Saturday, July 31, 2010

Am I the slave they say, Soggarth aroon,
Since you did show the way,
Soggarth aroon,
Their slave no more to be While they would work with me
Old Ireland's slavery, Soggarth aroon!
Who, in the winter’s night, Soggarth aroon,
When the cold blast did bite,
Soggarth aroon,
Came to my cabin door,
And, on the earthen floor,
Knelt by me, sick and poor, Soggarth aroon?
Who, on the marriage day,
Soggarth aroon,
Made the poor cabin gay,

Soggarth aroon,
And did both laugh and sing,

Making our hearts to ring,

At the poor christening,
Soggarth aroon?
Who, as friend only met,

Soggarth aroon,
Never did flout me yet,

Soggarth aroon?

And when my heart was dim

Gave, while his eye did brim—

What should I give to him,

Soggarth aroon?
Och, you and only you,
Soggarth aroon;
And for this I was true to you,

Soggarth aroon;
In love they’ll never shake.

When for Old Ireland’s sake
We a true part did take,
Soggarth aroon! _John Banim

Such was the legacy left behind by the Irish priests of the 19th century. What shall future generations say of those of the 21st? Perhaps such sanctity can only be maintained in an atmosphere of persecution. I shiver for the day when that persecution arrives to cleanse the Church. Let us pray that we all have the strength for it.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Through the veil that shades my eyes, pierced by beams of light as is night by stars,
I did behold strength, wisdom, passion, and grace--her face, enshrouded by hair sable
like a star. Enrobed in abalone, clad in pearl, she is man's Polaris shining, still, in silver,
pointing the way to home--and also the Moon who shows by curve of her crescent
the glorious Sun, who stands before her, bathing in His Light, His Mother.
And to her left and right, of covenant old and new, five saints sighing, singing, 'Hail!'

Sarah, mother of the older promise, raises up her arms of dusky brown to pray, 'Hail!
Blessed art thou, mother who endured her Son's sacrifice, favoured one, crowned with stars,
whose womb yielded the greater Covenant! Thy matron praises thee, sweet Mother!'
Esther, once queen of Isreal amidst her foes, lets drop her ebon hair and cries, 'I was able
to stand in might amongst men and sue for my people's lives. Hail, who had no ascent
before the worldly powers, worthier queen, and had not praise nor gold, honour nor silver!'

Judith, rescuer of the Jews, tosses her mahogany mane and robustly intones, 'Silver-
white is thy soul, for thou didst endure all pain humbly, gold is thy womb for its Fruit. Hail,
thou who wert unable to help they people's woes by easy swing of sickle's crescent,
but through giving life, hath saved mankind, and Abraham's seed, now numerous as the stars!'
and so did Deborah hail and say, 'Thou didst not lead thy sons against the souls of sable,
thou, so much greater than I in prophecy and wisdom, Queen of men and also their Mother!'

Elizabeth, at Our Lady's left hand, did say, 'I blessed thee first, and I bless thee, Mother,
now in the midst of eternity, who gave birth in an uncouth cave. Hairs undusted by silver
who bore the Ancient of Days, and fled for His life, under the cover of sable
night, in wintry chill to a foreign land, men's swords at thy back. For this now, I say, hail!'
Mary of Magdalene smiles and proclaims, 'Hail Mother of my Lord, Queen of the stars,
I love thy 'fiat' to the Holy Spirit and bearing forth Whom hath all my love, since His descent!'

Helen, mother of the Christian Emperor proclaims, 'Blessed art thou, of sweetest scent
like royal myrrh, and who had no throne and swayed no emperor, but whose Son, Mother,
didst conquer all foes through mine. Bless thee, forgiving Mother, here above all the stars!'
Teresa of Avila lowly chants, 'Hail thou, who was pious and pure whilst through silver
the Lord's priests were corrupted, thou could not reform but judged not, yet hated their sin, hail
thou must highly favoured, whose light for the Lord in His Suffering, pierced the night sable!'

Brigid of the Gaels now softly sings, 'Blessed art thou, whose heart is richer than the sable
earth. Blessed art thou who didst not walk prominently amongst peoples, but in the crescent
of thy bent arm held our Savior, and was content to be His servant. O sweet humility, hail!'
Katherine of Alexandria, who stands amidst all apologists of truth declares, 'Hail, Mother,
whose soul is more illuminated than mine, thy mind more agile, thy tongue like quicksilver,
and yet didst not have the regard of men whilst living, all shall hail thee here above the stars!'

And she did raise her sable head, and her smile, illuminated from the brow by stars,
praised with her opalescent eyes, lovingly her Father, Spouse, and Son with voice of silver.
Her pure soul, which all hailed, gave to Him our pleading gems, for Him and us, she is Mother.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down
in words with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it.
There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy which are not
thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely impossible to
adapt to language. These fancies arise in the soul, alas how rarely.
Only at epochs of most intense tranquillity, when the bodily and mental
health are in perfection. And at those weird points of time, where the
confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams. And so I
captured this fancy, where all that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Allen Poe
Monday, July 19, 2010
Nine years ago, my chemistry class was having a discussion cut all too short. While I love science, and chemistry is an especial favourite, forays into philosophy and ethics intrigued me the most by far. Yet, our teacher was most irksome in this regard, for she would put forward an extremely combustible position in the most provocative way possible, then cut short the argument saying: 'Something to think about.' We were never allowed to pounce on the proposition beyond a few scant sentences.

Once she brought up stem cells. Again, a provocative subject, which we did not get very far in discussing. Since this was a class in Tennessee, most members believed in the sanctity or unborn human life, and being a class of quite rational individuals, too, it held the proposition that the ends do not justify the means. A few young men did shrug their shoulders though, and say, 'Well, the embryos from which they are taking these stem cells are leftovers from in vitro fertilization. They're just going to be left frozen, so why not use them?'

I shivered. Having seen pictures of children adopted and carried to term from such states, I knew that they might still live life as any other man or woman can. Though their vast numbers makes that chance unlikely, it is not impossible. Even given how unlikely adoption is, should a human being's person be so callusly harvested for its potential resources? There are images in my mind, imprinted by my visit to Auschwitz, of carpets made from human hair, pictures of soap boiled from human flesh, and descriptions of men prying the gold fillings from the teeth of Jews, Poles, patriots of any non-Aryan nation. Why not? After all, they were dead; what use were these things to them now?

One of the most striking evils concerning these acts, aside from the murders which made them possible, is their uselessness. Was there a shortage of carpets in Germany? Was soap so scarce that they were driven to using the cadavers of men, women, and children? Perhaps all those dental fillings melted together made some reasonable amount of gold, but what a despicable act committed to obtain them!

In vitro fertilization is an act of subordinating human life to another human's desires, whether those who employ this service know this or not. The 'pick of the litter' alone is chosen to be born, while his brothers and sisters are left in a clinical limbo. As good as dead where the law is concerned, morbidly curious scientists have stepped into exploit their flesh. Yet, even pro-abortion advocates would likely abhor the odor of grave-robbing, so these chemical artisians exalted their endeavours to the very realm of Heaven. Within the pillars of life, would be found the cure for every ailment, perhaps even the Fountain of Youth, and isn't that worth the price of an embryo legally devoid of personhood?

I hope I am not willing to murder another human being for the sake of saving my own life. Even if I were that weak, my personal evil would still not be justified. The same applies to every human soul: one cannot do evil, even to achieve some perceived good. Hence, the sacrifice of so many on the altar of scientific 'progress' is as justified as burying Vestal virgins alive as scapegoats for Rome's failure in battles.

The other wretched evil in the ugly business is that the pseudo-justification is a
lie. Not one medical achievement has been garnered from embryonic stem cells, not one. Graph vs. host cases and defective overstimulus in patients do abound, but these are hardly progressive steps in medicine. The incredible leaps science has made via stem cells have been made from using adult stem cells.

The case of Ben Leahy of Australia is just one amongst many:

"Following some chemotherapy and administration of marrow stimulating drugs,
the patient's own bone marrow stem cells are harvested from the bloodstream on a machine during a narrow window of time," Dr Pidcock explained. (

Now Italian researchers have unearthed a cure for certain cases of blindness:

Dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals had their sight restored with transplants of
their own stem cells. (

Scientists, in the age wherein they have been most exalted, could certainly stand to remember that humility is a boon to one's work, not an impediment. Ego virtually always stands in the way of objectivity, ergo in the way of the scientific method, ergo in the way of progress. And is it really so backward to say that the repugnance of an act should cause one to hesitate performing it?
Saturday, July 10, 2010
I could not find a particular article anywhere on a certain news site. The search was becoming exasperrating as I filtered through the archives and came up with nothing. Then it dawned on me that I had made a comment when the article came out. Now I smiled ruefully. Doing a Google search on my username would likely bring up the article on which I had commented.

In Scripture, we are told :
But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

Well, whether a believer or not, one is delivered a sharp taste of that judgement anytime he puts his username into the Google search engine. Every stupid political argument I engaged in on youtube (those never go anywhere, best never to start one), every silly gush I had ever made concerning a work of less than great art on a message board, and any superficial comment I made on a news board (I did find that article by the way) all line up to condemn me as the record of my words unfold before my eyes.

For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
(Matthew 12:36) Yes, I am sweating a little whilst pondering those words.

Now does this mean that one ought not to argue or debate? By all means, no, as He who spoke the words cited above did a great deal of both. But one must always mind charity while preserving clarity when he engages in discussion, especially on sensitive topics. Even if the argument is a matter of life and death--a true war of words--the rules of war ought to be kept in mind.

Yet, the gangrene of the modern world has corrupted many of the beautiful limbs of Western civilization. One of the most assaulted is chivalry. Not simply gallantry towards women, chivalry is the idea that there is a code of conduct even for those living the naturally brutal occupation of a soldier, the tempering of the strong arm with respect for the weak. To put right above might.

This is a concept that the modern world has attempted to strangle with all its parvenu might.
It stands to reason then that the same age that has brought us the Blitzkrieg, 'collateral damage,' and abortion on demand has lost the courtly manners proceeding from the ethical principles they have relinquished.

How could we expect otherwise?
Now while scrolling over the results in my search for the article I later found, I saw an old entry of mine on the great blog Rorate Caeli had come under fire. I remembered that over the weekend, the blog had temporarily rescinded the ability for readers to comment in disappointment over the lack of civilized, charitable, and Christian conduct in the posts. I felt a little queasy, wondering if something I had said had contributed to that decision and so decided to read the thread regarding what I had posted.

I did re-read my post and then read the angry rejoinder. My first reaction was to be completely abashed. After all, one cannot hear someone's tone of voice in their writings, and text can often be misinterpreted. I read my words again and chided myself for not having proofread it. It really was a clumsy piece and one that could have been misread as was clearly the case.

I thought I would respond with a clarification and an apology, but decided to read the article I had commented upon first. Reading it again, I relaxed somewhat. Taken in context, what I had said was not as bad as this man had made it out to be. I then read his comment again and noted for the first time how short he was.

Not only that, he had not even tried to figure out what I said. Anyone who knows me will observe that I tend to split hairs over bad metaphors, but at least I recognize a metaphor when it is used. This poster had not made that effort. I don't like rewarding rudeness, so I decided to post a clarification without an apology. Our Lord called out the synogogue's guard for striking Him, so it would not be un-Christlike for anyone to do the same when addressing unseemly or uncharitable behaviour.

Yet, as I scrolled further down the page, I noted that the whole thing had spun completely out of control and this man had been impolite to many people who had attempted to answer him in further posts he had made. In the end, I decided to leave the whole thing alone. This incident may indeed have prompted the temporary moratorium on posting on one of my favourite blogs. I groaned. What a scandal for such a thread to appear on one of the finest Catholic blogs on the Internet!

My clumsy words had come back to haunt me. Lack of deliberation had led to breach of manners. Whatever happened to rational discourse?

That is the happiest conversation where there is no competition, no vanity, but a calm, quiet interchange of sentiments. _Samuel Johnson

Now to be fair to the postmodern world, not everyone in the past was well versed in how to argue, or even to appreciate a balanced argument when one was offered. There were those who discoursed rudely, and there were those who did not appreciate fighting in a sportsmanlike fashion, but wanted no fighting at all:

I'll retract anything sooner than be reasoned with. Where were we before you began your arguments? _Mrs. Gaskell (via 'Miss Browning' in the delicious novel Wives and Daughters)

But I do not argue that the people of bygone eras are better than the people of today. I never have and never will. As Pope Benedict XVI has observed, each generation of man is mankind newly born. It will have its own character to mould and its own struggles to uphold, abandon, or crush the traditions of the previous generation. Man himself is not in decline, as the Greeks argued, but his mores in this particular epoch are.

If a great many men were boors in the colonial period, every one at least acknowledged they were boors. If the topics of discussion touched on the crass or vulgar, it was recognized that those speaking were being crass and vulgar. If principles were violated, at least there were principles.

Now one reads the words of intellectuals, hears the reports of journalists and is overwhelmed by the ad hominem observations, the disconnected red herrings, the broad, sweeping statements masked in statistics, and the tortuous presumption of post hoc reasoning. Those that are reasonable are often so subdued that they cannot even make themselves heard in our oafish age. They maintain too chill a persona, as if to compensate for the appetitive arguments of the opposing side. One need only compare the fumbling, emotional Barack Obama with the succinct, but cold, Alan Keyes to have the perfect illustration of what oration has become in the modern age.

Where is the twin flame of fiery conviction and cold logic? Where has fled the wit wed with reason of St. Thomas More? Where now the bombastic but logical syllogims of Patrick Henry? Where may one find orators such as those who were so great in Rome that their enemies could only kill them in answer to their speeches? For the greater part, all of these have passed away, and one must keep one's sentiments to himself , except on those rare occasions where he may dispute with an individual that rather enjoys a good fight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This seemed appropriate on the day the United States declared itself so long ago, and in the year when Poland makes such a fateful decision.

In Memoriam, Tadeusz Kościuszko et

Merian Cooper

Święty Boże

Kazimierz Wierzyński

Święty Boże,
Święty Boże,

Święty a Nieśmiertelny!
Błogosław naszej broni,

Gdy ją przyłoży

Piechur do skroni,

Niech trafia najcelniej.

Święty Boże,

Wszechmocny a Tajemny,

Który jesteś w niebie!

Niech żaden nasz pocisk

I żaden nasz wystrzał

Nie padnie daremny

W okrutnej potrzebie.

Święty Boże!

O sprawiedliwą bijemy się rzecz:

O naszą wolną wolę,

O naszą ziemie i morze,

O matki krzyż na czole - Pobłogosław nasz miecz.

O Polskie kości na Wawelu,

O cmentarze ojcowskie,

Na których znak Twój świeci.

O lata przeszłe i przyszłe,

O góry nasze, o Wisłę,

O nasze żony i dzieci,

O dolę daleką i bliską,

O prawa ludzkie i boskie,

O wszystko.

Święty Boże,

Święty Boże,

Święty a Nieśmiertelny!

Błogosław odważnym i dzielnym,

Błogosław naszej wojnie,

Błogosław naszym wojskom

I naszemu męstwu!

Usłysz nasze wołanie,

Który jesteś z nami Wszechmocny Panie,

Daj nam zwycięstwo!

Holy God

Holy God,

Holy God,

Holy and Immortal,

Bless the arms

Our Infantry

Present at Thy portal.

Holy God,


Inscrutable, in Heaven,

Let none of our shells

And none of our shots

A fruitless course be given.

Holy God,

For right we fight,

For freedom and good will;

For our land and ocean

And our Mother’s devotion,

Bless Thou our good sword still.

For the Wawel’s Polish Bones,

For the graves of our fathers free,

On which Thy symbol stands,

For the years gone and the years to be,

For our mountains, our Vistula,

For our wives and offspring,

For rights held dear

Both far and near

And God’s purpose in everything.

Holy God,

Holy and Almighty,

Holy, Everlasting-

Bless the brave

Who love Thy laws,

Bless our Army,

Bless our cause

For our prayer and fasting.

Thou Who art with us

Both night and day

O Lord Omnipotent,

Give us victory.

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Warsaw, Poland
Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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