The religion of ‘peace’ continues its Christmas gift of bloodshed and mayhem – but then, as Saint Thomas says, without the violence of tyrants, where would we martyrs be? As Saint Paul wrote of heresies – that they must be – so too of persecution, until the end of all things. Hence, ten Christians were beheaded by ‘ISIS’ on Christmas Day – an eleventh was mercifully shot – in retaliation for the recent killing of their one-time leader, Abu Bakr as-Baghdadi, now gone to whatever eternity he merited. And, just today, on the feast of the Holy Innocents, a truck bomb detonated in Mogadishu, killing at least 73, gravely injuring hundreds. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the usual suspects are, well, the usual suspects. As Pope Benedict put it in his 2006 Regensburg Address, in the mouth of the Byzantine Emperor Michael II Paleologus:
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached
Pray for the dead, that they may enjoy the Christmas gift of paradise soon, for the wounded, those left behind, the grieving, and, yes, the perpetrators, whose judgement before God will be grievous indeed.
What was with the Christmas concert at the Vatican? Exit stage left, Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Vivladi…Enter septuagenarian pop star Lionel Ritchie, belting out, as he might, his 80’s hit ‘All Night Long’; the Scottish Susan Boyle, her fifteen minutes of fame from her American Idol audition extended in some dubious manner indefinitely; and then, indigenous artists from the Amazon, piping on pan flutes. When Sacrosanctum Concilium described the Church’s musical tradition as a ‘treasure of inestimable value’ I don’t think this is what she had in mind. All proceeds – I assume people did pay for this – went to various works in the Amazon. Whither and wherefore art thou, oh muse of aesthetics, beauty, of the sacred and transcendent? I recall that wonderful concert with Hilary Hahn playing Mozart’s violin concert in D major, for Pope Benedict XVI’s own Christmas concert, which seems so long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
On a more positive front, Toronto – pronounced by its denizens as ‘Torannah’ – may soon, in Vatican terms, get its first saint, Sister Carmelinas, a victim soul, professed as the city’s first Passionist Sister in 1977, who offered her sufferings – she lost her hip, her left leg, and parts of her right leg to a rare form of cancer, and the wounds refused to heal – as she lay stricken for most of her life. But such was her reputation for holiness that people waited in line for months for a chance to see and speak with her. So, if anyone has any miracles occur, send them along to Father Piccini at his religious centre in Teopoli, outside Gravenhurst (where I stopped by on a motorbike years ago, to visit one of my student working there, now that I ponder that). Or, perhaps, call the diocese. One never knows.
A continued Merry Christmas to one and all, as the form of this world is passing away, and we await all the promises of Christ.