Thoughts on July the Fourth: Oz, Ireland, Canada and, of course, the U.S. of A.

Following upon my brief remarks upon the charges laid against Cardinal Pell last week, a must-read is this insightful article by Julia Yost in First Things. One of the commentators remarks that this case is similar to that of Father Maciel, of the Legionaries, whom many defended, until the facts could only speak for themselves. This case against Pell seems fundamentally different, the charges vague, obscure, distant in the past, misremembered.  I will repeat what I said in my previous post, that we can pray the truth wins out, fully and clearly.

Our Prime Minister, after his Pride Parade and Eid socks, is off to Europe, with his two priorities being ‘trade’ and, of course, you guessed it, ‘climate change’, seeing Canada now as the torchbearer of this missionary endeavour after Trump pulled out of the Paris accord. Even if one fully believes in the causal connection between the production of carbon and the warming of the Earth, or climate change in general (and see my post yesterday on faith and doubt), what really could Canada do, with its relatively small population, miniscule industry, and vast, open tracts of wilderness, to stem the worldwide spewing forth of all things CO2?  Trudeau, however, does not seem to have the awareness of his own limitations as did King Canute, who realized that even potentates cannot raise or lower the ocean one inch, akin to what Christ reminded us about the hairs of our head and the spans of our lives.

Trudeau will meet his Irish counterpart, the recently elected Leo Varadkar, the 38-year old son of Indian immigrants and openly ‘gay’, continuing the trend of childless leaders, mirroring our ever-more childless society.  Varadkar has the added ‘cool’ of not being cis-gendered, or whatever term they use nowadays.  Alas, Ireland, I would repeat to you what Pope John Paul II said to France on one of his visits:  Remember your baptism, for without that, and all that entails, thou art lost.  There is a purported prophecy from the 11th century Irish monk Saint Malachy (who also purportedly prophesied all the Popes under symbolic names until the end of time) which declares that Ireland will be inundated by the sea before she completely apostasizes.  Maybe that has something to do with global warming. One wonders.

And we continue our prostration before all things Islamic.  This morning it was announced that Omar Khadr will receive $10 million of taxpayer money for being ‘unjustly imprisoned’ by the United States.  You may recall that Khadr while still a teenager was imprisoned by the U.S. in Guantanamo, after a ‘firefight’ in which an American soldier was allegedly killed by a grenade thrown by said Khadr, who confessed to murder (under what duress, we know not).  Whatever happened, it seems Khadr’s imprisonment was illegal, that Canada was somehow collusive, that we taxpayers are at fault, so the now 30-year old Muslim will be a millionaire.  I mention ‘Muslim’ since it does seem to have something to do with this remarkable recompense.  Many people have been unjustly imprisoned, treated badly, denied the justice of the system, even in ways more directly culpable by ‘Canada’, but do not receive such windfalls.  There is something off about this, and methinks it has something to do with Trudeau’s socks.

And on this July 4th, a Joyous Independence Day to any and all American readers on this 241st anniversary, making America nearly a  century older than Canada, although in many ways it seems older than that.  Hmm.  Perhaps it has something to do with our respective leaders, and you can take that how you will. In one of those intriguing twists of providence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who had both signed the Declaration of Independence, and who both served as Presidents of the young republic, both died 50 years to the day after the signing, July 4th, 1826, very patriotic of both of them, even if unwilling (this was in the days before legal euthanasia, or even much thereof. People expected to die natural deaths, at the time and in the manner willed by the good God).  Requiescant in pace to all good and noble Americans.

In the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar, we celebrate Elizabeth of Portugal on this day (+1336), a remarkable woman, queen of Portugal, whose pious and devout life led to the conversion of her husband Denis from his sinful ways, mother of two children, who themselves became rulers, peacemaker, and, after her husband’s death, a Poor Clare, living out the days of her widowhood in prayerful obscurity, giving secret alms and tending the poor and sick.  A beautiful and noble example of the proper use of authority, into which she was born, which she used well, and which she happily divested.  Saint Francis had said more than a century earlier, what a man (or, here a woman) is before God, that he is, and nothing more.