Category Archives: Ethics

John 11: 50

 

Here is a letter I have written to Fr. Robert Shanley, President of Providence College, and who is currently presidentially presiding over the very dignified and collegial lynching of a great scholar, a devout Catholic defender of the Truth, and a good and decent man.  I imagine him in his robes of office: aloof, yes, compassionate, of course, aware of all the necessary facts, without question, and deeply concerned for the lives, and souls and the, well, the reputations about to be supported or sacrificed for the greater good of the school and benefit of all mankind.  It is what presidents do…when not playing golf or hosting benefactors, delivering speeches and looking magisterial and compassionate, wise and consoling, boundlessly merciful and intuitively practical; when being, in a word, godly:

 

Rev Robert Shanley, O.P.

President

Providence College

1 Cunningham Square

Providence, RI 02918 USA

 

Dear Father Shanley,

You have been described to me by people better informed than I am as a philosopher, an art of which I have only a passing knowledge.  And as a priest, and a Dominican at that, I am reasonably sure that you are more than well versed in Catholic theology. Indulge me in a little bit of my own background, stories from my youth about philosophy and theology.

Father Anthony Rubsys, who went to Heaven, I am sure, in August, 2002, was a refugee from Communism who came to America during the Hungarian uprising.  He was a biblical scholar fluent in seven languages, a good and gentle, a loving, man.  He taught me in class and counseled me out of it.  He was extremely intelligent, extremely gentle and deeply concerned for The Good.  Why else not, I have often wondered while thinking about and praying for him; a man who saw and suffered much, all of it the result of when and where he lived before coming to this country, through the horrors of Nazism and the Second World War and the soul sickening weight of post-war Communist rule.

As an assignment in one of his classes, I wrote a paper on Thus Spake Zarathustra.  I was taken then with the Strauss tone poem, and stupid student stuff.  So I wrote the paper and handed it in.  Several days later Father Rubsys returned it with this note in his handwriting above my title, which was something like Superman, “Why do you waste your time on this when the faith has so much more to offer, to study?”  I cannot remember much beyond the title of the thing I wrote about. Nor can I remember much about the music, except what bit of it opens that film by Stanley Kubrick.  Few, I suspect, will remember much about it, if anything at all in another hundred or so years.  Almost no one knows the film’s music’s title.

Harry Blair was a much decorated World War II veteran, a tank commander in Gen. Patton’s Third Army, a tragic man, and a Shakespeare and Renaissance scholar.  I took every class of his that I could and got to know him very well.  He drank too much; but, I suppose, he had every reason to do that.  When he taught King Lear his classroom was filled beyond capacity. His rendering of the King’s speech in the storm on the moor brought more than one student to tears, myself included, as we listened to an old man pour out his grief at having given his life to his children and been misunderstood, spurned, betrayed, cast away.

I once had a letter published in the school’s newspaper…the editor was a friend of mine…and Harry read it, of course.  The letter called for the “aggiornamento” underway in Rome to be extended and applied at the school, for there to be a radical change in, well, just about everything.  I remember I called not only for windows to be opened but walls to be demolished and ended with “I would have no church at all!”  Brave words, I have thought more than once since.  Brave words for the inferno we face, now.  We sat together, Harry and I at the bar in the Pinewood drinking an afternoon beer and he showed me the issue of the paper with my letter, quietly asking me what had possessed me to write it.  Seriously I answered at length about all of the things I saw that were wrong and needed changing.  “You are very young,” he answered, and then we went on to talk of other things, though I do recall him wondering aloud about the lady I was soon to marry and asking how she felt, how I might feel when I was a father.  But, there he left it.

Bear with me, please, Father.  I do have a point.

There is no doubt that Alexander Solzhenitsyn was a philosopher like yourself, and a great and good man.  Were he a Catholic, I suppose his cause would already have been introduced.  In many ways he was a martyr for the truth, and a lover of the beautiful in people, in society and in all of creation; even when found in the Gulag, anterooms to hell built and maintained by hell’s servants here on earth.  Maybe that’s overly dramatic, but, nevertheless…  Joseph Pearce, who wrote an excellent biography of Solzhenitsyn, has written his own story, and a fascinating one it is.  He calls it Race With the Devil, and discusses his descent into violent racism and hate, and ascent from it through the grace of God.  Indulge me in a quote from Pearce’s book:

“My descent into delinquency was aided and abetted by the progressive philosophy adopted by the school. No effort was made to impose discipline, which resulted in the triumph of anarchy in the classroom… (The) disruptive elements made it difficult, if not impossible, for teachers to teach and for students to learn.”

I apologize for the size of the quote.  I cannot figure out how to change the font. Nevertheless, it’s the sad truth and the tragic cause of the matter at hand, and the inevitable result of the choice in this matter (and in how many others?) you and the faculty quislings who brought this complaint against Professor Esolen to you seem, for all of your wisdom, training, education and Catholicity, to have made.  That the “death” of one man is necessary.

And, I cannot understand why you did what you did; a great disservice to the students , confirming them in their stupid and uncharitable,  selfish and infantile behavior…at the same time causing pain, anxiety and worry to not only this good man and his family, but thousands of other people who have never yet met the man face to face but know and treasure him through his prolific good works, his brilliantly clear and consistently charitable mind, and his reliably masterful scholarship.

You are a priest and pastor, too, finally much more important callings than mere president.  Have you acted in this instance as either one?

I expect that  Caiaphas was thought a wise and good man, a president, so to speak, who gave no help when help was needed.  And, of course, we all know what to think of Pontius Pilate, who simply gave up before the angry mob.

Which of the two should one say best describes you in this matter?

Yours truly,

Peter Gallaher

PS:  I only know of one other person named Shanley, a fellow I came across many years ago when I was working.  He was a Wormtongue, covert slave to Saruman.  In other words a coward and a traitor.

 

 

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I Have A Right To Be Polarized

Good Morning Sunshine(s):

I remember the famous quote from someone getting his head handed to him:  “Why can’t we all just get along?”  Or, it was something along those lines.  Whatever  it was, it’s become more or less a New Commandment; as in “I give you a new commandment!  You shall get along with everyone!  You shall be tolerant, and diverse, and non-judgmental of your neighbors.  You shall not think their behavior savage, profligate, illegal, immoral or fattening lest you cause them to feel bad!  I am the, umm, the Happy Face!”

It was something along those lines that I woke up thinking about today, remembering the recent accusations of treasonous behavior directed at a group of senators from the opposite party here in these Untied States who wrote a very public letter warning a very public enemy about the life expectancy of a deal in the making.  A deal which a lot of folks, including the letter writers, not only think is not good, but is downright bad, not to say stupid, wrong and jejeune.  But, we have come to expect such things from certain folks over the last half dozen or so years.

So, they think the deal’s wrong, all wrong, and said so.  Well, at least we know where they stand on that issue.  At least, too, they don’t meet their opposition, who was one of their own, on the porch of the Senate and stab him to death to preserve the Republic.  But, it isn’t yet March 15th.

Some folks, not yet at the “calling someone treasonous” stage, lament such public displays of differences of opinion uttering versions of the “Why can’t we…” plea for harmony, unity, peace and good will.  Being right (not politically, Dear.  Puhleeze!) and acting that way causes disharmony.  Being polite does not.

Well, sometimes polite is wrong and right is, well, honorable.  I mean, it wasn’t right for former Rep. Wiener to show his naughty bits to a lady, even if some folks would say he had a right to do it…which I do not think he did, being after all married even if it was(is?) to a lady who works for a lady who has long thought it’s always right for her not to do the right thing (but what difference does that make?).   But it was right to say, and that loudly, that it was wrong, that HE was wrong, even if some folks would have preferred to “avert eyes” from the rude behavior, and to reach the conclusion that his wrongness was much wider and deeper than a mere matter of dressing or not.  Are you still following?

Stuff like this upsets a lot of folks.  They want everyone, like the fellows above, the Senators of Great Discord, to just get along; because, after all they say, it’s the right thing to do.  Families get along.  Don’t they?  They’re not polarized.  Neither are countries; or they shouldn’t be.  A nation needs to stick together and follow one leader.  “My country, etc…”  So they did in Rome, as recently as 70 years ago…and look what’s happened since.  And, they did it in places like Germany, Russia and China which were paradises and thousand year empires, for a while. Then other folks started thinking it wasn’t right, more or less, not to be polarized about some things…most things…everyone said should be right, including, most importantly, a bunch of Dear Leaders, and Uncles.   How else, one reasons in these cases, can Great Leaps Forward be accomplished unless everyone at all times thinks; nay believes with heart and soul, that all is right, and just, proper and helpful toward salvation?

While I continued thinking about this, I came across an article by a fellow with the odd sounding name of Hadley Arkes.  He wrote about polarization, a bad thing to have say the right believers in this article; worse, I suspect, than Ebola, because it has proven fatal in many cases among the polarized.  And Prof. Arkes concludes that it just might be right; despite what all of the folks who want us to have and exercise our rights in an atmosphere of smiling tolerance and agreeable silence say; vigorously exercise them, including the new ones which have been hiding in closets and shadows until coaxed out into the light by judges and oddly dressed or undressed people.

But, he, being a well educated fellow, and a real live professor of something, somewhere, says it much better than I ever could here.

Right’s never wrong.  But sometimes, and lately quite often, “rights” are, and being polarized, even angrily so, about that is, to my way of thinking, right.  The folks who argue against that, preaching tolerance of wrongs, will see nothing wrong, some sweet day, with putting people away who aren’t tolerant, diverse of opinion and supportive of one dear leader, a person not afraid of progress and change; a person to charge full speed ahead into the hope filled future. Dammit all!  They’ll do it because they’ll say that those who don’t think right are wrong and have no rights, particularly the right to think the way they do about the right way of doing things, including such things as Prof. Arkes mentions in his little article..

They’ve done it before. And, they’ll do it again, to paraphrase a once popular song.

They’ll do it again.

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Elect Em, Buy Em

(They’re All for Sale, Anyway)

This ain’t politics, really. It’s economics.

Here’s a question.  Well, here’s a couple of questions.

What do you do with folks who live in places like this: places with people who jump at the chance for something to remind them of their “obligations”; who like Homeless Jesus statues in front of the churches in their rich neighborhoods to embarrass themselves and the high rollers and big spenders they live among when they come in their Caddies and Rollses and long dark Lincolns to be seen in church once or twice a year?  Homeless Jesus statues are even better than pictures of starving babies, or real bums on benches.  They never ask for money, or a meal.

These folks, they’ll feel “compunctive” for an hour or so, until they get back to the Club, The Bent Elbow  or The Green Albatross, for a few befores and a half dozen afters, and an hour or two with Big Jim Cornerstone, home from Upstate for the weekend talking over deals and the “help” they need; and maybe pushing an envelope across the table with a nod and a mention that help’s a two way street.  And, Jim nods and says, “I got your back in the Committee, Billy, my boy!” before he leaves.

Was that a stagger or a swagger on Jim going out the door to his car?

What do you do with a pol who goes on the payroll of a big deal company making drugs that have to be “regulated”, and picks up a trip or two from a company that wants to build a power line and needs to go to a nice resort in Arizona or some place to find out how the power line will impact her neighborhood back in Upper Michigan?  At $500.00 a night, plus the round trip up front with all the swells, and points.

What do you do when stuff like that happens…on both sides of the aisle?  Even in Philly, of all places; it being the home of brotherly love and all?

What do you do about an AG who finds out about all of this and then says there was nothing wrong?  Do you think the AG got a call from someone who said unprintable stuff and suddenly discovered that he’s an AG up a tree with no way down, alone in a desert with no water, in the middle of an ocean on a leaky boat without an oar?

No pol I suppose is ever going to feel bad about a thousand a month they get, regular, from XYZ MFG., you think?  They’ll never feel bad about their vote on XYZ’s plan to fast track the new factory they want to build between the VA Hospital and High School, because, well, that’ll bring 300 new jobs to town.

And, the runoff will add 300 tons of dirt a day to the Neversocruddy River.

You think a pol will ever say, you think that ANY pol has ever said, to themselves, “This ain’t really mine.  I only take it so’s I can stay in office and help the fools (oops, folks) who voted me in, and keep that jerk Bruntkowski from ruining the district and the state if he ever gets enough money to beat me.”  And then they stuff it in their pocket, or hand it to Tommy the Bag, and have another snort and light a cigar and smile and say, “Don’t worry. ”  Just like Big Jim from Upstate.

You think?

Here’s something to think about.  How about buying a few of our own?  I got an idea for a kind of Buyer’s Club.  I think this is real Poly Sci, not that other stuff that they charge you a couple of hundred “G’s” for in college, and you learn how to hold coats for real pols, and hand them stuff they never thought of sayin’ to say to the squares at the Town Meeting.

I’ll start small, someone from the School Board who’ll go for a Ham sandwich. But, he’ll be mine, and will say no to stupid stuff, of which there is a lot…like Common Core and uni-sex bathrooms…in schools all over the place.   I don’t care what he thinks.  As a matter of fact, if he’s a real pol, he don’t care what he thinks.  He may not even think at all; to want to think, or to be able to think.  I only need him to raise he hand at the right time and shut up the rest of the time.

You can’t convince me that Joe Biden thinks or even can think, or that guy from Indiana who was a Veep a couple of dozen years ago was able to think.  Reid can think?  Boehner?  Pelosi?  Gimme a break.  They’re owned, and they love it.   The difference between them and Tip O’Neill or LBJ is that they were sold, Tip and LBJ shopped themselves.

None of those pols in that Philly story think about anything except the next envelope, or the next free ride, and what stupid people like you and me who ain’t got any green to spread around have to put up with in the back of the bus, with our kids in a school with one bathroom for everyone next to a smelly factory.

So, I’m going shopping today for a pol who’ll be mine for twenty bucks.  I’ll put an add on E-bay.  We get 500,000 guys doing the same thing, and suddenly we got a “Movement”  I got a good name for it.  I’m gonna call it “Representative Democracy”  Because, what we got now ain’t.  If it ever was.

Unless of course you’re a Fortune 500 deal.

Happy Easter!

INSTEAD OF … WHY NOT TRY THIS?

I just finished reading a book. I recommend it to you, especially, to read during these forty days (not too many of which are left…) The nice fellow who wrote an introduction to the book said: “The thinkers examined in this book have all grown unbearably uncomfortable with the current metaphysical arrangements. Each reimagines the Judeo-Christian epic in global, transcultural, and macrohistorical terms and in the process refigures our relationship to God and our place in the cosmos.” (Goodness! One of the ways to know you are quoting from a brainy tome these days is to look at what your spell-checker doesn’t know.)

Father O’Sullivan, may he rest in peace, used to recommend me to the care and protection of Our Lady of Divine Discontent when as a young man I would sometimes sit with him and grumble about structures and strictures, position and privilege…and stupidity. He liked a letter I wrote which was published in my college newspaper; and smiled at me.

In that letter I had grumbled about buildings and busyness, rules and rites, walls and wished for no walls at all before finishing by writing: “I would have no church at all.”

Along with one of my teachers the long suffering priest said, “You are young, Peter.”

Now I know that without walls there is no way to have windows to open.  Or, to have windows to break.  Without walls what use is a portico?

Towards the very end of his book (proof that I read that far) the author writes about something he calls “ontological dissent”, and quotes some fellow who goes on a bit about “rules” of one kind or another which he he uses to argue that we should finally consent to only one rule: “the rule of the way of the world.”

Fine, I supposed.  “What is that?”

The author doesn’t say.  What he does say is this:  “The thinkers here would undoubtedly agree, but they would point out that there is another rule: the Rule of St. Benedict.  And that in the monastic life, we see a synthesis of distributist economics combined with a metahistorical critique.”  He could have saved the jawbreaker words and simply said “it’s common sense.)

My spellchecker needs a check-up.

Let me know if you would be interested in reading the book, and I will tell you its name.  There are no pictures.

Rolling Stone’s Stupidity

Catherine Ann Fanning was born on June 18, 1883, in the little town of Leighlinbridge in Cty. Carlow, Ireland.  She left at 16 and came to New York City.  She went immediately to work ten hours a day in the laundry of a large convalescent home in the East Bronx.  It’s still there.  If you use the Whitestone bridge to get to Long Island you’ll see it, the large red stone building, on your left as you approach the toll booths.  It borders St. Raymond’s Cemetery.

I don’t know how many years she worked there. I do know that she worked in similar places until she was in her seventies, nearly, and began to lose her mind.

She was my father’s mother.  She never went home.

Years later I was there, in the little town she left,  with a cousin.  We went to a low hill in a cemetery overlooking the river Barrow and the lovely plain beyond.  He told me a few stories of my grandmother’s family and the conditions in which they lived.  While he spoke, I remembered her own stories, of one meal a day, and that cold potatoes or oatmeal, on land her father farmed for someone far away.  “It’s our own land once again,” my cousin said. Listening quietly I knew why my grandmother never went home.

Nothing was there.

Ella McGowan was born in New York City very near the same date as Catherine Fanning in a place that used to be called The Five Points.  Her father had grown up there, and she spent her young years there.  She married a fellow named Downs and bore him four children in the first years of the 20th Century, the Edwardian Age to some; a time of elegance and excess.  Mr. Downs?  He fell in love with long distance and left her and the kids in The Five Points, a place a slum dog millionaire would avoid.

She was my mother’s mother.  She never went home, either.  What use?  It was demolished to make way for court houses and skyscrapers.

In their own way they were each as soft as kittens and as fierce as tigers.  They both spent much of their day in prayer when I saw them on visits, or on longer stays at our very crowded apartment in Kingsbridge.  I loved them both.

Ellen Frances MacAuliffe was my wife’s mother.  Born in Ireland she left at 16, too, and came here.  She had her own stories, about beatings and shootings in the street from the Black and Tans.  But she never said a word about them, nor about her husband, who came home from two years in combat in Europe a wasted man, who abandoned her and her two children.  She was a quiet, happy woman.  Neither did my wife breathe a word, aside from the occasional, “When life gives you lemons…” kind of observation.

I loved them both.

There is a publication called Rolling Stone that appears regularly on the newsstands and is read by enough people to warrant the expectation of those who publish it that they can do it again, can feed themselves on its income.  I wish they weren’t so full of hope.  I had never read it until a day or so ago when I was interested enough to do it because my granddaughter , a journalism student, gave it what is called now a “shout out” for a story in it.

You have probably heard of the story.  Desiring, I suppose, to place the story before the eyes of as many as possible, and to make the story’s point even more graphically, the cover of the issue was filled with the face of a doe eyed, soft faced young man.  Framed with wavy black hair, the face could have been the subject of some Renaissance master, either in stone or oil; another David.  The rest of the issue was mere filler to the young fellow’s story, the story of a cold blooded killer and the people who loved him, the story of a kid who had a difficult time not being “the best he could be”…and the people who knew him, helped him, befriended him and whom he betrayed.  Some of these people, fellow students, were the ones who helped him by hiding the elements of his crime; accessories after the fact to bloody terrorism.

That was almost more disturbing to read about than the portrait the author painted of this fellow.  In five or so pages, she detailed a life of woe and disappointment, frustration and discord, all endured while the young fellow and his family were well cared for by the state.  He went to school, became a well liked athlete, earned the respect and fellowship of his peers, was a darling to his teachers.  In the end, he was unsatisfied, though.  So he became a terrorist.

Yesterday, while spending a quiet afternoon with some people I know who have had their own share of  “bad times” I learned something.  In the hospitals across Boston on the day that this nice young man and his brother set off their home made WMDs men and women with their own tough stories were picking nails and bits of metal from the shredded skin and burnt limbs of hundreds of victims of his bad mood.

There are other pictures to appear on Rolling Stone covers, and other stories to be written I suppose.   And, well there’s really no sense in getting personal about this, but I can’t help wondering what in the world was so interesting about this kid killer’s life that required the time needed and the space devoted to telling it?  You want to write about people whose lives were tough?  Why not write about Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman or George Washington Carver?  Why not tell the story of Elie Wiesel or Alexander Solzhenitsyn?  Why not speak of Saints Josephine Bakitha, Kateri Tekakwitha  or of Pierre Toussaint.

Instead we got five pages of “the rest of the story”, a depressing tale of disgruntled and ungrateful people blaming others for their failures and angrily biting the hands that fed them.  Are we supposed to sympathize with them all, the killers and the fools, the complainers and the complacent?

Someone said that journalism’s purpose is to bring the truth to light. But what is the point in telling anyone the “truth” about losers, abettors and their mentors and friends?  The only truth that matters here is that this young man is a killer and some of his friends are ignorant enough to think that helping a killer cover his horrible crime is a good thing to do.  That was mentioned but was not covered by Rolling Stone.  Why it wasn’t may be a story worth telling.  It’s certain it won’t be told by Rolling Stone.

This story may have been an exercise in public relations, and badly done at that.  It was certainly not truth, or journalism – however one conceives that thing.

Blood, Blossoms, Buildings and Babies

It was still only half bright at a little before six in the morning when the pain became too much to ignore; the pain in both hip and knee that would not allow sleep to continue.  As if to sweeten the “alarm’s” steady pulse down my leg, a little wren began to pipe morning aboard at about the same time so insistently that, having rolled this way, that way and back around to this way again, I simply gave up.  My first long look told me God had done a good work on dawn whose red lips opened wide in bright song and welcome, whose blue eyes smiled at me through my bedroom window.

Tea, strong and hot, was just the thing when I had fired up the kettle and measured out the sugar.  Settling into one of my favorite chairs I decided to read a little from the latest issue of Touchstone magazine.  A letter from Dr. Peter Kreeft, the philosopher and professor from Boston College caught my eye.  He wrote about the sure and certain – and soon – arrival in our sad midst of legalized infanticide.  This, Dr. Kreeft argues, is inevitable because the reasons advanced for abortion’s legality, it’s right, can be used point for point for legalizing infanticide.  He tells of two young women, pro-choice students in one of his classes, with whom he had this argument, asking them to refute his claim if they could.  After the class the two women approached him and said they were convinced.  “So, you are now pro-life,” he asked them.  “No,” he wrote that they replied, “we are pro-infanticide.”

Somehow what first came to mind after reading this little letter was another thing I had read while waiting for my haircut yesterday.  This was a little story in Smithsonian about some scientist who had “created” what he called a “planimal”.  (The story is on page 71 of the current issue.) His “new creation” is the result of mixing some of his own DNA with that of a petunia.  There is a picture of this New Thing that illustrates this accomplishment.  It shows a bright little blossom.  Since I am a man and can therefore name only three colors, I’ll merely say that the photo showed a red flower.  The petals were a lighter red than the veins in the petals.  It was a nice looking flower.  The fellow whose “flesh” was now a part of the flower was particularly pleased with the dark red veins.  Can you figure out why he is pleased?  It is because they remind him of blood, and it was that part of his DNA, the part that colors blood red, that he put into the flower.  The reaction is very favorable to this new thing from artists and scientists eager to try their hands at “creating” fluorescent frogs and flashing flowers.  I caught myself wondering why God hadn’t thought…  But, then.  Good Saint Mary Shelley, pray for us I thought, shuddering.

Reading further in Touchstone I came across an article by Ken Myers whose work appears there regularly.  He writes about a book he’s been reading called “Foolishness To The Greeks”, by Lesslie Newbigin, who died in 1998.  He was a missionary in India for a long time, and when he “retired” from the work in India took up the same work in England.  And, found it difficult.

Why?  Myers quotes the author: “From the point of view of our contemporary culture, the claim that God raised Jesus from the dead is irrational.  It cannot be incorporated into the existing plausibility structure….  It must be regarded as the esoteric belief of a community that is living in a world of make-believe rather than the world of facts.”  A little further on, Myers himself writes this in explanation of Newbigin’s observation: “Modern science is crippled by a materialistic reductionism that eliminates the category of purpose in explaining reality.”  In other words the question, “Why?” need never be asked.  There is, really no answer for someone so crippled, and by a self-inflicted crippling, too.  Myers next sentence explains the two ladies of Dr. Kreeft perfectly: “Modern social and political institutions promote a depersonalizing individualism that renders the pursuit of the common good precarious if not impossible.”  Is there a reason to care?  Well, no, really.  Why care about anything when all that really matters is your own self?

I put down what I had been reading as I finished the second sentence just quoted, and began to wonder about them.  It was early, and no one was up.  Over in the corner of the room I noticed that the hibiscus had just put forth its first blossom, a big red thing that immediately reminded me of the “planimal” I’d looked at just yesterday.

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Below the hibiscus an African violet bloomed in blue, another color I could name.

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I remembered reading a book long ago, a science-fiction novel by a fellow named Larry Niven called “Ringworld”.  Wikipedia will tell you all you need to know about the book, which entertained me.  To my mind, the “star” of the book is a vast engineering triumph, a world as big as a million earths strung out like a ribbon around its sun, and built by man.  But, it failed.  It had become in the book essentially a ruin by the time the ‘characters” had reached it.  The cause of the ruin was a collision with a meteor which punched a hole in the “ribbon”.

Wow!   Fancy that, a meteor hitting a planet and ruining a civilization. Here, though, it’s just a plot device.   It happened to a world “created” (that word again!) out of hundreds of other worlds to be a perfect place which is destroyed by a random encounter thousands of years before the time of the novel and become a ruin millions of miles in circumference in the desert of space.  (Fellows like Larry Niven, an engineer, really do think this can be done.  They have it all worked out, and look longingly at places like the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to give it a try.  They call it “terraforming”.)

So was Babel, the next thing I thought about, essentially a ruin.  Someone wrote this about the reason Babel failed: “The evil is in their desire to “make a name” for themselves (cf. Gen. 12:2) rather than in the attempt to build a tower “with its top in the heavens” . . . Human smallness, not divine impotence, is emphasized in the Lord’s descent (vs. 5). … The great city and its (implied) defeat thus becomes synonymous with man’s revolt against God and its consequences.” (http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-was-the-sin-of-the-tower-of-babel

I am not smart enough to draw a straight line through all of these things.  They make me just a bit dizzy to be honest when I think about them.  But I think there is a line that can be drawn, a line from Babel to dead babies, a line from blood in flower blossoms to the death of worlds that cannot fail, a line from “materialistic reductionalism” and “depersonalizing individualism” to that attitude which proclaims that my right is right and your right is negotiable or doesn’t exist, and “Why?” need never be asked.

The sky has clouded over.  It is much colder.  A storm will come.

NOTE: Another version of this story appeared a day or so ago on the Facebook page of The Christian Book Corner

Businesses, Brotherhoods and Babies

It is snowing outside.  We’ll get three to six inches today if the liars at Weather Central (All Disaster, All the Time) can be believed.  So, instead of going over to the gym to get ready for the beach this summer, I am sitting here in The House With No Heat, myself rapped in buffalo skins reading stuff on the internet and occasionally saying a prayer for people who have neither homes nor buffaloes to robe them.

I’ve done what I usually do when bound up inside by the weather.  I have read.

So far this morning I’ve read that our goofermint, as someone I know refers to it, wants the new president of Egypt to say he was a jerk a couple of years ago when he told folks over there to raise their children to hate everyone not them.  So far, it looks as if no one over there in sand castle land is listening.  But, when they do hear the whispers, perhaps Mousi (no relation to our kinder, gentler Mickey) will grunt something or other.  The guy deserves at least a dope slap for what he said.  But, what  can you expect from someone who hangs around with a bunch of cruds who think strapping a dozen or so pounds of dynamite on a kid and sending them into a crowd of weekend shoppers is the Muslim Brotherhood equivalent of Little League?  Over here the Big Brothers try to teach a kid to be a good person.  Over there, you’re a kid and you get one of Mousi’s friends for a big brother, you’re sure to be taught how to be one of two things, a murderer or a “martyr”  (which is the same thing for those whackos); probably both.

Then, I happened on an article about my favorite women’s organization, Planned Parenthood.  Now the first time I heard the name, which was a long time ago I have to confess that I thought it was some kind of place, maybe like Triple A, where they give you helpful travel trips, make reservations and stuff,  sell you plastic water bottles.  You know, stuff you never thought you needed, but can’t live without now that you know it is there, and cheap.  I figured you walked into a Planned Parenthood store and got deals on bassinets, formula, diapers, stuff like that; and there were these nice ladies with shawls on and wire rimmed glasses sitting around knitting booties and little blankies ( a different kind of B&B) the place painted in shades of pink and blue.

“Divil a bit of it!” my Grand-Mother Kate Fanning Gallaher might say, her lips curling and a curse against them forming.  I found out it was another kind of place.  Scary, really.  Well, you know.  It’s the last place someone wants to be when planning their parenthood.  Planning for Un-parenthood?  That’s a horse of a different species.  They got, umm, slicers, dicers, choppers, hoovers, pills and potions and are ready for you 24/7, with, I bet Early Bird specials:  In by eight, out by ten anytime before little Janey or Junior’s  ten weeks along.  Or, something like that.  Maybe, if they get your e-mail, they send you coupons and 2 for 1 specials, and you can like ’em on Facebook.  It’s good marketing, you know.  And, if you don’t know yet, Planned Parenthood is a business, just like some of those big deal sausage factories, like Jones and those others.

And this smoothly segues into the second article I glanced at this morning, the one that explains in sordid detail just how Planned Parenthood is a business, perhaps the bloodiest business this side of an abbatoir (a fancy French word for a slaughterhouse).  Only they deal in killing kids, not cows.  Last year they set a record, the article says, and manage to kill more than 300,000 little human beings, none of whom asked for it.  In a really cool concatenation of events and circumstance those of you who read the article (have strong drink at hand…or anti-nausea meds) will learn that that number matches almost perfectly the dollar figure for their daily profit.  And, mirabile dictu, both numbers are all time universe wide records!  Imagine, most babies killed in a year and most money made per day for a year, and they occurred together!  There’s a pair that’ll beat a full house anytime.

But, it gets better, because 45% of this loot comes from you and me, the American taxpayer.  Yep, we gave the country’s busiest and biggest house of death about a million samoleans a day between June, 2010 and June 2012.

After I had finished in the bathroom and washed out my mouth, I came back here and found something different to read, a short essay on something called The Catholic Education Resource Network by a fellow named Anthony Esolen.  The essay has a very simple title.  Its title is “The Child”.

Now, in all fairness I have to say that I have been in the same room as has Anthony Esolen at least once.  I know that because I heard someone say his name and , at the same time, point to him.  But I have never met him.  I would like to, and the first thing I would do is ask for his autograph.  I know that this frosts a lot of peoples’ pumpkins out there, but the guy is a good Catholic, and a good teacher, to boot.  And what he writes and what he says, and, I have no doubt, what he teaches about is thoroughly Catholic from the first word to the last.  So, if you are the kind of person whose goat is got by the things Catholics say and believe you may want to save yourself some agida, and maybe a trip to the ER, and not read the article.

Because, you see, Dr. Esolen’s article starts off in an entirely Catholic way, an authentically Christian way.  It starts off in the kind of way which I know grates on folks who think Planned Parenthood, even if it is a lousy business, is a good thing; the way sewers, I suppose, are a good thing…only a child isn’t supposed to be in a sewer.  It starts in the kind of way which I know ticks off people who think that Mousi and his fellow Muslim brotherhood members, and every other person who wants kids to grow up hating, are just teaching kids the facts of life, and that’s a good thing…like suicide bombers are good things.  Only a child has a life before him.

Here are the first couple of sentences  from Dr. Esolen’s article,  “Everywhere outside of Christianity, wrote Hans Urs von Balthasar, the child is automatically the first to be sacrificed. Only for Christians is the adult the imperfect child. Everywhere else the child is the imperfect adult, and falls subject to our lust for domination.”

I Will Make You Ready

I Will Make You Ready

Read it.  And, maybe shed a tear for children all over the world, children who are  sacrificed every day to Moloch, perhaps more alive today than ever and closer to us than we think.  Which way shall we go?

Going My Way?

Julia In Dublin

And after you read it come back here and listen to the music below.  I used to play it sometimes and remember a little poem set to the opening theme that I sang to my daughter when she was a child:

When at night I go to sleep,
fourteen Angels watch over me.
Two my head are guarding,
two my feet are guiding,
two are on my right hand,
two are on my left hand,
two who warmly cover my head
and two who will guide me toward Heaven.

Much better, so, don’t you think than businesses and brotherhoods?