the distortion of discernment—I think we call it fear

“. . . we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil,
death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”.
We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the
midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it,
with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally
pro-life.”

(Evangelium Vitae)
Pope John Paul II


(detail of a painting I did 11 years ago/ Julie Cook)

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of distortion is:
the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural,
or original state

The definition of discernment is:
the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure

After reading Oneta’s post yesterday over on Sweet Aroma, I was moved
in wanting to echo her thoughts regarding her topic Roe v Wade and the
near cataclysmic and apocalyptic affect the notion of a new Supreme Court justice,
who happens to be a practicing Catholic and mother to seven, is having on the
Democratic party and those who are ardent Pro-Choice supporters.

Here is the link to Oneta’s post
REVIEW NOT WANTED

The entire fiasco taking place in this very public and radically vicious and divisive
confirmation hearing over the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is not based
on the merit of her time spent in court nor of the legal training or arduous education
she labored over in order to become a lawyer and judge, but rather,
it is over one simple thing…that thing, being fear.

It is the fear that a legal precedent determined in a court case in 1973 will be
automatically reversed.
As in POOF…should she be appointed to the bench, the henny penny folks
are thinking that suddenly a ruling from 1973 becomes null and void.

It doesn’t work that way folks.

Yet it is fear that is driving this train.
Fear for and over both life and death.

I thought I’d google quotes for the phrase “the sanctity of life”

One would think that Goodreads or even brainyquote, two of the top sites when one
is searching for a quote, would have tons of good quotes…but oddly
both had a mere handful—mostly obscure, a smattering of the well known, and
several of those in favor of population control.

I did not see the quotes by those who I knew in the past had spoken out very strongly
on that very thought.
And if memory serves me well, I had found those quotes among those very sites in past years.

My number one thought being Pope John Paul II…Mother Teresa coming in second.
I had to go back and google quotes by JPII just to find his words
on the subject…and find them I did.

I am still baffled by those who call themselves Catholic in faith and yet defend and even
promote the very idea of abortion…
How can you call yourself a Catholic and voice support for things that
are totally opposed to the tenents of your faith?

Or how can you call yourself a Christian and support the things that are
totally opposed to the command of God?

Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are two that come to mind.
Catholic in name only—and if I recall, such a person is usually not
allowed to receive Holy Communion—for to oppose the doctrine of the Church
is to cut one’s self from the Chruch.

The following are a few of Pope John Paul’s thoughts regarding the
sactity of life—both for the unborn as well as for the dying.

“A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members;
and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying.”

(Address to the New Ambassador of New Zealand to the Holy See May 25, 2000)

“As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”
(Homily, Perth, Australia, Nov. 30, 1986)

“No country on earth, no political system can think of its own future otherwise
than through the image of these new generations that will receive from their parents
the manifold heritage of values, duties and aspirations of the nation to which they
belong and of the whole human family. Concern for the child, even before birth,
from the first moment of conception and then throughout the years of infancy and youth,
is the primary and fundamental test of the relationship of one human being to another.”

(Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations Oct. 2, 1979)

“Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God Who was
made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church.
Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the
Church’s very heart;
it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation
of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life
in all the world and to every creature (cf. Mk 16:15).”

(Evangelium Vitae)

“Not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to
be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing,
but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself,
darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning,
is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in
what concerns the basic value of human life.”

(Evangelium Vitae)

O mortal

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


(a blue heron caught trapsing through the woods on a my husband’s trail cam / 2020)

When I read my ‘daily verse’ Friday morning,
a new verse for each new day that I receive each morning,
I read Friday’s verse, over my phone, early while still rather bleary-eyed.
BAM
it was like being stung by a hornet from out of the blue.
An electric shock ran through my entire being.
I simply put my phone down…staying silent for quite some time, stung by
what I had just read.

O mortal.
What does the Lord require of you?

Talk about a wave of real humility washing over me.
And that’s when it hit me.

We are each, indeed, mere mortals.
And we are here to do the work of The Creator…
not the work of man…

And so when have you heard that on the news..

We are the created, not the Creator.

How do I behave toward my neighbor?
How toward my brothers?
If I except a single one, it is not Jesus Christ I consider in them.
If I love them, it is merely so that I may be liked and considered,
or because their character suits mine. Let us each one see Jesus Christ in his neighbor.

St. Claude de la Colombière
from The Spiritual Direction of Claude de la Colombière

“Objective evidence is irrelevant”

Christians are now being punished for what others think
David Roberston

Yesterday I shared a post by our friend Gavin Ashenden–his post was about mob rule
and the cancel culture.
It was a post which highlighted the cancel culture attacking J.K. Rowling and her
defense of biological sex.

Despite Rowling being an ardent feminist, the mob has cared not…
all because in the mind of the mob,
biological sex does not exist and don’t you or anyone else dare to say otherwise.

Dr. Ashenden noted that in today’s topsy turvy society, truth is considered to be anathema,
an abomination…and because truth is perceived as hurtful and in turn hateful,
it is something that must now be canceled because the mob will not tolerate it.

So let that sink in…this current culture of ours will not tolerate truth—
because truth runs contrary to the mob’s own beliefs.

Truth has become the foremost casualty in this insidious culture war of ours.

And so I found it more than coincidental that yesterday, a day following Dr, Ashenden’s post,
our now down-under friend David Roberston wrote a column for Christianity Today based
on this very notion of the mob, truth, personal thought, and the lack of tollerance

The story focused on the firing of a young, UK Christian teacher, Kristie Higgs
for something, she had posted on her personal Facebook page.

She wrote the post using her maiden name and did not mention anything about being a teacher
herself, nor anything about the school where she worked but rather she wrote a post as a mother
who was concerned about what her young son was being taught in his school.

According to David’s article, “She was concerned about her nine-year-old son being taught
that gender is just a social construct and you can change your gender if you wish.
She objected to the mandatory Religious and Sex Education,
which the government had determined was to be taught to children as young as four.
She argued, correctly, that it was brainwashing.”

“She was concerned about the impact of transgender ideology being taught to young children –
a concern which is more than justified by the evidence becoming available which describes
the harm that is being caused to children.

But an anonymous complainant went to the headteacher and described her posts as
“homophobic and prejudiced to the LGBT community”.
The headteacher is then reported to have asked the complainant to find more offensive posts.
Kristie was subsequently investigated, suspended and fired.
The panel which investigated her, said her views were “pro-Nazi”
and she was told to “keep your religion out of it” when she tried to defend herself.

According to the tribunal, her dismissal
“was the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed
gross misconduct”.
Kristie was not dismissed for her beliefs but rather because of the beliefs of the school.
I have a genuine belief that the tribunal was being irrational, discriminatory and prejudiced
by the criteria the tribunal uses,
so that means they should find themselves guilty! Unless my belief is irrelevant,
that is, and only some beliefs count.

It gets worse. The tribunal states that Mrs Higgs was found guilty of posting items
on Facebook that “might reasonably lead people who read her posts to conclude that she
was homophobic and transphobic”.
Yet that same tribunal admitted that Mrs Higgs was not transphobic or homophobic,
nor did they state that the posts themselves were transphobic or homophobic –
just that some people might think they were, and thus they would cause upset.

That is why this ruling is so important. If this judgement is allowed to stand,
it will mean two things. Firstly, the whole standard of law will now be changed.
Guilt is now determined not upon evidence but simply upon the faith and feelings
of the prosecuting party! Based on an anonymous complaint, a tribunal decided that
a private post (which was not available to the public) was sufficient grounds
for an employee to be fired. This means that anyone who finds what someone says
to be potentially upsetting or offensive, now has the ability to get them fired.
Objective evidence is irrelevant. (my bold text)

Except it does not mean that.
It does not mean that ANYONE who finds something offensive can get someone else fired.
It just means that only certain approved and protected groups have the ability to use
the law to enforce their views.
I suspect that the school would not have fired a teacher who posted a message
that I would find offensive about Christianity. If this judgement stands,
we will have lost the principle of ‘all are equal before the law’.

In the Brave New Britain, some are now more equal than others and a society
is emerging where pluralism is disappearing and along with it, freedom of religion,
freedom of speech and freedom of thought. State approved indoctrination within the schools
is now going to be backed up by the law, which in effect bans all other points of view.

It is ironic that Mrs Higgs was accused of holding Nazi-like beliefs by a school
which is using Nazi-like authoritarian methods (kangaroo courts, anonymous complainants,
transgression of state ideology) to impose its own exclusive ideology.

David rounds out his piece with a similar lament which we read yesterday by Dr. Ashenden…
the real help in this mad mad world of ours is going to have to come from the Chruch.

But what of this Chruch of ours—this global community of believers?

“The church needs to be united on this and I realise how difficult that
is when so many churches have sold out to progressive ideology.
It speaks volumes that Steve Chalke, in light of this case,
not only warned that churches who do not accept this ideology face prosecution,
but also suggested that even expressing pastoral concern or praying for people with
gender confusion or unwanted same-sex attraction was “psychologically abusive”.
In these times of moral confusion,
those of us who love the Lord and want to stand on his word need to stick together.

Christians Are Now Being Punished For What Others Think – CT

“it isn’t hate to speak the truth”

And there you have the heart of the matter:
‘it isn’t hate to speak the truth.”

Dr. Gavin Ashenden


(the surge of the storm / Julie Cook/ 2020)

The truth isn’t always pretty but it is, in the end, still always the truth.

I just read our dear friend, Dr. Gavin Ashenden’s latest post
“Cancel culture attacks people rather than ideas”

He begins his post by examining the latest brouhaha that has engulfed the famed Harry Potter
author J.K. Rowling along with the quagmire she stepped into when she chose to defend the idea
of biological sex.

This time, Mr. Rowling’s issue is not about witchcraft and anti-Christian rhetoric
but rather it’s all about biology.

Biological sex to be specific—meaning that a male is a male and a female is a female.
It seems that that basic biology lesson is oh so passe in our current culture.
Forget that there are males and females…we are all now one big hodgepodge of this and that.
Who and what ‘this and that’ may be is totally up for grabs.

Say you are a 9-year-old little girl who decides you should be a boy.
Our current culture will say “Great!” “You may get a sex change
(even without parental consent mind you) or, if you prefer,
you can simply call yourself a boy despite being still a girl.”
“It’s all totally up to you. Forget biology!”
And tomorrow if you change your mind, no problem…except that is,
if you went through with the surgery then there’s a bit of a problem.
Oh well…

And yet this is not to say that there is not a tiny percentage of people who actually do
have a disorder known as gender dysphoria where they actually feel trapped in the wrong body.
But that percentage is minuscule compared to the wave of pick and choose we’re currently
witnessing.

In his post, the good doctor examines the bizarre growing trend against biology
along with those who still cling to the obvious notion of male and female.
Something I suspect most of us do.
A notion Ms. Rowlings opted to defend despite her being quite the feminist.

Yet it appears that even feminists are not exempt from the mob.
This current cancel culture mob has proclaimed itself to be the gatekeeper
to all things choice…and if you dare veer from their view, woe be unto you.

Dr. Ashenden explains,
“Cancel culture’ is a new phrase.
It’s only been around two or three years.
It represents something as horrible as it is dangerous.
It involves the mob closing someone down, and taking away either their freedom to speak,
their job or their place in society.

What is so odd about it is that we have become sharply concerned as a society
about hate and bullying.
You would think that if there was any consistency around,
anything that acted as a weapon for bullying and hatred would be found repulsive and rejected?

But the opposite has happened.

A lot of small vulnerable people have been ‘canceled’.
They have lost their jobs, and had their reputations as decent people trashed.
No one seems to have been willing to stand up against this politically correct bullying,
until they targeted JK Rowling.

It’s just possible she is rich enough and powerful enough and admired enough to see off
the mob, but it’s not guaranteed.
Amazon is full of fake hate reviews trying to trash her latest book and stop it being read.

He continues:
But I found myself asking how we got here?
Just in case there is any chance of escaping from this cultural mob violence
in which no one is safe.

A psychologist called Jonathan Haidt found himself asking the same questions and wrote
a very perceptive book about it.
‘The Coddling of the American Mind.”

He suggested that three very well-intentioned but utterly disastrous attitudes
had been slipped into the education system in America and the anglophile world.

The first was about suffering and took the form of
‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.”

The second was about the relationship between feelings and thoughts or analysis;
and became “whatever you really feel is really true.”

The third was that the world was made up not of good and bad ideas,
but good and bad people, and you had to destroy the bad people to be made safe.

So we now have a generation who are terrified of suffering and feeling hurt in any way.
In fact Haidt felt that the constant catastrophizing in the media,
was bringing a generation close to a state of almost clinical mental illness.

One of the most powerful antidotes to depression has been found to be
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT.
At its center lies the skill of recalibrating feelings so they come second to a more
sane and well-judged mental analysis.
If that’s true, you can see what emotional paralysis we face by being unable to
discipline or re-inform raw feelings in a counseling obsessed culture where getting
in touch with feelings has become paramount, and trumps everything else.

Most mature philosophical and religious traditions recognise that it’s ideas rather
than the people who hold them, who are good or perverse.
So you fight the ideas, and try to change peoples’ minds.
But cancel culture settles very happily for destroying the people.

How do we escape these three disastrous attitudes?
We may need to find a philosophy or religious tradition with deep roots that exposes
them for dangerous charlatans they are.
If schools and universities won’t or aren’t doing it, that just leaves the churches.
It may be that the sanity of our civilisation depends on a group we have spent the last
century ridiculing; to our cost.

Naming but not shaming. Fighting back against ‘Cancel Culture’.

And so there we have it.
The cure for our ailing society and the antidote for our failing educational system…
It all goes back to the teaching of The Chruch.
Back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The very One our culture continues to attempt to cancel.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake
that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8

Pluck up your courage

Now a Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.
G.K. Chesterton
from In Defense of Sanity: The Best Essays of G.K. Chesterton
(Acorns /Rosemary Beach /Julie Cook / 2020)

I think that we could easily insert the word “Christian” in Chersterton’s quote verses the word “Catholic” because that’s what we as Christians do…we believe that there is indeed something and Someone who is indeed much wiser than ourselves.

And for the record, I am still managing to navigate this “new” WP format. I am not a fan of the boxes that hem in the quotes that I paste into the body of the post but… I will continue to see if I can manage to keep the text body fonts the same…and if not…well, we’ll just take the good with the bad.

That’s a concept that many folks in this nation of ours care not to think about, let alone do…that being, taking the good with the bad.

“What is this brightness—with which God fills the soul of the just—but that clear knowledge of all that is necessary for salvation? He shows them the beauty of virtue and the deformity of vice. He reveals to them the vanity of the world, the treasures of grace, the greatness of eternal glory, and the sweetness of the consolations of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them to apprehend the goodness of God, the malice of the evil one, the shortness of life, and the fatal error of those whose hopes are centered in this world alone. Hence the equanimity of the just. They are neither puffed up by prosperity nor cast down by adversity.’A holy man’, says Solomon, ‘continueth in wisdom as the sun, but a fool is changed as the moon.’ (Ecclus. 27:12). Unmoved by the winds of false doctrine, the just man continues steadfast in Christ, immoveable in charity, unswerving in faith.”
Venerable Louis Of Grenada, p. 135
An Excerpt From
The Sinner’s Guide

Yard sale…but more importantly, prayers

We’ve spent weeks purging and sorting.
And thus the BIG sale is today!

But…

What is most important today is that we need to think of and offer
our prayers for The Frist Family as they now battle COVID 19.

I am both incensed and angry that there are many Americans who are wishing ill
of the President and his wife…that there are people who are actually gleefully
hoping for a fellow human being to not only succumb to illness but to actually die.

When does the hope of death become the rallying cry of any advanced society?

We have become an abysmal lot when we have lost our humanness.

I would normally note that we are an abysmal society, but to use the
word society would be too gracious.
A society does not wish for the death of others but rather it bans together
working toward the betterment of the whole.

So I offer my prayers for healing and restored health for our President
and the First Lady.

I pray for our Nation…I pray that it can learn, or perhaps re-learn, what it means
to be a cohesive body that is concerned for each member of her whole.

I pray that she may regain her love for each neighbor.

I pray for physical healing as well as collective healing.

May God have mercy on the United States.
And may the United States remember what mercy is all about.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

no greater love…

“At the time of the liberation of the camps,
I remember, we were convinced that after Auschwitz there would be no more wars,
no more racism, no more hatred, no more anti-Semitism.
We were wrong.
This produced a feeling close to despair.
For if Auschwitz could not cure mankind of racism, was there any chance of success ever?
The fact is, the world has learned nothing.
Otherwise, how is one to comprehend the atrocities committed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia…”

Elie Wiesel, Open Heart


Piotr Cywinski poses in front of barracks in Auschwitz, the former Nazi death camp –
WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Last evening, I randomly stumbled upon a story about the current director of
Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, Piotr Cywinski.
The story was offered by the Telegraph’s journalist Will Brown.
And boy, what a tidal wave that tiny obscure article has had on my heart.

There I was Tuesday evening glancing at my computer waiting on “THE” debate of the century…
I was being bombarded with all the hype regarding the debate and all the utter idiocy raging
across this land of ours when a certain storyline caught my eye.

“Auschwitz director offers to serve time in place of 13-year-old Nigerian
sentenced to 10 years for blasphemy”

It seems that there is a 13-year-old boy in Nigeria, Omar Farouq, who has been sentenced to
10 years in prison for violating Sharia law for speaking blasphemy.

Let that sink in…
a 13-year-old child is sentenced to a state prison for speaking blasphemy according
to Sharia law.

According to Wikipedia, Sharia law is (/ʃəˈriːə/, Arabic: شريعة‎ [ʃaˈriːʕah]),
is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition.
It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the hadith.
In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable divine law and is contrasted with
fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations.
The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between
Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.

So naturally, the United Nations has expressed its outrage over this case…
but we’ve seen how their outrage has effected other egregious global actions before.

According to the Telegraph’s article,
“Kola Alapinni, Omar’s lawyer, told The Telegraph that the adolescent has been held
in a prison for adults and not been allowed to see any legal representation.
If Omar had been older, Mr. Alapinni says, he would have been sentenced to death.”

According to Reuters, “If a pardon was not possible,
Cywinski said he and 119 other volunteers would take on the boy’s punishment
and each spend a month in a Nigerian jail.

As the director of a memorial to a place “where children were imprisoned and murdered,
I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity,”
he said in the letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, posted on the Memorial’s Twitter account.”

Two spokesmen for Nigeria’s president declined to comment on the unusual intervention on Saturday.

And so Mr. Cywinski, who has children the same age as Omar, has volunteered to take the boy’s place.
“There are some times we have to stop our own silence and try to do something.
It’s not enough to just like something on Facebook or retweet it.”

Mr. Cywinski has appealed to the Nigerian president, President Buhari,
knowing that he had visited the Auschwitz Memorial in 2018 and believes that that
visit has had to have had an impact on the President.

Mr. Cywinski has yet to hear a response from the Nigerian President.

And so as I currently listen to two men jabbering back and forth, mostly hatefully
to one another, all about the ills of our Nation…my thoughts are actually
being pulled to a small story about a Polish man wanting to take the place of
a young Nigerian boy that he’s never met, who is about to be sentenced to prison for
10 years for speaking contrary against Muslim law…
In the big scope of humanity…I think it is this small story that speaks
so much louder than two grown men calling one another names.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/auschwitz-director-offers-serve-time-185809700.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-crime-blasphemy/auschwitz-memorial-director-offers-to-share-nigerian-boys-blasphemy-jail-term-idUSKBN26H0OH

Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

it’s all metaphysics…or is that Greek??

I devote my very rare free moments to a work that is close to my heart and devoted
to the metaphysical sense and mystery of the person.
It seems to me that the debate today is being played out on that level.
The evil of our times consists in the first place in a kind of degradation,
indeed in a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human person.
This evil is even much more of the metaphysical order than of the moral order.
To this disintegration planned at times by atheistic ideologies we must oppose,
rather than sterile polemics, a kind of ‘recapitulation’ of the
inviolable mystery of the person.

(In his continuing struggle against Marxism in Poland after the Second Vatican Council,
Cardinal Karol Wojtyla identified the doctrine of the person as the Achilles’ heel of the Communist regime.
He decided to base his opposition on that plank.
In 1968 he wrote to his Jesuit friend, the future Cardinal Henri de Lubac

John Paul II and The Mystery of The Human Person, Avery Dulles)


(detail of Socrates and Aritstole from the School of Athens by Raphael / The Vatican)

Metaphysics: noun, plural in form but singular in construction
1. a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of
reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology
metaphysics … analyzes the generic traits manifested by existences of any kind

When it comes to metaphysics, well, it’s all pretty much Greek to me.
get it…Greek?? HAHAHA…

In all seriousness, it is such thinking, those of the various schools of philosophy,
that can push my poor brain to the limit.

That whole ‘if no one is around to hear it when a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?’
Well, duh…yes, yes it does…
I think we call it vibrations and sound waves but I digress.
Why even waste breath and time debating such??

However, man has always debated the world around him as well as debating his
very own interior being.

My son was a philosophy minor…and yes, I thought he was off his rocker.
But philosophy is very connected to the study of religion so I took pride
knowing that he was there to defend the faith of the Triune God in today’s very very hostile
area of thought regarding Christianity.

The pharse Cogito, ergo sum comes to mind…
I think therefore I am…uttered by René Descartes,

But I say no to that thought…it’s more like when I get poison ivy…I itch therefore I am.
That’s how you know.
A physical reaction to and from an outside source…but again, I digress.

I was afforded a bit of uninterrupted quiet time yesterday morning and I actually listened
to a brief podcast offered by the British periodical The Spectator.
The podcast was a discussion between my newest favorite Catholic, Dr. Gavin Ashenden (aka our dear
favorite former Anglican Bishop) and British journalist, Damian Thompson

This is the written intro for the discussion:
Boris Johnson’s package of Covid restrictions announced this week included
a rule that weddings will be limited to 15 people and funerals to 30 –
numbers plucked out of thin air that will have questionable effect
on the transmission of the virus.
You might think that a ruling that affects only weddings and funerals
isn’t such a big deal for the churches, but that is to underestimate the fanatical zeal
of their leaders for implementing, and expanding, restrictions on their own worship.
The control-freak Archbishop of Canterbury, predictably,
seemed quite thrilled by the government’s intervention.
My own reaction, informed by conversations with many clergy outraged by their
bishops’ baffling willingness to accept any curtailment of church life,
was to wonder whether some Christians will be forced to ‘go underground’ –
that is, find a way of worshipping that quietly disobeys their own leaders.
To an extent this is already happening: at the height of the pandemic,
Catholics were holding secret Masses that reminded me of their ancestors’
defiance of Protestant penal laws.
I didn’t report it because I didn’t want them hunted down by their own ‘fathers in God’,
the local bishops.
So that’s the subject of this week’s Holy Smoke,
a very wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Gavin Ashenden of the sort that you
would never hear on the BBC.

What I took away from listening to the discussion was that our friend Dr. Ashenden
finds that this whole control and resist mindset regarding the restrictions
placed on us by our leaders regarding COVID boils down to something quite
simple…

We can go out to eat, we can go to stores, we can get a haircut, we can visit a liquor store,
and in limited numbers, we may attend a wedding as well as a funeral…
however, only 15 can go celebrate a wedding while 30 can go celebrate the passing of a life—
odd numbering given life vs death, but I am obviously not in leadership.

And yet…our worship services are being curtailed, canceled, or simply
shut down.
And therein lies much of the frustration.

Will the faithful eventually find themselves in the underground?
Worshiping in secret?
Shades of the early days of Roman persecution?

Dr. Ashenden notes that it seems
we are either prioritizing the immediate power structures of our day or we
are prioritizing the teaching of the Gospel…and sadly it seems as if it is our power
structures that are receiving the total focus.

The good doctor notes that this seems to be a power struggle between the secular, or non-supernatural,
vs the Metaphysical, that being the Spiritual

Secular vs Spiritual…and sadly— secular is winning.

Here are the links…enjoy exercising your brain…

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/57442176/posts/2929431852

https://www.spectator.co.uk/podcast/is-it-time-for-christianity-to-go-underground-

Birds of a feather

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickinson


(a great pictures of happy turkeys caught on my husband’s trail cam / 2020)

Ok…if you’re feeling like I’m feeling, you’ll agree that life has gotten
really really heavy.

A crushing weight rests on our shoulders.

Pandemics.
Politics.
Elections.
Civil unrest.
A roller-coaster stock market.
Football is a mess…

Every political voice currently hitting the airwaves is rising in a crescendo of volume
as they speak of all sorts of apocalyptic happenings come November.

Take today.
The gal who cuts my hair was making me a new appointment and it so happened to fall
on November 4th…
I asked her…”do you think we will all still be in one piece on November 4th?”
She responded, “probably not, but I’ll pencil you in, just in case.”

And so when I saw the picture of those turkeys on that trail cam, I laughed out loud.
Turkeys so excited that it’s almost November and it won’t be Turkey season in
Georgia until March…no Thanksgiving table for these birds…

Enjoy it while you can they seem to be saying.
So yes, let’s enjoy life…while we can.

Always be impartial and just in your deeds.
Put yourself into your neighbor’s place, and him in yours,
and then you will judge fairly . . .
Frequently, therefore, examine your heart, whether it is so disposed towards your neighbor,
as you would have his disposed towards you, were you to change places;
for this is the true test.”

St. Francis de Sales, p. 226
An Excerpt From
Introduction to the Devout Life

when the death of an earthly saint wages war against God’s earthly warriors

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort.
You were made for greatness.”

Pope Benedict XVI

“The devil fears hearts on fire with love of God.”
St. Catherine of Siena


(the beach before the storm / Julie Cook / 2020)

I must confess that I never quite got the whole obsession with RBG,
aka Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

There are books out with quotes and snippets of her wisdom.
There are bobblehead dolls.
There are T’ shirts…
She had quite the massive cultural cult following.

And I never got it.
Heck, I still don’t get it.

I feel very badly for her family that she has passed away.
Just as I am always sad whenever I hear that a soul has lost their earthly battle…
however, I am absolutely bumfuzzled by the near mystic-like response her death is having
on so many in our society.

And it is not simply her death that is reverberating throughout this nation of ours
but it is the void now left in her professional life that is the beginning of
a massive storm.

Justice Ginsburg was a very vocal proponent of women’s rights–
particularly that of abortion.
Not that I think that is so much of a right as it is a fault.

So there is a storm now brewing over her replacement.

The word is that President Trump has narrowed his list down to two women…
both of whom are Catholic.

And so it seems everyone is now up in arms…

In a recent article on The Federalist, John Daniel Davidson, pens a piece about
the Democrats embracing an anti-Catholic bigotry regarding any SCOTUS nomination

Davidson notes that “President Trump is expected to pick a Supreme Court nominee
to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
as early as the end of this week.
Two of the people on Trump’s short list of possible nominees are Catholic women:
Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge in Chicago,
and Barbara Lagoa, a federal appellate court judge in Atlanta.

Davidson continues…
The media has wasted no time casting aspersions on Barrett for her Catholic faith.
On Monday, the Washington Post ran a kind of explainer on Barrett,
which included an out-of-context quote from a talk she apparently gave years ago,
that a “legal career is but a means to an end… and that end is building the Kingdom of God.”

The statement itself, even without context,
is an altogether ordinary expression of sincere religious belief that any devout person,
whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or Muslim, would readily affirm.
Yet the Post’s Ron Charles highlighted it in a tweet Monday,
as if to warn us that Barrett might try to usher in a Catholic theocracy
if she gets onto the Supreme Court.

Also Monday, Newsweek published a somewhat hysterical piece about how Barrett
is affiliated with a Christian religious group, People of Praise, that served as the inspiration
for “The Handmaid’s Tale”—as if Barrett, a woman on the president’s short list for the Supreme Court,
somehow exemplifies the oppression of women by a religious patriarchy.
(Update: Newsweek posted a correction to this piece Tuesday, saying Margaret Atwood
never mentioned People of Praise as an inspiration for “The Handmaid’s Tale,”
which calls into question the entire point of the article.
The social media headline, however, remains unchanged.)

Elected Democrats have been even more frank about their antipathy towards Catholics,
even to the point of appearing to support an anti-Catholic religious test for nominees
to the federal bench. It was during Barrett’s 2017 confirmation to the federal
appellate court that Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein admitted openly that the judge’s
Catholic faith was a problem for her, infamously telling Barrett,
“the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern.”

“During those same confirmation hearings, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin grilled Barrett
on her faith, suggesting there’s something nefarious about being an “orthodox Catholic”
and asking her, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”
She replied, “I am a Catholic, Senator Durbin.”

It’s hard to imagine the religious beliefs of any Democratic nominee to the federal
judiciary being questioned with this much open disdain,
and with the strong implication that these kind of Catholics—the kind
that take the teachings of the church seriously on issues like abortion and gay marriage—
aren’t fit for positions of public trust.

Some Democrats don’t even bother to imply this,
they just come out and say it.
No one stands out more in this regard than Democrats’
own vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris.

It was Harris who last year accused federal judicial nominee Brian Buescher of having
“extreme positions” simply because he’s a member of the Knights of Columbus,
a Catholic benevolent society that also adheres to church teaching on things
like abortion and gay marriage.
(Full disclosure, I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Lucky for me, I’ll never have to go through a Senate confirmation.)

“Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to
choose when you joined the organization?” asked Harris, implying that the Knights
are just a bit too Catholic for someone like Buescher to be trusted as a federal judge.

Harris was joined in this calumny by Sen. Mazie Hirono,
who asked Buescher if he would end his membership in the organization
“to avoid any appearance of bias.”
The exchange prompted Sen. Ben Sasse to introduce a resolution declaring it
unconstitutional to reject nominees because of their membership in the Knights of Columbus,
which was approved by unanimous consent.

The article continues with a bit of history as to how America has always had a mistrust
of Catholics.

But what I found so ironic in all of this disdain for a possible Catholic SCOTUS nominee
is that both Madame Speaker, Mrs. Pelosi and presidential candidate Joe Biden are
both Catholic.

And yet both are very vocal about their stance on women’s rights and pro-abortion.
Being pro-abortion is a glaring contrast to the Catholic faith…not to
mention to the Christian faith.

Obviously, their faith is not their focus in life.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/22/in-scotus-confirmation-fight-expect-democrats-to-embrace-anti-catholic-bigotry/

And so that is the single area of contention…it is the key issue that seems
to be at the heart of the deeply drawn line in the sand.
The intentional killing of babies–those in utero and those who are actually live births.

Our Democratic leaders seem hell-bent on finding a replacement for RBG who will
maintain the frantic race to abortions.

I’ve written so much about this issue that my heart grows heavy with each passing day.

I was moved by Oneta’s comment yesterday to what I posted on Monday:
“Leviticus 20 says the man looking on and doing nothing is open to the same punishment
as the man who sacrifices the child. Chilling thoughts if we do not cry out
for forgiveness AND do something to make it stop.”

I later read a post by our friend Sue over on awriterscorner.blog
regarding a new book by Jonathan Cahn.
Cahn wrote The Harbinger and has penned a part two–The Harbinger II, The Return.

Sue also commented like Oneta to my post:
“I just finished reading Jonathon Cahn’s HARBINGER 2 and it blew my mind!
The murder of our babies in the womb is exactly why we are under God’s judgment
and the silence from Christians is reprehensible.
This prophecy confirms all that Rabi Cahn said also.”

Jonathan Cahn Does it Again!

Later in the day, I read an article concerning the actress Patrica Heaton and her
foreboding warning to fellow Christians.
She was warning against an ensuing onslaught against Christianity…Christians,
be they Catholic or Protestant, whether they like it or not, will find themselves caught
up in the middle of the filling of RGB’s post on the Supreme Court.

Christianity is about to be drug through the mud and the Progressive Left
will be very happy to bury us all right there in that mud.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/patricia-heaton-onslaught-ignorance-religion-supreme-court

And so I say to you, I say it to us all—to any of us who call themselves Chrisitan…
be we Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant or non-Denominational….
A line is now drawn.
And God has spoken.
What side of that line will you stand?
And when God asks of your stance, what will you be able to say to Him.

The Lord said to Moses,
“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices
any of his children to Molek is to be put to death.
The members of the community are to stone him.
I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people;
for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary
and profaned my holy name.
If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one
of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death,
I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their
people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek

Leviticus 20:1-5