31 December 2020


 [1] From the foregoing it is also clear that all creation is successionless.

[2] For succession characterizes motion. But creation is not a motion, nor the term of a motion, as a change is; hence, there is no succession in it.

[3] In every successive motion, furthermore, there exists some mean between the extremes of the motion; for a mean is that which a continuously moved thing attains first before reaching the terminal point. But between being and non-being, which are as it were the extremes of creation, no mean can possibly exist. Therefore, in creation there is no succession.

[4] Again, in every making involving succession, a thing is in process of becoming prior to its actual production, as is shown in Physics VI [6]. But this cannot occur in creation. For the becoming which would precede the creature’s actual production would require a subject. The latter could not be the creature itself, of whose creation we are speaking, since, before being made, the creature is not. Nor would that subject lie in the maker, because to be moved is an act not of the mover, but of the thing moved. It therefore remains that some pre-existing matter of the thing produced would be the subject of the process of becoming. This is contrary to the idea of creation. It is therefore impossible that creation should involve succession.

[5] And again. Every successive making must take place in time; since before and after in motion are numbered by time. But time, motion, and the thing that is in motion are all simultaneously divided. This, indeed, is manifestly so in local motion; for, if the motion is regular, half the motion will occupy half the time. Now, the division in forms corresponding to the division of time is in terms of intensification and diminution; thus, if a thing is heated to a certain degree in so much time, it is heated to a less degree in less time. Hence, there can be succession in motion, or in any making, so far as that which is affected by motion is divisible, either in point of quantity, as in local motion and in growth, or as regards intensity and remission, as in alteration. The latt&4, however, takes place in two ways: in one way, because the form, which is the term of the motion, is divisible with respect to intensity and remission, as is evidently the case when a thing is in process of motion toward whiteness; in another way, because a division of this kind occurs in dispositions to such a form; thus, the process whereby the form of fire comes to exist is successive on account of preceding alteration in the dispositions towards the form. But the very substantial being of the creature is not divisible in this way; for “substance is not susceptible of degrees. Nor do any dispositions precede creation, since there is here no pre-existing matter, and disposition is on the side of matter. It follows that in creation no succession is possible.

[6] Successiveness in the making of things, moreover, derives from a defect of the matter, which is not suitably disposed from the beginning for the reception of the form; so that, when the matter is already perfectly disposed for the form, it receives it immediately. For instance, because a transparent body is always in a state of complete readiness to receive light, it is illuminated at once by the presence of a luminous object; nor is there here any antecedent motion on the part of the illuminable thing, but only the illuminating agent’s local motion by which it becomes present. But nothing having the character of matter is prerequisite to creation; nor for the accomplishment of His action does God as agent lack anything which might accrue to Him afterwards through movement~ because He is immobile, as we proved in Book I of this work. It therefore remains that creation is instantaneous. Thus, a thing simultaneously is being created and is created, even as a thing at the same moment is being illuminated and is illuminated.

[7] And so it is that holy Scripture proclaims the creation of things to have been effected in an indivisible instant; for it is written: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Gen. 1:1). And Basil explains that this beginning is “the beginning of time” and is necessarily indivisible, as Aristotle proves in i VI [3].


Please Explain $2bn, Bishops Ask Pope Francis

They deserve answers! AU$2bn will buy a great deal of false testimony, and a great many  corrupt judges, and venal jurymen!

From The Australian

By Dennis Shanahan

Australia's Catholic bishops are working on a direct request to the Pope to investigate and explain how $2.3bn was transferred from the Vatican City to Australia over six years without their knowledge. 

The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference is considering the request after they were "astonished at the scale of the transfers" from the Holy See's secretariat of state between 2014 and this year. 

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, told The Australian on Tuesday that no Australian Catholic, diocese, charity, religious order or church entity had received any of the money. 

"In the current atmosphere of dark speculation about money transfers, the lack of transparency and the way in which it was revealed is very unhelpful," he said. "We are considering asking the Holy See to explain the transfers in a way that provides clarity and transparency." 

Last Wednesday, The Australian revealed that an official report from Australia's international financial watchdog, Austrac, had found $2.3bn had been transferred from the Vatican City over the past six years. 

The Australian Federal Police is investigating some of the transfers from the Vatican to Australia. 

These transfers rapidly increased from $71.6m in 2014 to $137.lm in 2015 before doubling again to $295m in 2016 and peaking at $581.3m in 2017, the Austrac disclosures made in response to  questions asked at Senate estimate hearings. 

More than $422m was transferred in 2018, $491.8m in 2019 and $294.8m this financial year to date - in total more than 40,000 transactions, Austrac found. 

Archbishop Coleridge said: "What is certain in the middle of great uncertainties is that Australian bishops did not know about these transfers until the disclosure last week and we were astonished at the scale of transfers. 

"I have spoken to other bishops and the Papal Nuncio in Canberra and nobody knew of these transfers and we don't know of any Australian Catholic charity, diocese, order or agency receiving any of this money from the Holy See. 

"We do know that despite some speculation, the money was certainly not used for the church's costs in relation to royal commissions or for Cardinal (George) Pell's legal costs. We are baffled." 

Archbishop Coleridge, who served in the Vatican secretariat of state for four years from 1997, said he was aware of claims that "cipher accounts" were being used in the Vatican's name by people who were not part of the Holy See to make international transfers and investments. 

He said cipher accounts and obscure financial accounts were "part of the problem'' Cardinal Pell had to confront when the Pope appointed him as his financial controller in 2014. 

On Monday in Rome, Francis signed a new law that stripped the Vatican's secretariat of state of all its financial and real estate assets amid a growing scandal of dubious investments, the removal of charitable funds and a troubled $360m building project in London's Chelsea district. 

The Austrac figures also show $117.4m was sent from Australia to the Vatican, likely part of an annual fund for charities. Those transfers have risen from $17.7m in 2014 to $32.4m in 2019. Only $7.Sm had been transferred to date this year. 

The Vatican has been embroiled in scandal in recent months over allegations of embezzlement and nepotism levelled against Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a senior member of the church's bureaucracy until this year who was an opponent to Cardinal Pell's reforms at the Vatican.

 Cardinal Becciu was fired by the Pope in September over the allegations. Cardinal Becciu has denied any wrongdoing. 

There have also been allegations to Vatican investigators that money was sent to Australia to adversely affect the sexual abuse trial of Cardinal Pell. 

To date, there has been no evidence produced to show any Vatican money was transferred to influence that trial. 

After Cardinal Pell's appointment as the Vatican's treasurer with the task of cleaning up the Holy See's finances, Victoria Police investigated and charged him with two cases of historical sexual abuse in Melbourne. 

After two trials in 2018 and 2019 - one hung jury and one guilty verdict - Cardinal Pell was sentenced to six years' jail and served more than a year in prison before he was acquitted unanimously by the High Court in April. 

In October, The Australian reported Vatican investigators were examining at least four transfers from the Vatican secretariat, including two from Cardinal Becciu, between 2017 and 2018 totalling $2m to a company in Melbourne. 

While Austrac has not disclosed the individual identities of the recipients of the money in Australia, some church sources cautioned it may have been for investment in the Australian bond and equities market. 

Archbishop Coleridge said the Holy See, like other governments and sovereign funds, was entitled to invest in Australia and had in the past, "but, particularly given the large amounts, we can't understand why the bishops here would not be aware of it'.

Stupiditas Omnia Vincit!

Mr Coulombe muses on the latest round of attacks on the Classics (see here) and issues a call to battle. 

From Crisis

By Charles Coulombe

After New Year’s Day, millions of schoolchildren from kindergarten to university will troop back into their education factories. There, the work of turning their heads to mush shall resume at the hands of their… ah, educators. This might seem a bit strident on my part; however, the truth is that events across the country (since the riots of the summer) continue to reveal ever-larger sectors of the nation’s intellectual life, which have been rotted by Critical Theory and other woke nonsense. Critical Theory is an academic exercise in mental sterility that reduces everything noble in human learning to mere “structures of power.” It is basically a Marxist analysis applied systematically to learning. As shown previously in our “Woke List,” it has devastated the universities. But an article in the December 27 Wall Street Journal indicates how deeply the rot has struck American primary and secondary education as well.

Entitled “Even Homer Gets Mobbed,” this scathing piece showcases the semi-literate style of “educators” who wish to junk the entirety of the Western Canon. This includes (but is not limited to) the author of The Odyssey, a book that was recently banned by Lawrence High School in Massachusetts, which boasts a graduation rate of about fifty percent. The article literally brims with worthless gems, like a quote from one dronette explaining the kinds of literature that must be excised from education. This includes anything where (in the judgement of these self-appointed mandarins) “racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm,” according to the breathless prose of children’s-book scribbler Padma Venkatraman.

Quoting further from an article by Miss Venkatraman in the School Library Journal, Meghan Cox Gurdon points to the would-be commissar of literature’s attack on the Bard of Avon: “Absolving Shakespeare of responsibility by mentioning that he lived at a time when hate-ridden sentiments prevailed, risks sending a subliminal message that academic excellence outweighs hateful rhetoric.”

Mrs. Gurdon went on to reveal the existence of an organized campaign to purge such evil books from school bookshelves called the “#DisruptTexts campaign.” The witches’ coven that runs it includes one Lorena German, a teacher at the Headwaters School in Austin, Texas. According to the article, she was upset at the presence of old books in school curricula because “many classics were written more than 70 years ago: ‘Think of U.S. society before then, and the values that shaped this nation afterwards. THAT is what is in those books.” One Jessica Cluess, a writer of young adult fiction, responded on Twitter, “If you think Hawthorne was on the side of the judgmental Puritans . . . then you are an absolute idiot and should not have the title of educator in your twitter bio.” Despite the absolute truth of her statement, the hapless Miss Cluess was attack by an online lynch mob; despite making an abject apology, she was dropped by her agent.

Somewhat nauseated by all of this, I went to the website of the #DisruptTexts campaign. There I found its mission statement:

Disrupt Texts is a crowdsourced, grassroots effort by teachers for teachers to challenge the traditional canon in order to create a more inclusive, representative, and equitable language arts curriculum that our students deserve. It is part of our mission to aid and develop teachers committed to anti-racist/anti-bias teaching pedagogy and practices.

How do the harpies involved tend to do this?

Each week, join us for the #DisruptTexts slow chat on Twitter as teachers from across the country and world come together to apply a critical lens on a central text. We’ll discuss how to disrupt traditional pedagogies by suggesting alternative titles and approaches through thoughtful pairings, counter-narratives, and inclusive, diverse texts sets.

I then looked at the four person “team” that runs this particular sideshow. The coven comprises high school teacher Tricia Ebarvia who, amongst other distinctions, runs the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (part of the National Writing Project.) She was awarded a Heinemann Fellowship, which allowed her to “interrogate the ways in which readers’ varied and intersecting personal identities inform the ways in which students read themselves, texts, and the world.” Our friend Lorena German was also there, as were Dr. Kimberly N. Parker and Julia E. Torres. All have won awards from the mainstream educational-industrial establishment, and all are particularly connected with the National Council of Teachers of English, having held various responsible posts for that body or its affiliates, and having received awards and distinctions from it.

The NCTE was founded in 1911 as an advocacy group for teachers of English to aid their struggle against “overly specialized college entrance requirements.” They have come a long way since then; today, they have several specialized boards, awards, and programs. But they are thoroughly committed to the “woke” agenda. The theme for their 2021 Annual Convention is “Equity, Justice, and Antiracist Teaching.”

According to Valerie Kinloch, the 2021 program chair and president-elect of the NCTE, the conference will seek to
create equitable learning environments guided by justice requires that we engage in antiracist teaching. For Bettina Love, ‘An antiracist approach elicits the understanding that the work of living and learning is about the solidarity created through shared struggle. It is not just about acknowledging that racism exists but about consciously committing to the struggle of fighting for racial justice.’ Considering Love’s framing alongside Travis Bristol’s belief that ‘anti-racist teaching means a fundamental disruption of the way in which teaching and learning happens in our schools today.
So just what does this half-literate jargon mean in concrete terms? It means that, in the immortal words of the mental munchkins of a generation ago, “Hey hey, ho ho, Western culture’s gotta go.” What makes this drivel all the more delicious is that, while the NCTE and its various derivatives and hangers-on are committed to banning the Western Canon from the pathetic classrooms presided over by their products, it maintains an “Intellectual Freedom Center” and gives out a Doublespeak award. Truly, the recipients of the latter should be strictly in-house.

But let us look once more at the villains in this case: the School Library Journal, Disrupt Texts, the National Writing Project, and, of course, the NCTE. What gives them their power to wreak havoc on the educational system and harry the independent-minded? It is, of course, their official standing. The poison they (and allied bodies) are injecting into the mental bloodstream of America must be stopped, and not only for aesthetic reasons.

The Classics are classics for a reason. They cover the range of human experience, and help all of us—though especially the young—to understand the adventure, the glory, and the shame of being human. They are witnesses to all that is best and worst in human nature, and reveal our unchanging nature, as well as illuminating the eternal values to which we all should aspire. Now, it is to be granted that the disciples of Derrida and his ilk who populate the halls of academe no longer believe in those things; but reality has never depended upon addle-pated academics for existence.

Ignoring this shift will have terrible results. Jon Del Arroz, “the leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction,” was one of the few to rally to Miss Cluess’ defense, with the following statement: “It’s a tragedy that this anti-intellectual movement of canceling the classics is gaining traction among educators and the mainstream publishing industry. Erasing the history of great works only limits the ability of children to become literate.”

It is really a crime, and—one way or another—it must be purged from education. As Charles Dickens said in A Christmas Carol of the two children under the Ghost of Christmas Present’s robe: “This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” Let us defund the pseudo-intellectual bodies here described. Interrogate your local school board to see if they or their teachers are at all connected with them. This must end!

Off the Menu: Episode 117 - Black Friday Marathon

This is indeed a marathon, ranging over topics as diverse as the Battle of Los Angeles in 1942 , abortion, the chimera of democracy, and libertarianism.

‘Sold Out’: Uighurs Fear Deportation As China Ratifies Extradition Treaty With Turkey

The cultural genocide and ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in the Slave State continue. The CCP must be destroyed! #SmashThe CCP #BoycottChineseGoods

From Middle East Eye

By Amandla Thomas-Johnson

Uighur activists urge Turkish government not to abide by agreement that could put tens of thousands at risk of being detained in internment camps

Beijing has ratified an extradition treaty with Turkey that Uighurs fear could pave the way for tens of thousands to be deported and imprisoned in internment camps that rights group say constitute a “cultural genocide”.

The treaty, first signed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Beijing in 2017, was ratified last weekend at the Chinese National People’s Congress, with state media saying it would be used for counter-terrorism purposes.

Turkey is yet to ratify the treaty, and as such no extraditions are expected any time soon. However Uighurs are now calling on the Turkish government and lawmakers to stop the agreement from going through.

Uighurs, a Muslim-majority Turkic minority, have sought refuge in Turkey since 1952, when the Turkish government offered asylum to those fleeing the Xinjiang region (also known as East Turkestan) as a fledgling communist China cemented its hold.

Today, however, Turkey’s estimated 50,000 Uighur refugees now find themselves living on the edge, as China escalates the persecution of their kin back home and targets the community abroad.

Warming relations and allegations of collusion between Ankara and Beijing have only compounded fears that Uighurs could be deported to join the estimated one million detained in camps.

Earlier this week, an investigation by BuzzFeed News revealed a vast sprawl of factory facilities built across the western region of Xinjiang, underscoring allegations of forced labour and mass incarceration.

China denies the allegations, and says it seeks to lift Xinjiang's people out of poverty and increase seucrity through its policies.
'Big mistake'

Abduweli Ayup, a Uighur activist in Turkey, told Middle East Eye the treaty was “not surprising” because of alleged Turkish cooperation in deporting Uighur dissidents to China, sometimes via a third country.

Among them is a 59-year-old mother of two, whom activists fear was deported from Turkey to Tajikistan in June, before being taken to neighbouring Xinjiang. Ankara denies the claims.

Ayup suggests that should Ankara ratify the treaty, extraditions will be carried out in secret and not en masse. “I don’t believe that the Turkish government will send Uighurs to China openly, not like what happened in Egypt,” he said, referring to the mass arrests of Uighur students in Cairo in 2017, thought to be at the behest of Beijing.
'The extraditions were taking place underground before, and the Chinese government didn’t mention them openly. Now they’ve put it on the table, it can draw international attention'

- Abduweli Ayup, Uighur activist
However, he says that the public nature of the extradition accord could turn the spotlight on China’s hitherto covert campaign to force Uighurs to return home for political and religious screening.

“The extraditions were taking place underground before, and the Chinese government didn’t mention them openly. Now they’ve put it on the table, it can draw international attention,” said Ayup, who added that Turkish campaigners are now taking up the issue.

“China has made a big mistake,” he said.

Provisions in the treaty that have raised the alarm include a clause that “it shall not matter whether the laws of both parties place the offence within the same category or describe the offence by the same terminology”.

Rights groups say this could allow the parties to request the extradition of its citizens charged for offences that are interpreted differently in the other party's jurisdiction.

This fear is echoed by Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uighur Congress, who is one of those China has charged with "terrorism", a tactic critics say is used to tarnish and criminalise Beijing's opponents.

“Because the Chinese and Turkish governments have a different view of what a criminal is, the Chinese can misuse this law to claim that any Uighur is criminal and seek their extradition," Isa said.

Representatives from the Congress are lobbying politicians to oppose the ratification of the treaty, which Erdogan introduced to parliament in April 2019.

'Sold out'

Australian-Uighur activist Arslan Hidayat said that by merely entertaining the treaty, Turkey had “sold out” the Uighurs.

“We Uighurs feel as though we have been sold out because obviously the Turks and the Uighurs have ethnic ties as well as religious ties. To be sold out by your own is very, very hurtful,” he told MEE.
'Because the Chinese and Turkish governments have a different view of what a criminal is, the Chinese can misuse this law to claim that any Uighur is criminal and seek their extradition'
- Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uighur Congress
Hidayat questioned Erdogan’s commitment to the Uighur cause, highlighting the disparity between Muslim-majority Turkey drawing closer to Beijing while France last week opposed a proposed EU-Chinese trade deal over the abuse of Uighurs.

He noted that Erdogan had positioned himself as a defender of Muslims by calling for a boycott of French products in October over President Emmanuel Macron's support for depictions of Prophet Muhammad.

“It’s certainly hypocrisy where you’ve got the government of supposed Muslim-majority countries selling out Uighurs, and the governments of non-Muslim countries standing up for Uighurs,” he said.

Turkish officials did not respond to a request by MEE for comment.
'I lost everything for downloading WhatsApp'

An investigation by Buzzfeed News this week revealed the construction of more than 100 factory buildings within the vast compounds used to house more than 1 million people in in Xingjiang, the latest evidence in a thickening catalogue of abuses committed against Uighurs and other minority Muslim groups.

Researchers say abuses in Xinjiang may affect the supply chains of some of the world’s largest brands, including Nike and Coca-Cola.

'We need to stand up and say that we are Uighur and to tell people on social media that we can be victims of deportation'

- Abduweli Ayup, Uighur activist
One Uighur woman interviewed by Buzzfeed News said she was arrested in 2017, detained in a compound and forced to work in a factory, sewing garments for nine hours a day.

In the evenings after her shift, she was required to take classes, memorising and repeating Chinese Communist party propaganda and studying Mandarin, the language spoken by the majority of Chinese.

In September 2018, near the end of her time in the camp, police finally told her that she had been arrested for downloading the WhatsApp messaging app. “I lost everything, including my health,” she told BuzzFeed News.

Uighur activist Abduweli Ayup said that, to avoid a similar fate, Uighurs in Turkey were left with little choice but to speak up.

“In Turkey, people [Uighurs] are afraid of being arrested, so they are not very politically active,” he said.

“We need to stand up and say that we are Uighur and to tell people on social media that we can be victims of deportation.”

New Controversy Erupts Over Plans for the Rebuilding of Notre Dame

Please God, NO! Don't let them 'wreckovate' the Cathedral in the name of 'restoration'!

From the National Catholic Register

By Solène Tadié 

A leak in the French media suggested the rebuilding of the interior of the cathedral is tilting towards a more contemporary style, but the Archdiocese of Paris insists no decision will be made before the end of March.

PARIS, France — Six months after the end of a long and fierce controversy surrounding the terms for the rebuilding of the roof and spire of Notre-Dame, a new national outcry has erupted after part of the rebuilding project for the interior of the monument, severely damaged by the 2019 blaze, was leaked to the press.

Indeed, according to an article by Le Figaro, the committee appointed by Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris a few months ago, comprised of various experts and clergymen, to think about the future interior trim of the cathedral has recently come up with some proposals — discussed at an assembly of Parisian priests — that appear unlikely to attract support from a consensus of the French population.

The most controversial element of the proposals revealed by the French daily newspaper is the possibility to replace architect Viollet-le-Duc’s historic glass-stained windows in the chapels around the nave (which survived the fire) by contemporary and more colorful ones, on which biblical verses would be projected.

The other significant change would concern the furniture, in particular the wooden and straw-bottomed chairs, which would be replaced by benches with light spots. In the same way, projectors would be installed at the base of the cathedral’s pillars to better bring out the nave. This fitting-out, according to Le Figaro, which had access to the synthesis photographs, “gives an impression of an airport runway, or even of a parking lot.”

‘Catechetical Path’

In the face of the media uproar following the publication of the article, the Archdiocese of Paris promptly published a press release in which it recalled that the different proposals contained in the draft project only aim at “accompanying all visitors, believers or not, on a path able to initiate each person to the very meaning of that cathedral — that of the celebration of the Christian mystery.”

In an interview with the Register, Karine Dalle, who is responsible for the diocese’s communications, regretted an overreaction on the part of the media, which led to a misleading interpretation of the project.

“Some people got wind of some of the options and pounced on it, reducing the project to a battle between tradition and contemporary art but it is much more than that, and it goes without saying that the archbishop has never had any intention to turn the cathedral into an airport or a parking lot!” Dalle told the Register, pointing out that the proposal regarding the nave’s stained-glass windows by no means concerns the famous 13th-century rose of Notre-Dame.

The original intention, she said, was to find a way to better highlight the chapels of the nave, which are poorly lit and maintained.

In this connection, the 13 paintings known as the “Mays” —a series of works offered by the goldsmiths’ guild of Paris to the cathedral on May 1 of each year between 1630 and 1707 in honor of the Virgin Mary, and which are currently being restored — may also return to the nave after being taken down in the 19th century.

The Le Figaro article also mentioned the creation of new visitor paths, including one dedicated to the Virgin Mary and another one to the Crown of Thorns. At a time when many tourists visit the monument without knowing its real spiritual meaning, “the archbishop’s goal is to remind people of the reasons why the cathedral was built in the first place, beyond the heritage treasure it represents,” Dalle told the Register. “He and his committee aim at establishing a catechetical path throughout the chapels, especially through the stained-glass windows, which would enable the visitors to rediscover the Christian faith along the way.”

“I believe that this project and the debates it has aroused can also be a sign of richness, especially if we keep in mind the original purpose of the cathedral.”

Legal Constraints

The diocese’s spokeswoman insisted that many details were still to be discussed, and approved by several national authorities, before any decision is taken. Since the French state owns the cathedral and the diocese is only the allocator, its power will be limited, ultimately, to religious furniture. The stained-glass windows, therefore, falls within the competence of the state.

And the French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot has already expressed an adverse opinion on the proposal to replace Viollet-le-Duc’s stained-glass windows by citing, in a recent interview, the Venice Charter that France signed in 1964 which mandates the conservation of the existing works in the restoration process of historic monuments. “[This project] is for me inadmissible and contrary to the agreements we signed,” she said.

The question of the financing also will necessarily arise, since by virtue of the July 2019 law regulating the rebuilding of Notre-Dame, the funds raised for the monument following the blaze can only be allocated tor restoration and conservation work. The diocese would therefore have to find funds elsewhere if it wants to do other things to the cathedral as well.

For the time being, Archbishop Aupetit’s committee is still working on the details of the draft project, which should be presented to the relevant authorities and to the press during the first trimester of 2021. And these sometimes contentious debates haven’t stopped the smooth progress of the restoration work at Notre Dame. On Nov. 24, the tricky dismantling operation of the imposing scaffolding surrounding the spire, devastated during the blaze, was successfully achieved. A few days later on Dec. 9, the Cathedral’s official Twitter account announced that the famous grand organs were dismantled and removed for restoration.

A Chicago-based U.S. art conservation company, GC Laser System, is also bringing its expertise to assist with the restoration process, thanks to a unique laser cleaning technology.

I Hate to Be Accusatory, but Either This Bishop Is an Apostate or He Is a Liar and if a Liar and Not an Apostate, Is He Shismatic?

Bishop Bätzing's 'theology' stinks worse than the cheese named for his See City, Limburg! Pray for his return to the Catholic Faith. I do.

From Southern Orders

By Fr Allan J. MacDonald

 A wolf in a shepherd’s liturgical vestments:

This German bishop is a liar in the sense he calls himself a “conservative” but espouses the liberal, gnostic policies of Protestantism. He is actually a neo-Protestant and may well lead the Church in Germany into another reformation. Recall that the first reformation did so much for the unity of the Church.

Maybe though, if Germany has yet again a Protestant Reformation, maybe the True Church will have another Counter Reformation with the world’s bishops meeting in Trent (Torrino) for Trent II! And maybe Trent II will make Trent I look like child’s play.

Read the headline and then press it for the article and scratch your head and then ask the bishop, “how stupid do you think orthodox Catholics are?” He’s a Gnostic. 

Just a few of the things he is advocating: blessing of same sex unions and sexual unions of a variety of kinds, thus removing any sense of original or actual sin connected with any type of sexuality.

He asks for the ordination of women deacons and priests. 

That’s only the half of it. And he criticizes the progressive stances of the Vatican under Pope Francis; interesting, no?

But let me ask this question, given the gay lobby in society and the Church, is there a way to make sinful homosexuals feel welcomed attending Mass? We make sinful heterosexuals welcomed. Of course within orthodox Catholicism, if a person is in a state of mortal sin, they should not receive Holy Communion until they have repented and received Sacramental Absolution. Some heterosexuals who live in sin or are a civil marriage not recognized by the Church because of a previous Sacramental marriage, are banned from receiving Holy Communion and some ministries. Heterosexual couples living in sin are not banned from attending Mass but are banned from receiving Holy Communion. 

If you had a gay son in a civil marriage how would you treat him and how should the Church minister to him. Is the Gnostic bishop in Germany the way to go?

Head of German bishops, self-described conservative, calls for change
  •  Catholic News Service
    Dec. 30, 2020

The Left’s Goal: Destroy the Family

 Didn't Our Lady say that Satan's next great assault would be on the family? Dr Kurland is spot on!

From The American Catholic

By Bob Kurland, PhD

“The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.” —Catholic Catechism, 2207

Yesterday (the 29th) my good lady interrupted my computer browsing to read to me the quotation below, from “A Presumption of Death.”  The book (a continuation of Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey series by Jill Paton Walsh) is set in England at the very first part of World War II.   The heroine, Harriet Vane (Lady Wimsey), is reading a letter from Miss Climpton, an aide to Lord Peter.     I quote from that letter, since it shows how the Nazis tried to destroy the family as an institution, which is what the Left has been attempting for the last 60 years.   The goal?   The same as that of the Nazis—replace the family as a source of  moral teaching by an authoritarian government.   Here is the quote:

“… Christians in Germany and Austria are being really persecuted so subtly and wickedly, too, the older people being allowed to go to church, and all the CHILDREN being kept away by Hitler-jugend meetings on Sundays, and being taught to insult Christ and despise their parents for believing in religion. It must be terrible to be a father or mother and feel the government is deliberately ALIENATING one’s children and BREAKING UP the family…”—Jlll Paton Walsh, “A Presumption of Death,” Chapter 3.

As the opening quote and  other articles in the Catechism suggest, the Catholic Church sets the family as a prime source of moral teaching and authority.   Accordingly, if the teachings of the Church are to be replaced by government ideology, the family, as a source of authority, must be belittled and shattered, as the Nazis tried to do.   Were the Nazis successful?  To some extent this must have been so.  How else can the horrors of the concentration camps be explained?

If you do a web search for homilies given last Sunday, the 27th (Feast of the Holy Family), you’ll see this issue—parents as a source of moral teaching and authority–addressed by many priests.   (See here, for example.)  What will happen when (if) an administration hostile to Catholic teaching takes over, when one has to acknowledge same-sex marriage as valid, has to support contraception and abortion, even to accept forced abortions to limit family size, as happened in China?   The future is as seen through a clouded crystal ball, but nevertheless I have faith that the teachings of the Church will survive, even if only for a remnant.

Let there be LIGHT! - December 31st - TimeGhost of Christmas Day 8

The electrical age was ushered in by Thomas Edison’s illumination of Menlow Park 141 years ago. For the first time, electrical lighting was demonstrated to a public audience. 

Word of the Day: Jesus Christ the Conqueror

JESUS CHRIST THE CONQUEROR. Ancient title of Christ signifying his victory over sin, death, and the evil spirit. It appears in the familiar monogram IC XC NIKA, where I and C are the first and last letters of the Greek word Ihcuc (Jesus); X and C are the first and last letters of Xrictoc (Christ); and nika is the Greek word for "conquers."

Feast of St Sylvester & The Seventh Day of Christmas (Happy Sylvester!)

Today is the Feast of Pope St Sylvester, who reigned from AD 314 to AD 345. 

Since St Sylvester's Day is also New Year's Eve in the Gregorian Calendar, several countries, primarily in Europe, use a variant of Sylvester's name as the preferred name for the holiday; these countries include Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Slovenia.
Some of the customs from various countries of Europe that are observed on this day.

Austria and Germany

In the capital of Austria, Vienna, people walk pigs on leashes for their Saint Sylvester's Day celebration in hope to have good luck for the coming year. Many Christian households in Germany mark the Saint Sylvester's Day by practising the custom of Bleigiessen using Silvesterblei (Sylvester lead), in which Silvesterblei is melted over a flame in an old spoon and dropped into a bowl of cold water; one's fortune for the coming year is determined by the shape of the lead.[7] If the lead forms a ball (der Ball), luck will roll one's way, while the shape of an anchor (der Anker) means help in need, and a star (der Sterne) signifies happiness.


Christians of Belgium have a tradition that a maiden who does not finish her work by the time of sunset on Saint Sylvester's Day will not get married in year to come.


Along with exploding fireworks, the Saint Sylvester Road Race, Brazil's most oldest and prestigious running event, takes place on Saint Sylvester's Day and is dedicated to Pope Sylvester I.

On Saint Sylvester's Day, "lentils and slices of sausage are eaten because they look like coins and symbolise good fortune and the richness of life for the coming year."


On the morning of Saint Sylvester's Day, the children of a Christian family compete with one another to see who can wake up the earliest; the child who arises the latest is playfully jeered. Men have, for centuries, masqueraded as Silvesterklaus on Saint Sylvester's Day.
Here are the readings from Matins for today, that were used until Venerable Pope Pius XII's reform of the Roman Breviary in 1955, at which time St Sylvester's Day was suppressed because of the Octave of the Nativity.

Sylvester was a Roman by birth, and his father's name was Rufinus. He was brought up from a very early age under a Priest named Cyrinus, of whose teaching and example he was a diligent learner. In his thirtieth year he was ordained Priest of the Holy Roman Church by Pope Marcellinus. In the discharge of his duties he became a model for all the clergy, and, after the death of Melchiades, he succeeded him on the Papal throne, ,during the reign of Constantine, who had already by public decree proclaimed peace to the Church of Christ. Hardly had he undertaken the government of the Church when he betook himself to stir up the Emperor to protect and propagate the religion of Christ. Constantine was fresh from his victory over his enemy Maxentius, on the Eve whereof the sign of the Cross had been revealed to him limned in light upon the sky; and there was an old story in the Church of Rome that it was Sylvester who caused him to recognise the images of the Apostles, administered to him holy Baptism, and cleansed him from the leprosy of misbelief.

The godly Emperor had already granted to Christ's faithful people permission to build public churches, and by the advice of Sylvester he himself set them the example. He built many Basilicas, and magnificently adorned them with holy images, and gifted them with gifts and endowments. Among these there were, besides others, the Church of Christ the Saviour, hard by the Lateran Palace; that of St. Peter, upon the Vatican Mount; that of St. Paul, upon the road to Ostia; that of St. Lawrence, in Verus' field; that of the Holy Cross at the Sessorian hall; that of St. Peter and St. Marcellinus, upon the Lavican Way; and that of St. Agnes, upon the road to Mentana. Under this Pope was held the first Council of Nice, presided over by the Papal Legates, and in the Presence of Constantine, and three hundred and eighteen Bishops, where the holy and Catholic Faith was declared, and Arius and his followers condemned; which Council was finally confirmed by the Pope, at the request of all the assembled Fathers, in a synod held at Rome, where Arius was again condemned. This Pope issued many useful ordinances for the Church of God. He reserved to Bishops the right of consecrating the Holy Chrism; ordered Priests to anoint with Chrism the heads of the newly baptised; settled the officiating dress of Deacons as a dalmatic and a linen maniple; and forbade the consecration of the Sacrament of the Altar on anything but a linen corporal.

This Sylvester is likewise said to have ordained that all persons taking Holy Orders should remain awhile in each grade before being promoted to a higher; that laymen should not go to law against the clergy; and that the clergy themselves were not to plead before civil tribunals. He decreed that the first and seventh days of the week should be called respectively the Lord's Day and the Sabbath, and the others, Second Day, Third Day, and so on. In this he confirmed the use of the word Feria for the weekdays, the which use had already begun in the Church. This word signifieth an holiday, and pointeth to the duty of the clergy ever to lay aside all worldly labour, and leave themselves free to do continually the work of the Lord. The heavenly wisdom with which he ruled the Church of God, was joined in him to a singular holiness of life, and an inexhaustible tenderness towards the poor; in which matter he ordained that the wealthy clergy should each relieve a certain number of needy persons; and he also made arrangements for supplying the consecrated virgins with the necessaries of life. He lived as Pope twenty-one years, ten months and one day, and was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla on the Salarian Way.. He held seven Advent ordinations, and made forty-two Priests, twenty-five Deacons, and sixty-five Bishops of various sees.

Let us bid farewell to 2020 in its last hour with a spoken or sung Te Deum, and welcome 2021 similarly with a Veni Creator Spiritus. Not only are there indulgences attached to the practice—it truly ends the old, and starts the New Year on the right note. 

Te Deum

We praise thee, O God, * we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, * the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud, * the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim * continually do cry.

(bow head) Holy, Holy, Holy * Lord God of Sabaoth;

Heaven and earth are full * of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles * praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets * praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs * praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world * doth acknowledge thee;
The Father, * of an infinite Majesty.
Thine honourable, true, * and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, * the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory, * O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting * Son of the Father.

During the following verse all make a profound bow:
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, * thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.

When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, * thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, * in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come * to be our Judge.

Kneel for the following verse
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, * whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious Blood.

Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, * in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people, * and bless thine heritage.
Govern them, * and lift them up for ever.
Day by day * we magnify thee;

During the following verse, by local custom, all make a profound bow.
And we worship thy Name * ever, world without end.

Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us * this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, * have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, * as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted, * let me never be confounded.

Veni, Creator Spiritus

Creator-Spirit, all-divine,
Come, visit every soul of thine,
And fill with thy celestial flame
The hearts which thou thyself didst frame.

O gift of God, thine is the sweet
Consoling name of Paraclete
And spring of life and fire and love
And unction flowing from above.

The mystic sevenfold gifts are thine,
Finger of God's right hand divine;
The Father's promise sent to teach
The tongue a rich and heavenly speech.

Kindle with fire brought from above
Each sense, and fill our hearts with love;
And grant our flesh, so weak and frail,
The strength of thine which cannot fail.

Drive far away our deadly foe,
And grant us thy true peace to know;
So we, led by thy guidance still,
May safely pass through every ill.

To us, through thee, the grace be shown
To know the Father and the Son;
And Spirit of them both, may we
Forever rest our faith in thee.

To Sire and Son be praises meet,
And to the Holy Paraclete;
And may Christ send us from above
That Holy Spirit's gift of love.

And it's the Seventh Day of Christmas.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
7 swans a-swimming

How to Celebrate New Year's Eve Six Times in One Night

 Too late for this year, so start planning for 2022!

U.S. & U.K. - Is It Over?

There's been a lot of water under the bridge since MM wrote this rather pessimistic essay five and a half years ago. Brexit comes to mind, for one thing. 

From The Mad Monarchist (13 April 2015)

So, here’s the story as I heard it; the Daily Mail says that The Mail on Sunday found a secret memo to the United States Congress from the Congressional Research Service’s chief European affairs analyst saying that the time of the “special relationship” between America and Great Britain may be over and that Great Britain simply may no longer be “centrally relevant” to the United States with the rise of new powers and power blocs around the world. Seeing this, and some of the reaction to this news, has frankly left me wondering how I should really feel about it. It has played upon some doubts and troubled thoughts I have been having for quite some time about my entire operation here. One thing that does seem certain is that the “special relationship” does not seem to be understood by either side. After seeing what Britons and Americans had to say on the subject, neither seemed to have a full grasp of the facts. Some of this is connected to issues fairly recently discussed here about Britain in the last world war.

For example, I noticed that Britons tended to speak of the “special relationship” as if it were some sort of sinister code-phrase for American domination of Great Britain. In fact, it was the British who came up with the concept, starting with Winston Churchill, and it has been most often spoken of by British prime ministers rather than American presidents. I suspect this attitude is mostly due to the fact that the decline of British power in the world coincided with the rise of American power, causing the paranoid to think that there must have been some conspiracy involved. In fact, as we discussed here in January, this came about for the simple reason that British leaders in 1939 chose to enter a war they could not hope to win on their own. This changed who occupied the top spot in world affairs and, given the available options, Britain preferred American leadership to Bolshevik leadership. Then, after the conflict, a socialist government was elected that decided it was better to have a welfare state than an empire. Naturally, with the break-up of the empire, British influence around the world declined. No one can claim to be deceived in this process as President Roosevelt made it clear from day one that his government was prepared to assist in the defense of the British Isles but had no intention of fighting to preserve the British Empire which Roosevelt stated openly that he opposed.

American historians have noted that U.S. support for Britain retaining Malaysia after the war went against Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter but was undertaken because of the recognized threat of communist expansion. The U.S. sent arms and intervened to urge Thailand to support the British-led war in Malaysia (Thailand was then on friendlier terms with America than Britain as Britain had declared war on Thailand in World War II whereas the United States had not). There were also considerable loans and grants from the U.S. to the U.K. to help the country recover economically. As part of the “Program of Assistance for the General Area of China” the U.S. sent $5 million to the Malay states specifically to aid in fending off the communist threat. But, American support for the British empire in opposition to communist insurgencies or independence movements was undercut by the lack of real resolve in Britain itself to maintain the empire. Anti-colonialism was the popular thing and the mostly left-of-center governments in both Britain and America did not want to be seen as fighting to uphold colonialism. When the Suez Crisis came, the United States backed Egyptian independence rather than Britain and France, a move that President Eisenhower would later admit was the biggest mistake of his administration.

The succeeding Kennedy administration took a more strident anti-European line across the board, from Africa to Indonesia and so it was no great surprise when things began to get rough in Vietnam, the British refused to participate. The days of Anglo-American solidarity in World War II and Korea seemed to be over. Yet, the two countries would cooperate again on other fronts but while governments pledge friendship the people seem to cling to acrimony, or the reverse. Britons, for example, frequently complain of being “dragged” into “America’s wars” while America did nothing to aid Britain during the Falklands War (which is not true, America did support the UK in the Falklands War and was prepared to do more if it proved necessary). Most Americans don’t give it much thought but those who do tend to be confused by this reaction. To the general public, it did not seem that Britain needed any help with Argentina and when the Reagan administration took action to stop the communist invasion of Grenada and set again at liberty the Queen’s representative, Britons tended to respond with anger that they had not been consulted in the matter which in turn caused American frustration by those who thought they were doing the U.K. a favor with the operation. Likewise, in the build-up to the first Iraq War, Britain had more interest in the region than America did and it was British PM Thatcher, who was in America when Iraq invaded Kuwait, who showed more ferocity than President George H.W. Bush, urging him to use American forces to expel the Iraqis.

However, it is clear that most of this seems to always boil down to the ever-unpopular Second Gulf War, the consequences of which are still being dealt with today. From what I have seen, the British public still tends to view this as an American war they were dragged into against their will. Americans, on the other hand, look at the huge and multiple electoral victories of Tony Blair in the U.K. and wonder how his decisions could possibly be placed at their door. Britain contributed more than any other ally but was, necessarily, a drop in the bucket compared to the U.S. commitment and British troops were used in defensive roles only, basically holding ground already taken to free up American troops for offensive operations. Similarly, after Tony Blair’s speech to a joint session of Congress, many Americans thought he had presented a more zealous defense of the Iraq war than the American president ever had. Indeed, many Democrats were furious at their fellow leftist for making such an eloquent defense of a war they (by then) opposed. It certainly did not seem, on the American side of the Atlantic, like the U.K. was an unwilling hostage to an all-American war.

To some extent though, going over such details is rather pointless as the democratic nature of both the U.S. and U.K. means that almost nothing these days is considered “national” policy but rather “government” policy with factions on each side shifting according to their own interests with no clear consensus on what is in the national interest. New administrations take different positions, some American presidents being more pro-British, others noticeably less so and the same for British prime ministers, with some being very supportive of the U.S. and others less so. There is also no lock-step unity, despite the democratic process, between governments and the public. Britain, which in social and economic policies tends to be much further to the left than the United States, has tended to dislike Republican administrations and favor Democrats. President George W. Bush was widely despised in Britain and the election of Barack Obama was cheered, in spite of the fact that, in America at least, Bush seemed almost gushingly pro-British and Obama noticeably cold if not borderline antagonistic towards Britain.

Politics has most blatantly crept into American foreign policy on both the left and the right. The only consistency is that Democrats oppose whatever a Republican president does and Republicans oppose whatever a Democrat president does even if their own side previously did the exact same thing. This has led to some downright laughable scenes when President Obama has “dithered” on foreign policy issues which in turn caused Republicans to fume and sometimes back-peddle as they didn’t know what to be against since Obama was not making a decision. When Obama was staying out of Libya, they demanded that he intervene and when he did intervene they condemned him for making things worse. The same happened in Syria, Republicans criticized Obama for meddling and saber-rattling with his “red line” speech and then later condemned him for not making good on his threats and sending support to the Syrian rebels. Looking at Great Britain and the conservative opposition to American policies in the Middle East in particular, I have to wonder if their position would be the same were it not for the fact that Tony Blair happened to be in office at the time those decisions were made. Surely it was a gift from Heaven for the Tories that Blair was on duty when Britain became involved in a war that proved so widely unpopular. They are then placed in the awkward position of arguing for more support for the British armed forces while seemingly being opposed to them ever actually doing anything. It makes little sense that while the British public votes for more entitlements, keeping the NHS sacrosanct and so cutting the military down to absolute minimum so that the commanders of the armed forces have said that the U.K. is currently incapable of military action to then spurn the alliance Britain has with the most militarily powerful country in the world.

The people in power, to some extent in both major parties (as is common around the world) realize that there are bad people with bad intentions out there and so it is better for Britain to be a friend of America rather than an enemy. The public, however, has no such knowledge and no such worries. From what I have seen, most Britons do not think their country benefits from a “special relationship” with America and most Americans do not see any gain from it either. Are the masses ill-informed or is it truly useless? I must confess I have begun to doubt and re-think my own position on this issue since late last year. Previously, my view was always one that favored a strong alliance and Anglo-American friendship. My example was the late, great, King George III who famously said that he was the last to agree to America’s separation from the British Empire but, the separation having occurred, would be the first to welcome friendly relations with the new country. The only time subsequently that Britain and America came to blows, it almost lead to the break-up of the United States due to the large numbers of people who so adamantly opposed hostilities with Britain. In both world wars the United States gave considerable support to Great Britain long before actually joining the conflict. Afterwards, despite occasional tensions, both countries were partners in the Cold War against communist expansion and have cooperated in the “War on Terror”, in each case not without opposition from certain sections of society. Have things changed?

Before late last year I would have said that the “special relationship” should be preserved and strengthened as part of my desire for overall greater solidarity throughout the English-speaking world, among all the countries of the former British Empire. Today, however, I am more hesitant on the subject and have been reflecting a great deal on whether Anglo-American friendship is something worth pursuing. The British public, from what I have seen, seems to oppose it and the American public does not see where it has been of any benefit. Most, in my experience, would prefer it to continue but would not consider it a great loss if it did not. Both sides of the American political spectrum have their criticisms of Great Britain (the Democrats for what Britain used to be and the Republicans for what Britain has become) just as there is no shortage of criticism from Britain about America, seemingly no matter which party is in power, no matter if the subject is past or present. It is part of an overall questioning I have had about the attitude of the United States towards monarchies around the world.

As I have pointed out before, there is scarcely a single monarchy in the world that is not currently under the protection of or allied with the United States. In almost every case this is the result of policies set in place decades ago and maintained regardless of the governments in power, something based on national interest. However, I have been made very aware of just how many monarchists viscerally oppose the United States and would condemn all of the monarchies of the world, even their own, at least in regard to this one relationship. I have had to consider then whether or not I have wasted a great many years trying to impress upon Americans the value of monarchy and encouraging friendship with the monarchies of the world. Given the attitudes I have seen and the sentiments of a great many people on the subject, I have to wonder if this was not totally incorrect and perhaps monarchists would be more supportive of their own national institutions if America opposed rather than supported them. In the case at issue today, it then ceases to be a question of whether or not there is a “special relationship” between Britain and America (as some deny it) but rather whether there should be at all.

Personally, I prefer friendship and goodwill, I look forward to royal visits to the United States by British monarchs and other family members but if that goodwill does not genuinely exist, I would have to set my own preferences aside for the good of the monarchist cause. If the United States abandoned the monarchies of Europe protected by NATO, it would certainly make for better Russo-American relations and if the United States dropped its alliance with Japan, Sino-American relations would improve dramatically. Likewise, if the U.S. refused to lend any further support to the monarchies of the Middle East, Obama would have a much easier time achieving his goal of restoring relations with Iran. Would all of that be good for the cause of monarchy in the world? I don’t see how, but as so many seem to think it somehow would, I must consider that I may be the one in the wrong. Should the “special relationship” continue? At this point, I want to say “yes” but am increasingly at a loss for a way to justify it.

31 December, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations For Each Day

The Last Day of the Year

1. The last day of the year has come. It should be a day of reckoning and of resolution. Think of the many benefits which God has conferred on you throughout your life, but especially in the year which is now drawing to a close.

Count the temporal favours which you have received. Many of your friends and acquaintances have died during the year, but you are still alive. God has rescued you from innumerable perils and illnesses. He has allowed you more time in which to perfect your spiritual life and to perform apostolic work on your neighbour's behalf. Try not to be like the barren tree in the Gospel, because this could be your final year of trial.

Count the spiritual blessings which you have received. Think of the graces and good inspirations which God has given you during the past twelve months. How often have you received forgiveness for your sins, been restored to the friendship of God, and experienced anew the joy and peace of being in the state of grace? How often has Jesus come into your heart under the guise of the Blessed Eucharist? How often have you been enlightened and encouraged by hearing or reading the word of God? Think, too, of the good example which you have received in private and in public, and recall the many occasions on which the helping hand of God has reached out to save you from falling into sin.

You could never show sufficient gratitude for all these favours. Spend this day at least in acts of repentance and thanksgiving, and promise God to be faithful to Him in the coming year.

2. Now that the year is almost over, cast your mind back to the good resolutions which you made at the beginning of it. Have you put these resolutions into effect? Has there been any improvement in your spiritual life during these twelve months, or must you confess that it has deteriorated? How often have you committed sin, perhaps even grave sin, during the year? When God appealed to you to perform some good action, how often did you refuse Him?

Your future outlook is very dark if your life has developed into a gradual descent towards evil. Any day God could grow tired of your ingratitude and obstinacy and send death to end your infidelity. Then you would almost certainly be damned forever. If you have surrendered to spiritual languor and mediocrity, therefore, it is time for you to stir yourself. It is time to become more generous with God, to display a greater spirit of self-sacrifice in responding to His appeals, and to form firmer resolutions.

Virtue cannot co-exist with spiritual tepidity, which leads inevitably towards sin.

3. After he had spent a night fishing on the lake of Galilee without having caught anything, St. Peter was ordered by Jesus to cast his nets back into the sea. “Master,” the future Apostle replied, “the whole night through we have toiled and have taken nothing; but at thy word I will lower the net.” This act of perfect confidence in our Lord was soon rewarded, for when the fishermen lowered the net, "they enclosed a great number of fishes." (Luke 5:5-6)

Perhaps we have toiled hard and made many sacrifices during the past year. But have we worked with and for Jesus Christ? We may have thought more of ourselves than of Jesus and as a result achieved little or nothing in the spiritual life. The remedy is clear. We must remain close to Jesus, working with Him, in Him, and for Him. Then He will bless and strengthen the good resolutions which we are about to make. The secret of perfection is to live in constant union with Jesus Christ.

Eastern Rite - Labarum

Venerable, Melany, a Roman Lady, who with her husband sold their possessions, distributed the proceeds to the poor and went into monasteries. She died A.D. 439.

The Labarum (Greek: λάβαρον / láboron) was a Christian imperial standard incorporating the sacred "Chi-RhoChristogram, which was one of the earliest forms of christogram used by Christians, becoming one of the most familiar and widely used emblems in Christian tradition. It was adapted by emperor Saint Constantine the Great after receiving his celestial vision and dream, on the eve of his victory at the Milvian Bridge in 313 AD.

The Labarum of Constantine was a vexillum that displayed the "Chi-Rho" Christogram, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). Fashioned after legionary standards, it substituted the form of a cross for the old pagan symbols, and was surmounted by a jewelled wreath of gold containing the monogram of Christ, intersecting Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ); upon this hung a rich purple banner, beset with gold trim and profuse embroidery. The inscription "Εν Τουτω Νικα" (In Hoc Signo Vinces) — "In this sign, conquer" was in all probability inscribed upon the actual standard, although Eusebius mentions that royal portraits of Constantine and his children were integrated. St. Ambrose of Milan later wrote that the Labarum was consecrated by the Name of Christ.

As a new focal point for Roman unity, the monogram appeared on coins, shields, and later public buildings and churches. From 324 the Labarum with the "Chi-Rho" Christogram was the official standard of the Roman Empire.