Emiliani, Magisterium, and Mohawks

Today, with Saint Josephine Bakhita, we also celebrate Saint Jerome Emiliani (+1537), who ran away from his home in Venice at the age of 15 after his father’s death, becoming a soldier in the wars then raging, taken prisoner, and underwent a deep conversion from his youthful indifference to religion, after what he deemed a miraculous escape at Our Lady’s intercession. He then devoted his time to the study of theology and works of charity, being ordained in 1518, and focused his apostolic ministry on the care of the sick and orphans – of whom he is the patron. Others joined him, and an Order was established in 1540 under Pope Paul III, the same pontiff to whom Copernicus dedicated his 1543 De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium on his own deathbed, the summing up of his astronomical theory that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the centre of the cosmos, causing quite a revolution, pun intended, or not.

I hope soon to write a summary of the consequent Galileo affair – the great Florentine scientist championed Copernicus’ complex theory as the ultimate, physical truth (when actually Kepler’s model with elliptical orbits was far closer the physical truth). Galileo was condemned by the then-Magisterium, a disciplinary decree that was not infallible.

We Catholics are now perforce to ponder more deeply the limits of Magisterial authority – specifically papal pronouncements – in light of the current holder of the office. As we await whatever is in store for us in the Amazonian post-synodal exhortation, the reader may peruse this hard-hitting article from National Review writer Daniel Mahoney.

We should recall the quip of the great Oratorian Cardinal and Church historian Venerable Cesare Baronius, that what matters most is not how the heavens go, but how to go to heaven, which I, with Mr. Mahoney, wished the Magisterium, and the Church universal, spent more of its time and energy doing.

The Mohawk ‘nation’ has blocked Via Rail trains from travelling on the Toronto-Montreal corridor, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, protesting the proposed LNG pipeline out west.

I only have two questions concerning the whole Indigenous debacle:

Who counts as ‘Indigenous’, and how is this determined? Bloodline? Genetics? Adoption? Self-identification? Marriage? And is not this some sort of ironically inverse racism? The reader may recall a ‘law’ passed on Kahnawake reserve outside Montreal a number of years ago – that anyone marrying a non-Inidgenous person would be exiled. Is this still allowed in Canada? Or does a reserve still count as ‘Canada’?

The second question follows upon this rhetorical one: However one defines ‘indigenous’, are those who belong to this group under the rule of law in Canada? If not, then we are tottering towards a state of chaos and anarchy, if certain individuals of a certain ethnicity or religion can flout the law, while others cannot. The law either applies to everyone, or it applies to none, and becomes an arbitrary use of force.

A final note on violence, with a soldier in Thailand just shooting up a shopping mall, killing at least 16 people. We know not the motive or intent, but, as per our custom, pray for the dead, the wounded, the perpetrator and all those affected.