Tag Archives: Interreligious dialogue

“Don’t be such a Turkey!” “Um… O.K.”

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Do you see it?

When I was growing up, if someone called someone a “turkey” it was done with quite a bit of venom and bitterness and in such a way that such an insult was simply impossible to answer. It ended disputes. A kill shot. This always amazed me, and left me bewildered. Why would this ever be perceived as being so vicious? I would just laugh.

Meanwhile, back in the 1500s, guinea fowl were imported to Europe and then North America from the Anatolian peninsula, i.e., Turkey. These were called “turkeys” and that appellative was then used for the much larger North American fowl.

Meanwhile, a person from Turkey was said to be a Turk. But who even knows that? People just used “Turkey” as in “He’s a Turkey.” Intonation told the story: “He’s such a Turkey.”

All of these received usages were developed during the Ottoman Empire. Thus, a Turk was held to synonymous with a Muslim going on rampages of violent aggression to take over the world as they smashed into Europe so very many times. The Ottomans enslaved hundred of thousands of Europeans and left woe and destruction wherever they went.

“You’re such a Turkey.”

I never knew all that as a kid. I’m sure the Armenians can tell you all about it.

armenian genocide by ottoman empire

Lord, have mercy on us all. We all do this kind of thing all the time.

“Don’t be such a Turkey!” – “Um… O.K.”

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Politics

Homily 2018 04 26 – Idol worshiper: “Truth can’t be made an idol: I think of truth, therefore I’m God.”

idol

O.K. I got a bit carried away. I had to edit the homily in a couple of places. You’ll hear the jumps at least in the flow of the homily when they happen. Bearing wrongs is a work of mercy, but instructing, even rubuking the ignorant is also a work of mercy and is an effective way to bear the wrongs of those who just don’t get it. I am blind and ignorant, so, please bear with me as I rant as if I know something. I should keep my mouth shut.

There’s a strange thing happening among ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists (who may be farther from Sacred Tradition than they think). If they actually think that knowing the truth, for instance, memorizing all the words of the Sacred Scriptures, of all the Ecumenical Councils, of all the ex-Cathedra pronouncements, is going to save them, so that their clever puny little intellects — which we all have in this fallen world and which can hardly grasp anything about the truth — is somehow salvific in and of itself, they are mistaken, and are idol worshipers. Satan knows the facts, is convinced of the facts, incomparably more than us. And Satan isn’t saved. If we think we can save ourselves by knowing something of the truth, anything, we make ourselves God. And that, my friends, is idol worship. Ooooooo! A brain!!!!!

Beautiful. Created by God. But not God. Not by a long shot.

But, ooooooh, we’re smart, cause we know something! No.

But, it’s not about truth. It’s about hating Pope Francis. It’s about entitlement to bitterness. I remember one new guy who said that he was to be congratulated as the first one to hate Pope Francis, and that anyone who comes later so as to agree with him and be on his side in hating Pope Francis is to be rejected as worthy of hell because where the hell were they before when he was proudly alone in his hating. Yep. It’s the ol’ ploy of “You can’t say anything right, even if it is the truth, ’cause we’ll just twist it so that we’ll say what we think you really mean so that we can be really bitter not about what you said but about what we said you said.” Yep. That will help people get to heaven.

Sorry to rant, but more than this, this is about the “Reformation” all over again. Luther reduced divinely infused faith to the assent he made to his cerebral activity about theology. The one is supernatural, the other natural. These so-called ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists make an idol of the truth by saying that knowing the truth automatically saves us, because, you know, we had brain synapses going on, making us the arbiters of equating supernatural and natural, making us God, or at least Karl Rahner redivivus, more Lutheran than Catholic. That’s how he was able to rewrite Scripture, and to throw out whole books of both old and new Testaments. To say that we can’t make an idol of the truth is to make an idol of the truth. To say that we’re so nice that we would never make an idol of the truth is to crucify the living Truth. It’s to say that we are the only ones not to be bad and evil, not needing salvation, to say that we would never stone the prophets while we build their tombs all proud of ourselves, we being the very ones with that attitude that the prophets would rightly and charitably reprimand for the good of our souls. We would kill them. Of course we would. We, on our own, are idol worshipers of ourselves.

Again: Even if someone assents with their brains to the truth doesn’t mean they are saved. Knowing the facts and accepting them (like Satan also does) doesn’t mean you understand, doesn’t mean you are one with the One who is living Truth, God alone.

The One who said “I AM” hung tortured to death on a cross betrayed by someone who thought he knew something.

“Forgive them, Father, for THEY KNOW NOT what they do.”

Goodness! Did I demonize people in this post? In this homily? Make them into idol-demons of themselves?

Such tender snowflakes… [I am too, so are we all if we do anything just on our own.]

Maybe I should have put up the unedited version. But, no. I make it easy. I use an example from another religion. But the analogy is extremely immediate.

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RE-POST: IT’S APRIL 8 – A MOST GLORIOUS DAY

COUNCIL OF TRENT

HEY! It’s the [472nd] anniversary of Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the most sacred and ecumenical Council of Trent in 1546. This is my most favorite of all magisterial interventions. Be awed by the syntax in Latin. Be awed by the breadth, the heights, the profundity, the glory emanating from this decree. Let yourself be wrapped up it’s reverence before the Most Holy Spirit. Let yourself be brought to your knees. Unfortunately, rebel Martin Luther, ex-Catholic priest, would die just months before this was published, though I have to think that he was kept up to date on the ruminations for the first drafts, not easy if one is in bad health.

First the Latin…

Sacrosancta oecumenica et generalis Tridentina synodus, in Spiritu sancto legitime congregata, praesidentibus in ea eisdem tribus apostolicae sedis legatis, hoc sibi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut sublatis erroribus puritas ipsa evangelii in ecclesia conservetur quod promissum ante per prophetas in scripturis sanctis dominus noster Iesus Christus Dei Filius proprio ore primum promulgavit, deinde per suos apostolos tamquam fontem omnis et salutaris veritatis et morum disciplinae omni creaturae praedicari iussit; perspiciensque, hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ab ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptae, aut ab ipsis apostolis Spiritu sancto dictante quasi per manus traditae ad nos usque pervenerunt orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam veteris quam novi testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, nec non traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tamquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit et veneratur. Sacrorum vero Librorum indicem huic decreto adscribendum censuit, ne cui dubitatio suboriri possit, quinam sint, qui ab ipsa Synodo suscipiuntur. Sunt vero infrascripti. Testamenti Veteris: Quinque Moysis, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium; Iosue, Iudicum, Ruth, quattuor Regum, duo Paralipomenon, Esdrae primus et secundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Iudith, Esther, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta psalmorum, Parabolae, Ecclesiastes, Canticum Canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Ieremias cum Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, duodecim prophetae minores, id est: Osea, Ioel, Amos, Abdias, Ionas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; duo Maccabaeorum, primus et secundus. Testamenti Novi: Quattuor Evangelia, secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, Lucam, Ioannem; Actus Apostolorum a Luca Evangelista conscripti; quattuordecim epistulae Pauli Apostoli: ad Romanos, duae ad Corinthios, ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, duae ad Thessalonicenses, duae ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos; Petri Apostoli duae; Ioannis Apostoli tres; Iacobi Apostoli una; Iudae Apostoli una et Apocalypsis Ioannis Apostoli. Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit: anathema sit.

Now my own slavish translation… NOT the usual translation!

The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided. See the Latin.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.

Note “almost as if by hand” since this is all about the Holy Spirit!

This is THE Counter-Reformation assertion by the Sacred Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church against the heretics who reduce revelation to theology and inspiration to feelings, the dark arrogance having them rewrite and remove things from the Sacred Scriptures so as to assert merely themselves. This decree is CATHOLIC!

On a personal note, I was ordained a deacon on this day in the Twelve Apostles Basilica in Rome. Also, this decree became the center piece of the beginnings of a doctoral thesis (the first chapter being 256 pages), the story of which needs to be told one day, reaching as it does into the very heart of the intrigue of ecclesiastical politics and stirring the pot so much that… well, I’ll leave that for another day. Just note that this decree is still THE engine driving any true ecumenical dialogue, that is, which brings unity in truth and charity those who sincerely follow Jesus.

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Don’t think I don’t know, oh “Shadow.” Don’t think I don’t care. Death out East.

death gaza boy 2

My “Shadow”, starting at about the time he stole my identity (I think in the late 1970s), has been rabidly, apoplectically anti-Jewish, often going into spittle-flecked nutties which don’t accomplish anything except for bringing more obfuscation to any issues. I think I should say something so he understands where I’m coming from in being proud of being Jewish, albeit a Catholic priest. My “Shadow” follows my blog rather closely. Maybe if he understands me a bit better, he’ll just calm down a bit. He says he spends all his free time analyzing the conflict in Near and Middle East. He wants Syria to take Israel out. He showed me all his computer gear and what he does. Anyway…

First of all, I don’t know the story behind these photos [incorporated into the header of this blog] other than that this seems to be a boy in Gaza who was killed by, I don’t know, the Israeli military. I don’t know if the boy had been shooting a rocket or threw a rock or just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with those who were getting themselves into trouble or whether he was just minding his own business or learning how to make an IED or suicide vest that went off prematurely. I don’t know. I don’t know who the guy is that shot him if he died in a hale of bullets. Did that guy have a good reason? Quite possibly. But maybe it was just target practice using this kid as a target even though he was, say, just getting a drink of water. Maybe the IDF guy just that second got a phone call that informed him that his entire family had just been blown up by a suicide bomber at a street restaurant in Jerusalem on an otherwise lovely Saturday evening and was now half-crazed, wanting to take out as many non-Israelis as possible. What do I know? And for that matter, my “Shadow”, what do you know outside of the fact that you were unable to manipulate a Jewish kid in the neighborhood when we were kids in the same part of town? What I do know is that all this has affected me deeply over the years. That’s why this kid is in the header of this blog.

death gaza boy 1

What I do know that the survivors of any violence want to do something to bring violence to an end as best we can in this sorry world, either by the “dead peace” of a more prolific violence in which a lot more people of both sides die, or by seeking solutions that will bring understanding of reality to both sides. Whatever about putting into place just measures of self-defense, the understanding of reality bit is done in two ways, by words, by actions.

  • Words are not to be underestimated.
  • Doing something without thinking about what one is doing is not to be overestimated.

Regarding words, in my own little world I’m attempting a number of things.

  • One is a dialogue between Israel and the Holy See on Scripture. I never give up. That started with some key players in the Holy See and Israel now ten years ago. It’s slow going. But the currents run deep all around. This would eventually nuance some of the deepest foundations the notion of the State of Israel.
  • The other bit with words are a few chapters in Jackass for the Hour (we’re about two thirds of the way through as of the publishing of this post). Some upcoming chapters on Islam are rather straightforward about the Qur’an. And more about some things about the preparation for the coming of the Messiah (1st time done, 2nd coming up) that have to be said.

Ideas have effects. I’m sick of those who obfuscate and pander, politically correct, bringing, in the end, only more violence. All of that is a license to kill.

Regarding actions, I’ve been attempting a number of things. Primarily, there is meeting one on one with terrorists. I’ve done that on a number of occasions:

  • sometimes with only a kind of success (one guy took his own life the first second he could without taking anyone else out, and this to make sure he wouldn’t take anyone else out later, people rushing to tell me this, pretty emotional…)
  • sometimes with the success only of a delay (the kid took nine more years to be reconvinced to blow himself up at the Dolphinarium discotheque, killing 21 others)
  • sometimes getting actionable intel that is so incredibly easy to get because of the roman collar I wear. Truly. Easy. Gosh. Get a stopwatch.

People think it’s hard, but it’s not. But you do have to think waaaaay outside the box. Totally. And you can’t have any fear whatsoever, just being matter of fact and super naive. I guess not many are willing to do that. Not many at all. But a field hospital isn’t in a box; it’s in a field, is it not? You don’t always have to have people in GTMO to speak with them. They’re really open, right away, when they’re not under pressure. Really.

Another thing I’ve tried to do but which I haven’t done for years involves baiting funders of terrorism and passing that information along when the bait is taken.

Having said all that, take a look at the header again:

Who’s in the middle of the field hospital. Jesus. He’s Jewish. The Pope, yes, he’s Catholic. The boy? Probably a Muslim. It should be clear what I think is possible. With that in mind, I also say to my “Shadow” what Jesus said to the sleeping Apostles: “Arise! Let us be going! Look! My betrayer (the one who ignores the truth he comes to know) is at hand.”

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jackass for the Hour, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Terrorism

Past FBI cases: not Psych 101, just 99. Doesn’t bode well for present cases.

psychology 101

After editing Father Gordon’s post for tomorrow’s These Stone Walls entry, I busied myself, on this day-off, with writing an article analyzing some FBI analysis. After just finishing, what was written disappeared from the computer and WordPress. Glitches!

The gist of it was that people are more complex than merely reacting to the frustration of being smacked down in life, which was the height of psychological analysis that one agent in charge had to bring to a case. The previous day I had been listening to a YouTube documentary on an FBI case while busied with some other things in the kitchen. The agent comment on crime as mere reaction caught my attention as being one of the more stupid things I’ve heard for a long time, especially since this was about a string of similar crimes committed over years by the same individual.

  • Sometimes perps have an ideology to follow, such as with Islamicist terrorists, who are often otherwise well educated, often professors, successful in their careers, have wonderful families and are totally sociable. It’s about violent power. That will be analyzed in some upcoming chapters in Jackass for the Hour.
  • Sometimes perps have a thing about control, calculation even, as power. See: Stephen Paddock’s motivation and our motivation in not finding his motivation
  • If vengeance was possibly a motivation starting someone in a certain direction, that can morph quite differently into violence as liberation. Was ROTC a paradigm ripped from moral context for Nikolas Cruz and turned upside down? We need an identity in our lives greater than patriotism do we not?
  • Sometimes it’s what’s existential that is taken as power, such as with the KKK, such as with William Aitcheson, or what was that guy’s name, Dylann Roof?
  • Sometimes perps are simply replaying things that have happened to them and are figuring out their own problems by setting up situations. That was case of that documentary, but that’s hardly a simple lashing out. It may be a “reaction” generally speaking, but it has morphed into a power trip where the power has become an answer that has changed the question.

So, a common theme here is power, a power ultimately fulfilled in self, the power of the individual, but therefore an individuality without identity, power that therefore becomes the identity, power without reason.

This is that to which we all tend if we do not have an identity of being creatures loved by their Creator.

This identity in love is what is absent from Islam, which cannot believe in God as One who loves us so much as to stand in our place to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Jesus took on punishment, death, we deserved for sin. Islam rejects this as that which is impossible for God. God cannot love us so very much they scream, even as they explode into a million bits while killing untold numbers of others. This is not true religion. Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is not a religion.

This identity in love is what the other perps described above also lack.

This identity in love is what is lacking from the analysis of law enforcement.

But the FBI should remember this: It is not separation of Church and State that the Constitution puts forth as law. No, no. And it is not that the State is to fear the free exercise of religion even, say, when doing one’s job for the State. No, no. That first amendment is about the State not interfering with the free exercise of religion.

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 23 – So, that’s your problem?

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 23 – So, that’s your problem?

As Father Alexámenos and Rabbi Shelomoh continued to speak, the Muhammadan, no longer listening, sent his email to Shaykh al-Husayn, a member of what had for a long time been Europe’s largest Mosque and Cultural Centre, built with Saudi oil money near the Vatican so as to spit on Pope Saint Pius V’s ‘Rosary Victory’ over the Muhammadans at Lépanto, during the height of the Ottoman Empire, just after Elizabeth I of England was excommunicated.

Shaykh al-Husayn was well placed, being Albanian by birth, Catholic by Baptism, Muslim by apostasy, and ‘advisor’ by professional history in the Arabian peninsula. He was a ‘trophy convert’ on show. Brilliant at public relations and proselytism, he gave school children praying-tours of the mosque, delighting in ‘catechising’ them in Islam as they bowed down to Allah. His belligerently anti-Catholic attitude upset Catholic students of interreligious dialogue, which is not easy to do.

Shaykh al-Husayn read the email which he had just received from the flight to Rome. He would have deleted it had it not confirmed what was just coming on the television screen in his office. The news report included the images of Father Alexámenos, complaining that he was already on a flight to Rome. He was being accused of fleeing justice. The email was from a member of the mosque, and gave the details of the flight number, something the television reports had not yet done. The email mentioned the news report about Haïti, but centred on the discussion Father Alexámenos was having with one whom the Muhammadan had mistakenly taken to be the Chief Rabbi of Rome. “Can you not do something about the interference of this priest?” asked the Muhammadan in his email. “He is inciting Jews and Catholics to declare war on Muslims, as if we all lived in Jericho when it was taken more than three thousand years ago. Since Italy and the Holy See treat Islam nicely, it’s easy to put pressure on them, especially for you. He’s to be punished for his crimes in Haïti, and then suffer the punishment for his words against Islam.”

Shaykh al-Husayn clicked on the audio file sent with the email. He knew Hebrew better than the Jews, he thought. He listened in disbelief as he heard the priest describe his understanding of the Qur’anic version of Abraham’s would-be child-sacrifice of his son and, then, the Rabbi’s question about whether or not the continuing slaughter of the Palestinians was divinely mandated to this day. Shaykh al-Husayn sat back in his chair. He decided not to respond to the email. He did, however, like the idea about making an official protest. This had to be handled by diplomats in Saudi Arabia in conjunction with the other Arab states. Involving the one they thought was the Chief Rabbi of Rome was too dangerous to ignore, especially since this Rabbi was such good friends with Pope Tsur-Ēzer, also a Jew. “After all,” he thought, “if Jews and Christians want another crusade…” A wave of anger overwhelmed Shaykh al-Husayn, which was followed by a wave of regret, for so many might die fighting a crusade.

That Father Alexámenos had stayed in the Catholic Nunciature made matters worse. Even a CIA agent was volunteering information on the television about Father Alexámenos. Shaykh al-Husayn thought it looked like preemptive damage control. The agent called Father Alexámenos stupid for having taken the liquor he gave to him, which was only meant to pry information out of the priest about the priest himself. Despite it being past midnight, Shaykh al-Husayn rang the diplomats in Saudi Arabia, now his longtime friends. Continue reading

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 22 – Sag niemals nie! Never say never!

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 22 – Sag niemals nie! Never say never!

Before Father Alexámenos answered, the Rabbi continued with an intensity his priest friend enjoyed so much it all almost set him to laughing, wishing all his interlocutors had the intelligence and, he suspected, the streak of mischievousness of the Rabbi. “The Old Covenant must effectively be replaced by the New Covenant inasmuch as the Old is to be fulfilled and transformed in the New. The Old Covenant cannot be salvific on its own, even before any Messiah comes, for the Old had to look forward to the New, which fills it with Life back in the day. Time is not a barrier to its Creator. If the view is that the New has come, the Old must necessarily become sterile, even if it is not purposely cut off from the New, and no matter how much God respects the sincerity of Jews who do not even know what Christianity is. In that case, God gives grace to the Jews simply as His gratuitous gift, but not because God makes valid what cannot be made valid in the Old Covenant except in its present day fulfilment in the New.” Since Father Alexámenos did not interject, the Rabbi continued: “Your Cardinal Froben, nevertheless, gives us the lowest common denominator of no one having any covenant, telling us, absurdly, that both the Old and the New Covenant can be salvific at the same time. If the Old Covenant doesn’t look forward to the New, it is not actually the Old Covenant we are talking about, and if the New Covenant doesn’t fulfil the Old, it is not actually the New Covenant we are talking about. Two independent, salvific covenants are two other religions, neither Jewish or Catholic. Froben and his kind must stop insulting our intelligence. Tell me you understand!”

“Rabbi, I know exactly what you are…”

“Do you?” pressed the Rabbi.

“I regret,” said Father Alexámenos, “that Cardinal Froben has scandalously claimed that our aim in a dialogue is not to come into any kind of communion or unity, but simply to improve constantly those relationships and to work together. What he says is not what the Church nor I believe. I’m for unity in Charity and Truth. Saint Paul goes out of his way to say that…”

“I wonder about your regret,” interrupted the Rabbi, “Your Saint Paul makes it clear that he loves the Jews,” said the Rabbi, “but Froben and those like him do not seem to know who Paul of Tarsus is. They take every opportunity to send us to Auschwitz again. Take that document on the Shoah…”

“In reading that document, I just couldn’t believe that…” Father Alexámenos began to say.

“You Catholics,” interrupted the Rabbi, “speak of Continue reading

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Jackass for the Hour: Chapter 21 – They burned them in a raging fire

palestinian donkeyJackass for the Hour: Chapter 21 – They burned them in a raging fire

Although Father Lia-Fáil had received the fax from père Jacques and had alerted the Holy Father about the contents of the web-site, he hadn’t heard from anyone else, including Father Alexámenos. Pope Tsur-Ēzer had don Hash and padre Emet summoned.

✵ ✵ ✵

As the plane kept its course to Rome far off the coast of New York City, many in the plane were glued to the windows on the port side of the plane, leaning over the passengers in those rows of seats, who were themselves trying to get a glimpse of the Tribute in Light, two beams of light piercing high into the night skies from where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center had once stood, now One World Trade Center. The Port Authority finally understood that a memorial was not meant to facilitate one to look merely ‘at’ something, but to gaze ‘toward’ Someone. Every year on September 11 the memorial was lit up, and was being tested with some new technology on this evening. The plane’s distance from the Big Apple, more than three hundred kilometres, made the effect of the light piercing many kilometres into the heavens all the more dramatic. They were high enough in the plane so that the beams of light were able to be seen over the curvature of the earth.

Thousands simultaneously ‘burned at the stake’ by Islamic fundamentalists raised strong emotions in the viewers, regardless of their nationality or religion, especially since they were flying. The cabin crew knew that they had to delay the main meal until New York was behind them. Father Alexámenos was impressed that the years had not meant the usual out of sight, out of mind.

A Rabbi in his seventies had been sitting a few rows in front of Father Alexámenos. He was returning to Italy after visiting Bard College in New York – where he debated the interpretation of the Talmud – and then The Shoah Memorial in Miami Beach, where living anguish reached up to Heaven. After he caught a glimpse of the beams of light, he saw that Father Alexámenos, obviously a Catholic priest, was still asleep next to the window and had no one sitting next to him. He had also noticed that the gentleman seated immediately in front of Father Alexámenos had not bothered himself about the Tribute in Light, and still looked upset that everyone had made such a fuss. He was wearing a taqiyah and Thawb, traditional clothing for a Muslim. The Rabbi chuckled with such an opportunity for entertainment and, perhaps, according to the will of the Most High, an advance in what was otherwise the murderous intrigue of merely interreligious politics. The Rabbi took the seat next to the aisle leaving the middle seat of row between himself and Father Alexámenos empty. Continue reading

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Donuts after Mass? Yes. These too! Politically incorrect. Hah.

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Heavenly.

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Trent, Kryptos, coriolis, treasure maps, religion, analysts, security, strategy

trent session 4 treasure map

Why is it that analysts ignore that which is the context for the key, for text without context is pretext. Ideology over reality? A bit of power, self-congratulation, no humility before the massive sweep of history?  While everything seems to blow apart what is the one thing that stays the same? Crux stat dum volvitur orbis. Where to find that? The context, the coriolis effect, as it were, can be found in the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta of Session IV of the Council of Trent of 8 April 1546, that is, the bits before the list of books and the laying out of the treasure map. If one doesn’t know what the treasure is, in finding it, one won’t even know one is looking at it, and will bypass it.

The arrogance, impatience, spitting cynicism, bitterness of the rejection of all that which is important while calling it irrelevant and sheer idiocy is astounding, and should put on guard those who don’t have so much baggage to deal with. Purity of heart and agility of soul and humble thanksgiving before the Most High is the only way. It’s not mathematics, encoding or decoding, statistics or any other mind games so available to manipulation. It’s the reality of what is actually happening. And there are those who are open to this, also analysts. They need to be encouraged. For the long game. And the short. But life is difficult. There are bullies. So be it. That’s O.K. The coriolis effect plows through all that. ;-). Anyone want to analyze the introductory bits of the first decree Sacrosancta?

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Lion’s Gate: Preparing the 4th Temple with the blood of the peacekeepers (This Jewish Catholic Priest’s opinion)

lions gate

Islamic terrorists like any other criminals simply ignore the fact that crime is always counter-productive. Just a little while ago, some Israeli LEOs were assassinated at the Lion’s Gate, right next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The LEOs weren’t expecting the unprovoked attack and were exactly where they were supposed to be.

The immediate visceral reaction to this kind of violence at the Temple Mount (where you also find the ultra-vulnerable because basin-like Jewish prayer area at the Western [wailing] Wall), is to remove the Islamicists definitively, destroy the mosque, rip out the Dome of the Rock, and build the 4th Temple. Proof of this is that the immediate statement put out by Prime Minister Bibi is that the Status Quo of the Temple Mount will simply remain the same. In other words, if this was the instantaneous answer with no question being asked, the presumed question is whether the Status Quo will finally change, as it is soon expected to be changed within the foreseeable future. In other words, the tension is so much at fever pitch that anything could bring about a major change. It’s just a matter of time, sooner than later.

So, what’s this opinion of this Jewish-Catholic Priest? I think that whatever about the status of Jerusalem as an international city desired by some, blah blah blah, it is intense insanity to have more than one group contending to have ownership of the same place at the same time anywhere at any time for any reason. That’s simply not how fallen humanity is able to maintain peace.

Is it not better to have, say, the Israeli Defense Forces control the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount and then allow visitors with controllable security measures in place for each visitor? I think so. That doesn’t mean anything is any less international if whatever about that “international” issue were to be decided. One group in control just means greater security. If it’s the first most holy site for a group, shouldn’t that group be in charge? The Temple Mount is the first most holy site for the Jews.

The Church of the Resurrection is Catholic from the beginning. I think the entirety of the Church of the Resurrection, including Calvary and the Holy Sepulcher, should be given over to the Franciscans at the Custody of the Holy Land exclusively. The extreme violence of some of the groups there is simply unacceptable.

Take an example. Should Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica be given over to Islam? I mean, after all, they’ve raided and pillaged Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica (of the time) a number of times (the reason for the massive defensive walls around Vatican City). I don’t think so.

The easy largesse of those who shout “BE NICE!” and don’t lift a finger to help keep the peace and who don’t take account of ongoing horrific violence caused by the insistence on that easy largesse.

// (begin sarcasm) — Hey! Let’s make the Swiss Guard in charge of the Temple Mount! –(end sarcasm) //

This opinion does not have anything to do with what I think about the fulfillment of the covenants in Christ Jesus our Lord and God. No, I do not believe that any building of any 4th Temple is productive in any way on any level.

Further disclaimer: I’m Catholic. I’m Jewish. I lived in Jerusalem for a good while, arriving when Jewish pilgrims were stoned at the Western Wall from the Mosque above, and when, then, 19 Palestinians were killed. I walked from the U.N. compound South of Jerusalem back to Jerusalem down the length of the Silwan valley into Silwan and back up to the Temple Mount. That was the day after fake “Christians” went into the town of Silwan to celebrate the death of the Palestinians. Those fake “Christians” say that “ethnic cleansing” (genocide, really) of all non-Jews throughout the Holy Land is the only way for Jesus to come back again. Those fake “Christians” are simply monsters. My saying that the Jews should have control of the Temple Mount has nothing to do these fake “Christians”. It’s the other way. What I’m pushing for would save many lives on a day to day basis.

Of course, there are those who would say that this would start a war. My answer to that is, “Where have you been?” I’m guessing that when the USA takes out North Korean nuclear capabilities, the Israelis will do the same for Iran, which is perhaps the best time to take peaceful control of the Temple Mount.

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Filed under Intelligence Community, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

Is buying bacon at Walmart from Muslims now a hate crime? I like bacon.

bacon

Last night I went into one of our local Walmarts and was greeted by a very pleasant Walmart Greeter Muslim guy. He was all totally smiles and happiness. O.K. I loaded up my shopping cart with stuff like tomatoes, onions and whatever. I went to the cashier, a lady with a burka at the register, very nice. I paid, and then left, wishing all a nice day. O.K. There’s more to recount about Muslim stuff, but this is sufficient for this post. Just to say, it was a nice shopping experience all around. Great!

I didn’t buy any bacon or any pork products. I really never do. Someone had given me some bacon a few months ago, which I really really enjoyed. But anyway, what if I had bought some more bacon? Wouldn’t that force a Muslim to have contact with swine? Is that fair to them? Am I being hateful if I buy bacon at Walmart? Is it a hate crime on my part? Unfair religious provocation? Just some multi-cultural questions in a Dearborn age.

When I was teaching in the Pontifical seminary in Ohio in these USA, one of the seminarians was born a Muslim as his father was a Muslim and that’s how it is. Of course, in studying and being formed as a seminarian on his way to being ordained a Catholic priest, the youngster had converted to be Catholic, a capital crime in Islamic law, as was, in fact, proudly and loudly proclaimed by the local Islamic Cultural Center: the damned kid needed to be honor killed. Of course, the problem with this was, as the now seminarian told me, that his father had himself converted to be Catholic. Ha ha! The cowardly cowards at the Cultural Center cowered, cowards that they are. The seminarian told me that, for them, what counted was being treated with dignity and respect by the Catholics that they knew. They fell in love with the love that Jesus brings to us. Great.

Now, back to my question. Is this respect expressed in being a volunteer dhimmi, one who voluntarily lives under Sharia law because one doesn’t want to offend any Muslim customs, such as not having anything to do with pork? Just a multi-cultural question in a Dearborn age.

I put before you a text from the first generation of Christianity, a text from the letter to Diognetus:

“Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.”

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

Am I abusing that text? Am I caving to Islam? Can I buy bacon at Walmart?

I am hungry for bacon, but I’m not interested in provoking for the sake of provoking.

What to do?

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I love that bumper sticker @ 72 virgins

72 virgins dating service

This bumper sticker was seen in my driveway the other day, not on the bumper of this friend’s truck, but on the back window of his truck.

I like that Pope Francis doesn’t want us throw around insults just to do it.

But this bumper sticker is merely a rather sharp reprimand of ISIS-minded people who torture and kill people just to it, hoping that they will themselves be “martyred” so that they can go to heaven and have 72 virgins to rape for eternity (since it’s all about women’s rights, right?).

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Military, Terrorism

Update: Dearborn MI open-carry inside police station / Brandishing vs. me at Police Station, Andrews NC. Yikes!

In Dearborn, Michigan, these guys are pulled over pretty frequently by the police so as to ascertain if they are creating a public disturbance, purposely terrorizing people. But now these guys seem to have gone too far. They open carried right into the police station with rifles and pistols and really a lot of ammo, one of them with a ski-mask covering his face. I don’t know if all that is legal to do in Michigan, particularly Dearborn, Michigan. They say it is. The police are understandably a bit nervous. Here‘s what one of the police officers yells out:

“Put it on the ground or you are dead,” one of the officers screams in the video that was live-streamed on the Internet via cell phones by Baker and Vreeland as the confrontation unfolded. “I will shoot you. I will put a round in you. What the hell is the matter with you?”

I don’t know what the motivation of the two open-carry advocates is, whether it is all about self-promotion or about the second amendment or if it is perhaps about their possibly being nervous because of the rumors, true or not, about un-official but somewhat de-facto sharia law observance in Dearborn or all or some or none of the above. Whatever about their motivation…

The fact remains that entering a police station armed to teeth (truly, the list is long) and with a ski-mask pulled over one’s face just doesn’t seem to me to be a good idea. FWIW.

alfalfa-little-rascals

Meanwhile, in Andrews, NC, I was sitting inside the police station just the other week having a chat about the executive order on immigration when a gentleman came waltzing in brandishing a fairly large pistol. Brandishing in any law enforcement center is, generally speaking, illegal in North Carolina. He was waving it about in my direction and I, trying to deescalate the situation, asked him in a sing-song naive voice and all smiles, much like Alfalfa of the Little Rascals:

“Hey! Wow! Is that one of those pistols that also shoots shotgun shells? It looks like the barrel is really big! Is that called ‘The Judge’?”

This threw him a bit, as it’s a stupid question. The Taurus Judge is actually a somewhat snub-nose pistol which can also fire off .410 shells. Although he had his hand around the handle of the gun and I could easily be mistaken, his .45 looked like a Colt, a Smith and Wesson, not small at all. He answered:

“Oh no. It’s, um, just a .45.”

As he looked down the barrel of his own gun I should have bolted and smashed him hard to the floor, as he was only about three steps from me.

45-colt-sw

At any rate, he then turned to the officer on duty – the gun still in my direction – and asked if it was O.K. for him to carry inside the station. The officer said:

“Well, you know, it’s not really allowed but I guess it would be O.K.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I must say that although the guy was a nice guy, I did feel threatened since it was clear that everyone knew this was an illegal situation and that the officer, who had visibly tensed up and who had glanced over to me, may have only agreed to the brandishing of the gun under duress of the brandishing.

I kept my trap shut since this could have merely been a way on the part of the officer to buy time, deescalating the situation until such time as they could make an arrest and not get hurt. Never pull a gun when someone already has a gun in your face. They only have to pull the trigger, which is faster than whatever you can do.

I also thought the guy might be an ex-cop and that they might have all been friends and/or relatives, and I didn’t know quite how legal or illegal his situation might be in that circumstance, although I suppose I should take a hint from the actual officer on duty that “it’s not really allowed” for him. I will be happy to know if this guy was eventually arrested when this could be done safely. I was the one in the direction this guy was waving his .45 at…

If the situation went badly, I would have been shot first, as I was closest to him and he already had the gun aiming in my direction. Meanwhile, the officer would have had the time to draw and shoot him while I was getting shot. That saves the officer. Fine with me. I suppose I could have tried to avoid my getting shot by bolting behind a physical structure next to him and myself and then trying to slam him to the floor. He did have a second person with him. But if that other person didn’t have a weapon, I think I could have kept the guy pinned for the few seconds it would take to get the officer to shove a gun barrel into the back of his neck commanding him to let go of his weapon. I don’t know. If I had bolted toward him, first going behind the physical structure for cover, he could have first shot the officer before I got to him, easily shooting me in that time frame as well. Maybe the “permission” part of the conversation was a cue for me to tackle the guy as he was distracted at that point. After all, the officer had glanced over to me. He would have followed me with his gun, possibly shooting, but leaving the officer alive. I would have been behind the physical structure for a second. He would have been totally distracted. The officer could have taken a shot at him while that was going on.

What to do? The situation did deescalate… I don’t know if there was an arrest that followed later…

Did I do the right thing in delaying, letting it deescalate? It might not have deescalated at all. He could have killed me and perhaps also the officer after that. He was pointing the gun in my direction the whole time. Each nano-second was a risk for me, and then the other officer. What would you have done? Suggestions?

It just happened to work well. This time. Just because it worked out this time doesn’t at all mean that it was best to let it deescalate.

Should I have possibly taken a bullet possibly saving the officer? I could have commanded the guy to PUT THE GUN DOWN NOW!  while moving unstoppingly in his direction. I’m a pretty big guy… with a pretty big voice if I need it. His voice was just so familiar and soft-spoken when he talked to the officer on duty that it really did seem they were friends or relatives or the guy was absolutely to be trusted because of his own background… But it’s often like that. For instance, bank robbers are usually extremely soft-spoken and nice because in that moment they have all the power.

FBI CITIZENS ACADEMYThe thing is, I didn’t know any of that possible background (which I think is actually the case regarding a friend or relative). It was extremely imprudent for him to brandish like he did. He could easily have pulled the trigger on me, unwittingly, if I tackled him. Actually, I’m still pretty upset with this guy for recklessly putting lives at risk. Unless the police tell me different, I think I will tackle anyone brandishing in the police station here. There are plenty of people who are fully capable of brandishing in the police station, having the mentality of the two in the video at the top of this post. They brag about it. Loudly. That’s just the way it is. And now they have a good example as it seems to me someone who does this without getting arrested, if that’s the case, is a hero to very many people around here.

The lesson for all of us is that you just don’t know how you’re going to react in whatever situation. This was good training, whether I did the best I could or if I could have done better. It helps to go through real situations. The point of training is to get better. Which reminds me about the FBI training: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!) Critical incident situations are simply not easy. One does need to be trained. I see that more clearly now than previously.

P.S. Just to say. I did not have a weapon with me. It would have been illegal for me inside a law enforcement facility. But I could have tackled the guy. I probably would have died. But I could have saved the officer’s life. I don’t know. I just don’t know. Ideas?

UPDATE: As I now find out, not only was this guy not arrested, this incident was not even reported within the office. My response: The next time someone is brandishing against the law, following this guy’s bad example, I will end the threat, whether I get shot or not. At any rate, I was told that this will be brought up for training purposes in the department. That’s all I can ask for. That’s a good result.

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Filed under Guns, Interreligious dialogue, Officer Down!

Update: Western North Carolina Catholic outreach to Native Americans

Does anyone have a copy of the prayer to the four directions / winds / spirits  said for decades in the Cherokee Catholic church? As many of you know, I have a rather extensive background in interreligious dialogue and at textual analysis. I’d like to see what might be possible for solidarity / openness along the lines somewhat of Matteo Ricci, S.J.

Update: O.K. Well, lots of people are sending in lots of things in comments and emails, texts and links and whatnot, none of which was actually used in the Cherokee Catholic Church in WNC. These range from anything from witchcraft to Saint Francis’ Canticle of Brother Sun.

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Hey, Madeleine Albright. You are not a Muslim. You are a Catholic. Get with it.

madeleine-albright

Dearest Madeleine,

I too was raised Catholic. I too only later found out my family was Jewish. I am still a Catholic priest who happens also to be Jewish. That’s not a contradiction. That you became Episcopalian by choice says a lot. When non-Catholic Christians make fun of themselves they say to each other: “Oh, you must be Episcopalian,” the idea being that anything goes with Episcopalians. Now, with your head still spinning, you say that you stand ready to register as Muslim in solidarity. What does that even mean? Are you ready to wear a rug? Are you ready to be raped and then honor-killed by the “pious men” who watched you being raped but did nothing except accuse you of not wearing a big enough rug? Are you ready to cut down Christians and Jews wherever they are? Are you? If it’s all hyperbole about your conversion to Islam, you know, so that you don’t really mean it, so that really you are mocking Islam about your conversion, well, I don’t think they will appreciate that. Sometimes political skills are not appreciated by those for whose benefit they are used. Be careful what you wish for. For their part, they might want Trump to make a scene so that they have an excuse for “extremism.” When you are ready to make your Catholic sacramental Confession, hunt me down; I’ll give you a light penance. Jesus loves you even during the time that you have reject Him. He wants you back to the fullness of truth and the fulfillment of the Jewish-Catholic faith. Don’t forget, salvation is of the Jews, and is now universal, that is, Catholic.

Father George David Byers (your Jewish-Catholic Priest)

P.S. Do you also say, “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”?

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Filed under Ecumenism, Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy

Update: My terrorist friend and the terrorist friend of USMC Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis

26th U.S. Secretary of Defense USMC General James Norman “Mad Dog” Mattis asserts that we can get along with the Islamicist countries at least on some security cooperation by way of the inspiration of the greatness of America, noting that this is a better way to go because, as has been pointed out with the way things stand now (because of the past number of years), Islamists would rather put up with an imperfect government of their own free will than be forced to like America at the end of a USMC bayonet. I agree with all that only because I think the General has enough sense to see that security cooperation as that which needs double and triple checking, something we can actually do. It’s like giving fighter jets to such a country, knowing that Israel and the USA can take out those out-of-date planes in a nano-second. So, nobody is hoodwinking anyone.

If anyone should think that Mattis is crazy for hearing out his engineer-terrorist friend, let me offer my own similar anecdote on my encounter with one of the most deadly terrorists in the history of Israel…

jacobs well

“Hey!” said I to myself in early mid-January 1991, “why not jump on a bus and go deliver some anti-terror gas-masks to the Missionaries of Charity sisters up in Nablus in the West Bank before Saddam Hussein starts lobbing scud missiles on our heads?” So, off I went with the Jerusalem campus of the Pontifical Biblical Institute crowd shouting after me that I was really, really unwise. I knew that anyway, so, O.K.. I think they said something about a possible curfew as well, but, what does “possible” mean except possibly not?

I jumped off the bus on Al-Quds Street pretty far south of the city of Nablus and walked in, trying to get a feel for things, imagining biblical scenes playing out before me. On my way to the sisters, I wanted to stop and have a drink at Jacob’s well, which I did. But, before I got there, a young man I’m guessing twelve years old came up to me and asked me where I was from. As I think back on this, this was pretty brave, as the streets were completely empty. In Israel/Palestine, just because people stay inside, lock their doors and shutter their windows doesn’t mean a curfew, just that they are being careful. The monastery at Jacob’s Well had also been locked up, but the monk-in-charge let me in.

Anyway, when I said America, he got all excited and started telling me in broken English about how much he would like to go to the USA as he had some relatives there. “Great!” said I, and I asked him when he was coming over. His expression went all dark, with eyes glazing over. “I’m not going,” he said to no one in particular, as if he were asserting the fact to a vacuous universe. “But you have relatives there,” said I, encouraging him; “Why don’t you go?” “I would love to go,” he said; “America is a wonderful country. There is freedom.” “Come!” I exclaimed. “There are things I need to do here,” came the answer. He had a look that I would only come to recognize later as “The Look”, the look of terrorist who has been marked for a suicide mission at some point in the future. His mention of “things” he needs to do bothered me enough that I had mentioned it to others back at the Institute.

terrorist suicide bomber

I asked him to direct me to Jacob’s Well. Actually, we were within sight of it and he pointed it out with some anger for how stupid I was for asking him that. Calming down, he said that he had been there himself, outside the door, but had never gone in. The conversation switched to politics, his own poverty, and religion. I was pretty straightforward about my being Catholic. What I noticed in all this was that there was a kind of steel fist gripping his soul, suffocating him, that wouldn’t let him think about the topics he so very much wanted to think about. While “seeing” that fist crushing the life out of him, I saw clearly that he was looking for something from me, from anyone, different from what he had been getting from anyone around him. I hope I gave him something, but, was it enough? Evidently not. Some years ago, when I saw this picture of the young man, I froze, having the strong sensation that this was the fellow with whom I had been speaking in Nablus. If anything, it was a spitting image. I could be wrong, but, wow: it’s him.

This is Saeed Hotari, although the idiot military wing of Hamas, Izzedine al Qassam, who sent him to his death, called him by his father’s name, Hassan Hotari of Qalqiya, which is just a half a day’s walk from Nablus. It seems they had moved to Zarqa on the far side of Amman. He was there at the beginning of the time when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was there, but then he made his way back into the West Bank. I’m only guessing here, but the bomb Saeed would go on to use was so complex and so powerful that he would have had to have help by the likes of someone like al-Zarqawi. There’s simply no other way.

Saeed was the suicide bomber who had taken so very many lives ten years later, in 2001, in Israel, West of Nablus. Dozens dead, scores and scores injured: the Dolphinarium attack against mostly newly arrived Russian Jewish girls. Again, it’s absolutely a spitting image of him. Ten years had passed since our conversation. He held off for ten years. But in that time, of course, much can happen and much pressure can be applied. He was vulnerable to being misled again by the likes of someone like al-Zarqawi. People do have free will. Hearing what his family had to say, you would think that it was the greatest honor that their son had killed himself and so many innocent people. His own father is perhaps the most guilty.

This is another reason why, I repeat, that I’ve made Islamism a bit of a project in my life. I’m guessing I’m a bit sharper with things now. It’s not a talent you want to have to use, or want to have come by the hard way. But, as the FBI puts it in their training materials, one needs to prepare for “The Coming Storm” (see: Active Shooter: The Coming Storm (FBI: Train now!)). I wish the CIA would put out something similar. We’ll surely be seeing more of this, more of “The Look.”

After drinking water from Jacob’s Well, I found the Missionaries of Charity and had a good time with them. But then I needed to get back to a bus going to Jerusalem. So, off I went, but I was still far from everything on the Northern side of Mount Gerizim when I found myself in the middle of an ambush, with the Israeli Defense Forces shooting in every which direction. The megaphones they used on top of their SUVs commanding this and that echoed from every which way, making it impossible to know which direction it was coming from. It’s seems there was a daytime curfew after all. That’s surely why Saeed ran out to meet me. He figured that anyone disobeying a curfew while carrying a package had to be a fellow terrorist. Anyway, they wanted anyone on the street to make their way down to a certain intersection, but a Palestinian man called me into his house so I could escape the bullets, and then, when all was calm once again, he politely asked me to be on my way. I thanked him for saving my life, risking his own to do it – with me looking much more Jewish than anything like a Muslim – but he just insisted that I now be on my way. Good people are to be found everywhere.

Islam has nothing to offer its adherents except the self-congratulations their submission to Allah brings to themselves, except the misery of oppression that submission to Allah brings. America always looks better, also because – I would say this – because of the circumstances which are brought about by and large by people of faith. That’s very attractive to the dark side. We should encourage that whatever way we can. I agree with Mad Dog Mattis. Yes, I do.

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*NOC*NOC* “Who’s there?” “Fear.” “Fear who?”

noc

N.O.C. – I pass by this sign all the time. It will soon be a frozen ghost town in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. In some rather arcane circles, the letters N.O.C. also stand for Non-Official Cover, the rather obnoxious title for “illegals,” who are neither illegal (at least for us), nor non-official (at least for us), and whose only cover (usually business and politics) might be playing the self-referential fool, kind of like the Holy Roman Empire which was not Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.

At any rate, being an illegal, a NOC, usually, is nothing Kryptos. But that’s the problem. It should be everything Kryptos. Can anyone figure out terrorist initiative without being Kryptos? No, not without being Kryptos, at least my version of it, you know, taking into consideration the geological and mathematical elements physically represented and begging to be brought into one’s heart of hearts. What’s an analyst without it? Just someone manipulated by others. Not being at the heart of Kryptos is all play. An analyst might get lucky once in a while without being at the heart of all, but once in a while isn’t good enough. In fact, it makes one vulnerable to being used, the most dangerous NOC of all. All NOCs should be Kryptos.

It’s kind of like the difference between being “spiritual” and religious, as if those who are religious are not at all spiritual. The “spiritual” but not religious person is a faker, the most dangerous person of all. They congratulate themselves for being, you know, nice, sharing some supposedly common value, say, of niceness, that one supposes some spiritual power somewhere out in outer-space might appreciate in a heartless, mindless, but, you know, nice way. As often as not, it’s psychologism replacing a truly spiritual life. And that’s a licence to murder: “The god of my creation is on my side.” That’s when right and wrong lose the integrity of black and white and become 50 shades of self-serving gray, lusting for the power that covers the innocent in the red blood if death. Is that still called integrity? Integrity demands excellence. It’s the harder option, but is always worth it.

Excellence demands smarts and guts. True religion frees one from fear of being smart and from fear of having guts. One can face reality head on. It’s exhilarating. NOCs should give it a try. Those who insist “Gray is good for integrity” are low-life scum, you know, the ultra sophisticated creepo guys who have gone all Gnostic about “gray”. Having been had, betrayed, almost killed however many times, having seen killings even by the hundreds, having killed many… none of that means facing reality head on. It just means one has had those experiences which, however much they may put an edge on someone, do not of themselves make anyone less fearful of the big picture, perhaps more. Only watching God take our place in tortured death so as to have the right in his own justice to demand forgiveness can be the occasion for for one not to run away from seeing the big picture: “Father, forgive them.”

Meanwhile, the truly religious person lives out the ultimate virtue of justice, namely, religion, namely, giving to God that which is God’s due: “Thank you, God, for having this otherwise useless heap of weakness live what is reasonable and just in service of you and others, even if it means I have to lay down my life that others might live for that which is reasonable and just, for you.” Doing the religious thing, say, going to Mass, the Last Supper united with Calvary (see Kryptos) – This is my body given for you in Sacrifice, my blood poured out for you in Sacrifice – giving to God that which is his due in all justice, he himself standing in our stead to take on the death we deserve for original sin and whatever personal sin so that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us… yes, that is also spiritual and brings one without fear into the heart of all.

And that’s deadly important: no fear. The merely “spiritual” person is full of fear. They are on the run from themselves. Such an analyst might fill his waking hours and his nightmares with innumerable facts, all so intriguing with their interconnectedness or not, and the adrenaline rush had by someone who lives the fake-news cycle, thinking they are it, you know, special. Such a person doesn’t want to get to the heart of all. They are afraid. They paint themselves into the peripheries so that they can’t see the way things really are, however much violence and injustice they otherwise see.

But for the religious person who is truly spiritual there is no fear of finding the answer in oneself when looking for the terrorist, and one can find that terrorist, even in the early stages, well, pretty much every time as quick as quick can be. In Jerusalem I did this for recreation. Starting from scratch, one could get a stop-watch and see how many minutes it would take me to get the personal contact info of someone personally named on our terrorist list. My record on the street is, I think, eight minutes. That was in Jerusalem, but the head terrorist guy for whom I got the contact info was in Syria. Then you see who those guys know in Jerusalem, etc. I’m not tooting my own horn here, as my point is that anyone can do this if you’re not afraid to see what is right in front of you. Fakers not only waste everyone’s time, they bring everyone down with them: “We didn’t think it was important.” Compared to what is the question. What’s the standard of importance, of urgency, of whether something means something? When the importance of fake-religion (e.g. ISIS rubbish) is dismissed, successful terrorism ensues. One cannot see the importance of fake-religion unless one sees the importance of true religion. One cannot see the importance of true religion unless one lives it with integrity.

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ODNI NSA CIA… Politically correct intelligence? Is that, like, a thing?

CIA MEMORIAL LANGLEY

Thanks for your “DEDICATION ON BEHALF OF THE AGES.”

A great deal of my life in academics was spent in getting to know the greatest thinkers the world has ever known, such as the prophets and evangelists, such as Augustine and Aquinas on the one hand, as well as, on the other, the fakers who become flavors of the day for self-congratulators, such as Erasmus and Luther, Rahner and de Chardin, Mohammed and Cardinal […].

What I’ve discovered about so very many of the analysts of those personages and so many others is that it’s all just about another effort in self-congratulation unless they take the time and effort (laziness and fear of the reality of oneself is the problem) to read everything that person has read, unless they go back in time as well as one might so as to insert oneself in the languages and mores and the times in which that person lived, shedding anachronisms of what we know or think we know and whatever we would want to see for whatever selfish reasons. You know the exclamation by a great orator: “O tempora! O mores!” That blistering sarcasm presumes a comparison with other times and other ways of doing things, condemning the idiocy of our own day, whatever day that happens to be in which pride of self covers over reality. But this protestation falls on deaf ears. The game among most academics is to ensure that no one does real research so that the comfort of self-congratulation can continue unabated: “Let’s all read ourselves into whatever and whoever, just don’t confuse us with the facts!”

Now, I just wonder – just wondering, mind you – whether or not a few of those who set policy for intelligence communities these days have set about reducing acquisition of knowledge, of actionable intelligence, to the lowest common denominator that is so low and so common that, really, if someone knows how to play this game, he or she can escape being thrust outside the ultra-broad parameters of tolerance of normalcy by encoders of algorithms, thus remaining undetected, the tradecraft of avoiding tradecraft, making it appear that one is not avoiding detection. Doing this is as easy as knowing the dumbed-downness of one’s partner in the “game.” If the political correctness of analysts has been brought to the point of having analysts never delving deeply into motivation (a predictor of action), the policy has provided a licence to terrorists to kill. Such policy would be the arrogance of a false humility, the imposition of what one expects of one’s ideological instead of real self, a reading of the mere shell of oneself into the target, the actual reality of the target being brushed aside as irrelevant, making the suspect no longer suspect. If it’s irrelevant for me then it must be irrelevant for him, right? Wrong. This is precisely not the humility of which I wrote regarding Kryptos. (See: Solving Kryptos – Crux stat dum volvitur orbis.) This is precisely the way to let terrorism happen.

So, let me be more specific. Is there a politically correct denial of natural law, even though it is cited continuously and somewhat speciously, you know, the old “integrity which knows how to work in gray areas” diatribe? What is the basis for integrity if not natural law, such as in “Don’t murder the innocent,” that kind of thing? Rejection of some of the natural law is rejection of all of it, weakening the accomplishment of the mission because of the dimming of the vision of analysts. If they can’t see what they are doing, what can one expect?

O.K., let me be even more specific. If there is such a backing away from natural law, there follows lockstep a confounding of real religion with fake religion. True religion, to be such, must be consonant with natural law. Fake religion always compromises natural law. If true religion is irrelevant to the analyst, he or she won’t be able to assess the importance of fake religion as a primary motivator in terrorist attacks. This is ideological insanity (wildly not consonant with reality) and forces analysts to be nervous enough to exaggerate their merely secular analyses, as if that were enough. “We can do it! We can do it!” Yes, UBL was had that way, but so much more can be done. Fake religion is the primary motivator in terrorism. That must be taken into account. If not, expect the worst, like Kasi, like the Tsarnaevs, like…

So, what is the crux of religion? It’s not as Kryptos as you think, if you’re honest.

Anyway, something to think about even before mid-late January when the swamps along the Potomac will be drained. Let’s gear up for something good, shall we? For my part, I think I should start publishing a bit more on real vs. fake religion. Stay tuned.

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Pope Francis’ sarcasm @ ISIS / Islam when asked about père Jacques Hamel

isis burning children

ISIS burning children to death as young as three years old

“It is not a war of religions but for power. There is one word I wish to say to clarify. When I speak about ‘war’ I’m speaking about a war for real, not a ‘war of religions.’ It is a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples. All religions desire peace. Other people want war.” – Pope Francis

So, does Pope Francis mean that père Jacques Hamel is not a martyr, or that the Missionaries of Charity sisters are not martyrs? That would seem to be insane and the Pope seems to think they were heroic. So, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s try to come up with something reasonable about what he said. I mean, to say that religions cannot be at war is simply stupid or malicious. I mean, let’s look at the Old Testament: was the God of the chosen people not a real God? Is the God of the Jews to be damned? Or for that matter, moving on in time, was Pope Saint Pius V an anti-Catholic for his defensive measures (very war-like mind you) at the battle of Lepanto? And for that matter, does ISIS really not intend to serve their god, Allah? Really?

How about this: Maybe Pope Francis is saying with fully intended sarcasm that Islam is not a religion at all. Hey! I like that! Finally! Yay!

But wait, that really does sound like it’s all an insult to the Jews and the Jewish God, which, by the way, is our God, the one and only God. There were good reasons for the Jews to be war-like. There were good reasons for being on the defensive at Lepanto. There is never a good reason for Islam to do what it has always done with its aggression from its beginning until this very day.

When ISIS asks the kids if they renounce Jesus and accept Islam, and the kids say no, and then the kids are burned to death, that’s all about merely trying to make a few extra bucks, right? Got it! Nothing to do with religion! Just about domination of peoples! Oh, I remember now: the Qur’an is all about subjugating the Christians and Jews. And the Qur’an is like, religious, or not, in that case. ;-)

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis, Terrorism