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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maddy Prior returns to the Tavern

It has been a while but tonight we will have Maddy and the lads of Steeleye Span bringing foot-tapping oldies and goodies, ancient and modern English music to the Tavern. I have been humming along - and yes, even croaking out some words - to old favourites, while fixing up barrels to pumps. They are getting old, like me, but are still going strong after near 50 years.  Yesterday's hippy mob are now old and Dodgy Bastards, and very welcome.


Steeleye Span began in late 1969, when London-born bass player Ashley Hutchings departed Fairport Convention, the band he had co-founded in 1967. Fairport had been involved in a road accident in 1969 in which the drummer, Martin Lamble, was killed and other band members injured. They convalesced in a rented house near Winchester in Hampshire.


Hutchings' new band was formed after he met established duo Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on the London folk club scene, and the initial line-up was completed by husband and wife team Terry Woods (formerly of Sweeney's Men, later of The Pogues) and Gay Woods. 

With two female singers, the original line-up was unusual for the time, and indeed, never performed live, as the Woodses departed the band shortly after the release of the group's debut album.

The name Steeleye Span comes from a character in the traditional song "Horkstow Grange"  The song gives an account of a fight between John "Steeleye" Span and John Bowlin, neither of whom are proven to have been real people. Carthy gave Hart the idea to name the band after the song character. 



When the band discussed names, they decided to choose among the three suggestions "Middlemarch Wait", "Iyubidin's Wait", and "Steeleye Span". 





Although there were only five members in the band, six ballots appeared and "Steeleye Span" won. 

Only in 1978 did Hart confess that he had voted twice.



Maddy has been the centre and heart ever since.

 Enough. I have ale to sort out and pumps to clean out. Tables to wipe down and lay for dinner. The restaurant walls will open to the music room and the patio  and I shall hope for good weather. Meanwhile I shall listen to rehearsals. First though, for you, Maddy and the chaps can tell us of their latest offerings.

 On with the music.




They are rehearsing the tale of a lass sent nearby many years ago. Tasmania was once called.... Van Diemen's Land. And yes, women were 'transported' here long before Captain Kirk showed us all his transporter.



They seem to have picked up a backing group which was banned in the UK by Political Correctness fanatics. Dark Morris men. They can show their faces here.


Maddy is not a bit reluctant to include old English hymns in her performances. 

Gaudete.






A very early song (both in their career and in provenance) next. And a favourite of mine.

Thomas the Rhymer.

I knew Thomas. Several times he appeared in my Court, back when I was a King. He sang and wooed the ladies with his poetic ballads.  He made a good effort to cheer me up in my pain and I rewarded him well. Then he seemed to disappear one day. No-one saw him go. No-one knew where he'd gone. Now we do. Stolen away by a fey Elfen Queen.

For the Intermission while Maddy and the boys whet their whistles with my fine ales I have arranged for the orchestral 'Horkstow Grange' which as part of a longer piece by Percy Grainger. Performed here, in the Tavern, by the North Texas Wind Symphony. (just a bit. It is a rehearsal)

(The Miser and his Man)


""In Horkstow Grange there lives an old miser, you all do know him as I've heard tell, It was him and his man that was called John Bowlin', they fell out one market day.""






And back again for some gaity ! From an earlier time when gaity meant, well.... gaity.

And gaity was in the air when a maid married. Moistiness too ! 



But enough.

If you want more you will have to buy a ticket for tonight's performance.


Tickets are free.

Drinks too.

Pax

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

The Powers and Principalities are in overdrive in this age, especially the ejected ones. One hopes that those who stayed in Heaven are doing their bit to lend a hand to us down here. Meanwhile we mortals seem to want to emulate them, take power for ourselves (not an unreasonable wish, not-quite-all things considered) and confer all sorts of power to half-wits - on our behalf, of course. 

And the downsides? 

Forget Murphy and Sodd, just look around the world of politics. 
The accusations of one President spying on another who would be President have inadvertently thrown some light up into the murk at the top of the greasy pole. Not that many are pleased. Particularly the smoke and mirrors salespersons.

The Judge here, a long time go-to man for legal comment by the news media, has lost his moonlighting job for blowing the lid off this can of worms.


Phew! A chap can get caught up in phrases and cliches, mixing metaphors and end up shooting hisself in the foot. Political training, perhaps?

We elect people to 'represent' us but do not pay sufficient attention to what they do.

They assume powers for themselves but are rarely called out.


No, Ray, you answered correctly. But it was very murky up there. 

Have a drink.

Pax

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Democracy on the Skids.

One cannot be so blind as to miss the fact that Democracy has its faults. Not only is it cumbersome but it is also prone to corruption, and not only from those that gain power. It is corrupt to its roots in the voters.  A Chinese lady came by asking whether we in the Tavern thought Democracy actually worked and whether or not I and my customers voted. She had no experience of living in such a system.

She was almost endearingly niaive asking an old cynic like me.



We who do not live under a Communist Party regime will no doubt have an opinion about Democracy from a lot of experience.  Supposedly we vote in people who will 'Represent' us.  Usually that is the last thing on their list of priorities.

The recent American election gained massive coverage, worldwide, exposing everyone to the way it is rorted, corrupted, manipulated and distorted. And that in the most Democratic of countries and largely by a Party and people who even call themselves Democrats.  

Talk about Americans not understanding Irony !

But what about other nations who claim Democracy as a central feature. They all share similarities in their processes. 


We are fortunate that Caesars no longer exist in the west. 
We might, if Christian, feel obliged to 'render unto' one. 

But in the absence we vote for a chap from the village. Or chapess. We are not morally obliged to render a pig's ear to them. And boy do they know about pig's ears. 

First a very small group of people choose someone from the next street, in secret, to 'stand' for election. You and I have no say in the choice.  Most of us have no clue even who comprise this small group. Several such small groups choose several 'candidates' with often opposing views on a small range of matters. Oddly they all say similar things which are barely believable from the outset. 

Then the hoohaaa explodes into the media where excoriations of one another pour forth from the 'candidates' mouths and from others who are already elected in the past who dip their poisoned oars in the water to destroy any vestige of credibility in those candidates.


Eventually after a huge amount of publicity monies are poured down the drain, the voters get a chance to show their hands. These voters usually do not know the candidates nor anything about them. The available information about them, in this Information Age, is scant and biased. At least the Americans conduct televised debates. Most nations do not go that far. 

But those debates are rife with corruption, with one candidate or another being favoured with a look at the questions beforehand. The voters have no idea who wrote the questions, which generally do not address matters that the voters might want to hear about.

So, devoid of any hope of guessing what a candidate might do when having to decide on some important matter, the voter votes as he or she has always done - along Tribal lines - like their parents and close friends do. 

Hardly anyone bothers to phone the candidate and ask questions. Nor email. Hardly anyone wants to even meet the candidate, share a cup of coffee, natter about life the Universe and anything, let alone Everything. 

The vast majority (clearly evidenced) vote for what goodies are 'promised' according to some TV autocue reader, knowing well that any promises made are going to be broken or ignored. And so they usually are.

At the Polling Booths we most often encounter some helpful souls who offer guidance. They hand out 'How to Vote' pamphlets. They will as easily guide you to Hell , penury, obligation to take from the poor and hand it to the rich, steal your wallet, this week and next, and in many other was seek to 'persuade'. 

These people are clearly under the entirely correct impression that you 'know not what you do'. 

We had a masked man (wearing a dog collar) come by the Tavern with his 'how to vote' pamphlet. I took a copy.  

Yes, yes, he does say it is for Catholics. But pretend, why don't you. Just while you drink this pint of good grace I am pulling for you.
Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics
HOW THIS VOTER’S GUIDE HELPS YOU
This voter’s guide helps you cast your vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching. It helps you avoid choosing candidates who endorse policies that cannot be reconciled with moral norms that used to be held by all Christians.
As an aside, I might add, that non-Catholic voters might pay attention and see some merit here. 

On most issues that come before voters or legislators, the task is selecting the most effective strategy among several morally good options. A Catholic can take one side or the other and not act contrary to the faith. 
Most matters do not have a "Catholic position."
But some issues concern "non-negotiable" moral principles that do not admit of exception or compromise. One’s position either accords with those principles or does not. No one endorsing the wrong side of these issues can be said to act in accord with the Church’s moral norms.
This voter’s guide identifies five issues involving "non-negotiable" moral values in current politics and helps you narrow down the list of acceptable candidates, whether they are running for national, state, or local offices.
You should avoid to the greatest extent possible voting for candidates who endorse or promote intrinsically evil policies. 
As far as possible, you should vote for those who promote policies in line with the moral law.
In many elections there are situations where all of the available candidates take morally unacceptable positions on one or more of the "non-negotiable" issues.
In such situations, a citizen will be called upon to make tough choices. In those cases, citizens must vote in the way that will most limit the harm that would be done by the available candidates.
In this guide we will look first at the principles that should be applied in clear-cut races where there is an unambiguously good moral choice. These same principles help lay the groundwork for what to do in situations that are more difficult.
Knowing the principles that are applied in ideal situations is useful when facing problematic ones, so as you review the principles you should keep in mind that they often must be applied in situations where the choice is more difficult. At the end of the guide we will offer practical advice about how to decide to cast your vote in those cases.
YOUR ROLE AS A CATHOLIC VOTER
Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good through the exercise of their voting privileges 
(cf. CCC 2240). 
It is not just civil authorities who have responsibility for a country. "Service of the common good require[s] citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community" (CCC 2239). This means citizens should participate in the political process at the ballot box.
But voting cannot be arbitrary. 
"A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals" (CPL 4). A citizen’s vote most often means voting for a candidate who will be the one directly voting on laws or programs. But being one step removed from law-making doesn’t let citizens off the hook, since morality requires that we avoid doing evil to the greatest extent possible, even indirectly.
Some things are always wrong, and no one may deliberately vote in favor of them. 
Legislators, who have a direct vote, may not support these evils in legislation or programs. Citizens support these evils indirectly if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them. Thus, to the greatest extent possible, Catholics must avoid voting for any candidate who intends to support programs or laws that are intrinsically evil. When all of the candidates endorse morally harmful policies, citizens must vote in a way that will limit the harm likely to be done.
FIVE NON-NEGOTIABLES
These five current issues concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law. Intrinsically evil actions are those that fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be deliberately performed under any circumstances
It is a serious sin to deliberately endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any action contrary to the non-negotiable principles involved in these issues.
1. Abortion
The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is "never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it" (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.
The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins.
2. Euthanasia
Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia is also a form of homicide. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.
In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person (cf. EV 73).
3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Human embryos are human beings. "Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo" (CRF 4b).
Recent scientific advances show that often medical treatments that researchers hope to develop from experimentation on embryonic stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there is no valid medical argument in favor of using embryonic stem cells. And even if there were benefits to be had from such experiments, they would not justify destroying innocent embryonic humans.
4. Human Cloning
"Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union" (RHL I:6).
Human cloning also involves abortion because the "rejected" or "unsuccessful" embryonic clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.
5. Homosexual "Marriage"
True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other union as "marriage" undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.
Not just 'Honk' but 'VOTE'

"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral" (UHP 10).
WHICH POLITICAL OFFICES SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT?
Laws are passed by the legislature, enforced by the executive branch, and interpreted by the judiciary. This means you should scrutinize any candidate for the legislature, anyone running for an executive office, and anyone nominated for the bench. This is true not only at the national level but also at the state and local levels.
In America Judges are elected. In most other nations they are appointed.  
True, the lesser the office, the less likely the office holder will take up certain issues. Your city council, for example, perhaps will never take up the issue of human cloning but may take up issues connected with abortion clinics. It is important that you evaluate candidates in light of each non-negotiable moral issue that will come before them in the offices they are seeking.
Few people achieve high office without first holding a lower office. Some people become congressional representatives, senators, or presidents without having been elected to a lesser office. But most representatives, senators, and presidents started their political careers at the local level. The same is true for state lawmakers. Most of them began on city councils and school boards and worked their way up the political ladder.
Tomorrow’s candidates for higher offices will come mainly from today’s candidates for lower offices. It is therefore prudent to apply comparable standards to local candidates. One should seek to elect to lower offices candidates who support Christian morality so that they will have a greater ability to be elected to higher offices where their moral stances may come directly into play.
HOW TO DETERMINE A CANDIDATE’S POSITION
1. The higher the office, the easier this will be. Congressional representatives and senators, for example, repeatedly have seen these issues come before them and so have taken positions on them. Often the same can be said at the state level. In either case, learning a candidate’s position can be as easy as reading newspaper or magazine articles, looking up his views on the Internet, or studying one of the many printed candidate surveys that are distributed at election time.

2. It is often more difficult to learn the views of candidates for local offices because few of them have an opportunity to consider legislation on such things as abortion, cloning, and the sanctity of marriage. But these candidates, being local, often can be contacted directly or have local campaign offices that will explain their positions.
3. If you cannot determine a candidate’s views by other means, do not hesitate to write directly to the candidate, asking for his position on the issues covered above.
HOW NOT TO VOTE
1. Do not vote based just on your political party affiliation, your earlier voting habits, or your family’s voting tradition. Years ago, these may have been trustworthy ways to determine whom to vote for, but today they are often not reliable. You need to look at the stands each candidate takes. This means that you may end up casting votes for candidates from more than one party.
2. Do not cast your vote based on candidates’ appearance, personality, or "media savvy." Some attractive, engaging, and "sound-bite-capable" candidates endorse intrinsic evils, while other candidates, who may be plain-looking, uninspiring, and ill at ease in front of cameras, endorse legislation in accord with basic Christian principles.
3. Do not vote for candidates simply because they declare themselves to be Catholic 
Unfortunately, many self-described Catholic candidates reject basic Catholic moral teaching.
4. Do not choose among candidates based on "What’s in it for me?" Make your decision based on which candidates seem most likely to promote the common good, even if you will not benefit directly or immediately from the legislation they propose.
5. Do not vote for candidates who are right on lesser issues but will vote wrongly on key moral issues. One candidate may have a record of voting in line with Catholic values except for, say, euthanasia. Such a voting record is a clear signal that the candidate should not be chosen by a Catholic voter unless the other candidates have voting records even less in accord with these moral norms.
HOW TO VOTE
1. For each office, first determine how each candidate stands on each of the issues that will come before him and involve non-negotiable principles.
2. Rank the candidates according to how well their positions align with these non-negotiable moral principles.
3. Give preference to candidates who do not propose positions that contradict these principles.
4. Where every candidate endorses positions contrary to non-negotiable principles, choose the candidate likely to do the least harm. If several are equal, evaluate them based on their views on other, lesser issues.
Hmmmmm. Of course, when push comes to shove and there are no decent candidates, do not encourage any of them.  
5. Remember that your vote today may affect the offices a candidate later achieves.
WHEN THERE IS NO "ACCEPTABLE" CANDIDATE
In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more issues involving non-negotiable moral principles. In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.
Again, do not compromise. That is as bad as a con-promise. 
A vote cast in such a situation is not morally the same as a positive endorsement for candidates, laws, or programs that promote intrinsic evils: It is only tolerating a lesser evil to avoid an even greater evil. As Pope John Paul II indicated regarding a situation where it is not possible to overturn or completely defeat a law allowing abortion, "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality"(EV 73; also CPL 4).
This is a whole subject in itself. Politicians are all too eager to 'sell-out' in an effort to gain on something by approving something else. Be careful what that something else is, and beware the sell-outers. 
Catholics must strive to put in place candidates, laws, and political programs that are in full accord with non-negotiable moral values. Where a perfect candidate, law, or program is not on the table, we are to choose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good and entails the least evil. 
Not voting may sometimes be the only moral course of action,... 
...but we must consider whether not voting actually promotes good and limits evil in a specific instance. 
The role of citizens and elected officials is to promote intrinsic moral values as much as possible today while continuing to work toward better candidates, laws, and programs in the future.
THE ROLE OF YOUR CONSCIENCE
Conscience is like an alarm. It warns you when you are about to do something that you know is wrong. 
It does not itself determine what is right or wrong. 
For your conscience to work properly, it must be properly informed—that is, you must inform yourself about what is right and what is wrong. Only then will your conscience be a trusted guide.
Unfortunately, today many Catholics have not formed their consciences adequately regarding key moral issues. The result is that their consciences do not "sound off" at appropriate times, including on Election Day.
A well-formed conscience will never contradict Catholic moral teaching. For that reason, if you are unsure where your conscience is leading you when at the ballot box, place your trust in the unwavering moral teachings of the Church. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an excellent source of authentic moral teaching.)
WHEN YOU ARE DONE WITH THIS VOTER’S GUIDE
Please do not keep this voter’s guide to yourself. Read it, learn from it, and prepare your selection of candidates based on it. Then give this voter’s guide to a friend, and ask your friend to read it and pass it on to others. The more people who vote in accord with basic moral principles, the better off our country will be.
ABBREVIATIONS
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
CPL Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Notes on Some Questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life
CRF Pontifical Council for the Family, Charter of the Rights of the Family
EV John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)
RHL Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation
UHP Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons
Our political systems need constant scrutiny. That is down to you.

But for the nice Chinese lady, I shall let Winston say his bit while I pull pints all round.

Drink up. Vote early, and just the once. 

If you have to. 

Which you don't.

Pax

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wearing It

It was put to me recently that Muslims are the most Faithful people around. Faith is important.  You'd better believe it.  I found it hard to argue against. They are also the most noticeable. They wear their belief even more than the 'lover' who wears his heart on his sleeve. 

Who but a Muslim will wear a shapeless sheet over another shapeless sheet while walking down a British high street? It says 'I am a Muslim'. The Muslim woman is just as 'advertising' in her Burka. 

And who but a Muslim will leave no stone unthrown to prove his faith, his belief? Who but a Muslim will sacrifice everything, including his bomb-carrying children to kill a shopful of infidels; or cut his daughter's throat if she as much as contemplates befriending someone  of whom he does not approve, lest it dishonours his beliefs? Who but a muslim will happily stone to a pile of pulp some poor woman who had been raped by .... well... another muslim man?

That takes Faith. Believe me.

Your average Christian on the other hand passes almost invisible amongst the heathens, agnostics, the atheists and the other assorted private worshippers of strange gods. Private they are too, mostly. The Sikh may wear distinctive headgear but who can tell a Taoist from a Shinto-san? Who can tell who is a christian at all? 

I have a Crucifix on the wall behind the bar between the whisky bottles and the liqueurs. Anyone glum sinner down in his cups who looks up sees my Supplier's own Son looking back at him, as if He is saying "Tell me about it, bro".

It proclaims my Faith: my Belief. It is important. Believe me.

I am 'obviously' a christian. A Catholic.

I doubt very much that our PM would invite me and a lot of my Catholic and other christian friends to a dinner at Kirribilli. Or front a TV program. 

I was down at the beach the other week when a young woman engaged me in a brief conversation. I was strolling, Rosary in hand, quietly saying the prayers, as is my usual wont, enjoying the sunshine.  She was sitting on a low wall next to a particularly strangely shaped  bit of 'public art', reading. 

She looked up and called out, "You remind me of my dad".

"Oh?" said I. "Short, fat and bearded?"

"hahaha. No. He used to walk and say the Rosary too" 

"Remembering honours your Father", said I.

It was a brief exchange as I walk on by and she resumed her reading. We were both quitely pleased. Well I assume she was too.

Some weeks before up on the mountain near the Tavern, I was sitting  with a friend smoking my pipe and again holding my beads. There were many 'visitors' at the Lookout, admiring the view. Somehow I managed to drop my pipe cleaning tool as we walked off. A gentleman came after me: "Father", he said," you dropped this".

I have never been called 'father' other than by my children before. 

"Thank you", I replied, taking it back, "but I am not a priest", I said gently.

"Ahhh sorry, I saw you with the rosary beads and you are with a Nun. I just assumed you were a Catholic Priest, in mufti", he explained.  It was an easy error and he was pleased to stop and talk for a few minutes about churchy stuff. He was an Anglican, he told. Pleasant chap. 

I am not in the slightest embarrassed about being 'seen'. I don't go out of my way of course. A man of some small habit, with a set routine - including openly saying my Rosary outside the abortuary on a Tuesday - not like my Nun friend who wears the traditional Habit.

She is elderly and her atire is 'old fashioned'. She does not mind being 'seen' and can be at 5am on the local beach, strolling the sands and feeding the early birds.

So it was pleaing to hear of another fine chap who does go out of his way. Brian Williams stopped by to tell us about Father Lawrence Carney.
The Priest in Cassock is a Living Sermon
For the past three years the good people of St. Joseph, Missouri have been treated to an unusual sight in this day and age: a priest in cassock walking their city streets. As recently reported by Our Sunday Visitor:
Walk the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri, and you may have a memorable encounter with a tall young priest wearing a black cassock and Saturno clergy hat, a rosary in one hand and large crucifix in the other.
The priest is Father Lawrence Carney, ordained for the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, who for the past three years has devoted much of his time to street evangelism: 
strolling down inner city streets, praying the Rosary and sharing the Gospel with those who approach him.
Father Carney says that the idea of donning the cassock and making himself a visible witness to the Gospel came to him while walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain several years back. Along the “Way”  Fr. Carney opted to wear his cassock. He estimates that he spoke with over 1,000 fellow travelers during his 32 day pilgrimage.
The attraction of people to a priest in a cassock, both for Catholics as well as non-Catholics, is explained by Fr. Carney this way:
“There’s something mysterious about the cassock; 
it acts like a magnet, drawing people to you… 
It is a sacramental that has a special blessing that the suit does not have.”
One friend of Fr. Carney’s who has seen his evangelizing first hand described it as follows:
“It was beautiful and amazing. Young and old, rich and poor, and men and women would come up to him and immediately start talking to him about their problems. Teenage girls and young women were crying to him about things going on in their lives. It was like they thought he was God walking the earth.”
For those in the Church already blessed with a personal, experiential, knowledge of the truth and beauty of tradition, the efficacy of Fr. Carney’s efforts is not surprising. 
Catholicism attracts. A priest in a cassock attracts.
It should also come as no surprise that Fr. Carney’s continued formation and sanctification has come through an embracing of tradition.
Currently “on loan” to the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Fr. Carney serves as chaplain to the traditional order of nuns, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. (above photo). If that name sounds familiar, it should. In recent years the sisters have released their beautiful recordings Advent at Ephesus and Lent at Ephesus; both have been bestsellers.
He visits the community daily to celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form (yes, the Latin Mass!), hears their confessions, and offers spiritual guidance.
Writing over thirty years ago from an aggressively secular, post-Christian, France the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre noted the visible witness given to the Catholic faithful by the priest in cassock:
“The great boast of the new Church is dialogue. But how can this begin if we hide from the eyes of our prospective dialogue partners? 
In Communist countries the first act of the dictators is to forbid the cassock; this is part of a program to stamp out religion. 
And we must believe the reverse to be true too. 
The priest who declares his identity by his exterior appearance is a living sermon. 
The absence of recognizable priests in a large city is a serious step backward in the preaching of the Gospel…”
While many bishops and brother priests today view the cassock, the biretta, or the Saturno as being rigid, nostalgic, or prideful, nothing could be further from the truth. 
The faithful are drawn to this visual expression of the sacramental priesthood. 
When we see priests in cassocks, we see our faith. 
We see a Catholicism, bold and unafraid to share the Gospel truth.
Let us support, through our prayer and words of encouragement, those priests who wear the cassock. 
May God send us more of these faithful priests!
Our Faith may be less overt than the Muslim's. It is True and Holy though, rather than satanic. It is quiet and loving where the Muslim is cruel and hateful.

But not for us the dinner at huge public expense and hoohaa: no bejewelled nun's habits around the Government tables. 

No siree. The media just swoon over Muslims. Waleed gets the adulation - and the taxpayer dollar via the ABC. Catholics are 'known' for priests sexually abusing small boys. Muslims only rape and kill them.

As Christians we must pray for the souls of our muslim brothers, especially when they are so in Thrall to the diabolic. They of course will continue to threaten 'jihad' and savagely kill any 'infidel' they can lay their knives on and get away with it.

But be not afraid. 

We must pray for courage to declare ourselves in the public square, too, taking at least one small lesson from them.

Drink up and drink deep.

Pax.





Friday, March 17, 2017

The Founding of Oz

Blame Dorothy. Australia is a modern country, amongst very few started from scratch. It was taken over violently from nature-loving natives by a nasty British woman named Dorothy who came from Kansas on a rainbow. She was an LGBT girl. Probably Muslim. Her first act was to kill a man and then she met up with three other decrepit thugs and went on a killing rampage, renaming everything after obscure places near British West Hartlepools and destroying the local flora and fauna.  Nothing to cheer about.


Well, that is very near what you would hear from kiddies taught in our classrooms. They believe what 'Miss' says. Fantasy is the keynote of what passes for history in Australian schools. A mixture of outrage, mendacity, shaming, sheer invention and a huge dose of  culturally destructive lefty sentiment. Real people, real events get lost in the telling.
The only surviving photo of the actual landing in 1788  :)
Every year we try to acknowledge the real great event, and every year we get mobs of lunatics protesting. And how could it be otherwise with the state of our state education. 

America, another 'newish' nation tells quite fabulous tales of its founding, but nowhere near as confabulated as Australia does. It tries though, but as usual Oz does it better. I have never been told by an American about the 50,000+ British convicts who formed a substantial part of their early days' population. Do they even know?

Cathy Dunn tried womansplaining the official bare bones for us in the Tavern, and the splendid Angela Shanahan followed through with colour. Cathy : ....
THE FOUNDERS OF A NATION
AUSTRALIA’S FIRST FLEET – 1788
Between 1788 and 1850 the English sent over 162,000 convicts to Australia in 806 ships. The first eleven of these ships are today known as the First Fleet and contained the convicts and marines that are now acknowledged as the Founders of Australia. This is their story.
The 'First Eleven' is now a term used only in Cricket ! 
Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of New Holland in 1770 and named it New South Wales. He sailed the whole of the coast and reported to the British government that he thought it would make a good place for a settlement. Britain did not recognise the country as being inhabited as the natives did not cultivate the land, and were, therefore, “uncivilized”.
Oh yes it did. It was only in the 20C that 'official' academics invented the term 'Terra Nullis' in their mendacious attempts to blacken the motives.
The agrarian revolution in Britain, and the population explosion in the cities, resulted in an increase in crime.
Hmmmmm. Nothing to do with the decline of morals? Nothing to do with the splintering of Christianity into many competing sects, all 'protesting' against Catholics?  Nothing to do with rabble rousing proto-communists? 
As the American Revolution meant that no more convicts could be sent there, the only way to overcome the overcrowding in the jails was to establish a penal colony in the land discovered by Captain James Cook. The convicts would be transported, never to return to Britain.
With this in mind, the British Government hired 9 ships and set about provisioning them, together with 2 Naval vessels, with enough supplies to keep the 759 convicts, their Marine guards, some with families, and a few civil officers, until they became self-sufficient.
The convicts and marines embarked on the ships, which arrived at Portsmouth on 16th March 1787. They then waited on board until the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip signalled the time for their departure. By the time they departed, some convicts had been aboard these ships for seven months. Very few convicts (23) died during the voyage compared to the later convict fleets.

The First Fleet left England on 13th May 1787 for the ‘lands beyond the seas’ – Australia, stopping at Tenerife, Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town, where food supplies were replenished. The fleet arrived at Botany Bay between 18th and 20th January 1788.
None of this easy hop across the pond to the American Colonies. It was a long haul. For the long haul.

Then Angela went to town on the education failures, the protesters and the 'officials', and showed the human face of one of the Greatest Human Achievements of the millenium.
Teaching history
Australia Day always brings out the whingers, the whiners, the crazy Invasion Day anti-nationalists and the almost equally crazy flag-draped ‘Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!’ nationalists. This year there has been a lot of fuss about a corny, witless lamb ad which is so passé that it looks as if it were cobbled together from advertising archives from 1975 – when eating a kebab and watching Greek dancing was the extent of most Australians’ appreciation of foreign ‘culture’.

Yet the genuine examination of the intersection of the indigenous and European past from the time of the First Fleet cannot be overlooked. 
It is vital to how we view the present and understand the legacy of dispossession for Australian Aboriginal people. History is important, and it is understandable that some call it Invasion Day. 
But that is not the full story, which is more than fodder for blithe historical mea culpas, which impose the complex modern ideology of identity and dispossession on the past. 
However, the discipline of history is something more simple and at the same time much more complicated than that. It is a pity we have forgotten that history is a story, and in the case of our founding story, it is an exciting one!
So why aren’t we telling children and young people today about what actually happened? 
Many kids don’t even know, despite all the highly political discussion in the media about multiculturalism and Australia Day being about invasion etc., that this was a very exciting maritime adventure. 

That it took over eight months for the fleet to make the journey, that it was done with minimal loss of life, that babies were born, that there were children on those ships, and so many animals it looked like a Noah’s Ark. 
Nor are they taught that Australia Day is not the day the First Fleet arrived; it is the day that Arthur Philip actually took possession, after moving the fleet to Port Jackson.
And what does possession mean? Possession introduced the legal obligations of British law that have been the foundation of our concept of rights, indeed the very foundation on which the concept of indigenous rights is built.
This January, I read two recent books which tell some of these founding stories as they should be told – as stories, not as long dissertations on identity and culture. 
The First Fleet is by Rob Mundle, a practised teller of maritime tales who has written compellingly and knowledgeably about Cook and Bligh.
Arthur Phillip.
How many kids actually
 know his name ?
His book tells the story of the First Fleet as a great maritime adventure which has all the components of well told history: drama, tragedy, and a fair dollop of humour, both in his own words and from the original sources from Tench, Clark and Nagle. 
Although he begins the story as a sailing adventure, as it unfolds it becomes a personal adventure of all sorts of disparate and eccentric personalities, not just a soulless story of British imperial ambition, which was part of the problem with the way the history was taught in the past, especially for young people. 
Mundle makes it an exciting story of ‘what will happen next?’. 
The officers and convicts have lives and personalities whilst undergoing the most awful privations unimaginable to modern kids, including the threat of imminent drowning during terrifying storms, with no hope of rescue (one teacher told me that kids in her primary school class asked why they didn’t bring their mobiles?!)
The unfolding story is of how after landing, such a motley crew managed to struggle on, despite being on the brink of starvation, seemingly abandoned by the mother country, having to deal with a completely alien climate and topography, with near rebellion, and unbelievably, numerous escape attempts – some exciting and successful like the famous Bryants who managed to sail in an open boat to Timor, others predictably tragic. 
And a few hilariously, unsuccessful, like the ill-informed ‘Irish’ convicts who decided to walk to China. 
Their constant attempts to understand the indigenous people, who they were well aware could help them, and their dismay at the outbreak of a disease among them, is all part of that story.

Their first hand descriptions of their behaviour and customs are still the best eye witness accounts of this first contact.
Even though today we think capturing a ‘native’ and putting a manacle around his foot, which they did, so he couldn’t escape, is barbarous, eighteenth century people were actually interested in these people as a group and as a people. 
They also realised the strange absolute Year One nature of these encounters. 
Knowing these stories allows us to examine and understand people and their motivations, especially in the interaction of indigenes and Europeans.
Mark McKenna’s prize winning From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories is a deeper yet just as compelling series of stories about survival and first encounters. The opening story of British sailors and 12 Lascars who survived a ship wreck in Bass Straight, and then set out to walk from the 90 Mile Beach in Victoria to Sydney in 1797, is one of the great untold adventures.
That was akin to walking from Cornwall to the north of Scotland. Through thick forest ! 
It is also a fascinating account of various indigenous groups they met; from what they looked like, with bones in their ears and noses, covered in fish oil to keep off insects, to their various attitudes to the Europeans. Some were hostile to the sailors, others guided them over rivers and often allowed them to stay with them in or near their camps. 
It is also a story of how the European sailors learnt to interpret the behaviour of the indigenous people. How a spear deliberately thrown among them was not always a sign of aggression, but of warning, or how being invited to sit among the women and children was a sign of trust, whereas being tolerated on the outskirts was not. Eventually some of these intrepid characters completed the journey.
At a time when so many historical events are interpreted and reinterpreted in the light of political preoccupations of the present, it is refreshing to read a great story. 
Even better, in telling the story, with as little embellishment as possible, McKenna presents history which actually does resonate subtly with the present, without the false overlay of ideology: 
‘The past matters not only for itself. It matters because we give it life, because we seek to understand both its difference from the present and the traces of commonality that bind us to the lives of those who have gone before us.’
McKenna is right, and it’s almost a criminal deficit of our education system that history has been so badly neglected.
It is always a pleasure - I speak only for myself here - to have Angela in the Tavern. Sound woman with a sound eye, speaking sound sense.

It is far less of a pleasure and far more like appalled and saddened outrage that our children in school and young adults in Universities are taught nonsense in order, deliberately, to push them to self-denigration. A nation that forgets - or worse - so distorts its history, is ripe for destruction. 

So drink deep.

Pax