Badges of Shame, and of Honor

Canadian military veterans protesting against COVID-19 mandates are removed by police from the protest site in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2022. (Limin Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Decades ago, a six-year sojourn in Canada acquainted me with the awe in which the denizens of that snowy realm hold the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Many a northern lad could dream no grander dream than growing up to join the ranks of these bravest of all servants of Queen and Country.

In one fateful weekend, that dream has been forever crushed, along with the elderly lady knocked down and quite possibly trampled under hoof by Mounties who have shown themselves willing to serve as tools of an openly despotic regime, bent on brutally subjugating the people they are sworn to protect.

Footage of what is now transpiring in the great white north is chilling in more ways than one. Agents of the state swoop in to arrest freedom loving men and women, whose only crime is organizing a peaceful protest that has captured the hearts of their fellows in a way that Orwellian doublespeak will never succeed at doing.

These police—doing the bidding of a self-appointed coward-king whose only skill is in weaving a string of potty-mouthed lies unworthy of an accomplished playground bully—conspicuously decline to show their badges, or respond when asked to identify themselves.

This is because they have agreed to function not as genuine public servants, but as secret police, for purposes of erecting a system of oppression in flagrant violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms—not to mention the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

It is well that they demonstrate their shame even in this skunky fashion, since it proves that they have not entirely lost awareness of their own humanity, even as they act to violate the sacred rights of humanity in the persons of their innocent victims—and therefore, by extension, in all persons, including themselves.

It is striking to hear so many of these victims maintaining that implacable politeness characterizing their nation, even in the face of lawless abuses of power. Wishing the police who arrest them a good day, they make excuses for them, reflecting that they are only doing their jobs.

It would be truer to say, however, that the protesters are doing these officers’ jobs. For it is they who are risking their livelihoods—and, God forbid, quite possibly their lives—to defend the notion that government exists to secure the inalienable rights of human beings, not to whip them like slaves while pounding their ears with implausible platitudes.

It is heart wrenching to reflect that no Canadian boy worth his weight in maple syrup will any longer aspire to wear the uniforms of those whose mercenary motives have now been exposed.

What was once a badge of honor has become a badge of shame, and no empty phrases will change the reality that anyone of sound heart and mind can now see, and will never forget.

When we contemplate the conduct of those brave souls confronting their oppressors, on the other hand, we see human beings of genuine character. They are willing to risk becoming victims, if there is a chance to make the world right for their children, and grandchildren.

Even as they call upon those half-human robots, hiding behind Kevlar vests and willing to turn deadly weapons against women and children, to change their ways—vocally offering to forgive them if they repent—these fully human Canadians show themselves to be worthy of the highest honors.

As important as it is to pray for their safety and well-being, and celebrate their heroic virtue, we must not stop there.

Only when their fellow citizens, and those in positions of power, learn to imitate their noble deeds, will badges covered in shame once more become worthy of honor.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Dispelling the Sorrows of Hell

The sorrows of death surrounded me,

The sorrows of hell encompassed me:

and in my affliction I called upon the Lord,

and he heard my voice from his holy temple.

Psalm 17:5-7

Jean Paul Sartre was half right when he nihilistically complained: hell is other people. What he ought to have said is: “Hell is people like me!”

Hell is, in fact, what happens when, turning our backs on God, people proceed to turn away from, and even against, his image within ourselves and one another.

As case in point, consider the afflictions of body and soul mercilessly inflicted upon us by an army of despots, con men, and useful idiots in the past 23 months.

Forced isolation, unemployment, asphyxiation, suspicion, surveillance, vilification, and compulsory conscription into dangerous medical experiments—such have become a banner of progressive pride in a world where progress increasingly means willful saturation in the sorrows of death, and the deliberate snuffing out of any hope for life as it was bequeathed to us from above.

Particularly demonic, as Michael Matt rightly notes, is the obsession with masking, distancing, terrorizing, and jabbing young children, who face no threat from the germs supposedly menacing us, pose no threat to others, and whose mental and physical development is seriously stunted by the hellish torments to which their supposed guardians are subjecting them.

In her traditional liturgy, the Church of our Fathers asks us to take a very different turn today, directing our gaze down the path our Lord took to Cavalry, where he was to face the torments of hell on earth, in order to free us from eternal suffering of the same.

Insofar as we are injured by the sins of others, none of us can truly deny that our afflictions are just compensations for our own offenses. Our hope, however, is in the Name of the Lord, who mercifully delivers us for the glory of his Name.

Our task, in this vale of tears, is to glorify that Name in the midst of a world that spurns it, so that we may share forever in its glory when this hellish principality passes away.

What does it mean to glorify the Name of God? First of all, it means to “give praise to the Lord, and to sing to [his] Name, [the One] Most High” (Psalm 91:2).

Next, it means to treat ourselves, and our neighbors, as bearers of the image of God, and temples of his Holy Spirit.

In a world fallen and deranged, glorifying God is no easy task. Saint Paul likens it to running a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27); our Lord likens it to laboring in a vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

The race would be unwinnable if the Lord himself did not provide “spiritual food,” and “spiritual drink”; but such food and drink will avail us nothing unless we run so as to obtain the prize.

Likewise, our labors would be pointless had not the Father of the Family promised us a penny worth the effort. Yet if we fail to appreciate the value of that penny—the infinite blessing of the beatific vision of God himself—not only our labors, but even their faithful repayment will avail us nothing.

God has not promised that his Name will be glorified by everyone on this earth, and therefore we cannot expect our efforts to glorify him definitively to topple the outworks of hell his detractors are striving with such satanic strength to erect here below.

When we do our part, however, we may well find that it inspires others to join with us. In this way, we can pool our efforts and form a convoy of sorts: a freedom convoy, freeing us in thought, word, and deed from the sorrows of death and hell which, in the Name of God, we have been given the power partially but mightily to dispel.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!     

True and False Equity

“In the beginning, God created heaven, and earth” (Genesis 1:1). Shortly thereafter, Satan fell from heaven, and led the inhabitants of earth astray.

Both of the Devil’s sins—refusing to serve the Lord, and recruiting others into his rebellious ranks—are rooted in an appeal to what contemporary culture falsely calls “equity”—a squishy concept by which puerile vanities masquerade as progressive ideals.

Is there something you want, but can’t have? Or anything that bothers you, which you can’t easily evade? Simply blame the powers that be, and insist that the fulfillment of your fancies, however foolish, is an absolute imperative of so-called social justice.

The essence of equity—one of many terms defined so definitively by Aristotle—is the correction of a general rule in accordance with objective reality.

Equity is necessary because, as Hamlet told Horatio, there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in our philosophy—not to mention our laws.

Law, like any instrument, is valid when it does good. Even the best law, however, will occasionally do harm, in exceptional circumstances, in which case fulfilling the intention of the law—that is, doing justice—requires an adjustment to the terms in which the law generally speaks.

This tweaking of law’s measure, when guided by a prudent grasp of what is good and how the good is best achieved, constitutes equity.

Paradoxically, justice without equity is not justice, but its opposite. Likewise, however, we must observe that equity without justice is not equity, but iniquity.

Returning to the Enemy, his revolution resulted from a resentment at having to bow before a true God who would also become true Man; to honor as Queen the simply human Mother of that Son of Man; and with them to keep company with sinners with the intent of inviting them, through penance and the acceptance of divine mercy, back to the light of eternal life.

In rejecting such a state of affairs, Satan failed to reflect (or accept) that God, the source of his own angelic nature, is Love; that Love is willing to empty itself for the sake of the beloved; and that by refusing to embrace such condescension, he was abandoning the very excellence in which he took such sinful pride.

In effect, what Satan considered a correction of heaven’s course sent him careening into a pit of eternal darkness and despair.

The same is true of the ruse the Devil used to seduce our first parents, and by which he continues to deceive his victims to this day.

God’s law, according to the Serpent, is meant to keep us down. Only if we are bold enough to adjust it to our own tastes can we achieve our true potential, and “be as Gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

In truth, we are created in the image and likeness of God, knowing good and possessing dominion over creation. Since we possess this likeness to God as a gift, however, the dignity and power it bestows can never make us equal to him. To know and possess what is good, we must accept our dependence on the Creator and Giver of every good gift.

Today the Devil’s agents strive harder than ever to persuade us that the perfect satisfaction of our earthly desires is possible if only we entrust ourselves to a managerial elite empowered to bend or break every rule of law or morality.

The “good” at which such “equity” aims is not only a delusion, but a perversion.

Human beings are created equal in dignity and the enjoyment of certain rights. Any attempt to render us equal in material goods or social status, however, entails the violation of those rights, and the violation of various divine commandments: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear false witness.

Genuine equity demands discretion in the name of genuine goods. We do not trust a man with the keys to his own car, when he is roaring drunk.

When those passing themselves off as wise attempt to substitute genuine goods with dangerous daydreams, however, the fault is ours if we accept the wooden nickel of pseudo-equity, in exchange for their destructive dominion over our God-given souls.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Holy Justice

A major section of Saint Catherine of Sienna’s Dialogues addresses the widespread corruption afflicting the Holy Catholic Church, then (as now).

The root cause of such corruption is, of course, personal, as is the case with the saintly governance practiced by those ministers who have been true to their divine calling.

As for the saints: “Because they had first done justice to themselves”—that is, had sought and obtained virtue, by the grace of God—“they were just to their subjects as well.”

Such “holy justice” consists in seeking perfection in one’s own life, and guiding others in the same direction.

Holy ministers do not refrain from correcting their wayward sheep, “for those who are not corrected and those who do not correct are like members” of a body “beginning to rot.”

Their method of correction was of course charitable. “Those who were sinful they drew out of their sin by showing that they themselves were also sinful and week”; “while correcting others and imposing penances for the sins they had committed, they themselves in their charity did penance along with them.”

By contrast, corrupt ministers foster corruption in the Church by failing in their duty to correct sin, first in themselves, and then in others.

Due to their own lust for power and prestige, wayward shepherds “sometimes administer correction” to “the little people,” “as if to cloak themselves in this little bit of justice.”

“But they will never correct persons of any importance, even though they may be guilty of greater sin than more lowly people, for fear that these might retaliate by standing in their way or deprive them of their rank and their way of living.”

How are we to respond to this betrayal by those who ought to be fostering the flowers of holy justice, but instead give way to “slavish fear”?

Remembering that the holy sacraments administered by such men are gifts of God that cannot in themselves be corrupted by the sins of men, we ought to reverence every minister of God, insofar as he is a bearer of such gifts.

On the other hand, we “ought to despise and hate the ministers’ sins,” which we should “try to dress . . . in the new clothes of charity and holy prayer.”

We can “escape the leprosy” of bad prelates by practicing charity, which makes us “put up with [our] neighbors with true patience by enduring pain, torment, and weariness no matter what their source.”

When we live as “little sheep in the garden of holy Church, grazing there in holy longing and constant prayer,” we will not raise our heads “either in impatience or in inordinate gladness” at the virtues or vices of her earthly administrators.

Rather, we will be “humbly attentive” to the honor of God, “the salvation of souls, and the reform of holy Church.”

Loving what is good, and hating what is evil, we will set our hearts ablaze with the cleansing fires of holy justice—without which neither we nor those for whom we pray can have any hope of genuine happiness.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

An Infinite Thing

Your desire is an infinite thing.

Were it not, no virtue would have value or life.

For I who am infinite God

want you to serve me with what is infinite,

and you have nothing infinite

except your soul’s love and desire.

Eternal Truth to St. Catherine of Sienna

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Watching the Watchmen Wobble

It is surely a profound relief to many an American breadwinner, whose workmates may happen to number a hundred or more, to learn that the highest court in the land will not countenance the attempts of a distant agency, charged with maintaining workplace safety, to force his employer to treat him as a guinea pig in a global pharmacological experiment.

At the same time, it may baffle the thoughtful citizen to observe the same esteemed tribunal, in a separate but similar case, ready to confer its blessing on another band of bureaucrats, who insist that healthcare professionals, trained in the science and art of healing, are incompetent to judge what substances ought to be injected into their own bodies.

Neither decision is final, as each concerns how to settle the status quo while lower courts try the merits of the respective cases. Yet the standard employed in these cases requires the court to project likely winners, and their reasoning is bound to shape the legal landscape in the months and years to come.

How then can we account for these discrepant judgments?

Although both cases affect personal rights, the litigants (a federation of businesses, and numerous states) challenge the mandates mostly in terms of who has the authority to govern in such matters. Hence, the court focuses on whether the powers the American people have delegated to our elected representatives are legitimately employed, or rather usurped, in these particular diktats.

In NFIB v. OSHA, the court asks whether Congress, in delegating matters of occupational safety to the agency in question, meant for its regulatory power to extend to matters of general public health, or “safety” measures affecting the lives of workers long after they have left the workplace.

Despite the bloviating of three dissenters—one of whom believes that 100,000 children are currently on respirators; another of whom estimates that roughly 200% of Americans are currently afflicted with a disease it is now so fashionable to dread—six justices were sane enough to see their way to drawing the obvious, and negative, conclusion.

So far, so good.

Then we come to Biden v. Missouri. Here, two justices, who in the prior case demanded proof of Congress’s clear intent to empower OSHA in such weighty matters, meekly concede that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are so empowered, not because Congress ever said so, but simply because their governing agency (Health and Human Services) sports such an impressive title, and has a track record of exceeding its statutory powers, and getting away with it.

As Justice Thomas demonstrates in his dissent, the purpose of CMS is to administer a pair of welfare programs, and the only “health and safety” powers genuinely granted them by Congress amount to nothing more than ensuring that facilities receiving federal monies are the real deal. To this end, the HHS Secretary is permitted to publish reasonable standards, such as the employment of minimally qualified staff, attention to proper hygiene, effective pest control, and the like.

Any attention to vaccines on the part of CMS has always been a stretch. But even so, these feds have never done more than ensure that employees of an approved provider have access to favored injections on a voluntary basis.

We must be genuinely grateful for NFIB, which rescues a great many Americans from serious oppression. For those disposed to take it as a sign that the court is prepared to rein in Sleepy Joe’s reign of terror, however, Justice Gorsuch’s dissent in Biden is a bucket of cold water.

As he rightly notes, the Biden court clearly signals that it can be persuaded to reward unelected technocrats with more power, the bolder and more intransigent they have previously been in asserting powers they do not have.

For Justices Roberts and Kavanaugh, the tough talk in NFIB appears to be a smokescreen for their surrender, in Biden, to administrative despotism.

It is comforting to see that Justice Barrett, at least, stands firm in joining both Biden dissents. As for Roberts, he was already a lost cause. Unless someone helps Kavanaugh find his backbone, however, any comfort freedom loving citizens take this January may turn ice cold before the heat of summer has given way to the autumnal breezes of election season.

It is better to have a court that protects our freedoms sometimes, than never. Yet judges that flip one way here, and flop another there, cannot be relied upon to establish a legal framework in which a meaningful truce between factions is practically possible.

In brief, there is no reason to think that NFIB, coupled with Biden, will persuade the enemies of liberty to abandon their wicked designs against our constitutional republic. To the contrary, they will take these decisions as encouragement to redouble their efforts at deception, intimidation, and corruption.

What then can we do when our constitutional watchmen are wobbling? I can suggest nothing better than the resolution to make 2022 a year in which each and every American demonstrates greater civic fortitude than he has hitherto been wont to do.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Out of Season

Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.

2 Timothy 4:2

To be out of season, in these days of darkness, means among other things to get on the wrong side of YouTube.

What that takes, in the present moment, is to speak the truth about the global assault on human rights now being waged under false pretenses of public health.

Fr. Daniel Nolan, as a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, already finds his life’s vocation (and hence his path to eternal salvation) under attack by the present occupant of St. Peter’s Chair.

Though his ministry is centered on the “pre-conciliar” (that is, the perennial) form of the Roman Rite, however, his recent sermon pointedly relies upon conciliar and post-conciliar texts, to expose the flagrant self-contradictions in the stance taken by so many of his fellow pastors.

His message is brief but weighty, and worth pondering in full:

May his words pierce hearts that have been hardened by relentless propaganda, and awaken a world slumbering toward its moral demise.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Hail, Master!

Years ago, the immortal David Warren admitted to the guilty pleasure of enjoying the Christmas Mass of Jakub Jan Ryba (1765 – 1815), amidst the austerities of Lent.

The occasion serves to illustrate the true value of asceticism, the purpose of which is not so much to have us forego what is good, as to teach us to make room for what is better.

Whilst he was clearing his library of vainly acquired discs, replete with the grandiose monstrosities of ascendant modernity, Warren bumped into the post-baroque Czech masterpiece, and could not help listening all the way through.

“Ryba’s Kyrie sounds like a Gloria. The Gloria sounds like a Gloria. The Gradual sounds like a Gloria. The Credo, Offertorium, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnes Dei, — all sound like Glorias. And there is a recessional attached, a final choral exposition, which sounds very much like a Gloria.”

Not the most Lenten fare, to be sure. But within these twelve days of Christmas, just the thing to remind us that even the darkest of nights may herald the brightest of dawns.

If Dear Reader is unfamiliar with the “Mass” (really more of a cantata)—or even if he is blessedly acquainted with it—he may take special pleasure in observing its performance by these hearty souls, in an apparently unheated cathedral:

The text, along with further information about Ryba and his works, can be found in the notes to the Naxos edition (a truly superb recording).

“A characteristic feature of [this Mass] is the bright mood of joy and the feeling of happiness radiating from every note.”

May that joy radiate from every note we play in this New Year!

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!    

Where Honor is Due

Ehre sei dir, Gott, gesungen,
Let honor to thee, O God, be sung;
Dir sei Lob und Dank bereit.
For thee, let praise and thanks be prepared!
Dich erhebet alle Welt,
All the world exalts thee,
Weil dir unser Wohl gefällt,
Because our welfare is pleasing to thee;
Weil anheut
Because today,
Unser aller Wunsch gelungen,
All our wishes have been achieved;
Weil uns dein Segen so herrlich erfreut.
Because thy blessing delights us so gloriously!

As we greet a New Year already promising to plunge us into new depths of division and despair, the fifth part of J. S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio reminds us where to turn if we wish to regain the blessings that are slipping through our fingers.

It is never too late to abandon our idols, and acknowledge the one true source of all that is good.

In his honor is our salvation!

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!     

The Snare is Broken!

Through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, new radiance from thy glory has so shone on the eye of the soul that the recognition of our God made visible draws us to love what is invisible.

Roman Missal

Even as the elements of the world conspire to bring it down, the heart is lifted high by a feast whose capacity to inspire joy far outshines the celebrations of sunnier seasons.

Though Dear Reader needs no evidence in support of this commonsense claim, each item that could be adduced in demonstration is a delight in itself, and sharing such gifts is essential to keeping Christmas as it is meant to be kept.

In that spirit, I would draw attention to one of the many musical works that, over the centuries, have added their magical airs to the splendor of the season: Alessandro Scarlatti’s Christmas Cantata:

Despite the genius of this composer, proper translations of his texts are hard to come by, and my command of the Italian tongue is woefully missing in action. In consequence, I can only surmise that the work is a meditation on the surprising manner in which an ineffable God has spoken to us in a language more profoundly human than that of fallen man.

He who can do all things is born in utter poverty. He who moves the spheres shines forth in the eyes of a little babe, born of a humble virgin. He exposes himself to icy winds, to rescue us from the heat of our sinful passions. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, to free us from the chains of our vices. He comes out of nowhere, so that we may gaze upon him in the cradle. The uncreated Author of life mixes his breath with that of men and beasts. The inglorious lot of shepherds is forever elevated by the revelation that God himself has become a Lamb.

This performance by the English Concert nicely captures the work’s marvelous majesty.

Scarlatti reminds us that, by the birth of Christ, “Our soul has been delivered as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are delivered” (Ps. 123:7).

If only each of us would find it in himself to learn this lesson from Christmas, and remember it each day, the fowlers of this world would be out of their dreadful business, for keeps.

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!   

%d bloggers like this: