*Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, declared patroness of the Americas, and bumped up to a feast day, by Pope Saint John Paul II. The image left on the tilma in those December days of 1531 resist scientific explanation to this day. No one knows why the frail tilma has not decomposed, nor how the image, which apparently ‘floats’ above the fibres, retains its vibrant colour and almost life-like quality. The shrine on Tepeyac hill in Mexico City is the most-visited shrine in Catholicism, with millions of pilgrims making the trek to see ‘Our Lady’. May she intercede for us this day, in our own struggles and needs, and those of our society, especially that the ‘culture of life’, to use Pope John Paul’s words from Evangelium Vitae, may triumph over the ‘culture of death’.
*Speaking of which, this is the final day of the Paris Climate ‘talks’, with a lot of hot air expended over a dubious scientific hypothesis, now declared irrefutable dogma by the secular magisterium of the ecologists and climate scientists. No dissent is permitted nor tolerated, as the mantra of ‘global warming’ (or, if evidence requires, ‘climate change’) is repeated in a yoga-esque low hum, or, for those of us still not convinced, ‘ho hum’. A cloak for population control, some say, for what greater emitters of CO2 are there but humans, not least jet-setting climate-control advocates? Well, perhaps there is a close second in the cows and sheep of Australia after a hearty meal on the grains of the Nullabor. I find it distressing to see members of the Church jumping on the global-warming bandwagon, where the evidence is slim indeed, and what there is is trimmed to fit one’s a priori agenda. I read that the actor-climate advocate Leonardo di Caprio was convinced that the Earth was radically heating up when he visited Calgary with 8 feet of snow on the ground, then suddenly, out of the blue, felt a warm breeze. Alas, global warming, like the breath of some infernal being, a minor deity revolting against all that carbon! But, as Calgarians know, it was just the Chinook, the warm air streaming off the nearby Rockies, a central part of Alberta’s winter. So much for science, and, more to the point, for actors proclaiming upon science. They should probably lay low when not on the sound stage. Well, at least the faith is still secure, the ‘pillar and bulwark of truth’.
*I may have something to write soon on the recent document put out by certain Vatican curial members which claims, according to media reports, that Catholics should not try to convert the Jewish people. The document is still in the original Italian, at which I am rudimentary at best. We will see what it says, and how it interprets Saint Paul’s words on the need for his own Jewish people to convert to the fullness of truth in the first century. In fact, he was so zealous on this score that in writing to the Jewish diaspora in Rome, he decried that he would even become an ‘anathema’, cursed and cut off by Christ if such were possible, to bring his people, ‘those of his own race’, the fullness of redemption. Have things changed in the meantime? I hope the document is more nuanced than the hype-needful media portrays.
*And, speaking of missionaries, we are glad to hear that Bishop Hector Villa, originally from Peru, has been appointed the new ordinary of the Whitehorse diocese in the Yukon, a far way from sunny South America. The ‘north’ is indeed missionary territory, much as Peru was four centuries ago. There are about 7500 Catholics, about the size of one or two large suburban parishes, spread over an area of over 700,000 square kilometres, an area slightly larger than France. That will entail a lot of dangerous and gruelling travelling, all for a very few people, sacrificial and demanding work. One is reminded of the parable of the lost sheep, and the shepherd wandering over hill and vale in search of the one that is lost. The Church is not about efficiency, but about holiness and the inestimable value of each individual, priceless human soul redeemed by Christ. As John Paul II wrote in his first encyclical in 1979, Redemptor hominis:
This man is the way for the Church-a way that, in a sense, is the basis of all the other ways that the Church must walk-because man-every man without any exception whatever-has been redeemed by Christ, and because with man-with each man without any exception whatever-Christ is in a way united, even when man is unaware of it: Christ, who died and was raised up for all, provides man-each man and every man- with the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme calling
Our chaplain at the college here, Father Zachary Romanowsky, has just left to help out up north over Christmas. Please do pray for the success of this missionary outpost, retaining the Catholicism of the north. I will try to convince Father Zachary to write an article on his experiences upon his return.