Monday, July 13, 2009

of some non-catholics, non-democrats, and non-democrat catholics

This is my 400th post. I can continue, and comment about many things, but I only comment on some. But, even obvious things are not, admittedly, seen and understood. People will disregard truth, and, even, more loudly affirm falsity. The thoughtful, accurate, statement is derided, and dismissed, in favor of the loud and cocky, though often bullshit, statement.

In one endeavor after another, I have seen a form of steam rolling. I have, and am experiencing it. It is a situation resembling a mixture of Alice trying to debate with characters in Wonderland (Humpty Dumpty, White Queen), and the chicanery of the bush-cheney régime.

Now, I am proud to be a Catholic. I am proud to be a Democrat. I have continually seen, heard, and read many Democrats ignorantly, obnoxiously and falsely deride catholicism. I have continually seen, heard, and read many Catholics ignorantly, obnoxiously and falsely deride (*) democracy and Democrats. I feel revulsion for such practices, and their practitioners.

In the american public the more noticeable, and frequent, of these parallel behaviors is the defamation committed by the self proclaimed ‘conservatives’, whom are just intense Republicans, and as such combine several unpleasant, even vile, qualities. Another parallel is, when these [Republicans] are supposedly religious claim catholicism, they are a party of pharisees and hypocrites.

Now, Benedict has just released an encyclical, which amongst other things, blasts capitalism. Benedict and John Paul II were 100% against bushs war, and certainly, cheneys torture. These conservatives have not heralded these, and other, positions clearly stated by the Magisterium. No, they have their own cafeteria, where they pick and choose the selections, and other diners are not welcome. Such is the way of pharisees and hypocrites.
postscriptum: some similar mini-essays can be read at:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cindy Sheehan at St. Colman

Yestereve, in the basement of St. Colman's (Cleveland, O.), there, visited Cindy Sheehan. She is on a national speaking and book tour. The local media, here and elsewhere, have maintained a blackout on the events. As is usual, a few peace groups sponsored the event, and presented an-anti war art exhibition, and disseminated literature. Ohio has had 177 troops die in bush's iraqui war. The empty boots signifies their absence.

Cindy was in good humor, feisty, impassioned and slightly disorganised, perhaps on account of fatigue. She affirmed her position as the "biggest bugger of george bush", and fully stating this war criminal should not escape constant reminding of his crimes. She also pointed out, Obama has not changed the course bushjr started.

Ms. Sheehan had some special animus for Nancy Pelosi, of whom, she invited the audience, of about three hundred, to hiss. She, also, spoke about the myths of America. The chief and foundational myth being that this is the greatest nation in the universe. This myth, as the others, benefits the robber class, which controls the country, and which creates other myths to sustain itself. It is virtually identical with the military industrial establishment. The robber class is united, and they divide the rest of the country into quarreling amongst itself.

She quoted Ralph Nader, in that, there is not two political parties in the US, but only one with two wings. She also echoed Nader in urging people to focus on their localities, where they have far better chance to effect change.

Ms. Sheehan also spoke of the lie of the volunteer army. In voluntary organisations, one is not imprisoned for attempting to leave. Also, with the "stop gap" programme enlistments are extended beyond the legal contract and agreement of service. The US government's prime focus is the support of a militaristic empire. The peace movement that stands up to it is weak and disorganised. She wishes for a better America, but seems to recognise, that, it will be what it is.

Monday, July 6, 2009

mess of pottage

Perhaps some people are familiar with “Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.” This ‘mess of pottage’ showed in three protestant english bibles, two generations, before the authorised version (KJV). In the last three centuries those were not commonly read. Yet, some people may recognise ‘mess of pottage’. Bergen Evans edited a Dictionary of Quotations, wherein he commented, "the retention of this phrase is a remarkable instance of the transmitting power of speech."

Esau was cheated by his brother, or Jacob bested his brother in a quick bargain. It is a matter of perspective. Esau gave up something valuable for something very minor. Esau was hungry NOW and wanted to eat. ‘Mess of pottage’, has come to mean: something considered of little value. The phrase is colorful, and evocative. It is one of many turns of biblical phrase that lingers in the idiom and vernacular.

Genesis xxv. 29-34.
And Jacob boiled pottage: to whom Esau, coming faint out of the field, Said: Give me of this red pottage, for I am exceeding faint. For which reason his name was called Edom. And Jacob said to him: Sell me thy first birthright. He answered: Lo I die, what will the first birthright avail me. Jacob said: Swear therefore to me. Esau swore to him, and sold his first birthright. And so taking bread and the pottage of lentils, he ate, and drank, and went his way; making little account of having sold his first birthright. ―DRC

Coxit autem Jacob pulméntum : ad quem cum venísset Ésau de agro lassus, ait : Da mihi de coctióne hac rufa, quia óppido lassus sum. Quam ob causam vocátum est nomen ejus Edom. Cui dixit Jacob : Vende mihi primogénita tua. Ille respóndit : En mórior, quid mihi próderunt primogénita ? Ait Jacob : Jura ergo mihi. Jurávit ei Ésau et véndidit primogénita. Et sic, accépto pane et lentis edúlio, comédit et bibit, et ábiit, parvipéndens quod primogénita vendidísset.

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. ―KJV
Mess refers broadly to food: its amount, softness, mixture, companions at table, and location of table. Pottage is a soft, semiliquid food; a simple, boiled stew.

Now, in the english, ‘pottage’ is used thrice. In the latin: pulmentum (appetizer) is used first, coctióne hac rufa (this red cooking) next, and finally, pane et lentis edúlio (bread and lentil edible). Pottage is not much used to-day in english, potage is in french.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Successful fictions

Old propaganda becomes mythologised. When a claim is invented and it appeals to a mindset it joins that fabulous tableaux. I live in a waspish culture. So it is their cache of tropes I was immersed in. My misfortune is, I have no comfort in it. Several of the tropes are utterly false, while others are highly debatable and suspect. Yet, they are resistant to change. Several of these show up, and rattled off in, even, college history survey courses. They are so accepted, that they have become proverbial. They have become successful, so successful that, even, those whom they are directed against believe them. The following are certain, anti-catholic chestnuts. Now, there are other believed fictions in the non-religious sphere also; they are frequent in fields where opposing camps have divided themselves, such as in politics*. When factual corrections, and logical, even irrefutable, evidence is given, the false position, often, withstands the assault of reality.

angels on a pin's head, or needle's point

Isaac D'Israeli (1766-1848), the father of premier Benjamin Disraeli, wished to ridicule Thomas Aquinas and other scholastics and he, not they, brought forth this argument. He may have been familiar with a handful satires written between his time and Thomas' time. He is the author of this fiction. Saint Thomas tells us that angels are non corporeal, so the question never was his.

mediæval flat earth
The man who invented Rip van Winkle, and Ichabod Crane, invented this one. Washington Irving wrote a book on the voyages of Columbus. Salamanca, the spanish university, in 1486 had a discussion on the circumference of the spherical earth, not whether the earth was spherical. The american 'mediæval' mind created this theory in 1828.

adam's belly button
Some people, fundamentalist protestants, are upset with Michelangelo's Sistine painting of Adam. Adam has a navel. This was neither a renaissance, nor mediæval dilemma. God created man (Adam) completely and perfectly intact. Before people read the Bible, in certain protestant manners, and thought processes, this issue was unthinkable.

bibles were kept locked and chained to prevent reading
Bibles, and other books, were chained, in part, for the same reasons some reference books in twentieth century libraries, telephone books in booths, registry books in guard shacks and hotels were--so that people didn't walk off with them, and that the next person could use them. Also some of these mediæval tomes were very valuable, and artworks in themselves. Further, before movable type and the printing press, literacy rates were lower. Further, access to cheap books for a mass public was a nineteenth century phenomenon, as was still greater rates of education and literacy. The rationale depicted in this myth is easily demonstrable as ridiculous, but its true purpose is to project a successful slander.

luther's theses
Luther and the church door posting is a fiction, that, Luther in his own time denied. It is a dramatic, theatrical invention to trumpet his rôle.

spanish inquisition
In some versions 50 million or more were executed. Spain has not that population now in a far more populous world. Where did the bodies come from?

The spanish inquisition went on for centuries. Many real historians would cite the number of executions from one to ten thousand. This is part of the black legend that elizabethan propagandists used to slander, and libel, the spanish enemy. The tudor queen had an extensive terror, torture, and killing operation. A chief difference, between the two, was that the spanish institution allowed for legal defenses for the accused, while much of the english persecution was secret, and extra-legal, confere the tactics of the busheviks.

Galileo was under a condition of house arrest, not torture, nor execution.

mediæval burning of witches
The greatest number of witch trials were during the age of reason. The first english witch was executed in Elizabeth's reign. The scots first executed a great number of supposed witches beginning in 1590, in North Berwick. They were tortured and burnt. James VI was the instigator. Even greater numbers (a few thousand) during the seventeenth century. Calvinists, on both side of the Atlantic, hunted witches. Twenty were executed (nineteen hanged, one crushed) and five died in detention, all in Salem of Massachusetts Bay Colony, during 1692-3. In November of 1688 the irish, catholic, gaelic speaking, ex-slave, Mary Glover was hanged in Boston. Cotton Mather judged her guilty for all that she was as proof of being a witch.

dark ages
In this, supposedly, ignorant span of centuries the church created the university and the hospital as institutions. As a corrective one can read Régine Pernoud († 1998). Her quick, enjoyable read is available in english translation, Those Terrible Middle Ages
(1997). Pernoud points out many historical fallacies, including the mussulman civilising influence, protestantism as liberating (in great contrast to a recent guest, Serene Jones, on the most recent Bill Moyers Journal, where she propagandised on Calvin as I turned on, and then off the set; usually Mr. Moyers has more accurate and credible guests), modernity as freedom and so on.
Republican talk radio is substantially of this nature, as is Fox television. John McCain had to tell a disbelieving woman that Obama was a christian, and not what she had heard. The false issue, that doubts his citizenship is of like nature, but this has always been the modus operandi of the Republicans. Oft told lies, especially appealing lies, are convincing.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Senator Sam Ervin

The Watergate hearings began on the 17th of May 1973, and were widely watched. Some people thought they were a commercial soap opera programme. At times they had high tension. Slowly, but steadily, it was shown that all about Richard Nixon's circle, there was corruption that was willing to smash the guaranteed, legal freedoms of the nation, and its citizens.*

They were chaired by a veteran of the war to end all wars, a Harvard educated lawyer, who greatly studied, and valued the Constitution, a man, who often referred to himself as ‘a country lawyer.’ Samuel Ervin, senator from North Carolina, slowly spoke, and stuttered in a southern speech pattern. He was very capable.

John Ehrlichman was the chief advisor on domestic affairs to president Nixon. Ehrlichman gave authority to burglarise Daniel Ellsberg's doctor's (Lewis Fielding's) office to gather evidence on Ellsberg on reasons of national security. Ellsberg had been a Pentagon analyst. He came to the opinion, that, the war was wrong and should be ended. He lobbied Senators to release certain information, they did not. He went to a New York Times reporter. The story of the Pentagon papers broke, and Nixon and his cadre wanted revenge. In the hearings explanations were called for.

This was one of the many topics discussed in the senate hearings:
Senator Sam Ervin: The foreign intelligence activities had nothing to do with the opinion of Ellsberg's psychiatrist about his emotional or psychological state.

John Ehrlichman snottily: How do you know that, Mr. Chairman?

Senator Sam Ervin: Because I can understand the English language. It's my mother tongue.
The parry and thrust of Mister Ervin's words, in pique, were devastatingly effective. Ehrlichman's haughtiness was deflated by an obvious answer, an almost reflexive tautology, to an insulting and stupid question.

Richard Nixon was a troubled man with ability, and more than a modicum of decency and dignity. There has, hardly, been a better Republican since. Nixon abused the Constitution, and deserved impeachment, and a guilty sentence, and removal from office. He saved the country, and himself, some of the ignominy by resigning. That being said, the events of the régime that seized power during the eight years, that have recently ended, deserves greater scrutiny than anything concerning Nixon and Watergate. It is a great scandal that there has not been many investigations.

The price of freedom is vigilance. Justice has not been active. Obama is but an amelioration of bushjr. The nation deserves more. To-day is the anniversary of our declaration of freedom, the Declaration of Independence. One can recall, on this remembrance of that clarion day, the freedom of our civil liberties against a corrupt, and tyrannical government. Senator Sam Ervin did his nation much service.
*What people remember as, “there’s a cancer on the presidency ”, was:
"I think, I think that, uh, there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we’re, we’ve got. We have a cancer–within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself."--John Dean, (21 March 1973 to Richard Nixon)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Governor resigns

Friday afternoon, on the day before Independence Day, many people are already engaged in holiday mode, not that much work is done in many parts of the US of A. If one is to make an announcement, at that point of time, it would not get a full impact of attention. Now, if one were to read, say last night, that a controversial Republican governor resigned, one may think--Mark Sanford. Remember Sanford?

He was missing, for several days, incomunicado. O, he was returning from Argentina. He was returning after a tryst with a paramour. He is not relinquishing office, after all, King David continued. O, he loved her more than his wife. O, there were other women, that interested him. Are there more self revelations?

O, it is not Sanford, who is resigning. It is Sarah Palin. What? Well she does not embarrass. Government in Alaska is not a full year of business (the legislature meets for three months). If she eyes the presidency, it is early; the new president has not been in office for six months. She has no problem being combative. Many ethics complaints have been filed against her, she alludes to that in her resignation announcement, in which she used both ‘folksy’ chat, and meaningless clichéd political jargon. Something (scandal) of some magnitude may soon emerge*, if she is not just crazier than an outhouse rat. As Johnny Carson would often say, “sometimes it’s just rip and read”:
“Hi Alaska...It's pretty insane - my staff and I spend most of our day dealing with THIS instead of progressing our state now. I know I promised no more "politics as usual," but THIS isn't what anyone had in mind for ALASKA. If I have learned one thing: LIFE is about choices! And one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down, or build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and productivity. I choose NOT to tear down and waste precious time; but to build UP this state and our country, and her industrious, generous, patriotic, free people! Life is too short to compromise time and may be tempting and more comfortable to just keep your head down, plod along, and appease those who demand: "Sit down and shut up", but that's the worthless, easy path; that's a quitter's way out. And a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just hunker down and "go with the flow". Nah, only dead fish "go with the flow". No. Productive, fulfilled people determine where to put their efforts, choosing to wisely utilize precious BUILD UP. And there is such a need to BUILD up and FIGHT for our state and our country. I choose to FIGHT for it! And I'll work hard for others who still believe in free enterprise and smaller government; strong national security for our country and support for our troops; energy independence; and for those who will protect freedom and equality and LIFE...I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade - as so many politicians do. And then I thought - that's what's wrong - many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and "milk it". I'm not putting Alaska through that - I promised efficiencies and effectiveness!? That's not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old "politics as usual."...Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me - sports... basketball. I use it because you're naïve if you don't see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket... and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I'm doing that - keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities - smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it's time to pass the ball - for victory....In the words of General MacArthur said, "We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction."
noto bene: this is an abbreviated script[...],the eccentric punctuation is her operation, the red highlighting is mine.
*postscriptum: as of 13 July '09, other than mental instability, a scandal, other than possible avarice, has not become evident.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shakespeare knew it

How much more would Shakespeare have written if he had a typewriter? Thirty-seven, extant, credited plays, and the other poetry, of verbally dense work are studded with a myriad of gems. There are so many famous quotations, and beyond that many important insights of thought that are overlooked in the vast bounty.

In this one sentence, that has not been memorised by millions, Shakespeare destroys a baseline argument of the busheviks and the condoners of torture:
PORTIA: Ay, but I fear you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak anything. — The Merchant of Venice III. ii. 33-4.
Perhaps, every person literate in english should be familiar with about a dozen plays of Shakespeare. He is meant to be read out loud. Film adaptations of his plays are not all that common, but some of them are excellent, and can be viewed while having the text near by.

Some versions can compare to each other, film to film, film to print, and less at hand--live version to film, print or another live performance. As You Like It was filmed in 1936 and 2006. Elisabeth Bergner and Bryce Dallas Howard played Rosalind. Leon Quartermaine and Kevin Kline played Jacques. Bergner was a european german, and even though, she clearly pronounced each word, one could hear the teutonic tone from a distance, while Howard was brilliant and quite fetching. Quartermaine spoke the seven ages of man speech, in, virtually, the same tone, emotion and rhythm as I did off the page. It was almost unison, i was vainly impressed. Kline played the role far more lackadaisical.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1935 was a delight, and one highlight was the hilarity of James Cagney as Bottom turning into an ass. Kline played the part in 1999. There are several fine, and great, actors appeared on film in Shakespeare. The wonderful part is, that, one can see the performances again and again. Richard Burton’s live performances on stage are not so recoverable for another look and listen. Film on disc is a great service.

But, back to the rack, the elizabethan english employed the rack and other forms of torture, and Shakespeare was fully aware. He had relatives tortured and killed. He himself was occasionally imperiled. Come Rack! Come Rope! (1912), a novel by Robert Hugh Benson, was written concerning that late elizabethan and early stuart time. Men could be broken to say anything true, imagined or fantastic; or for the pleasure of the torturers.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

my name it don't matter

When I was at university, I really became a confirmed folk music enthusiast. I mentioned to schoolmates, that, Bob Dylan was worthy of a Nobel prise; they softly ridiculed me. A while back, I read, he was nominated. To many, his voice is an obstacle. Some enjoy his work when performed by others. I knew one, whom, thought All along the watchtower, by Jimi Hendrix, was the finest rock song. I loved the voices of Joan Baez and Judy Collins. Those of my acquaintance did not. Many hours I played, listened, and sang to the records I enjoyed.

Dylan was not the only poet/lyricist, I found brilliant. There have been very, few, serious poets of the last half century, in the country, whose verses either sing or sting. Springsteen, Simon, Young and some other musicians have written gems, whilst professors and aesthetes type leaden words. Billy Collins has several delightful poems, some Richard Wilbur, and not much else. Robert Frost was a giant, Sandburg nearly and since their deaths it has fell. I know the russians have Vladimir Semjenovič Vysockij, and I have little familiarity of others.

Some of Dylan's songs took ancient folk melodies, and wedded words that had the same feel. Some lyrics struck deeply.
Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest...
Dylan was a young man, and some of the lines were weary and haggard. There is the knowing desperation, the weltschmerz of the observant powerless. I also knew, that, my name it don't matter, and the land i came from is called the midwest. I, most probably, will never be recognised; and though my name means something to me, it does not to others, but i can place myself in time.
...I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
My youth was sharply earnest. I knew it then, and was not going to reject nor deny it, but with the passage of time, I have grown tired, if not wiser. I was older then, i am younger than that now. Sounds a paradox, but that which i would battle then with gusto and awareness, now still exists, and my sabre is not forged. The passage of time puts me unready for engagement, and i knew that then.

Certainly, there are other readings of Dylan, and he encourages an uncertainty as opposed to an understanding. The material after the early periods sings less to me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sanford declares himself King David

"What I find interesting is the story of David, and the way in which he fell mightily, fell in very, very significant ways, but then picked up the pieces and built from there."

"I remain committed to rebuilding the trust that has been committed to me over the next 18 months, and it is my hope that I am able to follow the example set by David in the Bible - who after his fall from grace humbly refocused on the work at hand. By doing so, I will ultimately better serve in every area of my life, and I am committed to doing so."
As I mentioned earlier, there is one standard for Republicans and another for Democrats. At first, I thought, there would not, even, be pressure for Mark Sanford to resign. Sanford is a smug Republican, who has been identified, and self identified, with “conservative family values”, fiscal conservatism and states rights. He voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton on disguised counts of adultery. He has now admitted to being an adulterer, himself. After tearfully confessing in front of cameras, he has received some negative response. This must have been surprising, even though he is an anglican, he is still a southern Republican; and among that demographic electorate, it is expected after the formality of the public, ritual drama of confession of one’s own kind, to one’s own kind, to be forgiven and continue as before; thus making full peace with religious hypocrisy, and no one is to bring it up again. And conversely, one is still allowed to attack an opponent in the same manner as before, because that judgment always stands.

Apparently, he hit a snag, and has upped the ante. He is now like King David, God’s anointed and favorite. Before this proclamation, Nate Silver made the chart supra. I still think Sanford will be governor next month, and next year. Republicans do not resign, they get promoted.

And as a further aside: I have a couple of songs in my mind,
Don't cry for me Argentina
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Postscriptum: I added this to the continuing list:
54. Mark Sanford - South Carolina. There used to be a television show called, Car 54. Where are you? Mark Sanford was missing, not on the Appalachian Trail, but in Argentina after tail. Being an arrogant, self-righteous, teabagger, and a hypocritical adulterer was not enough to add him to this list, that sort of thing is just par for Republicans. The self-aggrandisement to compare oneself, in biblical terms, to King David—the archetypal ruler is. - 27 June 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The baldest of lies

We have a dishonest government. The most dishonest portions of government are those dealing with security, military and police functions. Here is the sine qua non and ne plus ultra: the war department (renamed--department of defense) calls citizen protest, low level terrorism; conversely they call torture, enhanced interrogation. And for dishonest media--Fox television: to-day, Mark Sanford, the Republican governor of South Carolina admitted to a sexual scandal, and Fox labels him -- Mark Sanford (D). Again and again they identify embarrassed Republicans as (D). Just as another side note: with the Ensign affair, and now this, the Republican nominee is boiling down to Romney or Palin.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The apt question

Some friendly teachers, that I have had, make the statement, “There are no stupid questions”, a very broad statement, that may be true in spirit, but untrue in fact. Some questions are asinine, and that insults that beast, when they have no relation to the matter, or even worse, when they are provocatively dishonest. Yet, other questions are precisely perfect. Those go beyond clarification, they frame a resolution appropriately, or especially when they completely destroy the argument before it. Now, those questions that are provocatively dishonest, wish to be that which they are not.

Recently, a public television programme on episodes of indian history was shown. The particular episode was on cherokee resettlement. North Georgia was going to be ethnically cleansed of the red man. A discussion amongst the indians, themselves, was re-enacted. They were to be resettled on similar lands to the west of the Mississippi. One indian asked if those lands are as good as ours, why are they empty? He asked the vital question. There was no rationale, no evidence and no true argument to answer it. The question was devastatingly true.

This sort of question answered and ended the entire line of thought. I remember, hearing more than once, the argument that tries to defuse Jesus, when Jesus says:
Et íterum dico vobis : Facílius est cámelum per forámen acus transíre, quam dívitem intráre in regnum cælórum.
And again I say to you: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew xix. 24.

Facílius est cámelum per forámen acus transíre, quam dívitem intráre in regnum Dei.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. — Mark x. 25.

facílius est enim cámelum per forámen acus transíre quam dívitem intráre in regnum Dei.
For it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. — Luke xviii. 25.
They tell of a gate in the wall called the camel’s eye, or the needle, or something. Yes, the existence of such a thing would change the OBVIOUS meaning of the word of Jesus. BUT, it would have to have existed at the time of Jesus’ speaking, and certainly it did not, nor did anyone mention such a ‘convenient gate for centuries (perhaps until the twentieth). Shakespeare makes an allusion in Richard II, but not in the way of a gospel revisionist of the american prosperity school of capital mammon. I have not found which writer, or speaker, invented this tale of the crawling camel, but in different versions the gate is in Damascus, or another syrian city, or Jerusalem, or Joffa. Sometimes an ancient, but only mediæval ancient, entrance is alluded to. Sometimes there is a statement that points to a late mediæval or early modern writer, but not that the writer is speaking to that interpretation. But, all in all, no real gate has ever existed that gives credence to the supposition, and the crawling camel is still more dubious.

Now, such a supposition would be devastating, but challenging that supposition by devastating fact, totally negates it. Now, there is another view, which states, in aramaic the word for rope was similar to camel, and even that does not change the meaning. There are other semitic sources (talmud, koran, proverbs) that have a camel, or elephant, travel the needle that are similar to the example given by Christ. Perhaps, Jesus meant what he said.

So, when such a false story is given, there is not often, allowed or allotted, the response so as to suggest the statement stands. So a teacher, or presenter, can be opened to be steered to the truth, or resistant, so as to continue course. There are good questions, there are stupid questions and there are bad questions.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ensign, Hoekstra, Palin: A study of the Republican

Now, I contend that nearly, every committed, partisan Republican is demented. This is a severe judgment, the only other judgment, that, the evidence suggests is that they’re hypocritical, duplicitous, miscreants. I wanted to rest these arguments, but this week three ugly heads arose Cerberus like, to remind us all of the unending tonnage of crazy there exists in their store of barrels.

Sarah Palin does not want to be out of the headlines. She began a campaign to blacklist David Letterman. She is an opportunist, a thin skinned hypocrite, and a true bitch. Letterman told an unpleasant joke. Palin has one unmarried daughter, with a bastard child of an athlete, Letterman was referring to her. Palin mounted a campaign, that Letterman, referred to another, younger daughter.

Letterman is employed by CBS. The Bushes had Dan Rather’s scalp in continuous site, and eventually got that scalp from CBS. Palin would enjoy that sort of coup, and so would her rabid admirers. Now, here is part of the hypocrisy: both Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, each, made more than twice as many jokes about Palin’s daughter’s randiness, and there was no outrage. Saturday Night Live made a comment suggesting incest and Palin performed on that show. Palin has a history of vendettas, and a penchant to be filmed.

John Ensign is a senator from Nevada. He has admitted to an extra-marital, sexual affair. When Bill Clinton committed an infidelity, Ensign demanded Clinton’s scalp. These three facts, and actions, he shares in common with Larry Craig, and David Vitter. Craig retired after his term ended. Not one of the three resigned. Is this sort of hypocrisy a requirement to be a Republican senator?

Cornelius Peter Hoekstra is a Republican congressman from Michigan. On June 17th, he sent out an electronique mass communique:

Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.

A website,, formerly, has collected new examples of his rhetorical device, perhaps the best are:
  • I burned my finger this morning on a hot plate, now I know how Joan of Arc felt.
  • My softball game was rained out today. Now I know what Hurricane Katrina felt like.
This rhetorical device, they define thusly:
To Hoekstra is to whine using grandiose exaggerations and comparisons.
Pete has said other stupid things. He, also, promised to serve no more than twelve years as a congressman; he passed that mark over four years ago. He had replaced the bloviating Guy Vander Jagt who spent twenty-six years. Hoekstra, three years ago, discovered five hundred, imaginary, chemical weapons in Iraq. Two years ago, Pete found imaginary, nuclear weapons in Iran.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Corpus Christi Procession

Corpus Christi existed before the city in Tejas. Corpus Christi is the body of Christ, it is the Sacrament. Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper, was the initiation of Corpus Christ and the Sacrament.

It's introduction as a feast was initiated by the urging of St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon and Liège, whom impressed Robert de Thorete, then Bishop of Liège. At that time, bishops could initiate feasts within their diocese. Robert did so in 1246, he died soon thereafter, before the first celebration. Jacques Pantaléon was, at that time, Archdeacon of Liège.

The Bull, Transiturus, was issued in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, whom had been previously Jacques Pantaléon; he died soon thereafter. The feast was extended to the whole latin church. Urban had St. Thomas Aquinas compose a new office for the feast. The songs, Lauda Sion, Sacris Solemniis (which includes, Panis angelicus), Pange lingua gloriosi (which inludes, Tantum ergo) are from Thomas for this day. Another communion hymn of his is Adoro Te Devote.

Even before the changes in celebrations, of the last generation, the US moved this celebration to the Sunday next. It is a public holiday in several lands. It is one of those catholic holidays that disturb the convenience of tourists and commerce.

Soon after introduction, outdoor, theophoric processions became common, and spread to many countries. Of course, with the suppression that came with the triumph of the protestant rebellions, and the imposition of state heresy, such public demonstrations in regard to the faith were absent in several lands. But, to-day with societal apathy being the more pronounced, such public, outdoor processions are an opportunity of evangelisation. People may notice, “Oh, the catholics are having some sort of parade, or something.”

Traditionally the feast is on a thursday, but the procession does not have to be. Since it is a movable holiday, it can fall about 13 June, Saint Anthony of Padua and Lisbon. Saint Anthony is a rightly, popular figure. It has so happened that, adjacent parishes have had, both processions on the same day. What does the bewildered stranger, or unbeliever think?
noto bene: last year, I had another essay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bling and Ferguson

‘Bling bling’ [or ‘bling’ for short] was a term used in a ‘rap’ number by the Cash Money Millionaires (Christopher Dorsey, aka, BG), in 1999, and perhaps, previously by the Silvertones, from Jamaica . It quickly joined the national lexicon, and international lexicon (OED in 2003). At first it was familiar to a certain youth culture, but since it so aptly described an actuality it spread, to the snarky disdain of the clued-in hip.

Bling refers to the shine and clink of ostentatious, extravagant and garish jewelry and ornamentation of the ‘gangsta’ culture and its imitators. Once seen, easily remembered. Perhaps, it is the most well known, and understandingly used, and transferred term of that subculture. Bling is ugly, loud and expensive; well serving its raison d’être.

Its perfection in portrayal of absurd reality strikingly came to me in response to two pieces of filming: in the film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, about Saint Francis, there is a scene, in church, where the rich citizens wear expensive, colorful, and for the most part, beautiful costumes, but about there necks hang huge, bejewelled squares, and away from them―the poor in rags. This bling is the sign of station, without any practical use BUT identification; the other one: Craig Ferguson and crew in lip synchronisation to Fatboy Slim’s, It’s a wonderful night, had a chorus of animal hand puppets wearing bling about their necks. Bling is an advertisement of ugly and unnecessary wealth. This is easily seen by saints and jesters, but not by the ambitious, or those desirous of society’s acceptance.

To diverge on a tangent: Ferguson is in a public niche of his own. He can barely, at times, conceal his knowledge behind buffoonery. In his comedic monologue he once, self-consciously, mentioned reformation history. On one show he mentioned, knowingly, Aristotle and, then later, Picasso. In interview he brought up Aquinas, and in another, Augustine, for questions. I do not know what his past schooling and reading has been, but at least some of it was academically significant. On american, commercial, network broadcasting such references might be unique. These are topics, occasionally, mentioned on public radio and television, and are, therefore, anathema to many.

He needs to fill airtime. He has been employing puppets for humor, and they are funny. Ed Sullivan had Topo Gigo act in a similar rôle, and Señor Wences.

Ferguson reuses several set lines and pieces for familar comic effect: he will remind you, that, “your cat will eat you when you die”; that all dogs speak like Scooby Doo and George Jetson’s Astro; on maps Narnia always borders the place in question; that the glorious land of Scotland is on the northern part of an island, that has the insignificant England beneath her; that all non-anglo, teutonic peoples speak vit dah zame accent, und haf a schared fetisch; Craig portrays himself as sexually ambiguous; and it’s a great day for America, everybody (as he hits the camera).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A police attack

There was the Rodney King incident in California where four cops had batting practice. The officers escaped court justice and a brutal riot took place in Los Angeles. Rodney King was a troubled character, none-the-less he was brutalised by police. The anger and frustration exploded in senseless group criminal action. Some primarily, remember the reaction, the riot, and forget the action, police license unconditional to attack. King was fleeing and had a previous record. The possible existence of police brutality was not considered, by the american public, for some time. The jury involved, effectively, denied it. Some people believed, that oh yes, it existed, and there was no penalty.

In Passaic, New Jersey, a man, described as mentally defective and peaceful, was assaulted by a thug, on 29 May 2009. The thug was a uniformed, on duty, member of the local police force, Joseph R. Rios III. Now, we live in a society that has surveillance cameras in abundance. After some time of beating, passerbys witness the action. Often, such future testimony is suppressed, and an active search is not done, unless to scare off witnesses. The camera cannot be pressured, destroyed yes, lost yes. But, since the camera was visible, and assumingly within the repeated path of the police, one would think there was cognition of its existence and function.

Ronnie Holloway, aged 49, is standing on the curb of an intersection. A police car stops. A female cop tells/instructs/orders/commands/asks? him to zip up his jacket. As he does so, the other cop, comes up from behind and begins the attack. Now, at this point one should stop and think. Why does the first cop tell Holloway to adjust his clothing? Is there any known dress code that is enforceable, in New Jersey? One is often reminded that in strict moslem societies there are. Are police free to invent laws? Or is it meant to occupy and distract Holloway, so as the other cop has a clear and free shot to pummel Holloway?

Holloway was thrown into a cell for the night to heal. He was charged with resisting arrest. The surveillance camera shows no resistance of any kind, there has not been noted a word, that, Holloway may have said. Clearly, it is the routine and nonsensical charge that blankets false arrests. The auxiliary charge of disorderly conduct is similar, and was tagged on. The victim was also charged with the even vaguer, and mind reading, charge of wandering for the purpose of obtaining controlled dangerous substances.” Does Passaic not have an ordinance of failing to comply with a lawful order? Oh, he was zipping up his jacket.

Mister Holloway’s defense is that walking is his chief pastime. Oh, what these wild youth do for kicks. This has been reported to be Holloway’s first legal trouble. The police do not want to talk to the press, or the world about this.

There are always people to defend the most outrageous, stupid and vicious police actions. Many of these people will decry the laxness of punishment for criminals. One standard for one group, another standard for another is not equal justice for all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trinity Sunday, First after Pentecost

Domenico Fetti. Parable of the Mote and the Beam. 1619. New York City.
Estote ergo misericordes sicut et Pater vester misericors est. Nolite judicare, et non judicabimini: nolite condemnare, et non condemnabimini. Dimitte, et dimittemini. Date, et dabitur vobis: mensuram bonam, et confertam, et coagitatam, et supereffluentem dabunt in sinum vestrum. Eadem quippe mensura, qua mensi fueritis, remetietur vobis. Dicebat autem illis et similitudinem: Numquid potest cæcus cæcum ducere? nonne ambo in foveam cadunt? Non est discipulus super magistrum: perfectus autem omnis erit, si sit sicut magister ejus. Quid autem vides festucam in oculo fratris tui, trabem autem, quæ in oculo tuo est, non consideras? aut quomodo potes dicere fratri tuo: Frater, sine ejiciam festucam de oculo tuo: ipse in oculo tuo trabem non videns? Hypocrita, ejice primum trabem de oculo tuo: et tunc perspicies ut educas festucam de oculo fratris tui.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not: and you shall not be judged. Condemn not: and you shall not be condemned. Forgive: and you shall be forgiven.Give: and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again. And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? Do they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. And why seest thou the mote in thy brother's eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye: and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye. — Luke vi. 36-42. DRC
Now, the first three Gospels are called synoptic, in being similarly comprehensive. A gospel reading from to-day, and the week, in the old rite, is from Luke; compare the beginning, of the third part, of the sermon on the mount from Matthew’s Gospel vii. 1-5:
Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
The Mote and the Beam would be a cute name for a public house (saloon) somewhere. Vision and perception can be disturbed after drinking. Tunnel vision is a form of myopia. Selectively criticising is also myopic, and hypocritical, as it employs discrepant standards, or as kids in the schoolyard have it--rubber and glue.

Charity and humility are called for, and this will bring mercy to you. How does God behave? How do you, or I, behave?

Fetti was employed by the cardinal, and later Duke of Mantua, Fernando Gonzaga. For him he painted thirteen illustrations of parables, for his studiola (cabinet room), for contemplation. In the one supra, both men are pointing to the other’s eye. The series proved popular, Fetti
’s workshop made several copies as did others. Several of Fetti’s parable paintings are together in Dresden, along with some Fetti’s Old Testament scenes.
last year's essay on the first Gospel reading

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A second Sysack sign

To-day I see that Harry (Russell Sysack) has another sign. Sometimes one is surprised at his chosen targets. He gives his opinion on "conservative talk radio & the liberal tv news media". On a few he splits the arrow. He is scatologically correct on Bennett, Hannity and Limbaugh.

Friday, June 5, 2009

An incident in Collinwood:

A lesson in urban geography and sociology:
It has been reported, yesterday evening, in the local Cleveland news, the ending of a crime campaign in a Collinwood neighborhood. Seventeen houses were broken into, and seemingly all done by a thirteen year old, eighth grader. All the houses targeted were between the tracks of the old New York Central (now Amtrak and Conrail) and the Norfolk and Western railroads, from Saranac to Mandalay Avenues. The northeast terminus was Spellacy junior high school. St. Clair Avenue splits the territory in half. The northerly half is about Saint Mary's, and the southerly about Holy Reedemer, churches. The two areas had been pre-dominately slovene, and pre-dominately italian. It was a rough, working class neighborhood in its vibrant days, and not particularly welcoming to anyone.

Now, it must be understood that Cleveland had been very segmented by turf, very much the Chicago model in patterns of settlement distribution. Before the first world war, there was very few negroes in the city. During the second world war matters changed. In the 1950s and ’60s black migration from the southern states became very significant. From an area around Central Avenue black population expanded on the east side. Formerly white neighborhoods became black quickly.

There was resentment, and there still is. The general sociological, economic, and political events that took place in the US, and especially what happened to the industrial, now rust belt, was quite true for Cleveland.

Banks, and the normal mortgage companies, did not want to deal with the blacks. They had to have some quarters. Previously, for the negroes who worked on the trains, the railroad owned houses, and this was prior the big migration. So other than tenamentised apartments owned by landlords, there came housing contracts, in which the new owners, and the old neighbors were badly treated. Blacks would ‘buy’ houses at, even, a multiple of their old worth. To keep these houses, they often, had to make each payment on time, or the house would be forfeit. So, in response the houses would often be overcrowded, and not kept in repair. These unscrupulous blockbusters, made much money as they, destroyed neighborhoods. They would buy low, after the initial entrance, and sell high and collect, and often recollect. Sometimes they would double as lawyers, accountants and realtors, not always transparently.

It became apparent to white residents, that, blacks would ruin a neighborhood. At the current time, there are twenty one wards in Cleveland; wards one to ten have been (virtually) all black for most of this time. Ward 11, in the northeast corner of the city, is most of Collinwood. Wards 1 through 10 have always had black councilmen.* Ward 11 has a white councilmen, Mike Polensek. He has been a councilman for nearly a generation†. For a short time the barrier to black settlement was at East 140th Street, it fell as did others. East 152nd Street held as a barrier, it also fell; but the area west of 152nd has been virtually all black for a generation, the area east still has some white residents.

Two summers ago it came public, that Polensek had been writing angry letters to black, juvenile, criminals, whom were engaging in crime in Collinwood, and lived outside of Collinwood. For a couple of days he was called a racist. Well, all these break-ins happened in Ward 11, in the area bounded by East 152nd, Spellacy (that is another tale of urban geography and politics within itself), and the two railroads. The burglar has not been publicly identified. He is a resident in Polensek’s ward.

This is emblematic of a lot of the resentment white people, here often white ethnic groups, have for black people, and especially black juveniles. Here it has not been stated, his race or name, which, by past practice, highly suggests his race. The remaining, often elderly, some immigrants from the old country, have felt besieged and endangered for decades; for when the neighborhood changes, the new residents, especially, the young have no respect for the old. Blacks often find this as fuel for their resentments.

This is part of the scenery, along with declining job opportunities for all residents in the area, the demographics, the family patterns, racial attitudes, the busing and desegregation of the public schools in 1975, the riots in 1966 and 1968. Both, black and white, have been victims of bad economics. Blacks have suffered from their american experience in totality, and white clevelanders (and others) have suffered from the resultant black sociology.
*prior to 1982 there were 33 wards, soon there will be 19
†a generation is 33 years, three in a century. Polensek has been in council since 1977.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Value of olive boughs

We live in the now, the Bible was written in the then. I propose, and not alone, that, time flows from the past to the now, and not vice versa. It is extremely irksome, when someone interprets biblical passages backwards from modern understandings, and then uses that as premise to a conclusion. This is dishonest and logically false. This is a principle (past→now) that should hold! [not: ∵now→past∴now] Now, to use a biblical passage as a prologue to a current situation, I propose, is fair. Concentrating on two phrases, “portans ramum olívæ”* and “non succídes arbores”† (carrying an olive branch, and by no means cut down trees), I will apply, to current situations.

At a meeting, last night, one of the participants said, “Let’s offer an olive branch.”. In agreement, I responded, “Olive branches are cheap”, meaning as a gesture, and action, it is both easy, and if successful, efficacious. Now, Noë knew, this meant that God was appeased, sufficiently, so that man could return to the land. After this God sealed the peace with the appearance of the rainbow. The dove with the bough of olive, and the rainbow have been signs of peace.

Not being familiar with semitic languages, I will continue none-the-less, the equivalent of ‘non succídes’ is bal tashchit (do not destroy). For some, this takes on an environmental stewardship command. Truly, in many respects: pollution, desertification, urban sprawl, climate change..., this is an operant, and valid concept.

This biblical passage from the Books of Moses, prohibits military destruction of fruitful trees. The trees are non-combatants. Also, after the battles are done, and presumably peace arrives, the destruction lasts for many years, continuing the aggression into the supposed peace.

Still to-day in occupied Palestine, agriculture is a goodly portion of the economic base. Olives are the second highest export. Olive wood carvings are sold the world around, often with the buyers sentimentality in being connected with the Holy Land. Olive trees live in poor soil, and dry climate, and take many years to produce a good crop, and can live for centuries—a very good plant. They provide oil for soap, for fuel, for cooking, for church purposes. Olives as food are preserved for later use.

In the current troubles stemming from the Intifada, the destruction of the olive tree has been policy by the Israeli military and bandits. The first year, 2000, 374,030 trees‡ were destroyed. This has continued. The creation of the apartheid walls, serpenting Palestine, destroy groves, and deny access to remaining trees. It is ongoing. “Jewish settlers ”, amongst other acts, cut and burned olive trees at the beginning of this week.

As the lebanese have had the cedar as a national symbol and attachment, so have the palestinian arabs the olive. As in the 19th century american plains buffalo (bison) were slaughtered by army and settlers, so as to starve and destroy the indians, this is premeditated policy.

*At illa venit ad eum ad vésperam, portans ramum olívæ viréntibus fóliis in ore suo: intelléxit ergo Noë quod cessássent aquæ super terram.
And she came to him in the evening, carrying a bough of an olive tree, with green leaves, in her mouth. Noe therefore understood that the waters were ceased upon the earth. — Genesis viii. 11.
†Quando obséderis civitátem multo témpore, et munitiónibus circumdéderis ut expúgnes eam, non succídes árbores, de quibus vesci potest, nec secúribus per circúitum debes vastáre regiónem : quóniam lignum est, et non homo, nec potest bellántium contra te áugere númerum.
When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee. — Deuteronomy xx. 19.
‡Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture figures

Monday, June 1, 2009

what is a talent?

Now, I can think of ten parables without thumbing books. I would say about four everyone would list (The Good Shepherd, The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, Poor Lazarus [or as the english say, Dives and Lazarus]). There is a parable of the ten talents. What does it mean? The first logical question is--what is a talent? [if you have followed this journal, you may notice there is no illustration]

Now, the way we understand 'talent' is that of aptitude of ability, or gift. That meaning has been interpolated from a parable of Jesus. At that time it had no such meaning. A thousand years later, it still did not. What meaning it did have for centuries before, was that of mass and weight [of money]. There was no one coin, and the exact number and composition of coin changed. There is ambiguity.

The minimum is three thousand shekels, at times--six thousand. These shekels could be silver, or they could be gold. Gold is worth more than silver. (The US used to have silver dollars, a comparable sized gold coin, was a double eagle, twenty dollars [both about 90% true]. At the end of the 19th century, a major political issue was the failed demand to return to the old ratio, between silver and gold, at 16:1.) Saint Jerome understood a talent to be ten thousand gold shekels.

Now, what was a shekel? One shekel was a tetradrachma (four drachmas). One drachma was equal to one denarius. One denarius or drachma was a day's wage.*

There are 365 days in a year. There is no work to be done on the sabbath, there are 52 sabbaths a year. There are some holidays where no work is done. Roughly three hundred work days a year for the fully employed. How many days did the average non slave work?

The maximum a laborer would make per annum would be 300 denarii. A roman soldier's salary was less than 300 denarii. The smallest talent is 12,000 denarii silver (the largest 40,000). It would take 40 years of full employment, to equal wages, of one talent. The average life expectancy was less than 40 years. The probability of a servant (read slave) or laborer to have created a talent approached zero.

Jesus' audience were the poor. They would never see a talent, certainly not have one. A talent was a fortune, because of what a talent means to-day, the operative word would be akin to fortune, or a million (or a bazillion) dollars. What master would trust a servant with that, while he was away, for an unspecified time? What servant would stay?
But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine. And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury. -- Matthew xxv. 24-27.
The servant accuses, and the man admits, that he is a 'hard man'. This hard man 'reaps and gathers' where he neither 'sown nor strewed'. He takes profits where he never worked, is that not a damning statement? He then abuses his fearful servant. The servant is told, that he, should have engaged in usury. Usury was forbidden by religious law.

Now, we know of some current american exegeses of this passage, and now, there are four legitimate gospels. The prosperity gospel, the gospel according to Milton Friedman, the gospel of Adam Smith, and the gospel of Harvard Business School are not them. What those, who, heard Jesus spake knew this 'lord' could not be G*d. To suggest that would have been blasphemy. Perhaps, the parable is one of the hard sayings of Jesus. He did want people to think, consider and ruminate. Or perhaps some, people of to-day, form their ideas into their interpretations. Perhaps one ought to read the fathers and doctors of the church, and not parrot the charlatans on television, or the mouthfoamers on the radio.

Under the old rite this parable, there are some 33, was not read at mass. To-day it is in cycle A, the 33rd week of ordinary time, and in the shorter form the portion quoted is not read.
*And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
conventione autem facta cum operariis ex denario diurno misit eos in vineam suam -- Matthew xx. 2.
confer: the householder, here who, hired labourers for the vineyard, with this 'hard man'.
noto bene: a shekel was multi-thousand, also legion was
multi-thousand. In the roman army, a legion was four to six thousand.
And he asked him: What is thy name? And he saith to him: My name is Legion, for we are many.--Mark v. 9.
And Jesus asked him, saying: What is thy name? But he said: Legion. Because many devils were entered into him.--Luke viii. 30.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

La Pucelle, Sainte Jeanne d’Arc

Thérèse de Lisieux portraying Jeanne d’Arc

Many are the images of this french teenager. She, that saved France from the anglais, and was so treacherously, dastardly, wickedly and cruelly martyred by her captors. Two centuries later, even Shakespeare blasphemed her. But again and again, she inspired France.

We have always lived in a biased world. It is nearing six hundred years from time she walked the world. One can say, that, it was just an episode of mediæval dynastic war, perhaps a bit more interesting than most, but apparently, immediately after her initial public appearance, her presence was real celebrity. Quickly, the english were unnerved, apoplectic and desperate. Agincourt was not in the distant past. Most of non-burgundian France was either occupied by [or in proximately pending] the english. France would be as Poland in the century prior the first world war. The french nation would exist, but the state gone. France was desperate

Even in doing the most un-christian, and anti-christian acts, people thought in christian terms. The english had a remarkable reversal. Either God, or the devil conspired against England, and the agent was Jeanne. The english needed to demonize Jeanne, otherwise they were damned.

Charles VII, the french king, who owed his crown to Jeanne was despicably aloof and negligent. The burgundians, who captured Jeanne, were avaricious. Jeane was sold by the burgundians to the english, for the price of king, a king’s ransom, ₤ 10,000.

The trial and conditions under which she was held were illegal and criminal, and everyone, whom, brought this up was either, ignored, dismissed, dispatched and endangered. The english wanted her tried as a witch, no evidence was available. She was to be tried as an heretic. Her persecutor in charge was Peter (no longer Pierre) Cauchon, the bishop driven from Beauvais, and desirous of Rouen, a lackey of Cardinal Winchester. Cauchon had not jurisdiction, but ambition. Winchester was the wealthiest, and most powerful, man in England. He was uncle to the regents of England, and the occupied possessions in France. Jeanne had no chance to survive. Michelet wrote, “Never were the Jews filled with such hatred against Jesus as the English against the Maid.” The english wanted her shamed, recanting and burnt.
an idealised martial statue
Jeanne’s mission was on the surface warlike, but it really had the effect of ending a century of war, and her love and charity were so broad, that they could only be matched by Him who prayed for His murderers. ― Arthur Conan Doyle, who translated a french biography of our heroine in 1924.
People have found in Jehanne, or presented, what they want. She is used for noble purposes, and base. She is loved and respected; and she is used to promote inanities. There have come out theories concerning her as varied as the causes of dinosaur extinction. Do not be so gullible to run with the next one that appears in the press.

Some great writers have fell in love with her: Schiller, Shaw, Twain. One of the best silent films ever made was that on her trial, La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer (1928). It was on her trial testimony, which the original is extant, that her strength, spirit and sanctity was shown. All the marvel and gallantry of her campaigns for France were not central. In her interrogations, she was caught by the church militant, the visible church, and she maintained that the church triumphant, the invisible church smiled on her. She was soldier and martyr. Her martyrdom trial confirmed her sanctity.

Michelet ends with:
A secretary of the king of England, as he returned, said aloud, “We are lost, we have burnt a saint.”

Sainte Jeanne
*Domremy ............1412

rehabilitated ..........1456
cause introduced 1869;
Actor Causae: Félix A.P. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans
nulla osta...............1894
declared venerable 1904

Friday, May 29, 2009

Are ‘pro-lifers’ pro-life?

I was in conversation, with a friend, and he said, “capital punishment is euthanasia”. He was exactly right.

I have seen many people denounce abortion, and yet favor execution by the state, offensive and defensive war, torture, increasing poverty and gun proliferation. I have seen the same people object to government welfare programmes. They invent specious and vacuous arguments as premises, the academic logic is absent. Usually they ARE against assisted suicide and other sorts of euthanasia.

To be pro-life, one must be more than anti-abortion. Some of the intellectual divides are hard to make, others should be extremely easy. How can a moral person be for torture or elective war? They can not be, by definition.

Capital punishment can be just, when the crime is great enough, and the individual who is responsible is the one to be executed. The state has a judicial and political right to do so. Capital punishment is still death, it is a form of euthanasia. It has been applied haphazardly and unjustly often. It is not the christian response! It is pro-death.

Sometimes it is a choice of the lesser of two evils. I also belief in the just war theory. But, in modern war, increasingly, just war does not approach the thresholds of justness. Modern war is, primarily, the killing of non-combatants. In bushjr’s iraq war people LIED, completely, about it being a ‘just war’, when it only was just war for the purpose of war, and of course the whole thing was based on lies.

― To be pro-choice on abortion is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-war is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-euthanasia is to be pro-death.
― To be pro-capital punishment is to be pro-death.
― Capital punishment is euthanasia.
― To be pro-torture is to be pro-death.
― Gun proliferation is pro-death.
― Extending poverty is pro-death.
― Drug abuse and its black market is pro-death.
― O, yes many, many people are pro-death.

Killing is never good. Some may say, some killing is more egregious than others, and some killing is not so bad. I will agree, that, some is more senseless, and more cruel. All killing is bad. People have a right to self-defense, but killing is still evil.

To-day, is Shavous, the pentecost of the hebrews, fifty days after Passover. Shavous is the day Moses received the Ten Commandments. One commandment is Thou shalt not kill. The command is not modified, nor conditional.*

It is simple. To be pro-life is to be anti-death, to be pro-death is to be anti-life. There is nothing being justified. No killing, do not engage in killing, Thou shalt not kill. To say: this killing is acceptable....this killing is good... this killing is unacceptable... this killing is bad... is being pro-choice, it is making selections at the life and death cafeteria. People who call themselves pro-choice are some times pro-life on this fetus, and some time pro-death on that one. A person who is truly, pro-life has a catholic consistency, he does not pick and choose, and reject entrées, so as to be a cafeteria pro-lifer.

These and other acts are all pro-death. I believe in consistency. I disdain double standards. I believe in christian mercy and clemency.

If one is TRULY pro-life, he must be broadly pro-life, not narrowly and selectively. Pro-choice people are narrowly and selectively pro-abortion, or pro-life on pregnancies.

I know, when people say pro-life, they mean anti-abortion, sometimes exclusively. Honestly, they are two different terms, in which pro-life is inclusive of the other, and being inclusive, is the broader, and therefore, should be recognised as such.

If one is only speaking of abortion, then one is either pro-abortion, or anti-abortion. Pro-life and pro-choice are not logical, twin, diametrically, opposite alternatives. When there is one issue and two views, one must be pro and the other con (or anti). Having two ‘pros’ is debate trickery, it is a falsity. I have argued what ‘pro-life’ is; ‘pro-choice’ is only a cover for pro-abortion, it is duplicitous.

I am pro-life and anti-abortion, or anti-abortion and pro-life! One is not pro-life, in actuality, if they are ONLY anti-abortion. In our recent christian past, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Pope John Paul the Great, Joseph Bernardin†, and Oscar Romero were genuinely, consistently pro-life.
noto bene: this was a continuation, of a point of the last essay.
*(this is a postscript clarification) The Latin is simple, Non occídes”; but the Hebrew verb used, r-ṣ-ḥ, is more flexible. There is debate, that, the prohibition is of murder. Semantics sometimes matter a lot. Is it general and absolute? or vague? or poetic? Non occídes” is St. Jerome's learned translation of Hebrew c. a.D. 400. English translation of academic Hebrew c.a.D. 2000 may be Do not murder”.
†Joseph Cardinal Bernardin gave the Gannon lecture at Fordham, on 6 December
1983. The spectrum of life cuts across the issues of genetics, abortion, capital punishment, modern warfare and the care of the terminally ill.