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Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family

Month

October 2007

All Hallow’s Eve


October 31st marks All Hallow’s Eve. For most of us, we fondly remember our childhood…anxiously awaiting the time that we would don our costumes and venture into the cold, frosty evening to beg for candy from our friends and neighbors.

Times have changed. Many families have opted to avoid acknowledging All Hallow’s Eve, opting for All Saint’s Day celebrations and Fall Festivals at local Protestant churches. While all of these endeavours are noteworthy and laudable, I’m a bit concerned by what I see as a trend to “turn-over” one day of the year to the forces of evil and bow to the pressures of political correctness.

Until recently, I lived for many years in a predominately Protestant community. I’ve seen the effects of the demonization of All Hallow’s Eve. I’ve been presented with the Jack Chick tracts. I’ve witnessed the first hand campaign and political pressure that local churches have placed upon officials to suppress the observance of All Hallow’s Eve.

Recently, I’ve watched the Muslim community (with near success) lobby to have both Christmas and All Hallow’s Eve suppressed at a local school in Illinois, finally accepting the addition of Ramadan to the holiday observances.

These are not the actions of the satanists, wiccans or pagans.

In the past, it was the practice of the Holy Roman Catholic Church to take a pagan holiday and Christianize it. It seems that the tide has turned. We have now given over this day. Joining the ranks of Protestants and Muslims, our boycott has all the appearance of a surrender. Interestingly enough, the day we have given over, October 31st, isn’t the day that satanists have chosen as their “feast”…here is a quote from the Vatican’s chief exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth:

“Here it is on Christmas Eve that the Satanists have their orgies. Nothing happens on October 31. But if English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that.”

I don’t believe I would ever wish any of my children to dress as witches and devils, but it is easy to grasp the point that Fr. Amorth is making. (Remember: this is the same Fr. Amorth who is vehemently opposed to the Harry Potter books. He is intensely concerned with the protection of souls.) From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.” (Catechism, #2116)

So…this year the Knights of the Crusade will be trick-or-treating yet again. St. Joan of Arc will proudly carry her sword. St. Elizabeth of Hungary will gracefully accept “contributions”. We are reclaiming All Hallow’s Eve. A band of saints with plastic swords and crowns. A powerful witness, nonetheless!

Un-cool…

Un-cool. A play on words. Uncle/un-cool. Several years ago, this was my dear daughter Meredith’s pet name for her Uncle.

He is everything BUT un-cool. Incredibly intelligent, articulate and handsome. Rapier wit and artistic as well. A computer genius (he just rescued 7 GB of data trapped in an old computer for five years…all of my youngest daughter’s baby pictures.) And I love him dearly.

This weekend, he took time out from his extremely busy schedule to visit with his nieces and nephews, showering them with so many gifts. The most precious gift amongst the toys and trinkets…him. His time.

The visit, though short, so clearly reveals how tight the ties that bind a family together. Each child vied for his attention. Wanted to sit beside him, hold his hand.

Racing to the woods…what fun! He did everything he could to make each child aware of his loving regard for them as individuals. With much sorrow, we said goodbye.

The miles between us are not so very many. Like most people who love one another, what separates us is not space, but time. The promises to “stay in touch” and spend more time together–these good intentions are often only that…intentions. I’ve not done my part as often as I should to tell him how much I love him. To call him. To email him.

I’m going to change that.

I have one brother. Just one. No sisters. It is my hope that my children will take note, my desire to maintain these ties. That by loving my brother better; they will do the same.

Brothers and sisters…love one another. Stick together.

I love you, brother!

BTW…thanks for the absolutely rocking computer! A 25 in. monitor! The bells! The whistles! It is truly sweeet! But not as sweet as you ;-D!

Gareth’s First Holy Communion

The Feast Of Christ The King…what a day to celebrate Gareth’s First Holy Communion! Words will simply not suffice. The pictures tell such a lovely story. Here, our young man meets his King at the altar, for the very first time. How small he seemed, as he bravely strode forward. His confidence and excitement were so very touching. His greatest desire now? To serve the Holy Mass! Next week, he will don the cassock and surplice for the first time and will be allowed to sit in choir. May God grant that his enthusiasm remain strong, throughout his life.

A Little White Host

by St. Therese of Lisieux

Oh! we how with each morning’s light

Jesus, the Child divinely fair,

Into a little snow-white host

Transforms Himself, that you may share

His life; and yet with greater love,

He longs to change you into Him.

Your heart His precious treasure is,

His happiness, His joy supreme.

Noel! Noel! from heaven He comes,

To fill your soul with glorious light;

The Lamb of God to you descends,

Now be His pure white host to-night!

Why the "Grands" are so much fun…

Meet the grandparents, aka the “Grands”:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Only they could engage in, with complete enthusiasm, in the carving of an extremely nauseous pumpkin:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Pumpkin King, aka my dad:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I miss you already, mom and dad! What a great week!

Happy Birthday, my darling Jane!


Happy Birthday a bit early sweetheart!

October 23rd, 1981
12:18 a.m.
8 lbs. 8 oz. and 21 inches long

What a joy it was to raise you, precious girl. May you experience the same joy with your own dear daughters. Dad and siblings send love as well!

BTW: Mom is putting together a slideshow for you, dear. No digital photos…have to scan them all ;-D I’ll post it next week.

In Preparation For The Feast Of Christ The King


This Sunday, October 28th, is the traditional Feast Of Christ The King. On that day, my youngest son, Maximilian, will receive Our King in the Most Blessed Sacrament for the first time.

With great joy, this young man is preparing to receive his Lord! As this week will be rather full, I will be undertaking a “blog fast” for the rest of the week. Time for quiet reflection, a few extra moments with Max and the excitement that will accompany the arrival of the grandparents, the great-grandmother and dear uncle.

Be assured, there will be pictures galore and many happy memories to share. We are postponing the large gathering we had planned for this Saturday. The weather is not going to cooperate…so the bonfire and hayride are a “no go”. A quiet family gathering on Saturday will not only suffice, but will help keep the “excitement” in perspective with this Holy Sacrament.

May your week be blessed as you all prepare for this most lovely Feast Day. Here is an excellent article from Spero News on the importance of keeping the traditional date for the Feast Of Christ The King:

For Christ the King
The Traditional Rite places the feast on the Sunday preceding the Feast of All Saints. This is to show that Christ rules as King most fully over the saints.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

By Brother Andre Marie

Sunday, October 28 is the Feast of Christ the King. That is, it is the feast in the 1962 Calendar followed by those who adhere to the “extraordinary form” of the Roman Liturgy. The feast is celebrated on November 25 this year in the Novus Ordo calendar. Why the difference?

The Traditional Rite places the feast on the Sunday preceding the Feast of All Saints. This is to show that Christ rules as King most fully over the saints. He “triumphs in all the Saints and in all the Elect,” to use the exact words of Pope Pius XI, who instituted the feast in 1925. At the same time, the prayers of the Old Rite emphasized the reign of Christ in society, here and now. The pope wanted the laws of nations conformed to the Kinship of Christ. The New Rite, which also keeps the feast on a Sunday, puts it on the last of the liturgical year. Some have inferred from this change, and from the New Rite’s removal of certain prayers for the reign of Christ over nations (and not merely the hearts of men), that Christ’s Kingdom should be seen as a future, eschatological reality, not something to be actually implemented in temporal civil society.

When he instituted the Feast of Christ the King, Pius XI did so specifically to memorialize the true teaching on our Lord’s social Kingship. He promulgated the feast in his encyclical Quas Primas, where the doctrine of Christ the King was wonderfully summarized. We would do well to give that magisterial work a read, the better to understand the feast and its doctrine.

Pope Pius XI said that “Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ.” In my humble opinion, it is because that message went largely unheeded — Hamish Frasier called the encyclical “the greatest non-event in the history of the Church” — that we now live in an insufferable geopolitical hell. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

To those who say that Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world and, consequently, religion and politics must be separated, Pius addressed these strong words: “It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.”

After saying that our Lord’s dominion extends over all men, believers and non-believers, the pope goes on: “Nor is there any difference in this matter between the individual and the family or the State; for all men, whether collectively or individually, are under the dominion of Christ. In him is the salvation of the individual, in him is the salvation of society. ‘Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved’” (Acts 4:12).

Michael Davies, in his brief study, The Reign of Christ the King, summarizes the Church’s traditional social doctrine: “The Church’s teaching is that the State has an obligation to render public worship to God in accord with the teachings of the True Church, the Catholic Church, and positively to aid the Catholic Church in the carrying out of her functions. The State does not have the right to remain neutral regarding religion, much less to pursue a secular approach in its policies. A secular approach is by that very fact an anti-God and an anti-Christ approach. This unequivocal teaching was summarized very clearly by Pope St. Pius X, who, in his encyclical Vehementer Nos, condemned the principle of the separation of Church and State as ‘an absolutely false and most pernicious thesis.’”

Inasmuch as the Kingship of Christ has existed in nations not ruled by monarchs, a true Christian social order can be established in our American Republic. In the period roughly contemporary with that of our War between the States, there was a Catholic republic in Ecuador headed by Venerable Gabriel Garcia Moreno, a man called “the greatest Catholic statesman since the Middle Ages.” (Our Lady of Good Success, in her seventeenth-century revelations to Blessed Mariana of Jesus, prophesied him as a “truly Catholic president” who would receive the palm of martyrdom.) Moreno’s motto was to the point: “freedom for everyone and everything except sin and evil.”

The 1930’s Austrian republic of Pius XI’s close collaborator, Engelbert Dollfuss, provides another example, as does Antonio Salazar’s Republic of Portugal.

What would it look like if we had a Catholic America where Christ ruled as King?

If the U.S. becomes a Catholic nation (a nation in which the vast majority of the citizenry is Catholic), then the constitutional system would allow us to enshrine certain Catholic principles in the law of the land. On the positive side, the federal Constitution would recognize the most fundamental papal teaching on the matter of politics, namely, that all power is from God, not from the people. (This is true no matter how leaders are actually chosen.) Additionally, there would be laws that protect the family, such as a tax system which does not penalize, but, rather, rewards parents with large families by giving them tax breaks. Marriage would be recognized to be indissoluble and (as if it needed to be said!) exclusively between one man and one woman. Government would respect the principle of subsidiarity, which would make for smaller, less intrusive, bureaucracy. On the negative side, abortion, birth control, pornography, and sodomy would be outlawed.

Because ours is a federal system, the states themselves can implement such a social order in their respective constitutions. Thus, for example, Rhode Island could fully recognize the social rights of Christ the King, while the other states still lagged behind. This was the case in the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, each of which was a confessional Catholic State.

We must be realistic, but we must not lose sight of the ideal. A lot will have to happen to make all this possible, and it will likely be implemented only very gradually, as Dollfuss attempted to do in Austria (before the Nazis murdered him). Besides the grace of God, we will need enough of our countrymen to embrace the Catholic Faith to bring about our Lord’s full Kingship here. For that to happen, the bishops, lower clergy, and faithful will have to believe and profess all the truths of the Faith more boldly. An elite of clergy, religious, and faithful will have to live the interior life deeply, fortified by an authentic liturgical piety. All the while, it will take Catholics with fortitude to combat the unfortunates who oppose Christ’s reign — those inside and outside the Church.

As Joseph de Maistre pointed out, we must not repose our hope in a written constitution (we haven’t used the one we have now for decades!), but in men who have formed their consciences according to the teachings of Holy Mother Church. We can begin by getting to know the teachings of the popes in this matter and impressing them on our children.

Where Christ is King, Mary is Queen, and since she is the “Dawn” who precedes the coming of the “Sun of Justice” — as the Immaculate Conception heralded the Incarnation — she must pave the way for Christ’s rule. October, the Month of the Holy Rosary, is a queenly Marian preparation for Christ’s Kingship. That is the way it happens in the Church calendar and that is the way it will unfold in time. With the grace of God and the weapon of the Holy Rosary, we will clear the way for Christ the King!

Cor Iesu adveniat regnum tuum. Adveniat per Mariam! Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Thy kingdom come through Mary!

Brother Andre Marie, M.I.C.M, Saint Benedict Center

Goodbye Indian Summer

Indian Summer…highs today will be right around 80 degrees…

That all changes tomorrow. The forecast for Tuesday: high of 55! So long, Indian Summer…

Here are a few “October highlights”.

Before the children decided to carve not just the pumpkins, but the gourds as well:

The carving begins:

Meet the Pumpkin Gang:

Look what we found hidden in the brush pile…we didn’t plant these! A lovely surprise!

The last of the October tomato harvest:

Bringing in the herbs and pepper (I’ll be drying and freezing herbs forever!)

And look who I found peeking through the fence (we’ve fought these “beauties” all summer…somehow, I just don’t mind this guy!)

God bless the BSA


235.

That was today’s attendance for the 9:00 a.m. Traditional Mass. Amazing! Monsignor John Cody was today’s celebrant (Fr. Lutz is in Denton, Nebraska for the tonsure of seminarian Michael Connaughton) and in addition to regular parish members as well as a few other visitors, there were more than forty Boy Scouts, leaders and parents.

Most of the Scouts and parents had never attended the Latin Mass–it was such an encouraging sight. These young men, armed with the Ecclesia Dei guide to the Latin Mass, were so reverent and well-mannered. May God bless them all!

Remember to keep in your prayers the Boy Scouts and their leaders. Though my own sons are not Scouts (only because we are fortunate enough to be able to provide within the context of the family many of the experiences the Scouts offer), we support them in any way we can. My husband was a Scout for many years.

This organization has struggled for years to maintain its commitment to assist in the formation of young men of character. They have kept in place policies to exclude atheist, agnostics and avowed homosexuals. They have also remained firm in their intent to keep this organization the “Boy” Scouts and not the “People” Scouts. The Supreme Court has repeatedly (thus far) upheld the rights of the BSA to exclude atheist, agnostics, homosexuals and women. Nonetheless, the attacks keep coming:

Philadelphia Raises Boy Scouts’ Rent $199,999 Over Gay Ban

Many organizations (like the United Way) have reduced and even refused to continue funding the BSA due to their refusal the budge on issues that strike at the very core of this organization. A few quotes to encapsulate what the Scouts are about:

Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

As early as 1908, Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell wrote in the first Scout handbook that, “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.”

“The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs were designed to meet the emotional, psychological, physical, and other needs of boys between the ages of 8 and 14.”

“Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting’s values and beliefs.”

God Bless the Boy Scouts of America!

The soup of suffering…


Ah, Friday!

Have I mentioned that our family observes the traditional Friday Fast throughout the year? Abstaining from meat for one day a week has been more that just a practicality, though it has been easier to apply than the “substitution of other penitential practices” which doesn’t always happen. The “meatless” day provides a day-long reminder of what we have gained through our Lord’s sacrifice. Every meal requires thoughtful reflection and preparation. Peanut butter instead of ham. Tuna (not lobster!) instead of roast beef.

No meat on Friday. Simple. No. Meat. On. Friday.

There are so many creative and outstanding recipes to assist those who wish to abstain from meat on occasion. I’ve decided to skip “creative”; our Friday meals are always the same (cue dramatic music): The Soup Of Suffering.

What is The Soup Of Suffering? Well, for our family it is their very favorite soup. Mom’s homemade Loaded Potato Soup. Without the “load”. This particular soup is very popular with all my friends and family…dripping with cheese, sour cream, crispy crumbled bacon, green onions or chives–choose your topping–we have it! And fresh baked herb bread. Are you hungry yet?

Minus all the toppings…it’s just potato soup. Good. Filling. Boring.

When my son, Joseph, expressed (as only a grumpy, hungry child can!) just how much he missed the bacon with this soup, it was a very good time to talk about suffering and sacrifice–giving up bacon is really a small sacrifice, a very little suffering.

The Soup Of Suffering. One family’s version of sacrifice.

Which brings us to last night’s dinner.

So…what happens when mom (who remains on auto-pilot most of the day) puts crumbled bacon and cheese on your potato soup? Well, then, it’s time for the “substitution of other penitential practices.” The children come to the table and observe the lovely repast before them:

Zachary: “Is that bacon on the soup?”

Michael: “It’s Friday!”

Joseph: “I can’t eat that, Mom!”

Max: “It’s Friday? Ah, man!”

Abi and Rylee: “Eeewww yuck! We hate potato soup! It’s white!” (so is vanilla ice cream and sugar, but no aversion to those!)

“OK, guys…let’s see…we’ll pray the rosary and add a few extra prayers…eat up!”

Michael: “I can’t do that, Mom. I’d rather not have the bacon.”

Joseph: “I want to keep Friday holy.”

These are exact quotes. So…bowls of unadorned soup were quickly substituted.

Now we know who the real teachers are…

Happy Birthday, Charlotte!

Six years of blessings. We praise God for you…your sweetness, your generosity and your fearlessness delight your loving family. God bless you, Charlotte!

Coming soon to a middle school near you..the Pill

The community of Portland Maine will be taking a vote tomorrow evening to approve making available oral contraception and other “reproductive services” to 6th grade students.

Richard Veilleux, Executive Director of the Portland Maine Assembly on School Based Health, states: “It’s really about giving kids the services they need to keep them safe and healthy and in school…”

(I think we can safely read that as: “It’s really about keeping attendance up so we don’t lose our funding”)

He further states: “There are young kids who will be having sex unsafely and it’s important that the community be able to decide to keep these kids safe.”

(I think most parents are currently laboring under the delusion that it is their right and responsibility to keep their children safe…not the community. This is more of the faulty “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality!)

Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council believes this is nothing more than “greenlighting” sexual behavior amongst children and states: “This is a perfect example of the soft bigotry of low expectations.” Additional statements from Yoest regarding the upcoming vote in Portland: “This is exactly the wrong response.” “To respond with contraception to curb teen sexuality is tragic.” “This policy is a cleverly written fig-leaf to circumvent parental involvement in their children’s life.”

This School Based Health plan would allow children to seek services confidentially. Parents will sign an initial consent form to enable their child to obtain school health services. Remember when we all went to the school nurse for a band-aid? Now “reproductive health” is on the list of services offered. Once the parents sign giving their consent, students may obtain all services confidentially.

View the CNN video here.

Protecting children, indeed! Seems the average child is in desperate need of protection from programs like the one being considered in Portland, Maine.

"You say ‘stabiliter’, I say ‘continenter’ "…


To-may-to, to-mah-to. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

Perhaps the more likely comparison would be apples and oranges. This is the precise problem encountered when looking at the original Vatican document and those that were released by the Nunciature to the USCCB (continenter vs. stabiliter).

Thank heavens, the Vatican is finally issuing a clarification/directive for implementation of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum.”

Thank you, Holy Father, for your continued “shepherding” of your flock.

Yet another reason to love our German Shepherd!

"A small error in principle is a great error in conclusion…"


Blessings to The Schoolmen and the formation of the Society of Scholastics. The Society website is dedicated to the promotion of traditional Scholastic Thomism. Be sure to click on the press release image for more information.

Remember: “Parvus error in principio magnus est in fine”

Twenty-two…Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

October 14th, 1985 2:32 a.m.

8lbs., 10 oz. – 21 inches long.

Happy, happy birthday, baby! I miss you so very much. Twenty-two years on this earth…time flies!
Praising God for you…you are ever in my prayers. Hope you can come home soon! Love, Mom.

Courtship humor

h/t to Irish-Catholic and Dangerous:

Made you laugh, didn’t it?!

The company one keeps…

The last few days have been rather hectic. Alas, when are they not? House cleaning, homeschooling, chauffeuring, catering, doctoring, mothering…it’s easy to get tangled up in the “Martha-ness” of the everyday, and miss those “Mary” moments. As I’ve struggled for the last few weeks to manage the husband’s schedule, the college student’s schedule, the homeschool schedule, Schola and Mass schedule; I’ve somehow missed my schedule; the one I keep to recollect myself…prayer, contemplation and devotional reading. Considerable back pain and sleeplessness provide additional challenges (just in case the “schedules” aren’t’ challenge enough!)

So my tank is a little low, right now.

But God is good! Over the past few days, as I’ve lamented my shrinking “down-time”, I’ve been given so many lovely gifts. These gifts are God-given reminders of what joy there is…and it isn’t in my “down-time”:

I’ve been privileged to spend the early morning hours with my college-age daughter during our daily commute. We’ve had stimulating and lively conversations, shared a few jokes and irritations, even read an outstanding essay together.

I’ve observed the burgeoning maturity of my teenage son. How willingly and strongly he leads! Building dollhouses for little sisters, taking younger siblings on walks to the woods, teaching his brother proper safety for his new air rifle. And today. Listening to him tell his younger siblings how proud he was that they had behaved so well, in the local farmer’s market. That he was proud to be their brother.

I listened to my little girl laugh with such gleeful abandon, as I pushed her higher and higher in the swing.

I saw the gleam of understanding in my son’s eyes as a difficult math concept suddenly made sense.

I watched my youngest daughter comfort her brother as a thorn was removed from his foot, offering him an artificial flower to soothe his pain.

I saw the pride and joy in my husband’s eyes…every morning as I kissed him goodbye and every evening, as he was greeted by his loving family. How joyful and chaotic the welcome! Each child begging to be the one to carry dad’s coffee mug, his water jug, his lunch pail…such willing vassals to their Lord!

And so very, very many more “vignettes”…I’m sure you understand…they are the everyday graces, the small treasures of the vocation of motherhood.

I’m in such excellent “company”.

Everyday.

Yet…the kitchen floor still needs to be mopped. The laundry needs folding. The carpet needs vacuuming. The toilets need scrubbing.

Everyday.

I pray, that in eternity, my children will stand as a greater witness to my love of God and man, than my clean dishes will.

I pray, that their loving hearts, prayers and faith will speak far more eloquently than a well-vacuumed carpet.

I pray, that the trust my husband has in me, as he daily struggles to sustain this large family, will be greatly rewarded in Heaven and that we will share that eternity, together.

Thank you, my Lord and my God, for placing me in such good company!

Columbus speaks…


This amazing letter is a translation from the original Latin, and gives us a quick glimpse into the heart of Cristobal Colon/Christopher Columbus.

When I was a child, Columbus was a hero. Now, thanks to a little “revisionist history”, Columbus has become a pariah, a violator of human rights and dignity. Lest we all jump on the band wagon, here is an outstanding quote from an agnostic professor of sociology from the University of Brussels, Dr. Leo Moulin, and he says,

‘Pay attention to this incredulous old man who knows what he says. The masterpiece of anti-Christian propaganda is that it has succeeded in creating in Christians, above all in Catholics, a bad conscience, instilling in them embarrassment, if not shame, of their own history. There has not been a historical problem, error or suffering which has not been imputed to you, and you, almost always ignorant of your past, have ended up believing it to the point of supporting it. On the contrary, I, agnostic but also a historian who tries to be objective, tell you that you should react in the name of truth.’

Thank you, Dr. Moulin, for that excellent reminder!

Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Sea (1493)

Introduction added by Aliander de Cosco

Letter of Christopher Columbus, to whom our age owes much, concerning the islands recently discovered in the Indian sea. For the search of which, eight months before, he was sent under the auspices and at the cost of the most invincible Ferdinand, king of Spain. Addressed to the magnificent lord Raphael Sanxis, a treasurer of the same most illustrious king, and which the noble and learned man Aliander de Cosco has translated from the Spanish language into Latin, on the third of the kalends of May, 1493, the first year of the pontificate of Alexander the Sixth.

Because my undertakings have attained success, I know that it will be pleasing to you: these I have determined to relate, so that you may be made acquainted with everything done and discovered in this our voyage. On the thirty-third day after I departed from Cadiz, I came to the Indian sea, where I found many islands inhabited by men without number, of all which I took possession for our most fortunate king, with proclaiming heralds and flying standards, no one objecting. To the first of these I gave the name of the blessed Saviour, on whose aid relying I had reached this as well as the other islands. But the Indians call it Guanahany. I also called each one of the others by a new name. For I ordered one island to be called Santa Maria of the Conception, another Fernandina, another Isabella, another Juana, and so on with the rest.

As soon as we had arrived at that island which I have just now said was called Juana, I proceeded along its coast towards the west for some distance; I found it so large and without perceptible end, that I believed it to be not an island, but the continental country of Cathay; seeing, however, no towns or cities situated on the sea-coast, but only some villages and rude farms, with whose inhabitants I was unable to converse, because as soon as they saw us they took flight.

I proceeded farther, thinking that I would discover some city or large residences. At length, perceiving that we had gone far enough, that nothing new appeared, and that this way was leading us to the north, which I wished to avoid, because it was winter on the land, and it was my intention to go to the south, moreover the winds were becoming violent, I therefore determined that no other plans were practicable, and so, going back, I returned to a certain bay that I had noticed, from which I sent two of our men to the land, that they might find out whether there was a king in this country, or any cities. These men traveled for three days, and they found people and houses without number, but they were small and without any government, therefore they returned.

Now in the meantime I had learned from certain Indians, whom I had seized there, that this country was indeed an island, and therefore I proceeded towards the east, keeping all the time near the coast, for 322 miles, to the extreme ends of this island. From this place I saw another island to the east distant from this Juana 54 miles, which I called forthwith Hispana; and I sailed to it; and I steered along the northern coast, as at Juana, towards the east, 564 miles.

And the said Juana and the other islands there appear very fertile. This island is surrounded by many very safe and wide harbors, not excelled by any others that I have ever seen. Many great and salubrious rivers flow through it. There are also many very high mountains there. All these islands are very beautiful, and distinguished by various qualities; they are accessible, and full of a great variety of trees stretching up to the stars; the leaves of which I believe are never shed, for I saw them as green and flourishing as they are usually in Spain in the month of May; some of them were blossoming, some were bearing fruit, some were in other conditions; each one was thriving in its own way. The nightingale and various other birds without number were singing, in the month of November, when I was exploring them.

There are besides in the said island Juana seven or eight kinds of palm trees, which far excel ours in height and beauty, just as all the other trees, herbs, and fruits do. There are also excellent pine trees, vast plains and meadows, a variety of birds, a variety of honey, and a variety of metals, excepting iron. In the one which was called Hispana, as we said above, there are great and beautiful mountains, vast fields, groves, fertile plains, very suitable for planting and cultivating, and for the building of houses. The convenience of the harbors in this island, and the remarkable number of rivers contributing to the healthfulness of man, exceed belief, unless one has seen them. The trees, pasturage, and fruits of this island differ greatly from those of Juana. This Hispana, moreover, abounds in different kinds of spices, in gold, and in metals. On this island, indeed, and on all the others which I have seen, and of which I have knowledge, the inhabitants of both sexes go always naked, just as they came into the world, except some of the women, who use a covering of a leaf or some foliage, or a cotton cloth, which they make themselves for that purpose.

All these people lack, as I said above, every kind of iron; they are also without weapons, which indeed are unknown; nor are they competent to use them, not on account of deformity of body, for they are well formed, but because they are timid and full of fear. They carry for weapons, however, reeds baked in the sun, on the lower ends of which they fasten some shafts of dried wood rubbed down to a point; and indeed they do not venture to use these always; for it frequently happened when I sent two or three of my men to some of the villages, that they might speak with the natives, a compact troop of the Indians would march out, and as soon as they saw our men approaching, they would quickly take flight, children being pushed aside by their fathers, and fathers by their children. And this was not because any hurt or injury had been inflicted on any one of them, for to every one whom I visited and with whom I was able to converse, I distributed whatever I had, cloth and many other things, no return being made to me; but they are by nature fearful and timid.

Yet when they perceive that they are safe, putting aside all fear, they are of simple manners and trustworthy, and very liberal with everything they have, refusing no one who asks for anything they may possess, and even themselves inviting us to ask for things. They show greater love for all others than for themselves; they give valuable things for trifles, being satisfied even with a very small return, or with nothing; however, I forbade that things so small and of no value should be given to them, such as pieces of plates, dishes, and glass, likewise keys and shoelace tips although if they were to obtain these, it seemed to them like getting the most beautiful jewels in the world. It happened, indeed, that a certain sailor obtained in exchange for a shoelace tips as much worth of gold as would equal three golden coins; and likewise other things for articles of very little value, especially for new silver coins, and for some gold coins, to obtain which they gave whatever the seller desired, as for instance an ounce and a half and two ounces of gold, or thirty and forty pounds of cotton, with which they were already acquainted. They also traded cotton and gold for pieces of bows, bottles, jugs and jars, like persons without reason, which I forbade because it was very wrong; and I gave to them many beautiful and pleasing things that I had brought with me, no value being taken in exchange, in order that I might the more easily make them friendly to me, that they might be made worshipers of Christ, and that they might be full of love towards our king, queen, and prince, and the whole Spanish nation; also that they might be zealous to search out and collect, and deliver to us those things of which they had plenty, and which we greatly needed.

These people practice no kind of idolatry; on the contrary they firmly believe that all strength and power, and in fact all good things are in heaven, and that I had come down from thence with these ships and sailors; and in this belief I was received there after they had put aside fear. Nor are they slow or unskilled, but of excellent and acute understanding; and the men who have navigated that sea give an account of everything in an admirable manner; but they never saw people clothed, nor these kind of ships. As soon as I reached that sea, I seized by force several Indians on the first island, in order that they might learn from us, and in like manner tell us about those things in these lands of which they themselves had knowledge; and the plan succeeded, for in a short time we understood them and they us, sometimes by gestures and signs, sometimes by words; and it was a great advantage to us. They are coming with me now, yet always believing that I descended from heaven, although they have been living with us for a long time, and are living with us to-day. And these men were the first who announced it wherever we landed, continually proclaiming to the others in a loud voice, “Come, come, and you will see the celestial people.” Whereupon both women and men, both young men and old men, laying aside the fear caused a little before, visited us eagerly, filling the road with a great crowd, some bringing food, and some drink, with great love and extraordinary goodwill.

On every island there are many canoes of a single piece of wood; and though narrow, yet in length and shape similar to our row-boats, but swifter in movement. They steer only by oars. Some of these boats are large, some small, some of medium size. Yet they row many of the larger row-boats with eighteen cross-benches, with which they cross to all those islands, which are innumerable, and with these boats they perform their trading, and carry on commerce among them. I saw some of these row- boats or canoes which were carrying seventy and eighty rowers.

In all these island there is no difference in the appearance of the people, nor in the manners and language, but all understand each other mutually; a fact that is very important for the end which I suppose to be earnestly desired by our most illustrious king, that is, their conversion to the holy religion of Christ, to which in truth, as far as I can perceive, they are very ready and favorably inclined.

I said before how I proceeded along the island Juana in a straight line from west to east 322 miles, according to which course and the length of the way, I am able to say that this Juana is larger than England and Scotland together; for besides the said 322 thousand paces, there are two more provinces in that part which lies toward the west, which I did not visit; one of these the Indians call Anan, whose inhabitants are born with tails. They extend to 180 miles in length, as I have learned from those Indians I have with me, who are all acquainted with these islands.

But the circumference of Hispana is greater than all Spain from Colonia [Catalonia] to Fontarabia [Fuenterrabia]. And this is easily proved, because its fourth side, which I myself passed along in a straight line from west to east, extends 540 miles. This island is to be desired and is very desirable, and not to be despised; in which, although as I have said, I solemnly took possession of all the others for our most invincible king, and their government is entirely committed to the said king, yet I especially took possession of a certain large town, in a very convenient location, and adapted to all kinds of gain and commerce, to which we give the name of our Lord of the Nativity. And I commanded a fort to be built where forthwith, which must be completed by this time; in which I left as many men as seemed necessary, with all kinds of arms, and plenty of food for more than a year. Likewise one caravel, and for the construction of others men skilled in this trade and in other professions; and also the extraordinary good will and friendship of the king of this island toward us. For those people are very amiable and kind, to such a degree that the said king gloried in calling me his brother. And if they should change their minds, and should wish to hurt those who remained in the fort, they would not be able, because they lack weapons, they go naked, and are too cowardly. For that reason those who hold the said fort are at least able to resist easily this whole island, without any imminent danger to themselves, so long as they do not transgress the regulations and command which we gave.

In all these islands, as I have understood, each man is content with only one wife, except the princes or kings, who are permitted to have twenty. The women appear to work more than the men. I was not able to find out surely whether they have individual property, for I saw that one man had the duty of distributing to the others, especially refreshments, food, and things of that kind. I found no monstrosities among them, as very many supposed, but men of great reverence, and friendly. Nor are they black like the Ethiopians. They have straight hair, hanging down. They do not remain where the solar rays send out the heat, for the strength of the sun is very great here, because it is distant from the equinoctial line, as it seems, only twenty-six degrees. On the tops of the mountains too the cold is severe, but the Indians, however, moderate it, partly by being accustomed to the place, and partly by the help of very hot victuals, of which they eat frequently and immoderately.

And so I did not see any monstrosity, nor did I have knowledge of them any where, excepting a certain island named Charis, which is the second in passing from Hispana to India. This island is inhabited by a certain people who are considered very warlike by their neighbors. These eat human flesh. The said people have many kinds of row-boats, in which they cross over to all the other Indian islands, and seize and carry away everything that they can. They differ in no way from the others, only that they wear long hair like the women. They use bows and darts made of reeds, with sharpened shafts fastened to the larger end, as we have described. On this account they are considered warlike, wherefore the other Indians are afflicted with continual fear, but I regard them as of no more account than the others. These are the people who visit certain women, who alone inhabit the island of Mateunin, which is the first in passing from Hispana to India. These women, moreover, perform no kind of work of their sex, for they use bows and darts, like those I have described of their husbands; they protect themselves with sheets of copper, of which there is a great abundance among them. They tell of another island greater than the aforesaid Hispana, whose inhabitants are without hair, and which abounds in gold above all the others. I am bringing with me men of this island and of the others that I have seen, who give proof of the things that I have described.

Finally, that I may compress in a few words the brief account of our departure and quick return, and the gain, I promise this, that If I am supported by our most invincible sovereigns with a little of their help, as much gold can be supplied as they will need, indeed as much of spices, of cotton, of mastic gum (which is only found in Chios), also as much of aloes wood, and as many slaves for the navy, as their Majesties will wish to demand. Likewise rhubarb and other kinds of spices, which I suppose these men whom I left in the said fort have already found, and will continue to find; since I remained in no place longer than the winds forced me, except in the town of the Nativity, while I provided for the building of the fort, and for the safety of all. Which things, although they are very great and remarkable, yet they would have been much greater, if I had been aided by as many ships as the occasion required.

Truly great and wonderful is this, and not corresponding to our merits, but to the holy Christian religion, and to the piety and religion of our sovereigns, because what the human understanding could not attain, that the divine will has granted to human efforts. For God is wont to listen to his servants who love his precepts, even in impossibilities, as has happened to us on the present occasion, who have attained that which hitherto mortal men have never reached. For if anyone has written or said anything about these islands, it was all with obscurities and conjectures; no one claims that he had seen them; from which they seemed like fables. Therefore let the king and queen, the princes and their most fortunate kingdoms, and all other countries of Christendom give thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has bestowed upon us so great a victory and gift. Let religious processions be solemnized; let sacred festivals be given; let the churches be covered with festive garlands. Let Christ rejoice on earth, as he rejoices in heaven, when he foresees coming to salvation so many souls of people hitherto lost. Let us be glad also, as well on account of the exaltation of our faith, as on account of the increase of our temporal affairs, of which not only Spain, but universal Christendom will be partaker. These things that have been done are thus briefly related. Farewell.

Lisbon, the day before the Ides of March.

Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Fleet.

What a dunce…

See the kid in the dunce cap?

That would be me.

Who knew today was Columbus Day?! To be certain, I was quite aware on FRIDAY that MONDAY was Columbus Day.

But that was Friday.

Today is Monday. So…at approximately 8:00 a.m. this morning, I’m racing to get gas, taking a new route to the college and amazed at how quickly we are making our way downtown. Down Broad, left on Jefferson, left on Spring Street. No traffic!

College parking lot: Empty.

College campus: Deserted.

BECAUSE IT IS COLUMBUS DAY!

Maniacal laughter at the steering wheel (that would be me!) Seriously irritated college student, in the passenger seat.

“Tell me I did not get up BEFORE 7:00 a.m. to come to school on a FEDERAL HOLIDAY!”

Yes…she attends classes in COLUMBUS, Ohio. You’d think I would’ve kept that connection within the ever dimming recesses of my brain. Columbus Day is a pretty big event around here.

Sheesh…I’m batting a thousand…at least I got her there on time!

Just one more “mother/daughter bonding moment” in the nut house!

Thanks, Esther!

Thanks to Esther for the groovy new signature…

She is one talented lady!And here is the rest of it.

A rotten "trick" and certainly no "treat"…


From UNICEF USA:

Hey! Want to help kids in other parts of the world get the things they need to survive and grow? You’ve got the power to do it!

Join Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, The Original KIDS HELPING KIDS® campaign, and help save other kids’ lives!

Join hundreds of kids across the country this October and create your very own Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF fundraiser. Click here to read about how other kids just like you helped UNICEF save kids’ lives.

Getting involved is FUN and easy! Just follow these simple steps:

WHOOOOAAA!!!
Let’s look at that quote again: Want to help kids in other parts of the world get the things they need to survive and grow?

Survive and grow…interesting choice of words from an organization created by the United Nations. UNICEF has continually denied any hint of involvement with the abortion industry, but for most pro-life families, the UN tag has been enough to raise more than a few red flags.

Nonetheless, there are still many misguided individuals who continue to support UNICEF’ despite increasing evidence of the organization’s pro-abortion agenda.

The most vile aspect of UNICEF is the Halloween promotional “Trick or Treat For UNICEF, also called “Kids Helping Kids.” Children are sent door to door to collect donations for the many programs sponsored by UNICEF.

The “treat”?

A T-shirt and the chance to appear on Cartoon Network in a promotional appeal.

The “trick”? Check this out:

UNICEF joins in pro-abortion drive

New York, Oct. 5, 2007 (C-fam.org/CWNews.com) – The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has joined with the sponsors of a new drive to promote legal abortion, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) reports.

The new global initiative was launched by various UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in New York last week, Samantha Singson reports in C-Fam’s Friday Fax. UNICEF– a UN agency that has persistently denied supporting abortion– has joined in the “Deliver Now for Women and Children” campaign.

Marketed as a campaign to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health, the agenda of “Deliver Now” includes a call for “safe abortion”–which is treated as synonymous with legal abortion. The campaign is coordinated by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, chaired by Kul Gautam, the deputy executive director of UNICEF and assistant secretary-general of the UN. The group’s members include among others the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and government development agencies from the US, UK, Canada, and Bangladesh, as well as the World Health Organization and UN Population Fund.

The campaign lists a number of severe maladies that effect maternal health and concludes that “most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to and could use professional care.” “Deliver Now” defines “quality care” as including “services before and during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, as well as safe abortion.”

The “Deliver Now” web site features the stark tagline, “More than 10,000,000 deaths per year. Too many to ignore.” This enormous number is the conflation of two numbers: the total number of childhood deaths per year from all causes, which is said to be 10 million; and the number of deaths women suffer from maternal causes, a highly suspect figure claimed by some UN agencies to total 500,000 per year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the child mortality numbers are calculated from official sources including birth and death data derived from vital registration, census, and/or household surveys. On the other hand, the maternal mortality statistics are questionable estimations at best. According to the WHO, the primary source for maternal mortality statistics, “data on maternal mortality and other causes of death are often unavailable or, where available, are unreliable due to deficiencies in vital statistics registration systems.” Dr. Joseph Chamie, the former head of the UN Population Division, official statisticians of the UN, states the 500,000 number used for maternal deaths cannot substantiated, and he has refused to use it.

You can read the rest of this article here.

This is, without doubt, one of the most reprehensible, insidious and evil ploys yet devised by the UN. Appealing to the sympathetic nature of the young. Lying to them and manipulating their desire to help other children. All to support the UN’s pro-abortion agenda.

The response of the Catholic Church to UNICEF? The Church answered this question a few years ago:

“In fact, in 1996, the Vatican suspended its financial support—and symbolic approval—for UNICEF, a move that still rankles senior UNICEF officials and remains a public relations problem for the agency,” Douglas A. Sylva writes in The United Nations Children’s Fund: Women or Children First? Sylva’s study was published by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

So…watch out for those little orange UNICEF boxes. Death is lurking; hidden under the guise of charity.

Now for a warning to the UN and UNICEF:

“But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Matthew 18:6

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