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