Saturday, February 15, 2020



                                             ARISE – GO!

There is a tv ad running during the news lately which shows very bored young people doing various things to relieve their boredom, including allegedly reaching the end of the internet! The joke being that allegedly it is impossible to reach the end of the internet. Of course, the point of the ad is that these young people get up, that is arise out of their boredom and buy a new car, brand X, and all will be well. The dark tragedy of course is that in modern culture we are told ‘stuff’ rather than relationships will fulfill us. In point of fact their ‘arising’ is actually a descent further into this consumerist culture of darkness and death.

The ad did remind me of the story of St. Augustine walking along the seashore pondering and trying to intellectually grasp the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. The Saint comes upon a young boy running with a conch shell full of water which he pours into a hole he had dug in the sand. Back and forth, back and forth so the Saint asks: “What are you doing?” “I am going to put the sea into this hole.” “That’s impossible!” asserts the holy adult, to which the child replies: “I will put this sea into this hole before you will ever comprehend the Holy Trinity!”

Faith teaches us, from Revelation, and the Sacred Tradition of the Church affirms, the reality of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Perichoresis περιχώρησις is the ancient Greek word which has been used since the early Church Fathers sought to articulate in the poverty of mere human language this splendid mystery. At its simplest the term articulates the infinite of infinite, with no beginning nor end of interpenetrating circulation, that is the ceaseless movement of love between the Divine Persons to/from/for each other.

The immensity of Trinitarian love is such that, again using the poverty of human language, it explodes, shines, shimmers, moves, arises, goes outward: thus, all creation is created and is beloved of the Trinitarian Creator. Within creation the greatest intensity of this Divine Fire-Movement of love is in the creation of we human beings in God’s very image and likeness, and our redemption by Jesus Christ, God-Incarnate, our sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

Since Adam and Eve, we have, and continue to, throw back in the face of God this incredible existence as beloved of the Trinity. That is what sin entails: rejection of being beloved of God by rejecting love.

The unwaveringly faithful intensity of Divine Trinitarian love is such that when we have fallen, wandered or run away, are lost in the darkness, the Father sends the Son to become a human being like us in all things but sin. Jesus Incarnate takes sin upon Himself and loves us literally to death, His death on the Cross, and once He has ascended into heaven we are gifted with the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.

We therefore can say the origin of ARISE [1], which the dictionary defines as: to originate from a source, to come into being, to exist, is Trinitarian in terms of all that has come to be in creation, ourselves most of all, for the Holy Trinity is the source of all, of every creature who has been, is, ever will be.

If we look at the ‘God said…’ passages in Genesis we can contemplate the ex nihilo [out of no-thing] creative action, movement, of the Holy Trinity in each of the ‘let there be’ and the ‘there was’ statements as movements of God saying ARISE! [Gn. 1: 31 & Gn. 2: 1-25]

The key to all the proceeding reflection is the Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, thus the Prologue of the Holy Gospel according to St. John [Jn.1: 1-18] can never be contemplated too much. Indeed, we will reach the end of the internet before we will completely be immersed in the fullness of the Prologue.

We arise into existence by the creative love-act of the Holy Trinity breathing life, human life, personhood, into the matter provided by our mother and father in our mother’s womb.

We are created in the first instance to be beloved of the Trinity, this loving God who is so tender and aware of all He creates, for example: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” {Ps.147:4}. Indeed were we able to count all the stars that exist within the cosmos that mass of creation would be as nothing compared to the absolute unique belovedness of each of us, for while we are all brothers and sisters we are also unique individuals, thus we rejoice and sing with the Palmist: “ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” [Ps. 139:14]

That we might, when we arise from the womb through birth, then grow through the various stages of life, each itself a type of arising, until the moment comes when the Holy Trinity calls us, through the mystery of physical death, to arise into eternal life, we are accompanied on the journey, strengthened, endowed with all necessary grace and sacraments, because God Himself, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus the Incarnate One, arose, by the power of the Holy Spirit from the womb of Mary, His and our Mother, to dwell among us as a human being, a man like us in all things but sin, arising from the waters of the Jordan with the Father exultantly assuring us Jesus is His Beloved Son to whom we should listen, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, confirming Jesus’ redemptive mission: all that for we the Beloved of the Holy Trinity!

The word arise occurs numerous times throughout Sacred Scripture and to cite and meditate upon each would take volumes!

By the love-action of the Holy Spirit we arise from the waters of Baptism as co-heirs with Christ, as living temples of the same Holy Spirit, as disciples of Christ, called to be salt of the earth and light of the world in the heart of the human family, so we should take comfort that the Church prays constantly, and invites us to pray, for all help needed as we arise each day, itself a gift, to continue the journey, the pilgrimage of grace.

St. John Damascene in his prayer before going to sleep affirms, and Pope Leo xiii uses the same phrase in his great prayer for protection from evil spirits, from which derives the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: God arises; His enemies are scattered and those who hate Him flee before Him.

This is the ever vigilant and tender, ever loving and all merciful Holy Trinity keeping us safe from all harm, IF we willingly allow ourselves to be so loved, for true love never imposes, never imprisons, always protects the freedom of the Beloved, hence when Love creates us we are created with free will.

Again we know all this because of Jesus Christ, yet often allow the struggles, pains, challenges, disappointments of life, the sins of others against us or our own sins, to bend us towards ourselves which results in a type of memory asphyxiation triggering a shriveling of our awareness of being beloved and, unless we have recourse to sacramental confession, or as needed spiritual direction, even medical or other therapeutic help, we will be lost – though the Good Shepherd will never cease arising to seek us out and find us, offering to lift us up, that is make it so we arise from whatever quagmire we have lost ourselves in.

While the following references the Apostles-disciples, it applies to each of us and should comfort and affirm how beloved we are, keeping in mind that not every human being arises to a new day of grace from a warm bed, or in the heart of a loving family. Many arise into another day of being homeless, or into brutality, abuse, addiction, in a hospital, nursing home or hospice, into another day in prison or a labour or concentration camp, into a new day of hunger, persecution, prejudice, unemployment, the immense pain of wondering who and why they are, what’s it all about, is there a God, is there love?: Simply to be known and loved by Him, as they do in fact feel known and loved by Him, unaccountably gives a savor of excellence and worth to their poor lives. Just to be with Him is untold treasure. Nothing could be more thoroughly engaging, thrilling, and challenging than His friendship. With Him you feel often thrust to the edge of mental and physical endurance and yet, at the same time, oddly enthralled, rejuvenated by His all-engulfing presence. His very presence awakens in them a deep yearning for fullness of life, for immortality. [2]

THAT is the communion of love, the splendour of grace, the joy of life into which, by the grace-gift of a new day of beginning anew, we arise each day.

As mentioned Sacred Scripture is replete with the word arise. St. John Paul speaks to this referencing the parallel word rise, which also means movement upwards, towards, an invitation to follow, and when applied to communion of love with the Holy Trinity, with Jesus as disciples, it is a vocational invitation: When “His hour” had come, Jesus said to those who were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane……”Rise, let us be on our way” [cf. Mark 14:42]. Not only He must “be on His way” to fulfill His Father’s will; they, too, must go with Him. That invitation, “Rise, let us be on our way,” is addressed to us…..His chosen friends. Even if these words indicate a time of trial, great effort, and a painful cross, we must not allow ourselves to give way to fear. On another occasion…..Jesus said: “Rise, and do not be afraid!” [Matt. 17:7] God’s love does not impose burdens upon us that we cannot carry, nor make demands of us that we cannot fulfill. For whatever He asks of us, He provides the help that is needed……Rise, let us be on our way!” Let us go forth full of trust in Christ. He will accompany us as we journey……..[3]


[2] FIRE OF MERCY HEART of the WORLD, volume III, MEDITATION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, p. 201; Ignatius Press 2012 [underling is of what in the original is in italics and, as the good Sisters of Charity taught us as children, capitalized ‘Him’ where the refences are to Jesus]

[3] RISE, LET US BE ON OUR WAY, John Paul II, pps. 215, 216; Warner Books, 2004

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Wednesday, February 05, 2020



This Beloved Icon is called “Unexpected Joy”. The youth kneeling in prayer represents everyone. Has he come for physical, emotional, spiritual healing, burdened by some sin committed? One story about the Icon is that this soul, loving the Holy Theotokos came to pray. To pray before going out to commit a sin. Suddenly Christ’s wounds appeared on the Holy Child’s body and blood began to flow. Horrified the young man – as should each of us before any image of Christ suffering or crucified – asked who’d done this to Jesus and Our Blessed Mother replied: “You and other sinners when through sinning you crucify My Son anew!”

Weeping for some time, coming to understand his need of repentance and mercy suddenly his being was filled with the unexpected joy of forgiveness.

Within the depths of all Jesus gifts us in the Holy Gospels, the night before His crucifixion, His ultimate complete gift of Himself for our redemption, Jesus tells us: “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [Jn.15:11]

This is the will of the Holy Trinity for every human being that we be filled with JOY, a divine gift. The acceptance of this gift of joy on earth means living lives rooted in union with Christ, living the Gospel with our lives without compromise. Once we have crossed the threshold of death the ultimate completion of joy becomes our state of being, for we have arrived to be with, in communion of love, the Holy Trinity, our destination from the moment of our conception. We have originated by an act of Love Himself giving us being that we might travel through time to that most precious moment when He calls us to Himself in the eternity of endless, joyous love.

It is rather bizarre that we are at a time in history were people who track such things list the nations of the world in a “happiness” quotient ranking. Happiness is a fleeting emotion whose intensity, or lack there of, depends upon what the self gets to make us happy.

JOY is a gift of the Holy Spirit and enflames charity/love, towards others. We do the giving, not the taking, yet in the very giving our joy increases!

This is Christ’s joy for immediately that He tells us He is giving us His joy that ours may be complete He points to the vessel in which joy comes to us: This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. [Jn.15: 12].

Just as darkness cannot overpower light, death is weaker than life, truth smashes lies, love disperses hate, hate is the total absence of light, life, truth, love and therefore is joyless.

Joy is not the absence of suffering. Joy is the leaven in the loaf of suffering. Suffering is  participation with Christ in His redemptive sufferings, and these days mixed in with all personal spiritual, emotional, physical suffering, there is, for Christians, the communal suffering of striving to persevere in the anti-Christian culture of death: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the consolation. [2Cor.1:3-9]

In the Litany of Our Lady one of the invocations is: Cause of our joy. She is this cause and source because She gives us Jesus, and Jesus gives Her to us as our Mother.

St. John Paul reminded us: If you really wish to follow Christ, if you want your love for him to grow and last, then you must be faithful to prayer. It is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ. Without prayer, your faith and love will die. If you are constant in daily prayer and in the Sunday celebration of Mass, your love for Jesus will increase. And your heart will know deep joy and peace, such as the world could never give. Pope Emeritus Benedict stresses: Each of you has a personal vocation which He has given you for your own joy and sanctity. When a person is conquered by the fire of His gaze, no sacrifice seems too great to follow Him and give Him the best of ourselves. This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord ... and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone. Pope Francis teaches: A Christian is one who is invited... to join in the feast, to the joy of being saved, to the joy of being redeemed, to the joy of sharing life with Christ. This is a joy! You are called to a party!

The Church reminds us with Gaudete Sunday in Advent to be filled with joy in anticipating the birth of Jesus and with Laetare Sunday in Lent to rejoice that the splendour of Jesus Risen will be with us anew.

Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit and as present, and necessary, to us as the very air with breathe, the sunlight which illumines our days, the moon and starlight which guide us in the darkness of night.

Within the depths of the Beatitudes [Mt.5:3-12] we discover the template of lived faith, selfless love, the grace-gift of hope, the way to fulfill our vocation to love one another, dwelling in and radiating the light of Christ who is our joy.

His own abundant joy and trust make Him conclude the Beatitudes with a great cry of victory: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” [5:12]. Those who live the Beatitudes on earth are already in Heaven, for they are already living the divine life. Once we are breathing the air of the Kingdom, suffering with and for Jesus can only be a dynamic source of joy, springing from our awareness of identification with Him. [1]

However, neither satan, nor his agents roaming about in the culture of darkness and death want us to be dwelling in FAITH, LOVE, HOPE, LIGHT, LIFE, JOY.

There is a nihilistic lassitude which, being of satan, holds innumerable human beings in its talons, including many Christians.

This expresses itself in the ease with which Holy Marriage is rejected through divorce or couples living together without the joy and grace of the sacrament; in the rejection of the gift and joy of life through abortion and euthanasia; through people in general just being plain cranky, if not hostile, towards one another and when it comes to the political, financial, etc., powers just wandering through the morass as if there is no destination, no hope.

The early monastics knew this was acedia, referred to as the ‘noonday devil’, even though satan arbors light it might seem odd he is active at that time of day when the sun is at its high point – however who in the bright heat of noon has not felt less energetic than in the rest of the day?

Acedia is a state of spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, faith, hope torpor with joy draining away through giving into lassitude.

Thus, acedia is also the enemy of living out the great commandment to love one another: In effect, acedia is a sin against charity in two ways, which meet in reality. On the one hand, acedia is a sin against the joy that springs from charity; it is sadness about what ought to gladden us most: participation in the very life of God. On the other hand, acedia is a sin against charity when it crushes or paralyzes activity, because then it affects the deepest motive force of activity, namely, charity, the participation of the Holy Spirit. [2]

There is a treasure within the Church, through the Madonna House Lay Apostolate from its Foundress Catherine Doherty, rooted in Sacred Scripture, which is a great counter to acedia, indeed is a template for joyous daily living of the Gospel with our lives without compromise and this treasure, this template is known as the LITTLE MANDATE. [3]

In coming essays in this series, we will apply this treasure to daily life for all Christians and people of good will.

[1] FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, Volume III; p. 148; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis; Ignatius Press 2012

[2] THE NOONDAY DEVIL, Acedia, the Unnamed Evil Of Our Time; Jean-Charles Nault, o.s.b; p.81; Ignatius Press 2015 [underling added]


© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Sunday, January 19, 2020



                        Christian hope and perseverance in the Age of Martyrs

By 1942 the Second World War seemed marked more by continuous defeats than by any glimmer of hope. Yet the Allies pressed on both in the European/African theater and in the Pacific. Finally, with the British victory at El Alamein, Churchill famously said: Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

When a democratic country has a free and fair election, if the mood of the people is anger, frustration with the incumbent government, the electorate will not so much vote for a new government as to vote out the incumbent, in a sense hoping they will experience with the new government a new beginning.

Even in democratic countries with the possibility of choosing between several rather than just two party options, what appears to dominate is government A, irrespective of minor variations, is of the leftist type. They will tend to be anti-life, anti-family, obsessed with climate change, spendthrift etc., governing until there is such anger over all the social engineering, all this applauded by, urged on by leftist media, when people go to vote they vote to kick that crowd out. While the choice of government B, irrespective likewise of minor variations, is of the rightest type. Once in power and examining the government books, to reduce huge debts and deficits, they have to cut into programs people are accustomed too, such as health care, ending up doing their own version of social engineering while the leftist media, enthralled by leftist governments and applauding their anti-Christian, anti-life agenda, fear mongering about climate change and the policies of the current government, blatantly seeks the defeat of the government. In such a climate once such necessary actions, to curb spending etc., start to bite, and people feel they are less well off, the cycle repeats itself.

Christians are complicit in this because we have forgotten Jesus’ prayer to the Father: I do not ask that You take them out of the world but that You keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. [Jn.17:15,16]

Satan, and the surrounding culture of death, want us to be so preoccupied with the world, the government around us, that we find ourselves stressed, often angry, frustrated and thus more pre-occupied with worldly matters than occupied with our baptismal vocation as disciples of Christ.

It is real carrying of the cross, real daily crucifixion following Jesus, to struggle to find the right balance between being witnesses consecrated to the Gospel of Life and active, rather than passive, citizens.

The old cliché that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely should give us pause to take time to examine our spiritual and emotional state when we act/react in the modern public square, i.e., democratic life.

If we use only the lens of our physical eyes, only the capacity of thought and imagination of our brains, react to the deep darkness of the culture of death of modern democracies with our emotions, then we have already been overcome and, rather than being on the threshold of a new beginning, all is truly lost.

However if we look upon our fellow citizens, on government, on the wider human family in all its variations of race, religion, politics, with our baptized hearts, evaluate the issues confronting our nation and the wider world having put on the armour of Christ’s love and using our brains in light of the Gospel, asking the sustaining guidance of the Most Holy Spirit, delving into, and implementing, the social teachings of the Church, then we shall experience, bring about, ‘the beginning of the end’ of the culture of darkness and death.

Modern democracies, and those in government, tend in the main to follow relativism, thus denying objective truth, and utilitarianism, thus denying that Christ has anything to say about objective morality.

St. John Paul saw the world with the eyes and heart of Christ and notes in his journals: The commandment of love. This attitude expresses freedom from any form of utilitarianism; it reaches the human being because they are a human being, it embraces the poorest and the disinherited. [1a] Also, the Saint, showing Christ’s own compassionate heart notes that: The contemporary world is, above all, searching for Him. He enters into the middle of contemporary man’s anxieties. Christ stands at the door and knocks – do not be afraid! We, above all, should not be afraid of Christ. [1b] Our time calls us, urges us, obliges us to gaze on the Lord and immerse ourselves in humble and devout meditation on the mystery of the supreme power of Christ Himself…… not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept His power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To His saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows "what is in man". He alone knows it. [2]

In this anti-life, anti-family, anti-truth, anti-Christian culture of darkness and death, bereft of authentic Christocentric democracy it is a daily struggle to live out the teaching, rooted in the Great Commandment, of St. Paul: ……do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. [Eph. 4:30-32]

To thus live out the Great Commandment, to be light in the current darkness, to be active in the public square, without anger or malice, to embrace the fatigue of the struggle, this is truly to lay down our lives, with and for Christ, for others, for the restoration of fullness of the Gospel in our culture, for the conversion of government and citizens alike.

It is to embrace silent martyrdom, and we need martyrs.

Few of us will be called to be martyrs by blood, though in this age of foreign and domestic terrorists we should lead such holy lives that we are always ready. We, each of us, are called to be silent, hidden martyrs, that is to be in but not of the world, to be people of charity, mercy, truth, life, leading lives that are indeed peaceful, holy and without sin.

A woman who in her life experienced the comfort of the aristocracy in Czarist Russia, the horrors of WWI where she was a nurse at the Russian front, experienced the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression working among the poor in Toronto and Harlem, who founded a community of men, women and priests to serve the poor, to pray for the whole human family throughout the world, addresses this need for martyrs and that contemplation, that is deep immersion in prayer in the silence of God, girds us to endure the cacophony of noise in our restless nations, to be immersed in relationship with Christ and the Gospel of life, so that our action, familial, social, political, is itself Christocentric: The heart of man seeks solutions to his problems until no solutions are left. Then he discovers that the “I” in a sense must disappear, become totally identified with Christ in His silent service to mankind. Yes, there are many silent steps to take before one comes to the door of total identification. But when you arrive there, your heart, like those of the martyrs, will receive a new burst of love, the impulse of a heart which is finally united with the Beloved. [3]

Contemplation nourishes action and Gospel action makes us thirsty for contemplation. This is living in the grace of every moment is a moment of beginning again of Christian hope and perseverance in union with Christ.

We are called in baptism to witness Christ to everyone, to every institution, being thus salt of the earth and light of the world [Mt. 5:1-16] living out the Beatitudes, the Great Commandment, [Jn. 15: 7-13], for Jesus alone is our source of life and truth, He alone is the way [Jn.14:6].

[1a.b] IN GOD’S HANDS, The Spiritual Diaries of Pope Saint John Paul II; pp. 144 & 146; William Collins, 2017


[3] MOLCHANIE, The Silence of God, p77. Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Crossroad 1982 edition, re-published by Madonna House Publications as: Molchanie: Experiencing the Silence of God

 © 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Friday, January 03, 2020

MODERN DEMOCRACIES: LOVERS’ OF DEATH~~Part 2~B: Secular & Sacred Origins


Democracies are usually defined as such by those who have power, i.e. rule over others. True democracies as emanating from the people democratic systems, based on the principle of subsidiarity, are few and far between.

In far too many so-called democratic countries the power of the people has pretty well been crushed, if not outright by abusive use of the military or police, witness what is happening in Hong Kong, or has been so weakened by vested interests, witness the obscene influence of money in American political life, or thrown out of wack by intellectual and media/arts elites, that the current situation globally should cause us to pause and heed the wisdom of Ariel Durant who stated: “ A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” [1] In the last century this unfolded for example in Czarist Russia, Weimar Germany, Imperial China.

There come times in the history of nations when institutions and dominant elites fail, when they can’t accommodate change, or become severely detached from the lives of average citizens. In Canada, such detachment has been the rule rather than the exception over the last 50 years, and the Laurentian Elite is largely to blame……John Ibbitson coined the term….He defined the “Laurentians” as “the political, academic, cultural, media and business elites” of central Canada. [2]

In a recent email from a wise young woman this acronym: L.I.B.E.R.A.L.~ Lamenting idiots bombarding every reasonable advocate of liberty!

Every modern liberal democracy, supposedly consisting of free people with the dominant voice in the body politic, has its equivalent of the ‘laurentian elites’, who are not idiots, in the classic sense, but power hungry elites who, beneath their slick surface, have hearts of stone and a disdain for the common people, that is, the rest of us.

This is the cancer of the culture of death so beloved by modern democracies and is destroying us from within.

The Greeks are credited with coining the term: δημοκρατία dēmokratía, which supposedly meant a form of government where the people ruled. ‘People’ was narrowly defined: women were excluded and would not get the vote in modern democracies until well into the early 20th century; slaves likewise, and it would take until the 19th century through the efforts of an Evangelical Christian, William Wilberforce, to bring about the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, a civil war to superficially do that in the United States, however both events highlight the adherence to the Gospel to overcome such evil, though the evil still exists in some countries; foreigners were also excluded, however in our day because the leftist elites constantly push abortion many democratic countries actively, one might say aggressively, seek foreigners to become citizens, not – even if they arrive as refugees – because of commitment to the Great Commandment, rather it is the urgent need for workers as modern death loving democracies have slaughtered workers, scientists, etc., even potential saints; non-landowners had no say and this impediment would not be eliminated until late in the 19th century in democracies following the British parliamentary system and men under 20, itself an exclusion, lingered in many countries well into the mid 20th century.

Most peoples’ notion of democracy is idealistic, that is they believe in the ideal even when there is within the populations, such immense unease, anger. In contemporary democratic countries the harsh reality of the self-serving and manipulative power of the elites is, for any mature citizen, heartbreaking. Ask any citizen of Canada, the United Sates, Great Britain, France, for example, whom the elites are and people know, and can name the billionaires, the leading universities, the leftist media: newspapers, news channels, film industries, pushing the culture of darkness and death, eroding basic natural law, and divine law moral principles, and assaulting family life, attacking and disdaining Christianity.

No wonder, addressing the world’s youth, and through them all of us, Pope Benedict, on the soil of a modern self-destroying democracy, Australia, issued this challenge to us: ….. let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the “power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?  [3]

The sacred origins of democracy, because it concerns created persons in the image and likeness of God, flow like a river throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. Woefully tainted by original sin, human beings have struggled over the millennia to develop an understanding of self as person and community, the gathering of persons in a familial way, flowing from which struggle came the development of the body politic. Primarily the sacred, but also the secular origins of democracy are found NOT in systems, philosophies, legal canons, but in a person, the Divine Person, as Pope Benedict alluded to in an address to the Latin American and Caribbean bishops:  Authentic cultures are not closed in upon themselves, nor are they set in stone at a particular point in history, but they are open, or better still, they are seeking an encounter with other cultures, hoping to reach universality through encounter and dialogue with other ways of life and with elements that can lead to a new synthesis, in which the diversity of expressions is always respected as well as the diversity of their particular cultural embodiment….Ultimately, it is only the truth that can bring unity, and the proof of this is love. That is why Christ, being in truth the incarnate Logos, “love to the end”, is not alien to any culture, nor to any person; on the contrary, the response that he seeks in the heart of cultures is what gives them their ultimate identity, uniting humanity and at the same time respecting the wealth of diversity, opening people everywhere to growth in genuine humanity, in authentic progress. The Word of God, in becoming flesh in Jesus Christ, also became history and culture. [4]

Without adherence to the Great Commandment and the Beatitudes, the Gospel of Life, democracy, authentic democracy, will always be beyond our grasp.

The modernist-elitists know this and do everything in their power to subvert Christianity, in which evil endeavour they are ably assisted by satan and his minions, because they are lovers’ of death, they impose the darkness of the culture of death on the rest of us and clearly are in constant dialogue with satan, ignoring Pope Francis’ warning: I’m convinced that one must never converse with satan – if you do that you will be lost. [5],

The first recorded conversation between human beings and satan is there in Genesis, and we all continue to experience throughout history its impact.

Many historians have written histories of the development of the human family over the millennia: Titus Flavius Josephus wrote in, and about, the period of the years before and after the birth of Christ,
giving insights in both the secular and sacred dimensions of history; in the 7th century, St. Bede the Venerable, often called the ‘father of English history’, also combined secular and sacred history.

Besides the Durants, there are countless sources for secular history, authors writing either from a global or their own country’s perspective. Among the more recent, taking a different approach than most historians, are works by Jared Diamond: A suitable starting point from which to compare historical developments on the different continents is around 11,000 b.c. This date corresponds approximately to the beginnings of village life in a few parts of the world….[6], and there we have it again, people forming familial gatherings/places to reside, leading eventually to the formation of nation states and democratic systems.

Once the Roman Empire collapsed and Christianity was freed from it’s existence in the catacombs, as the Church grew monasteries developed and over the centuries they became, besides places of contemplation, hospitality, medical care and outreach to the poor, centres of learning, which became universities and, particularly in Europe, over the centuries, accelerated by the invention of the printing press, more and more of the general population became literate and with the parish Church at the centre of village, and then neighbourhood life with the expansion of cities, the movement towards democracy flourished, nourished by vibrant sacramental life and immersion in Sacred Scripture, particularly the Holy Gospels.

This is not to ignore the growing abandonment of faith, becoming ever more pervasive since the so-called Age of Enlightenment, with its attendant secularist-relativist approach to objective truth, which it blatantly denies, and to the body politic, development of nation states, democratic systems. Tragically even more negatively decisive in our own day, this leftist-secularist-relativist approach, even after the horrendous cost in blood and treasure to defeat the evils of Nazism, and other forms of totalitarianism, the sacred treasure of authentic Christocentric democracy is, if not irretrievably lost, certainly, daily human life, individual, familial, communal in general, is wounded, almost critically, laying in a ditch at the side of the road of chronological and salvation history.

As Catholics, as Christians, we must go find it, heal it, restore it in the Light of Christ.

Holy Mother the Church is always attentive to and seeking to help Her children and the wider human family. She is the penultimate expert on humanity and knows the joys, hopes, griefs, anxieties of the human family in each moment of our lives. She has a particular solicitude for the poor, the oppressed, those who are vulnerable, [7], and makes this concern visible both through works of charity and through prayer, itself a universal act of love.

From the intercessions for Vespers of the 6th day of the Octave of the Nativity of Christ: …..Christ the Saviour, desired of the nations, spread Your Gospel to places still deprived of the Word of life, draw every person to Yourself…..let Your Church grow and extend the boundaries of its homeland, until it embraces men and women of every language and race…direct the hearts and minds of rulers, to seek justice and freedom for all nations……

[1] Ariel, along with her husband William Durant, starting in the mid 1930’s wrote a massive 11 volume THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION, both a great source, and bane, of generations of university students delving into the story of humanity.




[5] POPE FRANCIS REBUKING SATAN, published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2019

[6] GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL, The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond, p. 35, 2017


© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Saturday, December 07, 2019



                               Preamble to Secular and Sacred Origins

Languages which are ‘living’, that is used by large populations, such as English and French, have words whose meaning can change.

For example, the word democracy for the Athenians meant a system of social governance more closely related to the Catholic social-teaching principle of subsidiarity where the greatest amount of power/decision making starts at the lowest possible level in society, for example at the neighbourhood rather than the municipal governance level.

Today when most people hear the word democracy it conjures up notions of governments with power yet increasingly isolated from, and deaf, to the cries of the people: the poor and vulnerable, those who are Christian and for life.

In his work on how China is messing around with Canadian democracy, a clear and present danger ignored by the Trudeau government, Jonathan Manthorpe notes: A feeling of powerlessness has become pervasive among Western Democracies, and in many cases there are good reasons for people to think that their civic systems are not functioning as intended……There is clearly a need to refashion Western Democracy and for a new compact between governments and citizenry. [1]

Throughout modern democracies, policies language, political speeches tend to deliberately muddy the waters so that sometimes what is labeled as the liberal left party is actually more conservative than the party which tends to be labeled as the conservative right, and vice-versa, depending on how parties figure they can manipulate the electorate to gain or retain power.

Granted it is simplifying things, but here any reference to liberal means governments and thinking of the left and any reference to conservative means governments and thinking of the right. Ideally, like the preferred porridge of Goldilocks, no government, indeed no individual, should be locked into either extreme but rather seek to balance, for example, social justice with the God given right to life. Denial of the sacred origins of democracy opens the door to the chaos of the culture of death.

In: MESSAGE OF JOHN PAUL II TO THE EUROPEAN STUDY CONGRESS ON THE THEME: "TOWARDS A EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION?" , of June 2002, the Holy Father tried to teach this, as he appealed to the EU nations not to ignore their Christian heritage: ultimately ….if a new European order of this kind is to be adequate for the promotion of the authentic common good, it must recognize and safeguard the values that constitute the most precious heritage of European humanism, which has assured and continues to assure Europe a unique influence in the history of civilization. These values constitute the characteristic intellectual and spiritual contribution that has formed the European identity through the centuries and is part of the valuable cultural treasure of the continent. As I have recalled on other occasions, they concern the dignity of the person; the sacred character of human life; the central role of the family founded on marriage; the importance of education; freedom of thought, of speech and of the profession of personal convictions and religion; the legal protection of individuals and groups; the collaboration of all for the common good; work, seen as a personal and a social good; political power understood as a service, subject to law and reason, and "limited" by the rights of the person and of peoples… the process leading to a new institutional order, Europe cannot deny its Christian heritage, since a great part of its achievements in the fields of law, art, literature and philosophy have been influenced by the evangelical message…… being open to the new challenges emerging, Europe will need to draw inspiration with creative fidelity from the Christian roots that have defined European history. [2]

In the end the EU expunged any reference to its Christian roots and heritage from the constitution.

As St. Cyprian, a courageous bishop and martyr of the early Church admonishes us, and these words apply today: The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you?

Currently the United States is going through the divisiveness of an impeachment process against President Trump, it is worth noting how leftist media is obsessed in its hostility towards non-liberal-leftist politicians and policies to such an extent that, for example CNN, which used to be a news channel, is now almost ninety percent of the time trolling, blah-blahing all anti-Trump all the time.

What is, euphemistically these days, referred to as the ‘news media’, has became similarly obsessed with defeating the conservative parties around the world, and simultaneously degrading Christianity, Catholicism in particular. As far back as the early the sixties in Canada, when there was a chance the Conservatives might continue in government, something which at anytime drives the Liberal/Leftist parties nuts,  in his MEMOIRS, former Prime Minister [conservative] Brian Mulroney notes: The most famous illustration of this hostility was a statement by Val Sears….who exhorted the traveling press on to another day of objective journalistic duty with the memorable cry, “To work, gentlemen, we have a government to overthrow.” [3]

Before looking into the secular and sacred origins of democracy it is vital to remember democracy is about human beings living in common, about the human person.

All human beings, that is each person, is created innately, intrinsically, free.

Constitutive of this freedom is our wills are free, that is we are free to choose life or death, love or hate, beauty or ugliness, to dwell in the light of Christ or the darkness of hell.

There is a degree of freedom within all creation, according to natural law, hence the stars shine, shimmer, some move, as do some planets, the air, the seas, birds, trees, animals, all have a type of freedom, but only human beings, that is we as persons in the image and likeness of God, share in the Holy Trinity’s freedom of being, of life as freedom, freedom to choose.

Choice has consequences as we all experience.

Once the Holy Trinity creates the human person, male and female, that is man and woman, in His image and likeness, endowing us with free will, we are simultaneously created as free persons.

Any government, democratic or not, which deliberately curtails freedom is acting as an agent of satan. Granted certain personal curtailments are reasonable and for the greater good and have their moral legitimacy rooted in Sacred Revelation, hence ‘thou shalt not kill’, makes arresting and putting murderers in prison reasonable.

Passing laws, that allow the murder of pre-born children, are satanic laws, which seek to usurp what is God’s alone: the gift of life.

Nothing in Sacred Scripture is asked of us, no more than the original directive to Adam and Eve, to curtail our freedom. Rather every commandment from God is opportunity, opportunity for us to freely love God and one another.

Constitutive of every commandment is this choice: to be free or unfree.

Freedom while not something we self-create, anymore than we create our selves, is something we can throw away, by imprisoning ourselves in the darkness of sin, like hate which imprisons us in ourselves, also our freedom can be taken away from us, which is what governments can, and do, do.

Thus, both sacred and secular history are replete with the struggle of human beings to live in community as free members thereof, and likewise of the unrelenting attempts of some human beings to dominate others.

The inspiration for the evil of dominance comes from the perpetually unfree creature whose arrogant ‘non serviam’ [I will not serve] instantly made him and his minions prisoners in the cold and dark of hell: the place of chosen unfreedom for all eternity.

It would be millennia before our ancestors would develop linguistic processes, both verbal and written, that would formulate rules, laws, ideas about how the clan, tribe, city, eventually kingdoms, alliances, emerging nation states and their alliances, should be governed.

Throughout secular history in particular when enough people found the system of government oppressive, a curtailing of objective freedom, resistance would begin and spread and either through civil war, or revolt against an occupying power, cast off the chains that bound them. Given the length of human history, only in recent times have people been able to cast off the chains of unfreedom, through the ballot box.

Songs of the people, paralleled in Sacred Scripture in the Psalms, over time in pamphlets, plays, operas, latterly novels, film, and paralleled by works of philosophy, law, politics etc., gave voice to the cries of the oppressed and those seeking to set them free.

In recent history the works of Hugo, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and others, sought to give voice to the voiceless, in the dirty thirties the novel and film version of THE GRAPES OF WRATH, and in this age of the internet, digital media, the Wachowskis brothers Matrix Trilogy, articulate the deep need of human beings, irrespective of who is seeking to dominate us, to be free.

Towards the end of the third film in the series, in the midst of the final battle between the protagonists, the character who embodies darkness, death, destruction, hatred, named in the film ‘Smith’, cannot comprehend why the character ‘Anderson/Neo’, who embodies the human hunger for freedom, peace, love, speak with each other: Smith: “Why, why, why, why do you do it? Why, why get up, why keep fighting? Do you believe you are fighting for something? For more than your survival. Can you tell me what it is. Do you even know?....Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions Mr. Anderson, vagaries of perception, temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose……You must know it by now you can’t win. It’s pointless to keep fighting….Why Mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist? [4a]

The hiss of satan himself is in those words, it is his challenge to Christ in the desert, in the garden, on the cross, his taunt of every soul, every human being, every faithful disciple of Christ and it is the uncomprehending arrogance of those who oppressively rule in China, Russia, Iran, and increasingly as ersatz democratic governments in Canada, Venezuela, etc., seeking to overrule their own people.

Mr. Anderson’s/Neo’s reply is as incomprehensible to them as Jesus’ word to the Father in the Garden: “Not as I will, but as You will”.

Smith: Why Mr. Anderson, why, why do you persist?

Mr. Anderson/Neo: Because I choose to. [4b]

That answer is echoed by the defenders of life in the culture of death, by word and deed, by fidelity to Christ, by demanding authentic democracy, and is also to echo Christ’s own words and life, for Christ choose to lay down His life for us, as we must for one another, for that is love and there is no greater act of resistance to the tyranny of the democracies of death than to love and choose life. It is the freedom of the children of God.

Living as an urban hermit in this city on the 53rd parallel, this time of year the Scriptural words about people living in darkness and seeking light, [Mt. 4:16ff], adds to the stark reality of living in a modern democracy oozing into our lives the culture of death and darkness.

These dark days are brightened by Christmas lights shining from the homes of believers and unbelievers alike, while St. John reassures us Light Himself has created us to be filled with light, not darkness: What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. [Jn. 1:3-5]

In his recent Apostolic Letter On The Meaning and Importance of the Nativity Scene, Pope Francis also consoles us: Why does the Christmas crèche arouse such wonder and move us so deeply? First, because it shows God’s tender love: the Creator of the universe lowered himself to take up our littleness. The gift of life, in all its mystery, becomes all the more wondrous as we realize that the Son of Mary is the source and sustenance of all life. In Jesus, the Father has given us a brother who comes to seek us out whenever we are confused or lost, a loyal friend ever at our side. He gave us his Son who forgives us and frees us from our sins. [5]

In the next essay we will go deeper into the origins, strengths, dangers, weaknesses of modern democracies, keeping in mind always this admonition from St. Paul:….. it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light…….[Rms. 13:11,12]

[1] CLAWS OF THE PANDA, Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada; p. 270; Jonathan Manthorpe; Cormorant Books Inc. 2019

[2] [see paras. 3 &4]

[3] BRIAN MULRONY MEMOIRS, p.74; A Douglas Gibson Book, McClelland & Stewart Ltd. 2007

[4a & b]

[5]  para. 3

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Wednesday, November 20, 2019



In the title: modern democracies: lovers’ of death, ‘lovers’ is deliberately in the possessive, for they own the culture of death which they have, primarily by legislation, frequently by their supreme, or equivalent courts, forged into law, in the cold, black, fires of hell, the culture of death.

When we pray, as we must, for those in government at all levels, we would to well to beseech the Holy Trinity that this word penetrate the hearts of all in government: Hear, therefore, kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Give ear, you who have power over multitudes and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels! Because, though you were ministers of His kingdom, you did not judge rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly He shall come against you, because severe judgment awaits the exalted—For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. [Wis. 6: 1-11]

It is true that many of our Christian brothers and sisters live in countries where there is persecution by blood, and not just by terrorists, while all Christians who live in ersatz democracies live under the immense weight of the culture of darkness and death where the only politically correct discrimination is to be anti-Christian and primarily anti-Catholic.

In this 21st century we are called to be one with Christ in His sufferings as we live out the Beatitudes: Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus, they persecuted the prophets who were before you. [Mt. 5:10-12]

Even just a cursory check of actual and semi-democratic countries around the world today reveals virtually everyone in either a state of flux, i.e. a weakening of true democracy, or a state of chaos, the former would include Canada, Great Britain, the United States, the latter Bolivia, Chile, Hungary.

Even states where democracy is more of a fledging peoples’ aspiration than fact, unrest is intense, such as in Hong Kong and Iran.

In a telling article in CRISIS MAGAZINE, Donald DeMarco notes, referring to the recent Canadian election: What is most striking about the election for this observer, living in Canada, is that many Canadian voters seemed indifferent to the fact that their culture is clearly shifting in a totalitarian direction. A profile of the candidates is a sufficient indication of this. The Trudeau government required students applying for government-funded summer jobs to sign an attestation professing their support of abortion, same-sex marriage, and the LGBTQ coalition. He banned certain Christian summer camps serving underprivileged children from participating in the Canada Summer Jobs Program because of their religious beliefs. (This “is nothing short of anti-religious bigotry,” commented Justice Centre staff lawyer Marty Moore.) He has committed $7.1 billion over the next ten years to promote abortion at home and abroad. He will not allow Liberal MPs to vote their conscience on matters of abortion and LGBTQ matters, and he will not allow pro-life candidates to run as Liberals. He opposes conscience rights for health care workers. [1]

Totalitarianism, no matter how it is disguised, in Canada’s case Trudeau and those of his ilk disguise it under various slimy garbs such as ‘social justice’ or ‘equality’, it is what it is, the persistent destruction of democracy of which unrelenting attacks on Christianity and the Gospel of Life, and on the family, are foundational policies.

If we look at the famous Five Eyes [Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States] intelligence alliance, each of these countries is a democracy with Judeo-Christian roots, each also, when it comes more so to Christianity, has seen in the past sixty plus decades a precipitous drop in adherence to the Faith, in practice of faith and an increase in the culture of death, a thickening of the darkness and all but persecution by blood of Christianity and Judaism.

True there are countries in the world where Islamic terrorists, but not exclusively them, slaughter Christians and Jews, sometimes this happens in the above-mentioned countries.

What is disheartening is the often-weak response of governments, for fear of labeling the terrorists, Islamic ones mostly, as what they are, that is the group/religion they belong to, because that would be discriminatory.

As attributed to W.C. Fields: “a rose by any other name is still a rose.”

Is it any wonder so many people of faith, even many citizens of no particular faith, feel so anxious and discouraged living in this culture of darkness and death, under the guise of increasingly totalitarian ‘democratic’ governments?

While as yet in the democracies that comprise the Five Eyes governments, and most others, are not persecuting by blood, yet as DeMarco illustrates there are other ways of applying persecutorial pressure.

True, while actual democracies do not have concentration camps per se, restricting the right, for example, to protest the death camps of abortion clinics anywhere near such places, and putting people who violate the distance restrictions in jail, here we already see the extent to which democratic governments are willing to push against their own people.

Thus, is it any wonder we see in modern democracies an increasing distrust of government, of politicians, a polarizing of populations into hardened political allegiances, and an increase of politicians tweaking the truth into whatever variations of facts best suit their continuing to hold power?

Benjamin Carter Hett, in his work which while actually a work of history in the current context is prescient, reflects on how Hilter, in his efforts to gain absolute power, stated: “the greatness of a lie there is always a certain element of credibility.”  [2a]

Given the polarization in most democracies either along party lines or around issues such as climate change, Hett also notes the hardening of “political confessionalization” in the politics of the years in Germany leading to Hitler’s seizure of power: “……people are often conditioned to voting as they do by the influence of the social surroundings: by their neighbours, colleagues, churches, clubs, newspapers, and other media.” [2b]

Modern politics, such as surrounding the Brexit issue in Great Britain, are proof positive modern politicians know how to manipulate confessionalization. The disingenuous expressions, of anti-life politicians, for example, that their goal is protection of rights, are Hitleresque in their vileness, since the subsequent laws they pass first and foremost deny pre-born, already living human beings, the right to life outside the womb.

“There are hours when we can do only one thing: gather up all our extreme woe and extreme plight into one imploring shout, one simple cry for mercy and help. And to cry it out or scream it or weep it or whimper it to God who wants to save. To moan out all the woe within us into the sacred space where God touches our self and loves it and is good to it. [3]

Like Fr. Alfred Delp, who wrote the above while waiting to be executed by the Nazis in 1945, exploring in these essays the reality of living in democracies who are lovers’ of death, we too must hand our extreme woe and plight over to our Beloved Abba, to our Beloved Redeemer Jesus, to our Beloved Holy Spirit who guides us into the depths of fidelity to Christ and the Gospel of Life in these dark days.

Jesus comforts us when it comes to the challenge of confronting evil spirits in our day, showing us the effectiveness of prayer and fasting. {Mk. 9:29}.


[2]a: pp.38-39; b: p.67, from: THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY, Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic by Benjamin Carter Hett; [Allen Lane] Penguin Random House, 2018

[3] quoted by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis in: FIRE of MERCY HEART of the WORLD, Volume II, p. 461, Ignatius Press, 2003

© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Tuesday, October 22, 2019



In some respects, 1969, the last year of the Sixties, was a year like any other of that turbulent decade.

While the struggles which hallmarked the Sixties were still grabbing headlines,  much was beginning to change just below the surface, to the extent, by way of examples: in the 1970’s, disco, ego-pleasure-centric, replaced the dominance of folk songs and the urging a communal re-boot of society; the sexual variations and promiscuity of the sixties became, in the 1980’s, HIV/AIDS. Little understood or even recognized in the Sixties, AIDS would turn into a pandemic; the 1980’s was the decade when Wall Street seemed to churn out an endless succession of millionaires, highlighting what has become known as the 1%, i.e. the one percenters, a term which originated in the 1960’s when the American Motorcycle Association asserted 99% of motorcycle riders were law abiding citizens. Criminal biker gangs seized upon that and declared themselves the ‘one percenters’!: no irony here!; then the 1990’s arrived, when the reach of terrorism spread far afield from the Middle East; the 2000’s to date witnesses the evil of Islamic and homegrown terrorism spread, from 9/11 forwards to this day, and the culture of death now appears unstoppable, which it will be unless there is a profound conversion of every human heart and Christians abandoning all forms of compromise with the surrounding culture, choosing instead to uncompromisingly living out the Gospel of Life.

Precisely because much was happening below the surface 1969 was a year surfeit of mega-drama, yet persistent in unrest, unease, further casting off of any sexual mores and of faith, particularly, but not exclusively, among Christians, and Catholics most of all, with an increasing compromise with the surrounding culture, leading throughout the following decades in so-called Catholic countries, notably in Latin America, to the spreading of American Evangelicalism, often of the ‘God wants you to be rich’ kind.

One of the best descriptive words on what was happening then, though written about the current era, when it comes to our relationship with the One True God, is this: Our age seems to have specialized in God-management – the absurd endeavour both to keep functional some respectable notion of “God” and yet at each step to neutralize any divine reality that interferes with the way in which we have constructed the world. The domestication of the Almighty. The relativizing of the Absolute. The taming of the Fire of divinity into a porcelain cup of lukewarm tea. [1]

Spain, still ruled by the dictator Generalissimo Franco, indeed he would continue to do so until his death in 1975, saw major student riots in Madrid, which was put under martial law with 300 students being arrested. The great irony is Franco made sure his succession saw to the restoration of the monarchy with today Spain being a constitutional monarchy with a democratic government. “The Troubles”, as they were called, intensified in Northern Ireland, with Britain sending in the army who, in the battle, often used methods which, post 9/11, would become known as ‘enhanced interrogation’, contributing to ‘the Troubles’ lasting for another two decades. A major oil spill in Santa Barbara harbour in California would move an American Senator to organize the following year the first Earth Day, which over the coming decades would spread globally, along with a general environmental movement, itself intensifying with what was originally called “global warming”, becoming a cause celebre, but as the ‘science’ behind that has been challenged the term now is the didactic and disingenuous: “climate change”! Climate change is a perpetual serial event which, on the micro level, occurs with the passage of the seasons and on the macro, occurs over the millennia. While part of our human, indeed baptized vocation, is both to care for and use the resources of the earth, yet there is a dark, indeed evil irony when environmental extremists insist they will not have children, because everything will be over in a decade or so. It is the distorted logic of the abortion culture and the all too human arrogance which thinks we can control completely what we have not created. True, we can do harm to creation and we should take better care of creation, starting with human life. A culture which is in bondage to the contraceptive, abortion, euthanasia, anti-family mentality, has no credibility when it claims to care about creation as it blithely usurps what is God’s: He alone is the Lord and Giver of Life.

Unless we strive to be saints, to be holy disciples and allow the holiness of Christ flowing from within us to touch and heal the earth, the earth will remain sick. Just how sick it is, will be, is directly connected to our holiness or lack thereof.

In 1969, Yasser Arafat would be elected leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization {PLO}; Muammar Gaddafi would, through a coup d’état, seize power in Libya, both events, in fact, becoming the lighting of fuses which, a half century later, continue to explode in acts of terror and war within the Middle East and globally; in Canada the Front de Liberation du Quebec {FLQ} continued its bombing campaign which in 1970 would lead to a major crisis with the kidnapping and murder of a Quebec politician, the kidnapping of a British diplomat. The ongoing aftermath, which many see as constant tension between Quebec and the rest of Canada, is more to be found among a Quebec populace, once considered to be 98% practising Catholic, becoming a virtually total secular society, to the point where, through legislation, the province is now officially secularist, even more so than France itself!

As the year unfolded race riots, civil rights battles, an ever increasing resistance to the war in Vietnam continued, with wars within and between nations continuing apace. The implication of some events, as mentioned at the outset, being below the surface, would not emerge immediately but would have ongoing consequences, such as the general strike in Argentina in May of 1969, the consequence only becoming apparent during the so-called dirty war of the military junta against its own people.

1969 was the year, in June, of the Stonewall riots, leading to within the US, and since in virtually every country on earth, the never satisfied demands for ‘gay-rights’, in some countries resulting in the legalization of so-called ‘gay-marriage’, variations on the theme such as ‘transgender’, ‘two-spirit’, with some human beings wanting the legal right to declare they are ‘non-gender’!  It was also the year, in Canada, when homosexual activity between consenting adults, at the time pegged at 21 years of age, subsequently lowered to 18, was decriminalized. Now, with the prevailing mentality pushed in schools in Canada through so-called ‘gay/straight alliances’, it really is anybody’s guess as at what age ‘consent’ is accepted.

Parallel to the above, a fifteen year old boy died in the United States and it was noted he had scabs on his body, later identified as caused by a form of cancer, which in the eighties would be associated with HIV/AIDS. Indeed in 1984 lab tests on tissue from the boy’s body confirmed he had had HIV/AIDS. The suspicion was that he had been a male prostitute. However official recognition of the disease would only begin in mid 1981, by then it had reached pandemic proportions. While the first case, globally, dates back officially to the late 1950’s in Africa, it would be well into the late 1990’s before scientists would figure out the origin of the disease was indeed in Africa, through transmission from the original simian hosts to humans via the mishandling of bushmeat. While the teenager mentioned is referred to by some scientists as patient Zero, a Canadian adult male flight attendant is also sometimes given that dubious moniker. Other than the probability that in both cases the infection came from an unknown male, part of the ongoing origins mystery of the disease itself is believed to be thousands of years old. Its lack of ‘discovery’ boils down to colonial arrogance which would not have paid much attention to deaths among Africans until the disease emerged outside Africa and became a threat to the rest of the world.

Such is the tragic legacy of the Sixties that to this day, regarding sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, euthanasia, the incessant demands for ‘my rights’, all is rooted in the poisoned soil of abandonment of natural law, Divine Law, and, frankly, common sense, hallmarks of the so-called ‘free-love’ generation.

Within the Catholic Church Herself, [it being noted the ‘church in our own image and likeness’ mentality was spreading – infecting really – the Anglican/Episcopal communion and liberal leaning Protestant denominations], the exodus from priesthood and religious life had grown  from a raging torrent to a tsunami, as well as laity abandoning the faith, yet self-appointed-smarter-than-the-Church, theologians, liturgists, parish priests, nuns, laity, persisted in mucking around with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, articles of faith, morality, indeed many of those who did/do remain, physically, within the priesthood and religious life were/are actual internal enemies of the Body of Christ the Church and continue to wreck havoc to this day.

Obviously, his intention was not to compound problems, in the post Vatican II confusion, but when Pope Paul VI issued his moto proprio, Mysterii Paschalis, on reforms to the liturgy, the calendar of Saints, many laity and clergy reacted negatively.

It was just another shock to system of people still trying to adjust to the already major changes, within the liturgy, flowing from the so-called suppression of what was previously known as the Tridentine Rite.

Pope Paul the VI began by reminding us that: The Paschal Mystery and its celebration constitutes the essence of Christian worship in its daily, weekly and yearly unfolding. [2]

However, the nub of the problem for many came with: It cannot be denied, however, that in the course of centuries the feasts of the saints have become more and more numerous. The Sacred Synod has therefore decreed: "Lest the feasts of the saints take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation…… the names of some saints have been removed from the universal Calendar, and the faculty has been given of re-establishing in regions concerned, if it is desired, the commemorations and cult of other saints. The suppression of reference to a certain number of saints who are not universally known has permitted the insertion, within the Roman Calendar, of names of some martyrs of regions where the proclaiming of the Gospel arrived at a later date. Thus, as representatives of their countries, those who have won renown by the shedding of their blood for Christ or by their outstanding virtues enjoy the same dignity in this same catalogue. [ibid]

These decades later it is obvious the importance of the reform for the focus to be primarily on the centrality of Christ and our redemption.

Interestingly, at the time already Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, replied to a letter from Elio Guerriero on questions about the reforms: ……..As for the liturgical question, I can understand Pope Montini’s decision very well. It seems to me, nevertheless, that greater patience in implementing the reform would have promoted peace in the Church…….The sudden break with the old missal caused resistance that perhaps could have been avoided. In any case, it would have been good to make clearer the continuity between the two missals. But to do that, the liturgists, too, had to help, and instead they proved unavailable. The real problem resulted, not from the pope’s decision, but from the intransigence of the liturgists. [3]      

1969 did not end with anything as dramatic as the 70’s year of the three Popes, or the 80’s with the collapse of the USSR, rather the Sixties ended with a profound sense of exhaustion, politically, spiritually, almost as if the entire decade was partially slinking away to hide, or running with insane abandon over the edge of a cliff.

Remaking God, self, the Church, the world into one’s own image had proven a dismal failure, as governments, both democratic and non, became ever more powerful, and continue so; the chasm between the obscenely rich and dehumanized poor relentlessly deepened, and continues; the rock foundation of faith in the One True God, in Jesus sent to love and save us, began to be replaced, and continues to be, by an idolatrous obsession with ideology of one type or another. People for whom an ideology is their raison d’etre tend to be inflexible, refuting any counter point: racists are ideologues, so are abortionists. Bondage to ideology leads to hatred, violence, revolutions, divisions, the fracturing of society and, for there are ideologues, sadly, within the Church, whose goal is to prevail and that results in one thing only: schism.  

There are still those, for example in the USA and Canada, other leftist democracies, seeking political power, who spout the bromides of care for the workers, the poor, the disenfranchised, the discriminated against – but since they consistently fail abysmally to bring about real change – other than legislating more and more immorality and anti-life laws – the numbers of the homeless continue to grow, tensions expand between and within nations, family life remains under assault, terrorism continues and it may seem at times the very Church Herself will soon be little more than a tiny remnant.

With politics today so tainted by money, lacking a moral foundation and common sense, and politicians of all stripes saying and doing anything that panders to the loudest screamers, like those saying climate change means the world will end in ten to twelve years, no wonder the electorate is so angry and cynical.

Politics without the Gospel, without the Beatitudes, has become a mere simulacrum of democracy and is doomed. Eventually we could all find ourselves trapped under the jackboot of some form of totalitarianism.

All this ignores the real emergency: the millions of human beings on a daily basis being trafficked, enslaved, put in labour and concentration camps, being victims of terrorism, war, domestic and sexual abuse, used as child labourers and soldiers, the millions of our brothers and sister aborted, euthanized, living homeless, hungry, fleeing across deserts, through jungles, across turbulent seas, with all the attendant risks and thus with thousands dying along the way, reminding us of the man in the ditch cared for by the Samaritan. This is the real climate emergency, the paucity of seeing each other as, loving one another as, brothers and sisters.

Current ideologies are a form of collective lust, lust being all that is left to human beings who willfully choose to abandon belief in, trust in, obedience to God who is love, in a word who toss aside the holiness of a love relationship with the Holy Trinity in favour of being a plaything of self and others and worst of all, playthings of satan.

Lust is not merely, not even primarily, a sexual vice.

Lust is surrendering ourselves to the distorted thinking and choice making which comes from that powerful emotion itself, an emotion that is ego-centric, whereas authentic love is other-centric and shown by God Himself and intimately manifested in His Beloved Son Jesus Christ who is God-with-us.

The lust of the Sixties was for a new world order, a new sexual order, a new way of thinking, believing – believing only in what our minds came up with as worthy of belief – to the extent that after those ten years of experiment we, the human family, have been left with a pandora’s box of fears, which once opened spews forth ideologies which imprison, angers which devour, divisions which harden, hearts which are broken, and don’t even know it, and millions of souls wandering the face of the earth wondering “who am I, why am I, where am I going”, stumbling past the man seated at the well awaiting for them.

Such is the legacy of the Sixties.

However, we need not remain in bondage to this legacy.

Christ is the Way, the Truth, the Life and meditating upon Jesus our Eucharist Pope Benedict XVI re-teaches the truth: By making the bread into his Body and the wine into his Blood, he anticipates his death, he accepts it in his heart, and he transforms it into an action of love. What on the outside is simply brutal violence - the Crucifixion - from within becomes an act of total self-giving love. This is the substantial transformation which was accomplished at the Last Supper and was destined to set in motion a series of transformations leading ultimately to the transformation of the world when God will be all in all (cf. I Cor 15: 28).

In their hearts, people always and everywhere have somehow expected a change, a transformation of the world. Here now is the central act of transformation that alone can truly renew the world:  violence is transformed into love, and death into life…..To use an image well known to us today, this is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being - the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world….. All other changes remain superficial and cannot save……together with forgetfulness of God there is a kind of new explosion of religion…..But to tell the truth, religion often becomes almost a consumer product. People choose what they like, and some are even able to make a profit from it. But religion sought on a "do-it-yourself" basis cannot ultimately help us. It may be comfortable, but at times of crisis we are left to ourselves.

Help people to discover the true star which points out the way to us:  Jesus Christ! Let us seek to know him better and better, so as to be able to guide others to him with conviction… Let us go forward with Christ and let us live our lives as true worshippers of God! Amen. [4]

[1] FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, volume II, Meditations on the Gospel According to St. Matthew, p. 315; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, 2003, Ignatius Press


[3] BENEDICIT VI His Life and Thought, Elio Guerriero, p. 513; Ignatius Press 2018


© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph