Wednesday, November 29, 2017

1000 ft Boat

I looked from my cave this morning to see a huge ship in the harbour. Yep we are well into the 'Cruise Ship' season here and the biggest and best have our small but perfect spot on their itineries. And what a great day for entertaining visitors - gin-clear sky, 30 deg, light breeze - all 2800 of them although the 1250 crew generally are too busy to see the sights. The Celebrity Solstice is in town.  It is as big as the biggest 'super' aircraft carriers and weighs in at a lot more.

It is 1033 ft long (314 mtrs), 121 ft wide  (near 37 mtrs) and there are 27 ft more of it below the water line. But Hobart can handle that with ease.

Celebrity Solstice is the lead ship of the Solstice-class of cruise ships operated by Celebrity Cruises. Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, she was floated out on August 10, 2008, and christened by ocean scientist Professor Sharon L. Smith at a ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, on November 14, 2008. 

The first post-Panamax vessel in the Celebrity fleet, she features innovative interior design and onboard amenities, including an ocean-going live grass lawn, a glassblowing studio, and a 12 deck-high atrium.

The Meyer Werft GmbH & Co. KG is one of the major German shipyards, headquartered in Papenburg at the river Ems. It is a very long way from the sea ! 

Founded in 1795 and starting with small wooden vessels, today Meyer Werft is one of world's leading builders of luxury passenger ships. Altogether about 700 ships of different types have been built at the yard. Its "Dockhalle 2" is the largest shipbuilding hall and the building with the fifth-largest usable space in the world.

Meyer Werft has been owned and managed by the Meyer family for seven generations. Since 1997, it has been part of the Meyer Neptun Group together with Neptun Werft in Rostock. In 2014 the company added the Turku shipyard in Finland to the group.

The shipyard is an anchor on the European Route of Industrial Heritage. 

Five of the ten largest cruise ships in the world have been built at the shipyard in Papenburg

Meyer Werft gained international recognition through the construction of roll on/roll off ferries, passenger ferries, gasoline tankers, container ships, livestock ferries and most recently luxury cruise ships.

Launching is something of a regional affair. Here a 'sister' ship gets the treatment. The Celebrity Silhouette.

Meyer is one of the largest and most modern shipyards in the world with about 3300 employees, and home to the largest roofed dry docks in the world. 

The first covered dock was inaugurated in 1987 and was 370 meters long, 101,5 meters wide and 60 meters high. In 1990/91 the dock was extended by an additional 100 meters. In 2004, a second covered dock was built, which is announced to be extended to a full length of 504 meters, a width of 125 meters and height of 75 meters in order to compete with Asian shipyards. Meyer Werft will as a result of this be able to build three cruise ships a year. 

Due to its upstream location on the river Ems, the giant ships to be delivered have to make a 36 km voyage to the Dollart bay and which each time attracts thousands of spectators. Up until the completion of the Ems river barrier ("Emssperrwerk") in 2002, the journey was only possible at high tides.

This is akin to building such ships in New Norfolk and floating them down the Derwent River to the sea at Hobart. But they would not fit inder the Bowen and Tasman Bridges, would they ! 

Externally, Celebrity Solstice looks very different from previous Celebrity Cruises ships. Martin Francis of Francis Design was hired to design her exterior profile. In original exterior renderings, the hull was shown as all-white with powder blue funnels and blue glass upper decks. 

In a more recent update, the light blue color had been changed to Celebrity's normal dark blue color and the hull was shown having a resemblance to the current fleet's livery, with the promenade deck painted dark blue. 

Similarly, the large dark blue funnel with a white X that had been the trademark of Celebrity thus far has been replaced by two thin funnels, and it was planned to have the X logo of the company visible in the glass balcony railings on the ship's "hump" (The area of superstructure which extends outward farther than the rest of the balconies). 

Throughout her fitting out, (The hoity toity get quite large cabins while the hoi poloi get cupboard sized ones, albeit comfie too), sea trials, and launch, it was noted that the glass X, unless seen from certain angles, was not visible. Shortly after, the X was refinished to be darker, but still can be hard to see. An afterthought during the sea trials saw the addition of a white X onto the forward funnel, thus bringing Solstice more closely related to her fleetmates.

OK, this is a big boat, but we have had and will have again this year, possibly the biggest cruise boat ever built - it cannot dock in Melbourne. Hahaha. I shall tell of that one when she arrives.

Calls for a bit of horn blowing.

Meanwhile I had better prepare for an influx of new customers. I think they might like the more intimate (Rustic? No.) restaurant we have.


PS. Some snaps later from my cave, as she left.

Backing out.

Turned around.

On its way 

Passing the Old Knight's viewing point. 

See you all again soon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Language, High and Low

The Brexit negotiations are doomed to failure, it seems largely due to the French trying to use their language of diplomacy with the British.  It never has worked and is unlikely to.  How did we get to this in the Tavern? The issue of Language came up.  

I was reading the other day, during a quiet few moments in the small room, that the French are being very precise and formal, dotting 'i's and crossing 't's, pinning things down in page after page of definitions, while the British are going about matters in their usual haphazard way of getting something, anything that can be agreed upon in the broad and thence with a bit of bonhomie on either side, muddling through other parts later with on an ad hoc basis. 

The British don't like pinning things down with such precision. The French and the EU foisted a tightly defined Bratwurst upon us and outlawed the wealth of varied British Sausages, recipes secret from one village to the next, quite ruining a full and heart English breakfast. Bounders !!

Even the language - French purity and British multicultural wordage - differs far too much for any agreement to be reached. The British love nuanced words that have to be guessed at. And strange spellings. Most have been stolen from others who should know what is meant anyway. Just look at English. Place names and surnames can be Danish, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Roman and yes, even friggin' French !  Alors ! Merde! 

Back in 1946, (many will not know this and those that do can scarcely believe it) France actually approached the UK Gummunt with a plea to let France become part of the British Commonwealth and have the British Monarch be the French one too!  They were turned down and the Cabinet Papers sealed for 60 years. They could not negotiate even with both on their knees. And especially after 700 years of emnity between the two. 

The Bulldog and the Poodle cannot share a couch.

I cannot hope for America and Britain ever getting back to Unity what with the langauge differences in just a few hundred years.

But it is not just those two. My mate Laramie was talking about High language and Low, and the use of some languages where others would be far better.  

He was not confining himself to French and English, however: he was talking, as he often does, about his (and my) Catholic Heritage, especially Latin. He was saying...
There is a hierarchy of language. 
This is true for secular politics and cultural commerce, as well as in terms of religion. In this hierarchy, some languages are higher than others.
JRR Tolkien, a philologist at Oxford, was quite aware of this. In his fictional world, which we know through Lord of the Rings, the elves speak the high elvish language called Quenya. Further, Quenya is divided into two parts: the Parmaquesta is a classical “book language” that preserved writing, while the Tarquesta is the high speech used in formal occasions.
Here, listen a moment to a bit of Elvish. This is a rare recording of J.R.R. Tolkien from 1952, in which he recites the Quenya poem "Namárië", famously sung by Galadriel in the chapter "Farewell to Lórien" in "The Lord of the Rings".

 Invented language? Hmmmm.  All languages are and it is still used in some out of the way parts.
The opposite of this high language is the Black Speech of Mordor, a debased language that only orcs and the wearer of the One Ring can understand.
Frank Herbert’s Dune also has its share of languages, each serving a different purpose. Galach is the Imperium’s official language, and it is the most widely spoken tongue in the known universe. Other, less official languages and dialects exist for different purposes, such as secret sects, battle, and formal occasions. In the hit 1990s science fiction drama Babylon 5, the Narn ambassador, G’Kar of the Kha’ri, says the following of the Holy Book of G’Quan: 
“Sacrilege! It must be read in the mother tongue or not at all!” 
(As for the Star Trek universe, while there is an entire Klingon language available – enough for the existence of Klingon Shakespearean theater – there are no high languages. So much for depth in Star Trek.)

Laramie Hirsch , like 'mself' prefers a Latin Holy Mass, which is really what he was getting to.
The idea of high languages is not a new phenomenon. High language and the hierarchy of language were not a spontaneous invention that popped up out of nowhere shortly after Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of Saint Pius X. 
 Latin: The Sacramental Language
The primacy of Latin has been known since medieval times, and its place in the hierarchy of language has been a source of inspiration.
When it comes to Catholicism, Latin is supreme. 
Latin is the language of the Church. 
James Gibbons once said that while our faith is the jewel, Latin is the casket that contains it: “So careful is the Church of preserving the jewel intact that she will not disturb even the casket in which it is set.”
Many disagree with this notion. Some people think one language is just as good as another. 
Others think the most current vernacular language is the best for the current times. These people disagree with the idea of a hierarchy of languages. 
Yet there are some who acknowledge the hierarchy of languages. Latin’s supremacy is real, and its primacy should be defended just as much as the Hebrews would have defended the Ark of the Covenant.
Pleasing God with the Best
It would not be right if I failed to mention the practical reasons for using Latin.
Many would argue that most people do not understand Latin. Even the TLM laity, it could be argued, do not understand Latin. Perhaps Latin was the lingua franca of an earlier age, but not now. And yet Latin is the Church’s living language.
One would argue that Latin is not useful because no one understands it. Critics would argue that we get no utility out of it and that having a Mass in Latin serves only to fill the pride of cultural snobs. 
Catholics, however, are not materialist utilitarians. 
Nor are the prayers in a Mass for us. 
Our prayers are for God. 
God is the audience in a Mass. We attend Mass not to be served, nor to celebrate ourselves, as James Gibbons explains:
""Now, what is the Mass? It is not a sermon, but it is a sacrifice of prayer which the Priest offers up to God for himself and the people. When the Priest says Mass he is speaking not to the people, but to God, to whom all languages are equally intelligible.""
Also, assuming that the Mass is being said reverently – with the priest not putting on a Broadway show – and the priest faces the tabernacle ad orientem and speaks in prayerful undertones, the congregation isn’t even going to be hearing much of what the priest says in the first place. 
We are all to be facing God, are we not?
Arguably as well, just giving up on Latin and giving in to praying in the vernacular is lazy. It takes effort to pray the Mass in Latin, and this is one of the reasons why Latin is arguably more pleasing to God than a vernacular language. 
Another analogy could be this: that there is more dignity in using a golden chalice for the wine-turned-Blood than there is in using a paper cup. Putting effort into our prayers is efficacious and good. Is God not worth the effort? Or are we too weak, apathetic, and desiring of convenience to worship God in an elevated way?
Latin has Practicality, too.
“Latin’s a dead language!” This is true. This is a good thing, too. 
Latin words will not change their meaning 
... because common use of the language halted so long ago. With Latin, there is no danger of subtle mutations muddying the waters of understanding.  Veterum Sapientia reminds us that Latin’s “‘concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity’ makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.” And seeing as how the Church is destined to survive until the end of the world, “its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”
Speaking of being universal, many people who are old enough will recount the days before Vatican II when they could go anywhere in the world and attend a Mass in its universal language. 
In those days, the Mass was the same no matter where you went. It was truly universal – not the diced up Babel-like wreck that it is now. 
With Latin as the Church’s universal language, you could go to Mass anywhere and not feel anxiety. Now? If you leave your home parish – or go to another country, for that matter – you have no idea what you’re walking in to.
More than all of this, it is important to have a language of the Church to unite its people. In countries with different dialects, the use of an official language for formal occasions exemplifies cultural unity 
The use of a singular formal language shows pride in that country’s heritage and cultural identity. 
Except for the English, as noted above. Nowadays barely anyone speaks 'proper' English in England. 
This idea is not lost on other denominations or religions. For example, rabbis will read their prayers in Hebrew. In other rites, old Slavonic or Greek is used. So, too, does the Catholic Church possess her own mother tongue, which is Latin. 
Why throw away one’s heritage?
Sacraments vs. “Sacramental” the Noun vs. “Sacramental” the Adjective
Latin is not a sacrament. It is not technically a sacramental – though perhaps one day it will be recognized as such. However, the Latin language is sacramental, as an adjective, in its nature.
The seven sacraments were instituted by Christ, and there will be no addition to them. As for sacramentals, we are told in the Catechism that they do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the same way as the sacraments. Yet they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. A sacramental is something that extends the liturgical life of the Church. It is a sacred sign instituted by the Church that manifests the respect due to the sacraments, and it secures the sanctification of the faithful.
Latin does all of this.
Furthermore, Pope Leo XXIII attests that Latin, the noble and majestic language of the Church, has been “consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See.” In a Mass, everything is to be set apart and consecrated for the prayers - to God, and Latin is no exception. 
This elevated, sacral language inspires inner stillness and prayerfulness. 
The Latin language veils the liturgical realm from the rest of the world, just as priests of the Old Testament era sacrificed and prayed in a sanctuary while the people prayed at a distance in the court.
The Catechism tells us that sacramentals respond to the needs, culture, and special history of Christians in a particular region or time. It is easily arguable that the unifying, rallying stability of Latin is needed in the Catholic Church at this time in history more than any other.
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that “the sacramentals help to distinguish the members of the Church from heretics, who have done away with the sacramentals or use them arbitrarily with little intelligence.”
Can it be disputed that now, more than ever, we need to distinguish who is still faithful to the Catholic Church? 
Sacramentals help us to make such distinctions – as does the use of Latin. Latin shares a special place in the highest functions of Catholicism.

Finally, Latin – like the sacramentals – is a kind of an object of benediction that has particular effects. Like holy water, Latin not only prepares our hearts for Mass, but is even capable of driving away evil spirits. This has been documented by several exorcists, and most of them will agree on Latin’s effects on the demons. For example, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified was once possessed by the devil in 1870 for forty days. After the exorcist told the demon to speak Latin, he hesitated and left, saying the Latin “was against me.” The simple fact is that Latin is much more effective in driving away demons than the vernacular, once more attesting to Latin’s high place in the hierarchy of language – in both this world and perhaps the next.
In Conclusion: There truly is a hierarchy of languages. At least in the Church, it was not up until the 20th century that leaders decided to ignore this fact. When the Mass is spoken in Latin, we are offering God our best. We do not come to Him with vulgar, low slang. We pray to him in a high speech. Latin is immutable, unchangeable – as God is – and can be relied upon to precisely convey our intentions to God in prayer. It is dependably universal, uniting, and unconfusing. Latin is the language of the Catholics.
The high language of the Church prepares our souls and expresses our prayers elegantly. It is the most efficacious language, and those who have invested their lives in attending the Latin Mass will attest to its tangible effects. Latin’s nature is quite sacramental, and its effects share those of actual sacramentals. It is not out of the question to consider that, after this crisis in the Church is over, Latin itself will become categorized as a sacramental.
Throwing away Latin for the vernacular is the equivalent of burning down an inheritance. 
To lazily settle for the vernacular is to be like a man renouncing his national heritage. It is to exchange gold for paper. It is to show up for a coronation wearing torn jeans, sandals, and a t-shirt. Latin is far from the malleable, everyday vernacular used in other societies. To cast it aside will only have spiritually dysgenic effects on future Christians, who will find themselves inheriting far less than their predecessors. 
I raise my glass to Laramie. It all had to be said.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Genocide, Old and New

It is a meaty word to be thrown around in the Tavern, and not in the way that lefty snowflakes use it. It can quite spoil a thanksgiving lunch.  In this Vale of Tears we call Humanity's long struggle with life and belief there are outbreaks of madness where one group of people do their worst against another group, and make reasons aplenty to support their slaughter of innocents.  Not that those reasons can stand much of a test of Reason. Genocide is a feature of human history that shows no sign of disappearing.

So today we had a quiet discussion going on. Yes, there was an almost unanimous condemnation of genocide, but sad to say there were denials and dissemblings too. 'Twas ever thus. Many a pint was pulled to cool down hot heads.

It started with the news of one particular chap who was sentenced in a Court  the other day for his leading role in mass slaughter. Ratko Mladić. The 'Butcher of Bosnia'. To many he is a Hero, although I do not envisage his name being put on the Hero Board in the bar any day soon. 

Owen Bowcott and Julian Borger had some bare bones for us which the Prof, JJRay had a few words about too.
Ratko Mladić convicted of war crimes and genocide at UN tribunal
The former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić, nicknamed the ‘butcher of Bosnia’, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre, Mladic was found guilty at the United Nations-backed international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague of 10 offences involving extermination, murder and persecution of civilian populations.
As he entered the courtroom, Mladić gave a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras – a gesture that infuriated relatives of the victims. His defiance shifted into detachment as the judgment began: Mladić played with his fingers and nodded occasionally, looking initially relaxed.
The verdict was disrupted for more than half an hour when he asked the judges for a bathroom break. After he returned, defence lawyers requested that proceedings be halted or shortened because of his high blood pressure. The judges denied the request. Mladić then stood up shouting “this is all lies” and “I’ll fuck your mother”. He was forcibly removed from the courtroom. The verdicts were read in his absence.
Mladić, 74, was chief of staff of Bosnian Serb forces from 1992 until 1996, during the ferocious civil wars and ethnic cleansing that followed the break-up of the Yugoslav state.
The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges, two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. He was cleared of one count of genocide, but found guilty of all other charges. The separate counts related to “ethnic cleansing” operations in Bosnia, sniping and shelling attacks on besieged civilians in Sarajevo, the massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and taking UN personnel hostage in an attempt to deter Nato airstrikes.
The trial in The Hague, which took 530 days across more than four years, is arguably the most significant war crimes case in Europe since the Nuremberg trials, in part because of the scale of the atrocities involved. Almost 600 people gave evidence for the prosecution and defence, including survivors of the conflict.
Delivering the verdicts, judge Alphons Orie said Mladić’s crimes “rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination”.
In evaluating Mladić’s culpability for genocide, the court pointed to his command and control of the Bosnian Serb army and interior ministry forces, which carried out almost all of the executions, his presence in the area, and his frequent remarks about how the country’s Muslims could “disappear”.
Once Mladic has exhausted any appeals, he could, theoretically, be sent to the UK to serve out the rest of his life behind bars. Britain is one of the countries that has signed up to the tribunal’s agreement on the enforcement of sentences.
The hearing, broadcast live, was followed closely in Bosnia. The Bosnian prime minister, Denis Zvizdić, said the verdict “confirmed that war criminals cannot escape justice regardless of how long they hide”.
In Lazarevo, the Serbian village where Mladić was arrested in 2011, residents dismissed the guilty verdicts as biased. One, Igor Topolic, said: “All this is a farce for me. 
He [Mladić] is a Serbian national hero.”
Mladić’s home village of Bozinovici retains a street named after the former general, where he is praised as a symbol of defiance and national pride.
Mladić’s defence lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, announced that he would appeal against the convictions.
As Owen and Julian gave little context, the Prof, JJ, stepped up. He did not excuse but did shed some light. There are some around with little knowledge of even modern history.
The massacre of innocents can of course never be condoned and it seems clear that Mladic is a thug but I wonder if it could have been taken into consideration during his sentencing that it was Muslims he was fighting and killing?  His Republika Srpska was essentially the frontline of Serbs against the Muslims of Bosnia.
Both in the former Yugoslavia and worldwide Muslims have shown scant regard for the lives of others and retribution is very much a part of Yugoslav culture generally.  As the report above notes, he is seen as a hero by his countrymen. 
He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches.  Was he just a typical Yugoslav? His men appear to have followed him unhesitatingly.
Had my people been the victim of centuries of Muslim oppression, I imagine that I might feel similarly. Scots still remember Edward Longshanks (King of England from 1272 to 1307) with bitterness.  Serbs have to remember back only to 1812.  And are we allowed to mention the large number of Serbs killed by the Muslim KLA?
Long memories brings us to another genocide which few barely even recognise let alone discuss. Close to the Home of Anglophilia.

As an Englishman I am always troubled by the Irish hatred of my countrymen. The 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland in the later part of the 20C remain quite fresh in my mind.  As a Catholic I can understand their understanding of their history. I will not, however, accept the longevity of the bitterness. The difficulties of attitude and action experienced by friends of mine sent to NI  to quell murder and mayhem remain a scar. But being sent to protect the Catholic minority was never going to make up for the genocide of Catholics centuries before.

The Irish do so often disremember that English Catholics were slaughtered first.

 Several voices from the tables murmered:
Funny how they never teach this in history classes in school. They also never mention how the Protestants during the Reformation sacked and pillaged convents and monostaries, raping and killing Catholics, and burning churches down.
The average person confuses Protestant violence with ALL of Christianity. They don’t know the difference between Catholic and Protestant. That’s why some hate ALL Christians.
But let us hear some of the accounts of the time and get a bit of that history lesson that we did not get at school - or University for that matter.

It is timely, being as America, started in their tradition by the Puritans, is celebrating 'Thanksgiving'. Seumas MacManus takes us back.
The Puritan Massacres of Catholics
On October 2, 1649, the English Parliament appointed a national Thanksgiving Day in celebration of the dreadful slaughter—and by unanimous vote placed upon the Parliamentary records—"That the House does approve of the execution done at Drogheda as an act of both justice to them [the butchered ones] and mercy to others who may be warned by it."
It was in August of ‘40 that Cromwell landed in Dublin, with eight regiments of foot, six of horse, and several troops of dragoon—in all seventeen thousand of the flower of the Puritan army. 
They were extraordinary men, his Ironsides—Bible-reading, psalm-singing soldiers of God—fearfully daring, fiercely fanatical, papist hating, looking on this land as being assigned to them the chosen people, by their God. 
And looking on the inhabitants as idol-worshiping Canaanites who cursed of God, and to be extirpated by the sword. 

They came with minds inflamed by the lurid accounts of the "great Popish Massacre," which for some years now had been, by the Parliamentarians, sedulously circulated among the English people. 
A sample of this literature is the pamphlet published in London in 1647 by a noted Puritan preacher (and writer) Nathaniel Ward: "I beg upon my hands and knee that the expedition against them (the Irish) be undertaken while the hearts and hands of our soldiery are hot; to whome, I will be bold to say, briefly: happy be he that shall reward them as they served us, and cursed be he who shall do the work of the Lord negligently. Cursed be he who holdeth back the sword from blood: yea cursed be he that maketh not the sword stark drunk with Irish blood; who doth not recompense them double for their treachery to the English; but maketh them in heaps on heaps, and their country the dwelling place of dragons—and astonishment for nations. Let not that eye look for pity, nor hand be spared, that pities or spares them; and let him be cursed that curseth them not bitterly."
In an earlier time he could have been on Ghengis Khan's HQ Staff. 
To keep the men’s venom at the boiling point there were chosen to travel with the troops, and also to sail with the fleet, Puritan preachers of the Word distinguished for their almost demoniacal hatred of the papistical Irish. 
Stephen Jerome, Hugh Petes, and their like, noted for the violence of their invective against all thing s Irish and Catholic, preached a war of extermination in the most startling and fearful manner—in the pulpit invoking the curse of God upon those who should hold their hands from slaying "while man, woman or child or Belial remains alive." Peters exhorted his hearers to do as did the conquerors of Jericho, "kill all that were, young men and old, children, and maidens."
The great leader of the grim Ironsides, himself, was destined to leave behind him in Ireland for all time 
a name synonymous with ruthless butchery.
The first rate taste of the qualities of this agent of God the Just, and first Friend of the Irish was given to the people at Drogheda. When he took this city he gave it and its inhabitants to his men for a three days’ and three nights’ unending orgy of slaughter. Only thirty men out of a garrison of three thousand escaped the sword; and it is impossible to compute what other thousands of non-combatants, men, women, and children, were butchered. 
They were slain in the streets, in the lanes, in the yards, in the gardens, in the cellars, on their own hearthstone. They were slain in the altar steps, in the market-place—till the city’s gutters ran with red rivulets of blood. 
In the vaults underneath the church a great number of the finest women of the city sought refuge. But hardly one, if one, even of these, was left to tell the awful tale of unspeakable outrage and murder. 
Arthur Wood, the Historian of Oxford, gives us a narrative compiled from the account of his brother who was an officer in Cromwell’s army, and who had been through the siege and sack of Drogheda—which throws interesting sidelight upon the British methods, and the quaint point of view of the most cultured of them. 
"Each of the assailants would take up a child and use it as a buckler of defense to keep him from being shot or brained. 
After they had killed all in the church they went into the vaults underneath, where all the choicest of women had hid themselves. One of these, a most handsome virgin arrayed in costly a dn gorgeous apparel, knelt down to Wood, with tears and prayers begging for her life; and being stricken with a profound pity, he did take her under his arm for protection, and went with her out of the church with intention to put her over the works, to shift for herself, but a soldier, perceiving his intention, ran the sword through her, whereupon Mr. Wood, seeing her gasping, took away her money, jewels, etc., and flung her down over the works."
In his despatch to the Speaker of the House of Commons, after Drogheda, Cromwell says: "It has pleased God to bless our endeavour at Drogheda. . . . the enemy were about 3,000 strong in the town. I believe we put to the sword the whole number. . . .This hath been a marvelous great mercy. . . . I wish that all honest hearts may give the glory of this to God alone, to whom indeed the praise of this mercy belongs."
My Supplier does not like this projecting of wickedness upon Him, one little bit. Take it from me ! 
And again, "In this very place (St. Peter’s Church), a thousand of them were put to the sword, fleeing thither for safety. . . .And now give me leave to say how this work was wrought. It was set upon some of our hearts that a great thing should be done, not by power or might, but by the spirit of God. And is it not so, clearly?"
Wicked men all too often blame God.   'Twas always thus.
On October 2, 1649, the English Parliament appointed a national Thanksgiving Day in celebration of the dreadful slaughter—and by unanimous vote placed upon the Parliamentary records—"That the House does approve of the execution done at Drogheda as an act of both justice to them [the butchered ones] and mercy to others who may be warned by it."
After Drogheda, Cromwell, in quick succession reduced the other northern strongholds, then turned and swept southward to Wexford—where he again exhibited to the people the face of the King and Friend. Two thousand were butchered here. He thought it a simple act of justice to "the Saint," his soldiers, to indulge them in the little joy of slaughtering the Canaanites. He writes: "I thought it not right or good to restrain off the soldiers from their right of pillage, or from doing execution on the enemy."
Lingard, in his History of England says: "Wexford was abandoned to the mercy of the assailants. The tragedy recently enacted at Drogheda was renewed. No distinction was made between the defenseless inhabitants and the armed soldiers, nor could the shrieks and prayers of three hundred females who had gathered round the great Cross in the market-place, preserve them from the swords of these ruthless barbarians."
Nicholas French, Bishop of Wexford who escaped from the city, and after terrible suffering and privation, escaped from the country, records: "On that fatal day, October 11th 1649, I lost everything I had. Wexford, my native town, then abounding in merchandise, ships, and wealth, was taken at the sword’s point by Cromwell, and sacked by and infuriated soldiery. 
Before God’s altar fell sacred victims, holy priests of the Lord. 
Of those who were seized outside the church some were scourged, some thrown into chains and imprisoned , while others were hanged or put to death by cruel tortures. The blood of the nobles of our citizens was shed so that it inundated the streets. There was hardly a house that was not defiled with carnage and filled with wailing."
At Cashel, where two thousand were slain, Cromwell’s general, Broughill, took the Bishop of Ross, cut off his hands and feet, and then hanged him. A Dominican friar had his fingers and toes cut off before he was slain. And at Clonmel, a Franciscan was first drawn on the rack and then had his hands and feet burned off, after which he was hung. The parish priest of Arklow was tied to a wild horse’s tail and dragged to Gorey, where he was hanged.
The attitude adopted by the exterminators towards those whom they were exterminating is illumined to us when we know that the most wildly grotesque stories told of the latter, were greedily accepted by the former. 
In Nash’s edition of the Hudibras, it was gravely stated that when seven hundred Irish had been put to the sword by Inchiquin, "Among them were found, when stripped divers that had tails nearly a quarter of a yard long. Forty soldiers, eye-witnesses, testified the same on their oaths." 
A Protestant minister with the troops in Munster wrote home to London that when they had stormed a certain castle, many of the slain defenders were found to have tails several inches long!
The mind boggles that men who profess to be Christians can be so wicked. I can safely bet that those protestants that are nice, normal, ordinary people of today do not know the least part of their own denomination's past. Not the reality. Perhaps some notions of the myths that excuse.

Not that I hold Catholics to be much different. Our religion's history has dark moments and bad people too.

There is a great irony, of course. Those murderous Puritans were treated similarly (not with quite the same measure) by subsequent protestants and had to flee to the New World. Hence the 'Thanksgiving' there in the USA. A double irony is that their settlement would not have survived let alone prospered had they not been befriended by an Indian ---  who was a Catholic !!

It is a bit late now to hold a Trial of Cromwell and his men. I have little doubt that they were confronted with their wickedness in the Great Court above infront of the Divine Judge. Pray for mercy.

Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those murderous b*****  that have most need of your Mercy. 

Drinks all around. We need it.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Freedom? To do What?

We all 'know' what freedom is.  Don't we? It is in our Nature: put there. Not an accident or random concept. Intrinsic.  Do you think of it much? Yet History is all about fighting for it, to keep it. History is all about War.  Maybe you do not think about history that much. Every major movement in humanity's history pivots upon war and resisting the attempts of others to take freedoms away from us. 

The original concept had a name. Eleutheros. Def:1.freeborn: in a civil sense, one who is not a slave or of one who ceases to be a slave, freed, manumitted. 2. free, exempt, unrestrained, not bound by an obligation. 3. in an ethical sense: free from the yoke of the Mosaic Law. The last is the Christian theological definition. We had to wait for it.

And what do we do with the freedom we enjoy? We can play videogames. We can attend rock concerts. Twerk? Take selfies? That seems to be what many of our young do. Or we can use it to free other aspects of our Nature. We can use our freedom to discover the way home. We can free others. We can fight the Good fight.
We can ask: What Can I do in the War?

My good friend The Southern Gal has been doing some deep thinking. She took me aside and we sat for a while. She is recovering well. Over in the US it is 'Thanksgiving'. She is thankful and preparing for something.
As we are soon approaching a new year in the next month or so I sit back and reflect upon what the Almighty has placed on my own heart.  I ponder what I need to change, what I need to fight for, what I need to let go of, how I need to better myself personally and what I can do to make a difference in my own community.   
Also, I think about what He has brought me through, how He saved me both physically and spiritually, and what He intends for me to do in the future along with how I am to prepare myself for it.
The older I get, the more I realize God does not promise us an easy life, nor should we as believers ever feel entitled to one.  
Christ Himself did not have such luxury of a pain free life and He was the Son of God.  Yet He did not complain, He did not whine, and He never acted like a perpetual victim to His circumstances (even when He was on the cross).  He was ever pressing forward to the mission ahead; Christ was a man of action.  
One of my own personal struggles is finding my place in this world.  Where I fit in….what purpose am I to fulfill in the number of years God decides to keep me here. What effort am I putting forth to see change not only in this blessed land I live in but also within myself.  Am I just complaining about the injustices I see or am I taking action to correct them?  
Our purpose. Hmmm. The Catechism has it.... 'God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next'.  It behoves us all to think about it but so few do. TSG is ahead already.
Part of our mission as mothers, is that we raise our children and that we raise them well.  We make sacrifices for them.  We want them to grow up in a place that is free.  And if you are anything like me you ask yourself what part do we play in seeing that our children remain free?  
That they live in a world and a country that is just?  
Children are our living legacy.  As to Christ, we are His living legacy and his sacrifice on the cross was not for himself but for those coming after Him. God gives each of us a mission and gifts to complete those missions He lays in our hearts.  
As a believer, part of our mission is to fight evil wherever we are, with whatever means God has given us to do so.  
But it starts first within ourselves.
I believe we are fighting internal and external evils in our nation.  The 2 biggest threats I see to our way of life are the leftists and Islam.  
We fail to acknowledge that Islamic cultural values are not equal to western values.  Many also have an entitlement attitude to freedom.  The harsh truth is, the only person that came to save your soul was Christ….but beyond that this life is 100% your responsibility to make a positive impact in this world.  Nobody owes you anything.

Most in my generation haven’t traveled abroad, they haven’t experienced life outside of the “luxuries” many of them take for granted.  
Many know nothing of true poverty or what it means to live under brutality or oppression.  
Even though America has problems, I still consider it the best country in the world.  I hear many complain about the problems but very few are willing to get their hands dirty to be a part of a broader solution.  And it starts in our own back yards. 
I could see she was in need of a moment for composure. She had a couple of examples of the lack of freedom that others have, but I drew her attention to the picture at the top, first. It has a far deeper meaning than most realise. It is very like another. Perhaps you can take a moment too. The deeper aspect come near the end. 
That Corpsman had freedom. Of sorts. He was also constrained by military rules, Orders, disciplines, regulations, physical burdens and challenges to his very life such that most could not carry let alone work with. 

But he shouldered far more. 

He had the Freedom to do that.

I shall come back to his lesson.
The truth is if you live in the United States you are far more blessed than what you realize.  Here is a glimpse of what its like in cultures where Islam is that main religion and sharia law is common practice.  

What it’s like to grow up as a young boy in Afghanistan…..
What it’s like to be a women in Afghanistan…..
We are blessed here in the west because of good men that are willing to fight injustices both in the present and in the past generations.  We shouldn’t forget that.  
But some of the greatest threats we are facing now are leftism and radical Islam.  
The threats are coming from within our borders.  The values held by those promoting these beliefs are not compatible with the freedoms and values our country was founded upon or of those in the west as a whole.  They are a threat to the very fabric of our society and way of life.  
I am unwilling to bend in submission to these evils.  We must fight them, actively wherever they are.  We must educate our young people on what it means to be free or we will most definitely lose it.  
And it is that younger generation that will suffer most for it.  

We are not above suffering for the freedom in this country. 
Every Christian is responsible for preparing themselves to be a warrior in their own way.  War is a constant throughout history.  Many men have been conscripted into the armies of nations.  So, too, have the people of God been called to war: 
one in which the ultimate stakes hang in the balance. 
 Christ often compared following him to warfare.  It is a very real aspect of the way those who follow Christ must live.  There is much effort involved-energy must be expanded in the day-to-day life of a true Christian.

Every good soldier will study his enemy to determine his strengths and weaknesses.  To be able to defeat the enemy, he must know how to deftly use, with overwhelming force, the weapons at his diposal.  
Every Christian faces three enemies.  
The mighty foes are in the league against us.  They are crafty, cunning and lurking whom they may devour like a lion in the night.  They stand ready to attack us at every corner.  They seek to confuse and overwhelm us and wear us down.  Their ultimate goal is to murder us.

These three enemies are SELF, SOCIETY and SATAN
Yes, The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. 
We will have to battle them for the rest of our physical lives.  Every ounce of energy and effort must be put forth to gain victory over them.  We must never underestimate our enemies.
Not every warrior is cut from the same cloth.  Many fight with a physical sword and bring those to justice on the battlefield..they are the physical embodiment of the ArchAngel Michael.  
These men use their strength for good.  They use it to rebuild, to save and to bring justice and prosperity.

 A warriors message about fighting for freedom…..for a nation that isn’t even his own…..Good men, manly men….doing what good men do.  
A dignified  English Knight willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with his men.………….. 
Now this is a short speech you will not hear in a holywood film. And a Chaplain's blessing delivered as by a Glasgow heavyweight.
Another soldier of sorts…..blessed with a brilliant mind.  Fighting the fight in his own way with the gifts God gave him. 
We often fail to take seriously the Communists’ and Socialists’ quest for “utopianism” has a tendency to end with mass graves of the undesirables at the time.  Evil often can have different names or different forms, even another face.  
But it is still evil.  

My grandmother once told me that every generation has some sort of evil they must rise up and fight against.  
Can you imagine the type of country we would have if our grandparents would have bent over into submission to Hitler?  I challenge you to ask yourself, “What price is too high for freedom?”  
And what part are you willing to play in order to keep it? 

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”

John 8:32
We very often overlook the evil within. We see it sometimes in our neighbours but rarely give what is inside ourselves that label. We find it easy to critique others, label them, fight their pernicious impacts, but mostly we ignore our own.

Recal that soldier above - the corpsman who rescued a wounded enemy. He managed to understand the injunction "Love Thine Enemy", even in the thick of battle. A truely Good man. He had taken the time to examine his conscience well before arriving on the front. 
That is a prepared Soldier.
The gentleman soldier giving the speech would have us believe that the Corpsman did what he did because he was 'an American'.  I can understand in the context. But can you understand that in praise of nationality bordering on hubris, he does not do justice to God nor to the man.  I have seen Englishmen, Frenchmen, almost all nationalities save an enemy. 

The chap did what he did because he was answering to God, not to America.
He was a Good Man.

The Monks I spoke of yesterday have pledged their freedom to fight that evil in all men's and women's hearts, including their own. Their own first.  They have to purify themselves to be of use to others.

In our thinking and contemplating we must look at that too. Thinly disguised, our faults of thinking, even of knowledge, can be put down to laziness. Our upbringing, the myths and calumnies, the pride and certainties we are given from an early age, can distance us from that Nature God gave us, and from the true Legacy of his One Holy Church that He established for us. As adults we need to challenge those myths and calumnies, free ourselves and gain the gifts we were promised.

I will share fine Ales and wines from my Supplier with TSG well beyond my last days. She will find her purpose.

She comforts my heart.