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Monday, 30 December 2013

JOURNEY OF THE MAGI




                     Adoration of the Magi - Pieter Bruegel (1525-1569)

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed and refractory,
Lying down in the melted snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.


Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.


All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

                
                              'Journey of the Magi'  - T. S. ELIOT (1927)

                                    *************************

'Thou canst not apprehend that Jesus Christ will stretch out His hands to chastise thee, since His Mother is occupied in swathing them in linen bands.'

Thoughts from St Alphonsus.

                                        **********************

'Wishing one and all a very happy and blessed New Year'

Thursday, 21 November 2013

'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life' - but how do we respond?



A very interesting recent post by Fr Martin Fox - 'Bonfire of the Vanities', in which he proposed that, 'If you don't want Heaven now, what makes you think that you will want it later?' (Sunday homily), made such an impression on me that I asked for his approval to reproduce it on 'Umblepie'.
Hence:-

'Bonfire of the Vanities'

'I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified' -- St. Paul, I Corinthians 2:2

Saturday, November 09, 2013

'If you don't want heaven now, what makes you think you'll want it later? (Sunday homily)'

'Traditionally, November is when Catholics focus on
 what are called the “four last things”:
 death, judgment, heaven and hell.

We don’t like to think about it—
 but winter is coming whether we think about it or not;
 whether we prepare for it or not.
 And it’s the same with death.

Talking about death makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
 But who are we kidding?

Do you think our kids don’t know about death?
 Look at video games! Look at our TV and movies!

It’s not a question of avoiding the subject.
 Rather, it’s a question of looking at it as a Christian—
 or as someone who has no hope.

I have been in hospital rooms and people’s homes,
 and no one would say out loud what was obvious.
 I don’t see how that helps anyone, children or adults.

On the other hand, I remember a woman:
 a mother and grandmother,
 surrounded by her husband, children, grandchildren.
 They were all holding hands, praying with her, as he breathed her last.
 And I heard the husband say: “I’m broken hearted, but I’m happy.”
 He lost his beloved, yet he knew she’d left this life looking for Christ.
 She faced death and was ready!

We believe in life after death.
 But how often do we think about what that means?

If we really we are eternal, then that changes everything.
 If I live 100 years, is that long—compared with eternity?
 And it’s worth asking:
 how much of what I spend money on, or worry about, in this life,
 is going to matter in eternity?

If you want an investment that goes beyond the grave,
 Feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give a helping hand—
 but, above all, help bring other people to heaven!
 People are the one and only form of riches that you can take with you!

So we die, and at that moment, we stand before God.
 That’s our personal judgment day.
 Is that frightening?

It doesn’t have to be.

No one gets into heaven because we’re good enough.
 We get there through faith in Jesus Christ.
 Everyone needs mercy; and if we ask, we receive it.

One form of that mercy is purgatory.
 Purgatory isn’t an alternative to heaven—
 it is the front porch to heaven.
 It’s where we go for a final clean-up.

But there is one catch.
 Even mercy isn’t, in a sense, “enough.”
 Because all this depends on one more thing.
 Heaven—and thus, purgatory--is only possible for us if we want to change,
 and become what Christ intends us to be.

To put it even more plainly:
 Heaven is for those who want it. Really!
 If we want heaven—if we want to be heavenly—we’ll live that way, here.

On the other hand, if we don’t want to live that way now,
 What makes us think we’ll want it, then?

We prayed in the psalm: “When your glory appears, my joy will be full.”
 That’s only true if the glory of God—his truth, his ways—give us joy.

Last week, we heard about the man in the temple
 who didn’t think he had any sins.
 He’s not going to change—he’s likes himself just the way he is.

God warns us away from sin:
 gluttony, lust, wrath, greed, pride, sloth and envy.
 Those are the seven deadly sins. Avoid them.
 But I like gluttony! I like wrath! We like these things.
 But what God says is this: you won’t have them in heaven.
 If you can’t let go of them now—
 What will you do for eternity?

You see, the danger is not
 that we’ll arrive at Judgment Day
 and find God’s mind made up.
 No! The danger is, our mind will be made up!

Heaven can’t be heaven if we can’t be happy there.
 And purgatory can’t do us any good
 if we don’t want to be made ready for heaven!

If you want a definition of hell, there’s one:
 What you get when happiness can’t make you happy!

So, hell is real—but let’s not stay there!

The Catholic life boils down to this.
 We spend our days learning who God is, and what he loves,
 and asking him to help us become people who love those things.
 We love lust; God loves chastity.
 We love greed; God gives with an open hand.

Then, what we prayed in the psalm will come true:
 “Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.”

(thank you Fr Martin Fox)

                                               ***************************

'God wishes all to be saints, and each one according to his state of life: the religious as a religious: the secular as a secular; the priest as a priest; the married as married; the man of business as a man of business; the soldier as a soldier; and so on of every other state of life.'

'Thoughts from St Alphonsus'


'Mother of God and mother of mercy, pray for our Holy Father and for all our Church, especially the suffering and the persecuted, and for all the faithful departed'

Thursday, 10 October 2013

'Bedes' of Life; Maxims of Eternal Life (St Alphonsus)


Last Sunday was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and at Mass we were treated to an interesting talk on the origin of the word ‘bedes’.


The original Anglo-Saxon  meaning of  ‘bedes’ was ‘prayer’, but when, in the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded upon a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the Our Father or Hail Mary, these objects themselves became known as bedes (i.e. prayers).  In middle English the word bedes was used both in the sense of prayer and rosary.  The prayers referred to used to be recited in the vernacular at the Sunday Mass in medieval England, and the distinctive feature of them was that the subject of each was announced in a formula read to the congregation beforehand. This was called "bidding the bedes". From this the idea was derived that the word "bidding" meant commanding or giving out, hence ‘bidding prayers’, which we still have today.

Bedesman was at first the term applied to one whose duty it was to pray for others, eg the chaplain of a guild, but later  a bedesman became simply the recipient of any form of bounty; for example, a poor man who obtains free quarters in an almshouse, and who was bound in gratitude to pray for his benefactors. Similarly, bedehouse, which originally meant a place of prayer or an oratory, came at a later date to be used of any charitable institution like an almshouse. Today certain Welsh place-names in the form bettws, e.g. Bettws y Coed, reflect this tradition. Finally, bede-roll, was the roll of those to be prayed for, particularly deceased members of guilds and associations.
(Ack. Catholic Answers - see BEDE)
 
                                                       ******************************
 
Recently I came across the following article in a book written by St Alphonsus de Liguori, founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.SS.R), and  Doctor of the Church.


In order to live always well, we must store up deeply in our minds certain general maxims of eternal life, such as the following:

    
 All passes away in this life, whether it be joy or sorrow; but in eternity nothing passes away.

 What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?

 
 

 


Extreme Unction by Poussin 1597

 
 
All that comes from God, whether it be adverse or prosperous, all is good, and is for our welfare
 
We must leave all, to gain all.




 


There is no peace to be found without God.

 To love God and save one’s soul is the one thing needful

If God be lost, all is lost.

He that desires nothing in this world is master of the whole world.

 He that prays is saved, and he that prays not is damned.




     We need only be afraid of sin

     Let me die, and give God pleasure.

     God is cheap at any cost.

     Every pain is slight to him who has deserved hell.

     He bears all who looks on Jesus crucified.




     Everything becomes a pain that is not done for God.

     Whoever wishes for God alone is rich in every good.

     Happy the man who can say: “My Jesus, I desire Thee alone, and nothing more!”

 


              St Francis Xavier preaching - Reubens
 
He that loves God, finds pleasure in everything; he that loves not God, finds no true pleasure in anything.

                                                               ************************************

'My heart is restless until it rests in Thee'  -  St Augustine of Hippo
 

'May Our Lady guide and protect our Holy Father, Pope Francis'
 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

'Same-sex marriage' - a 'step too far' for David Cameron



Details


                      'The marriage feast at Cana' - Murillo

Through the media, we in the UK are lead to believe that now the concept of ‘same-sex marriage’ has been approved by Parliament, everything in Society’s garden will be rosy. In fact we have not even begun to experience the problems that this legislation will inevitably bring. It is therefore  encouraging to know that the millions of voters in this country opposed to this shameful legislation are not 'out on a limb' as it were. In fact the majority of  nations throughout the world have voiced their opposition and will have nothing to do with it.
In July this year, the UK media was generally critical of the comments made by the world champion Russian pole vaulter  Yelena Isinbayeva, who when interviewed after winning her event at the World Games, condemned the practice of homosexuality, and voiced  her support for her country's new anti-homosexual laws, which  ban the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships and impose fines on those holding ‘gay pride’ rallies.
"We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys ... it comes from the history," Isinbayeva told reporters.

Stefano Gennarini J.D. writing on the C-FAM blogsite on 26 July  this year, has this to say:-

‘Eastern European countries are following Russia’s lead to protect children by curbing advocacy for “non-traditional” sexual acts. Homosexual groups are reacting furiously.

Last month Moldova passed a law prohibiting the distribution of information “aimed at the propagation of prostitution, paedophilia, pornography or of any other relations than those related to marriage or family.” Lithuania recently adopted a similar law, and Ukraine’s legislature is reportedly considering the same.

The laws are designed to protect minors from graphic information that may lead them to unhealthy choices at a delicate age. Russia’s law, adopted in June, fines individuals and organizations for promoting “non-traditional” sexual behaviour among children.

The homosexual lifestyle, in particular, is associated with a host of health risks. Individuals who engage in homosexual activity are 18 times more likely to contract HIV/AIDS than persons who don’t. They are at higher risk for other sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.

The laws have been on the books in some Russian states for nearly a decade. National legislatures began enacting them this year, after President Obama ordered all U.S. agencies dealing with foreign affairs to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and established a fund for foreign LGBT groups to agitate within their countries. At that same time, British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to cut aid to countries that have laws penalizing sodomy.

 In Russia, a recent Pew poll found only 16% believe homosexuality should be socially acceptable.  Attempts to apply international pressure have not deterred nearby countries from considering and adopting similar laws to Russia’s.

On 30 July on the C-FAM blogsite, Stefano Gillani continues,

‘ Human Rights Organizations from around the world are supporting Russia’s effort to protect children from homosexual propaganda.

A statement from Civil Society affirms the recently enacted Russian law, which imposes fines on individuals and groups that ‘promote homosexuality among minors’, as important steps towards fulfilling international obligations towards the family and minors.


Organizations from around the world are “rushing” to offer their support according to ‘Profesionales por la Etica’, http://www.profesionalesetica.org/ the Spain based organization co-ordinating the effort. Already a total of 103 organizations from 33 different countries or geographical regions have offered their support.

Russia is protecting “genuine and universally recognized human rights" against “artificial and fabricated false values” like sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the statement.

The statement recognizes the Russian law as an effort to protect the family, the fundamental group unit of society. The law is about protecting the “innocence of children” and the “rights of parents”.
 Critics of the Russian law  find it difficult to address yet another reason for enacting the laws, namely the negative health consequences of homosexual activity.

The Lancet reported last summer that homosexuals are 18 times more likely to contract HIV than heterosexuals, due to a combination of biological and behavioural risks associated with homosexual activity. Moreover, HIV is receding in most of the world, except among homosexual populations where it is skyrocketing. Homosexuals are also at higher risk for substance abuse, suicide, and depression.

Rumours earlier this month suggested the law would not apply to visitors during the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi next year, but those rumours have been dispelled.

 Russians are determined to defend the law. Putin has issued a decree prohibiting any rally or demonstration in Sochi that is not related to the Olympics for the period surrounding  the event.

                                         
                          **********************

Wikipedia provides some interesting statistics, which show that generally, apart from Western Europe, South America, Canada, New Zealand, and some States in the USA, same-sex marriage is not accepted in law, and active homosexuality is often a criminal offence. Interestingly it is clear that same-sex marriage is not an issue which has developed over a long period of time, it is a 21st century phenomenon  orchestrated by a vociferous and powerful minority group world-wide, using the concept of ‘equal rights’ to legitimise their demands, and which has appeared virtually out of nowhere. It has become the ‘instrument’ used by liberal and anti-clerical politicians of all nationalities to destroy traditional Christian, particularly Catholic, practice and belief, replacing it with a totally secular definition of marriage legitimising unnatural physical same-sex union, forbidden by God and condemned by the Church.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_same-sex_marriage

It is encouraging to see eastern European countries oppose  this legislation, all the more surprising in that so many of these countries were part of the old Communist bloc when religion was banned and religious persecuted. Clearly the people have not been blinded by the materialism of their western European counterparts, and  have the strength and the will to overcome this attack on their traditional Christian heritage and way of life. Similarly in  Africa, Asia, and India, there is little if any acceptance of the practice of homosexuality or the concept of same-sex marriage.

In the UK we will have to wait and see how this unwanted, unwise, hasty, and intrinsically bad legislation will encroach on our traditional liberties and lives, particularly as it affects religious sensibilities and 'conscience' rights, employment, education, public services, and not least 'free speech'.  In 18 months time, from his seat in the Opposition Benches, David Cameron may well rue the day he espoused this tainted cause, the day on which he went a 'step too far'.

Friday, 16 August 2013

End EU Funding for Embryonic Research - Sign the 'One of Us' Petition





       Massacre of the Innocents - Giotto Di Bondone (c1300)

The massacre of the Innocents ordered by King Herod shortly after Christ's birth, never ceases to horrify all decent minded people.Yet this was just a foretaste of the horrors currently inflicted on literally millions of unborn children throughout the world. In the USA alone it is estimated that there are one million abortions each year - this includes the estimated abortions induced by the 'morning after' abortifacient pill. Add to this the countless numbers of abortions every year in Western Europe, Russia, China, Asia, and the rest of the world, and it is easy to give way to despair and a feeling of helplessness in the fight against such widespread evil. We see governments throughout the world endorsing the killing of the unborn, and going even further by authorising scientific research entailing the destruction of vast numbers of human embryos.

Yet we must not give up the fight against such evil, for God created man in His own image and likeness, and He was pleased; and God is good and God's creation is good. God is Life and the Light of Men. Evil is the dark world of Satan, the antithesis of all that brings us peace in this life and eternal happiness in the next; the antithesis of good, the antithesis of God. We can do nothing without God, and He has no need for us, yet we are the instruments He uses in His Divine plan - we are His soldiers and we must carry the fight to the enemy.

Below is an article I recently found on the C-Fam website, which I don't remember seeing before, and which is reproduced below for the information of others who also may not have seen it. It incorporates a Petition - the 'One of Us' petition, which if sufficiently endorsed, could force the European Parliament to consider a ban on funding research that destroys human embryos. So far it has obtained over 850,000 signatories, but it needs another 150,000 by November 1. Overall this Petition is doing  really well, but the numbers of signatories from the UK so far are disappointingly low. I have now signed it, and if you have not already done so, ask that you sign it too. A successful outcome to this initiative will be a victory for good over evil, life over death; a victory for the God of love, over Satan, the apotheosis of hate. 

Please see the article reproduced below, and forward the Petition (link included in article)  to family, friends, and like-minded people; thank you. PS. Don't forget to sign it! When authenticating your signature I recommend the aural version, as I tried probably a dozen times on the visual - on every occasion unsuccessfully. The aural system worked but I suggest to write down the numbers before entering them on the Petition. Excuse me for labouring this, but it was a bit of a nightmare!

                                     *********************


The “
One of Uspetition got a boost in May when Pope Francis endorsed it.

BRUSSELS, August 16 (C-FAM)

'Europe's most audacious effort to protect life is a few thousand signatures away from forcing the European Parliament to schedule a debate on protecting every human life from conception'

Written by  Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

Every person, no matter how young, “deserves respect” according to the One of Us initiative that has garnered over 850,000 signatures. If it gathers 1 million signatories by November 1, the European Parliament may have to consider a ban on funding research that destroys human embryos.


The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU), would have to respond to the sponsors of One of Us under a new procedure created by the Lisbon Treaty. The Commission would table the item for discussion in the European Parliament.


Proponents say One of Us is about protecting the “dignity, the right to life and the integrity of every human being” including embryos. This is consistent with the European Court of Justice’s decision in the famous Brüstle v. Greenpeace case that, under EU directives, the results of research that destroys human embryos cannot be patented.

The Court reasoned that human embryos constitute the beginning of the development of human life and such patents would not be compatible with human dignity.

Not everyone in Europe looks forward to a debate about human life and dignity at the European Parliament. Earlier this summer an Austrian youth organization tried to host an event at the European Parliament to draw attention to the One of Us initiative, but Irish EU official Jim Higgins refused their application. He reportedly told them their display was “too controversial” without specifying what was controversial about it. The organization was not allowed to hold their event despite the youth organization’s willingness to change whatever Higgins found offensive.

While abortion is legal in most of Europe, research that destroys 
human embryos is widely frowned upon. In many quarters it is 
reminiscent of brutal scientific experiments on humans.
One of Us would be the second EU citizen’s initiatives to succeed. The other seeks to declare water a human right and has gathered 1.3 million signatures in Germany and 400,000 elsewhere in Europe.


For a petition to come before the European Commission, 1 million signatures must be collected within a year of being launched and come from seven or more of the 28 EU countries, with established quotas for each.

Obtaining the required signatures in the timeframe is no simple feat. Nine other initiatives that expire this year are likely to fail, including one chosen by the European Commission as the first citizen’s initiative. Fraternite2020, about more funding for the popular Erasmus student exchange program, could not muster 100,000 signatures.

One of Us has already reached the necessary quota in 10 countries, and now looks to bulk up the total volume. Surprisingly, it is short on signatures from countries that are traditionally pro-life and have laws that protect the unborn like Ireland and Malta.

One of Us has been endorsed by several European pro-life organizations. Prior to his retirement in February, Pope Benedict XVI gave a nod to its proponents in one of his last public appearances at a Sunday Angelus.
(ack. C-Fam)
                                                       
                                                    ***************************
               

Coronation of the Virgin - fresco by Fra Angelico (1395-1455)

            'But see, above the choirs
                           Of Saints and angels bright,
                               God's Mother near her Son
                                      Enthroned in dazzling light.'
                                          
                (Thoughts from St Alphonsus (1696-1787)

 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Atheism, Marxism, Secularism - the Devil's highways.




  'Archangel Saints - Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel, with Joshua'  (F. Botticini 1446-97)

I am not a fan of unsolicited e-mails, however I have recently received two from the 'change.org' website on which I was happy to act, and which I have also passed on to others. For those who are unaware, the 'change.org' website exists to allow ordinary citizens  to set-up petitions on the internet, usually on matters of public interest about which they have real concern, inviting like-minded people to sign the petition, which will eventually be passed on to the appropriate authority with a view to suitable action being taken.

Of my two messages, one related to a 'Petition' to be presented to Edward Timpson MP,  to outlaw the display of pornographic literature in places where it is visible/accessible to children and young people eg. newsagents, shopping stores, bus/railway stations, airports, etc.  The other on a similar theme, was to persuade the owners of the Sun newspaper to cease publishing photos of  women  in various stages of undress or none, in the daily editions of their newspaper.

I support both these Petitions and have duly signed, but more signatures are needed.  The links to the respective Petitions are shown below:-

http://www.change.org/petitions/edward-timpson-mp-make-it-illegal-to-display-porn-around-children?utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition   - petition addressed to Edward Timpson M.P.        

 just click here to share the petition on Facebook. -  petition to David Dinsmore,  Editor of Sun newspaper.

 Congratulations to the organisers of both these Petitions.  Fight the good fight - for evil to succeed it is only necessary that good men do nothing.  'Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil'

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We have finished with the earthly Tzars, now we shall deal with the heavenly Tzars' - 'Bezbozhnik', January,1923.

(The Bezbozhnik, or 'Atheist', a weekly newspaper of a violently anti-religious character, is published at Moscow by the Bolsheviks)
 
I have recently been reading a most interesting book, ‘The Bolshevik Persecution of Christianity’ by Captain Francis McCullagh, published by John Murray, London, 1924. McCullagh (born1874  N.Ireland, died 1956 New York) was a British Catholic journalist, who in the early days of the Revolution, had  been imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, but subsequently escaped. He was an experienced war correspondent and a fluent Russian speaker, and early in 1923  he was commissioned by Frank Munsey, editor of the ‘New York Herald’ to travel to Russia  to obtain first -hand information on the relationship between the Bolshevik government and the Christian Churches; and this book is the result.

                         McCullagh deals initially with the take-over and politicisation of the Russian Orthodox Church by the Bolshevik government. He then  follows this with a full account of  the State trial of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Achrida, John Cieplak; Monsignors Maletzky and Budkiewicz; Exarch Fedorov, head of the Uniat Church; eleven  priests and one Catholic layman, all charged with offences against the State, namely refusal to hand-over church valuables- which included the Eucharistic vessels,  from churches and religious houses, to agents of the State;  also teaching  the Catholic faith to children and young people, both in church and in their homes. The result of this obscene travesty of a  trial, which lasted a mere five days from March 21 to March 25 1923, was a finding of guilt for all the accused, with Archbishop Cieplak and Monsignor Budkiewicz sentenced to death, and varying terms of imprisonment for the remaining defendants, ranging from 10 years in solitary confinement, to 3 years; with the one lay defendant sentenced to 6 months imprisonment.

                                     Monsignor Budkiewicz was executed (shot in the head) in a cellar, during the night of 30/31 March, the night of Good Friday/Holy Saturday.  As a result of international outrage and condemnation of the trial, the death sentence on Archbishop Cieplak was commuted to one of 10 years imprisonment in solitary confinement.

                          
Monsignor Budkiewicz

 The author completes his work with an analysis of all the Christian Churches in Russia at that time, concluding that with the destruction and virtual dissolution of the Russian Orthodox Church, which included the murder of 28 Bishops and 1200 priests, the Catholic Church alone possessed the spiritual strength  to withstand and survive prolonged  State persecution. The book is 400 pages long and contains a wealth of information, with a particularly full and detailed account of the Cieplak 'trial'. Reading the account of the trial,  I was particularly struck by the similarities in Bolshevik policies  regarding the relationship of  State and family, to those of our secular government in  the United Kingdom today. It seems incredible, but nevertheless logical, that Marxism would eventually synchronise with atheistic secularism, confirming McCullagh’s view that  Bolshevism and 'Big Business' are ‘natural’ allies.   

                                     **********************
 Extracts from ‘The Bolshevik Persecution of Christianity’ by Francis McCullagh (1923)

 ‘The teaching of religious beliefs in State or private educational establishments and schools to children of tender age and to minors is punishable by forced labour for a period not exceeding one year’ – clause 121 of the new Criminal Code. (p53)

 “If the Soviet government orders me to act against my conscience, I do not obey. As for teaching the catechism, the Catholic Church lays it down that children must be taught their religion, no matter what the law says. Conscience is above the law. No law which is against the conscience can bind”  (Exarch  Federov, head of the Uniat Church in Russia, defendant in the trial of Archbishop Cieplak and others, replying to government prosecutor, the Procurator Krylenko, March 22, 1923)

 “The worst feature of the Bolshevik persecution of Christianity is not the imprisonment and murder of priest  and laymen, but the attack on family life.The new laws on marriage and on the education of children, which a Commission in the Department of Justice is now preparing, are deeply tainted by that most atrocious doctrine of radical Communism – namely, the doctrine that children belong absolutely to the State, and must be handed over to State institutions. ‘Children who have not reached maturity (eighteen years) are regarded as belonging to no religion whatsoever, and the assertion of the parents that the child belongs to any particular Church has absolutely no force.’

 “Moreover, apart from its frontal attack on the Church, the Soviet Government had trespassed on parental authority and on the home to an extent which no Christian prelate should have permitted without a public protest, which would have resounded throughout Europe and America. To show in detail how far such trespass extends would necessitate too long a digression; so that I shall only mention one point – namely the right which the Soviet Government claims, and exercises, of extorting from its citizens information on sexual matters, about which no Government has ever asked for information before.  I do not refer to the practice of debauched medical students and ‘lady’ doctors giving to school children of both sexes erotical lectures illustrated by films; though this practice, known as “the teaching of sex hygiene,” is in my opinion wrong. I refer to the questionnaires on sexual questions which   are sent out by the Commissariat of Public Health. One such questionnaire was sent in the Spring of 1923, to all women and adolescent girls in Moscow, and these were required by law to fill it up. Most of the questions related to self-abuse and to unnatural vices, with which the compilers of the questionnaire had apparently no quarrel”

 “Catholicism is detested by autocratic rulers, which included the Tsars and the Bolsheviks. Writing in 1819, of the hostility of Alexander I  to Rome, Joseph de Maistre says, “There is in the teaching of the Catholic Church, an hauteur, an assurance, an inflexibility which displease temporal rulers, who cannot believe that they are master, or sufficiently master, where there exists a power with which they cannot do as they please.   It never occurs to them that this pride and this independence are the natural and necessary characteristics of truth, so much so that where independence does not exist, truth does not exist ……….Truth is invincible, independent, and inflexible ………..It is said in the Gospels that the peoples who heard the preaching of the Saviour were astonished because He did not speak to them like their doctors, but as one having authority ………..The religion which has not this tone is human.”

 “If some of the great English profiteers who did so well out of the war (Great War) begin to do well out of Soviet Russia, some British politicians who had hitherto inveighed against Lenin and Trotsky may come to regard these gentlemen in a different light; and some British newspapers to which the Red Republic had been like a red rag to a bull may come to consider that Republic as a sensible and right-thinking bull regards good fodder.  Big Business and Bolshevism are natural allies, and they are likely to come together sooner or later, for the oppression of the poor, and of those priests whose place is with the poor, as their Divine Master’s was.”

 “In their rank materialism, in their genuine contempt for such tenets of Christianity as they cannot utilize for political or financial purposes, in their efforts to relieve parents of the care of their children and children of the care of their parents, to interfere in the home, to put asunder those whom God has joined, to exclude religion from the schools, to reduce the workers to a state of servitude, to impose such taxation that the difference between it and nationalization will soon be negligible, and, finally, to erect the State into a sort of divinity, some European governments outside of Russia are entering on the same path as that along which the Government of the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (R.S.F.S.R) has already advanced so far”

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'I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only love.'
(with ack. 'A Faith Seeking Understanding' blog-site)


                                                 Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta