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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Comments? Interesting. Do you have free will?

I have seen it over the past four years. The erosion of free will...

Do you have free will? How free is your will?

Enthusiasm about the semantic web could be tempered by concerns regarding censorship and privacy. For instance, text-analyzing techniques can now be easily bypassed by using other words, metaphors for instance, or by using images in place of words. An advanced implementation of the semantic web would make it much easier for governments to control the viewing and creation of online information, as this information would be much easier for an automated content-blocking machine to understand. In addition, the issue has also been raised that, with the use of FOAF files and geo location meta-data, there would be very little anonymity associated with the authorship of articles on things such as a personal blog. Some of these concerns were addressed in the "Policy Aware Web" project[29] and is an active research and development topic.

We are at the point where technology is creating the future not predicting the future.

Someone said today that free will is gone in most people in the States, and possibly in the EU.

Think about this...................who has free will? Hopefully, the Catholics......

There is no neutrality....none

A famous commentator noted that sports and entertainment is now completely connected to the occult, satanism, the Illuminati, sexual evil and so on. What is the connection? The Rose Bowl, the Grammys and Super Bowl are recent examples.

Do Catholics understand what is going on? Why are good Catholic people not paying attention to the reality of what is on television? Why are parents allowing their children to watch these horrible scenes, which are not neutral? There is no neutrality in the world. Remember, that devils are spirits of the air.

The Father of Lies works overtime to manipulate your children.

Catholics, do you want your children to be saints? Do you?

You must watch this

Yes, yes and yes

Did you know this? Does this bother anyone but me?

The Senate on Thursday evening voted 93-7 to approve a defense authorization bill that includes a provision which not only repeals the military law on sodomy, it also repeals the military ban on sex with animals or bestiality.

February 24, 303 XIV

A False Messiah

What most people do not know, because the history of Western Civilization stopped being taught in most high schools in the 1980s, is that Diocletian came into power with an agenda because of the serious economic problems preceding his reign. This man knew who to organize. He knew how to push the envelope in order to save Rome.

He did something which may happen again in the States and in the EU. Because the Romans were no longer taking over new lands and bringing back slaves, there was a shortage of workers. (Does this sound familiar now, with abortion and contraception?)

He made, through law, a serfdom, by taking away the small farmers civil rights and tying them to their land. This created the coloni underclass who farmed the land and paid rent to the owner. This rent was either money, part of the harvest or more labor.

Many people were forced into becoming coloni.  At the same time, the trade of Rome was dropping. If one could compare the times with today, one could say that Wall Street collapsed. The difference was that the emperor sought reforms by taxation and an emphasis on control of personal freedom and rights.

This may happen. This can happen. That the Great Persecution was part of the overall plan of renewal meant that it was accepted both as necessary for the continuance of the empire and the lifestyles of the empire, and as a necessity for the return of the "true Rome."

Inflation caused the Roman currency to drop. Here is a chart of early "quantitative easing".

And here is a detailed description of Diocletian's monetary reforms.

The reforms of Diocletian (284-305 CE) completed the recovery. He again tried to issue a new stable gold and silver coinage but, more importantly, he revised and regularized the tax system with some revolutionary new concepts. First he conducted a census of the Empire and divided everything into two types of tax units based on productive capabilities. These were land units called “iugera” and head count or “capita” (and yes, that’s where our modern term “per capita” comes from).
These were flexible units which took into account the different productive capacities of various types of land and the different productive capabilities of men, women, slaves and children. For instance, adult men were each calculated as one capito or one head count, but it took two women to make up the same amount of head (and I’m going to bite my tongue before I take a straight line like that any further!) and even larger numbers of children.
The greatest innovation was the concept of Capitatio. What this meant was that the state has the right to demand whatever it needs from its citizens in whatever form it wants provided it is done legally and correctly… as follows…
Each year on September 1st, the state’s total requirements were published and taxes would be apportioned to each province according to its assessed resources. In effect, what Diocletian had created was the modern idea of a national budget and tax system. Though the burden was undoubtedly heavy, it was at least equally assessed in all areas.
So efficient was this new system that the money seemed to pour into government coffers like it hadn’t in memory. No longer did the citizenry suffer the regular experience of being treated like conquered territory by armed men who were supposed to be their protectors. People’s iuga and capita were known to them in advance, tax receipts could prove what they had paid, and appeal could be made if collectors tried to abuse them.

Diocletian the financial saviour became Diocletian the moral saviour by killing those whose god was not Rome. All we need is one crisis, folks. One.....................

To be continued......

Aren't "pre-marital unions" fornication? Moving out of the Church.....

February 24, 303 XIII

(I was asked by a reader to write another story about the Romans, but from the perspective of those who could not leave or would not leave. This would be a sequel to

The "Villa of the Vineyards" was the talk of the city. Builders and artisans worked day by day restoring the old Pudens mansion on the southern side of the urbs. A modern Celer ordered slaves and freeman in the cold air of February, taking advantage of the lack of rain.

The closest neighbors to the owners of the delle Vignacce, as the locals called it, was the family of the famous Julia Claudia Paulina Severini, a branch which had escaped the purges of later emperors beginning the Crisis of the Third Century. The great-grandchildren of the Severini lived in the Villa del Ave, a smaller, less grandious version of delle Vingacce, but grand none the less.

This family had welcomed the Tetrarchy, but now regretted that their favourite, Diocletian, had turned against the Catholics. 

This large family had relatives in Ostia, an uncle who owned ships and a shipping yard. And, Sabina, the matriarch of the Villa del Ave, had a brother who was a priest, serving the bishop at Basilica of Santa Aurea.

Sabina opened a letter sent via servants. She was at breakfast with her husband, Maximus, and adult children, Flavia and Lupus. Flavia was engaged to the Catholic Lucus, who lived in Rhegium, of another shipping family. Lucus and Flavia were to be married in June.

"This letter was written yesterday, the 23rd, Maximus, and is from my brother Claudius. He writes that by the time I read this letter, the bishop will have been either arrested or in hiding. He suggests we go to Ostia and take a ship as soon as possible to avoid today's decree. The bishop had been warned by a Catholic member of the emperor's household."

Maximus put down his spoon. He was eating a fruit compote mixed with honey and seeds. Maximus had digestive problems and could not eat the meat that Flavia and Lupus were "scarfing down".

"It will not be as bad as people think it will be, Sabina. I am not moving. I cannot leave the men who are chaffing at the complete destruction of the senate by this tyrant. We want to try and convince the other emperors to re-instate our power. I mean, it is a time of change."

Sabina looked sorrowfully at her husband. She knew that he, like so many others in their church, did not think that the citizens of Rome would cooperate with the slaughter of Catholics.

If Ostia was dangerous, even leaving on one of their own ships could be too obvious and too dangerous.

But, Sabina knew the real reason for Maximus' reticent to talk about the coming persecution. His elderly parents lived only a mile away and he would not leave Fabius and Domatilla, who would be too old and too stubborn to move. Sabina ate a pear.

"I think I should change the wedding date, pushing it up to late February. We could do that, Mater, could we not?"

Sabina smiled sadly. "I think it would be a good idea, but your Father determines this, Flavia."

"No, we are not changing anything. I cannot believe my good pagan friends would rise up against us or any of the ancient families. I just do not believe this."

Sabina stood up. "Come, Flavia, you and I have work to do with the poor baskets."  The Mater could see tears clouding the young woman's eyes and wanted to speak with her privately. The two women left the room to Maximus and Lupus.

"Pater, are we allowed by Christ and the Church to fight? I am ready."  Maximus looked at his son. He loved Lupus more than anyone else and the name of the family would be carried down in his blood.

"Yes, remember what the bishop said at Mass. We have a right to defend ourselves. We do not have to be blind sheep. But, it most likely will not come to that."

Lupus knew that was the end of the conversation. He bowed to his father and left to find Sabina and Flavia. He wanted to reassure them of his protection.

In the house of Fabius and Domitilla, another conversation was taking place. Domitilla's old brother, Aelius, was trying to convince the old couple to leave.

"You do not understand the powerful rhetoric of this Diocletian. In the name of Roman virtues, he begins to kill the Catholics. No one will be safe."

Fabius answered with a bang of his fist on the table. "No, it will not happen. There are too many Catholics hidden in the military. They will not arrest their own. You will see a rebellion."

Aelius stared at his plate of vegetables and meat. The cook at this house was famous throughout Rome.

"Someone might envy you your cook, Fabius."

"And, I do not want you talking to your sister about these things. You frighten her."

Aelius jumped in, "Yes, I want her to be scared, and you as well. You think your wealth and status will protect you. The Bishop of Ostia is in hiding and the Bishop of Antioch is already missing. My servants brought me word this morning, as I have contacts."

Aelius continued..."And our other sister Amelia, has algready left for a frontier town where her son is a governor. You know the place."

Fabius stood up, "Enough. I am not going to Limes Germanicu because of scare-mongering. I trust the people of Rome. Now, good day, Aelius."

Fabius left in a huff. Domitilla poured water for her brother. "Dear Aelius, I agree with you, but I must be loyal to Fabius. You understand."

Aelius put his hand on the old hand of his younger sister. "I am afraid for you both, Domitilla. If you want me to stay, I shall but I plan to go with Amelia."

"Go with my blessing, Aelius. I can say no more." 

The two separated forever. Aelius and Amelia went to Germany and died there in a small community of Catholics. In Rome, the situation escalated quickly. Within the month, all the Catholic nobility were sent letters from Diocletian offering them amnesty if they sacrificed to the gods of Olympus. In April, the lower class areas were being "cleansed" of Catholics. And, by May 1st, the villas of Fabius and Maximus were confiscated by the government and the inhabitants arrested. 

Fabius, Domitilla, Maximus, Sabina and Lupus were executed by sword.  Their Catholic servants died in the Colosseum. Lupus had helped Flavia leave in the night before the arrests. She and Lucus travelled to Mauretania Caesariensis, one of the newly re-organized provinces of the Dioecesis Africae. They had many children and thrived as a family until the entire family but one, perished in the Muslim take-over and establishment of Maghreb. That one, Maximus the Tenth of that name, sailed to the land of the Angles and married a local girl who was of the great family in Bignor.

Perhaps one of their descendants is today crossing a street in Arundel and perhaps his name is Maxim.

to be continued.............

Family Phobia Stopped-Ah, The French

Why llness? Part Three

I shall continue this mini-series, as I want to cover a few more points. However, I am too ill to do so now.

Such is the work of God in my life.

Community Posts Addendum

For those of you who read my community posts in January, may I add that if I were going to create a community in the United States, I would seriously consider this article as to choosing a place.

Mississippi, Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee top the list of the states which are most "religious".  I would consider these states for community plus Texas, which as I told some young men on Sunday, was a republic and know how to think like a republic.

Again, communities need like-minded people and to be around God-fearing people in the days to come should be a consideration.

Likewise, if one can avoid those places were the godless reign supreme, one should do so. Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon top the list of states were God does not come first. of course, New York and California are in the bottom one-third as well.

 Read, study, pray, think, reflect, act.

Mississippi is the most religious state in the nation and Vermont is the least, according to a new poll.
Mississippi had the most residents of any state in 2013 say religion is an important part of their daily lives and they attend services almost every week or more, according to a Gallup poll released Monday, with 61 percent of its citizens very religious. Vermont had the fewest of the states, with 22 percent of its citizens very religious. (The link to the poll is on the blue words...)

Following Mississippi in very religious residents was Utah, with 60 percent; Alabama, with 57 percent; Louisiana, with 56 percent; and South Carolina and Tennessee tied for fifth, each with 54 percent.

Rounding out the top five least religious states behind Vermont were New Hampshire, with 24 percent; Maine, with 27 percent; Massachusetts, with 28 percent; and Oregon, with 31 percent.

Read more:

For the fun of it--where some of my ancestors lived...on the left side of the photo

Aerial view of Lock and Dam 12, located on the Mississippi River, Bellevue, Iowa., July 2, 1990 thanks to wikimedia commons

Why Illness? Part Two

The second reason for illness is that we experience suffering because of our own sins. The recent death of a famous person from drugs provides us with a direct example of the truth that the wages of sin is death.

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:12

12 Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.
Sin in our individual lives has consequences and illness may be one.
A third reason for illness is simply that God wants to slow us down and make us reflect. Reflection is extremely difficult when on is ill, but reflect one must try and do. The slowing down of one's activities because of asthma cannot be denied. In the very cold weather, one becomes a prisoner inside. One lives in a half-world of fatigue and lowered resistance to other respiratory illnesses. One must curtail certain duties and pleasures. This halting of normal routine forces one to think of sin and death, one's predominant faults, the purification of the senses and the soul. Illness frequently accompanies the Dark Night of the Soul.
If one is "smart", one will cooperate with this enforced slowing down and praise God for His Wisdom. One learns to wait for health, to be patient, to be humble by having to share with others one's limitations. One cannot be "super" trad mum, but just "tired trad mum" and so on. Cooperating with the grace of the present moment, one looks into one's soul and sees the great need for purification. One is aware of the great need for grace, and not merely working and living out of one's own energies.
One walks in the daily awareness that Eden is lost and not to be found again until heaven.

A fourth reason for suffering is that God wants to get our attention about something. 
This need for focusing could be intercessory prayer, or the revelation of a sin, or even the preparation for a new stage in the ladder of perfection. In the Dark Night, illness may be a step to the total abidication of the will to God's Will, the final giving over of self-love.
As when a person grows older and loses natural beauty, the inner beauty of a person comes forth, if it is there. As the body falls away, the spirit is more obvious. So, too, in illness, this happens naturally.
If God is calling one to pray for others in illness, this cannot mean praying as if one is well. Concentration is almost impossible in fatigue, so one learns new way of prayring. The prayer of "being" in God's Presence bcomes more real. Or, if one is in the Dark Night, the prayer of being in God's Absence (which is a perception, as His removal of comforts does not mean He has removed Himself) is learned. One learns to be in God without any comforts at all, relying totally on Divine Providence and the darkness of the unseen God.
This type of suffering provides one with the chance to live entirely by faith alone, one of the reasons for the Dark Night. If one is ill, in a sense, this dynamic is more obvious and even easier to endure as the body reflects the soul-weak, needy, having to totally rely on God.

to be continued....

Why Illness? Part One

The question of suffering has kept many people from Catholicism. I have a dear friend who cannot convert because she is "not into suffering".  She does not believe in redemptive suffering. She cannot accept the Incarnation because God would not come to earth to suffer.

Suffering for her is such an evil that it contains no good.

I have not slept through an entire night since before January 3rd. Because of nocturnal asthma, I sleep maybe one and a half hours and then have to sit up. Of course, the lack of sleep slows me down.

So, my typical night is about five hours to six hours of sleep but only in increments of one and a half hours at a stretch.

Nocturnal asthma and diurnal asthma create fatigue. Coughing is not the only symptom. One wheezes, has a tightening of the chest, shortness of breath and for some of us, mucus.

After so many nights of restlessness, one is faced with the reality that God is allowing suffering on a daily basis. But, unlike the smug friends of Job, the Catholic can answer the question of why illness.

Illness is a direct result of Original Sin. We all experience illness and death as a consequence of the Sin of Adam. Our first parents were free of illness, decay and death, but that first disobedience brought about the decline and weakness of the body as well as the soul.

The CCC is clear on the consequences of Original Sin. Suffering as a consequence of Original Sin is only the first reason for illness. But, when our First Parents left the Garden of Eden, they took into their new world a flawed body.

Man's first sin
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of.278 All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".279
399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.280 They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.281
400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination.282 Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.283 Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay".284 Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground",285 for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.286
401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians.287 Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.288

to be continued...

February 24, 201? XII

A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids

In the last analysis, the Great Persecution of Diocletian was a huge failure. If as many as 20,000 Catholics were killed in the Roman Empire, in all the provinces, the spread of Catholicism outweighed the death of the martyrs.

Christianity spread quickly throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East.

Further persecutions would continue in all these areas, but the systematic killing of Catholics would only break out again at certain times, such as in the Druids (earlier), the Persian Sassanid Empire, under the Muslim Caliphates and Tamerlane, under the Chinese, Japanese, the English, and other groups or nations.

In every case, Catholics would have needed to help each other, as in Holman Hunt's famous painting here.

To be naive about the future helps no one, especially one's self.

To think that life will go on and on and on as it has in the past fifty years is naive, or purposefully blind.

The next persecution will not destroy Catholicism, but it will create a very small remnant. May we all be ready.

Emergency Prayers

Please pray for two regular readers of this blog who are having horrible problems with stress, illness, and serious family difficulties.

We need to storm heaven for them.  Can you pause and say this for these good people today? Thank you.

Oh glorious apostle St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the traitor who delivered thy beloved Master into the hands of His enemies has caused thee to be forgotten by many, but the Church honors and invokes thee universally as the patron of hopeless cases--of things despaired of. Pray for me who am so miserable; make use, I implore thee, of that particular privilege accorded thee of bringing visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired of. Come to my assistance in this great need, that I may receive the consolations and succor of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations and sufferings, particularly (mention your request), and that I may bless God with thee and all the elect throughout eternity. I promise thee, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, and I will never cease to honor thee as my special and powerful patron, and to do all in my power to encourage devotion to thee. Amen

The Laity Used To Be Lay

One of the greatest errors in the thinking of Catholics in 2014, and this is not new, is the clericalization of the laity. I have written on this many times.

Catholics believe that if they are not prancing about the altar, being lectors, EMHC, or choir directors, that they are not becoming holy.

The holiness of the life of the laity is the call to the world.

Are you taking Jesus into your workplace?

Are you evangelizing by spreading the good news of salvation?

Are you proud to be a Catholic?

Are you unifying your parish through good works, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

Do you ask yourself, what is my lay vocation? What does it mean to be yeast in the world?

Am I making my family holy by living the life of the virtues?

Am I building up God's Kingdom in the world and not my own?

Am I comfortable being a Catholic lay person, called by God to be in the world but not of the world?

Before Vatican II, the laity were lay. Women chose either to be nuns, or sisters, or wives and mothers.

Careers were chosen but with a view to serve in the world, such as teachers, nurses, taking care of the old and the young.

Women helped each other. Men helped each other.

Maturity and wisdom were passed down to the new generations.

Being lay was being part of the community.

Can people be lay again?

Did you see this?

February 24, 303 XI

In the times of the Great Persecution, the army was re-organized to become even more faithful to the emperor.

The financial life of the empire was re-organized with new taxes.

Family life was "renewed" with the revival of the cult of the gods of Olympus.

One must stop and say that on the outside  these ideas looked good to the public who thirsted for renewal.

But, what was the problem with Rome on the "inside"? What levels of evil lurked under the reorganization of a great people?

There is only one evil which informed all the great evils which led to and which sustained the Great Persecution. And that one evil is idolatry.

One a people idolized their own civilization more than God, the end of that people is near.

The one thing which the early Church had clear was that there was only One God in Three Divine Persons to be loved and worshiped. All else came from this focal point.

But, dear readers, one must practice this denial of sin and the denial of the will daily.

Do you think the early Catholics lived in nice times?

This is the world in which they lived. Catholics need to prepare for more.

The inside eventually becomes the outside--the dead souls eventually take over the lands once led by those who were trying to be good.

Idolatry is the great sin of this age.

Only those who worship the one true God, the Trinitarian God can stand up against such evil.

Are you getting ready?