Sunday, May 31, 2009
Flippancy aside, there is this fellow in England, One Jon Matthews, who has turned this on its head. It seems that in 2006 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos related cancer and given only months to live. Apparently virtually all those diagnosed with this cancer are dead within 24 months of the diagnosis.
Unfazed the hero of our tale approached bookmakers William Hill and placed three bets upon his survival. His first £100 bet at 50/1 was that he would survive until June 2008. He did and collected £5000 last year. Most of which went to charity.
He will collect another £5000 by surviving until Monday, just a day away now.
And Mr Matthews will collect on his third bet if can survive another 12 months until June 2010 and if he does he will collect a cool £10,000 at odds of 100/1.
And with the bookie on his side hopefully he can't loose.
Metiria Turei becomes co-Leader of the Green Party, so they are back to "one man, one women" as Jeanette heads for the hills.
The co-Leader idea is very cute. Why stop there though? Why not "one ginger, one blond and one brunette"? A slap on the pate to the bald demographic I suppose. I wonder if various Gay Groups could summon enough energy to take offense? Along the lines of: "We are offended by the Green's insistence on modeling a party of liberal values on a traditional male-female combination. Why not two males? Or two females? As long as we continue to promote this as a "natural" partnership we are perpetuating the very structure that prevents us moving forward as a society."
Saturday, May 30, 2009
If there was absolute proof of God, and that there was an afterlife - a heaven and a hell, would you do things differently?
If we knew for absolute certainty this life was all about spiritual development for a next life, do you think other people would do things differently?
This probably wont set the cat amongst the pigeons but it should.
A report released yesterday shows the achievement gap between male and female students in New Zealand schools is the higher than for any other OECD country.
The Rector of St Bede's in Christchurch suggests it is the lack of male role models in boys lives that lies at the heart of this. And you can be sure he is not far wrong.
We can start with the breakdown of the family - and ask who gets custody of the Kids in most cases? It is well established that children raised in two parent households do much better in school and later life than those from single parent homes and that this is exacerbated for boys who in most cases will lose their primary male role model.
Our nanny Governments have, over the past thirty years, introduced policy after policy, starting with no fault divorce, to weaken the family unit - to reduce its centrality in our society and relegate it to the periphery - with great success I might add.
A second factor, I might suggest, is the lack of male teachers - particularly in primary school. And after all what male in his right mind would take on that job in todays New Zealand - since "the all men are rapists" brigade succeeded in establishing their meme in the public mind it is downright uncomfortable for many adult males to interact with non biological children and something that is often treated with suspicion.
If you think I am exaggerating recall it was recently revealed that Air New Zealand moved a male passenger on one of its planes because he was seated next to an unaccompanied child.
My son did not have a single male teacher until he started secondary school - an all boys school as it happens. I recall his amazement in his first week of secondary school when a lunch time game of Rugby wasn't promptly stopped but the (male) teacher shouted encouragement to tackle harder. A real culture shock and a pleasant one at that for him.
Another thing about the feminization of education and society is the material taught and the way it is taught.
My son who is now year 12, that would be sixth form for all you antediluvians out there, is studying Physics and Maths. The trouble is these are hard credits in our brave new world and the sad truth is I had to work at getting him to persist with these subjects.
Another subject in his curriculum is media studies - the analysis of movies, magazines and the like. So he gets to watch old Billy T James shows and write essays on how the media perpetuates stereotypes of Polynesian males.
Can you guess which classes he prefers - those made up of hard analytical science or those consisting of spewing out soft propaganda.
The real truth is getting credits for Math and Physics requires far more work than getting them for the more woolly subjects such as media studies, subjects which favor feminine thinking over more masculine thought processes.
I would not be at all surprised if New Zealand's engineers of tomorrow all turn out to be made in China while our locally born boys struggle to figure out why they can't gain meaningful employment with an "achieved" in media studies.
Friday, May 29, 2009
So, to take advantage of the quiet, I Romanised my pseudonym. Lucyna Maria is now Lucia Maria. Of course, changing all the category tags manually is not fun. I'll consider it my penance for earlier in the week.
Margaret Thatcher met Pope Benedict XVI at the end of his weekly general audience today.
The 83-year-old former British prime minister, who led the country from 1979 to 1990, had earlier in the day laid flowers at the tomb of John Paul II.
An Anglican, it was Baroness Thatcher’s second visit to the Vatican in less than two years, leading some to speculate whether she is thinking of joining the Church. During her previous trip, she also visited John Paul II’s tomb to pay her respects. According to those who were with her at that time, she made it clear in her characteristically loud voice that it was thanks to John Paul that Soviet communism was brought down.
Baroness Thatcher also met Paul VI back in June 1977.
Related Link: Thatcher Meets Benedict ~ NCRegister
What I found really interesting was that none of the cross-section Wellingtonians were married with kids, where the wife stayed home and looked after the kids while the husband went to work. This missing demographic typically earns more than the average and pays a disproportionate amount of tax, so would have been hoping for some form of tax relief.
The other thing that really stood out was the "annual income" given for each person or couple. Nowhere was it mentioned how this income was achieved, nor was the amount of tax paid mentioned either. For instance, the solo mum on $60,000 + WFF + child support may not be paying any tax whatsoever, and therefore might quite easily be doing very well, thank you very much. Her hope was that "tax cuts remain in the pipeline". If she wasn't paying any tax, this would have been very useful to know - as those who pay none to very little tax typically don't want tax to be cut. Especially since other people's tax allows them to live the way they do.
So, why did the Dom Post miss out the traditional family? Maybe we are a dying breed, and most people do forget about us. Most except the IRD.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Everybody should paint their roof white, to relect the suns incident energy back into space thus helping to keep our overheating globe cool.
Speaking at the opening of the St James’s Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium, for which The Times is media partner, Professor Chu said that this approach could have a vast impact. By lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the colour of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world’s cars off the roads for 11 years, he said.Eggheads should engage their brains before opening their mouths. White buildings are already common in sunnier climes, to help keep them cool - but makes zero sense in places where home heating is already a significant part of the household budget. Has the good professor never heard of solar heating?
Obama sure knows how to pick 'em.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Ridiculous because it punishes the car, not the person. Yeah, that'll stop the car from racing again now that it's crushed. Justine has been served, not. Shades of "Christine*", there.
Oh, oh, but the boy racer is being punished. He'll be so upset that his pride and joy has been consigned to oblivion, not to mention the waste of money involved, that he'll reform his life and never race again! Err, yeah ... how does that work again? Especially the part where the car doesn't belong to him?
In days gone by, people used to get punished, not their things. If the crime wasn't too bad, a fine would suffice. If the crime was of a type that was criminal rather than just parking for too long on the side of the road, imprisonment was the order of the day.
Surely street racing, when obviously dangerous, ought to result in imprisonment, not car crushing? That way there is absolutely no danger of penalising the wrong person (ie crushing the car of Dad, because his son is a boof-head and keeps borrowing it and racing). The guilty party gets punished.
But in the case of crushing the car that has been onsold to another person - just who exactly is getting punished?
The car, obviously. And that makes this law completely ridiculous.
This law is also ominous, because, rather than actually doing the sensible thing and building more prisons so that those who should be jailed are jailed, they are deflecting the problem of increasing lawlessness onto populist vendettas.
Related Link: Boy-racer bills fight shy of crushing ~ Dominion Post
*See Steven King's novel, Christine.
A seal which she also gutted incidentally.
The European Parliament, in its infinite wisdom, recently voted to ban Canadian seal products. This is apparently because the EU is uncomfortable with Canadian hunting methods.
However ever mindful of the rights of indigenous peoples, the ban does not extend to the Inuit peoples of Canada.
Although just how the good people of Brussels and its dominions will be able to distinguish between a product derived from a seal harvested by an Inuit from the identical product harvested by a greedy, planet raping white Canadian I have absolutely no idea.
Anyway I expect the ban has a feel good factor which may be relished by the gnomes of Brussels as they dine upon Pâté de foie gras, the production of which is still permissible in both Belgium and France*
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
St John Chrysostom, who is a familiar figure to Christians of the East, and to a slightly lesser extent to those of the West, died sixteen hundred and two years ago.
Even in those far off days priests did not always behave as we might wish. And the reason for this is simple to comprehend, priests like all mortal men live in a fallen world and have to negotiate its snares and pitfalls just like everybody else.
St John Chrysostom understood this only too well when he said
"And all men are ready to pass judgment on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human nature."
But make no mistake about it, the world has always been at war with the Church - the antipathy many the secular have toward the Church is palpable today and there is an almost undisguised glee when one of those who represents her fail and much encouragement for them to do so. It was no different in St John Chrysostom's day, back in the 4th century.
And in the 4th century the Church taught things the secular didn't want to hear just as it does today. But the Truth remains true, whatever century you may live in and no matter how unpopular or unfashionable it may be. The issues may have been slightly different but the hostile response from the worldly much the same.
It isn't hard to identify the wedge issue the secular are using to divide the Church in our time, a thinly disguised attack on the integrity of the Church but promoted as 'tolerance'. And that is the issue of homosexuality. Just last week the Church of Scotland voted to allow an "openly gay" man serve as a minister. A man who left his wife and child to establish a relationship with another man and live with him as a man might live with his wife.
Those who know scripture will see instantly how this violates many of the principles Christians are supposed to live by - starting with the commandment against adultery and moving on from there. Never the less the secular press have for the most part reported this development approvingly and as a necessary advance for the Church. But all it really advances is division and unhappiness within the Church and a weakening of its influence outside of it, which is the real goal I'd posit.
But what of St John Chrysostom, well the secular elite didn't like him and his preaching and so he was deposed as Archbishop of Constantinople, twice as it happens. The first time the people rose in tumult and an earthquake shook Constantinople on the night he was arrested. This caused the Empress Aelia Eudoxia to take fright and so he was re-instated - but not for long. Aelia Eudoxia was again offended by his objection to her raising a statue to glorify herself outside the Cathedral where he preached and so he was banished once more.
This time he died on his way into exile.
But the Church, founded by Jesus Christ who St John Chrysostom served, is still here with us now and will be forever and to the ages of ages.
Feast your eyes upon Mr Malcolm France. Mr France is a candidate standing in the Mt Albert By election under the banner of "People Before Profit".
His idea of civilized political discourse is to squash a lamington onto the top of a political opponent's head as he is talking, in this case Act's John Boscawen.
By all accounts Mr Boscawen handled this indignity with aplomb carrying on as if nothing had happened.
Meanwhile National's Melissa Lee came to the party brushing the debris from Mr Boscawen's head - an adult response to a purile act.
Dr Peter Sharples speaking after yesterday's hikoi.
So what exactly is the good Dr Sharples proposing here, Maori transport systems? Maori sewerage and water reticulation?
All utterly impractical and it is never going to happen and nobody will seriously believe it could.
So these are just empty words - a childish "I'll hold my breath til I turn blue" type of argument.
Here's an idea - If Dr Sharples and his fellow travelers want "more representation" on the Auckland super city council why don't they identify people who they believe represent them and start preparing them to stand as candidates for this new body.
If they choose the right people they could even end up with greater representation than any race based allocation would ever give them.
This is not rocket science - it is just the way democracy is supposed to work and does when you strip away the identity politics.
Finally these Englishmen from Bristol thought it would be funny to dress up as nuns and to wander about the Cretan town of Malia, lifting their skirts and regaling passers-by with their bits and pieces whether they wanted to see them or not.
For their trouble they spent the night in custody, were paraded, handcuffed together and still in their outfits, through the town of Iraklio from the cells to the courthouse before being discharged.
Which would seem to be an appropriate outcome.
Monday, May 25, 2009
But despite being the proud father of three daughters I strongly doubt anybody would describe me as a creature of the left.
Could it be the fact I also have a son that has moderated this effect upon me and my politics?
Or could it be that the whole thing is just a figment of an academics distorted world view.
You be the judge.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Had I not checked NZ Catholic's website, I would have had no idea that the restrictions were lifted, as their lifting didn't make quite the same impact in the news as the initial restrictions themselves. And no, I don't really check the NZ Catholic website particularly often, nor do I keep track of the Bishop's media releases, as they hardly ever make them.
No mention at all that one of the restrictions is illegal by Church law as I documented in a previous post.
While I am happy that the restrictions have been lifted, I am concerned that a precedent has been set that no one has challenged. Therefore, this sort of thing could happen again with the slightest of pretexts.
A letter to the Vatican might be in order.
Related Link: NZ bishops lift swine flu restrictions ~ NZ Catholic
And it was if a ray of sunshine had brightened an otherwise dreary Sunday morn when I read of a barbecue held at the home of Lucy Lawless on Friday.
This was no mere social gathering you understand - indeed not, the planet needs saving and who better to do it than the gaggle of New Zealand celebrities who have signed on to Greenpeace's "sign on" campaign and who gathered there to celebrate.
It turns out that the warrior princess has teamed up with some health professionals from Shortland street, amongst others to save the planet,
And guess who the enemy is folks - it is you and I! The hoi poli who spew the deadly toxin CO2 into the atmosphere as we go about our everyday business, feeding, clothing and housing our own and, dare I say it, using the occasional plastic shopping bag along the way.
And speaking of plastic bags another of the glitterati involved in this effort is none other than Stephen Tindall of "The Warehouse" fame. Now the last time I patronized one of his stores I was charged 10c for a plastic bag to contain my purchases, a great planet saving gesture I'm sure. My contribution to saving the planet for that day was to improve The Warehouse' balance sheet by paying a surcharge on a plastic bag. I felt a satisfying warm glow of gratitude from the inhabitants of low lying Pacific atolls come over me as I forked over the additional money. It lasted all of a microsecond.
So as the planet saving gets underway the humble, such as myself, will continue to do our bit by paying extra for plastic shopping bags while the elite will do their thing, hectoring the rest of us on the errors of our profligate ways from their Mission Bay mansions.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Since it's the weekend, I just thought I'd post a scan of this picture that was in some advertising literature that came through the mailbox this morning of a very staunch looking John Key (together with some other famous New Zealanders) supporting the Vodafone Warriors. I wonder if Helen would have done it?
Did you know that New Zealand's abortion laws are draconian?
Its not an adjective that I had associated with our current abortion laws until I read this mornings Herald where Chris Barton discusses the back and forthing between various courts of Right to Life's case that the current law is being mis-interpreted in a way that makes Abortion on demand the de-facto status quo.
There were 18,380 abortions in New Zealand in 2007. The rate (20.1 abortions per 1000 women in the 15-44 age group) is high compared to other countries, putting us on a par with Australia, the United States and Sweden.Initially I thought this must be a bit hyberbole from a Herald journalist but on reflection the law as interpreted today is indeed draconian.
Unlike those countries, we have what has been described as "one of the most restrictive pieces of abortion legislation in the Western world" - contained in the Crimes Act and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act passed in 1977.
Yet despite our draconian law - abortion is a crime unless it is authorised by two certifying consultants - we have one of the highest abortion rates in the world. What gives?
In the opening paragraph we read of 18,350 abortions performed in 2007. By way of comparison there were 64,040 live births in that year. Which means that over 1/ 5 of all New Zealand babies are slaughtered by dismemberment before taking a breath of God's good air.
So I suppose "draconian" is a valid descriptive of our laws.
Friday, May 22, 2009
My oldest son was flung backwards onto his head this afternoon while trying to hang onto a basketball during a very energetic game with a number of boys, and has since been diagnosed with concussion. He's ok, only blacked out for half a second or so when it happened, and the only symptom he has now is tiredness and a sore ear (plus the egg on the head).
I'm thankful he's alright, so far, but also a little on edge.
But don't let any of that stop you from saying hello.
But not for burning the flag per se.
Rather their crime was the breached health and safety standards.
"These students have shown a disregard for the safety of others and of university property," dean of humanities and social sciences Professor Deborah Willis said.
The students had set the New Zealand flag alight using an accelerant without warning anyone around them or having any means to put out the fire.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The News media are doing everybody a disservice with the manner of their reporting of the Irish clergy abuse scandal. The problem is the conflation of serious incidents with those which are not greatly out of whack with the times in which they occurred.
The report is massive and covers a period of over thirty years, multiple institutions and describes the grim childhood environments of underprivileged Irish children who had the misfortune to end up in care - and grim it is, especially from our 21st century perspective.
However while there are cases of sexual and severe physical abuse recorded, the bulk of what is contained in the parts that I have read is not terribly different from the childhood experiences of many children of that era, some of whom were came from privileged backgrounds.
For example Roald Dahl's description of his time at Repton School, which co-incides with the early period covered by this report, make for chilling reading today and undoubtedly the way the boys were treated there constitutes gross abuse in today's more enlightened times.
And the savage beating of boys at Eton (including birching) continued throughout the period covered by this report.
So do you suppose the childhood experiences of these unfortunate Irish children differs greatly from those in similar circumstances in state run institutions in Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia or the United States during the same period?
But I guess there is no mileage to be gained by answering that question.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Chris Ripke is a well-known artist in the city. His studio is near a mosque in Insuindestraat. Shocked in 2004 by the murder of director Theo Van Gogh by an Dutch Islamist, Chris decided to paint an angel on wall of his studio and the biblical commandment "Gij zult niet doden," thou shalt not kill. His neighbors at the mosque found the words "offensive," and called the mayor of Rotterdam at the time, the liberal Ivo Opstelten. The mayor ordered the police to erase the painting, because it was "racist." Wim Nottroth, a television journalist, camped out on the spot in protest. The police arrested him, and his film was destroyed. Ephimenco did the same in his own window: "I put up a big white sheet with the biblical commandment. Photographers came, and the radio. If you can no longer write 'do not kill' in this country, then you are saying that we are all in prison. It is like apartheid, whites living with whites and blacks with blacks. There is a great chill. Islamism wants to change the structure of the country." For Ephimenco, part of the problem is the de-Christianization of society. "When I arrived here, during the 1960's, religion was dying, a unique event in Europe, a collective de-Christianization. Then the Muslims brought religion back to the center of social life. Aided by the anti-Christian elite."
A number of years back I was one of the first bloggers in NZ to report on what was occurring in Europe during the Islamic Cartoon Fiasco. Some of you will remember the outcry over the publishing in Denmark of a number of cartoons criticising Islam that resulted in spectacular protests, riots and deaths throughout the world.
At the time, I was still an agnostic with a New Age bent that I was growing out of.
At some point between my conversion back to Catholicism (after 20 years or more away from it), I realised that the problem with Islam wasn't so much Islam, but Christianity. Take a Christian country that is barely Christian, add many years of Islamic immigration, and soon you will get an Islamic country. Not because Islam is strong. It isn't, it can't be, it's not the entire truth about God. It's because a weak post Christian nation creates a void that is filled with the strongest religion that can get in there. Environmentalism, secularism, New Age hippie shit just doesn't cut it.
So why does Islam have this strength? It's partial truth. It points to the Christian God. It just doesn't know Him. Anything that is partially true is given strength by that truth. Human beings are oriented to truth and so will gravitate to that which is the most true. Because there is such a bias against Christianity in a post-Christian society, and Christians do not live as they should in order to be a light to the world, the most natural place for most people to end up will be in Islam if it is offered.
I realised this a number of years ago. That's why this blog is so staunchly and obviously Catholic. Hiding is just not an option. Being shy is for those that don't want to survive and create a better future for their children. Because Catholicism is 100% true and oriented completely towards the one true God, one Catholic will be worth 1,000 Muslims, 20,000 Greenies and 100,000 Atheists.
It's time to choose a side. Don't sit this one out.
Related Link: Eurabia Has A Capital: Rotterdam ~ Chisea
Don't watch it if you are easily upset.
It’s intriguing that the best place to view total solar eclipses in our Solar System is the one time and place where there are observers to see them. It's intriguing to think of the conditions required to make it possible. It's intriguing to think of what we can learn from them. It's intriguing to think that this is only one of many reasons we can call Earth a privileged planet.
We may have frail and feeble minds (relative to the mind of God), but we seem to be getting all the help we need to use them well. On the other hand, as Einstein once said:
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
It’s intriguing that the best place to view total solar eclipses in our Solar System is the one time and place where there are observers to see them. It turns out that the precise configuration of Earth, Moon and Sun are also vital to sustaining life on Earth. A moon large enough to cover the Sun stabilizes the tilt of the rotation axis of its host planet, yielding a more stable climate, which is necessary for complex life. The Moon also contributes to Earth’s ocean tides, which increase the vital mixing of nutrients from the land to the oceans. The two moons around Mars are much too small to stabilize its rotation axis.The privileged planet
In addition, it’s only in the so-called Circumstellar Habitable Zone of our Sun--that cozy life friendly ring where water can stay liquid on a planet’s surface--that the Sun appears to be about the same size as the Moon from Earth’s surface. As a result, we enjoy perfect solar eclipses.
That alone seems fishy. But here’s the part that suggests conspiracy rather than quirky coincidence. Our ability to observe perfect solar eclipses has figured prominently in several important scientific discoveries, discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible on the much more common planets that don’t enjoy such eclipses.
First, these observations helped disclose the nature of stars. Scientists since Isaac Newton (1666) had known that sunlight splits into all the colors of the rainbow when passed through a prism. But only in the 19th century did astronomers observe solar eclipses with spectroscopes, which use prisms. The combination of the man-made spectroscope with the natural experiment provided by eclipses gave astronomers the tools they needed not only to discover how the Sun’s spectrum is produced, but the nature of the Sun itself. This knowledge enabled astronomers to interpret the spectra of the distant stars. So, in a sense, perfect eclipses were a key that unlocked the field of astrophysics.
Second, in 1919, perfect solar eclipses allowed two teams of astronomers, one led by Sir Arthur Eddington, to confirm a prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity--that gravity bends light. They succeeded in measuring the changes in the positions of starlight passing near the Sun’s edge compared to their positions months later. Such a test was most feasible during a perfect solar eclipse. The tests led to the general acceptance of Einstein’s theory, which is the foundation of modern cosmology.
And finally, perfect eclipses give us unique access to ancient history. By consulting historical records of past solar eclipses, astronomers can calculate the change in Earth’s rotation over the past several thousand years. This, in turn, allows us to put ancient calendars precisely on our modern calendar system.
These are just three ways in which perfect solar eclipses, produced by conditions that help create a habitable planet, have fostered scientific discovery. But this is only one example of the correlation between habitability and measurability.
At the much larger, galactic, scale, we again find that the most habitable place is also the best overall location for making a diverse range of scientific discoveries.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
1. Shaking hands at the Sign of Peace.
2. Sharing the Precious Blood to all communicants from the Chalice.
3. Communion on the tongue of the Body of Christ - communion is to be on the hand only.
This weekend's NZ Catholic lauded such measures, especially since the Bishops "moved swiftly". The angst at the ban on reception on the tongue was mentioned, and so were some of the more sensational aspects of the conversation on this matter that had preceded the editorial on the NZ Catholic blog site: Being Frank.
Here is where it gets interesting.
Actions 1 & 2 are non-controversial.
1: There is no need to shake hands at the Sign of Peace; not to mention the fact that the Vatican is looking at moving this part of the Mass out of the Eucharistic prayer because of the disruption it causes.
2: The Precious Blood does not need to be distributed to all communicants. Because the Body of Christ, in the form of the host, contains Our Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, nothing more is gained from the reception of the Precious Blood.
Action 3, however, the ban of communion on the tongue is controversial. Because communion on the tongue CANNOT BE BANNED. It is just not allowed to be done. A person cannot be denied Holy Communion because they want to receive the host on the tongue. Redemptionis Sacramentum makes this very clear in point 92:
Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
Point 91 is also worth mentioning as it says that a person not prohibited by law cannot be denied communion:
In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.
The examples given are the posture of the communicant, but, the points contained within could easily be extended to communion on the tongue.
So, what does this mean?
In denying communion on the tongue, the Bishops have broken Church law.
They cannot make up their own Church law as they go, they have to follow what a higher authority has decreed.
So when the NZ Catholic Editor mocked me in the current editorial for daring to suggest that there were darker motives involved in doing what is completely unlawful for a Bishop to do, I was disappointed.
Many Catholics were highly critical of the bishops' decision, some of them venting their frustration in letters to the editor and others on the 21st-century equivalent - blogs.
Some hypothesised that the decision to abandon Communion on the tongue was part of some episcopal plot to bring an end to the method of receiving Our Lord that the Church has used for centuries. We think those fears are without justification.
I was disappointed mainly because before hypothesising as to why communion on the tongue was banned, I made it very clear that I thought the Bishops had overstepped their authority. They simply had no ability to remove communion on the tongue as an option, as my previous reference to Church documents shows. But no mention of that possibility was made in the editorial.
Too controversial, I suspect.
Though, the other option is that the Bishops are simply ignorant of Church law. Which would be astounding, because, these men have devoted their lives to the Church, and has been promoted to positions of authority over entire areas of NZ. The thought that they simply would not know they cannot ban communion on the tongue, especially since the Pope has been giving communion this was exclusively over the past year, is not probable.
I don't know what is worse, the NZ Bishops purposely flouting Redemptionis Sacramentum or being ignorant of what is contained within it.
In any event, questions need to be asked. And it looks like NZ Catholic is not interested in asking them.
What has engendered this post is a story that came out last Sunday in GQ claiming the Donald Rumsfeld adorned the covers of intelligence briefings delivered to George W Bush with relevant Biblical quotations.
Unsurprisingly this has got the usual suspects excited.
Now there is a every chance that these covers are bogus, such things are happen from time to time. But this post isn't about that either.
Rather it is this passage from the NYT in their retailing of this story that got me thinking
Still, the publication of the cover sheets may raise more questions about the proper role of religion in the military, and whether a Christian-influenced culture, rather than a neutral one, permeated some corners of the military.And this leads to the distinct possibility that one of Obama's legacies will be the repeal of "Don't ask don't tell" with regard to "sexuality", as he has promised, but its further imposition upon those of faith who wish to serve their country.
The issue flared at the Air Force Academy four years ago, when the football coach posted a locker room banner for “Team Jesus,” and there have been lawsuits against the Pentagon concerning military retreats at off-base churches, or the displays of crucifixes at military chapels in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So in the brave new world we are entering a gay soldier will be able to regale all and sundry with the lurid details of his sexuality but a Christian one had better keep his love of Jesus to himself.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Related Link: Doctor I like Your Medicine - Coup D'etat, 1980
Saturday, May 16, 2009
1. Change drug policy to one of harm minimisation. That would see marijuana treated more liberally than alcohol, for example.
What percentage of child abusers also have drug and alcohol problems? The suggestion seems to be that less penalties for dealing or using dope is going to reduce child abuse. Really?
2. Eliminate the tax concessions given to religious bodies, thus allowing the rest of us to get a decent tax cut when we no longer have to subsidise parasitical religions.
Is BB driven to child abuse because he can't get a decent tax cut? Is the theory that closing down the local church run Soup Kitchen will end child abuse, because some-one on a benefit could have got a better tax cut? Ultimately, the suggestion here is therefore to end all tax concessions for all charity work. To end child abuse. Ahem.
3. Prohibit any form of religious instruction to anyone below the age of 16. This will aid in the development of critical thinking and empathy.
BB is a Stalin in the making. Remember, these are his suggestions for ending child abuse. BB's looking for the religious angle to pin this on, but there are more obvious causes of child abuse. I'm wondering why he assumes he has developed critical thinking and empathy skills.
4. Permit abortion on demand and prosecute anyone who attempts to prevent an abortion or who vilifies or in any way makes a woman who has had an abortion feel guilt. More abortions without guilt = less abused children.
Let's not analyse that last line too deeply. It doesn't stand up well to critical thinking.
In any event, with easy access to abortion in NZ, (some 18,000 last year) he'd have to prove this isn't already the case. And yet child abuse remains high. Perhaps what he is really saying is actively encouraging abortion will cure child abuse, on the basis that there would be less children. The only way of doing this in the "high risk" cases would be encouraging abortion at much later stages of development, perhaps right up to full term. The other kicker, of course, is as well as banning religion, he wants to jail any pro-life people, a large percentage who are religious, for speaking out that they consider abortion unethical.
So, in a nutshell: end freedom of religion, end the parents right to educate their children on morals and ethics if there is any religious content in such education, attack the churches, reduce charity work, jail pro-life people, and encourage late term abortion - to end child abuse.
Is that a money back guarantee?
Related Link: End Child Abuse by Banning Religion, or your money back
She was upset to discover he was seeing other prostitutes. That's how she met him. He was a trick. A job. He moved from that to an emotional attachment, and was upset that he never saw her as anything more than an object. He no longer had to pay for it, that was all.
I find the story interesting in that even a prostitute can understand deep down the destructive and uncaring nature of being objectified. Things such as this, when reduced to a simple business transaction are invariably sold below cost.
What price we pay then, when consent comes free of charge?
I'm talking here of the current scandal (resurfacing from 2002) with Australian Rugby League stars visiting Christchurch, engaged in a gang bang (or more softly put as "group sex" by the media) where the women in question was put in a situation where events got out of hand. The result was that she was left feeling upset - suicidal.
They claim it was all consensual, and maybe that simply means she didn't say "no". For whatever reason, she didn't have the capacity to say "no". Unfortunately, neither did the league players. Now she says:
"If I had a gun I'd shoot them right now. I hate them, they're disgusting. I want them dead. I hate them so much when I think about them. But I don't think about them," she said.
Do we really consent to our own destructive actions, or are we merely untrained, unwise, undisciplined and undirected?
Related Link: Prostitute guilty of willful damage
Related Link: Out of her league
9:11 Minor edits; I haven't expressed my point well, and that remains the case. I'm not suggesting the women in the second case gave consent, this is more a greater idea that we end up putting ourselves in situations that later we will deeply regret (which is not an assignment of blame, just consequences). We'll see how the comments go, which might yield an opportunity for me to explain if required.
My Little Pony
Mr Obama has previously denounced the Bush-era judicial system, but in a statement said new safeguards would ensure suspects got a fairer hearing. New rules include rejecting statements obtained from harsh interrogations and limitations on using hearsay evidence.
"It's disappointing that Obama is seeking to revive rather than end this failed experiment," said Jonathan Hafetz, a national security attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Meanwhile, "A former Afghan inmate at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay has joined the Taleban's high command in Pakistan. UK officials say Mullah Abdul Kayum Zakir, who was released last year, is now closely involved in planning attacks on British and other Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Perhaps another fair trial is in order? Cancel the guy's probation, and get him back. If he doesn't come willingly, serve papers on him, delivered by the fair minded folks at ACLU.
It is estimated that at least 10% of those released from Guantanamo have returned to terrorist activity. Over 1000 have been released from Gitmo, with only 240 or so left awaiting trial.
"There is no detainee at Guantanamo who cannot be tried and shouldn't be tried in the regular federal courts system. This is perpetuating the Bush administration's misguided detention policy."
Putting potential terrorists on trial "with a jury of his peers" is impossible in a civilian court. These people were generally captured in military operations, and military minds need to assess the evidence. I can see little benefit in moving this into the public domain.
Seems like Obama is coming around to the responsibilities of his office. The hard left will not forgive him for this traitorous turn of events, and are already attacking him without a fair hearing. They need a strong dose of reality. Serving papers on the 10% of those we now know were very adroit liars, as well as murderous terrorists might help, but I doubt it.
On a slightly related topic, here's a great movie to watch. A few critics have panned it, and their explanations fail to impress. See it.
It does raise an interesting point - is torture effective? Can it reveal information? If you do a Google you'll see the overwhelming opinion coming from the left and the liberal saying it does not. I disagree. Some of the "source information" I've read says torture does work. An annoying thought to the liberal left, no doubt, which is why we get endless commentary about it.
Perhaps a better question is "should we ever allow the state the power of torture, regardless of whether it works or not?" Torture is morally reprehensible, and is a dangerous path to follow, especially in the hands of the state.
Still, in watching this film, I had no problem with the hero resorting to torture. It was a very black and white situation - no moral issue over if the target was innocent, no question that the target was evil, no question the clock was ticking, no question that the hero was under enormous pressure. Life isn't always that clear of course, so the only lesson I could see is that if I were in that exact situation, perhaps I could be that evil. It's a chilling thought.
Oh, by the way, Luc Besson co-wrote the script, and Liam Neeson plays the hero character. If you enjoyed the 5th Element or Transporter, you might want to take a look.
Related Link: From Gitmo to the Pakistan Taleban
3pm: Updated the clip with something more generic.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Apparently, Brash had this weird idea that the police would be interested in solving crimes. Imagine. Throw in potential issues of National Security (if you excuse the pun) and I guess he thought they might bring in Columbo or some-one of that nature. Instead, (from what it sounded like on the news snippet) a mostly blank file has been revealed, with a single peace of paper and some detailed notes:
We haven't got a clue.
We can't really be bothered.
See if you can stall until the issue goes away.
Well lets make sure the issue doesn't go away. Instead we have various idiots stating that leaks and theft are good for the country. Obviously, the police don't think a crime was committed, and that is why they didn't bother to investigate. So who needs the court system to decide?
It's Friday. Think I'll leak this secret information on how slack the police were over their investigation and wait for the left wing intelligentsia to applaud.
Drop in and say hello. Use a blogger handle just in case we get investigated for spreading state secrets on police capabilities. Just joking, you've got no chance of being detected by a detective. They've proven defective. At least, that's what my reflective invective has suggested.
I need a beer. Which reminds me. Tui pulled an advertisement along the lines of "I nvr txt whl drvg" "Yeah, right". That advertisement was deemed too offensive to the people that have texted whilst driving and then died. I guess the irony is that whilst we debate how PC society is becoming, serious moves are afoot to ban Tui from having the right to put up a billboard at all. No advertising of alcohol is set squarely in the sights of the next step in the "war on drugs". My bet is that fast food adverts might go after that, but lingerie and condoms are safe.
Now, where's that Carlsberg? Possibly the world's best tasting beer.
and utterly repellent!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The latest information is that not only underage girls engage in binge drinking, but middle age women do too. Thus, they say, higher taxes are justified. What? I missed the part where men get a discount. I guess men might also be buying for women, but even so, that's just harsh.
And if they are putting up taxes on alcohol at the same time as announcing soaring unemployment and a huge deficit of billions and billions of dollars, isn't that only going to drive people to drink? I think they planned this.
They've put up the super scheme by $32 dollars a week. Coincidentally, the same price as a bottle of cheap sherry. This is going to decimate the wine market. The only way to compensate is to make wine illegal. Only then will people be prepared to buy it, considering the prices. It's something about the nature of offering forbidden fruit.
Either way, John Key as Minister of Tourism should be very pleased with this idea. The Aussies whack a big enough tax on local beer, wine and spirits and it might be cheaper for them to fly to New Zealand for a Cascade Light, or perhaps a Bees Neez. Maybe they can get in a bit of skiing or have a bike ride on our famous NZ wide biking track. Sure, it doesn't exist just yet, but do you think an Aussie tourist who has had a few too many will notice? Just set up a cycle way to go from Auckland Airport to the Tui Breweries and back, and we are done.
Not the link I was talking about, but it's a start: Resurrecting Alcopops tax
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
One of the obnoxious techniques used by "progressives" to rebuild society in their desired image is the redefinition of the English language.
And so it is with the word family. Indeed leftism identified the family as one of the obstacles that lay in the path of the implementation of its agenda many years ago. Those blessed with a good family life are more contented than those who are not. And therefore less inclined to rock the boat.
The Leftist agenda cannot proceed without a pool discontented and unhappy people, which is why the traditional institution of the family has been under assault for the past forty years.
An assault that has been all too successful it seems.
All this springs to mind with the latest brouhaha over Christine Rankin's appointment to the families commission, that political sop that Labour created to placate Peter Dunne.
And I cannot, for the life of me, see this commission doing anything to restore the traditional family to a place of preeminence in our culture. Which makes it totally pointless of course.
In Labour's tender hands it seemed to be intent on redefining the concept of family in new and novel ways, in addition to interfering in the manner in which normal families operate and co-operate.
Who knows how National will use it to further their aims? Everyone suspects that abolishing it is the answer, and given its sad history, I'd have to agree.
The sad thing is that many of those in their prime today who undervalue the family, and often mocking it will wake up one day, alone and quite possibly impoverished and wish they had had a family.
But by then it will be far too late and their only source of succor will be the state. Which will be far from emotionally nourishing assuming it can provide anything above barest nutrition at all. Perhaps not even that.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
You have to say it - she is not a "until death do us part" kind of woman.
So what's really on the go here? Liberal parochialism or the Manchurian candidate on a mission to eliminate the families commission altogether?
Initially he kept this to himself but from 1822 onwards he went public with his ideas. And many were receptive. During the 1830s his movement grew and the date was further refined until it was finally pinned down to be October 22 1844.
Well October 22 1844 came and went and nothing particularly spectacular occurred. The Millerite movement withered but didn't die - offshoots are still with us such as the Seventh Day Adventists and there is also a connection with the Baha'i faith. The events of October 22 1844 became known as "The great disappointment" in Millerite circles.
There is something deeply compelling about "end of the worldism" to the human psyche it seems. Every age produces its own version and it is not particularly hard to identify how it has been reworked to match the ethos of our age.
And true believers will hold on to their faith in future catastrophe in the face of evidence that their particular catastrophe is not about to occur anytime in the foreseeable future.
Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this might be that those many who subscribe to the present incarnation of "end of the worldism" would be amongst the first to mock the Millerites as unsophisticated rubes for being taken in by a previous incarnation of their own belief structure.
Indeed - the world will end someday but scripture tells us that no man will be told when that will be and that it will surely come as a surprise.
Monday, May 11, 2009
So I was highly surprised to see it used twice in a BBC story about Iceland joining the EU when referring to Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir.
Mrs Sigurdardottir was elected last month on a wave of discontent over the dire state of Iceland's economy.and
Mrs Sigurdardottir said a bill authorising EU accession talks would be introduced when Iceland's parliament - the Althingi - resumed sitting on Friday.Now this is a completely novel use of Mrs.
Indeed Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was married to Steinar Jóhannesson but has long since divorced him and is currently civil unionized to Icelandic playwright Jónína Leósdóttir, her election causing excitement in some circles - based solely on her gender and sexuality. Given the divorce customary usage would dictate she be formally addressed as Mrs Jóhanna Jóhannesson if she had kept his surname or Ms, Miss Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir if she had not.
I can shed no light the formal honorific for the civil unionized, unless of course the BBC style-book as used in this story has become the norm. In which case Ms transforms to Mrs with no accompanying name change for those dwelling in the state of civil unionized bliss.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Putting aside the tastelessness of their epic media release*, let's look at their argument.
Chris Comeskey, the lawyer leading the defense team for Nai Yin Xue, wants legal aid money to investigate the potential jurors for this gentleman's trial.
It seems a new company, Verdix investigations, has been set up explicitly for the purpose of investigating potential jurors. Headed by Stephen Cook, an ex Sunday newspaper journalist turned private investigator, Verdix will perform background checks on potential jurors to weed out "rogue jurors". And it is this company Chris Comeskey seeks to employ, but on the taxpayers dime naturally.
Well the jury system and the attendant selection process may not be perfect but this will do nothing to improve it, the reverse in fact.
A real clue to the thinking behind this lies in this statement from Chris Comeskey himself.
"For example it would be no good for me to be a juror on a case involving child rape allegations because I have children."What would he do, try and stack the jury with pedophiles?
And you can see where this could lead, Maori juries for Maoris, Muslim juries for Muslims and so forth. Not forgetting the proliferation of companies sucking at the taxpayers tit investigating people whose only crime was to be selected for jury service.
Don't the anti-social consume enough of our resources already?
Saturday, May 9, 2009
My prayers are with their families.
Update: Herald Online Has the news
Related Link: Armchair reporting from NZC
Here were the chain of events:
1. A couple of guys are drinking and being noisy at 1am.
2. They wake the neighbour, who I'll call Terry.
3. Terry looks out of the window to see them tossing beer bottles on to his lawn
4. Terry yells out for them to stop
5. They SMASH THEIR WAY INTO THE HOUSE looking for a fight
6. Terry defends himself against TWO MEN with a Maori War Club, getting in a few good hits and sending them outside.
7. They get their cars and do wheelies on his lawn.
8. Terry fires a warning shot with his .22 and tells them to scram.
9. All parties go to bed.
10. Three and a half hours later an Armed Defenders Squad arrive, arrest Terry and throw him in jail. He's been charged with grievous bodily harm and reckless use of a firearm.
11. The two other guys have not been charged. No littering, no reckless use of car on private property, no breaking and entering, no threatening violence.
Self Defence and defence of property is still illegal. The wrong person is in jail.
UPDATE: Given I don't yet have a link, I need to also explain the other aspect of this story - the newspaper report simply took the angle of "Maori war club" used to beat up neighbour, missing the far more newsworthy aspect that I have posted about. Because they took that angle, the facts were sprinkled around the report in almost random order, making it easy for the casual reader to miss the main story - two guys break into a house to beat a guy, and he's now the one in jail.
REF: DomPost today, Page A4
And yet, doing the wrong thing seems infinitely better than setting us back on the road to doing the right things.
Doing the wrong thing becomes a belief that to be sustained must be weighed against the problem of simply doing nothing.
The opposite of doing nothing should not be doing the wrong thing.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Furthermore, restricting the term "Muslim" to mean only people that are Muslim breaches the right to equality of non-Muslims, who by definition were excluded from sharing the term "Muslim" through no fault of their own.
The actual complaints arose from our Commonwealth cousins in Trinidad and Tobago, who have a 30% Muslim population.
The stupidity of the Privy Council decision beggars belief. The Trinity Cross can be awarded to ANYONE, if they are judged worthy of the honour. An award that can go to anyone, is by definition not discriminatory.
The Privy Council deserve an award. The "Natural Dhimmi" award. It's not given as an offensive religious symbol, but rather as a barcode etched into the subservient forehead of successful candidate. It makes sorting so much easier in the future.
Full story here: Crusader Rabbit - Show us your cross
That they haven't figured out a way of retrieving this body angers me. I'm sure they have the reasons, and I don't particularly want to criticise the people that are in the midst of the crisis, I'm just reporting my feelings.
My feelings say get a tank or a LAV in there as a shield, and retrieve this man and return him to his family. Now. If the shooter cannot let them recover the fallen, he has little sympathy from me. Time to bring it on and end this.
That's what my feelings say.
UPDATE 6PM NEWS: Body just recovered. Now that wasn't so hard, was it???? [And I don't mean that literally]
Moyra Pierce has written her journey in "Paul's conversion inspires reflection in Mt Victoria. It seems her opinion has not changed at all from the interview she gave two years ago to a Catholic nun on Ms Pierce's thesis on Generation X'ers in the Catholic Church. The wierdest thing she said, outside of the obvious heretical opinions, is that she didn't have children - she "reproduced". Must be one of those feminist terms.
Summary of the highlights of the You-Tube interview:
Was there a different kind of Catholicism emerging with Gen X?Not much has changed over the last two years, because in her Wel-com article published this month, where she goes through the challenges she has had as a woman in the Church, she concludes:
Asked only those who self-identified as Catholic [Didn't matter if they didn't go to church].
Post 65 children, ie those born after Vatican II finished [Hey, that's me!].
Changes of Vatican II were rapid in NZ, most people took to them [And I left the Church in the 80's, along with many others other Gen X'ers].
The changes were long overdue, 400 - 500 years overdue (laughter from both).
Catholic Church was still a medieval church.
Some of us think not enough has happened, but some think too much has. [Her position and that of Sr Stephanie is obviously of the former]
Gen-X'ers are very selective in what they believe.
Gen-X'ers don't go to Mass every Sunday.
Gen-X'ers are happy to be so far from Rome.
Gen-X'ers are very unhappy that women can't get ordained as priests [as she seems to be]
As well as some activism in regard to gender roles in the church, this has also involved reading feminist theologians and challenging and rethinking the male-dominant images of God available to us, especially in the liturgy.Well, as a Gen-Xer who returned to the Church nearly 3 years ago after 20 years away, she's just going to love me!
For feminists in the churches, the challenge is whether to leave, to operate on the margins or to try to reform it from the inside.
So far I’ve chosen to stay, but it’s getting harder. The ideals of Vatican II are growing dimmer as fundamentalism, conservatism and retrenchment gain the upper hand.
Related Link: Paul's conversion inspires reflection in Mt Victoria ~ Wel-com
Thursday, May 7, 2009
“Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap.” (Ps 131:2)
by the Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider,
Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan
John Paul II in his last encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, has left the Church an ardent admonition that resounds like a veritable testament:By giving the Eucharist the prominence it deserves, and by being careful not to diminish any of its dimensions or demands, we show that we are truly conscious of the greatness of this gift. We are urged to do so by an uninterrupted tradition, which from the first centuries on has found the Christian community ever vigilant in guarding this “treasure.” Inspired by love, the Church is anxious to hand on to future generations of Christians, without loss, her faith and teaching with regard to the mystery of the Eucharist. There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for “in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation.” (n. 61)
Knowledge of the greatness of the Eucharistic mystery is demonstrated particularly by the way in which the Body of the Lord is distributed and received.
Aware of the greatness of the moment of Holy Communion, the Church in her two-millennium-long tradition has searched to find a ritual expression that can bear witness in the most perfect manner to her faith, love and respect. This is verified when, in the wake of an organic development, stemming from at least the sixth century, the Church began to adopt the method of distributing the Sacred Species of the Eucharist directly into the mouth. This is attested to in several places: in the biography of Pope Gregory the Great and an indication by the same Pope relative to Pope Agapitus (Dialogues, III); the Synod of Cordoba in 839 condemned the sect of so-called “Casiani” because of their refusal to receive Holy Communion directly into their mouths; then the Synod of Rouen in 878 confirmed the norm in force regarding the administration of the Lord’s Body on the tongue, threatening sacred ministers with suspension from their office if they distributed Holy Communion to the laity on the hand.
In the West, the gesture of prostration and genuflection before reception of the Body of the Lord is found in monastic settings already from the sixth century, e.g., in the monasteries of St. Columbanus. Later, in the tenth and eleventh centuries, this gesture was even more widely diffused. At the end of the patristic age, the practice of receiving Holy Communion directly into the mouth became thenceforth an almost universal practice.
This organic development may be considered a fruit of the spirituality and Eucharistic devotion of the Fathers of the Church. Already in the first millennium, due to the highly sacred character of the Eucharistic Bread, the Church in both the East and the West in an admirable consensus and almost instinctively perceived the urgency of distributing Holy Communion to the laity only in the mouth. The liturgist Joseph Jungmann explains that, with Communion distributed directly into the mouth, various concerns are eliminated: the need for the faithful to have clean hands; the even graver concern that no fragment of the consecrated Bread be lost; the necessity of purifying the palm of the hand after reception of the Sacrament. The white tablecloth and, later, the Communion plate would be the expression of heightened attention to the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Pope John Paul II teaches thus in Ecclesia de Eucharistia: “With this heightened sense of mystery, we understand how the faith of the Church in the mystery of the Eucharist has found historical expression not only in the demand for an interior disposition of devotion, but also in outward forms meant to evoke and emphasize the grandeur of the event being celebrated” (n. 49). The attitude more consonant with this gift is the attitude of receptivity, the attitude of the humility of the centurion, the attitude of one who allows himself to be fed, precisely the attitude of a child. The word of Christ, which invites us to receive the Kingdom of God like a child (cf. Lk 18:17), can find its illustration in that very beautiful and impressive manner of receiving the Eucharistic Bread directly into one’s mouth and on one’s knees. John Paul II demonstrated the need for external expressions of respect toward the Eucharistic Bread:Though the idea of a “banquet” naturally suggests familiarity, the Church has never yielded to the temptation to trivialize this “intimacy” with her Spouse by forgetting that he is also her Lord and that the “banquet” always remains a sacrificial banquet marked by the blood shed on Golgotha. The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a “sacred” banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God: O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur! The bread which is broken on our altars, offered to us as wayfarers along the paths of the world, is panis angelorum, the bread of angels, which cannot be approached except with the humility of the centurion in the Gospel: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof ” (Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6). (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 48)
The attitude of a child is the truest and most profound attitude of a Christian before his Savior, Who nourishes him with His Body and Blood, according to the following moving expressions of Clement of Alexandria: “The Logos is everything for the child: father, mother, teacher, nourisher. ‘Eat My Body,’ He says, ‘and drink My Blood!’ . . . O incredible mystery!” (Paedagogus, I, 42, 3). Another biblical consideration is furnished from the account of the call of the prophet Ezekiel. He symbolically receives the Word of God directly into his mouth: “Open your mouth, and eat what I give you. And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and, lo, a written scroll was in it. . . . So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. . . . Then I ate it; and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey” (Ez 2:8-9; 3:2-3). In Holy Communion, we receive the Word-made-Flesh – made Food for us little ones, for us children. And so, when we approach Holy Communion, we can remind ourselves of this gesture of the prophet Ezekiel. Christ truly nourishes us with His Body and Blood in Holy Communion and this is likened in the patristic era to a mother’s nursing, as demonstrated by these words of St. John Chrysostom: “In this Eucharistic mystery, Christ unites Himself to every member of the faithful, and those whom He has generated He nourishes from Himself and does not confide that task to another. Do you not see with how great a rush new-borns press their lips to the breast of their mother? Well, then, let us also with like ardor approach this holy table and the breast of this spiritual drink; even more so, with a greater ardor than that of sucklings!” (82, 5).
The most typical gesture of adoration is the biblical one of kneeling, as received and practiced by the first Christians. For Tertullian, who lived between the second and third centuries, the highest form of prayer is the act of adoration of God, which ought to manifest itself also in the gesture of genuflection: “All the angels pray, every creature prays, the cattle and wild beasts pray and bend their knees” (De Oratione, 29). St. Augustine warned that we sin if we do not adore the Eucharistic Body of the Lord when we receive It: “Let no one eat this flesh who has not first adored It. We sin if we do not adore It” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 98, 9). In an ancient Ordo Communionis in the liturgical tradition of the Coptic Church, it is established: “Let all prostrate on the ground, small and great, and thus let the distribution of Communion begin.” According to the Mystagogical Catecheses, attributed to St. Cyril of Jerusalem, the faithful ought to receive Communion with a gesture of adoration and veneration: “Do not extend your hands, but in a gesture of adoration and veneration approach the chalice of the Blood of Christ” (5, 22). St. John Chrysostom in homilies on the letter to the Corinthians exhorts those who approach the Eucharistic Body of the Lord to imitate the Magi from the East in a spirit and gesture of adoration:Let us approach Him, then, with fervor and burning love. This Body, although found in a manger, the very same Magi adore. Now, those men, without a knowledge of religion and barbarians, adore the Lord with great fear and trembling. Well, then, we who are citizens of the heavens, let us strive at least to imitate these barbarians! Unlike the Magi, you do not simply see this Body, but you have known all its force and saving power. Let us then spur ourselves on, let us tremble, and let us demonstrate a greater devotion than that of the Magi. (24. 5)
On the intimate link between adoration and Holy Communion, Pope Benedict XVI in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis, has written: “Receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him Whom we receive” (n. 66). While still a cardinal, Ratzinger underscored this aspect:Eating it (the Eucharist) – as we have just said – is a spiritual process, involving the whole man. “Eating” it means worshipping it. Eating it means letting it come into me, so that my “I” is transformed and opens up into the great “we,” so that we become “one” in him (cf. Gal 3:16). Thus adoration is not opposed to Communion, nor is it merely added to it. No, Communion only reaches its true depths when it is supported and surrounded by adoration. (The Spirit of the Liturgy [Ignatius Press, 2000], p. 90)
In the Book of Revelation, the book of the heavenly liturgy, the gesture of prostration of the twenty-four ancient ones before the Lamb can be the model and standard of how the Church on earth ought to treat the Lamb of God when the faithful approach Him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The Fathers of the Church demonstrate a lively concern that no one lose the smallest particle of Eucharistic Bread, as exhorted St. Cyril of Jerusalem in this very impressive manner:Be careful that you do not lose anything of the Body of the Lord. If you let fall anything, you must think of it as though you cut off one of the members of your own body. Tell me, I beg you, if someone gave you kernels of gold, would you not guard them with the greatest care and diligence, intent on not losing anything? Should you not exercise even greater care and vigilance, so that not even a crumb of the Lord’s Body could fall to the ground, for It is far more precious than gold or jewels? (Mystagogical Catecheses, 5, 2)
Already Tertullian gave witness to the Church’s anxiety and sorrow, should even a fragment be lost: “We suffer anxiety lest anything from the Chalice or the Bread fall to the ground” (De Corona, 3). St. Ephrem, in the fourth century, taught thus: “Jesus filled up the Bread with Himself and the Spirit and called It His living Body. That which I have now given you, says Jesus, do not consider bread, do not trample underfoot even the fragments. The smallest fragment of this Bread can sanctify millions of men and is enough to give life to all who eat It” (Sermones in Hebdomada Sancta, 4, 4). In the liturgical tradition of the Coptic Church is found the following warning: “There is no difference between the smaller and larger particles of the Eucharist, even those smallest ones which cannot be perceived with the naked eye; they deserve the same veneration and possess the same dignity as the whole Bread” (Heinrich Denziger, Ritus Orientalium, 1863, I, p. 405). In some Eastern Liturgies, the consecrated Bread is designated by the name “pearl.” Thus in the Collectiones Canonum Copticae, it says: “God does not will that any of the pearls or consecrated fragments should adhere to the fingers or fall to the ground!” The extreme vigilance and care of the Church of the first centuries lest any fragment of the Eucharistic Bread be lost was a universally diffused phenomenon: Rome (cf. Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica, 32); North Africa (cf. Tertullian, De Corona, 3, 4); Gaul (cf. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 78, 2); Egypt (cf. Origen, In Exodum Hom., 13, 3); Antioch and Constantinople (cf. John Chrysostom, Ecloga Quod non Indige Accedendum Sit ad Divina Mysteria); Palestine (cf. Jerome, In Psalmos, 147, 14); Syria (cf. Ephrem, In Hebdomada Sancta, 4, 4).
In the Early Church, before receiving the consecrated Bread, people had to wash the palms of their hands. Moreover, the faithful bowed profoundly in receiving the Body of the Lord with the mouth directly from the right hand and not from the left. The palm of the hand served as a kind of paten or corporal, especially for women. Thus one reads in a sermon of St. Caesarius of Arles (470-542): “All the men who desire to communicate, must wash their hands. And all the women must carry a linen cloth, on which they receive the Body of Christ” (Sermo, 227, 5). Customarily, the palm of the hand was purified or washed after the reception of the Eucharistic Bread as is up to now the norm in the Communion of clerics in the Byzantine Rite. In the ancient canons of the Chaldean Church, even the celebrating priest was forbidden to place the Eucharistic Bread into his own mouth with his fingers. Instead, he had to take the Body of the Lord in the palm of his hand; the reason for this was to signify that he was dealing here not with ordinary food but with heavenly food: “To the priest,” we read in the Canon of John Bar-Abgari, “it is directed that he receive the particle of consecrated Bread directly from the palm of his hand. He may not place It with the hand into the mouth, but must take It with his mouth, for this concerns heavenly food.”
In the ancient Syriac Church, the rite of Communion distribution was compared to the scene of the purification of the Prophet Isaiah by the seraph. In one of his sermons, St. Ephrem puts these words on Christ’s lips:The coal carried (by the seraph) cleansed the lips of Isaiah. It is I Who, carried now to you by means of bread, have sanctified you. The tongs which the Prophet saw and with which the coal was taken from the altar, were the figure of Me in the great Sacrament. Isaiah saw Me, as you see Me now extending My right hand and carrying to your mouths the living Bread. The tongs are My right hand. I take the place of the seraph. The coal is My Body. All of you are Isaiah. (Sermones in Hebdomada Sancta, 4, 5)
In the Liturgy of St. James, before distributing Holy Communion to the faithful, the priest recites this prayer: “May the Lord bless us and make us worthy to take with pure hands the burning coal, placing it into the mouths of the faithful.”
If every liturgical celebration is a sacred action par excellence (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7), the rite of Holy Communion must be such above all. John Paul II insisted on the fact that, before the secularized culture of modernity, the Church of today must feel a special obligation toward the sacredness of the Eucharist:This must always be remembered, perhaps above all in our time, when we see a tendency to do away with the distinction between the “sacred” and“profane,” given the widespread tendency, at least in some places, to desacralize everything.In view of this fact, the Church has a special duty to safeguard and strengthen the sacredness of the Eucharist. In our pluralistic and often deliberately secularized society, the living faith of the Christian community – a faith always aware of its rights vis-a-vis those who do not share that faith – ensures respect for this sacredness. (Dominicae Cenae, n. 8)
Based on the experience of the first centuries, in the organic growth in theological comprehension of the Eucharistic mystery and its consequent ritual development, the manner of distributing Communion on the hand was limited by the end of the patristic era to a specific group, that is, the clergy, as is still the case with the Eastern rites. The Eucharistic Bread began to be distributed to the laity – intincted in the consecrated Wine in the Eastern rites – directly into the mouth. In the Eastern rites, only the non-consecrated bread is distributed on the hand, the so-called antidoron. Thus is shown in a clear manner the difference between Eucharistic Bread and bread that is merely blessed. The most frequent admonition of the Fathers of the Church about the attitude to possess during Holy Communion resounded thus: cum amore ac timore (with love and fear). The authentic spirit of Eucharistic devotion of the Church Fathers developed organically at the end of antiquity in the whole Church – East and West – in the corresponding ways of receiving Holy Communion in the mouth, preceded by prostration on the ground (in the East) or with kneeling (in the West). Would it not correspond much better to the intimate reality and truth of the consecrated Bread, if today also the faithful one in receiving It prostrated on the ground and opened his mouth as the Prophet received the Word of God (cf. Ezekiel 2) and let himself be fed like a child – since Communion is a spiritual nourishment? Such a gesture would likewise be an impressive sign of the profession of faith in the Real Presence of God in the midst of the faithful. If some non-believer happened upon the liturgical action and observed such an act of adoration, perhaps he too, “falling on his face, will worship God and declare that God is really among you” (1 Cor 14:25).