for the easterners is Lazarus Saturday, if we, latin-rite members, were to do the same, to-day would be very full.

Joseph was a good man, but the record has him silent, though we know he said, “Yes”, again and again to God. He is patron for the Universal Church. He is patron for a good death. He is patron for workers. This quiet man had been a busy man, and continues to be busy.

The early christians knew more details of Joseph’s life, than we. At one, now forgotten, time he departed Nazareth for the celestial Jerusalem. One could meditate a great deal with, on, and about Joseph, and consider his life of service, and action, and his heavenly reward. Joseph was certainly dutiful and giving. Some people remember his generosity with the giving of bread, in his behalf, to others.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snow, time and torture

Yesterday it snowed a great deal. Friday it snowed a great deal. The accumulated fall was well over a foot and approaching two, in this part of Ohio. Digging out, shoveling and extricating the car were chores.

The thoroughly, unnecessary, time, change did no good. Stealing an hour interferes with the body. “Daylight savings time” implementation to create early time for a later, lighted evening is wrong. But as uncomfortable as these things are, it is far worse that Topcliffe’s successor controls the government, and has vetoed a bill to forbid torture. bush is a petty and cruel individual. The legacy he is creating is wretched, and demeans, and lessens all his countrymen. george bush junior has made his niche in americana, the torturer-in-chief.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

George the Pudding

George Voinovich has had a very successful political career and has accomplished little more than that impressive resumé. Frank Lausche, now forgotten, was mayor of Cleveland, the most populous and important city, until recently, in the state of Ohio. He went on to become governor and then senator. Voinovich has done the same.

Lausche was slovene, Voinovich is serb and slovene. Lausche was officially a Democrat, though anti-labor and in many ways, anti-democrat and New Deal. There was talk of Lausche as a vice-president candidate on a ticket with the Republican general MacArthur or Eisenhower.

Cleveland was and is a city where the Republicans are a small minority. Ralph Perk was mayor and a successful politician in Cleveland. His politics would have fit easily into the Democracy, as most european ethnic natives who were in America before world war two. He saw that the Democrats had many candidates, while the other party had few candidates and much money. He strategically became a Republican.

Voinovich was of similar stock. While Voinovich was young and eager, he was the second best known Republican in the city. Perk was unseated by Dennis Kucinich, the boy mayor, who was a eager and excitable fighter. Kucinich was in no way part of the financial establishment.

The local moneyed interests (including Cleveland Trust Bank, Cleveland Electric Illuminating) caballed with George Forbes (the then city council president and leader of the negro political community after Carl Stokes) to drive Kucinich out of office and have him replaced by Voinovich.

Voinovich was mayor of the city and traveled the world while Forbes and the moneyed interestsa ran the city. Voinovich teamed up with the state's leading Republican, Jim Rhodes. Rhodes was governor twice two terms. The latter, with Voinovich as lieutenant governor. Voinovich is now senator.

I know the path of George, I have seen the places he had been. Voinovich grew up amongst working class ethnics in the Collinwood section of Cleveland. He went to Ohio University. A professor of mine, Carl Gustavson, told me that he knew that Voinovich wanted to be governor, when George was a student.

Voinovich, as governor, cried on camera, when he announced welfare benefits cut to balance budget. He, as senator, knew John Bolton did not belong at the UN. In committee, he held up his nomination, eventually he supported Bush jr. and voted for Bolton. George Voinovich knows what is right, and does the wrong thing. He is a pudding, he is soft and will smoothly slide away and easily moved by pressure. His loyalty is not to the citizenry, nor to his conscience. He does what his masters want. He will do what the moneyed interests, the Republican party and George Bush wants him to do.

Concerning the greatest crisis in the last few years, the Second Persian Gulf War and american occupation of Iraq, he has voted with Bush's interest. Voinovich has prided himself as being fiscally responsible. He had been county auditor, prior to becoming mayor. He has shown no evidence of being fiscally responsible with bush and bush's war. His tears could flow copiously for the hundreds of thousand dead and the millions destroyed because of this great immorality. He has, I believe, in every vote supported bush's war and continuing occupation.

He and his admirers claim his humanity and righteousness when speaking of his consistent votes against abortion. None of those positions and votes, when he was chief political executive officer in the Republican controlled state of Ohio ended abortion, nor did they in the republican controlled country and national government when he was senator. His voting garnered some votes in his many campaigns, but did nothing in accomplishment.

He did not break with the criminally, immoral and anti-Constitutional Bush over the war, the economy or much of anything. He could have, perhaps, effected positive moral change and saved many lives; he did not. The one moment he hesitated on Bolton, he had the nation's political attention, he could have been responsible to the republic. Bush's propaganda machine was aghast and worried ― opposition within the ranks and opposition from a non exuberant or flamboyant quarter. He retreated into the pudding that he had always been, and did not stand up to another George. A moral stand would have been a profile of a pro-life man of courage. He could have said, “No”, to Bush about the ravages of death and war on many occasions. One moment of not being a pudding would have been an achievement.. He could have followed Camus and said, “No”, and showed he followed Jesus; instead he said, “Yes”, to george ― again and again and again.

Voinovich should bow out, but he has not done the honorable thing in the past. His seat in Congress is not contested this cycle. Ohio's Republican coterie in Congress, Ney, Schmidt, Boehner has brought no honor to the state, Voinovich blandly blends in. He should retire, and not seek another term in 2010. He has had a very successful career, the curtain is calling.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Maverick [sic] McCain

To-day McCain was publicly accepted by the man, whom was the beneficiary from McCain's character assassination, eight years ago. The man he opposed in torture practices, but relented to in the end. He has made formal obeyance in obsequiousness to Bush, who has granted him his approval. May God bestow His gift of irony on this act of feudal investiture and vassalage, translating it into a futile pilgrimage.

John is a man who will not surrender to a dogged battlefield enemy, but will knuckle under, in servitude, to a worthless s***. February 13th McCain voted for torture, after he had voted against it in the past. He was against it before he was for it. McCain's desire for the presidency has destroyed his remaining honor and dignity.

A man who agrees with his party nine of ten times is no 'maverick'. The Democratic party leaders and hacks would be jubilant, if their members, were so successfully corralled so often.

He has shown himself a militarist and a capitalist. This is not 'conservative' enough for the fascist wing of his party. He has been suspected of having a hitch in the goose step.

On leap day, he defended NAFTA in order to cement his position as an economic imperialist. To suggest to renegotiate a treaty would hurt american diplomacy, security and reputation, said he. Bush abrogated an arms treaty with Russia, without care or dissent from his party. Bush broke international law in starting his Iraqui war, and McCain supports it still. Perhaps inconsistencies are a sign of the maverick? No, they are signs of hypocrisy, one of the pillars of his party.

NAFTA breaks environmental and labor laws continuously and has corporate capitalists extort and sue those who are resistant. NAFTA is supranational. The moneyed interests use, the fictive, legal status as individuals to abuse and misuse citizens and nations. Those who are represented with money can act with impunity. Money has more rights than humanity.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Collinwood School Fire

To-day, a century ago 175 people died in a school fire, Lakeview school in Collinwood (annexed to Cleveland in 1910), Ohio on Ash Wednesday. A few minutes walk east is interstate highway 90, which runs from Boston to Seattle.

I was told, by at least one grade school teacher, that the children died because the doors opened in, and the crush of kids inhibited the doors. I was told incorrectly. This was not the case. Though doors were, later, nationally redesigned, so that a push against a bar latch would open the door quickly in a panic.

It had been a multi-storey building, some children died from jumping, others died because they did not jump. Some died because the floors were oiled and the flames flew up the stairwell onto higher floors. The front entrance was burning and the children that approached, tried to retreat upwards, while those above tried to descend. A back entrance was locked. People came and tried to save children and saw them die as the fire grew. The fire department arrived too late.

The new century, the school's capstone read 1901, had heavy new immigration and the warehouse consolidation that gave pride of place to efficiency and concentration with little, if any, safety and building code interference were the combined causes for disaster, with the natural panic that children, or anyone, experience with rapid and engulfing flames. Children trampled each other, breathed deadly smoke and were incinerated. Some were never identified, some families had no money, and these children were buried in a common grave.

Afterwards, a memorial garden was built on the original site. During the 1970s, and beyond, the site greatly deteriorated, along with the city. A committee made a partial restoration of the site. The Memorial School that was built behind the site, also deteriorated and was razed. A new, replacement school has been recently completed further back on the site. It is of one storey. The children of the newest school have, perhaps universally, no connection or interest concerning the original school. To-day, the church bell of nearby, St. Jerome's tolled for the dead, and a brief ceremony was held, at the school, with the local councilman in attendance. The Cleveland Public Library has recently found, and is displaying, photographs, and a news reel is playing on an internet video site. An exhibit will tour five branches, with the documents and other material on Collinwood.

Cleveland was to have two more epically disastrous fires.
Fire generated from nitro-cellulose x-ray film would kill 123 at the Cleveland Clinic in 1929. During world war II, an East Ohio Gas fire and explosion would kill 130, in 1944.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Barry O’Bama

As anyone who has paid attention knows, the Republicans are despicable. They run sub voce slime campaigns. When this country held fair elections, Franklin Roosevelt won easily. His opponents owned most of the newspapers and their editorials wrote vituperation and accusation against him. On the street, in the saloon, at work and in church they said his real name was Rosenfeldt, he was a communist and a jew. Vile things were said against his wife, Eleanor. Mrs. Roosevelt was seen by the world as a humanitarian, this infuriated the Republicans. They would not stop inventing stories. There was the one where a battleship went to pick up his dog, Fala.

This is their pattern. Lee Atwater, the chief propagandist in the 80s, repented and found religion in the end. Karl Rove and his minions have not. John McCain in 2000 was their target, in their own party, so that bush junior could be placed in the presidency. The swift boat lies also helped to steal an election from a valiant officer, so that the craven gwbjr could retain his booty.

One outrageous congressman, Jack Kingston, has gone on television to accuse Barack Obama of disloyalty. His high crime: not wearing a flag lapel pin. To the show host's, Dan Abrams, credit, he noticed Kingston was not wearing one. Such inconsistencies just go without saying, the troublesome thing is -- a verbal recognition. For years Republicans have worn a flag pin as a sign of false patriotism, so as to attack others falsely and especially falsely by innuendo.

Brother Barry O’Bama needs to promote his irish heritage. Surely in the next Saint Patrick Day's parade, Barry can go hear a mass and go a marching with his fellow shamrocks. Someone can tell John Hagee and the Bob Jones seniors, juniors and the thirds, that Barry is a crypto-catholic and not a mohammadan, manchurian candidate; and for the Hagees and the Joneses in the country, a closet Catholic, is of a far greater threat, than a black muslim.

parma politics

Other than the marquee elections, which may be of national importance, there are many inferior elections that touch some individuals specifically, while 300 million residents are unaffected. Ohio has many elected judges. Judges are supposedly impartial. In reality, they are biased towards the state in criminal cases, and towards the moneyed interest in civil cases. Many judicial candidates use the prosecutor's office as a jumping board for a judgeship. The prosecution is, by definition, biased towards conviction. The moneyed interests can finance campaigns far more easily, than non-moneyed interests. The office is a difficult to achieve bailiwick for one primarily interested in justice alone or for one who is friendly to civil liberties and social and economic justice.

There is often, a very close relation amongst, executive, judicial, police and prosecutorial agencies. Functional peer pressure and group think exist and contrary patterns of thought and behavior are inhibited, discouraged or punished. Mistakes are not admitted. Leniency is a point that is attacked if, it is, apparent or suggested. Surely, there exists breaches of justice, where, the guilty gets away or gets away lightly. But, it is far rarer that unjust harshness is exposed and rebuked. I can, hardly remember a judge, at least locally, where he met a penalty of even mild approbation of being harsh.* It is considered a badge of merit, for a judge, to be judged ‘tough’. I cannot remember a judge being negatively viewed, in the contemporary, local, press, as a hanging judge or despot.

This past Friday, a Parma judge, Timothy Gilligan, appeared,on television videotape, demonstrably outraged that he could not punish an individual, for a felony, for spitting on an off duty policeman's private car. There was more to it than that, but the level of histrionics to suggest that a petty offense to a member of the public, whom happens to be a city policeman, is of great and serious magnitude is to suggest, amongst other things, that different sorts of law are applicable to individuals of different status and vocation.

Within the last two years in Parma, a few different incidents involving police have transpired. The mayor (Dean DePiero) agitated, heavily for increased funding, for additional police. A determined and aggressive, telephone, poll took place before last year's vote to push for the tax. Before that poll, in the supposed under policed suburb, on a Sunday morning, that was forecast to break a temperature record into the 60s, police gave out parking tickets, in front of residential homes, for snow ban parking violations, for an up to then dry December.

A television exposé had previously shown some police taking hours long coffee breaks in public coffee and donut shops. This on top of a department, that for years, was padding overtime and had supposedly ended that practice.

There was suppressed, until after that election and tax levy, the story of patrolman Mark McCombs. For an April fool's prank, he raped a drunken woman in his patrol car, behind a school, while his partner watched on 1 April 2007. A mistrial was declared 22 January.†
*Except, there was Judge Patricia Cleary, who in Cleveland, in 1998, kept a girl locked up, so that, she would not have her child aborted. Yuriko Kawaguchi was sentenced to six months, after pleading guilty to a forgery charge. In Ohio that was a felony. Judge Cleary was voted out by angry feminists. People often skip voting for some ballot spots, and an, organised minority can achieve their ends. By saving a life, she lost her job. So, kindness does not benefit a career.

†postsriptum: 25 April 2008 found not guilty, but found guilty of tampering with evidence, he destroyed the trophy pictures. Verdict came, virtually, at the same time as the murder trial in New York, which let off cops who fired fifty times at Sean Bell. The busheviks can rest easier; it is nearly impossible for malefactors in government to be held responsible in the United States. It is almost a victory to bring them to trial.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Laetare Sunday

To-day is Laetare Sunday. Be joyful, more than half of lent has passed. The incipit, the first words, of the Introit of both the Tridentine and the new mass are the same: Laetare Jerusalem, O be joyful, Jerusalem.* The option of rose vestments exist, probably more used in the old rite, to signify the day. Our french brothers used to celebrate a mini-costume treat getting with Mi-Carême, to celebrate this light day within this somber season.

To-day is also, in the old rite, the Sunday of the Five Loaves. Jesus multiplies the food for the masses, a prefigurement of the Eucharistic miracle. As Jesus once changed water to wine as he began his Eucharistic miracle, this day too, at mass brings this to mind. Mary's faith was full and perfect when she asked for the wine to be produced, the apostles', in Philip and Andrew, was not yet perfected and thought as the physical world thought; but Jesus produced the bread and fish and had twelve baskets of crumbs and crust and orts.†

The old rite's gospel read from the 6th chapter of John. The new rite's reading was the 9th chapter, where Jesus made the blind man see, by the pool of Siloe. By what circumstance, I do not know, CBS Sunday Morning programme, ran a story of a blind man whom has had sight restorative surgery. They also ran a story on the decima. Since the late 19th century, many american protestants have been coerced by their ministers to tithe. And that tithe has been, especially, important to their membership within the congregation. One fellow, James Hudnut-Beumler, made the solid connection: if God came for all men freely, and charged no men for the entry to heaven why must they tithe? The point is: how is the decima any more necessary to the christian, than Luther's complaint about the selling of indulgences? Is the voluntary coin evil and the coerced and mandatory one holy? Or was a phrase, again, lifted from Scripture to produce a rigid novelty?
*Isaias lxvi. 10 lætamini cum Hierusalem et exultate in ea omnes qui diligitis eam gaudete cum ea gaudio universi qui lugetis super eam
11 ut sugatis et repleamini ab ubere consolationis ejus ut mulgeatis et deliciis affluatis ab omnimoda gloria ejus
10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her.
11 That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolations: that you may milk out, and flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory.
Psalmi cxxl. 1 canticum graduum huic David lætatus sum in his quæ dicta sunt mihi in domum Domini ibimus
1 I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord.
†Now, there is a protestant opinion, popularised by William Barclay, that takes the miraculous out of the Gospel by a bait and switch of definition and method.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ohio Primary Day

The Ohio primary is on the only day of the year, that is a command — March Fo(u)rth! Perhaps, after all this hullabaloo, we will find the candidacy for the Democracy settled: either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama There is also, here, an interesting congressional primary. Dennis Kucinich is being opposed by several people.* Dennis has infuriated, some, for standing up and voicing clearly against the immoral, unjust, illegal and unnecessary war and its evil and incompetent designers. They are using the excuse, that his quixotic presidential campaign has taken his time and not the district's interest. The war and its progenitors are of vital concern to this country, the world and history. Mr. Kucinich is on the right side.

Because Dennis is right, he is being opposed. When he was mayor of Cleveland, the local business interests, and their bought politicians, hounded him from office. He survived a recall election. So, for the third election in two years, the black community, was led by the council president, George Forbes, to join with Republican business interests to replace him with the pudding, George Voinovich; who has fed at the public trough as mayor, governor and senator.

Dennis Kucinich believes in the Constitution, a rarity now a days. He is also firmly against NAFTA, which combines practically every economic associated evil that plagues America. NAFTA is loved by the moneyed interests, and the moneyed interests have always despised Kucinich. He is foremost, for the necessary and proper impeachment of the liars and war criminals Cheney and bush. I can proudly vote and support Dennis Kucinich.
noto bene: This is being written on the 19th of February, in the vain attempt to provide help for Kucinich.
It is a point of conjecture of why the four other primary candidates are running: Cimperman is the well-financed one with nasty Republican type attack advertisements and stunts; one woman is still in mourning for her son and wants an agreeable end to conflict; another is, perhaps, wanting further name display for higher office, for in Ohio, it seems necessary to run and lose, so that one can win later, he is a mayor of one of the dozens of suburbs (Name familiarity is a primary vote getter. When I was a child, the state ballot was full of Browns, sometimes Smith. Cuyahoga county has had four John Corrigans holding office. O'Malley, Sweeney and other Irish names win here. He has a similar name.); the other woman, who has run against Dennis before, once at least as an Independent, seems to have drank heavily from a testosterone laced liqueur of braggadocio and boasts of all sorts of relevant, world important expertise, which stems from her parents owning a restaurant. There are two men from the other party running, but why, when the money candidate is Cimperman?