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Wednesday 9 October 2013

Lampedusa is very close....very

Lampedusa is just short of 104 air miles from Malta. The people were from Somalia and Syria, including mothers and children. The EU met and discussed this problem of desperate immigration.

May God have mercy on their souls.

A Nice Surprise-The Flemish Tapestries at St. John's Co-Cathedral

Amazingly, although I have been to Malta twice before and the Cathedral of St. John so many times I have lost count, for the first time today, I saw the Flemish Tapestries. Here is one example, The Resurrection of Our Lord. Here is a mini-history of the tapestries, plus the page where you can see more of these exquisite works.

The set of Flemish Tapestries at St John’s Co-Cathedral was the gift made to the church by the Aragonese Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful upon his election in 1697. The tapestries are the largest complete set in the world and consist of twenty-nine pieces ordered from the Brussels atelier of Judocus de Vos.

The tapestries are woven entirely from the finest wool and silk yarns and measure 6 meters in height. The overwhelming dimensions and the exuberant character of the designs based on cartoons prepared by the renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens render this set one of the most spectacular interpretations of baroque art. By 1701 the set had reached Malta and brought the embellishment of the church to a climax. The full length portrait of Grand Master Perellos hanging majestically over the doorway had a lasting impression as the visitor exited the church.
The entire set of tapestries consists of fourteen large scenes depicting the life of Christ and allegories and fourteen panels representing the Virgin Mary, Christ the Saviour and the Apostles. This grand set of tapestries portrays the principal and fundamental Divine truths of the Catholic faith and was intended to convey a message, that is, the supremacy of the Catholic Church and the fame and grandeur of the Grand Master and the Order. The tapestries were originally suspended from the main cornice along the nave of the church during important occasions such as the feast of St John the Baptist.

The other wonderful works of art I saw today were the Choral Books, and here is a short text of those.

The Graduals of L'Isle Adam
The largest and most important set consists of 10 choral books and is the gift of Grand Master L'Isle Adam. These illuminated choral books called ‘graduals’ consist of chants for the mass of the Roman Church and accompany the communion service.
Each choral book features hand painted illuminations of exceptional beauty, with gold leaf as a background adding to their brilliance. These splendid miniatures (as they are called due to their minute detail) have been painted by different hands, reflecting the current artistic trend of each painter.
The Verdalle Antiphonaries
Another set of choral books, bearing the arms of Grand Master Verdalle, is included in this collection. Referred to as antiphonaries, they contain the sung parts of the divine office (the musical sections used during daily services, at the various canonical hours of the day that do not feature in graduals).
The Verdalle antiphonaries number seven in total and contain the Proper and Common of saints. All are in parchment and accommodate 150 illuminated initials each.
Antonie de Paule’s Antiphonaries
The collection of Grand Master Antonie de Paule consist of two manuscripts in parchment. They are antiphonaries for the Temporal cycle of the church year.

A 4th re-post-think, pray, reflect, act

Friday, 20 January 2012

The Ultimate Failure of Transformational Marxists

Some of you have wondered when I was going to write my anti-Gramsci articles here. Well, here is the first of many. I wrote on this before many years ago and now it is time to dig in and get dirty on this blog. Here is where some of my information is from, but not all, as some is my own construct over the years. Also, there is another link below for summaries.There are many sites on Gramsci if one wants a bibliography, I can send one on request. But, the letters are key. Just remember that the key to understanding all of this is that the ideology is based on materialism, that there is no spiritual world. The old Marxism is not exactly the same as Gramsci's ideas, except in the denial of the spiritual and the emphasis on pragmatism, but that denial of a spiritual hierarchy is key. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "Communism is based on a materialistic and humanistic view of life and history. According to Communist theory, matter, not mind or spirit, speaks the last word in the universe. Such a philosophy is avowedly secularistic and atheistic. Under it, God is merely a figment of the imagination, religion is a product of fear and ignorance, and the church is an invention of the rulers to control the masses. Moreover, Communism, like humanism, thrives on the grand illusion that man, unaided by any divine power, can save himself and usher in a new society--"

Gramsci wrote that "the mode of being of the new intellectual can no longer consist in eloquence … but in active participation in practical life, as constructor, organiser, "permanent persuader" and not just a simple orator…"  See above. Here is where the Chomskyites and Alinskyites come in. with grass roots political and social activism. But, there is more...The intellectuals were not merely to be in academia, or politics, but everywherechanging the philosophical roots of the culture from within. Again, the emphasis is on pragmatism and what works in the relationships between people and groups of people,such as labor unions. However, what actually binds people together to want to do things together is a less than satisfactory explanation, being basically the historical context of "subjectivism", lacking any hierarchical ideology and denying any universals. In other words, humans create their own reality which changes constantly in history and context. This is a variation of the heresy of immanentism, which states that there is no God outside of man, and leads to the complete denial of God. Of course, if all meaning and history are created by humans, there is no God or plan outside the temporary. Historicism is a combination of immanentism and false progressivism or evolutionism, all condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical against Modernism (Star-Trektheories). Simplified here and here.

Gramsci also wrote of what he called his idea of infiltrating the media, the Church, journalism, schools, universities, the judiciary and so on. In the posting below on Levin a day ago, one can see how this has happened in government and political theory.  Georg Lukacs, Gramsci's follower, was the one who came up with the idea of sex education as undermining Christianity in the culture. One can see that in Ireland today, with the push to end Catholicism in schools. This has already happened in England. These ideas have been part of the elite of education in America, in Great Britain and now, in Ireland since the 1950s. By placing anti-Christian curricula in the schools such as anti-abstinence and pro-homosexuality, the Christian, and specifically, the Catholic religion would be destroyed in the culture. Now, this is mainstream. In addition, Latin and Greek were to be removed from the curricula, so that the continuity of Catholic and Western culture would be destroyed. All this has happened. It happened a long time ago when my brothers were in high school, and now they are in their early fifties. They did not get Classical Education. Some of these references arehere.

I had Classical Education, including Latin, and world history, as well as Church history, logic, ethics, civics, Plato, Aristole, etc.  I was in the last generation to get the pre-Gramsci education, which was based on the Jesuits and on the Catholic-based Western Civilization. The destruction is now all but complete. All this was done in the name of "democracy" and the destruction of elitism. Anyone who decries elitism is a Gramscian at heart. In the early 2000s, I had a little business as a curriculum consultant, helping schools either move back to Classical Education or created new schools in this mode. Many people did this at the college level, like the founders of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, or Wyoming Catholic, or Thomas More College. It works. Young people learn how to think and how to preserve the beauty of Western Civilization. They discern the Marxist fallacy of class warfare in the present milieu and the nihilism of Post-Modernism. 

A drop in the ocean, I am afraid, are these efforts, as the powers that be are outlawing independence in education and outlawing home schooling. Look at developments this week in Sweden. The term "social engineering" has come to mean many things, but in academia and in politics, it means the appropriation of Gramsci and Lukacs' ideals of infiltration and destruction, of the emphasis on the pragmatic and not the person. In the construction of a new society based on relationships, this destruction of frameworks of relationship seems counter-productive. But, for Gramsci, humans are capable of inter-relating without religion or even metaphysics of any kind. I always wonder when reading this why people would bother to work for such a society.

Why? Because these men hate the Church and Western Civ, they set out to destroy both, knowing what Belloc so succinctly wrote that  "The Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith."  Thanks to Gramsci and others, like Kant, we barely have the Faith and we barely have Europe....Gramscians deny that he intended to destroy culture, but I cannot see that his explanations and plans mean anything but that as a consequence of human activity to set up a society without Faith or the culture based on that Faith. Herein lies a paradox in Gramsci.

When I met my first true follower of Gramsci he said to me. "One cannot be a scholar and a Catholic." The implication was that only those who had thrown off the tyranny of the teaching of the Church, of Aquinas, Bonaventure, Augustine, even Maritain or Gilson, could one think. Not so, as Gramsci himself needed the past to resconstruct or rather desconstruct Western society. He relied on the writings of some of the "great books", the same he seemed to decry. The Gramscian error lies in the fact that the Marxist has just accepted another ideology in place of the teachings of the Catholic Church, and one more illogical and self-serving than that of the Church. Gramsci's emphasis on intellectuals and activists leading society away from the Church and Western Civilization just replaces one ideal system for his own. The error lies in the denial of the basic premises of natural law philosophy and the desire of the human will for freedom from social engineering. Over and over, he writes about historicism, mentioned above, the idea that humans get their identity from societal relationships and not from nature. In this sense, Gramsci is the arch-relativist, the grave error of the American educational systems today. He is a relativist also in so far as he does not believe in the absolute materialism of the Marxist, but a created, practical materialism. This pragmatism may be where one sees Gramsci being influenced by Machiavelli, the ultimate pragmatist. However, even with relativism or utilitarianism,  a backlash comes eventually and the backlash is barbarism. The only idea that has historically changed the barbarian is Christianity.

The reason why barbarism is the ultimate failure of Gramsci's desire for atheistic communism is that the lowest common denominator of a human mode of being emerges from the death of the West.  Communism and historicism fall to the armies of complete selfish, narcissistic individuals who only think of themselves and not the common good. Ergo, the Russian mafia. There is no longer a common good. There is no state to adore. This is complete Post-modernist deconstructionism and nihilism. In the post-society, the only remaining ideals are the death-wish and the desire for power. Interestingly enough, Gramsci was against worship of the state and believed that the proletariat could rule without such an organization. He thought that a regulated society could rule itself-this is the false ideal of utopianism, see post below on Levin's book. Order does not spring out of mere pragmatism. In fact, I would state that relativism and atheistic anarchy comes out of utilitarianism. Here is the difference between Michelle and POTUS. She is a true Alinksy activist and he is a narcissist. However, they both fall into the Gramsci camp of relativism.

Sadly, all of the idealism of the Gramscian falls to the neo-barbarians desires for personal, physical satisfaction and the death-wish. What Gramsci and his followers fail to take into consideration is raw evil, or Evil, if one can be so primitive as to believe, as I do , that Evil is a Person, who is pure spirit. The idealism of the Marxist or neo-Marxist cannot stand up against the greed and hatred of the world, the flesh and the devil. It doesn't matter in the long run, as the Marxist, as well as Evil, desires the destruction of the West and the Catholic Church. Marxism undoes itself by unleashing deeper powers, such as one understands in the dabbling of the occult. There is always something under the atheism and narcissism. But, those who deny the spiritual world. those who are complete materialists, overlook this important concept. In that spiritual world is found naked power. In the praxis of history and human activity, as described by Gramsci, there is no accounting for this evil. However, evil exists. It states, "Non serviam" I will not serve. Jeremiah 2:20--"Of old time thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve. For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself."

That is what the neo-barbarians understand. Naked power does not need an ideology in order to succeed. Power just wants power. However, the good news is that such power undoes itself. It self-destructs over and over again. That is the nature of evil-it cannot create, it can only destroy. But, destroy, it does.

Not a re-post-some things are just clearer and more obvious now

Michael Walzer in the Winter 1996 issue of the Marxist journal Dissent. see here for more

 "Gramscian 'war of position,' " Walzer approvingly cited, among other developments: 

"The visible impact of feminism." 

"The effects of affirmative action." 

"The emergence of gay rights politics, and ... the attention paid to it in the media." 

"The acceptance of cultural pluralism." 

"The transformation of family life," including "rising divorce rates, changing sexual mores, new household arrangements -- 

and, again, the portrayal of all this in the media." 

"The progress of secularization; the fading of religion in general and Christianity in particular from the public sphere -- classrooms, textbooks, legal codes, holidays, and so on." 

"The virtual abolition of capital punishment." 

"The legalization of abortion." 

"The first successes in the effort to regulate and limit the private ownership of guns."

A Third Re-Post for Today

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Do you want to know what subversion is? This is brilliant.

If you have time, a prophetic video by ex-KGB Yuri Bezmenov. Gramscian....from a friend. American freedom is gone. Here is why. By the way, he states the going back to religion is the only way to change the fast route to tyranny.

Brezmenov states there are three stages to tyranny, which should look all too familiar to us today.

First stage is demoralization. It takes between 15-20 years to do this-one generation of students. There are tendencies in every country against the moral principles of the nation and the infiltrators take advantage of all of these. As to religion, he said ridicule it. Undermine it. The accepted religious dogma is eroded. Listen carefully to what he says. Friendship is replaced by social workers, etc. Fascinating. His take on the media being successful because mediocre is great. There is more, much more on this point. Why did no one pay attention? He states that the action of unions is only for the furtherance of ideology. Yes, I have thought this for a while as well. He said it in 1983. He description of  relativism is brilliant.

Saul Alinsky and Obama quote from 2004 

Second stage is distablization. Here Yuri states that the same functions of society, such as law and order, the economy and the military are involved here. No compromise is possible at this point. This is where America is with abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and even states' rights. This is the radicalization of human relations--student and teachers, husband and wife, employers and employees, police and people, army and civilians and so on. Society becomes more antagonistic and the media takes the side against the society at large. He talks of the sleepers who all of the sudden become leaders--does this sound familiar--a president who came out of nowhere. Here he refers to human rights, civil rights groups involved in crisis. When the legitimate hierarchy cannot function any more, these artificial bodies or groups step in and rule the society-social workers, media, etc. He refers to Iran and the revolutionary committees which toppled the government. The population at large looks for a saviour, a messiah to get out of the crisis. Watch this! VIP.

There are two alternatives: civil war or invasion. He gives Lebanon as an example, if you know your history.

Third Stage is normalization. This is ironic. Yuri refers to the Czech take-over after the Czech Spring by the Soviets and all those who helped with the revolution were killed. No revolution is necessary. This sounds like Egypt today. This is also brilliant. This is KGB teaching. Yuri also refers to Afghanistan and the killing of a series of people who took the country to these stages and then killed and were killed-Marxists killing the leaders. No  democracy is possible any more, but tyranny at this point takes over. Remember Grenada, which became a Soviet base? Liberals get upset at these actions. This is coming all too soon, folks. We shall watch this or fight it.  For Catholics, there is only evangelizing and now, plus working on our own perfection.

This is one of the greatest finds on line. Thanks to my friend from Poland for these! You know who you are!

Another Re-post for consideration today

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Enemy is Within the Church...I quote the current Pope on this point, and one only needs to look at seminaries

The very first entry in the three volume set of Gramsci's Notebooks is a reference by him to the social encyclicals regarding socialism and Modernism. Obviously, Gramsci had read these, including The Syllabus of ErrorsQuanta Cura, and the writings of Pope Leo XIII. The editor of the Notebooks states that Gramsci had copies of the first two and a commentary on the third.  Gramsci wrote in 1929, that the popes taught social theory that, "1)...private property, especially 'landed property' is a 'natural right' which may not be violated, not even through high taxes (the programs of 'Christian democracy" tendency for the redistribution-with indemnity-of land to poor peasants, as well as their financial doctrines are derived from these assertions); 2) the poor must accept their lot, since it would be impious to eliminate them; 3) alms-giving is a Christian duty and implies the existence of poverty; 4) the social question is primarily moral and religious, not economic, and it must be resolved through Christian charity, the dictates of morality, and the decree of religion."  The note on this entry is worth reading as well.

My question is this. If a Marxist in prison could read all of the seminal documents, quoted on this blog almost weekly, when can't seminarians study these? I know they do not in many American seminaries, and most likely, in some European ones. I know one temporary deacon  and one seminarian, from two seminaries, in the Midwest, who have only had to read Rerum Novarum, and none of the Modernists or other encyclicals in six years of study. They do not understand Catholic teaching on socialism and the nature of the individual with regard to economic theories. They are, for all practical purposes, socialists, or at best, ignorant.

The reason for this horrible oversight in education is a twofold problem: one, many of the professors are communists or at least, socialists, and; two, many are Modernist heretics. Sorry, this is true.

The litmus test for such things is not been applied at all seminaries. Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem; with the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity has been systematically ignored by some seminary administrations. This disobedient mode of working and hiring of instructors continues, to the detriment of the Church. Ignorance is exactly the fertile ground for the Marxist agenda. As the Pope said last winter, the "enemy is within" the Church.

The fact that the Cardinals and bishops in discussion with the media and powers that be in the States do not have a strong background in Catholic political thought does not help the present arguments on religious liberty. One only has to listen to the vocabulary of some church leaders to hear a lack of sophistication absolutely needed at the time. 

A Re-Post which is worth considering now

The Elephant in the Church....from April 2012

In Notebook 2 from 1929-1933, Gramsci, using R. Michels and Max Weber, writes a long entry on the fact that bourgeois, socialist and Marxist parties have been formed around a charismatic leader. Gramsci also refers to Yves Guyot's idea of the religious orders taking their names and charisms from such men-Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc. Gramsci even refers to the anarchists and the anarcho-syndicalists, still alive and well today in Italy as seen in the troubles last Autumn, as groups, oddly organizing sometimes around a person of charism, despite the fact that these groupings are anti-authoritarian.

He goes on the write that the "basis of these parties is faith and the authority of a single individual. (No one has ever seen any such party; certain expressions of interests are, at certain times, represented by certain more or less exceptional personalities. During certain periods of  'permanent anarchy', due to the static equilibrium of the conflicting forces, a mans represents 'order'....there always is a program...which is general precisely because its only aim is to repair the exterior political facade of a society which is not undergoing a real constitutional crisis, but only a crisis arising out of the inordinate number of malcontents who cannot be easily controlled because of their sheer numbers and because of the simultaneous, but mechanically simultaneous, display of discontent across a whole nation...."

This is what Europe saw in the rioting of the Autumn and early Winter of 2012

Gramsci also refers to "doctrinaire" parties, such as "free market or protectionist parties or parties which proclaim rights of freedom and justice..."

Basing his discussion on Michels, Gramsci notes that Mussolini at the time falls into this category of charismatic leader of a party. We now can add Hitler, Mao, and many others to this discussion.

For the purposes of a Catholic political discussion, we must note that Gramsci is both right and wrong on two accounts, as he finds that communism is the only answer to what he sees as faulty political analyses of Michels and the need for a system which acknowledges class struggles-the fixation of the Marxist.

Firstly, because Gramsci eschews religion as a reality for social change and for social unity, he wants political organizations to take the place of a religious philosophy underlying all; for example, we as Catholics would start with a Natural Law philosophical position and move to an ethical or moral position of government based on Christian principles and the Christian definitions of State and individual (Maritain has an excellent book on this subject-The Person and the Common Good-which I read many years ago, but is still valid for discussion.

That the Marxist only has a material and in Gramsci's case, a historical view of humankind, and the individual, the spiritual goals of men and women are only considered in terms of a vague morality. Here is Gramsci in Notebook 4- "Clearly, neither materialist nor idealist monism, neither matter nor spirit, but historical materialism, i.e. activity of people (history) .. i.e. applied to a determinate organised material (material force of production), to nature reshaped by people. Philosophy of act (praxis), but not of the pure act, on the contrary, of the impure, i.e. the real, act in the profane sense of the word.." .And, again.."In this way we also arrive at a fusion, a making into one, of 'philosophy and politics,' of thinking and acting, in other words we arrive at a philosophy of praxis." And in Notebook 8, "Where, in a philosophy of praxis, everything is praxis, the difference will not be between moments of absolute spirit, but between structure and superstructures; it will be a matter of establishing the dialectical position of political activity as differentiation in the superstructures." (some quotation marks are changed or missing from my transcription).

Man becomes the only meaning to his own destiny and the only goal of history, which he created. Unlike the Catholic, who sees the Incarnation of the God-Man, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, as the culminating event of human history, combined with the Resurrection from the Dead, as the changing event of all history, Gramsci cannot believe in the spiritual reasons for history-that is-the renewal of the world and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. Man is the creator of his own destiny. And politics becomes the only force for change-that is, political action tied to the Marxist ideology. Some critics disagree with the Marxist ideological underlay to Gramsci's ideas of praxis and history, but these are intertwined and used interchangeably. I am not going to get into the discussions about whether Gramsci's ideas vary from traditional Marxism here. But, I want those in the Church to understand where the financial and social thinkers of Europe have imbibed these ideas and are creating or destroying, the new Europe accordingly.

Now, there is one "party" which has for all time a charismatic leader, who is not a political king but King of the Universe and that is Christ. Sadly, as the Marxist can only think and work in materialist terms, the spiritual nature of the Kingdom, that is, the changing of men's hearts to those of love and consideration for their neighbor, is not a reality.

Secondly, the problem with his analysis of other philosophers of politics or history is that he uses the same framework of class struggle, not believing at all in noblese oblige, or the requirement of the rich to help the poor while recognizing differences. I find it interesting that Gramsci is so optimistic, so hopeful as to political change based on an intellectual change, rather than a change in the spirit. He used the word spirit, but by that does not mean an eternal life in each individual but some sort of movement of man, not unlike those of the progressivists, whom he criticizes. This second error, of ignoring the eternal spirit, means that political struggle and cultural change is all important, is the only way for humans to live in peace. His ideas are utopianism in another disguise, and as such, fall into the heresy of wanting a perfect system on earth, which is not possible.

Once someone denies the spiritual and only works in the material, this utopianism is the only goal of all activity. Of course, I am looking only at the Notebooks and some of the Letters, hardly a complete philosophical system is created therein. But, the effect of such notes and references has been a cultural revolution in Europe and now in America, which needs addressing.

Modern secular humanism substitutes the same ethical framework. The Post-Moderns would find a home in Gramsci, perhaps even the late Christopher Hitchens, who had an ethical outlook without the framework of religious dogma. This type of atheism is popular in Europe and increasingly so in the States. But, what I find most disturbing, and what I am trying to address, are the Catholics who are "practical atheists" in that they believe the same premises as the secular humanists and Gramsci, but call themselves Catholics.

Now, the reason this discussion is so important for me is that too many discussions concerning socialism or communism center only on the economic structures and not the philosophical structures of atheism and secular humanism. Those in the Church need to engage a conversation at this level-of showing that the individual and his rights are at stake not merely because of economic structures, but because of the denial of the Incarnation as a force in history and in the world. This is not to fall into Liberation Theology, which sees Jesus only as a material Messiah, but to stress the recreating nature of Catholicism as a force in politics and cultural renewal from the spreading of the Gospel message. Unless the larger view is established in the minds of priests, bishops and cardinals, as well as the laity, the Church will lose many souls and nations to a more organized social restructuring. The Church can do the restructuring, but only with open eyes and a clear message of evangelization. This cannot be merely a softly, softly approach, but one of passion and conviction, which so many Catholics eschew.

Many years ago, the post office lost my copy of Enthusiasm by Ronald Knox, which would come in handy here as another critique of fanaticism, both spiritual and material, which we are dealing with in the socialists and communists of Europe. If someone wants to buy me another copy, I would appreciate it. The socialist and communist agendas must be examined in the light of Catholic heresies, held by a large majority of Catholics in Europe. Catholic Churchmen in America must stop playing footsy with any type of socialism and communism, which happens too often, even in seminaries.

From This Morning's Prayer

May your love in us overcome all things:
  let there be no limit to our faith, our hope, and our endurance.
– Lord Jesus, you loved us and gave yourself for us.