Boinkie's Blog


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God is in charge

This is my "rant"blog and often includes religious stuff, but as a whole, I am leery of those with cheap and easy answers to life, often quoting Hopkin's sonnet: The cliffs of fall...hold them cheap those who ne're hung there....

So the best essay on the hurricane comes from Walter Russell Mead, on the American Interest site:

Into this busy, self involved world Hurricane Sandy has burst. Sharks have been photographed (or at least photo shopped) swimming in the streets of New Jersey towns; waves sweep across the Lower East Side; transformers explode on both sides of the Hudson as salt water surges into the tunnels and subways. For a little while at least, New Yorkers are reminded that we live in a world shaped by forces that are bigger than we are; tonight it is easy to identify with the sentiments in John Milton’s paraphrase of Psalm 114:
Shake earth, and at the presence be aghast
Of him that ever was, and aye shall last,
That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush,
And make soft rills from the fiery flint-stones gush.
Soon, though, the winds will die down and the waters recede. The bridges will open, the roads will be repaired, the water will be pumped from the subways and service restored. New Yorkers will go back to their normal pursuits and Hurricane Sandy will fade into lore.
But events like this don’t come out of nowhere. Sandy isn’t an irruption of abnormality into a sane and sensible world; it is a reminder of what the world really is like. Human beings want to build lives that exclude what we can’t control — but we can’t.

read the whole thing.

yes, we can't control everything: so into every life comes a time when you can only hang onto the "cliffs of fall" with one's puny strength, and trust in God that he will care for you, no matter what.
To open your eyes to the fragility of life and to our dependence on that which is infinitely greater than ourselves is to enter more deeply into life. To come to terms with the radical insecurity in which we all live is to find a different and more reliable kind of security. The joys and occupations of ordinary life aren’t all there is to existence, but neither are the great and all-destroying storms. There is a calm beyond the storm, and the same force that sends these storms into our lives offers a peace and security that no storm can destroy.

Sometimes now that I am retired, the memories of horrible things come back, and I can do nothing about what I have seen or help those who I was unable to help. So as a Christian, all I can do is visually stand at the foot of the cross with Mary, saying: Jesus, take these burdens and cure them, because you too suffered and know how we weak humans suffer.

We will come for you in terror

Tea at Trianon links to this post about a crazy new age channeler shows hatred of Catholics and Mexicans.

"F— you, you Catholics!” Knight bellows over cheers from her audience.

“We will come on you in a terror,” Knight growls in another cut. “We will bring… St. Peter’s temple down and we will swallow it in the sea.” (“St. Peter’s temple” is a reference to the Catholic church itself.)"
The videos are included at the link if you want to see them but I warn you they are vulgar and graphic beyond belief. (Read entire post.)

She has given major donations to the Democratic party this year (LINK), but only one Democrat so far has returned it.

more HERE.

wikipedia article has these links
  1. ^ Nisqually Valley News "Knight video draws fire"
  2. ^ Nisqually Valley News "New JZ Knight video emerges"
  3. ^ The Olympian "Lachney to give Knight donation to scholarship" 

 Knight is undoubtably either a paranoid schizophrenic or has been channeling demonic forces. Take your pick.

What is not clear is: who was she talking to when she said these things? Did anyone walk out?

MariaElena's blog post comments: She only said what they all really think:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Remembering the good old days

When I was in medical school, our psychiatric professors said as soon as abortion was made legal, all our schizophrenics would get better, since most of them suffered from repressed sexuality and abortion would allow them to have sex.
When I was a doc in a small town, and there was a TV movie on incest, Newsweek had an article insisting that we shouldn't report incest to the police since a father who was jailed would result in family break up (not to mention that if he was jailed, he might be preyed on by other criminals).

When I had young boys, California decided non violent sexual predators could be treated out patient. Since we were on the interstate, we had one pedophile after another come through town, preying on our naive children.

I am not defending bishops who went along with the Johns Hopkins sex abuse programs and didn't report the cases of pedophilia, but back then, most cases never went to court, and the few that did usually resulted in more trauma to the children involved.  This was especially true in incest, or when cases involved someone with a relationship to the child (this would include teachers, cousins, and priests)...

So again our medical journals told us to be cautious in reporting such cases. And I know this is true, from two different hospital employees who confided their cases to me. So the best we could hope for was a plea bargain, so the girls wouldn't have to testify against a relative.

Ah, but who in the press remembers those "good old days"?

Damian Thompson of the UK Telegraph has a couple posts on his blog about those days....the BBC is now being exposed for covering up a serial pedophile, and one of these days the US press will discover a similar problem with Hollywood.

His article on incest:
My article last week about the radical Left’s defence of paedophilia in the 1970s provoked all manner of paroxysms from today’s Lefties. How dare I blacken the name of Hattie Harman by pointing out that she became legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) soon after it campaigned for a more relaxed approach to sex with children?...

Another correspondent asked me to take a closer look at the NCCL Report on Sexual Offences (1976), which argued for a fundamental rethink on the subject of incest.
Yes, you read that right. Decriminalising incest was one of the pet causes of the brothers and sisters of the extreme Left represented by the NCCL. This is from its 1976 report:
“For hundreds of years the crime of incest has given rise to such intense feelings of revulsion that public discussion on the subject has often been ill-informed and irrational.” Note the distinctive finger-wagging.
“The present-day case against incest is firstly, that genetic damage may result in the offspring and secondly, that an incestuous union is disruptive of the union of the family.” Fortunately the NCCL was on hand to brush away these fusty prejudices.
“Recent studies” didn’t support the idea that incest caused genetic damage, it said, “and it is in contradiction to the practices of successful animal breeders. In any case the advent of reliable contraceptives and safer abortion weakens this argument.” So if a man had sex with his sister, he should use a condom or arrange for an abortion.
As for the effect of incest on families, “incest is not the cause but one symptom of a disrupted family… In our view, no benefit accrues to anyone by making incest a crime when committed between mutually consenting persons over the age of consent.” An age of consent which the NCCL wanted to lower to 14, incidentally, though only to placate public opinion: “It is both logical, and consistent with modern development, to suggest that the age of consent should be abolished.”
NCCL is now better known as Liberty and run by Shami Chakrabarti, Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and secular saint of the Guardian/BBC conglomerate...
But what happened to the woman who was general secretary of the NCCL when these stomach-churning views were expressed? Did she retreat into the grumpy subculture of ageing Marxists?
Not quite. Like a number of Callaghan-era hard Leftists, she reinvented herself as a New Labour loyalist. Indeed, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt (for it was she) served as secretary of state for health from 2005 to 2007. Though, to be fair, I don’t recall her saying a single word about incest.
an earlier article also points fingers at those who supported incest and pedophilia in the 1970's:

Harriet Harman is calling for an independent inquiry into the Jimmy Savile scandal. A key question, she says, is why so many alleged victims felt “they couldn’t complain”.
Well, one answer is that attitudes towards paedophilia in the 1970s were bizarrely relaxed – and not just in Catholic presbyteries or BBC dressing rooms. This was the era when activists on the radical Left lobbied long and hard for changes in the law to reflect a more “enlightened” attitude towards sex between adults and minors.
But that won’t be news to Hattie. In 1978, she became legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), which – in its evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976 – had said the following:
“Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage… The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.”
To be fair, the NCCL’s quite revolting parliamentary submission was written two years before Harriet joined its staff.  But one wonders why she wanted to work for an outfit whose views on sex with minors were known to be extreme, even by the standards of the day...

Ms Harman maintains that she always opposed child pornography, and is not on record defending belief in “harmless” paedophilia, though it was held by her employers while she worked there. But no such excuse can be made for Patricia Hewitt, who was general secretary of the NCCL from 1974 to 1983 – i.e., during the period when it issued the notorious 1976 submission.
In 1982, the future Labour health secretary published The Police and Civil Liberties, in which she discussed the imprisonment of Tom O’Carroll, secretary of the Paedophile Information Exchange, for conspiracy to corrupt public morals. “Conspiring to corrupt public morals is an offence incapable of definition or precise proof,” wrote Hewitt. The fact that O’Carroll was involved in distributing child porn “overshadowed the deplorable nature of the conspiracy charge used by the prosecution”.

a similar charge could be made for some of those at the forefront of the American intelligencia.


One of my themes way back when I wrote about medical ethics was that we were losing our "moral vocabulary", so couldn't discuss things.

So abortion of a normal baby was morphed into "choice" (which ignored that one third of abortions are coerced by boyfriend or parents). And euthanasia was pushed to blur the difference between end of life comfort care and killing.

Father Z points to the problem of how liturgists destroyed the feeling of holiness in the Catholic church by a similar introduction of "newspeak" (Orwell's term from 1984).

For example, they made us – and no one asked them to do this, by the way – give up talking about “sacrifice”. And when we lost “sacrifice”, we therefore lost a clear understanding of “priesthood”. No “sacrifice”, no “priest”. Today, “minister” dominates. We are losing or have, in some places, lost the words “worship” and “adoration”. Now we talk about “celebration”. We “gather”. We still “pray”. But do we? Really? To whom or what?
“Sin”?  It is to laugh. “Hell”?  What’s that?
“Worship” and “adoration” had to go, of course. They smack too much of Tantum ergo, and all that stuff. You can see why the now aging-hippies tried to do away with those words. In seminary, after all, the same generation of Richard McBrien types incessantly crammed down our throats “Jesus said ‘Take and eat’, not ‘sit and look’!”
“Altar” is now associated more with protestant “altar calls”. Catholics, talk about “table”. Altars are connected with “sacrifice”. Thus, the concept of altar had to go. “Tables” are us!
It is not, I think, that they were trying to find new ways to express old and fundamentally Catholic concepts to a new generation in modern terms. They were trying to destroy the old and fundamentally Catholic concepts for a new generation.
We must recover our terms.
Unless you recover the words, you can’t recover the concepts.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

St Ignatius and the church

Article from Insight scoop, from a new book they are publishing.

But the letters he left behind afford us a precious and remarkable picture of what that Church was like not even two full generations after issuing from the side of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The adult life of St. Ignatius of Antioch as a second-generation Church leader almost exactly spanned the period of transition between the end of the first Christian generation and the beginning of the third. Thus, his witness about the nature of the Church of his day is of the most profound and fundamental importance.

What was the Church like around the year 107 A.D.? The Church had already spread far and wide since the days of the apostles. St. Ignatius was conducted over a good part of what, today, is Turkey, encountering local Churches in most major towns. At the head of each of these Churches was a principal leader, a bishop. The geographical spread of individual local Churches, each headed by a bishop, is obvious from the fact that Ignatius was met by delegations headed by bishops from each sizeable town along the route.

That St. Ignatius was met by these "official" delegations indicates that local Churches were in close touch with one another. They did not see themselves as independent, self-selected, self-governing congregations of like-minded people; they saw themselves as linked together in the one body of Christ according to an already firmly established, well-understood system, even though they happened to be geographically separated.

Ignatius was appointed as bishop by St Peter, and the urban legend is that he was one of the children blessed by Jesus.

And of course since he was martyred, they have records of when he actually lived.

do you REALLY believe in God?

Making political hay on rape again.

The anchoress says it was dumb to talk theology during an election, but points out that the press will use this to to distract the public from very real questions about Benghazi, and adds:

They (the press) were going for strident bumper-sticker speech, which is much less threatening, and challenging, than contemplating the age-old question (Book of Job, anyone? Crucifix, anyone?) of whether God sometimes allows evil to happen so that something great may later come of it.It’s actually a very broad-minded question, and an invitation to talk and think about things larger than ourselves and our prideful ideas.
If there is no God, no problem. The person in question is an A$$$$$$$$. Abort the kid and let mom get along with her life.

But if there is a God, you have to confront two deep questions:

One: The problem of evil. Why is there evil? Why does God allow evil to occur? 

Two: can you do an action that it evil because you see it will have good result?

Religious folks know that although God may permit evil to occur, that ultimately he will arrange things so that good will ultimately result from evil.
And a child himself is not "evil" or the enemy: A child is a promise for the future. Most Christians would allow abortion in these hard circumstances, but Catholics point out that the proper response of Christians is to surround the mother with support and love, and maybe adopt the child if she cannot or will not care for it, but not to kill the innocent child who is not responsible for the crime behind it's conception.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

and the children will cry

from the UKTelegraph.

Chinese author Mo Yan today won the Nobel Literature Prize for writing that mixes folk tales, history and the contemporary, the Swedish Academy announced....

 some chinese bloggers are scoffing, since he has been so bland and tends to tell stories to please the Emperor, not make him uncomfortable

but then there is this:

His latest novel, 2009's "Frog", is considered his most daring yet, due to its searing depiction of China's "one child" population control policy and the local officials who ruthlessly implement it with forced abortions and sterilisations.
The heroine of the novel is a midwife who is an enthusiastic advocate of such practices.
But she later breaks down in remorse after a drunken hallucination in which she is attacked by thousands of frogs whose croaks are the wails of the babies she has aborted.
A lot of people in the west hate Catholics because we insist that the children they destroy in the womb are they lash out and insist we approve of their actions, saying that any guilt in the mother is only because of our propaganda.

But when I worked in pscyhiatry, one of our patients was a Russian immigrant who suffered hallucinations of a crying child. The Russian speaking psychiatrist caring for her told me that she was mourning the child she aborted, and that such depressive psychoses were common in that country.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

O Canada

GayCaswell continues to discuss Canada's laws against Christians...often pushed by those put into office by a small minority of voters.

    McGuinty has pushed the homosexuality agenda like no one else in North America. He went to war against the Catholic Church, Catholic Schools. Christians in general and against all parents. His judges told people “ The Charter Trumps the Bible “ and “ Your God is Wrong!”. His view and the view of his henchmen was only one group has Rights. Their right is to bully everybody including to claim the mind, soul and,,, yes body of everyone else’s child. He instituted legislation in which it is an offence to even teach your child the Christian view of sexuality.
    McGuinty came back in power with a minority government. Voter turnout hit an all time low for Ontario. People just didn’t seem to get the message of what he was doing to Ontario families.  This reduced support didn’t stop him. Rather it seemed to make him more determined to push such things as MANDATORY student- led “ Gay and Straight Clubs in all schools Catholic or public. Consistent with the usual mind set his contempt for families came along with contempt for business, economic growth, and private enterprise. He most certainly outdid Saskatchewan socialists.
    Today on the Feast of Ste. Theresa of Avila, McGuinty to everyone’s surprise resigned.
    One down.
    Meanwhile the Parti Quebecois in Quebec came to power with less than a third of the vote. They announced that they would continue  Liberal Premier Charest’s plan to euthanise the citizenry. The Quebec economy is in shambles. There is a huge governmental debt and health care is a mockery. So how does one solve the situation? Allow  some private sector health care? Stop economic corruption? Encourage family and private care including and especially from religious orders as in the past? Like McGuinty, Premier Pauline Marois’ chose a totalitarian path. The solution for Quebec is to get rid of Quebecois.

keep her in your prayers (and her school takes contributions but I don't have the link).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Catholic statistics

a long article with statistics of the Catholic church
Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include: 5,305 hospitals most of them in America (1,694) and Africa (1,150); 18,179 dispensaries mainly in America (5,762); Africa (5,312) and Asia (3,884); 547 Care Homes for people with Leprosy mainly in Asia (285) and Africa (198); 17,223 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,021) and America (5,650); 9,882 orphanages, about one third in Asia (3,606); 11,379 creches; 15,327 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,472); 34,331 social rehabilitation centres and 9,391 other kinds of institutions, mostly located in America (3,564) and Europe (3,159).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Story of the day

go read this essay at American digest:

most of the "I've died and come back" stories in the news are about bright lights and angels. This one is not.

The roots of my miracle go back many years and begin, as so many things do these days, online in a long correspondence that became, in time, a deep and abiding friendship and love. Part of that friendship entailed that, although we lived in separate towns, we spent some parts of each year visiting. In this particular autumn she was visiting me. And on this particular day she had -- for obscure reasons -- postponed her regular daily walk and, upon return, postponed her regular post-walk shower. This meant that during the time she would normally be either out of the house or under running water she just happened standing nearby when my heart stopped.

The result was that she started the 911 response within seconds after I stopped breathing. Because of this the three units dispatched to help me came within minutes and returned me to life and transported me to the hospital where I spent the next 13 days suspended between a light and a light.

Some seem to feel that miracles only happen in the center of a bright light with a large boom and a loud voice out of a whirlwind; Imax miracles in Surroundsound. Perhaps they do. I’ve no experience with them. My experience has only been with the miracle of a long chain of small events, happenings, and abiding love that have given to me this extra year of being alive in the midst of the miracle of creation; creation as it is, both miraculous or mundane.

via Sense of Events.

The Solar phenomenum that changed the world

95 years ago, a bunch of ignorant people awaited a predicted miracle, and the press was there to laugh at them.

(Via Tea at Trianon)

so the sun "spun" right on cue, to the astonishment of those present, both believers and non believers.

Was it Mass hysteria? Then why did the agnostic anti catholic reporters from the capital see it? Was it a natural phenomenum? Maybe: I read one account that a writer living a couple miles away noted the phenomenum in his diary.

But that's beside the point. Even if it was a "natural" phenomenum, how did ignorant peasants (or their non scientifically trained local priest, if you think he was the mastermind) predict it?

Most of the more recent "sun spinning" phenomenum (e.g.  at Medjugore) seem to be hallucinations/hysteria, since only the devotee sees it. But this was seen by everyone.

Even so, why remember thisa, outside of conspiracy theories or pseudoscience on the History channel?

Because literally, this miracle changed world history.

The "message" was that of the bible: Prayer, penance, repentance/turning from one's sins

But there were also predictions that Russia would spread her errors around the world, and that some countries would disappear from the map, and that there would be a second world war, preceeded with a warning, a "light in the sky", and if people didn't repent, an even worse one..but if people turned from their sins, there would be a period of peace.
Lucia, the only "seer" who grew to adulthood (the other two died from complications of the Spanish flu epidemic), said she thought Russia was a woman. But even so, it meant that the prediction was made a couple weeks before the Bolshevik revolution.

Or of course maybe a local priest with geo political experience made it up, since the prediction wasn't released until the mid 1920's...

And then there was that solar flare/aurora borealis that appeared before World War II...


January 25, 1938 The Fatima Storm - The Great Aurora was seen over the whole of Europe and as far south as Southern Australia, Sicily, Portugal and across the Atlantic to Bermuda and Southern California. Crowds in Vienna awaiting the iminent birth of Princess Juliana's baby cheered the aurora as a lucky omen. The immense arches of crimson light with shifting areas of green and blue, radiated from a brilliant Auroral Crown near the zenith instead of appearing as usual in parallel lines. It was also considered to be one of the Fatima Prophesies by Roman Catholics worldwide.
So again: Big deal.

A kid (or her machivellian puppet master) manages to predict two solar phenomenums and guess what would happen in history. Big deal.

What does that have to do with us?

again, fast forward to the 1980's. Communism was seen as the way of the future, and with Jimmy Carter's failure to be elected, a lot of folks worried there would be world war III started by the cowboy Ronald Reagan.

And by the end of that decade, there were only a few communist governments left: the rest fell, often due to peaceful demonstrations by people inspired by their faith.

Nor was this limited to communist countries: the Philippines "people power" had people praying rosaries and carrying the statue of the Lady of Fatima at their head, and some say that the reason Marcos soldiers didn't shoot was that a "beautiful lady in white" went up to them and said "don't shoot my people".

The fall of communism was predicted by nobody, especially that these governments would fall without major civil wars or worse.

Which brings us back to Fatima. From a book review on the UKTelegraph:

It is no longer considered respectable - or even, by some, sane - to write what used to be called 'providential history'. Once upon a time, learned men discerned in great events the working out of divine purposes and arranged their historical narrative accordingly. 'God blew, and they were scattered,' it was said of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. John O'Sullivan comes near to saying the same thing about the defeat of Soviet Communism.
The author has too light a touch to say straight out that God was on the side of the three subjects of this book - Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II - but one feels that the idea animates his writing...
You have  to realize that the idea communism would fall was simply unbelievable to the elites of the world:
It was the era of economic failure, Soviet expansionism, exploding oil prices and post-Sixties self-loathing in the West. That grand fool, J.K. Galbraith, declared that the Soviet system 'has made great material progress in recent years' and contrasted it with the West's failure to 'make full use of manpower'. 'Decline' was the word most commonly used.
And yes, God was there:

O'Sullivan rightly points out that when people have tried to kill you, your attitude to life changes. If you have a strong character, you acquire a heightened sense of purpose. All three of his subjects experienced assassination attempts, Mrs Thatcher (in the bomb at Brighton) being the only one to escape physical injury.
You also tend to think most seriously about your faith. The only moment Mrs Thatcher broke down because of Brighton was when she prayed in church the following Sunday. Reagan believed more explicitly that what he called 'The Big Fella Upstairs' had spared him for a purpose. And John Paul thought that Our Lady of Fatima had deflected the bullet, thus saving his life ('One hand fired and another hand guided the bullet').
Andrew Jackson once said: A man with courage is a majority.

So is two men and a woman with courage that good is better than evil, and freedom better than slavery.

When he was recovering, the Pope read the so called "Third secret" and finally released it. It showed a persecution of the church and an attack that caused the Pope to fall.

This is all over the conspiracy sites if you want to google, but John Paul interpreted it as fulfilled: Indeed, there have been millions of Christians murdered under communist and fascist regiemes in the 20th century, and he interpreted the fact that he was alive to the fact he had suddenly leaned over to touch a medal of the Virgin Mary on a small girl, so the bullet missed it's target, hitting his liver instead of his heart or head.

So, instead of the reaching out to communism or cooperation as was done by the liberation theology types, he became a pastor who went in front of his people to say: You are humans with dignity that God gave you. Be not afraid!

So the slow demise of communism happened, starting with a few pebbles and then becoming an avalanche

The best film on all of this was made in the 1950's: best because is is slightly fictionalized to make the story better yet it kept the story true.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

stories stories

Today, the neighbors across the street buried their sister. She was only 46 and had chest pain but by the time they got her to the hospital, she had no pulse. In relating the story, her sister showed me the lab and the bill for the medicines: Two vials of adrenalin. At that point, I figured that they were trying to get her heart restarted, and indeed a relative said she was essentially dead when she arrived.

so young. Yet no children. I didn't get the story of her life, but a few years ago she was convicted of selling drugs and sent to jail for a year, which suggests not much of a crime. So what brought her to do such a thing? Was she once in love? Did she find no happness in her work? Such things are too personal for me to ask (especially an upset family, who speak English only a little better than I understand Tagalog).

Her mother was staying with family in Japan (presumably her daughter worked there) and it took her a week to come down. So for the last week, every evening they held the wake....visitors on and off all day and in the evening they had music: a quartet and singer and/or a kareoke machine. I went over the first day with Joy to give them a gift, but we didn't visit every day as is the custom.

But I haven't slept well all week, with the sad music and singing every night (our bedroom faces the street).

Luckily after two days, the dogs stopped barking at the noise, so at least we could sleep a little better, but the music and situation has made me a bit depressed.

So this afternoon we went to the funeral: lots of people there (and two other funerals in the cemetary, so lots of traffic and crowds). The band played at the gravesite and the family wept, at which point I got dizzy from the heat and asked Joy if we could leave, which we did.

Not much we can do to help, and I am remembering her and the family in my prayers.

One of the problems with being retired is that little things bring up memories of horrible things I have seen in my years of practicing medicine.

So this is not, alas, the first early death maybe due to drugs, that I have seen, but it is the first I have seen here in the Philippines.


two short stories I ran across in the past day:

This one, from Diplomad, is about his work in a consulate when he is called in the middle of the night to check on an American in trouble, possibly dead, in a locked hotel room.

Again, a sad and somewhat quirky story.

and this one, is about snotty doctors who misjudge their "foreign" patients.

Ah yes. I've seen a lot of that...and a lot of our Native American patients in the US had to put up with that type of prejudgement. 


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Actually the photo came with one of the "cute kitten emails that go around the world" from Eng Hamid.

St Francis of Assisi once preached to the birds when the people wouldn't listen, and once, when a town wanted to go out and kill a predator wolf, he talked to the wolf and made an agreement he wouldn't kill their sheep if they left food out for him.

So he is the patron saint of Treehuggers.

But he was more than that: He probably saved the church by reforming it in the 11th century.

And I hate the movies made about him: which either show him as a wimp or someone with the blank stare of a cult follower or schizophrenic.  I almost hit the wall with my shoe when I started viewing one on Youtube that showed him too effete to fight in battle for Assisi so he fled home...hello...he not only fought, but was a POW for a year.

Hmmm...maybe they should make him the patron saint of POW's and soldiers with PTSS...

Which probably made him a pacifist.

So years later, when he visited the Muslims, it was not in a crusade, but as a pilgrim, and the Sultan saw him as a holy man and let him return home. Wikipedia has a few versions of the story,including some far out myths,  and one wonders what really happened.

But what is true is that the Franciscans have traditionally been allowed to care for Christians in the Muslim lands, and it is believed (but not proven) that this was due to Francis one way or another.

Sacred Clowns

LeonPoodles, who usually blogs about church child abuse, is more upbeat today:

He visits a Pueblo and watches the Sacred Clowns.

celbrating the feast of ST Jerome.

No, I don't know if Jerome would be pleased, but St Gregory the Great would approve. He instructed St Augustine of Canterbury to allow and encourage what was good about the culture,when teaching the message of Christ, and not to forbid everything.

I found this part of his observation sad, because it is so true:
We went to mass at the pueblo – all pueblo women; the men were in the kivas. The priest gave a good sermon on the gospel “If your hand leads you into sin, cut it off,” by comparing it with the all too familiar surgery the Indians face. Their diabetes leads to gangrene and the amputation of a limb to save their lives.

I don't know that much about the Pueblos (when I lived in New Mexico, I worked with the Apaches and earlier a short time with the Navajo, both of which have very different cultures). But I understand that the clowns and Kachinas are ancestral spirits, not deities, so are compatible with Catholicism.

The original Spanish saw the kachinas and clowns and demons, and there were even rebellions by some Pueblos, but in more recent times, the priests realized they were not. (and most of the priests are now Franciscans, not theological nit pickers).

Which is why you always need someone to understand the culture before you forbid something.

When I worked with the Mescalero Apaches, the puberty ceremony, where the "mountain gods" visited the girls in a ceremony, was also originally forbidden.

Father Braun learned the "gods" were the ancestoral spirits, teaching the girls how to be women, and now Catholic girls, at least in Mescalero, can undergo the ceremony.

Some of my patients told me proudly how their parents helped cut the stones and build the church that you see if you travel up into the mountains from Alamagordo to Ruidoso.

Father Braun was at Bataan and in a local prison camp; so along with the memorials to Gernomino and other Apaches I was startled to see a plaque in memory of the NM National Guard who were in the Bataan Death march...and it wasn't just Father B but two local Mescaleros who were there...