Monday, 1 September 2014

Medieval Torture and the Spanish Inquisition are the stuff of an Englishman’s nightmares

Anti-Catholicism is in our blood

Catholic - 2The problem with discussing Catholicism with many native English-speakers is that they come to the table loaded down with so much baggage.  They have been formed by 400 years of anti-Catholic propaganda.  Consequently, their negative view of the Catholic religion is in the national subconscious, it is in our blood.  If a man actually believes at the level of his sub-conscious that a rosebush is a man-eating tiger, then he will jump and break out in a sweat of fear when he passes a rosebush regardless of the fact that at the level of conscious thought he knows that this is absurd.

Catholic Inquisition

One can illustrate the point that we are making by invoking the Inquisition.  The very word will conjure up nightmare visions of some poor Protestant being racked for the good of his soul, while a sadistic hooded monk looks on gloating.  The fact is that the word “Inquisition” simply means “Inquiry”.  And there have been scores of inquisitions throughout the Church’s history.  When the popes ruled half of Italy, it was the name given to the Church’s legal system.  This was so benign in comparison with the secular legal systems of the time that in the areas where there was dual jurisdiction, accused would seek to be tried by the Inquisition as opposed to the secular courts.
The Spanish Inquisition (1478 to 1808) is the one people usually mean when they talk about the Inquisition.  This Inquisition had the misfortune to be operating at a time when the Spanish were our mortal enemies.  To understand the Spanish inquisition one should look at France in 1945.  At the end of the last war, members of the French resistance and those who, now the occupation was over, claimed to have been active members of the French resistance, were handing out summary justice without trial to people accused of having been quislings and collaborators.  Charles De Gaulle, the post-war President of the Provisional Government of France, cracked down hard on this lawlessness and ensured that if any Frenchman were to be punished for collaborating with the occupying power it should be after a fair trial and a proper legal process. 
The Spanish Queen, Isabelle, and her consort, Ferdinand, were in a not dissimilar situation.  They had just ended 700 years of occupation of their country by the Moors.  In the civil unrest following the war, the Spanish crown began the Inquisition hoping that religious unity would foster political unity.  By the standards of the time, the Inquisition was very enlightened.  One may also point out that while the Church was heavily implicated in the Spanish Inquisition, it was a secular not a Church inquiry. 
Most of the penalties handed down were spiritual, rather than physical.  Its severest sentences were reserved for people who bore false witness against others.  As for torture, in an age when the secular powers (including England) used torture routinely, the Inquisition was restricted by its rules to using it rarely and in very limited circumstances.  And as for persecuting Protestants, not one Protestant was ever arrested by the Inquisition, let alone tried - for one very simple reason, the Inquisition regarded non-Catholics as outside its jurisdiction. 
Its judicial procedures were far ahead of their time.  Such things as the need for witnesses, the rights of the accused to question and challenge their accusers and the right of appeal where all laid down.  Inquisitors did not have to be clerics, but they did have to be qualified lawyers.  As for the death penalty, it has been notoriously difficult to reach a consensus on the numbers involved, but the highest number supported by serious historians is in the order of 3000 to 5000 over the entire 330 years of its operation. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Papal Trip to Korea: An Anguished Catholic’s Perspective

From the Remnant

In departing for Seoul, Pope Francis flew in a personal helicopter to a chartered jet embossed with a Vatican logo for the trip. During the flight an Alitalia crew provided first-class treatment to the Pope, who occupied “the first seat in business class with no one next to him,” and his large entourage. The service included a four-course Italian dinner: sparkling wine and salsiccie (diced sausage and olives), fresh cannelloni with ricotta cheese, rocket salad, Italian prosciutto ham and cantaloupe, and “a hearty beef stew.”  On arrival, the Pope walked down a long, red-carpeted airstair, and then a red carpet that appeared to be at least 200-feet-long, at the end of which he was greeted by leading South Korean dignitaries.

But then, at the end of the red carpet, Francis squeezed into the back seat of a Kia Soul, the kind of car a high school student might drive, provided upon his specific request for the “the smallest South Korean car during his visit” (that model is actually the second-smallest). This was supposed to demonstrate the Pope’s humility and frugality—after a chartered flight with first-class dining that must have cost more than a million dollars for the Pope and his entourage.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Islam, the Pope, and the End of Christianity in the Middle East

Full disclosure: for more than two years, I have written about the attempts by jihadi Muslims who wage "holy war against the infidel," in both Syria and Iraq, and who seek to destroy completely the remnants of the remaining Christian culture in those two countries. Recall that in Syria areas of remaining Christians still speak Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ, but they can no longer openly worship, and they are not alone. 

In the past two years or longer, the U.N. and other world bodies have stood idly by and done next to nothing to aid these people who are currently the targets of genocidal ragtag armies whose strength has increased over the past several years primarily due to the combination of indifference by the West, and strong financial support by other Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Christianity has not been so endangered as it is today in the Middle East since the time of the Crusades. But if the U.S., the U.N., and other world bodies appear reluctant to aid the embattled Christians, what can be said of the Vatican's efforts? The answer to that question is both perplexing and disturbing at the same time, for much of the information about the Christians' horrific plight has been noted on the Vatican website, Fides.

More than two years ago, a Greek Melchite Archimandrite (a prior of a monastery), Rev. Philip Tournyol Clos, described the perilous situation for Christians in Syria who, fearing for their lives, were fleeing to Lebanon. In June of 2012, Mother Agnes Miriam de la Croix, Mother Superior of the Carmelite Convent in Homs, Syria, provided additional details at a talk at a church in Rome. Part of her (recorded) talk included this: "I've lived in Syria since 1994 under the regime of Assad, in which there was an enviable security (for Christians), but also a social fabric in which there was a form of peace among the groups." It should be added that Mother Superior spoke in a Methodist church in Rome, for not one Catholic parish would receive her!(Emphasis mine) The Melkite priest and Mother Superior's descriptions were confirmed by the American journalist, Michael Carl, and Martin Janssen, a Dutch journalist and human rights analyst. 


Monday, 4 August 2014

"Do you ever have the feeling that we are all puppets whose strings are being pulled by some sinister, anonymous, unseen puppeteer?"

AM I MISSING SOMETHING AGAIN?  Can anyone give me a logical reason why the West, edged on by America, is currently teaming up to demonize Putin and Russia?

The West first helped overthrow the democratically elected government of the Ukraine for no better reason than said government was pro-Russian and not over enthusiastic about the EEC - an unsurprising fact given that the majority of Ukrainians were pro-Russian (is it only silly old me who had this dopey idea that democracy was supposed to be all about electing governments reflecting the will of the majority).  In the meantime, the media in general and the odious BBC in particular, had been busy duping us into believing that a series of violent localised riots that took place in the capital Kiev was some sort of national popular uprising.

Having deliberately destabilised the country, we then blamed Russia for the fact that it inevitable, and entirely predictably, broke up into warring factions. Putin and Russia, then became pariahs who needed to be punished for supporting the pro-Russian majority! This, despite the fact that Britain actively supports pro-British majorities and pro-British separatists in Gibraltar, the Channel Island, the Falklands and, nearer home, Ulster - even maintaining large armies in most of these places to defend the pro-British majorities - pro-British majorities that in many cases had been artificially created.

Then of course came the tragic shooting out of the sky of the civilian airliner, with the massive loss of innocent life. Again the West and its poodles in the media portray Russia as the sinister hand responsible, notwithstanding the fact that Putin obviously needed this tragedy like a hole in the head, as it provided a massive propaganda coup to the West.

Apparently more sabre rattling by the West in needed because it is alleged that it was shot down by Russian separatists with weapons that are alleged to have been supplied by Russia, notwithstanding that fact that there is as yet no hard evidence for any of this. Which is like a rogue policeman in Northern Island running amok and killing a dozen innocent people with his service revolver, and the EEC and America blaming David Cameron and the British government for having financed the supply of the revolver.

If the cretin or cretins responsible for shooting down the plane can be positively identified, and the possibility that it was not a tragic accident can be positively excluded, then I for one would be happy to see those responsible dangling on the end of a hangman's noose. In the meantime, am I alone in being reluctant to launch World War III, on the basis of mere allegations of Western leaders and their lapdogs in the media?

Do you ever have the feeling that we are all puppets whose strings are being pulled by some sinister, anonymous, unseen puppeteer?

Monday, 28 July 2014

Secularists Engineer Comical Frauds in Defence of Their Religious Dogmas and Then Accuse Sceptics of Being Driven by Religious Zeal

If a Christian archaeologist was to return from the middle East brandishing a fossilised apple with a bite out of the side and claiming that he had found the Garden of Eden and proved that the Genesis account was true, he would be dismissed as a crank - and rightly so.

Yet an atheist archaeologist can appear from the jungles of Borneo brandishing one fossilised tooth and the scientific community can proceed to build and entire human sub-species out of the find, complete with progenitors and progeny - and no one raises an eyebrow.

At best this is witness to a rich imagination overlaying an increasing desperation on the part of the scientific community to keep the theory of evolution on the shelf well past its sell-by date.  At worst it is just simple fraud.  Evolutionary is an area of  "science" the path of which has been littered with frauds from the start.

If you really wanted hard evidence for evolution, the smoking gun was, according to the devotees of the secular liberal faith, the peppered moth.  When industrial pollution in the middle of the nineteenth century started to turn the trunks of trees black, the peppered moth of Darwinic folk legend, once pale, started to turn black, the better to avoid predators, or so it was hypothesized by Darwinic arch-druids.  As evidence for evolution goes it wasn’t quite earth worms turning into elephants, but at least it was something.  It had “evolved” (or at least changed a smidgen) exactly as Darwin had predicted.

It wasn’t quite the stuff to set the heart racing; they were still peppered moths.  The secular miracle of natural selection had nevertheless produced a minor variation within the species.    A destitute man can get excited over a few coppers and up to that point the Darwiniacs had been pretty skint for hard evidence.  Here at last they had a grey moth that had morphed in front of their very eyes into a radically new life form - a slightly darker grey moth.  The secular liberals ecstatically announced that “real science” had proved evolution true yet again and went back to their favourite pastime of calling infidels religious nutters.

One of my grandchildren also goes noticeably darker every summer and one of my daughters-in-law regularly goes from fat to skinny and back again.  Not exactly the sort of metamorphosis that could turn a midge into a moose, nevertheless, perhaps I could make a bob or two selling the story of my grandson’s amazing ability to change his colour with the seasons to the New Scientist.

In the fifties an Oxford biologist, E.B. Ford, had spent two happy years transporting dark grey moths from the inner city to the countryside and light grey moths from the countryside to the inner city.  After which Ford triumphantly announced that his research had proved that birds could easily spot the dark grey moth on light trees and light grey moths on dark trees.  Voilà - evolution had been proved yet again!

Over the next fifty years the peppered moth’s legend became sacred to Darwinics - a sort of Fatima for atheists.  It became the snow covered peak of that “mountain of evidence” that science journals keep telling us about.  Every school child in the west, before learning how to put a condom on a cucumber, was staring at pictures of a light peppered moth clearly visible on a black tree trunk next to a dark moth that was somewhat less visible.

It was all so reasonable … and yet all so phony.  Some decades later some researchers (who one must presume had been living on another planet and were thus unaware that questioning evolution was a capital offense on planet earth) raised a few trivial issues.  Ted Sargent, an American lepidopterist (the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths) then risked life-long incarceration by bravely pointing out that peppered moths don’t actually alight on tree trunks!  Further, they are nocturnal and fly around at night when birds, apart from owls, are having their forty winks.

It transpired that Ford had rigged his experiments by physically placing moths on tree trunks, somewhere the little critter would never have alighted had they been left to their own devices.  It that wasn’t bad enough, it also become apparent that the famous photos of peppered moths, which regularly show up in Darwinic propaganda even to this day, had been staged: dead moths had been literally stuck to tree trunks!  The “proof” for evolution had suddenly morphed into a sort of Monty Python dead-parrot sketch.  This experiment had been the equivalent of tying the legs of a mouse together and throwing it to a hungry cat, and then exclaiming, “See - this confirms mice evolved legs to escape predators - evolution is proved yet again!”

In her book, Godless: The Church of LiberalismHERE, Ann Coulter amusingly quipped to the effect that this exposé brought to an abrupt end the secular liberals one and only recorded love-affair with air pollution.

And how did the Darwinacs respond to this exposure? - you know the ones who keep telling us they are devoted to the scientific method.  Well, to be fair, a couple had the integrity to publicly admit that the game was up, but the rest set about the science of demonising Sargent and ruining his career - Sargent was the zoologist who had played a central part in exposing the fraud.

Others devotees just ploughed on regardless, hoping no one had noticed that their “statue of the Weeping Virgin” wasn’t kosher.  The New Scientist as recently as 9th July 2005 confidently stated, “Evolutionary biologists have long known that the process can happen rapidly - Charles Darwin himself pointed out the observable changes wrought by pigeon fanciers and dog breeders.  A century later biologists showed that peppered moths in England’s industrial heartland had evolved darker colours to camouflage themselves against soot-blackened trees.”  It came as a surprise to many that selective breeding by humans had belonged in the “blind chance mutations of nature” column all along.

In 2005 - three years after it had finally acknowledged that the peppered moths were a fraud - the New York Times carried an article by a biologist, Professor H. Allen Orr, treating the peppered moth scam as an open question “Did the peppered moths evolve dark colour as a defence against birds or for other reasons?  And what role, if any, did the empty cans of superglue and black spray paint found at the scene play in the moth’s evolution.”  Okay - I made up the last sentence.

Orr concluded by called the darkening of the moths a “minor squabble” among biologists that had been inflated by sceptics of evolution.  It was as if the Church was to describe the Galileo affair as a storm in a teacup triggered by a “fanatical pro-elliptical orbist”!   

Peppered moths fly are night (when birds are having a kip) and don’t alight on tree trunks - aren’t these what old-school scientists used to call facts?

Is there anything funnier than secular liberals? - they engineer comical frauds in defence of their religious dogmas and then accuse sceptics of being driven by religious zeal, and then constantly talk as if you are an idiot for being just a tad uncertain that your great-grandfather was a frog!