Saturday, September 14, 2002

Okay so the day was a bit stressful today and I did another "test". To add to the results at this blog entry I give you which villain are you. Thankfully I fight for the side of good huh??? ;-)

So I said it might be weeks or months until I did another one. I changed my mind. And since it is my blog I can do that (insert evil maniacal laugh here)... :)


"When A Problem Comes Along ... You Must Whip It" Dept:

Though I have been saying much of what is in this article for years viz the real Reagan record, this can serve as a good example of why I am close to thinking that history revisionists deserve vicious caning and some time on a chain gang:

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"War is Hell on the Homefront Too" Dept.

After talking in depth yesterday two days ago with my old neighbour (who was good friends with my father) I am more inclined than I was previously to thinking that we should not involve ourselves in Iraq without the backing of the United Nations. Not that I like the UN (I do not nor does my old neighbour) but we should not go in there with troops to enforce UN resolutions without UN backing. PERIOD.

My old neighbour is a former Korean war veteran with four purple hearts. He was left for dead three times including once where his tags were jammed up in his front teeth and the bodybag was on the verge of being zipped up. (If not for a tear trickling from the corner of one of his eyes being spotted the attendant would have zipped him up and he never would have survived.)

After Korea, he was asked to go to Vietnam in 1954-55 as an "official observer" and he told the government where they could stick it (to put it tersely). He is very passionate about the subject of war but will not discuss it unless it is brought up as I did yesterday two days ago with him. (When I asked for his take on the Iraq situation.) His view on matters military are ones I take very seriously because he has been to war and he has killed people in combat. And like my father before me I tend to place more trust in those with combat experience than those who do not viz how to conduct a war.

I can tell you in all honesty that - though they are not what they once were - at my size and strength and with my Irish temper, I do not fear many people but my old neighbour is one of the very few. And though he is now 71 years of age, he is still the toughest bird I have ever known. (Tougher even than my old man was.) His take on military matters is of greater credibility in my eyes than most of the clows in Bush's cabinet who have never been in combat - or even Bush who was in the National Guard during Vietnam. (That does not count.) And while Bush's overall ranking with me is around a B-, part of the reason it is that low is because of how I fear he is going to handle this military situation. But I do not want to get off track here with a vast post so I will try to focus the subject accordingly.

To sum up our conversation (almost all of which I concurred with btw as some of it was my observations that received his concurrence) would be as follows:

1) As Bush is the Commander in Chief, if he orders our troops there, regardless of personal opinions the troops must obey. [Note: So-called "dissenting Catholics" think THEY have it rough in doctrinal disputes... Hah!!! -ISM]

2) Bush would be a fool to order in ground troops considering that several people in his own cabinet have told him it is not advisable. (Including Colin Powell whom my neighbour considers credible because he served in combat.)

3) Bush wants to make an issue about this before the elections in classic diversionary tactics to influence the elections outcome. (Similar to how his father used the Gulf War to mask an oncoming recession at the time. With a recession in place now there is two reasons for Bush to want to be an ultra-hawk here.)

4) Tony Blair is as worthless as Bush (according to my neighbour) because he presupposes putting people's lives in danger in combat for political reasons. (See my comments from September 7th on "just war" theory in reality as opposed to the abstract.)

5) All means at our disposal other than going to war in an unofficial capacity by sending in troops should be employed first - most importantly getting the UN on board to order enforcement of their own resolutions. (As this would involve every member nation in the situation.)

6) If the UN does what is outlined in #5, then Bush can safely use troops.

7) If #6 is reached, we need to go in, beat the crap out of Hussein, crush his military, finish the job (this time), and get the hell out. In short, no repeat of Vietnam.

The above is basically an outline of my discussion with my neighbour from yesterday two days ago.

I talked about guys like my old neighbour and my father in one of my first entries to this blog. There is something very old world about them, very rugged and uncompromising; something that hints at "quality craftsmanship" if you will. It is the kind of qualities that make certain forms of Traditionalism so appealing to me - and which pops up at sundry times in unexpected ways. Difficult to describe it really. But it is always worth it to make a good effort to do so...

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Some Thoughts on the Benefits and Dangers of Slogans and Syllabus Style Statements:

"Syllabus" style statements seek (by their very nature) to minimize or scale down wider concepts into more easily comprehendable tidbits. These are a double-edged sword if you will for while (a) those who think with the Church and have the proper dispositions they serve as an aid to learning, at the same time (b) those who do not think with the Church or who do not have the proper dispositions, there is nothing more capable of being misunderstood and thus dangerous and heresy/schism forming than such summation statements.

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Friday, September 13, 2002

Dale Price basically summed up my view on the idiot Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger. Here is the link for more details: Dale's comments

As for the war subject, tune in for some commentary by your blog host later on. The time to comment on the proposed war with Iraq is soon-to-be at hand...

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To go along with Amazon's recent posting of my review of bluesmaster Albert Collins' compilation "Collins Mix" (see September 3rd on this blog), my review of new age master Kitaro is finally up at Amazon. Here is the link to the latter - while I put Collins Mix into my stereo and get another bottle of water...

Review of Kitaro: An Enchanted Evening

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Thursday, September 12, 2002

My friend Rebecca is expecting a baby soon. Please pray for a safe delivery, a healthy baby, and an abundance of grace for her and her husband...


September 11, 2001: A New Yorker's Ruminations on the Event and its Aftermath
(aka "If I leave here tomorrow...would you still remember me" Dept.)

For those who read this morning and saw a guest editorial on the Indult by my friend Stephen Hand, and have checked back to see it missing, do not adjust your computers. It has been taken down and will be put up again this weekend (probably Sunday). The reason is that an earlier request to a friend of mine to do a guest editorial on September 11th came through this morning and I wanted to give it top priority.

Stephen's editorial is more long-range and can be put up later without any distraction from the subject it discusses. By contrast, an editorial on 9/11 seems better put up as close to the actual anniversary date as possible. So without further ado, here is the guest editorial from my good friend Bill Bannon. As all guest editorials have been (and will be) it is put between two ### strips to separate my commentary (if any is added) from the editorial itself.

Before I forget, I encourage all who are reading to click on Bill's link after finishing the editorial and give the strongest possible consideration to purchasing some of Bill's excellent art. (I have some of his sketches and they are amazingly detailed.) But first the editorial itself:


Living in the suburbs of New York City made the attack on last 9/11 very real to me and I followed the event by voraciously learning about Islam and making others aware of those quotations both in the Koran and in the Hadiths that made such an event likely...given the existence of sinful males that occur in any religion.

But I want to forget that aspect here and dwell on the treasure that we New Yorkers and New Jerseyans have curiously been given through this great evil of evil men. We've been given a community feel;that sounds strange but not to anyone familiar with New York's seeming aggression and coldness. If that coldness was ever real, it has greatly diminished. I am thrilled each day in this area by the increase in politeness in traffic hellos from strangers in Liberty Park which looks out onto the void left by the buildings.

I am touched by Acme produce workers saying hello with smiles on their faces. Is it me or them? Were they always like this and I needed only to change by this event? Or am I correct, and we have all changed for the better in this area where murder has united us. And too, here we are very conscious of the 3000 children in our area who have lost one or both parents in this murder. I feel, as someone who lives in this area, that I will never again [feel the same] about any suffering. I had my parents til they were aged. I had them every Christmas. We even had a difficult family life. But we had each other if the chips were down. These children heroes around here have lost that and are like our angels and I feel proud to live near them as though someone lived near Mother Teresa.

And this feeling of living near heroes is even greater when I see the women from our area who gave birth to babies after their husbands had been killed in the murder. I drive the same highways as these women. I love that feeling. I'm allowed to be near them. Their faith in God is shown by their giving birth with no husband to help with the bottles, with no husband to help with the diapers...their sainthood has come to them in a murder. Through the tougher fights ahead, whenever they long for the help of their murdered husbands, my prayer is that God takes every ounce of their aloneness and unites it to the sufferings of Christ in the Mass throughout the world and uses it first for their sainthood and the sainthood of their children and the souls of their husbands. All I know is that I love living here now. It is friendlier and we are proud to drive and walk the same streets as these women and children...and as these men who are raising children alone because their wives were murdered in the towers.

How do I feel about the murderers themselves? I hope two things simultaneously and don't separate them a bit as you read them. I hope they made it to purgatory due to extenuating circumstances and I hope they don't come out of it til the last penny has been paid...till every loneliness they caused is satiated for. Oh...that's not the current mercy imaging. Thanks. I'll stick with Christ's actual words: Mt.5:26"...truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny."...and Luk 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily." What we must will is their salvation but that is not to say that that is in fact what happened.

"If the just man will scarcely be saved, where will the impious and the sinner appear." That passage does not augur well for the murderers but God alone knows the deepest recesses of their souls. We in the meantime must will their salvation but we need not will their immediate pardon...per Luke 18:7 and especially 8.


Credit for the subtitle goes to Ronnie VanZant (1/15/48-10/20/77) R.I.P

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For some reason I took a few of those "which _________ are you" quizzes over tea this morning. The results are interesting to say the least. (For those of you from either Thurston County, WA or Palm Beach County FL, clicking on each link will provide the answers to the questions below viz a viz your blog host.)

Which MASH character???
Which Muppet???
Which Beatles song are you???
What was your past life???
Which dead Russian composer???

They are posted here for whatever insight they may give into the psyche of your blog host. More "test results" will be forthcoming in the coming days, weeks, or months in accordance to my mood for taking such "tests". (Note: any emails from wannabe psychiatrists will be promptly put into my "Virtual Shredder" so kindly do not waste your time as it will be futile...)


Wednesday, September 11, 2002

With regards to September 11th, I doubt I could add much of anything substantial to the coverage of the situation than my good friends John Betts, Pete Vere, and Lane Core Jr. Here are some links to their blogs where they have poignant comments, historical quotes from our greatest president (Lane quotes Lincoln), the tracking down of friends and loved ones in the crash vicinity along with recollections of Pennsylvania (Vere), and pictures worth a million words (John's blog):

John Betts' Blog

Pete Vere's CLOG

Lane Core's Blog from the Core

About all I will say is that I received a call that morning about 8 am from my father's old friend and insurance salesman Ernie who asked "How are you doing on this awful morning"??? In asking what he was referring to he said "it is all over the television did you not hear???" Walking downstairs to the TV I turned it on and scrolled to a news channel to see the pictures of the planes slamming into the Towers. After watching the news for a bit I went over to the converts board to see if my friends in that area of the country were okay. If I am lucky I will persuade one of them to do a September 11th recollection piece as a guest editorial for my blog. Until then I leave you with the above links and of course ask you to pray for those who lost their lives on that day. Eternal rest grant unto their souls oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them...may they rest in peace...may their souls and all the souls of the faithful departed, though the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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[Prologue: Before reading this entry, I suggest reading this one which will explain in detail what I am doing. (And that way people do not waste time with emails that will go into my Virtual Shredder as per this issue.) ---ISM 9/12/02]

Spiritual Direction:

It is absolutely true in matters of conscience obedience to a spiritual director is obedience to God, for Christ has said to His ministers on earth: "He that heareth you, heareth me." (St. Luke, x, 16.)

A soul possessed of this spirit of obedience can not be lost: a soul devoid of this spirit can not be saved. (St. Philip Neri.)

Saint Bernard says there is no need for the devil to tempt those who ignore obedience and permit themselves to be guided by their own light and deterred by their fears, for they act the devil's part towards themselves.

Do not fear that your director may be mistaken in what he prescribes for your guidance, or that he does not fully understand the state of your conscience because you did not explain it clearly enough to him. Such doubts cause obedience to be eluded or postponed and thus frustrate the designs of God in placing you under the direction of a prudent guide. It was the priest's duty to have questioned you further had he not understood you, and that he did not is positive proof that he knew enough to enable him to pronounce a safe judgment. God has promised his special help to those that represent Him in the direction of souls. Is not this assurance enough to induce you to obey with promptness and simplicity as the Holy Scripture commands?

God does not show the state of our souls as clearly to us as He does to him who is to guide us in His place. You should be quite satisfied then, if your director tells you that the course you follow is the right one and that the mercy and grace of your Heavenly Father are guiding you in it. You should believe and obey him in this as in all else, for as St. John of the Cross tells us "it betrays pride and lack of faith not to put entire confidence in what our confessor says".

Spiritual obedience is most needful for a Christian. Ignore therefore, the groundless suspicion that you sin by obeying and walk confidentally in this path exempt from danger. "You sometimes fear", says St. Bonaventure, "that in obeying you act against the dictates of your conscience, whereas on the contrary far from incurring guilt you really increase your merit before God."

We should allow obedience to regulate not only our external actions, but likewise our mind and will. Hence do not be satisfied with performing the works it prescribes, but let your thoughts and desires also be moulded according to its direction. In fact, it is in the interior submission that the merit of spiritual obedience essentially consists.

Obedience should be simple and prompt, without reservation or disquietude. Simple because you ought not to argue about it, but decide by the one thought: I must obey; prompt for it is God whom you obey; without reservation, because obedience extends to everything that does not violate God's law; without disquietude, because in obeying God you cannot go astray: this thought should be sufficient to drive away all fear of doing or of having done wrong...

[I]t may be well to remind you that the director and the confessor have not necessarily to be the same priest. St. Francis de Sales was the spiritual director of many persons to whom he was not the ordinary confessor. "To a director", he says, "we should reveal our entire soul, whereas to a confessor we simply accuse ourselves of our sins in order to receive absolution for them." [Fr. R. P. Quadrupani: Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Ally Their Fears (c.1795)]

The next few installments will be on temptations. In passing though, it is worth asking if the above at all resemble the kind of attitude taken by most self-styled "traditionalists" concerning the virtue of obedience. (Or is it in fact the very antithesis of the attitudes of most "traditionalists" falsely so-called). If it does not walk like a duck, does not quack like a duck, and does not look like a duck...need I say more???


Tuesday, September 10, 2002

In light of the recent Bob Sungenis flap, here is something I wrote in better days (or when I had a more positive outlook on the man than I have had since his latest piece on the 'reflections' document): Weighing in on the Sungenis Issue (circa May 2002)

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Your humble servant has thought it good at this time to do a little series on spiritual instruction. Not being one who feels that this is an area that he has any particular expertise in, recourse will be had to parts of an eighteenth century instructional. To my knowledge it was last copyrighted twenty-two years ago so I have to be very judicious in what I use from it though in truth if what I use persuades the reader to go out and buy the manual for themselves, I will consider it a small victory since (I assure you) it would be some of the best money you ever spent. The theme for the first installment will be "spiritual direction". The five installments after that will be on "temptations". And other subjects will follow on a semi-regular basis. I will post the installments as the last post of the day on my blog when they are posted.

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