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Tuesday 30 July 2013

Dear Readers

I am getting many excellent comments which are under the name Anonymous. No Anonymous, please.

Irish Abortion Bill Pro-Life SENATOR FIDELMA HEALY EAMES--Letter Plus

From: Fidelma Healy Eames <>
Date: 30 July 2013 14:30:51 GMT+01:00
Subject: Abortion Issue & Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, 2013    - Fidelma

Re: Abortion Issue & Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, 2013

A Chara,

I write to thank you for your communication with me over the last few months in relation to the above.

So much has been said on the subject of life, so much evidence has been provided against the legislation, yet so few have been listening. It still feels surreal that our Government actually proceeded without regard for our concerns, without engaging w/ representatives of the tens of thousands of people who marched against the Bill on three successive occasions since Christmas, without respecting  the deeply held convictions of a few parliamentarians.

I still find it hard to believe that I've been expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party for perhaps doing one of the best pieces of work I've ever done! Perhaps we will all understand better someday ... As I endeavour to bring some closure to this subject and take a break, I attach my second stage speech on the Bill below. If you have already read it or received it, please excuse me.

Some have been asking me what will I do now. I want to assure you I will remain a committed parliamentarian. I am still an elected Senator and a member of the Fine Gael party, though no longer a member of the Fine Gael parliamentary party. I am a conviction politician and wish to continue as an active one. I hope you can support me into the future

Like you I too await President Higgins' decision re. the referral or the enactment of the Bill.

Let's hope and pray that the right thing happens for the sake of our expectant mothers and unborn children.

Thank you for your commitment to life. It is a noble calling.

With every good wish,


Second Stage Speech 
Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, 2013July 16th, 2013 - Senator Fidelma Healy Eames

Cathaoirleach, thank you for the opportunity to speak. I want to thank Senators Feargal Quinn and Mary Anne O’Brien for moving my Reasoned Amendment to this Bill yesterday.
This Bill has been a momentous journey for me. I came to this debate with an open mind. I was not and am not part of any campaign, pro-life or pro-choice. From the outset, my sole concern has been to ensure that any changes are in the best interests of expectant mothers and their unborn babies.
Ultimately, this bill is about allowing abortion in the case of threatened suicide. The absence of evidence to underpin this approach for a woman threatening suicide is addressed in my Reasoned Amendment on the Order paper.
A central point of agreement at the Oireachtas Hearings was that abortion is never a treatment for a woman w/ suicidal feelings. 
Why then is the Govt ignoring this and proceeding to sanction the taking of an innocent baby’s life when there is no evidence that this will save the mother’s life? Indeed the evidence shows that abortion may damage the woman mentally. I have met women from ‘Women Hurt’, women who’ve had abortions who have confirmed this.
I have also met Ms. C who was only 13 years old at the time she was raped and became pregnant. Her harrowing testimony describes how the HB took her to England for an abortion against her family’s wishes robbing her of at least ten years of her life, leaving her with severe mental health after-affects from abortion, including suicide attempts. She had been under the impression that she was going to England to ‘get the baby out’. She didn’t know that her baby would die. When she asked for the body of her baby to bury it there was none. She was only 13. This is an outcome of the X decision, a side of ‘liberal, modern, compassionate and caring’ Ireland we don’t like to talk about.
A female FG member, put it rather well to me last week. ‘If we offer abortion to a woman because she claims to be suicidal and we then find that she is suicidal afterwards, what do we offer her then?’ 
Surely we would do what we should have done originally.
But by permitting abortion on the flawed suicide ground have we not done her a grave injustice and changed her life path forever?
I found it interesting listening to commentators on the radio congratulating male TDs for making what they termed ‘pro-woman’ speeches in supporting abortion.
It highlighted just how one-sided and prejudiced the debate has become.
What is pro-woman about pressing ahead with a law that runs contrary to the expert psychiatric evidence from two sets of Hearings? This is a serious charge which the Government has not answered.
What is pro-woman about airbrushing out of the debate the stories of women like Ms C? What is pro-woman about conveniently side-stepping the story of Emma Beck, the young English artist who died by suicide after aborting her twins? The coroner at her inquest recommended that women be told about the possible negative effects of abortion before they go through with it. Sound advice - What is pro-woman about ignoring that?
Why did the Govt ignore the real concerns of Sam Coulter Smyth, Master of the Rotunda who works everyday at the coalface? Or the statement of 113 Irish psychiatrists? These are the very professionals who treat people w/ suicidal feelings every day. Their statement highlighted the deception in this Bill that Abortion is a treatment for suicidal intent.
And it is not in the best interests of women and their unborn babies to railroad through legislation for abortion simply because the Labour Party wanted it.
Have we completely lost it, have we learnt nothing from other countries, women cherish their babies, when women are in difficulty why aren’t we striving to be the most ‘pro-woman country’ in the world by offering them real help and hope instead of violent solutions.
If some of the speeches I heard yesterday were made 30 or 40 yrs ago I’d probably agree w/ them. We have a shameful past.. But knowing that Irelandnow consistently ranks in the top 5 countries in the world forprotecting women in pregnancy, it is disappointing the way some people continue to mislead the public, simply to justify a pro-choice stance.
The Govt insists that this legislation is about ‘saving women’s lives’.
If I thought for a minute that the legislation was about preventing a tragic death like that of Savita, I would be supporting it. But it is not. It is disgraceful the way Savita’s death has been hijacked to get abortion over the line. We know that a catalogue of medical errors led to her tragic death. We know that had her infection been spotted in time, that the doctors would have intervened to save her life.
Another assertion in favour of the bill is that it is ‘restrictive’. But it’s only as restrictive as the two-most pro-choice psychiatrists in the country. I am not saying that this law will lead to abortion on request overnight. But, the legislation is based on bogus grounds that in other countries has led to wide-ranging abortion.
The assurances given by the Minister that this will not happen here are just assurances. They carry no weight once the law is passed. There is nothing in the legislation itself to prevent two pro-choice psychiatrists from signing away the life of an unborn child once they claim it is their “reasonable opinion”. Given that there are no appropriate clinical markers to judge whether or not the intervention is necessary, they are free to sanction as many abortions as they wish. This absence of any objective standard by which medical practitioners must form an opinion is in my Amendment.
What does this say about our concern for the right to life of a defenceless unborn child? To me, it shows a failure to recognise the humanity and existence of the unborn.
The legislation before us, for the first time in our history, allows the direct and intentional destruction of unborn human life in situations where there is no medical evidence to support that intervention. 
It saddens me that some who voted for the legislation in my party call it a ‘pro-life’ Bill. The Labour Party has campaigned for 21 years for X case legislation. Their campaign was never about life-saving treatments for women. It was always about the provision of abortion in Ireland where the life of the baby is ended.
That’s exactly what this Government’s bill provides for. Let’s not pretend otherwise. And Labour won’t stop there, they are already campaigning for repeal of the 8th Amendment.
And it is significant that the decision in X is not binding because the X case was not argued, a fact clarified at the Hearings from legal experts. Furthermore, the ECHR, does not require Ireland to legislate for X (Section (iii) of RA), but rather to clarify the existing provisions for pregnant women. We can do this w/out legislating for X.
This legislation, I contend, is unconstitutional. It provides no advocate for the unborn. There is no equality for the baby consistent w/ Article 40:3:3.
The Bill fails to adhere to international standards about conscientious objection.
There are no time limits. The bill allows for abortion up to birth. If as Minister Reilly says that viable babies will be delivered alive, why wasn’t an amendment taken on this in the Dáil? This is a horrendous scenario.
The legislation will have a profound impact on our culture. There is absolutely nothing consoling or hopeful in the Bill. It sanctions the ending of human lives rather than trying to do everything possible to safeguard life and in the process it deceives the expectant mother .
There has been far too much emphasis placed on the assurances given by the Minister, to assuage people’s consciences, and far too little focus on what the bill actually permits. There are no ‘pathways to care’ offered for suicidal women. They were refused at Dáil Report stage despite Lucinda Creighton’s best efforts.
My own personal story has shown me the great chance life is. Today I am a mother of two great kids because two other mothers chose life. I know that life is a gift. Our responsibility as citizens and legislators is to look out for one another, particularly the most vulnerable in society. This legislation goes to the core of everything we stand for. We have an obligation to welcome everyone in life and protect everyone in law. The very least we can do for future generations.
The amazing advances in ultrasound technology illuminate the truth that the unborn child is a human being. In 1967, when the abortion law was introduced in Britain, politicians could have pleaded ignorance to the humanity of the unborn. In 2013, we don’t have this excuse.
I don’t want to lose the FG party whip but I do want to exercise my human right to make a conscientious decision. Almost every western democracy provides for a free vote on moral issues like abortion. Why don’t we have the confidence to trust our parliamentarians to make the right decision, without a whip?
I have been a committed member of FG for many years, the party that made a solemn promise to voters not to legalise abortion. It saddens me greatly that Fine Gael has broken this promise.
In the words of Thomas More:
“Any public servant who would forsake his private conscience for the sake of his public dutiesleads hiscountry down the short route to chaos.”
In closing, I want to quote from a woman who emailed me. She said: “This Bill is particularly important to me because I am a woman, I am a psychologist and I’m pregnant. This legislation is meant for me. It is meant to make me feel more protected in pregnancy, but it does not. I know that as things currently stand in Ireland, without any legislation, that I will not be denied any treatment needed to save my life even if it leads to the unintentional death of my baby. I feel fully protected by that.”
Who could argue w/ that clarity? A clarity that I fully accept is reaffirmed in Sections 7 & 8 of this Bill.
So with a heavy heart and aware of what it will mean for my future in Fine Gael, but knowing that I have the best intention for expectant mothers and their babies, I cannot support the Bill as it stands.
Colleagues, Senators on all sides of the House, I ask you to support my Amendment.
I want to thank you all for listening. I appreciate the depth of feeling expressed on both sides of this debate.

Looking more at Genesis 18

Tiepolo, Abraham and the Three Angels
17 And the Lord said: Can I hide from Abraham what I am about to do:
18 "Seeing he shall become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth shall be blessed?
19 For I know that he will command his children, and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord, and do judgment and justice: that for Abraham's sake the Lord may bring to effect all the things he hath spoken unto him.
20 And the Lord said: The cry of Sodom and Gomorrha is multiplied, and their sin is become exceedingly grievous.
21 I will go down and see whether they have done according to the cry that is come to me: or whether it be not so, that I may know. 
22 And they turned themselves from thence, and went their way to Sodom: but Abraham as yet stood before the Lord.
I am struck by verse 21 today, which indicates to some unbelievers that The Holy Trinity did not know what was happening in the Five Cities. However, as we know, God is All-Knowing. Two points. One, God, I think, wanted to reveal Himself to the inhabitants of the cities to see if any would repent. God always give all people a chance for salvation, for conversion. The seeing of God was the last chance of those sodomites who had offended both men and God. Seeing Him could have caused repentance, but as we know from Chapter 19, the inhabitants demanded from Lot unnatural relations with his guests, a manifestation of the Son and the Holy Spirit, while the Father remained behind with Abraham, who was bargaining with Him. These "men" who were not men, went to find humble hearts which could turn to God at the last moment. This did not happen. God has all knowledge, but He wanted to share real love with the inhabitants, so He went into the city.
Secondly, who was crying out to God against Sodom , Gomorrah and the other three cities? Lot and his small family? I would think that many, many people were crying out to God for vengeance, as the sin of sodomy is one listed as crying out to God for vengeance.
Do we cry out to God for vengeance, which is justice? Are we so accepting of sin that the Trinity is not hearing any prayers for justice? Wait and see what will happen...
One can see my previous posts on this subject under the tags. I love the painting above, but the bread reminds me of a Big Mac. I guess I need some dinner.

31 Jan 2013
Catechism Online Link: A Reminder: The Four Sins Which Cry Out to God For Vengeance. Posted by Supertradmum. Free online edition
08 Jun 2013
Because of a note on another blog when I had to look up this reference, here is a reminder of the Four Sins Which Cry Out to God for Vengeance. 1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to ...
15 Jun 2013
Sin has no rights, period. Pedophiles, murderers, abortionists all sinners without rights, and homosexual acts are in the list of the four sins which cry out to God for vengeance in our catechism. Love the sinner, hate the sin.
09 Jan 2013
God will not ignore His Commandments being mocked. The sin of homosexuality is one of the four or five, depending on the list, which cries out to God for vengeance. Check out the the older catechisms on this point.

A Modern Fairy Tale, Part Four

The prince sat by the fire as the night covered the cottage. The cats and mice came in an sat with the woman, who continued her tale. The young prince took the three items out of his bag and placed them on the floor in front of the fireplace, where the flames lit these gifts up and made them look like things from heaven.

"The angels told me that the golden rose was real love, love not tainted by selfishness or pride, but sacrificial love, given only when asked and humbly. I did not know that type of love until many years passed, but now you have that love, and I give you the golden rose so that you will love another truly and for the sake of God, not yourself. You must always love someone as you love your own self, and always put their comfort before yours. When you find that princess, you may give her the rose.

The amethyst is both humility and truth. Wear it on your finger to never forget that it is only in God that we find our true selves. It is only in truth that we are made humble. Make it into a ring and wear it as king, to remind yourself that self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom." The woman placed the gem in the prince's hand and picked up the scroll. "This," she said slowly, "is the story of my life. When you take it back, you must read it to your children, to remind them of the sins youth can commit, and the need for forgiveness and purification. You will be able to read the characters when your own heart is pure."

The woman placed the scroll in the prince's hand, and then told him how to finish his tasks.

"You must go back up into the mountain and destroy the bird-dragon, the puma-snake, and the false queen-monster. These are sins which must be destroyed not by violence, but by prayer and fasting. I shall give you water and bread. You will climb, and sit by the bird until it withered and dies, and do the same with all three evils. And so, I am freed and you are freed of the sins of the past, and for you, you will gain some purity of heart. And, when you come down, you will have knowledge which I shall give as to how to gain back your kingdom."

So, the next morning, when the yellow bird woke up the two, sleeping like brother and sister on the floor of the cottage, the young man left. He did exactly as told, and after the first 10 days, sitting, praying, and fasting by the bird which talked incessantly, the prince overcame the creature, and the bird-dragon withered and died. The desire for revenge and the nursing of anger died in the prince's heart.

The prince climbed up the path to the puma, and it jumped in front of him and sat, as before on its haunches. The prince knelt down and prayed and fasted for ten days. All that time, the puma stared at him, waiting to pounce. On the last day, the puma-snake withered and died. The wind blew away the carcass and nothing was left. The desire for power and status disappeared from the prince's heart.

Then, the prince knew the last task would be the most difficult. He climbed up to the stone where the beautiful silver queen sat. She looked at him with a strange smile. The prince did not want to look at the beauty of this queen. So, he turned his back on her and knelt down on the stone. He prayed and fasted, while she sang odd songs about love. But, the songs changed and became ugly, until on the tenth day, the lady turned into the black, ugly monster, stood up and died, choking on an ugly song. The prince continued up the mountain and realized that love for love had disappeared, along with self-pity. His heart was full of a new love,

He found the rope and went back to the cottage along the same path, but when he got to where the cottage should have been, it was gone. The woman was gone, the garden was gone, the pear tree and the yellow bird was gone. Nothing was left not even the three gifts in the basket. Then, the prince sat down on the grass and was anxious. He did not know how to win his kingdom back, as the woman had left in a mystery.

Suddenly, the prince looked up and saw four men standing at the far side of the river. They were the very nobles who had desired his death. The prince was no longer afraid, "What do you want?" He cried loudly as the river was full.

"Lord, we repent. Hear us. Look we have no weapons, no dogs. Yesterday, a strange and beautiful woman came to the castle. She sought us out and gave us this basket of mysterious things. Then, when we asked her why she had come, she said that you were the rightful king and we needed you. All at once, we could feel our hearts melting within us, and we concurred that we had been wrong. Then, in front of us, she disappeared. We knew then that she was some heavenly creature.

In the castle was an old serving maid of your mother's. She cried aloud when she saw the woman disappear. The servant knew her for your father's first love. We are changed. Please, we beg you to come back."

Then, suddenly, the river lowered and all the men were amazed that the prince could walk across without getting wet. When he reached the shore, the four nobles knelt and called him lord and king. The prince went back and was crowned king. He grew in wisdom and humility, and when he was a bit older, he found a lovely women to be his bride. She was the daughter of a poor man, but gentle as the breeze which blows across the green grass at the edge of the forest.where the cottage once stood and where a yellow bird sang from a pear tree long ago.

copyright 2013

A Modern Fairy Tale, Part Three

The prince noticed red rope tangled on the tree and when he went to touch it, it seemed strong and new. The prince unravelled the rope and then noticed that the other side of this flat top of the mountain was a straight cliff down to the green river. He then decided to use the rope to climb down the steep face of the cliff and into the river, as he hoped he could swim at least part of the way back to the cottage.

Within a half-hour, the prince was at the bottom of the cliff, but instead of the river coming up to the edge, a small path with stairs led down to the bank. And, the bank was flat and green with new grass. The prince was delighted and stepped onto the grass. Then, he proceeded south on the path along the green river. The distance to the cottage was a day of hard walking, but by nightfall, the prince could see the small smoke coming from the chimney of the old woman's hut.

She heard him coming and came out to meet him. The prince was startled, as instead of an old woman, there was a beautiful girl of about twenty in front of him.

"I am the woman, yes, and you have done well to follow my instructions. Now, let us go in for food and drink, and I shall tell you what these things are and how you are to regain your kingdom.:

The prince felt bashful at the woman's beauty, simple, yet true. He was bewildered by all the things which had happened.

The woman began her story.

"I am the daughter of a nobleman your grandfather loved. My father was your grandfather's steward and when I was the age I am now, your father fell in love with me. However, your grandfather, then king, had arranged a marriage for your father with as wealthy queen beyond the mountains. At first, your father promised me that he would marry me for love, but when he thought more hand more about the queen's wealth and power, he allowed his father to take me away at midnight to this small place. The guards who brought me here were killed so that no one knew where I was. Because of the faithfulness of my father, the steward, I was not killed. However, the old king told everyone that I had run away. My parents died quickly of grief as I was there only child. Only three cats and two mice I had fed daily followed the trail and found me here.

I was miserable, and full of hate and anger. My anger became so real that it turned into a bird of fantastic colours and flew up into the mountain. It was full of lies and resentment and pretended to be something other than anger.

I was also grieving for my lost love, but, also, selfishly, for the status and power I had lost as well, as my young love for the prince, your father, was immature and shallow. That grief and resentment turned into a puma-serpent, racing up the mountain, pretending to be power and to give power.

Lastly, I mourned for my lost beauty and youth, and wept that no man loved me, letting sorrow and self-pity seep into my soul until it became as hard as metal,. That false pity turned into a lovely queen with a heart of stone and she, too, fled up the mountain to tempt and lie. But, self-pity is a dark monster, as you saw.

But, after many years, I forgave your grandfather's power and your father, now king's weakness. And, as I forgave, two angels sent from God healed my heart and soul and brought me a basket with a few gifts. The first was the golden rose, the second the amethyst, and the third the scroll. The angelic beings told me that the day a prince would come to find these things for my sake and his, he would regain his throne. Then, the angels took the gifts and placed them on the mountain, as you found them.

Now, prince, let me tell you the meaning of the gifts and how you are to claim your kingdom."

To be continued....copyright 2013

A Modern Fairy Tale, Part Two

As the prince entered the forest, he looked back at the old woman standing in her garden. For a moment, he was confused, as she looked forty years younger, as if he could see her as her father did. But, the clouds covered the sun, and rain pushed him in to the trees. Now, this forest was made of pine and fir, as the woman's cottage was high in the foothills, across a plain which the river in older days had flattened with flooding. The prince lifted his satchel and began to climb up the hills of fir, then pine, then light birch, until, finally, he was on rocky ground, beyond the tree line. For a moment, he looked back and could see nothing but the green darkness of the trees. He realized the rain has stopped and that he was hungry.

Sitting on a rock, the young prince, open his satchel to find a complete dinner, including wine, bread, cheese and eggs. He marvelled at the luncheon and ate at once. As he was finishing, the prince heard a scratching noise to his left, just at the edge of the line of trees. He stood up, a bit afraid, as he had no sword or armour.

In a high branch of a yellowing birch, the prince could see an large, bright bird. This bird was one he did not recognize. The plumage of the bird was of rainbow colours, and its tail was as long as the prince's arm. But, most amazing, is that it spoke.

"Prince, do not be deceived by this old woman. She is really a witch and I am a young man she put under a spell years ago. I, too, am a prince, but I only need the golden rose from the cleft in the rock to be free from my spell. Will you help me?" The bird's voice was like velvet, and for a moment, the prince thought of bringing the rose to the bird-man. But, the prince remembered the woman's words, and that she had saved him from death. He decided not to answer the rainbow bird, but move up higher into the rocky cliffs ahead.

"You will regret not helping me," said the bird, but the prince carried on. He stopped for a moment on a stone ledge and looked back towards the bird, but it had changed shape and seemed like a dragon to him. The young prince was frightened, but continued his quest. After walking most of the day, and it was a hot day, the prince sat down by a small stream to drink some of the cool mountain water. When he bent over to reach the water, he saw the golden rose. The flower was the most beautiful rose he had ever seen. As he bent over to pick it, he caught some movement from the corner of his eye. The prince snatched the flower and put it in the satchel. But, as he stood up, he saw a puma sitting on its haunches and staring at him.

The prince now was definitely afraid. His hands shook, but he stared back at the puma, whose coat shimmered in the setting sun. The puma spoke and its voice was like the sound of water, cool and comforting.

"I smell your fear, Prince, but I want something of you. I want the purple stone which lies in the stream above us. I cannot get it myself, but if you give it to me, I have the power to make your enemies fear you for the rest of your life. I shall give you power."

The prince did not answer the puma but he did something very brave. He turned away from the large cat and resumed his climb up the mountain. He decided to trust the old woman. When he had climbed about twenty feet, the prince looked back at the sunlit puma, but the animal had changed into a large serpent, coiled and red. The prince continued his climb, and as he put his had on top of the next rock jutting out, his hand felt cold, cold water. The prince threw himself up on the large, flat rock above and saw a tiny stream coming out of the ground. Where the stream came out of the small hole in the ground lay an oval amethyst as beautiful as the dawn. The prince picked it out of the mud and put it in his satchel.  As he stood up, he saw the most incredible sight of all. A beautiful woman in silver sat on a throne with animals surrounding her. She was as white in skin as the silver in her dress, and her shoes were made of silver. She spoke, and her words were like the tinkling of bells in a valley. Her hair was as bright as the sun. And her eyes were as sparkling as dew on the grass in summer.

"Why do you believe a hag, a wretched woman when I can tell you the real tale. I can give you devotion and love if you would only bring me the scroll which is on top of the mountain which I cannot climb. I can make you happier than you can imagine, for happiness is in my gift."

The young prince was almost, for a second or two, taken in by the beauty of this woman. But, his heart trusted the old woman, and as he passed her and her retinue of animals, one a large bear which growled at him when he passed, he began to climb the steepest cliff of all. He struggled hand by hand to the top and when he reached the small ledge, he turned and looked back to see the bright queen, as he thought she was, but instead, he only saw a horrid monster with black tentacles and large empty eyes.

The prince turned and saw a withered tree the size of a shrub and in the branches was the white scroll with odd black characters. He took the scroll, and put it in his satchel. Then, he sat down and wondered how he would get past the monsters left behind, down the path.

To be continued....copyright 2013

A Modern Fairy Tale in Four Parts, Part One

Once upon a time, in a cold climate, there lived an old woman with grey hair and sad eyes. She lived in a very small cottage by a small river. Behind the cottage was a dark and thick forest. Behind the forest were tall, cold mountains. The old woman knew the forest and would gather things to eat there. She gathered berries, leaves for soup, and wild carrots. She gathered mint, and rue, and hickory for tea.

The old woman was not ugly, but plain. She had two sets of clothing-one for winter and one for summer.

The summer set of clothing was pale rose, like an old rose, with light sleeves made of a light material, as light as the breeze. Her winter clothing was dark, dark blue, like the sky at night and was made of sturdy wool. Both sets of clothing responded to her wishes, like live creatures.

The old woman had a small garden and a pear tree.

She had three cats and two mice, who were allowed to live in the garden, and as they were dormice, the creatures were content with seeds and water.

The old woman had a small fireplace, one cup, one plate and one set of silver ware. She also had two books.

But, one day, her quiet life was interrupted by the braying of hounds. She left her small room and went out into the front of the cottage and peered over the green river. There, she could see a young man with coal black hair, like a raven's, running for his life.

Behind the young man, who the woman recognized as a prince from his clothing and demeanour, and from a hollow feeling in her heart, were a pack of dogs, howling and attempting to reach the young man.

Now, the old woman was not a witch, but she did have some secrets. One secret was that she could make the river level lower by a prayer taught to her a long time ago by an angel, so she prayed, and, for a few minutes, the green river became a stream. The young prince was astonished, but plunged away reaching the other side just as the river became a rushing torrent, as it was spring, and the winter snows were melting on the mountains above the forest. The dogs could not cross the river and remained on the far shore.

The young man, whose brown and green clothing were hardly wet said to the woman, "Hid me, for the men who are behind the dogs want my life." So, the old woman placed her summer rose coloured cloak over him and he disappeared from sight. Just then, four men arrived at the edge of the river and shouted,
"Old woman, have you seen a young man running this way?" The old woman answered, "I see no one like that, sirs, do you?"

The men looked at the dogs panting for breath on the river's edge and answered, "No, we do not see anyone. And no one could cross this river as it is today." They turned and dragging the dogs with them, left.

The woman could see them travelling for about a half-mile of the plain behind. Then, she went into the cottage where the prince was waiting inside.

"Here is your cloak, old mother, and I thank you for saving me.What can I do for you?"

"Prince, as I see you are, you must be honest and tell me why they are chasing you to kill you?"

The prince sat down on a small wooden chair carved like a swan. He stared at the strange woman.

"My father abandoned the kingdom years ago to sail away in a ship for southern lands. Word came back to us that he is long dead. I am his rightful heir. But, these lords, seeing that I was not yet a man, wanted to kill me and share the kingdom for their own. My mother and my sister are gone as well, so I am alone."

"Are you a witch, as you do not feel like a witch?"

The old woman smiled. "No, I am a Christian long exiled from your own kingdom by your own father many years ago. He was to marry me, but wanted another, wealthy wife, your own mother, and to rid himself of my presence, which reminded him of his broken promises, he exiled me. I was forgotten by all, and I forgave him and his people. One the day I forgave him, angels came to me and gave me a few gifts. I use these gifts rarely.  As you are the son of one I loved, I shall help you, but you must obey my small instructions. You are full of anger and revenge and pity for yourself. These things must be addressed."

The prince marvelled at the old woman's words and was ashamed, but remembered a tale spoken of by some of the servants of a beautiful maiden, as poor as a church mouse, but loved by the king, who disappeared a long time ago. As she had no family, no one searched for her, except some mice and a few cats, who found her finally on the other side of the river,

Their descendants, the cats and mice, lived with the old woman as her only companions, except for one small yellow bird, who woke her every morning.

The woman looked at the prince for a long time. She made some tea for him. Then, she spoke, "You are to undo the injustice of your own father by helping me so that you will be king as you should be. But, you must follow some simple instructions and climb the mountains behind the forest to find three things.

The first is a golden rose, never seen before, but growing in a cleft in the rocks. The second is an amethyst, as pure as dawn, lying in a small stream. And the third is a white scroll with words unknown to you written in black characters hanging from a tree at the top of the highest mountain. Bring these to me and you will be king, overcoming your enemies. But, you will have distractions and you must ignore all things and persons or creatures which will try and dissuade you from this task."

The young prince eagerly agreed to all these things, being young and adventurous, and a bit naive. But, none the less, the next morning, with a satchel of food and drink from the old woman, he set off for the mountains of snow and ice.

To be continued...copyright 2013

Spiritual Authenticity

Jesus is called the Lion of Judah. Jesus is the Word Incarnate. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

John 14:6

Douay-Rheims 1
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
The Protestant Minister Charles Spurgeon wrote the phrase above on the meme. God's Word, the Gospel is Truth, and one can live by the Word, or not do so. To not live by the Word is to fall into lies and darkness. And, to depart from the Teachings of the Church is to depart from the Lion of Judah.

In the past several weeks, here in Ireland, I have been pondering the question of spiritual authenticity. Now, many people say to me, "So and so is such a saint," or "She is so holy, she works so hard for the Church." And so on.

I am perplexed when people see saintliness or goodness in others who demonstrate vices which are opposite virtue. I am concerned when good works are confused with holiness. And, I am most perplexed when good people are led astray by small or quiet manipulations which they do not see. This has happened in my own diocese. What was seemingly good was not. Many people were hurt by psychological manipulation which was hidden in a so-called healing and deliverance group, which charged for services.

The problem is one of discernment. We must pray for purity of heart, as that is how we are protected. When we allow God to purify us, we no longer have to defend ourselves. God defends us. The Truth defends us.

Recently, a good friend of mine realized that some people who talked the talk were not walking the walk. The men were saying they loved Christ and His Church, but in reality, daily, were involved in New Age groups, and prayer groups disobedient to the teaching of Rome. My dear friend had an epiphany. If these good people did not want to know about the real teaching of the Church, but only chose what they wanted to believe, they had departed from the road to perfection.

The result is that this friend is finding people who walk the talk in the TLM communities. He is trying to get to the Latin Mass frequently, and finds his spiritual life deepening because of the TLM.

He cannot explain it. Nor can he explain why several of his friends involved in the prayer groups he use to attend hate the TLM, and do not want to join him in going. He says that sadly, these old friends of his are moving themselves out of the Church. They have gone from seeking Christ to seeking other gods, gods which do not demand dying to self.

How can I determine is someone, even myself, is spiritually authentic?

One merely has to ask two questions: do I and the others I see in my groups pursue Truth first and foremost in their own personal lives both in action and in prayer? And, two, am I and those in my group self-critical and take responsibility for their own actions, rather than passing the buck?

The spiritually authentic person is consistently honest and accountable for his actions.

My old friend is sad to leave his friends, but he has chosen spiritual authenticity over friendship-a brave move for an older person. I am sure God will reward him.

Voris says it better than I would--and what would St. Nicholas do?

Someone asked me custody of the eyes was? Custodia Occulorum.

From the Book of Job, Chapter 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? Custody of the eyes means not looking at a good-looking man or woman. It means not staring and letting one's self fall into sins of lust or envy. It means focusing on God and His Love.

Custody of the eyes means not going to movies which will increase lust or ruin your imagination. It means not reading gossip or indulging in porn. Custody of the eyes is a discipline a child can learn.

It means minding one's own business. It means paying attention to goodness.