Christmas shooters Hanukkah stabbers: security teams visitors ongoing training

I have much to say about this kind of thing given that DHS has trashed pretty much everything they did have for encouragement of self-protection and training (which was a lot at the time) in favor of ripping everything from their own FEMA and giving it over to a brand new agency that is still in its infancy and still sporting its first Director: CISA. The incredible magnitude of CISA’s effort in so short a time is nothing short of amazing. I’ll get to that in future. For myself, for my parish, for churches and synagogues, I have some practical suggestions at least for this locale. I’ll get to that in future as well, I hope.

For now, I would like to repeat some advice from a previous post on the old FEMA out-of-date and broken-linked effort of more than two years ago, which post has been seen by pretty much every justice department and law enforcement agency from local to state to federal, and has been visited by pretty much every educational institution, private, city, county, or state, from podunk to the ivy league, also internationally, making it one of the most visited posts ever on this blog. That post is now out of date, except for the added advice:

  • I would like to see among first responders to an active shooter critical incident on a church campus my own parishioners who are already on campus, and who are LEOs, military operators, or otherwise highly trained individuals who can instantly respond to and neutralize any threat, that is, those who don’t rest on their laurels, but who are frosty, always and instantly at the ready.
  • I would NOT like to see parishioners participating in this program who have a concealed carry permit but who, other than their first qualification just to sit in the course have never fired their stop-the-threat-tool, or have only rarely done so. I can see it now: fumbling around in a purse or ultra-complicated safety holster (with all sorts of unnecessary safeties employed on the gun itself), trying to figure out how to use for the first time red-dot sights or lasers with all their switches or not (depending), with batteries being useful or dead, with zero scenario training, zero indicator awareness, zero situational awareness, and therefore little possibility of recognizing and isolating a target and therefore being caught off guard with a lack of confidence and therefore way too much hesitation and liability to foggy confusion, and therefore with an increased possibility of causing friendly fire casualties.
  • I would like to see the very same parishioners and others help to get those around them out of the building or, if that’s impossible, to the floor, even while getting out their phones and calling 911 and/or (depending on the circumstances and logistics) fighting with anything at hand: hymn books, loose chairs, music stands, instruments… oneself…
  • But here’s where the importance of a plan comes in, when everyone should know their part to play, so that flight or dropping to the floor is important so as to give clear access to defenders who have the proper tools to stop to a threat (regardless of policy on firearms), therefore reducing the possibility of a friendly fire causality. The placement of defenders in good positions of situational awareness and the possibility of responding is key.
  • Flight-hide-fight. This is about love.

But in viewing that church shooting video above, one more point needs to be added. I praise the church for having a security team and for allowing firearms in church for self-defense. That team might have been trained up well. But…

  • There were four fellows who drew their weapons – a couple of them moving from left to right in the foreground aisle – and I don’t know if those latter two were on the security team or not. They could just be visitors trying to help out. They might have been well trained, even military or police, but lost it when the adrenaline hit, perhaps falling back on house clearing training for SWAT or military. But even then – sorry – they’re not doing that well. Those two don’t have a target as the perp is already on the ground behind the pews. Those two are super dangerous to all around them. They’re continuously flagging their fellow parishioners with the muzzles of their own weapons. If that’s just because of adrenaline and they have their fingers on their triggers, they might have extremely easily pulled the trigger in the chaos. If they were that controlled by the adrenaline (and there are ways to control it, and use it), they might just as well have pulled down the muzzle had they had to pull the trigger, again risking hitting not the perp but another parishioner. In this kind of a situation – with no target in sight and lots of people in between – they should have had their weapons high entry, so to speak, not low entry and certainly not aimed right at other parishioners the entire time. It’s high because if you draw up, in this situation, you’re directly flagging the very ones you want to protect.

No one gets out of training. Churches present a different situation from SWAT or military house clearing, as the above video makes evident. Military and Law Enforcement exceptions are not to be made in scenario based training with the exact incident in the video above as evidence of this. Everyone dismisses the soft target as that which is easy to protect. The opposite is true, especially because of this attitude. “I got this!” is the typical exclamation based on truly heroic careers of those who have been highly decorated for their bravery in violent incidents. I get that. It’s the temptation of any and all to rest on their laurels when it comes to soft targets. It is what it is. Unless there is scenario based training also for the differences of high entry and low entry, even the greatest of heroes isn’t to be on the security team. We don’t need anyone thinking “they have this”. Watch those two guys in the foreground of the video above again. That’s as scary as the active shooter guy.

Just because you own a tool doesn’t mean you know how to use it. Even if you have your drills down, that doesn’t mean you have your scenario practice in. And that certainly doesn’t mean you have situational awareness skills or deescalation skills. I’m NOT claiming I’m great at any of those, but I do some study. I try to keep up. I think that’s an obligation for everyone who carries. It’s a service to society to carry. Just make sure you have at least some competence.

Let’s look at some stills:

  • In the picture above the defender in the top middle circle has already taken down the perp and has his weapon pointed at him with clear line of sight. Great!
  • The defender in the white shirt and black vest at the top left has his weapon drawn low entry. Not great for the circumstances. If he does have to draw up, he will have to flag his own parishioners. Not good. He should be high entry. But he’s clearly scanning and taking in the situation as it really is. Perfect. I like this guy.
  • Meanwhile, the guy in the dark maroon shirt has his weapon pointed directly at our defender up top as he moves along flagging everyone in front of him. NOT good at all. I’m guessing he’s a visitor. But even then he should see that the guy up top has dropped the perp and is simply keeping a bead on him, and not shooting others. The defender guy up top is NOT the perp.

Let’s move on a nanosecond:

  • In the picture above we see the defender guy up top still with a bead on the perp, and the guy in the upper left still at low entry – we’ll let that go – but he’s still scanning and evaluating. Great!
  • But the guy in the maroon shirt in the lower center of the above picture is still aiming directly at his security team guy who took down the perp. What the heck? This guy has gotta be a visitor. But even so, he should be noticing the guy to the upper left, where he is instead looking, and note that he’s low entry. But, not at all. This guy in the maroon shirt, in my opinion, is dangerous. Look, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in the scene. I wasn’t filled with adrenaline. I didn’t suffer tunnel vision. I’m sure the guy means well, but, the point is, he needs some training or retraining for how to do up things in a church.

Let’s move on a nanosecond:

  • The hero defender guy – unmoving – still has a bead on the perp. Great!
  • You would think the guy in the maroon now all the way to the right, would have figured things out by now, but he’s still flagging everyone and still has a bead on the hero defender. Dang. Who the heck is he?
  • The guy in white shirt and black vest in the upper middle left circle, still really low entry now, has already figured out the outcome, light years ahead of the guy in the maroon shirt. Great.
  • Now we see another guy in black to the far left. He’s also flagging everyone, but really seems to be aiming right at the two defender guys in the middle top. Dang. These guys might have plenty of laurels to rest on and be great heroes for whatever they’ve done in the past – even both have Congressional Medals of Honor for that matter – and I’m not denigrating them… it’s just that, seriously, any training has gone out the door and they have no clue as to what they are doing, flagging everyone and not noticing the two defenders are looking somewhere else and NOT shooting anymore. Those three should all be high entry…

What I’m saying is this: Scenario based training in the environment in which you are going to be a defender is important. Churches and synagogues are much different than “kill house” training, you know, house-clearing training. It’s not enough to carry. It’s not enough to know your drills. You have to know how to approach a situation. You have to know how to read a situation.

Again, I’m the armchair pundit here. I’m a zillion miles away from that church. I wasn’t there. I didn’t have the adrenaline pumping. I didn’t suffer from myopic vision because of adrenaline. All I’m saying is that there is a world of difference – easily between life and death – between the two defenders up top and the two to either side. It’s not enough to have a security team even made up of war heroes and law enforcement. This is a different situation. It’s a soft target that’s actually more difficult to defend.

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Some advice to the excommunicated ultramontanist hermits of Scotland

crucifix drawing john of the cross

Jesus, who was obedient, even unto death, death on a cross.

Apparently some hermits declared some months ago that they were withdrawing their “obedience from Pope Francis” and that they were severing “communion with the Holy See.” “Them’s is fightin’ words” as we say here in the back reaches of Appalachia. Those words are technical, and scream out for an application of canonical penalties involving excommunication. And – no surprise – they were excommunicated. That’s clearly what they desired all along, making a show.

There is simply zero need to do what they have done. They are not brave. They are ignorant ultramontanists. Pope Francis has not done anything ex-Cathedra against the faith, not could he. Ambiguity might be troublesome. Ambiguity might throw one’s own soul into anguish. But that’s no reason to force these excommunications.

Yes, I know, they listed all sorts of things they don’t like about Pope Francis. Fine. Lots of people do that, but not everyone gets excommunicated. The reason they did get excommunicated is because they treat what Pope Francis himself calls a dialogue instead as ex-cathedra dogma. It’s not. And that’s disingenuous for them to treat such things in that manner. But this is what they ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists have always done. They can get as huffy as they want, but they talked themselves into getting excommunicated. No one would have batted an eye had they said that they disagree with Pope Francis, even if they said this very strongly. And I don’t think Pope Francis could have possibly cared less even if they called him a heretic, which apparently they did. That’s not the issue. They went over the line only when they said that they were withdrawing obedience and severing communion with the Holy [Apostolic] See. That’s the kicker. The kicker-outer terminology.

Here’s the deal: whenever you run across ambiguity from any ecclesiastical superior or anything downright wrong, one’s duty is to do what the Church has always taught be done, with the attitude that one simply doesn’t understand the commands of one’s temporary ecclesiastical superior. Period. And this is NOT disobedience. It is supreme obedience. One will likely suffer for it, but won’t get excommunicated for it. And to such as think they are entitled never to suffer in such manner, never to follow our Lord by taking up their cross, to them I say: Get a life! Don’t be such tender snowflakes! March on behind our dear Lord Jesus.

Also, I suggest they look up what Saint Thomas Aquinas said is always the motivation for division in the Church.

I’ve tagged this post also with “Missionaries of Mercy” because I think it is a mercy to assist those who have purposely removed themselves from communion with the Church to reenter. Their choice. But I think I’ve given them a way to save face and come back to the fold.

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Holy Family: Chaos Unexpected. Nothing calm, contemplative, peaceful. NO!

Holy Family not

I’m a bit rough on Saint Paul VI, who gave an address in Nazareth on 5 January 1964 in which he spoke wonderfully about the Holy Family. Perhaps I’m jaded, but I thought it was too sweet about the Holy Family, too nice, too peaceful, too calm, too silent, so contemplative, so prayerful. I’m sure he meant all that in an innocuous manner. But whatever his good and holy intentions, well, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. I make that really quite clear.

Also, when I get on a rant like this, all worked up, I might make brave in attributing things to those to whom they don’t belong. I don’t know if it was in this particular recorded homily or another the same day in which I attributed the phrase “field hospital” not only to Pope Francis but also perhaps to Saint John Paul II, et al. Sorry about that. Don’t get stuck on that kind of thing. I’m getting older. Forgive me. The point is about holiness embracing chaos for holiness’ sake, you know, like Jesus stretching out His arms to embrace us… on the cross… And this chaos started at His birth and never stopped…

Paul VI did, of course, make plenty of great points about the spiritual life and the correct priorities in life we should all have. I agree with all those. But still, it set me into rant mode. Here’s that address of Paul VI. You might want to read over it before listening to the homily. Perhaps I go into rant mode because Paul VI, a saint, flies right over my head and I just don’t get what he’s on about.


From an address by Saint Paul VI, pope
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964) Nazareth, a model

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder Continue reading

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The Sacred Heart of *sotto voce*

When I was teaching in Australia in the seminaries of this diocese or that archdiocese, it was Father PJ who nicknamed me *sotto voce*, referring to the diminished “voice” by which the Roman Canon is pronounced in the “Extraordinary Form” of the Latin Rite. I had assisted a great deal in keeping the Latin Mass Society of Australia alive at the time. And previous to that, I had insisted in a meticulously researched article in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review that however quiet that “voice” is to be, the words are actually and indeed to be exactly pronounced, without which there simply are no consecrations, no Mass. *sotto voce* does not mean saying nothing, being a stone. It means that one would surely hear something indistinguishable in the first pews of a good sized church. In other words, the priest is speaking, just not to the back pew of any sized church. Take the picture above. If you were the priest and you were reciting the words of consecration, and you saw Christ our God there with you such as is depicted, you would continue speaking – as He Himself would bid you to do – but in a voice that was quiet but which He could distinctly and clearly hear, there, right in front of you. Get it? The Apostolic Penitentiary backed me up on this, encouraging any cases be brought to them of priests who don’t speak at all during the consecrations. I’ve seen this. Tight lipped. Nothing. And obstinate. Too bad, that. I know someone right now at the CDF, as it was called, who bullies concelebrants into basically saying nothing, because, he says ever so breathlessly, “It’s the Mass of the Celebrant!” That’s so wrong on so very many levels. Anyway, now that that’s out of my system…

I’ve noticed that I’m going a bit quieter at the time of the consecrations at Holy Mass. This isn’t affectation, something that is happening from the outside, forced. No. It’s been something that’s been happening on its own, as it were, over some time. It’s a spiritual thing. I wonder if other priests have noticed this. And actually, I think it’s that they all notice this, but with myself being such a dullard I’m guessing that I’m the only one who has not been ever so privy to what I’m now going to say and this ever since they were ordained. Better late than never, right?

The Holy Mass is generally addressed to God the Father – Te igitur clementissime Pater… – but, of course, while the narrative of the Mass leading up to the consecrations is addressed to the Father, reciting what Jesus was doing, the consecrations suddenly slip the priest into the first person singular of Christ Jesus Himself so that one is speaking directly to the Apostles at the Last Supper, and similarly directly to the trillions of souls who have ever been, are now, or ever will be at the self-same Holy Sacrifice at the altars of their churches, or offered in war on the tops of jeep-hoods, or in a bunk in Dachau or Auschwitz, or in whatever prison cell: “…given up for you,” and “…poured out for you.” It’s just that I’ve been noticing the Heart, if you will, of the Sacred Heart, as the words are pronounced by such an unworthy subject as myself, but myself nevertheless with Him in these statements of His, He who has so much love for us, and we who are so oblivious to all that which He does for us, and how it is that as He is lifted up on the Cross He draws all to Himself. Christ’s loving us no matter the cost and unto death is – I don’t know how else to say it – it puts one in awe, but even while being bidden by those words in the first person singular to be in total solidarity with the true Speaker, Jesus, one with His love. Of course, we know nothing, and in this world are on the outside, as it were, in perception really of anything. Yet, one’s voice naturally goes quieter. One is before the tremendous and fascinating, before the Great Mysteries. There are rubrics about having one’s voice go quiet. This is a description of what should already be happening. This is the Sacred Heart of *sotto voce*.

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Three Wise Men… Are You Serious? Humor.

I received a proclamation of “Touché” from the reader who sent in the previous Smart Alec dish towel for the answer I gave in response. Here:

But that admission was just to set me off guard and give me a false sense of confidence, as I was then immediately countered by… this other dish towel above.

There is also an entirely good explanation for the flabbergastery bluster going on here. This has nothing to do with any assertion that you could never find anywhere in the entire world a wise man, much less three of them, and at the same time and place. No.

This is all about there being only three wise men of all the uncountable wise men in all the world who showed up. Only three?!!!? Yes, but there is also an explanation for that. All the other wise men are busy trying to teach all the women folk how to be wise…

[[ I can see that this is not going anywhere good anywhere fast… How do I get out of this?… I haven’t been very wise… ]]

 

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Two donkeys at the door

img_20191227_163253~21614616511385101449..jpg

I was at the door of a parishioner’s house last evening, and was very taken by this Christmas scene that had been tacked up there. So joyful. So peaceful. I note that all the animals, including the donkey, have their ears back, listening for any danger that might disturb their Almighty Creator so humbly come among us. The donkey is a professional at this. All donkeys are Guard-Donkeys. Oh, by the way, I was the donkey at the door. If you look closely, you’ll see that there are two donkeys pictured in the picture.

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Not Three Kings, but Three Wise Women?!

This was sent in to Arise! Hmmm… Let’s take a look at that… [The one who sent this in, BTW, has a great sense of humor, and won’t mind a bit that I’m fisking this dish cloth hanging in front of the stove. What I say, although incisive, will I hope, also bring about a wee laugh.]

  • Three Wise Women would have ignored the guiding star instead asking directions to a place they had no idea where it was and so couldn’t ask directions and so would get themselves into trouble, at the least being sold into slavery…
  • Three Wise Women, in ignoring the star and so arriving in what they themselves think is on time – they being so wise – would have instead messed up the divine providence of the timing so that Herod would have been successful in killing Jesus with all the boys of Bethlehem two years old and under…
  • Three Wise Women would have tried to help the deliver the baby, which, instead of being born in the normal way, had a miraculous birth, much like how Jesus Himself walked right through the closed and locked doors of the Upper Room after the Resurrection, and this would have made them upset, because, you know, they came all that way…
  • Because of being upset with the miraculous birth, the three Wise Women would have ignored the moment and purposely busied themselves with the feces of the animals, because that’s the most important thing at the moment. We should call to mind that when Jesus’ good mom appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes, it was in the cave filled with pig-feces, symbolic of what was going on in Lourdes at the time. Mary is used to humble circumstances, and in being in solidarity with us, even standing under the Cross in all the violence, in the … feces of our sins.
  • Three Wise Women would have made a casserole, ignoring Hebrew dietary laws but bullying their way along, making everyone sad…
  • Three Wise Women wouldn’t realize the most practical thing in the world is to pray, not doing the Martha thing running about in frantic mode, but doing the Mary thing, at the feet of Jesus, in this case listening to His baby cooing.
    • Instead of gold for a king as a symbol of His good providence in governance for the poor ones of His little flock, the three Wise Women would have started a much more practical interest-bearing bank account, perhaps with Herod. Who else?
    • Instead of frankincense for The Priest as a symbol of how He would offer Himself in sacrifice for us, the Innocent for guilty, and so having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, the three Wise Women would have given him Febreze™ Plug In Scents to suffocate the smells of the cave.
    • Instead of Myrrh used for the burial of a corpse – such as Jesus would surely be in speaking the Truth and thus being killed off like any prophet – the three Wise Women would have gifted Him normal spices that they could mix up in the casserole they themselves would eat.

And all this – let us be most clear – NOT because they are women, but because these three individual women would proclaim themselves as being wise (which the three kings never did), ending up, in their lack of wisdom, rejecting the entire economy of salvation to put themselves in front of everyone, drawing attention to themselves, you know, all in the name of Feminism, which brings the peace of a mere lack of war, what with everyone being dead already, instead of the sword of division which Jesus in His perfect wisdom came to bring, a sword of truth which instead brings us to reality, to repentance, to forgiveness, and therefore to love and respect for others, unto truth and the joy of the Holy Spirit, and therefore unto the true peace of Heaven. Jesus is the Prince of the Most Profound Peace. I’ll stick with His ways so far above the ways of any of us who think we are wise. We have all sinned against Him whom we have all pierced. We have all thought ourselves to be wise… So… Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

Having said all that, I have to say that that dish towel perfectly sums up the Benedictine sisters I had for teachers when I was kid, that is, after 1968 and into the early 1970s. Yikes!

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True Meaning of Christmas by Ven. Fulton Sheen

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Keto Day 36 (AM) for Jabba the Hut

https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

So, day 37 and I’ve lost 23 pounds (+5 more = 28 if you count the prep week which amounted to eating lots of bacon!) I was in the mid-260s. I’m now in the mid-230s. I don’t know where I’ll stop. A number of people independently of each other all said exactly the same thing, that 210 to 215 would be ideal for me. We shall see. There is actually light at the end of the tunnel. This has never been the case with any attempt I’ve ever made. Of course, Keto forces an incomparably more healthy diet than what I was subjecting myself to previously.

  • I sleep more soundly.
  • I wake up with more zip.
  • I don’t collapse at sunset, but can keep busy in the evening.
  • I fall asleep easily.
  • I have much more energy during the day. Today I caught myself actually skipping down the steps of the rectory, much lighter on my feet. This would have been unthinkable two months ago.
  • Much clearer in the head. This is great. I’m getting much more psyched to get back into academic work. Still more progress needed though.
  • Less procrastination with things. This is super significant for my life. I’m able to arrange things and actually move into the rectory. Imagine. It’s been years since I’ve been in this tiny house.
  • This, of course, is having a great effect on my day to day life in general. Really good.
  • The blood pressure is down. I would often have 159/96. Waaaay toooo high. And that was with blood pressure meds. Today it’s 123/80. Still with meds, but – Hey! that’s real progress. If I had that without meds it would be something. But, you know, I’m still on Keto!
  • The blood sugar is normal. It used to be up to like 133 and my good doctor was warning that he was thinking of doing something about this. Now it’s down to high 80s two hours after a meal or about 106 – like this morning – not long after a meal. So, all good.

Truly, the results of this diet are stunning for me. I’m only sorry that I didn’t begin decades ago. I think everyone should do Keto beginning in their mid-thirties, thus avoiding the middle age spread and consquent obesity, avoiding in large measure high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, on and on. Of course, some have learned how to eat well. That’s the rare person. I didn’t. Keto has saved my life. I’m ever so grateful to the one who introduced me to this. I’m learning how to be moderate in my diet with food that is good for health. And… and… everything tastes much better.

Some notes:

  • After weighing myself in the morning, I calculate my BMI and then use those numbers for the Keto Calulator. I’ve learned to make my menu for the day before using that Keto Calculator, with all the macros added up (I created a spread sheet for that in WordPerfect). Whatever I think I should aim for regarding carbs, the menu gives the reality. Using the correct number of carbs for that particular day in the Keto Calculator changes quite radically the number of grams of fat you’re allowed. I’m only figuring this out now. That Keto Calculator can be used for whatever you want, from losing weight to gaining muscle.
  • I’ve been looking up nutrition facts on different foods anywhere on the internet, never using any Keto apps. As I find out, both can be way, waaaaay off, destroying your macros by really a lot. Then I landed on https://www.nutritionix.com/. Very exact. Extremely easy to use. Perfect.
  • I enjoy being obsessive compulsive if there are directly measurable, tangible results: you do this, and that is the result. Very cool. The continuous positive feedback is great. The fatty diet provides that you don’t crave carbs, except just by memory of good things. Fine.
  • My doctor and his wife have both done Keto for years. I suspect that he’ll be interested to check my progress and note all the health benefits that Keto has gifted me with. I wonder if he’ll also check for any increase in cholesterol. I’ll be interested in that as well. That may be unfounded fears of some.
  • My doctor said not to be too obsessive compulsive in doing Keto. I was for the first weeks. But I’ve learned to loosen up a bit, experimenting with the menu a bit, including a stalk of celery here, even a carrot there, but not on the same day as a cucumber. :-)

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Cuba, Russia, NoKo, China ICBM threat: preparing for the unimaginable

img_20191224_120102~21144466161852145830..jpg

When I was in first grade in our Catholic parochial elementary school in the mid 1960s the school desks we had were like those pictured, but the legs were bolted to long pieces of lumber much like a railroad tracks. The desks were always in order and one couldn’t mischievously rock the desk forward either by lifting it up from behind or rocking forward on the seat in front. I would’ve been the kid with bow and arrow outside the window trying to get my sleeping friend to skip school.

Anyway, for many days in a row we had nuclear missile drills in the class room. The goal was to get as quickly under these iron and wooden desks as fast as we could when we were given the signal. This wasn’t fun, and had us living under the dark threat of nuclear war, such as little kids could even begin to understand such things. That was when I began to have a deep hatred for all that which is Communism. All of my multitudinous experiences with Communism since I was a little kid have confirmed and further informed my first visceral judgment. I learned to include other power-ideologies such as one finds in the insane governance of Iran, with the oft-repeated desire to obliterate Israel from the face of the Earth.

Meanwhile, our hide-under-the-desks drill was taking place more than two decades after these USA dropped Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki respectively. We shouldn’t forget how the war in the Pacific Theater actually ended:

Everyone knows that rule number two: “Trust but VERIFY” while making friends – of sorts – is always one aspect of preparing for the worst. It’s not a backup plan but goes hand in hand with rule number one.

Everyone knows that rule number two will be broken, which is why rule number one is always in place: “Be able and always ready to neutralize an activated threat when rule number two is broken.

Israel knows that neutralizing a merely prepared threat is absolutely necessary where they live. Thus, nuclear reactors manufacturing high grade nuclear warheads in deserts have been routinely obliterated. Great.

Not many know, however, what the absolute best way to prepare for nuclear war happens to be. It comes before the above two rules. It’s overarching, reaching into every aspect of our lives: the Rosary.

Oh, and that applies to the-end-of-the-world for us in our own personal lives, when we die, and either we will go to Heaven (whether after Purgatory or not) or directly to hell. Hell is unimaginably worse than any already unimaginable nuclear annihilation would be for those who somehow survive.

Being one with the Living God whose love is stronger than death is the way to live, and die. No threat is ever so scary when we are walking as one with the very Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.

BTW. That picture above belonged to a parishioner who recently died, Marie McIsaac. She had spent a good bit of her life teaching special needs kids. She always had a rule number one for me, every time I visited her as homebound, or in the hospital or nursing home: Behave yourself!

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Happy Merry Christmas *because* God came among us, is with us, Immanuel

The Christmas blessing Urbi et Orbi (to the City and the World). There’s a plenary indulgence with this, even through, by concession the modern means of social communication.

Happy Merry Christmas!

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Little Drummer Boy Full Movie 1968

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Christ, Light of the Nations: Hanukkah!

menorah nation state of israel

The Menorah at the rectory has had better days, so I thought I might get eight candles and a server candle that was different than the rest, something along the lines described in the Book of Revelation with the golden lampstands representing the churches to which the revelation was sent, with the addition of a server-Lamp “One like a Son of Man in their midst.” He, of course, is the Light of the Nations who enlightens all. Of course, back in the day, no one would know about candles until many centuries later, just oil lamps, but – Hey! – you gotta do what you gotta do. There are eight plus one server because it’s not allowed to have the original seven outside of the Temple itself.

Here’s the prayers I use every night for the High Holy Days of Hanukkah, which commemorate God’s miraculous intervention teaching us all about the Light of the Nations who God is. The lamp in the newly consecrated Temple (which had been desecrated), only had oil enough for one day, but kept burning for seven, that is, until fresh oil could be made. This is the lamp, the light, that Israel is to be because of God’s miraculous intervention, with God’s entire economy of salvation coming about by way of His Chosen People, so that the Light of the Nations is the presence of God Himself in their midst, guiding them, leading them. This is a fitting symbol for all time. Christ Jesus is represented by the Easter Candle. Others candles are lit from it. Christ enlightens us with the fiery ardent love of the Holy Spirit. That Lamp keeps burning for us, God with us, Immanuel.


Firstly, the server candle is lit daily, this pray is said:

Hanukkah second blessing every night

 

That is: Blessed are You, LORD our God, the King of the Universe, who sanctifies us with His commandments, and commanding us to kindle of the lamp of Hanukkah.


Secondly, also every day of the lighting of the candles, we have this prayer:

Hanukkah first prayer every night

 

That is: Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, who performed miraculous deeds for our Fathers in those days and at this time.


Thirdly: The following prayer is said but only on the very first day:

Hanukkah first night only

 

That is: Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to arrive to this time.


Those are my loose translations. In fact, while I admit I took the Hebrew text in graphic form from another web site as it was just easier, I also re-edited the Hebrew text of prayer number two back to its more ancient form. The edit that had been there was even pointed wrongly. Note to the tinkeritis crowd: if you can’t even get the grammar down, don’t try to fool with the theology, thinking you are the Messiah because of your social engineering. /// end rant. sorry.


For me, I should like to think that the Birth of the Messiah came about at the time of the celebration of Hanukah, Christ Himself being the Light of the Lamp in the Temple.

Anyway, here’s what the Hanukkah “lamps” look like on this fourth evening of these High Holy Feast Days:

Still needs Baby Jesus. Patience. The Angels are just getting ready to sing: Gloria!

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To the purported Canunk sending monetary instruments of one kind or another

Please, don’t send anything. I won’t cash anything. I can’t. I won’t. Sorry. It is what it is. Sorry I can’t explain more. I can’t do anything with it. It isn’t going to happen. Don’t do it. Sorry. I have my reasons. Please respect that. Having said that, please, accept my blessing and gratitude. May the Prince of the Most Profound Peace shower abundant blessings upon you and your family.

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If eOR Worst-of-All went to Confession for Christmas

Some preliminaries:

  • I don’t have anything much in common with eOR (an onomatopoeia-esque name, or more precisely, echomimetic), except when he entirely almost honestly tries to be humble, kind of. That’s me, always tempted to be self-congratulatory. eOR, my friend. I pray? No. I flip that first letter up and I just bray. In fact, I make a thing of it, singing my braying as if that were something meritorious:

  • Saint Nick, or Santa Claus, or Saint Nicolas, or Sinterklaas, that is, Νίκη-λαός (Conqueror of the People) was a Roman Catholic Bishop in Myra in Asia Minor, modern day Demre, Turkey. The modern day Saint Nick still sports the red vestments of the original saint. The canonized Saint Nicolas lived way back in the days of the early Roman Empire (270-343 A.D.). His feast day on the liturgical calendar is the day he died, December 6. He’s famous for gift giving, and over the centuries was mixed up with the gift-giving wise men at the cave in Bethlehem at the birth of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace whom they had traveled so far to bow down and offer homage. Then Epiphany, when the wisemen showed up, was confused with Christmas day itself, so that Saint Nick or Santa Claus became the iconic gift giver at Christmas, basically the whole world being Catholic. In these days of absolute idiocy today – some 16 and 17 hundred years later, we would do well to remember what the great saint’s gifts were way back in the day. He rescued three girls from being pimped out by their fathers into prostitution by tossing a little sack of gold coins through their windows so that their proper dowries could be paid. But what I equally like about him is the account of his physically smashing down the horrific heretic of heretics, the priest Arius, during the First Council of Nicaea. Hahaha. That must have been a great show. Hahaha. That’s a great gift to the Church! I love Saint Nicolas the Conqueror of Arius.
  • It used to be that Christmas was a time for the joy of giving gifts. Imagine seeing the joy of the girls whose dowry was paid, so that they could marry the love of their lives instead of being smashed down and surely killed off after a short time in the ever violent and hellish world of prostitution. But it’s also not about us “getting something out of it, you know, that fuzzy warm feeling. It’s about real charity, helping someone up out of love of God and neighbor. Here’s the essential of it: We’re not supposed to look to our heroes like Saint Nick for the gifts they give us, but rather for how they give an example which we strive to imitate: love God and neighbor!
  • But now it’s all about entitlement in receiving gifts. Hmmm. That ain’t no good. In that case, we end up like eOR above, trying to brag about how good we’ve been and not naughty, conniving to look cute as we go from “I’ve been good” to “better than most” to “not as bad as some.” Doesn’t cut it.

Here’s the deal: Unlike eOR, the saints have it that they themselves are the worst sinners of all, for God loves us also individually and Jesus has stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, also individually, so that only I have sinned against Him and therefore only I can be the absolute worst sinner of all before Him. He loves me… and I myself offended Him. When Jesus lays down His life for us, He doesn’t do that because we’ve somehow successfully proven to Him, to society and to ourselves that we’re already wonderful, that we don’t need Him to lay down His life for us so as to have the right in His own justice to save us. He does this because He love us before we have loved Him. When we realize this we are stricken with awe, with love, with thanksgiving, much like the soldier on Calvary who thrust his sword into the side of Jesus, only then saying: “Truly this Man was the Son of God.”

When it comes to Confession, not to Santa Claus but to Jesus in the Confessional, we’re simply just to make a Confession that has four aspects starting with the letter “C”:

  • Complete – all mortal sins in kind and number and important circumstance (so that a young man who kills and old man is a grave sin, but that old man is the young man’s father, that’s an important circumstance that needs to be confessed as it involves yet another mortal sin against honoring one’s parents). Thus, an act of impurity is a mortal sin, but it is worse if this is done with another, leading another into sin, and yet still worse if one or both are married (thus adultery), and so on.
  • Concise: DON’T give unimportant details. Priests don’t want to hear it. Don’t tell the priest the sins of others. This is a terrible abuse of the sacrament. Priests don’t want to hear it. Don’t tell the priest all your excuses, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Seriously: priests don’t wan’t to hear all this blather. Look, when you go before the judgment of the Lord, you will not be able to give any excuses or blame anyone else for your sin. It’s much better to confess now, honestly, and go to heaven, than to trick the priest now (which you don’t) and then go to hell later.
  • Contrite: Be sorry for your sins at least at the level of imperfect contrition, wherein you dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. Try to have perfect contrition, by which your sorry for having offended God’s love for you, for He is worthy of all of our love. We have to have a firm purpose of amendment of life to be truly sorry in whatever way for our sins. We can’t intend to sin again. We have to have hope. We have to desire not to sin again. Confessing is to be done in the past tense: “I blasphemed God five times. I’m sorry to God.” Confessing is not to be done in the present or future tense: “I do blaspheme God and I will continue to do so.” That doesn’t make sense, does it? No. Neither does shacking up with someone, not being repentant of that, but wanting absolution for one’s own feelings so that one can feel holy and self-congratulatory and self-righteous in going to Holy Communion, but only ending up, as Saint Paul says, eating and drinking one’s own condemnation. So: “I resolve to amend my life. Amen.”
  • Clear: “I did something bad.” Nope. Just say it. Jesus already knows, but He want’s us to be reconciled to God and neighbor (the priest represents all others through his ordination to Jesus’ Priesthood) at the same time:
    • If we love, we love the whole Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body and neighbor the members of the Body. It’s one act of love for the whole Body of Christ. We don’t decapitate Him and say we love God!
    • If we sin, we sin against the whole Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body and neighbor the members of the Body. It’s one act of sin, however public or however private, against the whole Body of Christ. We don’t decapitate Him and say we love God because we only sinned against ourselves or our neighbors. It’s the whole Body of Christ that we offend.
    • If we are reconciled, we are reconciled with the entire Body of Christ, Jesus the Head and we the members. We say we’re sorry to the whole Body of Christ, through the priest who represents all others and gives us the absolution of Jesus, of God, in the first person singular: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son ✚ and of the Holy Spirit.” Just as with love and sin, reconciliation is brought about in one only act for the entire Body of Christ.

And this is what brings one such great joy when one has actually made a good Confession, an integral, honest Confession. We stand forgiven. We’re on our way to heaven. We are filled with great joy. This is the joy of the Holy Spirit who was sent among for the forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness is brought about by the Holy Spirit flooding us with sanctifying grace. There’s no room for the guilt. We are then tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. We bear in our mortal frame the presence of the Most Holy Trinity. We are now eager to live love: “If you love me, keep the commandments” says Jesus to each of us, each of us, also to me, to you. Chaste lives, self-giving lives, honest lives, lives in which Jesus Himself shines out, His goodness, His kindness, His truth.

When we suddenly realize the greatness of the Lord’s majesty, the love and truth behind the wounds also on His risen body, that He will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, we also instantly recognize just how far away we ourselves have been, perhaps enough that we reject the cuteness of eOR above, and actually find ourselves on our knees for a good Christmas Confession.

So… eOR… we might ride eOR to the Confessional, contemplating as we go our rationalizations, but then when we get into the Confessional, much better not to sing like eOR, composing scenarios and operettas, but instead just laying it out our sins, simply, in all humility, before Jesus, with those wounds upon Him, Jesus, ever so good, ever so kind, always the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Amen.

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Southern accent Christmas humor: Firefighters vs Law Enforcement

Both neighbors are firefighters. They talk about a “far” that needs a fightin’. This, however, was sent in by a 25 year vet of the Sheriff’s Department. There is a rivalry between firefighters and law enforcement…

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Proclamation of the Nativity of Jesus: Roman Martyrology misses the plot

styrofoam

Don’t think I haven’t ever been in the habit of reading the Roman Martyrology daily. With that in mind…

Proclamation of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ:

THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF DECEMBER:

  • when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth, and formed man in his own likeness;
  • when century upon century had passed since the Almighty set His bow in the clouds after the great flood as a sign of covenant and peace;
  • in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our Father in Faith, came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
  • in the thirteenth century since the people of Israel were led by Moses in the exodus from Egypt;
  • around the thousandth year since David was anointed king;
  • in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;
  • in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
  • in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the city of Rome;
  • in the forty-second year in the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus…

… the whole world being at peace…

  • Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father, desiring to consecrate the world by His most loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
  • and when nine months had passed since His conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
  • and was made man…

THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.


/// That’s nice Styrofoam. All true. But lies are cloaked in truth, right? Lies can come about through telling part of the truth, looking fulsome, but actually omitting, well, really, pretty much everything, but – Hey! – leaving people with nice feelings! “Jesus is nice and even as maybe perhaps as important as Caesar ’cause He’s mentioned along with Caesar! That’s nice!

I suppose people will think I’m a shallow heretic and a dullard in that I can’t appreciate the intervention of the Word Incarnate in human history at just the right time, and that that’s the point of the Roman Martyrology’s account, and that not everything can always and in every way say everything and therefore I should just cool my jets and appreciate what is presented for what it’s worth and just get over it. After all, there are words like “covenant” and “consecrate” and stuff like that there. And tinkeritis must be avoided at all costs, even regarding some rather ill phrased matters about our salvation, because, you know, we’re used to it. But even the intensely devout are not assisted in their faith by such words as “covenant” and “consecrate” when other words are purposely omitted by self-congratulatory intelligentia who do know more but are too smug to JUST SAY WHAT WE NEED TO HEAR.

I’m an equal opportunity disdainer of tender snowflake dumbing down wherever I find it, whether after or even before Vatican II. And anyway, what dullard made Vatican II the absolute center of human history, replacing the Incarnate Word? Sound’s blasphemous to me, and also ignorant. I mean, most heresies came about before Vatican II and most were presented in – oooo! – Latin!!! Now that I’ve successfully made people angry, let’s make the point (I only mention here a couple of possible tweakings):

  • What if we were to have a Roman Martyrology that actually presented the faith?
  • What if the history of the proclamation were to mention – even if only in just a few words – the vicious sin of Adam bringing death and hellish mayhem into the world, handing us over to Satan?
  • What if we were to speak of, say, the binding of the son of Abraham to the wood of the sacrifice as prefiguring of the Redeemer’s violent death to come?
  • What if we were to recount the unworthiness of David to have a future Son that would save us from our unworthiness, saving us from… wait for it… SIN?
  • What if we were to speak of the lust for violent power of now secular leaders?
  • What if we were to say that – I mean, it pains me to say this as it should be obvious – what if we were to say that it is precisely because THE WHOLE WORLD WAS NOT AT PEACE that the Prince of the Most Profound Peace came to save us from that state of NOT being at peace?
  • What if we were to tell the truth for once, that there is sin and the Jesus was born to redeem us, save us from sin, that He was born to die and then rise to bring us to life, to the eternal life we did NOT have?

/// I can just hear it now, you know, all the condemnations:

  • We’ve done just fine with being dumbed down, with escaping reality! Stop trying to evangelize us! We’re nice with what we’ve always had! Leave. Us. Alone.
  • And then: You’re a heretic for trying to say that what we’ve always had isn’t quite up to what it should be! Stop it!

Meanwhile, do you know who wasn’t so taken with being clever with dumbed down religious and secular history? The angels knew: it was certain little shepherd boys. And, I have to say, this donkey-priest just loves this:

This is a 1968 Disney animated film, which has more sense than the Roman Martyrology. Listen to the narrator. If you didn’t catch it, little Aaron is repentant of his own SIN of hatred (after the horrific violence that took place in his own life), SIN representing the eons of SIN and hatred that sets the backdrop for Jesus to come into this world so as to save us from SIN, He, Jesus, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, yes, that little Babe in the manger. The faith isn’t about our sense – our feelings – of security with the way we’ve always had mere stuff like a book. The faith is about the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God’s Divine Son Jesus saving us from a world which was being up to anything except for peace. Obvious, right? Nope. We have to say it: Jesus is the One; Jesus as the only One saving us from sin.

Pah-rum-pa-pum-pum. ♬

Amen.

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Mortuary Christmas 23 Dec 2019

flores-christmas

It’s what priests do, you know, when they are with those who are on the peripheries of society and family or friends are not available for whatever reason. We are called upon to “identify the body” at the mortuary. It’s a legal exercise. There are forms to fill out, IDs to be photocopied and put on record, signatures to be scrawled. I’m sure many of you have had the experience.

Jesus didn’t come to be born among us because we were all effervescent and nice and without the consequences of original sin such as sickness and death and suffering the aggression of others whilst we remain in exile on this earth and away from heaven (as we must hope). He came among us because of the violence and darkness and hell and, yes, death all around us and we ourselves dropping into the grave. He was born in a cave to be buried in a cave, and then rise and bring us to life.

So, does the visit to the mortuary become a downer, as is said, just before Christmas? Not at all. It instead puts an edge on Christmas. We know all the better by experience why it is that Jesus came among us. It’s an occasion to say:

Thank you Jesus for coming into this world amidst all of our death and destruction. Thank you for forgiving us and bringing us close to you, unto heaven. Thank you.

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Daily Prayer for Priests

O Almighty Eternal God, look upon the face of Thy Christ, and for the love of Him who is the Eternal High Priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember, O most compassionate God, that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the bishop’s hands. Keep them close to Thee, lest the Enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely and desolate priests; for Thy young priests; for Thy aged priests; for Thy sick priests, for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in Purgatory.

But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted, and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me, or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly N. O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

IMPRIMATUR
+Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, 6 September 2018

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Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord…

purgatory

The first encounter I had with the the following prayer was when a great priest, that is, a real believer, close to Christ our God, gave me a prayer card with this prayer on the back. I was a pre-first year kind-of-discerning seminarian, right after high school.

  • Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord, keep them, for they are Thine – Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine.
  • Keep them, for they are in the world, though from the world apart; when earthly pleasures tempt, allure – shelter them in Thy heart.
  • Keep them, and comfort them in hours of loneliness and pain, when all their lives of sacrifice for souls seems but in vain.
  • Keep them, and O remember, Lord, they have no one but Thee, yet they have only human hearts, with human frailty.
  • Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress; their every thought and word and deed, Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

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