Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Best Wishes Crystal and Kyle

Any likeness to actual living people is merely coincidental. Merely very coincidental.

            I live in a small town. It is an important component in one of the most conservative ‘ridings’ in the country. We perpetually return conservative representatives to the House of Commons and to the Legislative Assembly in Toronto, well, ever since the great long-gun registration debacle made us realize who are true friends are. It is a town settled predominately by Polish immigrants – although the Irish got here first and bought up all the good land and then put the Kashub Poles to work in the lumber industry as the serf class. This is perhaps the only place in the world where the Irish make up the upper class – not even Ireland can boast that!

Before I came to this town I thought all Poles were grim, unfriendly and hardened. And then I met Kashubs, a kind of hybrid race created when you introduce comely Polish lasses and iron-willed Prussians. What came out of this mixture, and was transplanted in the Ottawa Valley, was a people who have become very dear to me, a generally simple, traditional, guileless, friendly people, hard-working, resourceful and creative. They have every reason to be ‘traditional’ – there have been but few incursions here from big business and of ‘city-people,’ the latter staying just long enough to rest and catch few bass before heading back to their type of existence. It has been a Catholic existence – that the Poles and the Irish have had in common. I don’t know what the mass attendance is in our town, but it is as close to 100% as any town has been since Luther’s day.
We can lament the loss of some vestiges of Kashub culture – very few young people can speak to the grandparents in their own language. Kashubian is a Polish dialect, kind of like Newfoundlander is to English. Dobje we all know, bardzo dobje. And the names. One of the most common for men here has been Ambrose. I like Ambrose – the baptizer of Augustine no less.
And then on my drive the other day I saw on the sign in front of the town’s community centre, “Best Wishes Crystal and Kyle.” Haven’t I seen that sign before? Didn’t a Kyle and a Crystal get married last year? Maybe a Crystal and Kyle get married here every summer now. I guess ‘Ambrose’ and ‘Clementine’ decided not to name their children from the traditional Kashubian canon, which we can also most definitely refer to as a Catholic canon.

            But, I ask, upon what, then, shall we base our hope that our ‘best wishes’ for Crystal and Kyle will pay off, if we can no longer rely upon the kind of a heavenly patronage that Ambrose and Clementine were set up for by their parents when they chose names of such high heavenly pedigree for their children?
It reminds of a story I heard a few years ago. When a superioress was asked why her sisters don’t take religious names at their profession she replied that they will as soon as they have to deal with the prospect of a Sr. Crystal.
This very same weekend that the church decided to marry two young people without heavenly guardians, a couple celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Now the times are very different from how they were sixty years ago. World War II was then a recent memory. My town must have looked quite different back then. I can tell you one thing it didn’t have back then: very many divorces. Crystal’s and Kyle’s world is now full of them. The couple that got married sixty years ago, well, Jesus and Holy Mass is still front and centre in their lives. I see them at mass all the time. I am sure they, like everyone from that generation, had their fair share of hard times. Marriage is never easy, no matter when you lived. But one thing they had, which Crystal and Kyle don’t, was tradition with its strong Christian principles and powerful role models to guide them.

What hope do Kyle and Crystal have? Their parents must have thought that the prayers of the Church Triumphant don’t do anything for you anyway, so why not chose a name you like, something different? And by marrying them, the church confirmed this. There was a time when baptism, confirmation and marriage meant a transformation in Christ, a new life. I suggest that in situations like this that the church not marry someone who has not been confirmed, and not confirm someone who hasn’t been provided with heavenly patronage. It’s not right to fail to provide young people every spiritual leg up we can.

Catholicism is not a culture, but it exist in culture(s). Its purpose is to renew all things in Christ, not to passively leave things as it finds them.


Friday, August 22, 2014

All Politicians are Psychos

A slight overstatement. I am sure that a few unsuccessful ones are not.

The danger with us Catholics - the only people I really care to instruct - is that we tend to label the enemies of our enemies our friends. They are not. Muslims who oppose homosexual marriage are Muslims no less, and they will be the ones we will be worrying about in the future, as we think back to the good old days when all we had to worry about was homosexuals and their human rights tribunals.

This post is just a short, gentle reminder that all politicians are addicted liars and an addicted liar is a psychopath by definition. Unfortunately people turn the 'politicians are liars' thing into a joke, like lawyers and used car salesmen. The difference is, used car salesmen only sell cars, and that is but one small part of our lives, or maybe no part at all. Politicians, on the other hand, dominate our culture, and if they are lying psychopaths, our culture then has a very sandy foundation.

This post comes from one thing, an image of former Presidents Bush and Clinton sharing laughs at the various functions they attend. The first time I saw this two thoughts ran through my head: 1) isn't it nice how these ideological enemies can be nice to each other, 2) that's weird, aren't they enemies? What do God and Belial have in common?

But I have a new thought, a third thought: 3) why wouldn't they share laughs? After all, they are the same: liars who get power and money by manipulating their support bases. Yes, I happen to be a part of W's base, and so I want to believe he really cares about the things I care about. But what assures me that he does?

Maybe I am wrong, and W is a really good person. The bottom line is, I urge, when it comes to politicians, the Church has to see in them what they see, for instance, in homosexuals: people in need of help. Addicted liars who are addicted to money and power are deeply in need of our help, not our tolerance and enabling.

So the next time you see Cardinal Dolan laughing hilariously with some abortionist politician, remember he is doing the very opposite of what Jesus did, enabling sinners by not seeing them as sick.

Many Catholics think that the sick are all on the 'other side.' They are all gravely morally depraved, and the Church has a duty to help them.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Cult of Virginity

This poor lady's post is one of those awful stories about missing the forest for the trees, but I want to talk about it not only because her story is too common, but I think I would want to talk about it even if she was the only one who ever went through this kind of thing. Read the post, I am not going to explain it all here. It's a good read.

First of all I want to talk about this cult of virginity in general. Yes, virginity is great, but you know what is just the same as virginity, a pure heart now. The word kind of disgusts me, actually, and it is not just because it is something abused by sexual perverts and their pornography. No, it disgusts me (also) because it is viewed as a crown in the Christian tradition. And it is sexist. Virginity is not a word the Christian tradition uses for men, usually, and that is sexist. When someone uses the word 'virgin' they are saying something equivalent to 'never committed a sexual sin.' Sounds like something positive, but how would you feel if I went around saying, "Nope, never committed that sin. Nope, never committed that sin either." It would bother you and make you not want to be my friend. So, why are men never called virgin? Is it because them having sex is somehow less momentously bad?

As the author's tale will indicate, virginity is something some Christians prize a lot. I think sexual purity is really important. It is as important as bravery and honesty. In other words, very important. But some Christians treat it as the most important 'thing.' I call it a thing here because you can't speak of it as a virtue. Chastity is a virtue, aka purity of heart. But virginity is a status. I suppose I could be as happy that someone is a virgin as I would be that someone is consistently generous. But even if they had once been selfish and materialist but then had a great change of heart, I would like to believe that their record of wrongs would cease to exist for me. I am glad a virgin is a virgin today. I don't care what she did or did not do yesterday. I can look at a priest who has been faithful to his priestly vows for fifty years with gratitude and joy; a married couple who has done the same and feel the same appreciation. But if I had been told that that priest had gone through a hard time but in the end was faithful or the married couple too, I can admire their renewed resolve to love each other, etc. I really don't need to know anything else about their private lives when invited to their anniversary party.

Some might think that I am hereby devaluing sexual purity. I would strongly object to that. And I have St. Augustine on my side whose work entitled On Virginity is basically him lecturing virgins not to be proud about their status. Mary Magdalene has no lower place in heaven.

The cult of virginity deserves that word in the modern sense, as a pejorative, because those who are 'so in to virginity' do not have a Christian conception of moral good and evil, but rather a pagan and Gnostic sense of it. Sin does not contaminate physically. And, more importantly, no trace of it can withstand the saving power of Christ. If you believe it can, you are a pagan and no Christian.

Okay, enough of this. Now back to that woman's post. All I want to do here is talk about the 'problems' it contains.

1. She made her pledge as a ten-year old. First of all, nothing a ten year old does or thinks or says can bind into adulthood. She says it did, and for her psychologically speaking it did. But to be fair, she is purposely trying to discredit sexual purity as a whole when she defines it as something 'taken on at ten.' Frankly, every moral decision is one that is renewed daily.

2. She had very poor guidance, obviously. She says she took virginity on for her church, etc. and used that phrase a few times, that her body doesn't belong to the church. No one should ever think that it ever did. That is posturing. It's interesting how she condemns her church, but why don't we here anything about her family? I don't send my kids to the church to learn about sex.

3. Her feminist husband. The first problem, her husband. How can a good husband, a husband that a gung-ho Baptist believer wanted to marry be a feminist? Something's off here. Nevertheless, he is portrayed as the epitome of the good understanding guy. Although she intended to serve her husband's sexual needs, he is portrayed as patient, understanding, etc. Because he's a feminist! It's her body after all. Something doesn't add up here.

4. The wedding night condom and lube. Where do people their ideas from? I mean, one of the most perplexing things to a Catholic looking at hard-core Protestants is the great exception they make to traditional morality re. contraception. So, sex before marriage is definitely out, but contraception is okay to chaste people? What meaning of sex is operative here? Yes, she went awry precisely because her idea of virginity was not grounded in any greater meaning, it seems. What is the Christian meaning of sex such as to make pre-marital sex wrong, but contraception okay? Not to mention the lesser matter of 'lube.' Where did she get the idea that this was a necessity if all talk of sex was verboten? Clearly her family and church viewed sex in isolation from any deeper conception of the good of man, his end, his meaning, etc. You inevitably go wrong when your ideas are so vacuous. You don't vote without a conception of good and evil (at least you shouldn't), so why do you think you can get married and follow God's will without some kind of deeper reflection on how one relates to the other? I think that was part of her point: sex was treated as an arbitrary right/wrong, a taboo, in other words.

5. Your sexuality is nobody's business but your's, she concluded. How many errors does this last statement reveal! First of all, I believe it is her husband's business. What was he doing that made him able to be so obliging with the long period of no sex they endured as she worked through her issues with it, I am forced to wonder? Was he chaste? Chastity doesn't really seem like a quality that comes standard in a feminist husband. So, masturbation then? Pornography? If her sexuality was no body's business, then I guess his was none of her business either. Second, is it none of God's business? See point number 6.

6. She is no longer a believer. No great loss there. She merely left behind a set of taboos. Where was her deeper understanding of God's love for her as a woman, as a wife?

7. Of course, the final point has to refer back to the title: I should not have waited until my wedding night. I ask, what would have changed had she not? She would have had the same negative relationship with sex, just earlier, and perhaps not with that man who seems to have done an admirable job while she went through all she did. Should she have had sex at 10, 14, 16, 18, 20, the day before her wedding? Or, is it the whole idea of monogamy that is the problem? No, she doesn't give any suggestion that she doesn't believe in monogamy. But she identified this bizarre taboo view of sex with Christianity as a whole, it seems. Many fundamentalist Christians do stuff like that. I have heard of so many disaffected Protestants leaving their faith because they realize that a fundamentalist view of the Bible isn't possible. And, because their fundamentalist Protestantism doesn't equip them for dealing with the modern world in one way or another. A big one is sex. Dating and marriage do not go as ten-year-olds expect, as their naive literature depicts it. But is the answer really the modern view of sex as a casual thing? Has that made people any happier than the narrow taboo version of it she picked up in her church? Should she have been told at ten: sex is fun but it is what you make of it. It means what you want it to mean. Does that view lead to happiness and healthiness? I am sorry that out of her negative formation and experience she was left with this conclusion, apparently.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

When Leaders Fail to be Men

The hardest thing about being a dad - unless you are cruel - is to enforce things, taking them as far as they need to be enforced. I hate punishing my kids, even getting angry with them. But I do it because I love them. I think it should be hard to punish kids; but hard doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Usually hard means you should. I have been around parents, teachers, politicians, priests who have all failed in their leadership because they have failed to take things as far as they needed to go. I have heard a lot of talk, sure. From dads, politicians, teachers, priests, but little will to take things as far as their words suggested they were willing to take them. My general take-away from the adult world is how pathetically cowardly so many are.

Isn't it amazing to realize that this caused: ISIS, the crisis in Ukraine,
in Israel and at the US southern border?
Masculinity is a lost art because it is a lost value. Contemporary culture has managed to equate manliness and bravery with cruelty, insecurity, etc. But I have said all of this before. Who is to blame for this? Women are to blame for this, as I have said before too. The reason we have a child running the world's most powerful nation is women, and the reason we will likely have a child running Canada soon will be women too. Women have this thing called compassion, plus an innate desire to believe that evil can be talked down or reasoned with. Now some women have deserved to run nations, like Margaret Thatcher evidently, and probably Merkel, from what I can tell. But most women should not exercise that kind of leadership. Of course, neither should most men - perhaps no one should? - I don't know.

My point is, leadership requires what Plato referred to as the guard-dog personality, friendliness to one's own, and viciousness to the enemy. Every father needs to be that way, and husband too. We ought to elect, consequently, leaders who will protect us from harm. No, not those who will needlessly pick fights and thus expose us to more harm needlessly. Obama lacks this to an hilarious extent. We may say that this was best exhibited by his "line in the sand" with Syria. Since then beach bullies have been kicking sand in America's (and the rest of the world's) face with impunity. Regardless of the objective morality of letting people into the US along the southern border - a president is not there to think about objective morality, he is there to protect his own - he should have shored up the border and  then have permitted the law to work its course. As President, he doesn't have a duty to the world's poor; he has a duty to Americans. Everything else is secondary to that. If the Americans decided to do the wrong thing and let Central Americans starve to death, that is what he must do as President.

But of course, he is not interested in the objectively moral thing. We couldn't really complain much if he were. He is interested in doing what his supporters want him to do: the extremist on the left - the feminists, homosexualists, environmentalists, socialist-globalists. He is an unclear thinker. He supports all sorts of contradictory policies of the leftist ideologues - as does Trudeau. Most of all he wants America to not be America, but a strange pro-Muslim, pro-woman (talk about a contradiction), European monster. Again, same with Trudeau.

He fails to shore-up America's one dependable ally in the Middle-East, Israel, who likely wouldn't exist without the U.S. He fails to present a resolute front to Russia - Harper has done more to give Putin pause for thought than Obama has! He has said to the neighbourhood kids, hey, no trespassing on Iraq's lawn, but took down the fence, turned off the security lights and cameras, sent the neighborhood watch home and then went on vacation.

Why? Why does he do this? Or rather, I should say, why does he have no stomach for fighting? It's easy to dismiss him as a 120 lbs weakling. But I bet he could argue better than me. I hate to argue; I find it unsettling. That is the reason why I wouldn't get into politics. But when I must, I do it. But that's not the point. I do what the duties I have taken on demand of me.

He does not. Not that he couldn't, he just won't. Why? Women. Women don't want to fight. They want to believe that the world just needs understanding. You might say it is a good thing that women got the vote, or a bad thing. Personally, I think it is both, and therefore neutral. Women bring some good things into politics, but some bad ones too. It seems they were fairly supportive of Hitler - so you can't say that women are always on the side of right. But the 1930s is not the 2010s. A woman from the 1930s would be as different from one from the 2010s and a 1930s man from a 2010s man.

But a great deal has changed in 80 years. I don't know what has changed or why. I can guess: I think peace has done it, American nuclear deterrent peace has done it. It has permitted the quixotic idea that people can and will live in peace together. Imagine being a pacifist in 10th Century Europe, i.e. during the time of the Norse Invasions?! Imagine being one in 1940 anywhere. During the sack of Rome in 410. During the Peloponesian Wars. During the Punic Wars, etc.

The story of Coriolanus is an interesting one. I think Obama and his kind are the anti-Coriolani. The tale is best told by Livy. In a nutshell, it is the story of an old-school warrior who wouldn't change to accommodate the new ways of Rome. The same thing happened to the great Scipio Africanus, and, in our own time, to Patton and to Churchill, to name a few. But this is not a time for peace; it is time for making-war.

But how can I, a Christian man, say such a thing? Very easily do I say it, as has Pope Francis, in so many words.

Obama's failure to act like a man, a president, a leader, has put so many people in jeopardy. Sometimes the best defense is often a good offence. A good bark often saves a dog from having to bite. The problem is Obama's supporters find barking so very uncivilized, old-fashioned, and non-globally minded. That is the kind of thing Bush did. They raised an emasculated man to the presidency, who will neither bark nor bite, and they are now suffering the consequences. Yes, a Patton is not always the solution, but that does not mean that a Chamberlain is either.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Shame of Public Education

There was an interesting article on the increasing popularity of homeschooling. This article concentrated on North Carolina. Equally interesting was a list given by someone in the comments by one Tony Esolen. I am sure he won't mind me copying his list here:

Reasons to teach your kids at home:

1. Schools are too big, by a factor of five to twenty.
2. Schools are not answerable to the employers.
3. Schools have abandoned the classics.
4. The curricula are incoherent: one class has nothing to do with another.
5. Schools have abandoned fostering the memory.
6. Schools no longer teach grammar as a systematic whole.
7. Schools allow minor governmental functionaries to play Naming of Parts with your kids.
8. The textbooks are politically "correct" and typically sneer at religious faith.
9. The general moral atmosphere is toxic.
10. Many teachers do not actually know their subjects.
11. Your kid will be separated from the family, in heart and mind.
12. Your kid may develop all kinds of strange psychological troubles, because he or she will be forced to endure a wholly unnatural environment.
13. Your boys will learn that they should be despised for being boys.
14. You can do it!

Of course, like the article the context is American, but everything about the list is pretty much transferable to the situation in Canada, whether you are in the Ontario Catholic system or anywhere else.

Now, his first reason is one of the ones I have thought a lot about and that I do not think gets enough attention. Schools are too big. They are not big because big schools make for better learning. They are big because that is cheaper. But big in this case is bad. I would say very bad. Bigness makes all the bad things that can happen in schools almost inevitable.

That fact is just one part of the overall problem with public schools - they are government, rather than community, controlled. Schools should be small, perhaps no more than 100 students, and they should reflect the values of the parents who have their children educated there. Yes, even the boogeyman values of Neo-Nazis and creationists. Why? Because governments have no greater insight into morality than parents do, and always care a whole lot less about them.

Public schooling practice brings out the worst of modern governmental practice. As I have said elsewhere (Catholic Insight in Winter of 2012, I think), the totalitarian states of the past could have only dreamed of attaining the kind of control over education that they have today in North America. It has become almost inconceivable that education should not be government-controlled, such has been the effectiveness of the campaign to equate parents with Neo-Nazis.

The whole public school thing began with the good idea that governments should provide a leg-up to poor families who couldn't afford education, but then the idea of fairness grew and grew to mean that only sameness can be fair. So, now we have equally bad education for everybody. This is the kind of mindset that says that, no, it is not fair that one kid should be from a good family while another stigmatized for being from a broken family, so let's make it fair by saying that all families are equally good, let's facilitate divorce, undermine the values of monogamy, fidelity, cooperation so little Johnny from the divorced family doesn't have to feel bad. But it's natural to feel bad about divorce because it is bad. No amount of lying about how normal it is can change that. So, back to education, kids from poor families who don't value education, kids of parents who live immoral lives, yes, they are disadvantaged and no amount of undermining good education will make those children's lives better. A child who feels the need to question his sexuality is in a kind of crisis. Calling the crisis good doesn't change that fact.

So, yes, I firmly believe that, like religion, education and state should be absolutely separated. Most honest economists agree that government makes everything worse - whether that be health care, telecommunications, or the economy as a whole. It is a notoriously bad at using money, it creates systems of preferment not based on talent and hard work, etc. Back in my friend's, Augustine's, day, but all the way up to the times of Abelard and those guys, a teacher got paid according to how good a teacher he was. People went to the effective teachers and left poor and destitute the people you hear about all over the news today - the teaches that don't know their subjects, who yell at kids for being religious or for not towing the party line re. gayness, who have sex with their students, who teach them about masturbation and bondage, etc. Those losers whom the system protects and proffers today would be cold and hungry if market forces were allowed to prevail in education.

Through their taxes, parents contribute something around $10,000 a year per child on average. You might say, "No, that's impossible. I have 3 kids and I don't pay $30,000 in tax and even if I did all that doesn't just go to education. It also goes to healthcare, national defense, the roads, etc." But this belies your economic ignorance. The welfare state doesn't just effect tax-rates. It also effects what employers pay their employees, for instance, because businesses are also taxed to support the welfare state; it also effects how much you pay for gas, beef, televisions... Yes, you are paying $10,000 per child on average, in other words. But this is just a side-point anyway.

So that extraordinary amount of money the government siphons off from you goes to pay for the education of your children over which you have no control or say, and is called 'free.'

There are economic losers out there - I might be one of them. And such people's children would be short-changed in free market education. Sure, there are lots of ways to help them, but I don't want to get into them. I want only to say that, the cost we are currently paying to make an equal playing field is too high. I don't mean that it costs too much (which is does). Most of all I mean the cost to freedom of thought. I mean the cost to families' rights. Secondly, I mean the cost to caliber of education and industriousness of students.

I would rather be free and poor than humiliated by a government that tells me that I am not smart enough or good enough to make decisions about my own children's education.

The problem with society today is that it has made the other choice: it chose the safety blanket over personal dignity.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proverbs from the Work-From-Home Dad

1. A wooden spoon is an outward sign of an inward pain, instituted by dad.

2. He asks, is it a blessing to have beer in the work place?

3. Our workplace politics mostly consist in arguments about who stinks the worst, who is the laziest and how many glasses of juice so-and-so had today.

4. A great theologian is respected everywhere he happens to be alone. This is usually in the bathroom.

5. Not every moment at home with the family is precious, but there's no preciousness to be had anywhere else.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Young Man in the City

I said to my Ottawa friends that I would not malign the city on account of my brush with it today. (I wrote this a few days ago.)

The Good and the Bad. The Human.

I came to Ottawa yesterday to take my mother to the airport, ending our very lovely week together. She got to see our new baby, Maria, for the first time. She had a very nice time with us and the kids - I am always being reminded that mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do not always (often?) get along, but these two actual human beings - my mother and Anne-Marie - got along very well and love each other very much. I always say if my mom had to pick, she would be put me out at the curb for Anne-Marie.

So my mother and I got to see my aunt (my late Uncle Mike's wife, Monique) and my cousin, Lisa, whom unfortunately I barely know, for lunch. It was an excellence time and I am always touched to see parts of my dad lying 'out there' for me to pick up and put in my heart.

After having dropped mom off that I spent my customary hour at Chapter's/Starbucks until I headed over to see Archbishop Prendergast. It is so good to see him so healthy, happy and full of life. We had supper and then he left me alone for an hour or two and then took me out for ice-cream. It was a beautiful pleasant evening, and I have to say the Byward Market area is lovely at night. Reminded me of Halifax at night, actually. We had yummy ice-cream! And he is always a font of knowledge about Ottawa.

I fell asleep not too late reading a biography on Bismarck (the man, not the boat) I had picked up at Chapters. Future Catholic Review of Books piece. I went to bed early for me because the Archbishop invited me to his mass at 6:30 am... Suffice it to say my alarm did not cooperate and I did not wake until 7. But that was okay-ish since I did not have to be where I was supposed to be - St. Paul's University for the Summer Institute for the New Evangelization (SINE) - until 8:30.

And this is the beautiful woman I have to be away from.
Alas, life does not always go as planned. My car was broken into last night. The driver's side window was smashed, and with rain threatening, plans had to change. I showed up for the first meet-and-greet of the Institute - lovely to see Michael Dopp, Patrick Fletcher, et alia for those few minutes. BTW, the Institute looks like a really professional and yet friendly deal. You might want to think about it next summer.

So, I went to a Speedy to see if they could fix the window. They said they could. I strategically chose this Speedy because it is close to my favourite used books store (Book Bizarre) in Ottawa. Now I am using the free WIFI at the Sun Cafe across the street from the bookstore. I had noticed before that the people who run the cafe are Polish, but I only noticed the Epiphany chalk blessing above the doorway this time and told the clerk I liked it and that I am from Barry's Bay and so know about the custom. She asked if we wrote the blessing on our house too. I ashamedly admitted that we do when we remember to. So, please patronize this cafe of good Catholics when you are at this part of town! They are also a flower shop. Like them on Facebook here.

So, it is going to be a very expensive day because I am also getting Speedy to fix my rad leak and put new brake pads on the front brakes. God giveth... (Job 1:21)

Just a few remarks on the break-in and walking around Ottawa. Now, it was a dumb move to break into my car - it is an old minivan - what are you expecting to find in it? I imagine a drug addict thought anything was possible. He made off with nothing more than $5 or $10 worth of change. I would have given it to them, if they had asked! My God bless him/her. He cut his hand on the glass. I saw blood on an empty bag in the car. Christ bleeds for all of us.

So then walking from the Speedy to the book store I walked by a Beer Store (no, this was not the most direct route). There were about a dozen people in its parking lot and it took me a few minutes to realize what was going on. It was probably just before 10 am, and they were obviously waiting for it to open. A bunch of alcoholics? That was my first thought until I realize, no, they were waiting to return the empties they had gathered up from around town. I guess that is one source of income for 'street people' or those who are otherwise poor. God bless them too!

On my way from the Speedy I noticed a company that does promotional stuff - Globe Awards and Promotions, so I thought I would go in to ask for a brochure for ideas for promoting the Catholic Review of Books. Well, they loaded me up with about 10 lbs of stuff that I am grateful to have, but am now forced to cart around town with me on my journeys.

I think St. Patrick's Basilica is pretty close by, so perhaps after some lunch I will head over for some prayer time and a visit to their great bookstore.

This is a world of grief and a world of hope. Let's let God reach out and touch us and bring us together in His holy love.


Day ended up with a safe return home after a lot of prayers in St. Patrick's. It was hotter in there than I had hoped, but it was nice to have the group there leading the Chaplet and the rosaries. The bookstore is great too!

Yes, I bought books at both Book Bizarre and St. Patrick's. Where do you think the genius of the Catholic Review of Books comes from?

Supper at Wendy's in Renfrew on the way home, with the mandatory doughnut pick-up for the kids...

Got home safely and happily. Don't worry, I will go back to Ottawa... some day.

Very much missed the Murphy family who are away visiting their families in N.S.