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Sunday 5 January 2014

Just a clarification

Epiphany is tomorrow in my world....I wrote a book length drama in lyrics about the Magi in 1979 or is in a box in storage, or I would share it. All based on the astronomy and Zoroastrianism etc.

Some day....


The Hour Glass Part Eight

The Republic of Texas built 5,454 check points and towers on its long borders. The citizens of Texas owned more guns than the entire rest of North America. These men and women had refused to register these guns in 2014, and now, they were the only democratic body in the entire old United States. The citizens knew their existence was precarious, but precious and worth defending.

All people had to show their national or republic id cards at the check points. Antonio had both a national card and a Republic of Texas card, gratis of a conservative, mostly Catholic populace. In the aftermath of the nuclear blast, millions of conservative Catholics fled to Texas and were welcomed by all. Conservative millionaires of all religions, afraid of the complete take over of assets of the new government in Washington, had fled to Texas and were pleased to live under the Lone Star flag. Many invested in Texas industries and businesses.  New churches were being built across the republic.

The Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to the United States left 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, lock, stock and barrel and moved to Houston under the protection of the new president of the Republic of Texas, someone who looked a lot like Jeb Bush.

The only area in America to have a free and working grid was Texas. The only place to have freedom of religion was Texas. The only place where abortion was outlawed and same-sex-marriage declared a non-issue, causing the Congress of Texas to pass a Defense of Marriage Act, was the Republic of Texas.

The only place without a national disaster of health care was Texas. The population of Texas grew 1000% in three years, creating new towns in the desert and a healthy economy. Texas was the Old America.

Antonio was working in northern Louisiana but, was called to speak with the Apostolic Nuncio personally. Antonio, a real parish priest at heart, a real missionary, did not want to be in a chancery office or in any position of administration. He was very concerned that this visit would result in some sort of non-pastoral position. But, he had to go. One month had passed since the ordination of the bishops and already Anselm in Rome had quickly declared one a saint. Bishop James Carter of Jerome had been killed by an anti-Catholic mob two weeks into his new position. He had been ripped to shreds. The cause was hatred of the Church and Her stance on homosexuality. James was now Blessed James, martyr. He was only one of the first, but not the first. The community of Jerome would not get another priest, unfortunately, and the glacier advance daily, slowly but perceptibly.

Antonio had grieved until he had an extraordinary experience in the northern corner of Louisiana, when he was saying Mass for a small group of about 32 Catholics who lived on a farm in a remote location near the border of Arkansas.  After Communion, in the quiet of the small barn, Antonio thought he heard his name being called, softly, but firmly. The good priest looked up, and there, in front of the altar, was James, in brilliant white, with his hands open towards Antonio. The vision lasted but a few minutes, but long enough for Antonio to understand that James was in a much happier and glorious place of love and peace. In fact, Antonio felt a new peace enter his own mind and heart after this "vision".

James was still with him. And, Antonio had not received another traveling companion, as there were no priests in the area but himself. He did not mind, now, and kept up with his prayers and peripatetic mission work, knowing that somehow, James was with him. 

Walking to the border meant crossing open land which was dangerous for a travelling priest. But, Antonio could see the towers in the distance, towers placed so that one Texas Ranger could see the next in the closest tower. Antonio was about ninety feet away from one tower when he saw dogs running towards him. Then, he saw military men, but he could not tell which army they represented, the Chinese or the new government's. Antonio was not a fast runner and the three dogs bearing down on him were large mastiff hounds. He "froze". Shots rang out-three shots, and the dogs lay dead on bare ground. Antonio heard some one shout, "Padre, here, run, now!" And, the young priest obeyed.  The four foot soldiers began shooting at him, but again shots came from two towers, just as Antonio reached the gate at the check point. The gate opened and he ran in, crashing against the armed guard. "Slow down, Padre. You're ok now."

"How did you know I was a priest?" Antonio was confused. "We have orders to look for a lone priest and we figured out you were him. Those thugs are from the national army not the Chinese, so we took them out. Sorry, if we offend you, Padre, but we were ordered to defend you at all costs." The young Texas Ranger smiled a big toothy smile.

Antonio took a deep breath. "Thank you, thank you. I understand."

"We have a car to take you to Houston, Father. Follow me." Antonio could not believe it. He had not seen a car for three years. But, then, the oil and gas in Texas was legendary, and the Republic held the offshore drills against both the Chinese, who were out of ammunition, and the national army, called NATS or GATS, for global army troops, for short, by those who hated the new regime in the East which was ruled from Greenland-the underground global government.

Antonio was given a quick drink of coffee, another rare treat, and escorted to a small car. It was one made in Texas, on the border with Mexico, where two automobile factories had started up in the last three years. Texas and Mexico, still free, though suffering from incursions from the Chinese, had an agreement with Texas. Steel and other needed materials were exchanged for defense. This was called the Texas-Mexican Defense Treaty. Mexico had broken all treaties and agreements with the new national government, which was openly anti-religious.

Once in the backseat of the military car, Antonio noticed a rosary and a scapular hanging from the rear-view mirror. Antonio felt strange, as if he had fallen, like Alice into a wonderland,  into the set of a movie, an old movie. But, this was Texas.

To be continued....

The Hour Glass Part Seven

Only fourteen people, ten men and four woman, showed up at the pub on Lion Road. The priests had expected twice as many, including children. After Mass, Columcille questioned Rob Coe, the self-appointed leader of the Mass group. "People are nervous, after your former guide disappeared. I mean som-a-us have children. I know the Masters did not want to bring the children because of the missing Kedge. You know, no one has seen him in weeks."

Columcille recognized fear. He also knew that if he did not encourage the men to come, that Catholicism would die in this area a slow but sure death. It had all happened before in families.

Samuel was in a corner of the long room talking with Carrie Archer, one of the few women to come this night. "My sister is scared, Samuel. She really is. And, she does not want to fight with John, you know John."

Samuel knew everyone in the area, and there parents and grandparents. "Yes, I understand, but the children need catechesis, and with their First Holy Communion coming up....."

Carrie put her hands on her head in frustration. "John has completely fallen away, Samuel, just like his dad did. I could see it coming, but there was nothing we could do. The children are torn."

The good priest had heard such stories before, of families torn by keeping, or abandoning, the one, true Faith.

He knew the history of many old families in this very place who had fought and betrayed each other under Oliver Cromwell. He shook his head. "Carrie, tell Abby that if she wants me to visit the house, I shall come."

Columcille heard this. He knew the directive from Rome was to avoid home visits, except for the protected large houses, in which dwelt families who could play the political games necessary to keep house and Mass going.

But, the party was breaking up and the men stood for a final blessing. Thomas Howard came over to Columcille.

"Father, I mean, Columcille, we need to move out now. All these people leaving at once creates suspicion, even though we made some good time at the bar downstairs. Let's go now."

Columcille put his hand on Thomas' arm and agreed. He then went to Samuel and said they should be going, now. Carrie looked disturbed and Columcille wished he had seemed less anxious and calmer.

"Columcille, is it getting worse. I mean, can't we keep coming?" Carrie was almost in tears.

"Of course, you can keep coming. We shall be back in a few days-our regular bi-weekly Mass. Please, do not worry."

Samuel and Columcille left behind Thomas who led the way on into the dark street. Without the gird, the landscape resembled the lane and dark houses so long ago in the first days of the recusant times. Columcille then saw a large police dog, coming towards them. Thomas spoke first. "Back into the pub, you two, and go upstairs and onto the low roof, until I whistle all clear."

Thomas stood between the dog and the priests, who returned inside, and went quickly up the stairs to the long room. then opened one of the large sash windows, and climbed up on the low roof. It was easy to hang on to the wooden juts. Columcille placed himself so that he could see Thomas, the dog and the policeman coming down the road. There were no lights except old oil lamps in the pub.

"Hey, you," the policeman yelled at Thomas. "What were all those people doin' here? Come on, now."

Thomas answered in such a cool tone, Columcille was a bit jealous at the man's nonchalance.

"Hey, officer, it is my birthday. Do ya want a drink with me?"

The policeman demanded Thomas' identity card and produce a torch to look at it. "Howards. This place still crawls with Howards. You're not special, you know."

Thomas picked up on the cue. "No sir, we are not. The special ones are way down south."

"Well, I was told their were priests here. And, this is a warning. Anyone harboring priests, or helping set up superstitious services are fined 1,000 pounds sterling for the first offense and imprisonment for the second offense. You remember that. I hate your lot."

Thomas actually reached out and shook the policeman's hand, but the dog growled. "Sir, thanks so much, but I do not have that kind of money to be playing hero."

"Alright, go on, but pay attention. I know you Howards are all trouble-makers. I am a peaceful man, and I do not want any trouble in this area. I do not want any difficulties from you lot. I have enough troubles without hedge priests."

Thomas could sense that this man was more afraid than he was. Thomas wondered why the policeman was so afraid. Something must have happened around here--but what?

The policeman turned and walked up the road, and the dog followed. Thomas stood there for a five minutes or so, and then whistled. The two priests just slide off the roof in the back and joined Thomas.

"Fathers, I mean, well, you know, we need to cut back over the fields and get out of here. And, I am afraid this is the end of this mission."

Samuel, who knew the young man was correct, felt the cold wind of history on his neck. This Mass would have to move elsewhere, but where?

As they crossed the road and climbed up into the field, Columcille said to Thomas. "Pass the word that there will be no more Masses here. We shall find another place."

To be continued....

The Hour Glass Part Six

Louisiana at this time of year should have been about 83 degrees Fahrenheit, but today the temperature did not rise above 43 or so. The three priests wore the same jackets all year round, with layers in their knapsacks for warm.  With the beginning of the new ice age, most plants which needed temperate or hot temperatures had died. The other plants struggled, as the cold brought rain, ice and snow to most parts of the northern and central states and intermittently to the southern parts.

The central administration of the Catholic Church had moved to Texas, although bishops were encouraged to stay in their dioceses as long as they could work in safety. The East was in schism as the National American Catholic Church. Only two bishops had refused to join the large group, and they were missing. One of the missing was a cardinal. This church was really run from the underground global government, but most schismatic Catholics still had not come to that realization.

That this meeting of the priests with some bishops was happening in a small town indicated the danger for many of those attending. The meeting would be in a private home, and priests had been given instructions to come at staggered times.

No one but a few knew that the subject of the meeting was the complete overhauling of the diocesan structures which had existed for over two-hundred years.

At exactly eight o'clock at night, a gathering of twenty-two priests and two bishops met at the house of the local doctor, Dr. Singh. The men were from all the states outside the Wilderness on the southern edge-in other words, from the Old South and a few states just south of the Mason-Dixon Line, There was one exception. Bishop John Brent of Lincoln had been in the south visiting his sister before going on a retreat when all the chaos happened. His was told by Rome to stay in Texas until further orders came. Those orders had finally come.

Bishop Brent, being the senior clergyman, chaired the meeting. "The Holy Father sent a letter to me and a copy to Bishop Jensen, who is also present, as you all can see, indicating his wishes to consolidate dioceses and dissolve dioceses which are no longer functioning.

We have made a map for each priest here. You can see that all the dioceses of Minnesota, Wisconsin, western Indiana, Illinois, except for Belleville, Illinois are all suppressed. Two dioceses remain in Missouri, St, Louis, although city was severely damaged by the floods, and Kansas City-St. Joseph. One diocese remains active in Kansas, and that is the Kansas City, Kansas diocese. As you all know, most of The Wilderness is now under the new, fast growing glaciation.

Other suppressed dioceses owing to the destruction in the Wilderness are all those in Iowa, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, western Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Idaho. Hawaii, being completely destroyed, is of course, suppressed. The Ecclesiatical Provinces of St. Paul and Minnesota, Miwaukee, Indianopolis, Los Angeles, Omaha, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Anchorage, Dubuque, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, are dissolved.

Those diocese which are not in The Wilderness, but under the military rule of the Chinese, that is, dioceses in the states of Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington and western Utah will be assumed as under siege. As far as the Pope knows, all the bishops are either in prison, or dead. We actually do not know. Three of the bishops which were in Arizona and New Mexico are safely in Texas.
Three new areas, new dioceses, will be covering the Pacific Coast,  and one will combine western Utah and Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. New bishops, including auxiliaries, will be placed in authority in these new dioceses. I shall announce the names this evening of the priests who will be ordained bishops.

The Ecclesiastical Provinces of St. Paul and Minnesota, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Omaha, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, Anchorage, Dubuque, Detroit, Chicago, Denver, are dissolved.

The Pope has left Oklahoma under the existing dioceses, Oklahoma City,  and Tulsa, but has moved the see of the bishop to Tulsa, although the western part of the state has some Chinese occupation.

All the other dioceses will be left in the same diocesan administrations even though these are under martial law in the states not mentioned.

All other dioceses not mentioned remain in place, such as the Diocese of Little Rock and so on.

The Wilderness damage cannot be understood by those who have not seen the destruction caused by the nuclear blast. I myself have taken a trip with one other bishop, Bishop Kendall of Houston, to see the damage in some places. Let me only say that Dante's Inferno is now on earth. We can assume, as has the world, that no one who lived within the states affected by the direct blast and the weather patterns which forces the radioactive clouds into other states, that no one is alive in The Wilderness. We pray daily for the souls of all the faithful departed, even after all this time.

It has taken this long for the Pope to decide how to approach the problem of the bishops who are cooperating with the military rule of Washington run by the "globals", and those independent bishops. Of those bishops in the east who have created a shadow church, I shall not discuss at this meeting. In the future, however, it is the will of the Holy Father to send missionaries into military territory and rescue souls from the schism."

Here the bishop put down his papers and the map and directly addressed the small group.

"It is the intention of both Bishop Jensen and myself to ordain seven men this evening to take over some of those new diocesan administrative areas. We shall also give the names of those dioceses and administrative areas now.

The new dioceses and administrative areas are as follows, and I shall just list the city and state names. The Pope's expectation is that the new bishops will find their way to these places and set up some type of diocesan headquarters, even if underground. The new bishops will be missionaries in mission territories, as we do not know how many Catholics remain in these places. Some are in the enemy territory of the Chinese, some are at the edges of The Wasteland.

The dioceses are as follows: Ventura, and Tehama, covering all of California at this point; Tehema at the edge of the glaciation, is a temporary center; Jerome, Arizona; Magdalena, New Mexico; Goldfield, Nevada, and one new diocese in Higgins, Republic of Texas. One of these diocese will have an auxiliary bishop as well. I know that some of you are being sent into extremely dangerous territories."

The enormity of the changes slowly began to sink into the small group. That seven men would be made bishops for these new areas made some of the men nervous.

"Now, I ask you all to listen to Bishop Jensen on the men chosen by the Pope to set up these missionary dioceses and start up the Catholic Church, from scratch, as it were."

The two bishops changed places in the tense atmosphere of the small room. Bishop Jensen began by asking the priests to pray. Bowing their heads, some felt as if the responsibility of starting up missionary dioceses would be too difficult.

Bishop Jensen, a small and gentle man said this first, "If any man's name is announced and that man feels he cannot take on this duty, please do not nod your head in assent. I assure you, no one will think less of you. I ask you to nod in assent if you feel you can respond to the call of the Holy Father."

Philip Scott will be Bishop of Ventura. I already have his assent.

John Sikora, Auxiliary Bishop of Ventura. (John, a small man of about 40, nodded his head)

James Carter will be Bishop of Jerome. (James nodded in assent).

Edward Sczepanska, Bishop of Tehama. (Edward, a man of about fifty, nodded his head).

Thomas Bauer, Bishop of Higgins. (Thomas, a handsome man of about 50, nodded yes).

Thomas Gomez-Kappel, Bishop of Magdalena. (Thomas nodded. He looked just over the canonical age for a bishop).

Patrick Rebideux, Bishop of Goldfield. (Patrick, a large and striking Canjun nodded yes).

We shall now commence with Mass and the ordinations."

Antonio felt a bit ill. He was losing his great friend and mentor. And, he was losing the company of Philip Scott, who he had seen at least three times a year. He wondered who his new travelling companion would be.

To be continued.....