All posts in category Bending your ear
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on February 25, 2014
One of the many roles of a monarch has always been to defend the faith of the country in question. In some cases, that simply means upholding the traditions of the past, while in other countries the monarch is literally the head of the church. The Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, still holds this position over the Church of England, though most of her powers are delegated to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
Still, there have been moments in history that are so important to the future of that country that the monarch not only defies the faith he or she is supposed to uphold, but downright changes the faith. These linchpin monarchs are often remembered fondly after their deaths, though at the time they are often criticized and earn many enemies. One of them, is King Ethelbert of Kent.
St. Ethelbert, King of Kent
The most powerful Anglo-Saxon king was Ethelbert who ruled Kent and a large area north to the Humber. St. Augustine (who had arrived on the English shores) sent interpreters saying that they came from Rome bearing good news which assured all who received it of eternal joy in heaven.
The king told them to stay on the island and gave orders that they should be provided with all necessities. Apparently this included beer brewed from the royal barley as beer was considered one of the necessities of life. The king had already heard of the Christian faith; his wife and queen was Bertha, daughter of the Christian king of Paris and she continued to practice her faith after marrying Ethelbert.
Six days later after their arrival, King Ethelbert came to the island and summoned Augustine and his companions.
They approached the king carrying a silver cross and the likeness of the Lord painted on a board, like an icon. First they sang a litany of salvation and then they preached the Gospel to the king and his court. Ethelbert seemed to be impressed although he was not converted then and there and he offered hospitality to the missionaries and gave them permission to preach among his people. He also gave them a dwelling in his chief city, Canterbury. There they lived a life of prayer and preaching, living simply and caring for the poor. A number of people were converted and baptised. The Church of St. Martin in Canterbury had been built-in Roman times and was still used by Queen Berta for prayer. The monks gathered there for prayer, Mass, preaching and baptisms.
Eventually, King Ethelbert himself came to believe and was baptised. From then on, large numbers were converted to Christ. The king insisted that no one should be forced to accept Christianity; he knew that true service of Christ must be accepted freely.
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on February 24, 2014
Her parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. According to legend, her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court.
Even as a young girl she clearly showed an interest in the religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her.
She settled at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Kildare and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland. The foundation developed into a centre of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare.The cathedral continued to serve the people of Kildare down the centuries, though after the Reformation it gradually fell into disrepair and by 1641 it was totally ruined following the Confederate Wars. It was fully restored in the 19th century. In recent years undergone some further restoration.
The foundation developed into a centre of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago.The Book of Kildare is also known by the name of The Four Gospels of St. Brigid.It contains the Four Gospels according to St. Jerome, and almost every page is illustrated by drawings illuminated with a variety of brilliant colours.
Brigid was one of the most remarkable women of her times, and despite the numerous legendary, extravagant, and even fantastic miracles attributed to her, there is no doubt that her extraordinary spirituality, boundless charity, and compassion for those in distress were real.
She died at Kildare on February 1.She is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride. Her feast day is February 1.
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on February 1, 2014
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on January 30, 2014
A Psalm of David.
1 Vindicate me, O Lord,
for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
3 For thy steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to thee.
4 I do not sit with false men,
nor do I consort with dissemblers;
5 I hate the company of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go about thy altar, O Lord,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all thy wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the habitation of thy house,
and the place where thy glory dwells.
9 Sweep me not away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 men in whose hands are evil devices,
and whose right hands are full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I walk in my integrity;
redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on level ground;
in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on January 26, 2014
- A niece falls pregnant out-of-wedlock. ‘So what? It was a planned pregnancy, it’s such happy news.’
- A friend, colleague, son or daughter lives with their partner. ‘So what, what they do in their bedroom has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s their choice. He/she is not my or your responsibility. It’s none of your business!’
- The stranger on the bus uses profanities and racist slurs against someone on the bus. ‘So? It’s not your problem.’
- Your niece is being emotionally abused by her boyfriend. ’It’s between her and her partner, and up to her parents to get involved.Why should you get involved.’
- A colleague has shared that she is considering an abortion. ‘Why?So what…it’s her body, her baby, the time’s not right , she’s too young, she wasn’t in a serious relationship….’
- A close friend’s child is moving from one ‘serious’ relationship to another in quick succession. These relationships seem to follow the set pattern of:- moving in together and setting up house, and then very soon, upping sticks and moving on to the next relationship and setting up house in a new neighbourhood. ‘So? What’s your problem? Youth is for living to the full. For experimentation, We only live once! Live every day to the fullest.’
- A teenager known to you, smokes regularly. His parents don’t know. ‘Let them continue to believe what they believe right now. Don’t rock the boat’.
- A young couple comes to visit and decides to stay over until morning. ‘They’re in love, let them be.’
- Someone mentions that Cameron’s decision to move forward on the legalisation of gay marriage, is the best decision he’s made for some time. ‘Everyone to their own. Everyone has a right to an opinion. It’s the way things are. Who cares? Live and let live.’
- A ‘catholic’ acquaintance proudly announces that he and his now wife, moved in together before they married and he has encouraged his children to do the same. ‘Who cares, move with the times’.
As a Catholic Christian I have been challenged by similar scenarios and have done my best to make a moral case in favour of the right choice in each case. As a Christian.
The more the years go by,and my life experience broadens I feel Exasperated. Deflated. Desperate. Side-lined and Ignored. Dismissed. My Christian witness seems to be in vain. It falls on deaf ears. My views as a Christian, especially as a Catholic Christian, are just not taken seriously.
My question to you is: why bother?After sharing a fundamental Truth, it’s seemingly tolerated, heard, and promptly forgotten.
I believe in Jesus. I believe in His plan for the salvation of mankind. I believe in His Life, Death and Resurrection for my sake and yours. It’s fine to profess these beliefs and to discuss these beliefs in the company of my fellow Christians, but is it worth the flack and derision I get when I support the teachings of the Church with my neighbour, when these values are looked upon as outdated, and irrelevant in secular society. Nobody cares.
Really, they don’t.
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on January 23, 2014
Over at Along the Watch Tower, Chalcedon’s post speaks loudly of the sad reality that engulfs youth of today: not having confidence or language to talk about religion or faith. He writes, ‘Religion is to this generation what sex was to some previous ones ; something which embarrasses students because they do not know much about it, what they know makes it seem difficult, and they do not have a language in which to discuss it. He compares it to generations past who felt the same way about discussing sex.’
How the pendulum swings…
I believe this dilemma not only afflicts the youth but society in general:- what the youth do well is to reflect the society in which they live. Many Europeans are “unchurched,” meaning they have never step foot in a church for any reason besides weddings, funerals, or Baptisms. They have never gone to a church service once their entire life. So, how could they talk about religion?
I place this dilemma squarely at the feet of the assiduous and determined acceptance of secular values by Western governments. All this in the name of progress:- through modernization and relativism, systematically removing religious authority/ influence in all aspects of life and governance.
As a direct result of secularisation Christianity is marginalised. As a result of individualistic religion , a century of war and disregard for religion and faith matters the appreciation and understanding of religion or faith has declined. Many Europeans still identify themselves a Christian, but do not actively attend Christian services. We need also to keep in mind, that as a former continent known as “Christendom”, Europe is experiencing a rapid change in religious diversity. The two fastest growing religions in Europe are secularism (no religious affiliation, agnosticism, atheism, etc.) and Islam. I believe that secularism has completely won over European culture replacing Christianity as Europe’s world-view.
I use excerpts of an article from The Catholic News Society to substantiate my feelings about our Christian responsibility to live as Christ’s disciples as a way of life and as examples to those around us. :- (Emphasis my own)
Sharing an obligation to spread the good news of salvation in Christ, all Christian communities are challenged by the fact that many people today do not think they need God, Pope Benedict XVI said.
“The spiritual poverty of many of our contemporaries, who no longer perceive the absence of God in their lives as a privation, represents a challenge for all Christians,” the pope said Nov. 15 in a meeting with members of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Pope Benedict said authentic ecumenical prayer, dialogue and cooperation cannot ignore “the crisis of faith that vast regions of the planet are experiencing,” nor can Christians ignore signs that many modern people still feel a need for some kind of spirituality.
Efforts to reunite all Christians are an essential part of the new evangelization, the pope said. Responding to the obligation to share the Gospel and to heal a divided Christianity, he said, every Christian must “return to the essential, to the heart of our faith, giving the world a witness of the living God, that is, a God who knows us and loves us and in whose gaze we live; a God who awaits the response of our love in our everyday lives.”….
...What is at stake, he said, is the credibility of Christianity as a whole and its ability to speak to modern men and women and to influence the way they live and act.
The archbishop said while secularization places challenges before the church, the real danger is “the secularization of the church” itself, which begins very concretely with church members living and acting as if they aren’t church members.
This means that Christians living in a secularised society will face many a challenge when having to share Truths about ethical questions, particularly regarding the safeguarding of human life from conception to death, family and marriage.
CCC 31 Created in God’s image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments”, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These “ways” of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on January 18, 2014
On first receipt of the traditional WordPress awards from fellow bloggers, I was dubious. On the flip-side though, I appreciated/appreciate the recognition for my intentional work in the Vineyard, and through these awards have been exposed to excellent blogs that I would not have found without specific mention from fellow bloggers.
For this particular award, I graciously thank To Love and Truth, as Michael’s blog provides an inspirational and educational read each time I visit. I am honoured.
It’s been a while since awards have been doing the rounds, and I would like to thank the readers of my blog for support and contributions over the past year. Thank you…many blogs are deserving of these awards.
I’m particularly grateful for consideration of this award as I do endeavour to share special moments and thoughts with the readers of 1catholicsalmon.
1. Use the award logo in the post.
2. Link to whoever nominated you.
3. Write 10 pieces of information about yourself.
4. Nominate fellow bloggers who meet the indicated criteria.
5. Leave a comment on the nominees’ blogs to tell them of the award.
2. I was born in South Africa, and I am currently hankering after the warm sun and sunny skies that abound there.
3. I belong to the wonderful parish of St. Joseph New Malden, where the Truth of our faith is promoted daily, and where I receive my Spiritual Food.
4. I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting a man who radiates the love of God: Rev Stuart Windsor.
While I was shopping in a Christian bookstore, he walked in and began chatting with those around him as if he were acquainted with everyone. He possesses a sort of magnetism that cannot be ignored and I was intrigued by this elderly gentleman’s’ confidence, and sense of authority. His demeanour and obvious joy set him apart from the rest of us in that shop, and I wanted to know more about him.
I walked over to pay for my books when he began chatting with me also. He asked me which church I belong to and proceeded to make a positive remark about St. Joe’s, telling me of a fine young priest he knew from there.
He handed me a business card. On it, was the logo of the CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide organisation – www.csw.org.uk ) and his name:
Rev Stuart Windsor - underscored with the title , ‘Special Ambassador‘.This title would’ve meant nothing had I just been handed the card and not met him personally. Meeting this man changed me in a way that I cannot explain, and I understood for the first time what it’s like to meet someone really close to God. Don’t ask me how I knew this, I just did. I proceeded to look up information about him, and it made for some very interesting reading. Click the link above for interesting facts about him.
5. My beloved and I have been married for 28 years this year. It still feels so right.
6. The older I get the deeper my love for Jesus grows.
7. I love praying the Rosary. I have a collection of Rosaries.
8. Reconciliation is part of a monthly routine, and is one of my favourite Sacraments.
10. I prefer attending Mass that is Ad Orientem
So, I nominate these chosen blogs for the following awards:-
Best Moment Award (to person/blog that brought a special moment):
- Art in Faith
- 8 kids and a business
- Catholic alchoholic
- 365 Missional practice
- Wonder and Beauty
Semper Fidelis Award (Semper Fidelis for always faithful):Bridges and tangents
Sunshine Award (to to person/blog that brought sunshine):
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on December 30, 2013
Nelson Mandela: A Candid Assessment
As president of South Africa, Mandela—though a typically bumbling socialist—was not a vengeful character. After having spent much of his adult life in prison, he is widely praised for not seeking to retaliate against the former white rulers, and for having largely urged reconciliation and compromise in undoing the injustices of Apartheid. Though Mandela was a committed Marxist, he was also a pragmatist, disappointing his more impatient comrades by not immediately carrying out the massive nationalizations of industry he had promised, so as not to drive away foreign investment. And he recognized his own limitations, both physical and political, in deciding not to attempt to remain in power after his term in office.
Most white South Africans rejoin that Nelson Mandela had no reason to seek revenge on anyone, nor any basis for extending forgiveness to his previous jailors. After all, as the most famous prisoner of the previous Apartheid government, he had been fairly tried and convicted of complicity in many murders, and he confessed to participation in 156 acts of terror, crimes that would certainly have earned him the death penalty in a great many countries. Moreover, his confinement was more than comfortable by any standards. During his legendary twenty-seven years in prison, Mandela communicated freely with his followers, and somehow managed to accumulate a considerable fortune. He was continually offered release by the white Apartheid government, but on one condition: that he renounce violence in pursuit of political reform. That is something he consistently refused to do.
As was made clear by testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Mandela was personally involved in the targeting and timing of terrorist bombings that took place during his imprisonment, such as the infamous “Church Street Massacre,” designed to maximize casualties among Afrikaner women and children. Even a group as left-leaning as Amnesty International refused to grant Mandela political prisoner status because of the obviously violent character of his ideology and his actions. His African National Congress party ran a horrific camp for political prisoners in Angola, with daily torture and murder, often by the “necklacing” technique, whereby a gasoline-filled tire is placed around the neck of a victim and set ablaze. Virtually all the victims of this particular horror were blacks.
Within South Africa, on direct orders from Winnie and Nelson Mandela, the ANC targeted not only whites, but also all black civil servants, teachers, lawyers, and businessmen—essentially anyone who imagined a post-Apartheid South Africa that differed from the one mandated by the Marxist ANC. Even simple black peasants who refused to carry out terror attacks were treated as enemies, and they were killed in large numbers. Thus, just as the terroristic FLN killed far more Algerians than did the French during the Algerian war for independence, the ANC was the leading cause of death, by far, for black South Africans throughout the period of Apartheid.
The only reality that makes it even remotely possible to view Mandela as a “statesman” is that he lived on a continent where the definition of “statecraft” is not exactly rigorous or exemplary. Since the wave of decolonization following World War II, the number of African states ruled by ruthless dictators has always been in the majority, and sometimes approached unanimity. The precise number of tyrants involved is actually difficult to ascertain. One simply loses count, and the shadows of the worst of them conceal the merely “semi-heinous” crimes of the lesser despots, so that their names are eclipsed and you find yourself asking: “Does so-and-so really fit the African definition of a tyrant?”
Numbered among the rogue gallery of miscreants who have wielded power on that tragic continent, we find some of the world’s biggest drug traffickers, diamond smugglers, and slave traders. It seems that the poorer an African nation is, the greater the wealth accumulated by its “President for Life.” Almost every country in black-ruled Africa has a system of gulags. All elections are rigged, free press is non-existent, and all dissent comes from exiles. In the past fifty years, there have been more wars in Africa than in all the other continents combined. And everything is considered a weapon of war: ethnic cleansing, child soldiering and child rape, even cannibalism. Just refraining from committing genocide in Africa practically sets one up for comparison with Mother Theresa.
So in this regard, Mandela (post-Apartheid, at least) does indeed look pretty good. Though personally implicated in a great many murders, there is at least no record of him ever eating a political foe or advocating child rape or promoting genocide. And he left office voluntarily in 1999, even if this was due more to advancing years, frail health, and the realization that he had no talent for governing, rather than to a real commitment to democracy. Still, by African standards, this is the stuff of a Nobel Peace Prize.
Mandela did, however, leave behind another socialist nightmare in the making. With their motto of “liberation before education,” the ANC has proved itself completely incapable of governing, and South Africa is sliding into chaos at an alarming rate. Since 2004, South Africa has experienced almost constant political protests, many of them violent. Activists like to refer to the nation as the most “protest-rich in the world,” which, along with prison camps, is the only type of “riches” a socialist nation can produce. The nation is staggered by unemployment, corruption throughout all levels of the police, military, and civil service, and ubiquitous, inescapable crime. Life in South Africa is far more dangerous, especially for blacks and women, than it was under Apartheid. With about fifty murders a day, the nation is now among the undisputed murder capitals of the world, most of these crimes going uninvestigated. The astounding estimates of other violent crimes, including rape, are almost impossible to believe. But only the truth of such figures could account for the fact that the private security business in South Africa is the largest in the world, with over a quarter-million private security guards in a nation of under 53 million.
Taking their lead from the disaster in neighboring Zimbabwe, the government of South Africa is now looking the other way as white farmers are driven off their land by arson and murder. It is said that job advertisements, even those posted by the government, routinely include the phrase “Whites need not apply.” Would it be an exaggeration to say that a “reverse Apartheid” is taking place in South Africa? The nearly one million white South Africans who have fled the growing chaos don’t think so.
Of course, life in South Africa is now most dangerous for the most defenseless, for those waiting to be born. As president, Mandela—ever the pragmatist—signed the most liberal abortion law in all of Africa, with no reason at all needed for a woman to procure abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and abortion easy to obtain through all nine months. Since this law took effect in 1997, even the most conservative estimates put the number of abortions that have taken place at one million. Once again, socialists and pragmatists of all stripes reveal that they cannot conceive of any form of good governance that does not involve killing on a massive scale.
Yes, some South Africans view Mandela as a nearly messianic figure. Desmond Tutu has publically thanked God for the “gift” of Mandela. But this is the same “bishop” Tutu who recently stated that he would decline his own invitation to heaven if God turned out to be a “homophobe.” Any pious invocation by Tutu has to be regarded as more than a little suspect. Nor can we have any confidence in Barack Obama when he declares that Mandela “achieved more than could be expected of any man” and that “he belongs to the ages.” Obama no doubt believes he himself “belongs to the ages,” since his signature “accomplishments”—the government seizure of medical care, the enthronement of abortion, and the promotion of homosexual “marriage”—are all policies promoted by the ANC in the new South Africa. So we should not expect to hear much from the Obama administration about Mandela’s violent past. Statists never find anything to reproach in one of their own.
(Photo credit: Steven Siewert)
Posted by 1catholicsalmon on December 10, 2013