The Fundamentally Flawed Industry (Science 301).

We live in an age where the Hippocratic oath is not operational. One of the weapons doctors can use to help do no harm in this age is educate themselves about treatments using concepts that are understandable, to communicate the concepts behind treatments in very simple terms so that the average person can understand them.  I have tried to do this with my patients so they can actually understand when a treatment is of little benefit or worse, hurtful. This way there is no hiding behind authorities, policies, marketing, technical terms, fancy names, stock quotes or statistics. Statistics is a sometimes abused field where a link between nonsense and rubbish can be made to look impressive. Things have to make sense, common sense, and in the field of health this means associations and questions have to have biological plausibility.

The following is on the nature and complications of viruses and vaccines and presents well-know concepts followed by questions that are logical, based on the underlying understanding. An average person should be able to come up with the questions. There are no links, because the concepts are well established and can be easily searched. The questions put the burden for answers on the vaccine industry, not me, nor the public. They are natural questions that arise from the understanding of the process. The simple concepts are not an invitation for attack by experts in the field. The burden of teaching concepts for the common person falls also on the industry. Remember: biological plausibility.

Viruses are non-living infecting agents that come “alive” only in our cells. In our cells, the viruses reproduce the proteins to make up the virus itself which then can be released to infect other cells. The damage is done when our immune system goes after the cells infected resulting in inflammation. This damage can be mild or can kill a person.

Antibodies are binding proteins we generate in response to the infection that can trap the virus and hold them for breakdown by our bodies. They are produced by the initial infection and saved for the next infection. They are our defense but they also bring along an inflammation response.

Vaccines are pieces of viruses we introduce to stimulate the production of antibodies, to protect us from future infections. So when we get infected, we are ready this time. The antibodies bind and our bodies clean up (with inflammation as a result). The infection is gone. Or is it? Remember we said that virus are non-living proteins. In the case of a bacterial infection, antibodies will bind and the bacteria are killed, along with the other treatments we use for bacterial infections. Bacteria are living organisms, now dead. Gone. The proteins and protein pieces that make up a virus, as well as those protein pieces that come from vaccines, may linger within or as part of our cells even after the infection and inflammation have subsided.

The vaccines are also grown in animal cells, introducing virus and host proteins that come from whatever species was used to develop the vaccine.  The antibodies that are generated from these other proteins are never talked about. So along with the viruses that could linger,  the antibodies we generate, with all the potentially cross-reactivity with our own tissue, are always available from that point on. Both are like a code that linger for the next trigger.

QUESTIONS #1: Since these proteins could linger in different tissues in our bodies after an infection or after a vaccine, can’t they resurface at some point? Can the antibodies that have been generated actually attack our cells even when there is no threat?  Could this be a cause of the so called auto-immune and chronic inflammatory diseases that some people get? There are multiple diseases people can get after a viral infection (e.g. acute disseminated myelitis).  Why then should we not expect the same after vaccines?  If Chicken pox can result in a reactivation decades later (shingles-note that this is a different and potentially more severe disease) why can’t a vaccine? If a person can generate antibodies to a kidney transplant, why wouldn’t they generate antibodies to a vaccine’s accessory proteins introduced from their development using human and other mammalian cell lines? Could repeated vaccines, especially those related to each other or a prior related viral infection burden the immune system of those who are not sick?   Do you think these are reasons enough that we should limit the number of related vaccines? This brings up a strange concept that has been introduced into our culture that related vaccines need to be taken more than once in a lifetime. Like the yearly flu shot. More on this at the end.

One of the defenses viruses have against our immune system is that they can mutate, or change protein codes to evade the antibodies we have made to eliminate them. RNA viruses, such as H1N1 (the flu) or coronaviruses generally have high mutation rates compared to DNA viruses. One of the ways viruses can change is via genome recombination when there are at least two viral genomes present in the host cell. Genetic recombination can be thought of as an exchange of traits between two viruses. This is similar to how a baby gets characteristics from both father and mother in their genetic code. Genetic recombination also can occur between viruses and vaccines, which are the weakened versions of the virus. Even without genetic recombination, continually treating something that is never completely eliminated is a know mechanism for break-through mutations.

QUESTIONS #2: Since genetic recombination can occur between viruses and vaccines, effectively producing a mutation, could the use of repeated related vaccinations increase the mutation rate in humans so that we actual become incubators for mutations? Could this be another reason we should limit the number of related vaccines?

QUESTION #3:  Given certain viruses, like COVID-19, have no or mild symptoms in the majority of people to begin with, and have pharmaceutical cures, is a vaccine even worth it, let alone a mandatory vaccine for all, given that

  • Some inflammation can be started by the vaccine itself?
  • There is a risk of disturbing the peace to cause antibodies to attack the host?
  • The specific immune response may distract and even burden the body from other needed defenses?
  • There is a risk of mutations?

Once upon a time vaccines were designed to be done deals [1]. Get them once and you are protected for life, maybe with a booster or two. How we got to the point of accepting a yearly vaccine, I am not sure of. But to make the absurdity of the notion hit home, consider how one day appendectomies could be limited to just snipping off the end of the appendix so that we could have yearly appendectomies, for the rest of our lives. Providing sustainable income for the health industry for years to come. Not the best analogy but I’m sure you can get the point. Welcome to the world without the Hippocratic oath.

[1] Although the vaccine industry staked its proofs in the early 20th Century, their “proofs” never corrected for the emergence and coming of age of general public hygiene and increased medical and surgical knowledge , which could have accounted for much of the improved health of the public.

Update-4/17/21. This “side effect” of introducing foreign proteins or codes in our body is much more explicit in the new generation of so-called mRNA “vaccines”.

The Pandemic and the Intellect Don’t Mix (Science 201)

This post is a follow-up to a prior, Science 101, and is written on Easter Sunday April 12, 2020. The marketed nightmare for the Corona virus COVID-19 rages on, promoting the cancellation of public Easter Liturgies all over the world. Bishop after bishop cancels Masses based on the reaction of “authorities” without any attempt of a creative solution or compromise to extend the Eternal to mankind, something armies and tyrants could never do to this extent. To understand the degree of this deception, try imagining every news post or article about the Corona virus, substitute the word “Common cold” instead and you will know. At worst this is a virulent strain of the common cold, engineered in a lab or not, while the statistics have still not broken from prior morbidities of Corona viruses and still not reached the levels of morbidity of the flu (Influenza A – H1N1). What is most virulent is the marketing campaign and the contagion of reaction, symptoms of sick society without any grounding. Coronaviruses have been around 100’s years, with known treatment. Are we to expect a maintained PR campaign for the same?  Can we at least use the knowledge we already have about Coronavirus? With all the afflictions of society ignored, including the mass slaughter of thousands of the unborn a day, the time was ripe I suppose.

And what of the intellect? With an ounce of intellect and a measure of time, anyone can realize that the mass media will lie about what you know to be true at some point, if it has enough funding and is in the interest of some “authority”. This is simply the age we live in. This is the nature of “uncountries”. Remember the relentless media campaign to invade the wrong country after 9/11?  Now the media will admit their mistake but say it is too late to do anything about  it. Too late to withdraw the troops. So it will be  with the new measures coming to handle the “pandemic”.

Here is a reminder to “authorities”. The scientific method was not born yesterday. It was not born with Descartes. The method to recognize the natural world has always been around with humans. It is the background needed to recognize a miracle. And almost 2000 years ago a collection of manuscripts were compiled by peer review. They are called the Gospels and Christ was risen from dead.

He is indeed risen, Hallelujah.

Addendum:  Please watch and pass on this video. Send the video link to your Bishop. While we can hope that they will use their intellect to understand what is going on, they would a least know that there are those out there who are.

dogv2

Please sign the petition.

Oh Mother of Perpetual Help, grant that I may ever invoke thy powerful name (and image), which is the protection of the living and the salvation of the dying.

Coronaviruses and Science 101

The following is information from a textbook of medicine from the 1980’s, referenced at the end.  This can be used to supplement the information from the Centers for Disease Control (of your life). The CDC is a not any official branch of the government, but a member of the sandbox of tax-exempt cult-like organizations open to the highest bidder.

Coronaviruses are the second most common class of viruses that cause the common cold after the rhinoviruses. They typically have peaks of activity every 2-4 years. Most cases are mild. Severe cases typically occur in 3-8% of people.   Treatment has been available years. These statistics are consistent with worst current data on COVID-19. Current data of most hit regions, such as in Italy, show deaths only occur with co-morbid conditions.

This new strain could have a predilection for lung involvement when severe, but this predilection has not increased the chance of severe cases so far compared to the 1980’s data. The statistics for COVID-19 still have not hit the levels for Influenza (the flu) according to the CDC.

Coincidently, when the flu is severe and involves the lungs, the presentation is bilateral with peripheral infiltrates.  This is how the presumed COVID-19 pneumonias are being described.

Cecil Textbook of Medicine, Part XIX, Section 3, 325/326 “The Common Cold”. 17th Edition, WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, PA 1985.

The Holiness of Restraint and Privacy

The devil cannot read our thoughts. For the devil’s craving to fill our mind with temptation and distraction, God designed a protection from satan’s plan for each of us through our will. Privacy, discretion, and prayer. So that each of us become like a portal to and from Heaven while living in a corrupt world. In our early years, it is the family that is supposed to protect our mind for lack of will. Protected in these ways we become invisible to satan.

Once our thoughts take on concrete word or action however, they become visible to satan. He then can show up. Look only how Jesus lived hidden from the world most of His life beginning with His conception in the womb of the Virgin. Even the angels of God did not know the exact moment of His conception, but could only announce it beforehand.

“The angel announces the birth to the virgin not after the conception, lest she should be thereby troubled, but before the conception he addresses her…”

St. John Chrysostom

“…the virginity of Mary was meant to baffle the prince of the world, who, when he perceived her espoused to a man, could cast no suspicion on her offspring.”

St. Ambrose

Satan showed up however once Jesus was directed to become public by the Virgin mother at the wedding feast of Cana. There was no temptation of Jesus in the wilderness before that. There was no visibility. When Jesus attempted to become public as a youth by teaching at the temple, He was whisked away by His mother and stepfather. Zeal is not a sin but timing is everything. With this invisibility, Satan’s only option are indiscriminate attacks, like the mass killings by King Herod, triggered by a moment of indiscretion by the three wise men. Note also, for later discussion, the context of the Nativity, which was the call to government census.

So are our holy thoughts to remain in us, never manifesting into action or word? Of course not. This is the realm of Holy prudence, discretion, patience and restraint. Designed to protect us from the devil and enemies. There is an incubation period needed. A formation. Charity can always manifest however in invisibility and can even enhance it, so do not restrain that. But charity can be imprudent and presumptuous sometimes. In phony cultures, the government deems charity must be public, such as for tax exemption, but that is not the way God works (Matthew 6:3).  In fact, most of God’s work is hidden from the world (John 21:25).

We can also act without speaking first to maintain invisibility. Not everything needs to be announced. God is the important witness of our acts.

How can we know more about when to act or speak? By God of course. But who protected and directed God the Son? The Virgin Mother. And who protected and directed her? Only God could have done that. The whole story of Jesus, from His conception to His crucifixion cries out that she must have been prefigured without sin. The devil may be in the details but the details of God are in the Virgin Mother.  Christianity without the Virgin Mother is unrestrained, even reckless.

In our understanding of all this, what can we make of our culture’s and government’s obsession with records, data, details of your life, notoriety, and fame. How can it be for any good? Can it really be for our protections or is it a framework for satan and our enemies. God certainly does not need it for our sanctity.  Take pornography for example:  If the  very act that creates us is public domain, then you have the guarantee that your life will be public domain from conception to grave. A corporation or government that spies on citizens has gone beyond their definitions. One that does the same while professing to be Christian is quite a distortion. But let’s restrain ourselves there.

“But still more has it baffled the prince of this world, for the malice of devils soon detects even hidden things, while they who are occupied in worldly vanities, cannot know the things of God.”

St. Ambrose

Uncountries

When a family starts, parents immediately start investing in their children. This investment is multifaceted but includes financial investment and is balanced with the cost of maintaining the home. The financial investment for the children is based on the number and each child’s potential. Each child has a potential that the parents gauge and develop and the financial investment is proportional to that potential. This determines the amount of money that becomes available. The child is meant to produce and their “return” on this investment is the honor and love back to the parents. If there is no such return, parents chalk it up. They did their job. If they are stingy with their investment, the child’s development may be stunted. If the financial investment is disproportional to their potential, they run the risk of spoiling the child. Producing a brat. Both parents might then be considered bad parents. What would be worse however would be if the parents put a price on their money. Charging interest. In addition, these bad parents may even demand a return on their money, principal and interest. One would have then to wonder what kind of parents these are and whether they are even worthy of the title. We could call them an “unfamily”.

The family can be considered the fractal of society. A fractal is a unit object, a building block, whose shape resembles the whole it makes up. So then one would expect the larger units to resemble the shape and function of its unit parts. This is how countries are defined. Originally it was the propagation of individual races that kept this shape but there is no reason why countries with multiple races cannot preserve this form and function. To preserve their definition as a country.

Countries, like families, also have the the obligation to provide a currency to maintain themselves and to provide a means for her citizens to exchange goods and services. This is the purpose of money. It is the birthright of nations. If the country cares for her citizens, the currency would be produced and volume gauged for the potential of her resources, citizens, her families, and communities. This determines the amount of money that becomes available. The citizen is meant to produce and the country’s “return” on this investment is the honor and love back to the country. If there is no such return, the county chalks it up. They did their job. If they are stingy with their investment, the country’s development may be stunted. If the financial creation is disproportional to their potential, they run the risk of becoming a country with little productivity.  This country might then be considered a bad one to live in. What would be worse however would be if the country put a price on their money. Charging interest. This is different from individuals, companies, and  private banks charging interest, which is their choice and the choice of the borrower. We are talking about the country putting a price on its money. Charging interest for money to come into existence. With each baby born.  Why do people even care about fiat currency? What about fiat currency with interest?  Why do people care about leveraging assets for liquidity when leveraging based on the “asset” of a loan is much worse? If all that has been done in recent history could be done with such a system, couldn’t it be done without charging interest?  What exactly is point of charging interest?

In addition, such an odd country may even demand a return on their money, principal and interest, hidden in the form of taxes. This is while they have the power to issue currency to pay for its services and maintenance to begin with and without a tax since they are providing liquidity for their existence anyway.  One would have then to wonder what kind of country that is and whether they are even worthy of the title. We could even call that an “uncountry”.  And what type of citizenry would warrant such power to decide interest rates for allowing money into existence?  This is the key point. If the medium of exchange of a country is based on a loan, then there will always be a perception that the money really belongs to the loaning institution and not the country.  It doesn’t. Laws like Glass-Steagal are meant to keep a lid on that perception, but that has not been brought back and the better solution is to issue a currency without interest.

Can a country become more disfigured than this?  Yes. There is one more iteration of this degradation. The worst of the bad is if the “uncountry” so disfigured exports its currency to other countries. Or simply persuades other countries to similarly put a price on their currency or by issuing them a loan so that even their taxes go to paying interest.  Thereby making them into “uncountries” and exporting all that comes with that disfigurement.

Nehemiah 5:7
I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!”

The Monetization of Religion and the Betrayal of St. Athanasios

This post can be an extension of the a prior, Taxes and the Incarnation of God, where the idea that a tax exemption for a religion as a corrupting element is introduced.   Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, paid the tax of His time then to serve as an example for us in our time. However the true story that follows can also be taken at face value about the history of early Christianity and provide insight into the propagation of heresy, and how seeds were sown for times that followed, including our own.  The history of the time is well-documented in many references but the particular details come from the reference, The Place of the Patriarchs of Antioch in Church History, by Exarch Elias B. Skaff, 1993,  Sophia Press.

With the Edict of Milan in 313, Emperor Constantine ended the official persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In fact the Edict gave freedom to all religions while it ended all ordinances hostile to the Christian religion. Constantine also gave the Church a tax-exemption status.

Meanwhile a disseminating heresy, formalized by Bishop Arius, resisted the idea that Jesus Christ is God as God the Father.  This heresy was addressed at the Council of Nicea in 325, where the defense of the co-substantial nature of Jesus with God the father (Greek term: homo-ousios) was championed primarily by Saint Athanasios, a deacon from Alexandria, and Saint Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch.  The Arian heresy was important to counter, because anything less than the co-equal Divine Nature of Jesus Christ with God (the Father and Holy Spirit) meant a return to the monotheism of Judaism or monotheistic variants where Jesus was less than God.  Jesus is the eternally-begotten Divine Son of God the Divine Father. Eternally begotten also means that there never was a single point in time when He was begotten, before which the Father was alone without Him. He was, is, and by the definition of the word eternal, will always be begotten [1][2].

The condemned Arius was present at the Council of Nicea and his followers were influenced to sign the Nicean Creed at the urging of the sister of Constantine, Constancia. Within a few years, Constancia’s influence on the Emperor resulted in the re-admitting of Arius into the Church.  Bishops leading the Arian heresy regained imperial favor which resulted in the replacement of Saint Eustathius, Bishop of Antioch, with an Arian.  A persecution of Athanasios began. A slow and labored fracturing at the Church of Antioch was started, whose first Bishop was the Apostle Peter.  Antioch is also known as the seat of the famous Bishop and martyr St. Ignatius in the 2nd Century.  At one point,  the majority of bishops in both eastern and western churches followed the Arian heresy.  Even after Arianism waned, divisions among the orthodox prevailed at Antioch and despite the works of Saints Basil and Chrysostom, the center of eastern orthodoxy shifted to Constantinople.   Antioch continued in orthodoxy, with the Melkites dividing off to formally recognize the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the 18th Century.

The sequels of the Arian heresy may not be obvious to the casual observer of history and for our time. Consider however the following quote from the monotheistic religion of Islam:

“He, God, is one! God, the Eternal One! He will not generate, nor was he generated, and none is equal to him!” (Koran, 112, 2,4).

And for the Christian in the current age, are there heresies or unorthodox teachings, such as those for contraception that are related? Consider again the following quote by Saint Athanasios about an Arian Bishop of Antioch, Leontius, who sterilized himself to live with a woman:

“How can sterile and ignorant persons understand the eternal birth of God?”

Note carefully. Baptism imparts the pro-creative Nature of the Trinity on us. Even without us physically procreating. In fact much more so than procreating. Meet the only religion of God, the ONLY religion compatible with our physiology.

Can then the dilution and weakening of Christian teachings then be related to the influence of government or empire?  Is one mechanism of influence of empire over the Church that of tax-exemption?  Do Christians have to oscillate from persecution and physical martyrdom to heresy of teachings during “official” offers of freedom of religion but with outside influence?  Can the worship of “officialdom” in our time explain the lukewarmness and even doublespeak of bishops and shepherds? Note that it only took a a generation for the persecutions of Christians to resume under Constantine’s nephew, Julian the Apostate.

[1] With the Incarnation of God in the flesh, His eternal begotten nature becomes manifest in the flesh through the Virgin Mother. The Eternal has now entered the physical realm.  That is why she is ever-virgin, and mother of the new eternal race.

[2] This understanding of the eternally begotten nature of Christ (past, present, and future) has the potential to solve the Filioque controversy, since the Holy Spirit, with the same eternal nature has to exist (in mystery and outside the constraint of time) in the “was”, “is”, and “will always be” begotten nature of the Son.  Only in the “will be begotten” understanding of the Son, can we see how the Holy Spirit can proceed from the Father alone.

Taxes and the Incarnation of God

There is a peculiar nest for religion in the west that will hopefully not develop with the emergence of the east. This is the concept that religion must be somehow financially sequestered from the people in order to function, a protected shelter by government mandate.   In the United States, despite having no mention in it’s founding documents, this takes the form of tax shelter, where the religious institution is exempt from taxes, and the people pay less taxes when they donate to their institution.

There are a number of ways one can make the counter-argument to such a scheme. There is the alarming variety of tax shelters, ranging from those that redefine science and nature, those that use the status to accumulate wealth in stealth, the endless fantasy religions, the corruption of the apostolic churches even to the point of the endorsement of breaking laws, the politicization of doctrine, and many others. How else can the apostolic churches become havens for homosexuals who rarely work and get retirements benefits. Welcome to the land of government-protected cults.

The politicization of doctrine may be the most important feature of the current western frameworks. There are many examples of faithful religious who have resisted the temptation, but how can a tax shelter scheme like this not be viewed as a perpetual bribe by government or others to contain the evangelization initiated by Christ? Does the Holy Spirit really need this kind of help? The spoilers of the gospel most certainly do. Is this not a masonic financial system? A sandbox for contradicting beliefs, without any way out.  No need to join a masonic lodge. Religions are all equal, forged in time and history endlessly.  God’s Mercy becomes irrelevant. Political correctness rules indefinitely.  The only winners, are those with the most power and money.  A philosophy or teaching, a guilt or historical division, become convenient means to an end, pulled out like a book from the large library of history.

Would a religion with accumulated wealth in such a legal scheme have the courage to speak up against a bad law or bad policy?  The Church is effectively excluded from contributing to discussions on taxes and even reforms of current financial orders using Christ’s teachings so greatly needed.  Our taxes pay interest on restructured loans. How can the Church be bothered with such a state of affairs while sequestered in their exempt haven?

Emperor Constantine the Great granted freedom of worship to the Roman Empire to end the Christian persecutions. He also gave the Church tax exemption. Without this, would the Arian heresy that followed have become so dominant, protected by financial governmental sequestration?

Would someone or some institution still give money to the Church Jesus Christ founded for political gain or worse if there was no tax deduction? Would you want an OUTSIDER TO SUPPORT YOUR SPOUSE, THE BRIDE OF CHRIST ?

Creating a tax shelter to combat such a system is obviously not going to work.  If this scheme to make religion operate in a tax shelter is fundamentally flawed as proposed, one would think that our Lord has something to say about it. Might He propose a remedy or at least a protection from such an adverse constitution?

He does. He pays it.

Matthew 17, 21 And when they abode together in Galilee, Jesus said to them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 22 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall rise again. And they were troubled exceedingly. 23 And when they were come to Capharnaum, they that received the didrachmas, came to Peter and said to him: Doth not your master pay the didrachmas? 24 He said: Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying: What is thy opinion, Simon? The kings of the earth, of whom do they receive tribute or custom? of their own children, or of strangers? 25 And he said: Of strangers. Jesus said to him: Then the children are free.
26 But that we may not scandalize them, go to the sea, and cast in a hook: and that fish which shall first come up, take: and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater: take that, and give it to them for me and thee.

Comment: Notice that this discourse by Matthew (the tax collector) occurs immediately after The Son of Man announces that He will subject Himself to death. While He admits that the case could be made that God’s people should be exempt from the tax, the Head of the Church, the Alpha and Omega of history, King of kings and Conqueror of all evil, nonetheless subjects Himself to it. How else could He take on what we live through?

Matthew 22, 16 And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou dost not regard the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore what dost thou think, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. 20 And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? 21 They say to him: Caesar’s. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God, the things that are God’s.

A true leader leads by humility, carrying the same cross as those led.  Death and taxes is the contemporary expression of the fate of western man. God Incarnate, the Son of Man, subjected Himself to all things, except sin. Including death. And taxes. But in the west, not so for the Body of Christ in the apostles. Only death here.

The easiest way for the west to allow the apostolic Church to be subjected to the same tax as the citizens may be to institute a universal consumption tax, while eliminating the income tax. The most brilliant theologians of our times can present their counter-argument. But let them exhibit the day in the last 100 years when the apostolic Church shone most brilliantly, and they will still be showing a day when the taxpayer could say “But you are still not one of us.”

“Prince, be advised that we shall obey you in worldly matters and we shall pay taxes to you, but in religious affairs we shall only listen to our pastors.”

Saint John of Damascus, advising the Moslem Caliph.

SEPTEMBER 11… MY SPIRITUAL RESPONSE

In Fr. Groeschel’s video, SEPTEMBER 11… A SPIRITUAL RESPONSE, formerly available on EWTN, he talks about the way the buildings came down as some kind of a miracle. There are two possibilities here. That it was. Or it was not. In either case, it was NOT natural. So lets either remember it as a miracle or admit the alternative.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son in atonement of the sins of rogue elements in government, executing the murders of 9/11 in order to start of a cycle of violence that we now daily witness.

 

Eastern Prayer for Civil Authorities.

Be mindful O Lord, of our elected leaders, (Name), of all civil authorities, of our armed forces, of the city in which we dwell, and of every city and country place; grant us peaceful times, that we may lead a calm and tranquil life in all holiness and peace; for You are holy, our God, and we render glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Lebanon’s “Clash of Civilizations”. A Message for Our Time?

There is a another angle one can view what many are calling the present or pending “clash of civilizations”. One that a faithful Catholic should consider, or any Christian for that matter. Considering the historical record, Lebanon has been there and done that. Pope John Paul II is quoted as saying that Lebanon is “more than a country; it is a message.” But why and how? From antiquity to her civil war in the last part of the 20th Century, Lebanon can resonate in the hearts and minds of present-day Christians facing an uncertain future. To gauge, and even alter our course in history. For in Lebanon, the Holy Spirit of God is at work.

Many in the west have a limited view of this region, associating Lebanon with her drawn out civil war of over 25 years. To orient the reader, Lebanon is located just to the north of Israel, and is situated between the geographic east and west. Lebanon is know in history as the crossroad of civilizations. Lebanon was visited by Jesus Himself , preaching and healing in Sidon and Tyre (Mathew 11, 15). Since the time of the apostles, Lebanon has been predominantly Christian.

 

Some of us may be familiar with a recent Saint in the Catholic Church. St. Charbel Makleuf, of the Maronite rite. The Maronites were founded in the 5th Century by the Syrian monk and hermit St. Maron, a contemporary and correspondent of St John Chrysostom. The Maronites established themselves in the mountains of Northern Lebanon. From here they resisted attempts by the invading Islamic Caliphs to absorb them, eventually earning their tribute. The Maronites fought along with the Crusaders in the 11th through 13 Centuries. In this period the Maronites sought union with the Latin Patriarch in Antioch, but formal union with Rome did not occur until the 16th Century, enabled by Jesuit missionaries. Maronite monasteries and convents were instrumental in preserving Arabic and Syriac manuscripts, even helping to oppose the Turkish empire’s attempt to obliterate the arabic language. The first printing press in the middle east was imported by the Maronites in 1610. Maronite scholars played a leading role in a renaisance of middle east literature, even on Islamic history, in the 19th and 20th century. After the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, the Maronites were the primary force in forging the republic that is now Lebanon.

In antiquity, the region that includes present day Lebanon was under the governance of the first Christian Church, the Church of Antioch. Antioch sits just above Lebanon geographically. This Church was founded by Sts. Paul and Barnabas, and their first bishop was none other the the Apostle Peter, before he left to Rome. The Church of Antioch produced St. Ephrem the Syrian (4th Century), Doctor of the Catholic Church, and St. John Chrysostom (5th Century), Father and Doctor of the Catholic Church. Together with the sister Churches of Alexandria in Egypt and Jerusalem, these Byzantine Churches preserved the sacraments for 2000 years. Nearly annihilated by the first Moslem invasion, the Byzantine Church in Lebanon survived subsequent invasions through a spirit of cooperation. Not so during the Crusades, as politics won over theology, and the victors replaced the Byzantine with the Latin, driving out the Byzantine faithful. The Byzantine churches were rebuilt after the Crusades were driven out by the Islamic Mamelukes. In this era and during the subsequent four centuries of Ottoman rule (1516-1920), politics favored the east over the west, and the autonomous Christian Churches were encouraged to ground themselves to Constantinople. Lebanon was different. By the 1700’s, a movement had begun to unite with the Church with Rome, while preserving the eastern liturgy. In John 17:23 Jesus prays: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. In 1723 the Byzantine Bishop of Sidon requested communion with Rome. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church became official and the Church of Antioch divided. While the remaining Orthodox continued to form three autonomous churches, the Melkite Catholics were unique in being scattered in the regions of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria while under one Patriarch (Antioch). The ensuing Melkite era is known for missionary and educational works through out the middle east, but not without resistance and even persecution, and even from the Orthodox. In Lebanon this was rare; here the seeds were being sown for the republic of the 20th Century.

 

In the 1950’s Lebanon became a shining star in the middle east, with peaceful coexistence between Moslems and Christians. A republic with democratic principles. The emergence of prosperity attracted powerful financial interests however. The culture began lending itself to materialism and unbridled commercialism. The moral culture suffered; a culture of corruption and even secularism incubated. Nationhood and patriotism lost their true meaning. Lebanon’s civil war lasted over 25 years, a war that the majority of the population did not want and that was largely manipulated, on both sides, by outside forces with their own agendas. Eventually this lead to a seduction of both Christian and Muslim sides, leading in events that neither side can look back at without shame. As a result of the civil war, the Christian census nearly halved from 60% to 35% (mostly from exodus). A strong movement promoting unity between Melkites and Orthodox was also halted by Lebanon’s “clash of civilizations”.

This history may so far resonate with readers, that Lebanon is a message for our time. But there is more.

There was a light that emerged from the period of civil war, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Part Four of the Catechism, “Christian Prayer” was written by a Melkite priest living in Lebanon during the civil war. Here is what then Cardinal Ratzinger said about how Fr. Corbon, who lived amidst the terror, was chosen to be associated with the Catechism:

“After having resolved to add a distinct fourth part on prayer to the first three, we looked for a representative of Eastern theology. Since it was not possible to secure a bishop as author, we settled upon Jean Corbon, who wrote the beautiful concluding text on prayer while in beleaguered Beirut, frequently in the midst of dramatic situations, taking shelter in his basement in order to continue working during the bombardments.”

 

So we can say that in a time of anguish, during a clash of civilizations, a priest of an eastern Catholic rite composed the part on prayer in the Catechism. One of the most inspired texts of our time and a fixture of our faith. According to Reverend Cassian Folsom 0.S.B, a teacher at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Saint Anselmo in Rome, from an original publication in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, April 1996, Fr. Corbon’s hand also appears in another part of the Cathechism:

“However, the sub-section entitled The Liturgy: Work of the Holy Trinity (CCC 1077-1112) bears the unmistakable mark of Fr. Corbon, and reflects the single most important insight of his book, The Wellspring of Worship, namely, that the liturgy is essentially Trinitarian in nature.”

Here comes another message for us from the clash. Fr. Folsom goes on:

“The action of the Father as the source and goal of the liturgy (CCC 1077-1083) is commonly understood, and the work of the Son in the liturgy (CCC 1084-1090) is even more familiar … The action of the Holy Spirit, however, is more hidden, more mysterious, and for that reason less known, and less frequently the object of theological reflection.

For that reason the section on the work of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy (CCC 1091-1109) is remarkable for bringing to light an aspect of the Church’s pneumatological [of the Holy Spirit] tradition, formerly hidden from a large majority of Catholics. Even from the very practical point of view of length, this section is longer and more fully developed than the sections on the Father and the Son, precisely because this element of the liturgy has been largely overlooked by the Western Church in the past. Here the hand of Fr. Corbon is clearly in evidence.”

 

In Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen, Section 6, we read: “Certain features of the spiritual and theological tradition, common to the various Churches of the East mark their sensitivity to the forms taken by the transmission of the Gospel in Western lands. The Second Vatican Council summarized them as follows: “Everyone knows with what love the Eastern Christians celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic mystery, source of the Church’s life and pledge of future glory. In this mystery the faithful, united with their Bishops, have access to God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh who suffered and was glorified, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And so made ‘sharers of the divine nature’ (2 Pt 1:4) they enter into communion with the most holy Trinity”.

Indeed, as descibed in Fr. Corbon’s book, the liturgical expressions in the eastern churches (and increasingly in the english version of the Latin Rite) emphasize the epilcesis or “calling down” of the Holy Spirit. According to the eastern traditions, the epiclesis is the vehicle of a mighty synergy between God and man. Centered in the liturgy, man then lives out this synergy by consenting to it in prayer.

In these sections of the Catechism, we read:

CCC 1091: The desire and work of the Spirit in the heart of the Church is that we may live from the life of the risen Christ. When the Spirit encounters in us the response of faith which he has aroused in us, he brings about genuine cooperation. Through it, the liturgy becomes the common work of the Holy Spirit and the Church.

Later we read (CCC 1099) that “the Holy Spirit is the Church’s living memory”.

With a possible world war between east and west looming, or a clash of civilizations, western Catholics may want to pause and take a deep breath in considering their role in forming history. Pope John Paul II would often describe the Catholic Church as needing to ‘breath with both lungs’. With this reminder and elaboration on prayer, and this mystical understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit, we can become more fruitful for God.

In a recent Zenit article (March 22,2006), Michel Aoun, interim Lebanese leader, talks about the role of apostolic Christianity in the resolution of the clash.

“For us, the expression “Maronite” is no longer the exact term; there is much more talk of “Christians” in general. We regard the rites as secondary traditions, because we are all Christians for Christ,whether Maronite, Greek-Catholic, Melkite, etc.”

He then goes on to say:

“Christians have brought about the unity of Lebanon; they were the only ones who cohabited with the different Muslim groups, when coexistence among the different Muslim groups did not exist.

They have a historic role, which is to live their mission, to be an element of understanding, a federalizing element of the people of Lebanon in its different components. Playing this role, they can, I believe, recover their function in the republic and participate in politics and in the socioeconomic construction of the country.”

Lebanon is presently being taunted again. The threat of a world wide clash is knocking on her doors. Perhaps as a sign of an age to come in the world, Christian religious fervor in Lebanon this time is flourishing, as are monasteries and seminaries. They cannot keep up with the demand from new candidates. A whole generation has been let down by their parent’s culture and are seeking answers in the Truth of the Ages.

A Joppa Story

This small story unfolded during our trip to the Holy Land in 2004. It was in the town of Joppa, the town of Jaffa in present day Israel. It is the town of the readings from Acts of the Apostles. It had the port through which the cedars from Lebanon were were brought in to build Solomon’s temple.

 

Here also is the Vatican’s embassy to Israel. There is a beautiful Franciscan church there near the house of Simon the Tanner (from Acts 10:6-15). It is called the Church of St. Peter.

 

When on pilgrimage there in 2004, there was a beautiful tall Jewish girl outside the church waiting to get in with us. She had just rode over on her bike from nearby Tel Aviv. It seemed to me that she came there regularly by the way she acted. While waiting she struck up a conversation with our handsome young driver, an Orthodox Christian Palestinian. I could not hear the conversation very well. She was talking about a personal decision she was trying to discern. They also talked about the prospects of peace. We went in and they stayed outside talking. The church was beautiful inside too and had a painting of Peter’s ecstasy and vision of the linen sheet with “all manner of fourfooted beasts” over the altar. When we came out the two were still talking. She sounded sad but hopeful. They then exchanged numbers, she went in, and we left.