To hell in a hand basket.

Maybe it doesn’t occur to people because our culture is so saturated in its own sin, but we’re killing off our own society (and importing a different one through immigration) through abortion and euthanasia.  Yet, our politicians from every political party are more concerned about spending your money (through taxes) on refunds for transit passes or infrastructure, like pork projects that mostly don’t deserve public funding anyway, which will only result in  more debt for my generation and the following generations to pay off.

Instead of making the moral arguments against these evils and then letting the cards fall where they may, people would rather avoid the topics because they’re divisive.  So, in the interest if gaining political power in a society that’s largely funnelling the storm drain, we’re going to pretend that these fundamental issues aren’t issues at all, and we’re going to worry about taxes and debt.  Yes!!  More bread and circuses!!  More fun!

Campaign Life Coalition  has a page on their website with the available facts and figures on abortion.  Its enough to make your heart break and your blood boil.  Here’s a few of the statistics.

  • At least 100,000 surgical abortions are committed annually in Canada, conservatively speaking.(5)
  • Since it’s legalization in 1969, 4 million Canadians have died from elective abortions.
  • Today, abortion is used as a “back-up” birth control method in more than 96% of instances.(6)
  • About half of the women with an unplanned pregnancy choose abortion. The other half keeps the child. Fewer than 1% offer the baby for adoption.
  • Only a few hundred children are placed in adoption each year.(7) Couples who wish to adopt can wait up to 10 years before bringing their child home.

Its really hard to get excited about the 150th Anniversary of this nation after you see these numbers and then consider the real state of our country.  I read this and I started regretting getting involved in politics at all, even though it was just to vote in the leadership campaign.

This is a bit of a rant, but I had to write something after the thought came to me earlier around lunch time that while 4 million Canadians have been murdered through abortion since 1969, our chief concern is money.  I guess that’s not totally surprising, but its sure depressing to think about.

Maybe we should reread the Old Testament of the Bible, and reacquaint ourselves with how God dealt with a people who refused to turn away from their sin.  This isn’t Old Testament times, God isn’t going to intervene and establish another new covenant. The new Covenant in his blood is everlasting.

We’ve got a choice to make, folks.  Whatever choice that is God will respect it.  He gave you free will.  You have to choose.  He won’t violate your free will, or the choices we make in this life are meaningless.

By the way, for Catholics in particular, when you sin mortally you place yourself under the power of Satan.  Its true for everyone, but Catholics have recourse to do something about it immediately through confession.

Andrew Scheer

I sat this afternoon glued to the CPAC feed on my laptop of the Conservative Party of Canada leadership convention.  Andrew Scheer is the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.   Mr. Scheer came second on every ballot from the first right through the twelfth, and then on the final 13th ballot he won the contest by 51-49% margin over Maxime Bernier.

There were a few surprises along the way.  Erin O’Toole turned out to be the king-maker, placing third, and it was his supporters who flowed to Andrew Scheer on the final ballot.  Brad Trost came in fourth and Pierre Lemieux placed sixth or seventh!!  I certainly didn’t expect that strong a showing, but it was so important for religious/social conservatives to have their candidates do well, and show the rest of the party that we can’t just be ignored when the next government is formed by the CPC.

I remember sitting writing Andrew an e-mail about his campaign promises.  I was asking him how he’s going to balance the budget in two years.  I hope that he has a good plan that he’s ready to release shortly, or else the Liberal Party of Canada is going to have much fun filling in the details for him.

In a sense it didn’t matter too much who won because both of the front runners were moral equals when it comes to the fundamental issues of life and marriage.  Andrew Scheer would object and point out that he’s pro-life, but since he won’t act on the issue it really doesn’t matter that he believes as he does because the outcome will the same as if a pro-choice candidate had been victorious like Maxime Bernier.  Further to that point this nation won’t be saved by politics or any particular politician. There’s only one who can save, Jesus Christ.

Anyway, lets focus on the positive.  Brad Trost – a conservative who holds that life is sacred from conception to natural death – came fourth.  FOURTH!!  To the establishment of the Party that is satisfied with merely maintaining the status quo, and holding power:  That won’t do.  We won’t be satisfied.

 

Mass at the E.U. HQ?

If this is accurate, this is awesome.  For now I’m just going to link to the story from One Peter Five.  What an incredible development.  For European nations to have a future they must rediscover their authentic Christian faith.  It looks like it might be happening now. Here’s the important details from the original report:

Thanks to the initiative of a Polish MEP, former Sejm Marshal Marek Jurek, there is now a Catholic Mass in the so-called “extraordinary rite” (i.e. the rite that was in common use prior to 1969, and which was defined as the universally valid rite of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius V following the Council of Trent) on the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels. A first such celebration took place on 4 May, and a second is scheduled this week on Thursday 18th May at 8 a.m. in the “meditation room”ASP 00H152 (located behind the desk of the Office of Tourism, on the ground floor).

Our Lady of Lourdes, Ora Pro Nobis.

College Baseball

The college baseball regular season ended on Sunday, but for me it was just beginning. Conference tournaments start today, which marks the beginning of the Road to Omaha, the host of the NCAA College World Series.

I had known of college baseball for years, I mean, its not like every player drafted by Major League clubs is drafted straight out of high school.  Thanks to my curiosity being peaked by Michael Baumann of The Ringer (Bill Simmons website), I started to check out some college baseball games on the weekend.  There were a few things that I really enjoyed.

The first thing was the stadiums.  This might seem trivial, but the smaller more intimate ballparks gave the game a different feel than what you get with 40-45 thousand-seat MLB parks that are often half empty for the first couple months because of the weather, and the fact that kids are still in school.

Secondly, the games are made a little more exciting because there’s greater chance of mistakes being made.  Throws being air-mailed past the intended target, balls in the dirt getting away from a catcher, balls being misread in the outfield;  These things happen in MLB but aren’t that common.  In NCAA because the vast majority of the players won’t make it to the Majors these are mistakes that are a little more common. The result is a little more offense and excitement than what you get from MLB.  The hitters also use aluminium bats instead of wooden bats.  I’m not sure how much difference that makes in terms of offense; whether the balls carries farther off the bat, or not, but the sound of the ball off the bat reminds me of playing softball growing up.

Third, and maybe the biggest thing is the season is shorter.  I’m a huge fan of the MLB regular season being 162 games.  Its the perfect length for regular season baseball.  Its just long enough that you go through all the ebbs and flows you would normally expect to occur so that by the end you pretty well know who the best teams are.  That said, the shorter season for college baseball makes sense given you have conference tournaments and the College World Series to fit into a finite school year season.  It forces you to stop and pause for a minute before judging the stat lines on players because the sample size for a given season is so much smaller.  The season also starts in February as opposed to April which means that meaningful baseball can be seen possibly before pitchers and catchers report for MLB Spring Training.  I find that really exciting given how tired I am of winter and non-baseball sports by that point in the calendar.  It makes the baseball off-season much shorter.

I have only one complaint about college baseball.  The games are too long.  The game shouldn’t take four hours to play.  The Umpires need to be empowered to move the game along, and mound visits by pitching coaches needs to be curtailed.  The dead space in the middle of baseball games is a significant reason why young people have a hard time watching baseball.  MLB along with its amateur affiliates needs to address this problem.  Keep the action going and the game will hold people’s attention better.

So, thank you to Michael Baumann for peaking my curiosity.  My calendar will be marked next year for the start of college season in February.  I’ll be doing my best to catch some of the tournament action as well as the College World Series over the next few weeks.

 

Happy Victoria Day!

Today is probably my favourite secular holiday.  On the third Monday in May Canadians celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria, the granddaughter of King George III.

Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke of Kent and King George III died in 1820, and Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father’s three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held relatively little direct political power. Privately, Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.

Putting aside the fact that England renounced the True Faith when King Henry VIII insisted on receiving a divorce from his wife, and when his faithful barrister Thomas More refused he persecuted him terribly, I quite like the Monarchy.  It would be all the better if the next Monarch reverted to the True Faith, and left the Church of England [Anglican Church or Episcopal Church] to die on the vine.

The Catholic Church has long taught that Monarchy is the best form of government, followed by Aristocracy, and then Democracy.  St. Thomas Aquinas taught that a blend of all three is likely best.  I think here in Canada, along with Great Britain and the other Commonwealth states have the closest to that commingling.  We have the Monarch who’s able to assert herself (through dissolving Parliament or allowing a new government to be formed from an existing elected Parliament) if need be in a time of crisis.  We have the Aristocracy in the Senate, the upper Chamber which is meant to be a House of “Sober Second Thought”, and we have the democracy in our elections where we choose for ourselves the men or women who represent us in Parliament, which is supposed to be a safeguard of our liberty, not a threat to it as it tends to be today.

Its unfortunate that the two dominant national political parties (Liberal and Tory) are both effectively Republican at this point, and only pay lip service to the Monarchy as a relic of the past that isn’t relevent to the present or the future.   I would warn that given the climate we live in today, the Monarchy might become more relevant and necessary in our politics than we realize.

But amidst the apparent chaos and unruliness that seems so pervasive in our culture, lets remember who the real King is.  He doesn’t seem well known anymore, and his adherents have not done well proclaiming him and making converts of their neighbours.  His name is Jesus Christ, he is the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity.  He who created the world ultimately governs it.   His governing style is benevolent, his justice is merciful, and he truly serves those who toil in the garden in his name.

God Save the Queen, and make her a convert to the Catholic Church.  Our Lady of Walsingham, Ora Pro Nobis.

Chesterton’s Voice

Back during a time when the word kindle was a verb you would use to describe starting a fire, people would read actual hard-cover or paperback books.  Today, its a device you can use for reading books.   I don’t have a kindle.  I have an iPod, and I’ve got into buying audio books that I can download to my iPod and listen to while I drive, or while I’m puttering around at home, or even if I’m on a break at work.

The first time I read Orthodoxy I actually read it.  I bought a paperback copy of the book and read it.  It was the first book I’d ever read by G.K. Chesterton.  I don’t think I fully grasped what I was reading.  I was reading it because I heard it recommended and talked about by a Priest (now a Bishop) of the Catholic Church, Robert Barron.   I assumed from the title “Orthodoxy” that it would be a little more scholarly in structure and style than what I found, but I read through it anyway, and found it at least enjoyable even if I didn’t understand everything I read.

Today I have an audio book version narrated by John Franklyn-Robbins.  I was listening to it earlier and appreciating the work much more than I did the first time I saw the words on paper.  You don’t really realize it right away, though it seems obvious once you think about it, but the voice of the narrator is quite important to the enjoyment of the book.

John Franklyn-Robbins is the voice of G.K. Chesterton.  I can’t read Chesterton without hearing his voice.  I’ve listened to audio book versions of “Heretics”, and “What’s Wrong With the World”, both weren’t narrated by Mr. Robbins.  I thought both were good, but if I read a hard copy of a Chesterton book, like his biographical sketch of St. Francis of Assisi, I hear the voice of John Franklyn-Robbins.  It has a distinctiveness and character that just seems to scream “Chesterton!”.

Its almost like listening to a baseball game on the radio that’s being called by one of the great announcers, Harry Caray, Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, etc.  You can see and feel what’s being described through the spoken word of the narrator, even though you can’t literally see it or feel it.   You hear the voice and you just relax and nearly slip into a stupor while you imbibe the action being described as if you were there watching it yourself.

The kindle you might use to read a book today won’t start a real fire, but when you read G.K. Chesterton and you hear the voice of John Franklyn-Robbins, it could start a fire in your heart.

Our Lady of Fatima

The apparition at Fatima is one of the great apparitions of the Catholic Church.  Our Lady revealed certain truths to three children in Portugal.

From Hilary White:

“To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart.” This must be done by the pope in conjunction with all the bishops of the world before 1960. If this were done, Russia would be converted and a period of peace would be given to the world. If Her requests were not granted, “Russia will spread its errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer and various nations will be annihilated.

 

But, really, who can say it better than Archbishop Fulton Sheen?  I was going to read the Wiki entry which I heard isn’t bad as a basic introduction, but I think listening to the Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen is a better option than me trying to write 500+ words on the subject.

Our Lady of Fatima, Ora Pro Nobis.