The Vatican and its associated financial entities transferred a total of $1.7 billion (AUS $2.3 billion) to Australia since 2014 apparently without the knowledge of Church leaders in Australia, The Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday…
A blessed Christmas Eve’s Eve to all our readers! The joy and longing are almost fulfilled – Domnius prope est, as the invitatory antiphon for these days has it, the Lord is near, and we must be prepared, lamps lit and loins girded, to meet Him.
Speaking of girded and ungirded loins, Carlo Lancelotti has a very thoughtful and intriguing analysis of the origins of the sexual revolution, not as a ‘lessening’ of morals, but as a quickening of a whole different set of morals, a contrary metaphysical universe, a veritable transvaluation of all values. (We will have more on Nietzsche and Trudeau in a post soon ). The anomian apostle this revolution, William Reich, was a weirdo, a libertine and likely addicted to sex in various perverted varieties (perusing his diary is not for the squeamish), who preached ‘orgonic energy’ – a hybrid of orgasm and organism – as the key to happiness. He built and sold ‘orgone machines’ The less sexual repression and the more sexual expression, the better and more fulfilled we’d be. And we’ve all seen how that’s turning out. Reich He died in 1957, but his thought gave birth to the sexual revolution a few years after, whose bitter fruit and poison fallout are now reaching their nadir, in the transvaluation of transgenderism. Where, one wonders, do we go from there?
And while on repression, an anonymous religious Sister has penned a modern Summa article, in the style of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas, on why we shouldn’t be forced to wear masks. I have had my students write such articles on modern themes, and I think this should become an educational trend – there is nothing that so rigorously forms the mind as the scholastic method, and thinking through questions in step-by-step fashion. Someone mentioned to me last night a new argument against ubiquitous and constant masking: A ring of pimples and carbuncles around the edge of the face-covering, endearingly termed ‘maskne’, as in ‘ acne’ from the ‘mask’. Oh, dear. If the thought of oppression does not motivate young people, perhaps social ostracization, or not being thought attractive, will.
People from around the globe, including a list of Hollywood stars, have joined with award-winning author Julia Golding to launch a crowdfunding campaign to try and save 20 Northmoor Road, the Oxford house in which famed Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in advance of its being put on the market for sale.
The initiative, Project Northmoor, aims to purchase the house and set up a literary center in honor of Tolkien, one of the most beloved literary writers of the Twentieth Century. Tolkien, a devout Catholic whose faith influenced and penetrated his writings, is best known as the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Preserving his legacy and the importance of his works is a priority for Catholics who value the great literature influenced by Tolkien’s Catholic faith.
Ian McKellen, the acclaimed actor who earned an Oscar nomination for his role as wizard Gandalf in the 2001 film, The Fellowship of the Rings, is helping to gather a new fellowship of funders to purchase the house. A crowdfunding campaign opened on December 2 at www.projectnorthmoor.org.
Pope Francis instituted ‘The Sunday of the Word of God’ to be held every year on the third Sunday of Ordinary Time, with the Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu proprio “Aperuit illis” issued on September 30, 2019.
Pope Institutes the ‘Sunday of the Word of God’ in New Motu Proprio ‘Aperuit illis’
The Pope intended it to be a day dedicated to the celebration, reflection, and dissemination of the Word, according to Vatican News.
Ten years ago on New Year’s Eve, the life of Coptic Orthodox Christian Kiro Khalil, then 20 years old, was “turned upside down”, as he describes it himself. The expression does little to convey just how horrific the experience was that the young man went through. He survived an attack that was targeted expressly at Christians. Three of his closest family members died.
Following the attack, Khalil was still subjected to discrimination and even death threats. He was forced to leave his homeland and seek refuge in Germany – however, along the way he also found happiness: he just got married. Florian Ripka, national director of the charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) in Munich, Germany, spoke with Khalil about the power of reconciliation, the love for one’s enemies, and a faith that withstands persecution.
Mr. Khalil, you survived an attack on a church. When was this and what happened?
I heard an eminent medical person on the radio last week raising concerns about the rising number of Covid cases. He suggested Christmas should be postponed until spring. As a medic, his first concern is the health and wellbeing of people. However, it illustrates that for many, Christmas has become a mere holiday period rather than the celebration of Christ’s birth.
In contrast, I happened to see the last Late Late Show of 2020. It was a showcase of Irish musicians and singers all there to help raise funds for the Simon Community. This heart-warming, generous group of people got together to reach out and help those who are most vulnerable in our society. This is one example of so many kind people in our parishes and communities who are helping those in need this Christmas. These are all examples of Christianity in action! Towards the end of the program, Bono, of U2 fame, was interviewed. He posed a basic, but very important question; “What is this Christmas thing about?” In order to answer this question, he described how, at a Carol Service one Christmas, he really listened. From this deep listening he received an insight into the heart of Christmas as he went on to say, and I quote,
“I started to think about the fact that this baby was born in straw, this is a mother and child in a delivery room with goats and sheep. Think about it. And if you believe this story, which I do, of unknowable power expressed as utter powerlessness, it really struck me. The divinity of people who are vulnerable and poor, that is what Christmas is about, it’s not about anything else.”
It has been a difficult time for everyone. For bereaved families, for families with members in nursing homes and hospitals due to restricted visiting. People who have been deprived of the opportunity to gather for the celebration of Mass have experienced a huge lacuna in their lives. Moving towards Christmas the disappointment of family members who are unable to come home and share Christmas with us contributes to the loneliness associated with Christmas for many people. For young people who love to gather and relate with their friends, it has been very demanding.
Likewise, for our priests – the things we need to do, would like to do and want to do – sadly we cannot do in the way in which we were accustomed and, yet, our priests have responded very generously to the challenge of the pandemic. Here in the Archdiocese of Tuam, our priests have spared no effort in arranging Masses on the webcam and radio, providing every opportunity to address the faith and sacramental requirements of parishioners. Our parishes have been blessed with wonderful volunteers, ushers, and other ministries taking responsibility for the cleaning and sanitizing of our churches. Parishioners have been most considerate and understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves and have been co-operating very generously and constructively in all of this. I would like to acknowledge the positive response which is so encouraging and reassuring.
Charitable organizations like Saint Vincent de Paul and those who do such wonderful work locally and help to alleviate suffering and hardship, enabling families to have a better Christmas, find it extremely challenging. None of us knows the different forms which poverty can take behind closed doors. The calls made on local organizations such as Saint Vincent de Paul increase in the lead up to Christmas. In other years these organizations depended on the generosity of the Mass-going people to rally to their support. In view of the lockdown and restricted numbers, their resources are considerably reduced while the demands made on them continue to increase.