Amazing Story of the Church Within Prison Walls

From Aleteia.

An excerpt.

“Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora is a maximum security prison housing nearly 3,000 inmates in upper New York, not far from the Canadian border. The facility made the national news in 2015 after an escape by two convicted murderers (one later killed, the other recaptured).

But the facility is quite unique for a reason: inside its walls one finds a beautiful Catholic church, the Church of St. Dismas, which has enhanced the spiritual lives of inmates for nearly 80 years. It is unique in that it is the only such freestanding church inside a prison in the U.S.

“Construction began in 1939

“Construction on the Church of St. Dismas began in 1939.  It was the brainchild of Fr. Ambrose Hyland (1900-54), the chaplain of the facility, who had previously celebrated Mass in the prison auditorium, which he thought was “not adequate” for their needs, said Fr. Bill Edwards, chaplain of the facility from 2002 to 2011. Fr. Hyland went on to “put his heart and soul into building the church, which created a good environment in which the inmates could worship.”

“Materials and funding for the church were donated; gangster “Lucky” Luciano (1897-1962) was an inmate at Clinton in the 1930s and donated red oak for the pews. Other significant donations include two angel carvings said to be from the flagship of explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521). The angels were donations from the Magellan family.

“Inmates supplied labor to build the church, trained by prison guards, volunteers and other inmates. Among the most notable was forger Carmelo Louis Soraci, who used his talents to create the structure’s colorful stained glass windows, modeling faces after the inmates he knew.  Soraci’s contribution led to his being freed from prison in 1962. Deacon Bushey told the North County Catholic, “It’s really a beautiful church, and the vast majority of the population will never see it.”

“Other notable features include a Lourdes grotto located outside the church.  The structure was dedicated in 1941, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

“The Church was named for St. Dismas, the traditional name of the Good Thief who died on a cross alongside Christ on Good Friday. After rebuking his fellow criminal for verbally attacking a dying Christ, he said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Christ replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:42-43]

“A crucified image of St. Dismas appears in the alcove to the right upon entering the church, with the words of Christ emblazoned over him.  He is the only saint canonized by Christ Himself, and the only one canonized while still alive. His feast day is March 25.

“12,036 square miles

“The Diocese of Ogdensburg, in which the Church of St. Dismas is located, encompasses 12,036 square miles of northern New York to the Canadian border. Its 55 active diocesan priests, plus retired and disabled/retired priests, serve a Catholic population of 90,470 at 93 parishes and seven missions. The Ogdensburg diocese’s communications director, Darcy Fargo, refers to St. Dismas as an “amazing place.” She attended inmate baptisms and confirmations, and spoke to the “five or six” inmates who remained behind to do cleaning in and maintenance work on the church. One told her, “It’s the best job in here.”

Retrieved June 9, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see

Fr. Serra & the West

Enlightening article about the saint who arguably founded California, from Crisis Magazine.

An excerpt.

“The story of the American founding usually begins in the East. In that account, we speak of the War of Independence, the establishment of the American republic, and prominent founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. However, there is an older story involving other founding fathers which took place in the West.

Nearly 80 years before the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo explored the coast of California under the flag of the Spanish Empire. Named after a mythical island in a popular Spanish novel, California was claimed for Spain by virtue of its nearby imperial strongholds in Mexico and Peru. However, the Spaniards made no serious effort to occupy the region until a Franciscan friar, St. Junípero Serra, arrived with other colonists in 1769. Over the next fifteen years—covering the American Revolutionary War period—Serra established nine of California’s famous missions, helped lay the foundation for much of its modern economy (including its agriculture and winemaking), and planted the seeds of the Catholic faith for generations to come.

“For these reasons, Serra has been hailed as “one of the founding fathers of the United States” by Pope Francis. It is most likely no coincidence that Serra’s memorial in the Catholic Church is celebrated on July 1, just a few days removed from the celebration of the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Still, if Serra is a founding father, he is clearly one of a different sort. Rather than espousing the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and self-governance which fueled the American Revolution, Serra brought an older scholastic worldview to California, one which was more inspired by the likes of John Duns Scotus than by John Locke. And yet Serra’s arrival in California also heralded the arrival of a broader legal and historical tradition which—in theory at least—was equally dedicated to the advancement of freedom and human rights.

“A “Humanitarian” Colonial Policy

“From the very beginning of its presence in the New World, Spain had an interest in “converting” and “civilizing” the natives of the Americas. To achieve these goals, the Spaniards originally devised a quasi-feudal labor system known as the encomienda. Under this system, the lands and indigenous people of the New World were distributed among the Spanish colonists, who held them in trust, or encomienda. The trustee, or encomendero, was charged by the sovereign to provide for the protection, conversion, and civilization of the natives as a condition of his grant.

“While the encomienda was in theory benevolent and was designed to provide for the welfare of the indigenous people, in reality it devolved into a form of de facto slavery. At the urging of clerical reformers like Antonio de Montesinos and Bartolomé de las Casas, Spain undertook an unprecedented period of self-examination and self-criticism of its treatment of the indigenous people in the New World. The result was the development of a colonial policy which, according to scholar Herbert E. Bolton of the University of California at Berkeley, “was equaled in humanitarian principles by that of no other country.”

“In 1542, the same year that Cabrillo first explored the coast of California, King Charles I of Spain decreed the “The New Laws of the Indies for the Good Treatment and Preservation of the Indians.” The New Laws solemnly declared the illegality of native slavery, called for the gradual abolishment of the encomienda, and enjoined the colonists to protect and save the indigenous people. Colonial resistance nonetheless ensued, and legal decrees continued to be issued by the Spanish Crown. The body of law which was eventually developed over the course of three centuries became known as the “Laws of the Indies.”

“Charles F. Lummis, an early Indian rights activist and founder of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, once remarked that “[n]o other nation in the world … has ever put into force laws so noble, so far-sighted, so humane, as those formulated by the Crown of Spain, with Church assistance, and carried out by the official and clerical administrators.” Under the Laws of the Indies, it was illegal to evict the natives from the lands upon which they lived or to place them on reservations. The separation of native children from their parents was expressly forbidden. In mind-boggling detail, the Laws of the Indies strictly enjoined the protection, education, kind treatment, and conversion of the natives while demanding that their existing habits and social systems be respected to the extent possible. These laws comprised the very first legal codes in what would eventually become the Southwestern United States.

“As a practical matter, the gradual abolition of the encomienda was made easier as the Spanish frontier moved northward. The native groups beyond the Rio Grande were more nomadic and less amenable to settlement, and consequently the encomenderos were less enthusiastic about settling there. To contend with these realities, Spanish colonial officials tapped into the apostolic zeal of the missionaries and the military might of their soldiers, establishing numerous missions and presidios along its northern frontier.

“Safe Harbors in a Colonial World

“Like other missions in the West, the California missions established by St. Junípero Serra had both a religious and a secular purpose. Serra and the missionaries were primarily motivated by the religious purpose of converting the Indians to Christianity, but they were also charged with fulfilling the secular responsibilities formerly held by the encomenderos: protection and civilization. To achieve these goals, the missionaries gathered the baptized natives into the daily regimen of prayer and labor at the missions, teaching them not only the basic tenets of the Catholic faith, but also the rudimentary skills of plowing, farming, irrigation, cooking, sewing, spinning, and weaving. All of this was done within the general framework established by the Laws of the Indies.

“The California missions were intended to be temporary institutions. After a period of about ten years or so, the mission church was supposed to be transformed into a regular parish, and the surrounding mission lands were to be transformed into a pueblo through a process known as “secularization.” Upon being secularized, the mission territories were supposed to be parceled out and returned to the native farmers as the rightful owners of the land.

“While the ten-year goal of secularization might have worked in other parts of the New World, Serra found it to be entirely unrealistic in California. In resisting secularization, Serra believed he was protecting the natives from colonial abuses which had oppressed the natives for centuries. As long as the natives remained under the missionaries’ protection, the natives were protected from having their labor exploited and their lands taken by nearby Spanish settlers and ranchers. Serra’s fear was that the Spanish settlers in California would treat the natives just as harshly as the encomenderos had treated them in Mexico and Peru.

“Serra clearly viewed the missions as safe harbors within the larger environment of Spanish colonialism. In this respect, he believed that he stood in the tradition of the great Indian protectors of the past. In the 1500s, Bartolomé de las Casas had advocated for separate areas for the natives in order to remove them from the Spanish population and to prevent attendant abuses. Serra likewise fought against the encroachments of Spanish settlers on native lands in the Sierra Gorda missions in Mexico and at Mission Santa Clara in California. Butting heads with Spanish colonial officials on this point, Serra cited provisions of the Laws of the Indies which clearly supported his position. For the same reasons, Serra was generally opposed to the establishment of pueblos, including the one which would eventually become the City of Los Angeles.

“Serra’s famous legal brief on mission governance, the Representación, has been called a “Bill of Rights for Native Americans.” While this is perhaps a little hyperbolic (much of the document addressed practical matters, such as the need for a forge and a blacksmith at the missions), the Representación nonetheless contains certain provisions which were clearly intended to protect the natives. For example, one provision authorized the missionaries to remove any Spanish soldier “who may set a bad example, especially in matters of chastity” and was obviously designed to expel soldiers who had been accused of raping indigenous women. Serra’s recommended provision was eventually incorporated into California’s first legal code, the Echeveste Reglamento of 1773.”

Retrieved July 8, 2020 from 

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see

On Dante

A great essay from Crisis Magazine by an author who did a wonderful translation of The Divine Comedy, though my (being old school) favorite is by Longfellow.

An excerpt.

“People who read Dante for the first time may well be surprised that of the two great ways to embrace what is evil—as opposed to loving what is good but in an evil way—the poet says that fraud is worse than violence. This is because violence suppresses or negates what separates man from the beasts, while fraud perverts it. The former is wild and bestial. The latter is calculated and demonic. Hence the allegorical guardian of the rings of violence is the Minotaur, seething with animal rage, while the guardian of the rings of fraud—the Malebolge, “Pouches of Evil”—is the monster Geryon, who has the visage of an honest man, but whose animal body is particolored in knots and whorls, while his scorpion tail flicks about, ready to sting you from behind.

“No doubt Dante was thinking of the words of Jesus, which he cited in an earlier scene, that Satan was “a murderer from the beginning,” and “a liar, and the father of lies.” Murder is based upon a falsehood, that the man you kill is not your brother; and lies are murderous, because they reduce their victims to objects to be manipulated, to be harmed, or to be killed. Now there are not many ways to be a glutton. And while there are many more ways to do savage wrong to yourself or your fellow man, there are, I think, even more ways to be a liar. That is because the human mind is meant to search through the whole created order, with all our many faculties of patient observation, memory, comparison, listening, arrangement of questions, deduction, judgment, openness to what is revealed from above, and so forth, and any deliberate and persistent perversion of one of these faculties makes you a hardened liar.

“I do not mean that people who are not liars will always see the truth and say it. We do not often perceive truth in a flash of comprehension. Knowledge comes to us first through the senses, as Thomas Aquinas says, and then we must sift through our sensory experiences, and engage in the slow and plodding work of discursive reason. Habit and passion also cloud what we see. People are very seldom good judges of their own cases. They forget their faults and magnify those of the enemy; they see what they wish to see, and passion confirms it. The last thing we want to encourage when we are out to find the truth is the expression of powerful passion among the interested parties. Passion there will be, and to spare. As for habit, it is what Aristotle called our second nature, and it is impossible to be human without it. Habit establishes or confirms our inclinations, the way we lean. It is the bias in the ball in lawn bowling, the unequal weight built into the ball to lend it a natural tendency to curve toward the heavier side.

“All this means that it is not easy for us to arrive at the truth in any controversy, so we need cool heads, those who are not party to the affair, who are dispassionate, disinterested in the true sense of the word (they have no personal, political, or financial interest or stake in it), and deliberate (which may appear to the contestants as sluggishness, dullness, or stupidity). The best judges are those who remember that human beings exaggerate, ignore, forget, imagine, proceed from false premises, and leap to false conclusions, even when they are not lying outright; that human beings are least to be trusted when they protest loudly about their bad feelings; that most (not all, but most) human affairs are muddles; and that whatever we do see, we see only in part, and seldom with fine accuracy.

“The liar, then, tries to persuade you of something that is not true, but he also labors to make it more difficult for you ever to see the truth. It is not just that he gives you wrong information. He tends to corrupt all those mental faculties that God has given us for searching out the truth. So, for example, the flatterer not only tells you pleasant things about yourself that are exaggerated or flat-out falsehoods. He makes it harder for you to turn a dispassionate eye upon yourself. The hypocrite not only engages in play-acting the part of a just or saintly man; he helps to establish hypocrisy as a norm, so that everyone comes up on the stage to mug and pose. The confidence man destroys confidence itself, so that his victim may end by trusting no one.

“And then we have the great liar of our time, the sower of discord.

“I refer to two of Dante’s examples here. Achitophel stoked the fire of hatred in Absalom against his father, David, because if Absalom were to be king, it would be so much the better for Achitophel. The poet and soldier Bertran de Born stoked the fire of ambition in the English prince Henry against his father, Henry II, because Bertran was itching for action in the field. The sower of discord profits by the enmity and the disorder. Dante therefore punishes them with perhaps his finest example of contropasso, retribution that is emblematic of the crime: the sower of discord is severed in the body. Bertran de Born, worst of them all, carries his severed head in his hand, like a lantern.

“Advertisers know that “sex sells.” Enmity also sells. Newspapers at their best have had but an uneasy relationship to truth, but now that they must compete against social media and the internet, all bets are off, and so likewise for those newer engines, too. Enmity sells. Enmity, not amity, commands attention. Hatred is immediately interesting. Placid forbearance is not. Rash judgment is quick and flagrant. Patient sifting is slow and pallid.”

Retrieved July 6, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see


St. Maria Goretti

She asked forgiveness for her murderer, from Tradition in Action.

An excerpt.

 “Maria was born October 16, 1890 in Corinaldo, Italy, near Ancona to Luigi Goretti and Assunta Carlini. In 1896, her father, a farmer, moved the family to Ferriere di Conco, near Anzio. Soon afterward, he died, and the family was forced to move to the Serenelli farm to survive.

“On July 6, 1902, 11-year-old Maria was stabbed to death by Alessandro Serenelli, the son of her father’s partner, while resisting his attempt to rape her. She was canonized in 1950 by Pius XII. Through her intercession, her murderer converted and became a penitent Franciscan brother.”

Retrieved July 6, 2020 from

There is a much more in-depth article about St. Maria at

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see


Heather Mac Donald on What’s Happening

Absolutely spot on, as always, from City Journal.

An excerpt.

“It took several months for the first iteration of the Ferguson Effect to become obvious. Michael Brown was fatally shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August 2014, triggering local riots and a national narrative about lethally racist police. Officers backed off proactive policing in minority neighborhoods, having been told that such discretionary enforcement was racially oppressive. By early 2015, the resulting spike in shootings and homicides had become patent and would lead to an additional 2,000 black homicide victims in 2015 and 2016, compared with 2014 numbers.

“Today’s violent-crime increase—call it Ferguson Effect 2.0 or the Minneapolis Effect—has come on with a speed and magnitude that make Ferguson 1.0 seem tranquil. George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May was justly condemned—but the event has now spurred an outpouring of contempt against the pillars of law and order that has no precedent in American history. Every day, another mainstream institution—from McDonald’s to Harvard—denounces the police, claiming without evidence that law enforcement is a threat to black lives.

“To be sure, the first manifestation of the Black Lives Matter movement had a mouthpiece in the Oval Office, lacking now. It doesn’t matter. Presidential imprimatur or no, the reborn Black Lives Matter has gained billions of dollars in corporate support, more billions in free round-the-clock media promotion, and a ruthless power to crush dissent from the now-universal narrative about murderous police bigots. During the two weeks of national anarchy that followed the death of George Floyd, cops were shot, slashed, and assaulted; their vehicles and station houses were firebombed and destroyed. American elites stayed silent. Since then, police have continued to be shot at and attacked; the elites remain silent. Monuments to America’s greatest leaders are being defaced with impunity; anarchists took over a significant swathe of a major American city, including a police precinct, without resistance from the authorities. And a push to defund the police gains traction by the day.

“The rising carnage in the inner city is the consequence of this official repudiation of the criminal-justice system. The current tolerance and justification for vandalism and violence; the silencing of police supporters; and police unwillingness to intervene, even when their own precincts are assaulted—all send a clear message to criminals that society has lost the will to prevent lawlessness. In Minneapolis, shootings have more than doubled this year compared to last. Nearly half of all those shootings have occurred since George Floyd’s death, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune analysis. On Father’s Day, a mass shooting on a crowded street uptown struck 11 people. The next day saw a chain of retaliatory shootings—the first next to a park filled with children, the next, 90 minutes later, on a notorious gang-dominated street intersection. In nearby St. Paul, reported firearms discharges have more than doubled. The same gangbangers are getting shot repeatedly. One 17-year-old boy has been shot in four different events over the last month and a half.

“In Chicago, 18 people were killed and 47 wounded in drive- and walk-by shootings last weekend. The fatalities included a one-year-old boy riding in a car with his mother (the gunman drove up alongside and emptied his gun into the vehicle) and a 10-year-old girl struck in the head inside her home; a group of youth on the street outside her house had started shooting at another group of youth nearby. The previous weekend in Chicago, 104 people were shot, 15 fatally. The deceased included a three-year-old boy riding in a car with his father on Father’s Day—his gangbanger father was the intended victim—and a 13-year-old girl shot in her head in her home.

“New York City’s homicide rate is at a five-year high; the number of shooting victims was up over 42 percent through June 21 compared with the same period in 2019. The number of shootings in the first three weeks of June was over twice that of the same period in 2019, making this June the city’s bloodiest in nearly a quarter century, according to the New York Times. At 4 A.M. last Sunday, a 30-year-old woman was shot in the head in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at a house party. On Saturday afternoon, a man and a woman were shot to death outside a Brooklyn home. Early Friday morning, a 19-year-old girl was shot to death in the heart of Manhattan, near Madison Square Park, on East 26th Street.

“Milwaukee’s homicides have increased 132 percent. “In 25 years, I’ve never seen it like this,” a Milwaukee police inspector told the Police Executive Research Forum, referring to the violence and the low officer morale. Shootings are spiking in Indianapolis. Other cities will show similar increases once their crime data are published.

“By now, these drearily mindless gang shootings echo one another. Another three-year-old boy was shot in Chicago with his gangbanger father on another Father’s Day, this one in 2016; the boy is paralyzed for life. The young children recently shot inside their homes also recall Ferguson 1.0 incidents. In August 2016, a nine-year-old girl was shot to death in Ferguson on her mother’s bed while doing homework. The gunman was a 21-year-old felon on probation from a robbery conviction who deliberately shot at least six bullets into the home, located near a memorial for Michael Brown. But the pedigree of these domestic drive-bys is longer and more ominous. In New York, children used to sleep in bathtubs before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton began restoring lawfulness to the city in 1994; we are fast returning to that pre-Giuliani era.

“So far this year, more people have been killed in Baltimore than at this point in 2019, which ended with the highest homicide rate on record for that city. June’s killings, which eclipse those of June 2019, include a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant and her three-year-old daughter. They were gunned down in their car by the father of the woman’s unborn child, according to the police.

“The victims in these shootings are overwhelmingly black. So far this year, 78 percent of all homicide victims in Chicago are black, though blacks are less than a third of the population. But the defund-the-police advocates and the Democratic establishment have said nothing about the growing loss of black lives.

“Instead, the Black Lives Matter movement is tweeting about police defunding, last weekend’s gay pride marches, and NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace, the subject of yet another hate-crime hoax. DeRay Mckesson, an early BLM organizer in Ferguson, is retweeting about whether homophobes are secretly gay. Activist Shaun King, who recently called for vandals to destroy stained-glass windows portraying the Baby Jesus and Mary, is retweeting that Mount Rushmore is an act of vandalism. Ja’Mal Green, a Black Lives Matter organizer in Chicago who was arrested in 2016 for assaulting and attempting to disarm an officer, offered a $5,000 reward on Saturday for information on the killing of the one-year-old boy in Chicago, but coupled that offer with another call to defund the police. Since then, Green has been tweeting about abortion rights and the extradition of President Trump to Iran. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is tweeting about abortion rights, gay pride, and Trump’s culpability for the coronavirus epidemic. The Vera Institute for Justice, a liberal criminal-justice think tank, announced on Monday that “now is the time to spend less on policing” in order to “create safer communities for Black people.”

“Actually, now would seem not to be the time to spend less on policing, with gunslingers retaking control of urban streets. The timing of the defund movement was always a puzzle, coming as it did after weeks of destructive riots during which law enforcement was wildly overmatched. Such a demonstration of the violence that lies just beneath the surface of civilization would not, one might think, be the best opening pitch for an argument to shrink police manpower and resources further. Yet the defund idea took off, with the media making sure that the looting and arson became a hazy memory (at least for those whose life’s work did not go up in flames) while alleged police racism remained in the headlines. The establishment, in further proof of the elite betrayal of the principle of law, was happy to forgive and forget the riots as an understandable release of black rage. And now, the self-described champions of black lives are pressing ahead with their anti-cop campaign, with a breezy indifference to countervailing evidence.

“While 307 people have been murdered this year in Chicago, the Chicago police have killed three suspects, all armed and dangerous. In 2018, the New York Police Department recorded its lowest number of fatal civilian shootings—five—since records were first kept in 1971. (Data from 2019 have not been published.) All five victims were threatening or appeared to be threatening officers with guns or knives.”

Retrieved July 3, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see


Communism Smothers Freedom: Odessa & Hong Kong

An excellent article from City Journal.

An excerpt.

“Beijing has now acted to impose a new security law on Hong Kong, turning its back on the “one country, two systems” agreement to which it had committed when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997. Hong Kong will be subject to the same sort of draconian infringements on liberty as mainland China, following a year of street protests demanding just the opposite. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has considered offering a path for British citizenship to some 3.5 million Hong Kong residents, now at risk of confronting police rule under the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a generous offer, but while it may help individuals, it won’t save Hong Kong.

“Those who spent time in Hong Kong before its “handover” to the Communist government can’t help but mourn the events unfolding there. Beijing’s imposition of mainland-style limits on free speech, along with the stationing of security forces, marks the end of an era that combined free markets and individual liberty in the nominally self-governing territory. Hong Kong’s churches, synagogues, museums, charities, and independent private schools will slowly disappear. The rule of law and its independent judiciary, fundamental to the city’s role as an international financial capital, look to be headed for demise.

“Under British rule for 156 years, Hong Kong had limited democracy: its legislative council reserved seats for select business interests. After 1997, when Britain transferred its sovereignty back to China, Hong Kong became a locus of liberty—notably a free press. Hong Kong’s technocratic leaders—including, at that time, a number of British expats—dreaded the criticism that regularly appeared in the Apple Daily (whose publisher, Jimmy Lau, has now been arrested) and the South China Morning Post, the best source of reportage about the mainland.

“Hong Kong’s post-colonial era shows that cities thrive in freedom, an idea that I was reminded of on a 1998 visit to Odessa, another once-great city strangled by Communism. Established as a no-tariff free port by Catherine the Great in 1794, “the Pearl of the Black Sea” thrived in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Just as Hong Kong offered an oasis of liberty for post-1949 refugees from China—and later, ethnic Chinese “boat people” from Vietnam—so, too, did Odessa grow from a tiny village to a cosmopolitan center of trade and finance. Over time, the city drew on the energies of immigrants: Albanians, Armenian, Azeris, and, to a great extent, Jews. Pushkin wrote that Odessa’s air was “filled with all Europe.” The French invested heavily, and their château buildings, often dilapidated, could still be seen during my time there. Great fortunes were also made, including by Vienna’s Ephrussi family—immortalized in Edmund de Wall’s memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes—who began as Black Sea grain exporters.

“This flourishing period came to an end when liberty died. Pogroms ravaged the Odessa Jews, who made up almost 40 percent of the population. Then came the Communists. A worker’s strike was immortalized in Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark propaganda film, Battleship Potemkin (1925), which covered the massacre of strikers on what became known as the Potemkin steps. Agitprop was followed by famine, after Odessa became part of the Soviet Union. The Jews, always alert to the onset of oppression, decamped for America or Palestine. In 1940, the Russian-Jewish writer Isaac Babel, author of the Odessa Stories, was arrested by Soviet secret police and executed.”

Retrieved July 1, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see


Idle Speculations, Genesis & the Creation of Women

Much is made in certain quarters of the difference in the two scriptures from Genesis, where the first from Genesis 1, appears to some, to make men and women equal:

“Genesis 1: [26] And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. [27] And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. [28] And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and all living creatures that move upon the earth.”

Retrieved June 29, 2020 from

Genesis 2 appears to some, to make woman secondary to man.

“Genesis 2: [18] And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. [19] And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name. [20] And Adam called all the beasts by their names, and all the fowls of the air, and all the cattle of the field: but for Adam there was not found a helper like himself.

[21] Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. [22] And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. [23] And Adam said: This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. [24] Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.”

Retrieved June 29, 2020 from

However, in my common sense reading—and I have no formal training in biblical interpretation—the first merely states the making, “Let us make man to our image” and the second describes the how, “And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman”; both establish woman’s equality to men: from Genesis 1, “to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.” and from Genesis 2 “let us make him a help like unto himself”

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see


Prisoner Takes Catholic Vows

What a wonderful story from the Catholic Register, following the way of the saints is possible, even in prison.

An excerpt.

“ROME — An Italian prisoner, sentenced to 30 years for murder, will make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience on Saturday, in the presence of his bishop.

“Luigi* 40, wanted to be a priest when he was young, according to Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference. Kids called him “Father Luigi” when he was growing up. But alcohol, drugs, and violence changed the path of his life. In fact, he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine when, getting into a fist fight, he took a life.

“He was sentenced to prison. There, he became a lector for Mass. He began to study. He started to pray again. He prayed, especially, “for the salvation of the man I killed,” he wrote in a letter.

“That letter was to Bishop Massimo Camisasca of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla. The two began a correspondence last year. By then, Luigi had grown close with two priests who acted as chaplains to the prison in Reggio Emilia- Fr. Matteo Mioni and Fr. Daniele Simonazzi.

“Bishop Camisasca told Avvenire that in 2016 he decided to spend time in prison ministry. “I didn’t know much about the reality of prison, I confess. But since then a path of presence, celebration and sharing has started that has enriched me greatly,” the bishop said.

“Through that ministry, his correspondence with Luigi began. Speaking of his letters, the bishop said that “a passage that greatly touched me is the one in which Luidi says that ‘real life imprisonment is not lived inside a prison but outside, when the light of Christ is missing.” Luigi’s June 26 vows will not be part of joining a religious order or other organization. They are instead a promise to God to live poverty, chastity, and obedience, commonly called the evangelical counsels, exactly where he is — in prison.

“The idea emerged from his conversation with prison chaplains.

“Initially he wanted to wait for his release from prison. It was Fr. Daniele who suggested a different path, which would allow him to make these solemn vows now,” Camisasca told Avvenire.

“None of us are masters of our own future, the bishops said, “and this is all the more true for a person deprived of his freedom. This is why I wanted Luigi to think first of all what these vows mean in his present condition.” “In the end I convinced myself that in his gesture of self-giving there is something luminous for him, for the other prisoners and for the Church itself,” the bishop said.

“In reflections on his vows, Luigi wrote that chastity will allow him to “mortify what is external, so that what is most important about us may emerge.”

“Poverty offers him the possibility of settling for “the perfection of Christ, who has become poor” by making poverty itself “go from misfortune to bliss,” he wrote.

“Luigi wrote that poverty is also the ability to share life generously with other prisoners like him. Obedience, he said, is obedience is the willingness to listen, even while knowing that “God also speaks through the mouth of the ‘fools.'”

“Bishop Camisasca told Avvenire that “with the [coronavirus] pandemic we are all experiencing a time of combat and sacrifice. Luigi’s experience can really be a collective sign of hope: not to escape difficulties but to face them with strength and conscience. I did not know prison, I repeat, and also for me the impact was very hard at the beginning.”

Retrieved June 27, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see

In a time of Protest

Excellent reminders from a 1950 Encyclical from Pope Pius XII.

An excerpt.

“The Holy Year, which is in the course of passing, has already furnished Us with more than one reason for joy and consolation. To Rome, whence the light of the Gospel teaching radiates since the origins of the Church, multitudes of the faithful have streamed from all parts of the world. They have come to the See of Peter not only to redeem their own faults, but also to expiate the sins of the world and implore the return of society to God, from Whom alone can come true peace of heart, civil concord and the well-being of nations.

“2. And We know that these first groups of pilgrims form the vanguard of those who will come more frequently and in greater numbers during the favorable season. Therefore, the hope is warranted that from this still more salutary and abundant fruits will be harvested. Nevertheless, if these sights have given Us gentle comfort, reasons are not lacking for the anxiety and anguish which grieve Our paternal heart. And in the first place, although war has almost everywhere ceased, nevertheless, the longed-for peace has not come – a stable and solid peace which might happily solve the many and ever-increasing reasons for discord. Many nations are still opposed to each other; and as confidence lessens an armaments race begins, leaving the hearts of all overcome by fear and trepidation.

“3. That which seems to Us not only the greatest evil but the root of all evil is this: often the lie is substituted for the truth, and is then used as an instrument of dispute. On the part of not a few religion is passed by as a thing of no importance, and elsewhere absolutely prohibited in family and social life as a remnant of ancient superstitions; public and private atheism is exalted in such a way that God and His law are being abolished, and morals no longer have any foundation. The Press also too often vulgarly reviles religious feeling, while it does not hesitate to spread the most shameful obscenities, agitating and with incalculable harm leading into vice tender childhood and betrayed youth.

“4. By means of false promises a people is deceived and provoked to hatred, rivalry and rebellion, especially when the hereditary faith, the only relief in this earthly exile, is successfully torn from its heart. Disturbances, riots and revolts are organized and fomented in continuing series, which prepare for the ruin of the economy and cause irreparable harm to the common good.

“5. We must above all deplore with overwhelming sadness that in not a few nations the rights of God, Church and human nature itself are outraged and trampled upon. Sacred ministers, even those invested with high dignities, are either driven from their proper Sees, exiled and imprisoned, or impeded in a manner preventing them from exercising their ministry. In the field of education, whether of lower or of university level, as well as in publications and the Press, permission to explain and defend the doctrine of the Church either is not given or is so restricted and subjected to such surveillance by official censorship that the arbitrary proposition that truth, liberty and religion must submissively serve only the civil authority seems to be the established principle.

“6. Since these innumerable evils spring, as We have said, from one source only, the repudiation of God and contempt for His law, it is necessary, Venerable Brethren, to offer to God fervent prayers and recall all to those principles whence alone can come enlightenment for minds, peace and concord for souls and well ordered justice between the various social classes.

“7. As you know, once religion is taken away there cannot be a well ordered, well regulated society. In this point lies the urgency to spur on priests under your guidance in order that, especially during the Holy Year, they spare no efforts so that souls entrusted to them, with their false prejudices and erroneous convictions cast aside, and hatreds and discords settled, may nourish themselves on the teachings of the Gospel and thus participate in Christian life so as to hasten the desired renewal of morals.”

Retrieved June 24, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see

Redesign St. Michael?

No! you say, but, there is this story from the Guardian.

An excerpt.

“The Guardian has promoted a petition calling for British honours depicting the victory of St Michael the Archangel over Satan to be redesigned, as the “offensive” imagery is “reminiscent of the recent murder of George Floyd”.

“The Order of St Michael and St George is bestowed at the pleasure of the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and “recognises service in a foreign country, or in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs” — typically of a non-military nature — with members holding the rank of Knight Grand Cross (GCMG), Knight Commander (KCMG), or Companion (CMG).

“The 202-year-old order is now under fire, however, as the insignia associated with it depict a fair-skinned St Michael “trampling” a darker-skinned Satan  — despite this such imagery being very long-established in Christian iconography, being rooted in the description of the Archangel’s victory over the Devil in the Bible.

“This is a highly offensive image, it is also reminiscent of the recent murder of George Floyd by the white policeman in the same manner presented here in this medal,” reads the petition to redesign the honour, attributed to one Tracy Reeve.

“We the undersigned are calling for this medal to completely redesigned in a more appropriate way and for an official apology to be given for the offence it has given,” she adds.

“The Guardian seemingly had no difficulty finding people taking the faintly ridiculous, almost prank-like demand seriously, quoting no less a personage than Sir Simon Woolley, founder-director of the Operation Black Vote campaign, as claiming that the “original image may have been of St Michael slaying Satan, but the figure has no horns or tail and is clearly a black man.”

“Sir Simon did not mention that the Satan figure in the Order’s iconography does have giant bat wings and the lower body of a gigantic serpent, however.”

Retrieved June 23, 2020 from

Be well everyone, and pray the old school rosary in the old school way, see