*A Happy New Year to all of our readers, and may 2016 bring you all many joys and blessings, even if there are a few crosses and sufferings along the way. As the Catechism reminds us in the words of Saint Rose of Lima “apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven”. So climb way, way up.
*This first week of the year began with a bang, as North Korea claims to have test-detonated a hydrogen bomb. Scientists dispute the truth of this claim, as the evidence in inconclusive. As you may be aware, the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were atomic bombs, caused by the chain-reaction fission (the breaking apart) of uranium, based on Einstein’s equation e=mc2 (the energy from the disintegration of matter is equal to its mass times the speed of light squared, so a lot of energy from a little mass). The hydrogen bomb, on the other hand, developed in the decade after the Second World War, is based on the fusion of hydrogen into helium, the same process that powers the Sun, and a much more efficient and powerful source of energy-from-mass, making such bombs many, many times more powerful than the already destructive power of uranium. Should a megalomaniac nut job like Kim Jong-Un get his hands on one, along with an accurate delivery system (i.e., a long-range rocket to guide the bomb, always a problem), then the world has entered a new phase of instability. And we are worried about global warming? But as the Chinese proverb has it, who are also uneasy at their unpredictable Communist neighbour, ‘may you live in interesting times’.
*Today is the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacres, and may God rest the souls of all who died. I had never heard of the magazine until last year, and, upon perusal, disliked their use of sarcasm, sexual innuendo, and vitriol to attack religion, not just Islam (one can see their apparent disdain for Catholicism in many issues). But their Islamic-jihadi murderers had no right to kill them, and Mark Steyn is correct, that this and other attacks, lethal and not, have put a major damper on free speech: We are all being cowed into ‘submission’, the ultimate aim of ‘Islam’ as its very name implies.
*Speaking of submission, a German carpenter has invented a device that can shut off the flow of sperm from the testes, thus making sex sterile, on-again, off-again. So continues the death spiral of Germany, which has one of the lowest reproductive rates in the world; they are cutting off their means of reproduction, while populating their ageing country with millions of restless young Muslims.
*This is not a recipe for cultural stability, and the dissolution is now becoming starkly evident. Swathes of such ‘restless young men of North African and Arab appearance’ descended upon the New Year’s Eve festivities in Cologne, mob-groping and sexually assaulting numerous young frauleins. Unless something is done soon to control such ‘restless young men’, and not just holding up ridiculous placards like the woman pictured, expect this as just a faint image of what is to come. How long before the land of Mozart, Bach and Goethe becomes a Islamic caliphate, or at least a deeply and irrevocably divided country, with the dwindling German ‘majority’ living in guarded enclaves? Already, the mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, is being ridiculed for suggesting women stay an ‘arm’s length’ away from men. I thought they already did that, in the main. Does the mayor think these women were jumping into the arms of these bearded barbarians in end-of-year euphoria? Even so, I don’t think arm’s length evasions will save them from a randy would-be rapist of a certain cultural background that tends to disregard the objections of women to such violations.
*On a more hopeful and joyful note, today is also the feast of the great Canadian saint Andre Bessette, the inspiration and founder of Saint Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. He lived a quiet, hidden life as a porter of the Holy Cross monastery, where he was a professed Brother, before becoming famous as a confidant and miracle-worker. Every healing performed at his hands and by his prayers, many of them utterly inexplicable scientifically, he attributed to Saint Joseph, and the shrine Andre helped build in his honour stands as a monument to the great custodian and foster-father of Christ. I am no fan of the interior basilica and neither, I suspect, would Brother Andre (except for its majestic organ and its acoustics, which are impressive), but the Oratory, whose dome and structure are visible from many miles away, is a bold testament to faith in God, to Quebec’s Catholicism, and a sign that such faith as ‘little Andre’s’ is already there incipiently in the thousands of pilgrims, and may yet be again.