Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Lesser Loved Lewis

Best quote from the book: The Pilgrim's Regress

'...the human soul was made to enjoy some object that is never fully given--nay, cannot even be imagined as given--in our present mode of spatiotemporal experience. This desire was, in the soul, as the Seige Perilous in Aruthur's castle, the chair in which only one could sit. And if nature makes nothing in vain, the One who sits in the chair must exist.'

The Lesser Loved Lewis

CS Lewis’ The Pilgrim’s Regress

If it doesn’t sound that familiar – fret not – I hadn’t heard of it before last week.

The book had been the sole copy in the second hand book shop on Bell Street. There was no Narnia to be had, but this copy of Pilgrim’s Regress had been on the shelf for quite some time.
‘This book’s been around for a while’ my friendly book seller remarked.
‘To be blunt, why didn’t ya give it away when it didn’t sell? You give so many other books that don’t sell to charities...’
‘But it’s CS Lewis, always good to have as many of his titles in stock. Better him on the shelves than Dan Browne eh?.’

I love my copy of The Pilgrim’s Regress and have inscribed my looped, curly signature on the title page. It’s never to be sold or put in the charity shop bag. And if I’m unable to pay my rent in SW7 then it’ll be a handy pillow for the bench-bed in Hyde Park!

The Pilgrim’s Regress is Lewis’ first novel as a Christian, and thereby as a Christian writer. It’s written as an allegorical apology for Christianity. To a degree it’s a theological book, but it’s also a political satire/ critique of anti-Christian political movements. The Pilgrim's Regress concerns the arduous discovery of Christianity, by John, the central character who dabbles with religion sporadically, until finally he relinquishes his false ideals, allows Christianity to guide his life and becomes a Christian. However, the book is firmly set in the fantasy genre.

You guessed it – it’s Narnia for adults

The geographical context is conveniently treacherous, and mountains and rivers revolt (spontaneously of course) in response to human activity.

The book is populated by some very colourful characters, including painted girls, brown girls, a statuesque virginal beauty called ‘Reason’, giants, dragons and trolls. Interestingly, I did read (but hope to verify soon) that the trolls represent the Nazis. Damian Thompson describes as 'trolls' the individuals that log onto his blog, and write obscene anti-semitic comments. In The Pilgrim’s Regress, the leader of the trolls is a man called ‘Savage’.

The central difficulty (from the reader’s perspective) with Pilgrim’s Regress is that Lewis is very self-indulgent. One needs at least a cursory knowledge of major ideologies, political systems, and writers such as DH Lawrence and Freud, as well as a degree from Oxford in Classics to appreciate fully where Lewis is leading you.

I’m going to order Finding the Landlord: A Guidebook to C.S. Lewis's Pilgrims' Regress

It gives a page by page explanation of The Pilgrim’s Regress, and I figure that it will give me insights into the finer cultural and theological aspects of the book.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

‘you’re terrible, how can you think such a thing...Jesus as’re absolutely terrible.’

I do not dispute that for many people the integral Jewish setting in which Christianity was founded has become fantastical. A real-life Bible story that has no importance for our lives now, or for our future after death. People of all rank, from school kids who think that Jesus was a stone-age figure, to the nobility of this country.

I spoke with Baroness Warnock last year after she gave a lecture at University College Cork. The baroness, a former favourite of Mrs. Thatcher, was there to argue a case for experiments on human embryos. After her speech in defence of laboratory splicing of embryos, I asked her some questions about her Christian faith.

Baroness Warnock

'Hello Baroness'. Customary shaking of hands. Dreadfully false toothey smiling from yours truly. The baroness smiled at me in return.
'May I ask Baroness Warnock, you are a member of a Christian denomination.'
'Oh yes, indeed I am a Christian'
‘So, you unreservedly call yourself a member of the Christian faith?’
The baroness looked gamely at me, gave me a knowing nod and said 'Well yes. But my dear, Christianity is all part of a lovely fairytale, very little of it is factual. There's some morals that you can pick and choose from.' Perhaps I strayed from the rules of polite conduct for conversing with baronesses. But I asked, 'thank you for being so kind as to tell me that you are a...Christian. Yet my understanding Baroness is that Christians believe Jesus will be at the end of their lives a judge.'

The baroness's smile disappeared. I sighed, and felt like a TV evangelist. I pressed on and said ‘that He will render an account of our lives when we die. And should Our Lord find fault with your...enthusiasm...for experimenting on embryos...what will your response be?'

Baroness Warnock’s eyes loomed large and she said to me ‘you’re terrible, how can you think such a thing...Jesus as’re absolutely terrible.’
I gave a shrug . My body language implied, ‘well there are a lot of loonies in this world, I’m just one of them, but since you say you are 'Christian' why do you not shy away from Our Lord’s role as king, who decides where a subject will go at the end of their days?’

I smiled at the baroness, and wished her a pleasant stay in Cork. I told her that I would pray for her. She looked at me blankly, as if to say ‘you obviously think that I’m damned, why bother praying for me?’ Because I don’t know what else to say Baroness, and often I don’t know what else to do other than pray.

I continued by overly-friendly overly-smiley routine and brightly said, ‘I do hope you have a nice trip back to England.’ What else could I say?

The King's Mother; Our Queen; The Blessed Virgin Mary

Well done Emer for your great comment! You should be writing this blog, not me!
For the benefit of everyone, here is Emer’s comment.

‘Golly. I've always called Our Lady 'queen' out of habit. Didn't realise that it has its origins in Old Testament Jewish law. That she's the queen of Heaven because she's Jesus/kings of king's mother. Maybe it's not pc to say this, but it could be why Protestants don't get Our Lady's queenship. Protestantism is usually very tied to English/German tradition where the queen is the king's wife. Wouldn't it be interesting to do a survey where we find out how many Protestants know that Our Lady is a Queen because she's the king's mother?’

Unfortunately Emer, we probably know the survey results already. The majority of Christians would not know why Our Lady is royalty. Not only should she be called a queen, but she is one. For now and forever. An eternal queen. Her sovereignty is as permanent as Christ the King. Our Lady is the mother of the founder of Catholicism, and Our Lord taught us to know and love her as our queen. The six unlucky wives were the queens of the founder of Protestantism – Aul ‘Enry. It’s perhaps all very sad that Aul ‘Enry’s wives were treated as child-bearing vessels to be used, and then conveniently decapitated. Most unfortunately, most Protestants treat Our Lady as if she were just a womb for bringing the Messiah into the world.

Talking to most protestants, I find that they treat the Virgin Mary as a little peasant girl who handily enough, bore the Messiah. I bear no grudge against Protestants per se, but there ought to be a bit more respect for Our Lady. I’ve heard from far too many Protestants/CIE peeps/Christian evangelicals that ‘well St. Mary needed saving too. Jesus came to redeem her too!’ The other famous quote that wreaks of Puritanism is ‘well you worship St. Mary. You’re guilty of idolatry!’
We don’t worship Our Lady like deluded idiots, we love her as our queen and mother. Her life and the biological life she gave Jesus (‘He was begotten by the Virgin Mary’) are all the fulfilment of her tradition – that of the Jewish/Hebrew Scripture Prophecies.

If Protestants/Christian Evangelicals are in earnest about solo scriptura, why is there that glaring inconsistency between the Hebrew Scripture Prophecy, which states the Messiah would be born of a Virgin and what Protestants-of-all-shapes-and-sizes have believed since the time of Henry the 8th, that the Virgin Mary was not immaculate and a virgin? Anyone wishing to check it up, will find the scripture which foretells that the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Isa. 7: 14.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

“The Christian rediscovery of the Jewishness of Jesus" Rediscovery? Really?

I must take issue with the above statement in quotation marks, that is being bandied about so much these days.

This announcement is articulated as if Jesus' Jewishness has been buried and made apocryphal by His followers. When I write 'apocryphal', I do mean both 'hidden' and 'ficticious'. As if Jesus' Yiddishkeit is not almost wholly relevant to our prayerlife, and reception of the Sacraments. This is neither fair or true to the active followers of Our Lord. Allow one example of how meditating on the life of Jesus is integral to the faith life of many Catholics.

Catholics were called to pray the Rosary everyday by Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady asked for the daily recitation of the Rosary on 6 occasions on the hill top at Fatima. When one reflects on Mystery One of the Rosary (the Annunciation), there is the necessary respect that our Lady had 'no knowledge of man' yet conceived by the Holy Spirit. If not the fulfillment, then this surely is the mirror image of the Prophecy of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Points for reflecting on Jesus' Presentation in the Temple (4th Mystery of the Rosary) include that He was circumcised on the eight day, and that his parents did 'all' that the law required. During His Presentation in the Temple, the meeting with St. Simeon, the elderly devout Jew is the focal point. Simeon pronounces that Jesus is the Saviour and the 'light to enlighten the Gentiles: and the glory of Thy people Israel'.
The Rosary is a centuries old prayer. And this was from the time Our Lady gave St. Dominic the Rosary in 1208, to 1917 in Fatima where Our Lady encouraged us all to recite the daily Rosary, to Pope Benedict saying that the Rosary is enjoying a new springtime.

The frequent recitation of the Rosary is evidence that Jesus's Yiddishkeit/Jewishness has been alive in the hearts and minds of Christians who have said the Rosary down through the centuries. And this was long before the present day Facebook Rosary fan site with tens of thousands of fans.

Through the Rosary we honour Our Lady as Queen of Heaven. Our Lady's deserved queenship follows Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament, the king's mother was always the queen. Our Lady's crown signifies that she is mother of the King of Heaven. This is in contrast to our Northern European monarchic tradition of the queen being the king's wife.

May I suggest that if Jesus' Jewish identity and heritage were something new for Christians/Catholics, then the very essence of our identity as Christians/Catholics would have been lost long ago.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Postcards from Heaven

A lively debate is being facilitated by Daily Telegraph Blogs on the subject of whether those who do not believe in multi-culturalism may take their pupils out of 'citizenship'/tolerating multi-culturalism classes.

Cue fuzzy lighting and distant violin playing for a personal memoir that most of you will find very self-righteous, and personal. The policies of the politically correct elite in education do back-fire.

On the whole, most of my teachers were wonderfully gifted and great educationalists. A few of my teachers, however were slavishly leftie, championing population control, inclusion of even vile 'cultural' practices and, of course in Celtic Tiger Ireland the obligatory anti-Catholic rhetoric.

One such 'teacher' (forgive the snotty quotation marks but really I learned nada from her) gave theatrical Madam Bovary-esque sighs, and then ridiculed the 'pre-Vatican II Church' as her example of everything bad, patriarchal and not 'inclusive'. The use of Latin was not good for multiculturalism, its use was 'nice' but meant 'others' were 'automatically excluded'. The time that Ms. Brown spent attacking Catholicism and making the odd pro-abortion remark was time that was meant to be spent where we, her pupils, learned history. The curriculum was not being taught. So, coming up to exams her students would have to come in on a Saturday where she would spend many hours trying to teach basic points that should have been taught 18 months previous.

To find out what this 'auld biddie of a teacher' had against the Tridentine Latin Mass, I went to one (at the time I was atheistic and a teenager), and was mesmerised. There were dozens of people there from all walks of life, their mother tongues were not English, but our understanding of the Mass synchronised as, together we embraced the Latin text. 'Excluded'? No, teacher dear, you've excluded yourself from the riches of a Mass where the language is universal.

And now, as when I go to 8AM Mass in the Oratory, I'll say a prayer for the auld that auld. Possibly even send a postcard of a side chapel in London Oratory to the school, 'hiya Ms. Brown, just thought you would like to know that your citizenship classes had the effect of making me a Latin Mass Catholic. I’ll think of you when I hear ‘kyrie eleison’. It must be good to know your teaching was very effective.' Even as I write I can hear you scream ‘dreadful! Archaic Latin Mass!' It would have the dual effect of making her so apoplectic with rage that I doubt she would teach 'citizenship' that day. And the next day, she might tell her doting dressed-in-blue pupils about the 'outlawed' Latin Mass. Maybe, I'll shortly see some of her rebellious pupils sitting alongside me in a pew some fine day soon. We can then send her a group postcard.

PS - During my four yearn of teaching, I did draw some criticism for bringing too many Catholic points to bear on my lessons. And besides, I did have faults as a teacher including poor time management and rambling on and on... I do however have a number of former pupils who have the faith, and one got in touch with me today to tell me that they had prayed for me this week. For pupils who were not impressed (but reviled) by my religion lessons, perhaps there will be a blog post from a former pupil of mine saying that I drove him to atheism because of my waxing lyrical about the Trinity and the saints. I could then leave comments on this ex-pupil's blog and invite them round for dinner, for further discussions of the faith over a leg of roast lamb.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

An illegal crucifix?

A November news story, that still leaves a putrefied taste in our mouths, concerns the European Court of Human Rights ruling, that Italy would have to eradicate ALL crosses from Italian classrooms. Forgive me for my choleric capitalising of ‘ALL’, subtlety was never my forte. But the arrogance of the Court in delivering a judgment based on the campaigning of one Finnish mother, Soile Lautsi, which she did on behalf of her two kids, that will could impact on the lives of all Italian school children. Ms Soile Lautsi is the dame célèbre of the atheist movement; they see Soile Lautsi as the lady who took Italy’s soiled linen to the European Court. A quick search of the atheist sites and societies reveals their glee at the European Court decision.

The European Court of Human Rights did not actually order a specific body of people, such as school teachers or police to confiscate crosses in classrooms. So, no specific group of Italian state employees have it as their set responsibility to take down crosses. The European Court left the decision of ‘who’ would enforce their ruling to the Italian government.

Yet, in reaction to the European Court, there are some interesting developments in Italian law. Italy’s Constitutional Court is seeking to exercise Italian law so as to nullify the ruling of the Strasbourg Court. Their defence is that for the-removal-of-crucifixes-decree conflicts with Italian Constitutional law. But precisely which ‘provisions’ within Italian Constitutional law will allow Italy to robustly ensure that to hang a crucifix in a classroom is not an illegal offence?
I doubt very much whether or not the Italian Constitution has the following wording; ‘it is illicit for any court outside Italy to impost a judgment which would entail the elimination of crosses from our classrooms.’ Italy has no definite, certain protection against this ruling by the European Court/Strasbourg Court. Legal expert Roger Kiska has stipulated that Italy, if losing its appeal, may consider breaking with the European Court of Human Rights. That may involve a breaking with Convention of Human Rights. Should Italy seek a complete exemption from the Convention of Human Rights (the Strasbourg Court follows this convention) then they may need the approval of the other 26 ‘member states’. It is foreseeable that other European counties from tiny Malta to Germany could look for concessions on Italy’s exemption from the Convention of Human Rights.

Hence why ‘breaking free’ from a fetter of the European Courts is 27 times harder than it was to enter it in the first place. Both Britain and Ireland are signatories to the Convention. My last point is key to understanding why ‘we’ may get have such a ruling imposed on us. What is stopping a egnostic/pagan/druid parent from taking a similar case to the Strasbourg Court?

The stop-gap phrase for now is ‘only time will tell’. In the meantime, we must look for politicians who have legally effective policies for preventing the EU and the European Court of Human Rights from trampling on our traditional customs.

Where Crucifixes are Verboten!

Should there come a truly despotic age when crucifixes are banned from all classrooms across Europe because of a precedent made by the European Court of Human Rights/Strasbourg Court ruling in November 2009, you may look at this picture of the 'Strasbourg Court' and regard it as the place where the defining symbol of Catholicism was made illegal.

I write of a 'despotic age' as though it's looming ahead. Did Hitler not order the complete removal and destruction of all crucifixes from all public buildings?
The Bavarians were the plucky ones. They defied Hitler, and when a school principal did remove a crucifix, they instructed their children to replace the crucifix.
So we now face the same debacle that the Bavarians faced...all the while these Strasbourg Court judges think themselves so 'progressive'. Regressive is the more apt word.

How about putting this flying spaceship building on a dart board? Apologies. You may not want to sully your dart board. My other suggestion is that you send a lot of pictures of this building to Stephen King. Would he write a horror novel set in the Strasbourg Court? Novel title: Exorcism in Strasbourg.

Another suggestion is more daring. An exorcist could hold a perpetual vigil outside the Strasbourg Court. Lots of Lourdes holy water on display. It could become a pilgrim destination for scrupulous Catholics who feel they must pray outside the spaceship court. Another idea would be for protesters to get posters of Adolf Hitler and position them side-by-side with the Strasbourg Court judges, the caption underneath these pin-ups might be 'they have a lot in common!'

Monday, 11 January 2010

From phone box to phone box across London...

I had a rather thrilling time last week, when a male friend and I went from phone box to phone box in SW7 ripping down the porn and binning it. Simple strategy; my tall, dark friend gave me ‘cover’ while I nipped into the phone box tore down the porn postcards (who says long nails aren’t useful?) and binned them. We were as giddy as kids released from school.

In my neck of West London, there are telephone boxes lined with lusty lacy pics of girls advertising themselves. Each time I go past them, I think, thank God I don’t have a child of my own who would see these porno postcards in the phone-box just by walking down the street outside our house. So, much as I Love living near Hyde Park and the Oratory, I don’t think I’ll be raising kids here.

And I’m still waiting for Boris Johnson (who I find endearing) to honour his promise to stop the posting of porn and prostitute adverts, and bring ‘those’ who put up the postcards to justice

If Boris doesn’t, would we be within our rights to ask Boris how he would feel if he were passing a phone box (like the VILE box near Harrods) and if he saw one of his female relatives on a postcard? This sounds preposterous, and not a little fantastical. But then to return to the point of the previous post; every 'sex worker' is someone's relative. You may doubt that all Boris’ buffoonery could help him laugh his way out of that one.

Just so long as it’s not my daughter! Substitute ‘daughter’ with ‘sister’, ‘friend’, ‘wife’ or even ‘mother’

Certainly, it’s ‘alright’ and even ‘acceptable’ for more and more pubescent girls, teenagers and twenty-somethings to be involved in an ever growing ‘sex industry’ be it strip joints, competitions to see who can be on the cover of Nuts, old-fashioned pornography or anything from the legally cosseted ‘massage’ parlours to being an ‘escort’. ‘Gentlemen’s Clubs’ are fast replacing pubs, as Ed West describes on his Daily Telegraph blog.

You can hear the cries of ‘it’s liberation!’, ‘it’s a good career move!’, ‘those girls are having fun’, and ‘they are doing what they want with their bodies!’ from the social engineers.

Really? Right, enough with the blaze, ‘open minded’ guff about ‘liberation’.
Forgive me for being unsophisticated but how many fathers, of any race and any age, do you know that opine ‘oh yes, when Kate, our little princess grows up, she’ll work at Stringfellows’?

How many mothers openly delight in saying ‘and when Amy is fourteen she’ll have her naked picture up in the phone box!’ But, then every ‘sex worker’ (the use of the term ‘worker’ makes them beloved by the ’worker’s rights wing’) is someone’s daughter, someone’s grandchild and possibly someone’s mother someday. What child wants to go to school and say that their mum works in a ‘massage’ parlour?

Next time, you meet some self-besotted individual who thinks ‘it’s just great’ that girls ‘can do that now’, ask them this; ‘may I ask if you would think it so great if your daughter/sister/mother became part of the sex industry?’

Or then again, maybe don’t. You don’t want them to turn apoplectic, denounce you as ‘small-minded’ and never speak to you again. Although you would then be saved a lifetime of Mr Pinky-Prattle ‘political’ claptrap on ‘how far women have come since the sixties.’ Mr. Pinky-Prattle wouldn’t dare allow you to reveal his hypocrisy again. Mr Pinky-Prattle thinks it’s fine for Natasha from Siberia, or Ewa from Gdansk, or Bellinda from Brixton, or Carly from Liverpool, but oh no, not their daughter. Never! The best Mr. Pinky-Prattle could do would be to remark ‘well it wouldn’t really be Charlotte’s thing...’

Mr. Pinky-Prattle lives on every street, he’s the one who sponsors the sex industry by his subscriptions and ‘outings to gentlemen’s clubs’, then likes to dress up the sex industry as being a grand facility for women’s ‘liberation’. He buys The Guardian and wears organic cotton. Bless him, he even recycles his porn mags.

I did once meet an ‘escort’ in the Bronx who was twenty six, and had a twelve year old daughter. Tentatively, I asked her if her daughter knew what she did.
‘Of course! But she tells everyone that I work with lonely old people, or that I'm some kinda frind to men. But I say to my kid, you gotta get a good college edu-kay-shun. You’re not going to grow up to do what I do.’ The daughter will learn that sexual experiences are cash transactions. Selling your body for ‘deutschmarks or dollars American Express will do nicely thank you’ will be the ‘work’ that this ‘escort’s’ daughter identifies with. Would you suppose that Mr. Pinky-Prattle would let his daughter, Charlotte play with the child of the escort? Would he want his daughter playing in the house of a sex-worker? I don't think you will find Mr Pinky-Prattle too enthusiastic.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A victim of eco-laws in Australia

To learn why this man is stationed here, and why he is on hunger strike, follow this link.

The truth shall set you free.

Here's the 'In Good Faith Blog', which brings the 'is Obama a charlatan Christian?' debate to bear on whether it is truly 'honest' or if it shows 'integrity' to parade religous virtue for the sake of getting votes.

Brace yourself! Get a helmet to protect your ears, like that worn by riot police. Anyone who critiques Obama's religious swindling will be called the insult-of-choice 'right wing extremist'. Your head may be bitten off with the snarls and shouts of 'right wing nutter!' That was the offensive stereotype used to gag anyone who dared provoke debate on Obama’s inconsistent religious practices. 'Right-wing extremist' and 'gun-toting Bible reader' is learned-off lines of the Obama-obsessed to hurl at anyone who would say a word against their president.

Anyone who seeks a direct, candid answer on Obama’s confusing Christianity is treated as if they brought up a very passé subject. Immediately it relegates them to being 'extreme'. Wanting to know if Obama/or anyone for that matter is sincerely following Our Lord is extreme? Apparently so!

Yet, voters, as a general rule must show more fortitude in standing up for themselves. If you don't you may as well be like the members of the crowd that watched a emperor strut past in his 'new' clothes. I write this from London, but I exhort ALL American voters to refuse the name-calling of ‘extemist’, merely because you seek the truth on the religious practices of a man who has control of your taxes, and national institutions. It is ‘they’ who are censoring your right to free speech with their preppy screeches of ‘but that’s so right wing!’ No the truth does not belong to a ‘wing’. It exists of itself, for itself; ‘seek you the truth and the truth shall set you free.’

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

All the world’s a stage, and Politicians merely Players

Did Obama ‘mislead’ the American public on his religious practices? This is a question being asked more and more in American political and social life, with the answers getting more and more simple, but hard-to-bear. It's especially glaring that Obama and his family did not attend one Christmas service during the entirety of Christmas 2009 and 2008. OK - so the White House had a Christmas tree. Mr. Obama insisted that this tree (was it carbon neutral I ask?) NOT have any religious ornaments; it did, however, have an ornament with a picture of Chinese dictator, Mao Zedong, a leader who oversaw the deaths of over 50,000,000 million (this figure staggers me) of his own people. I suppose that's appropriate when Mr. Obama refused to meet the Dali Lama to develop dialogue on human rights.

Let’s refresh ourselves with Obama’s pre-election interview on CNN when he said spoke of ‘the Christian community of which I am apart of’.

Before the election everyone knew that Obama attended Jeremy Wright’s church in Chicago. How many people would know off-hand what formal building Obama ‘prays’ in these days. Maybe Obama is doing a Reagan – Reagan always claimed that the reason he did not ‘go to church’ was because the security needed to protect him would disrupt the religious service.

Would that excuse of ‘the heavies’ flanking Obama in church be the excuse he needs to sleep in? No, firstly it stuck with Reagan who was an altogether more smiley, feel-good-factor politician than Obama. Secondly, Obama’s avowed Christianity (Prior To Election) was crucial to creating public worship of Obama as a modern messiah. A joke that’s lasted from 2007 till now is; ‘God turns to Barack Obama and asks, "Do you think you deserve to be in heaven?"
Obama smiled and replied, "I think you're in my seat."

While Obama is hailed as a political saviour, we might draw comparisons between his professed beliefs and in his actions. Oh, are there no comparisons to be made? Do his political works such as being in bed with Planned Parenthood, promulgating insidious euthanasia, quietly worsening the war in Iraq, taxing middle income people more and having the lowest popularity rating of any American president in the Holy Land NOT compare with his image as a Christian?
One could take my oh-so-cynical view that the greater religious American public are finding this out: Obama just pretended to be a Holy Joe to get their vote?
Obama did get the ‘Catholic vote’ (over 50% of us voted for him) but he didn’t quite get the Evangelical Christian vote (less than 30% fellow Christians voted for Barry Obama).

Those in American life who resolutely stated that they would never vote for Obama because of his Janus face and his duplicity on moral issues were castigated as ‘right wing extremists’. That was the choice term for any Obama-messiah deniers.
All is needed to see that Obama was donning the cloak of the holy man is a simple viewing of some very contradictory You-Tube videos. If you watched the videos blindfolded you would be forgiven for thinking that there were several people talking on these videos, when in fact there is just one puppet.

Compare if you will Obama’s attitude to the bible in this video with the CNN one above. Invite a ten year old of average IQ, to hear both the CNN video above and this one. The ten year old will hear the misleading malaise of dissembling. Some parents may judge this as inappropriate, but this simple exercise is perhaps better than whole days watching Fox News or any political TV channel.

St Mel’s – the burning of Ireland’s reputation?

I’m a Catholic – albeit not a good one – but I am saddened by the blaze in St. Mel’s, which will cost a minimum of 2 million. But what far exceeds the financial damage is the irreparable destruction done to both our national reputation and international cultural standing. The burning of this building that was a top pilgrim destination throughout the ages, and housed priceless artefacts of saints such as St. Mel, St. Patrick’s nephew. The reasons bandied about for the suspected arson are that it was ‘revenge’ and ‘justifiable because of the abuse cases’. But revenge on whom? Not one abused child will be better off because St. Mel’s was gutted. What formerly abused adult will get healing because a place of worship was destroyed? All it has done is to further a stereotype of Irish people as spiteful begrudgers, a sort of ‘a priceless church ruined as pay-back for the abuse victims’. But is it really a stereotype? There’s a very real attitude of ‘well they got what they deserve’. This is a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but for generations to come, we will be explaining the loss of historical treasures. On a short term level, the people of Longford are without a sightseeing location with which to lure tourists, and less tourists means less local revenue in a recession. I’m no saint but I know that pointless revenge seeking should have no part in our faith.

PS - Allow me a comparison with another faith; may I ask, were a part of Mecca savaged by fire in ‘revenge’ for the London bombings, would the Islamic community think it fair revenge?

Living well is the best revenge

With so much empty-mutterings of ‘it was justified revenge’ being given as the assumed reason for the blaze in St. Mel’s, it may do well for us to ponder George Herbert’s words ‘living well is the best revenge’.

PS - George Herbert may have shuttled off his mortal coil in 1633, but some of us, the Irish people who are feeling 'satisfied' that St. Mel's burned to the ground, should really ask ourselves; 'how exactly are we living better since a priceless cathedral was burned?' This wouLd be better than the national sermonising of 'oh, the Catholic Church with all those abuse cases, they had it coming!'
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