Wednesday, December 04, 2013

No Neutral Ground

St. Peter's on Federal Street in Portland
The men were singing, and there were a lot of them. That’s unusual in my experience attending mass at various Catholic Churches in Maine. Most men come to church because their wives pressure them to, I think. If they pray aloud in the pews it’s usually just a murmur. Several men there at St. Peter’s, however, spoke it like they meant it.

Nearby Cathedral
My wife and I have been checking out different parishes around the Portland/South Portland area when we find ourselves down there Sunday mornings and each has its own feel. St. Peter’s is a small church only a couple of blocks from Portland’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the flagship of the Portland Diocese near the bottom of Munjoy Hill. I wondered how it competed - being in the same neighborhood and almost in the shadow of the cathedral.

Churches of many kinds are closing up and being sold in Maine and many other parts of the country. St. John the Evangelist in South Portland closed a few months ago and it’s rumored the building will soon be replaced by a Dunkin Donuts shop. More than a dozen Maine Catholic churches have closed since 2007. In ten years, Maine’s Catholic population has declined from 234,000 to 187,000. So St. Peter’s is an anomaly. It’s self-supporting and the congregation seems to know that if it were not, it would soon follow the fate of the others.
St. Peter's annual Italian street festival

St. Peter’s is a survivor with an enthusiastic choir. It’s filled to capacity on Sunday morning with lots of families - moms, dads, and kids. Many of the singing men had short, military-style haircuts and I wondered if they were off-duty firemen or police. The congregation nearly drowned out the choir. I was one of very few who weren’t singing, having gotten out of the habit long ago. I would be a good singer if it wasn’t for my voice.

A few weeks ago I found myself in conversation with a young man who had been raised in a family that didn’t practice religion at all. He wasn’t atheist, but was suspicious of organized religion, especially the one I belonged to - Roman Catholic - the oldest, continuously-functioning institution on earth. He was especially skeptical after the homosexual-priest scandal of the late 20th century. That had knocked me for loop too, and I’ve only recently begun putting it into perspective as another way the Catholic Church has been corrupted in its long history - and from which it must purge itself.
American Catholic Church influence seems to have peaked in the late 1950s or early 60s and it’s been in decline since. I don’t know if we’ve reached bottom yet, but I hope so. My home church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s in Fryeburg, has had several different priests assigned to it in recent years. At least once, none was available for Sunday mass and a communion service had to suffice. It’s part of a “cluster” of parishes because there just aren’t enough priests for each parish to have its own any more. Last summer two missionary priests from Nigeria were assigned to our Fryeburg-Bridgton-Norway cluster.
Ironic, no? A hundred years ago, the American church sent missionaries to Africa. Now they’re sending them to us. What’s up with that? Why is there such a shortage here and not there? They have more applicants than their seminaries can accommodate. A Dallas Morning News article put it this way: “‘The African church is in touch with the raw elements of humanity: birth, marriage, death, hunger, thirst,’ said Christopher Malloy, an assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas. ‘For me, in a comfortable house, it's easy to think life is not dramatic. [African priests] bring the message to us with excitement.’”
How did Americans get so bored? All drama, whether in a novel, a movie, or in real life, is a struggle between good and evil. As C. S. Lewis put it: “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” Drama plays out everywhere and always, but Americans are increasingly blind to it. It’s unfashionable to acknowledge evil exists. Some of us are afraid even to say “Merry Christmas.” In Africa, though, evil is anything but subtle. Christians are routinely slaughtered by Muslim terrorists in Nigeria, Sudan and lately Egypt and Syria (nearby in Asia). Tribal massacres in the hundreds of thousands are still fresh in Rwandan minds. Evil is difficult to deny in Africa. When a young man joins the seminary there, it’s like volunteering for frontline combat.
Speaking of men strong in their faith, click on the video above (taped last week) and watch them defend a cathedral in Buenos Aires, Argentina from assault. They locked arms and prayed as crazed, topless feminists spit at them, spray-painted their crotches and faces with swastikas, performed sex acts in front of them, and burned an effigy of Pope Francis I while dancing and shrieking in a bacchanalian “National Women’s Encounter.” It’s an annual event sponsored by the Argentine Department of Culture.
A still from the video above

It’s inspiring to see strong men doing what’s right. There are good signs out there if we look for them.


Linda said...

I would say that I am an older version of the young man you met who is not taken by organized religion. I would define myself as a very spiritual person who thinks the world would be a better place without organized religion. I acknowledge that churches do many nice things, but unfortunately I believe that the wars, inquisitions, and other bad aspects greatly outweigh the good deeds. I’m with John Lennon when he sang ‘Imagine there’s no heaven, above us only sky…..imagine all the people living for today”. I am glad to see religion dwindling. I see it as a sign of people evolving. Our society has evolved to accept blacks as equals, to accept gays and other lifestyles that do no harm to others, to accept women as equals, into accepting that it is silly to say “live as I do, or go to Hell (literally)”. I’m all for people believing what they want to believe as long as they don’t try and shove it into others faces. Missionaries? An awful thing. Live how you want, but don’t hurt others. Wish all the people you want to have a Merry Christmas, that harms no one. I am certainly not offended if someone tells me to have a nice Kwanzaa, or something else I don’t celebrate. But don’t use public money, or try and force public buildings to display stuff from your chosen religion. I’m rambling now. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Another sign of evolution - a Pope that is not homophobic and knows the idiocy of the "trickle down" theory of economics!!

Anonymous said...

It seems that ANY organization I've somehow or other become involved with
has "Issues" I find unacceptable on their international officers tier, "problems" on the National,
etc., etc, on down to the local group, where personal ego conflicts are GENERALLY held in check for the sake of utility.

Mindful that in the sticks, one is generally limited to the pecking order of "the local", I can certainly admire the effort to "look around" when the opportunity presents itself. I can only caution that one not be enchanted by other venues simply because they're "different",(exotic?). Remember, such places are someone else's "local", with it's OWN set of "issues" behind the pretty façade of the "visitors" entrance.

Kinda' like me whining about all MY "unfair" issues, until the point someone else offers to trade THEIR problems with mine.
(like facing off with crazed
indoctrinated, "activist", vandals)

Wow! No deal!.


Anonymous said...

The defenders of the faith had the Armor of God.
The "protestors" are pitiful lightweights by comparison.

Sponsored by the Argentine Department of Culture? Even more messed up.

Anonymous said...

Obviously printing money should be in the public sphere as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. This anomalous situation is the source of humanity's woes. It pits the people who control the economy against society as a whole. It is in their interest to destabilize society, foster immorality, internal division (like gay marriage) and war in order to increase debt and distract and control the masses.

The bankers are responsible for social engineering programs such as the (homo) sexual revolution, feminism and multiculturalism, which undermine family and social cohesion. This fundamental antagonism also supports a vast criminal underworld actually run by the elites.

The bankers are responsible for the assassinations of presidents like Lincoln and JFK, and for the attack on the World Trade Center. They own or control the mass media, which legitimizes G.W. Bush, the war in Iraq and the impending attack on Iran. War provides an excuse to introduce the draft and a repressive police state.

Success today is based on a person's willingness to become an accomplice, witting or unwitting, to the banker fraud. Even rich entrepreneurs are dependent on credit and are unwilling to support genuine change.

As a result of the bankers' scam, Western society and culture are based on a fraud. We do not have genuine democracy or equal access to the mass media or open and truthful education. Western society is a fraud, run by cowards who know they're frauds.


Anonymous said...

Not a surprise that no one addresses the above post here.

Why deal with reality when you can keep playing pretend?

Tom McLaughlin said...

So what are you doing here?

Did you watch the film clip? That's the reality of what the left has become.

Steve said...

Has the left become that, or is it an absurd faction of the left? Has the right become the aryan nation, or is the aryan nation an absurd faction of the right?

Anonymous said...

Well said Steve. It seems simple to most, but fanatics tend to get blinded by their hatred of the "other side" and can't seem to grasp this, they instead make dopey generalizations that fit their pre-conceived stereotypes. Extremism turns people into simpletons.

Tom McLaughlin said...

The Aryan Nation doesn't make public demonstrations, nor are its actions sanctioned by a major political party or by government. Those crazed feminists were sponsored by the leftist Argentine government.

When crazed homosexuals from ACT UP raided St. Patrick's Cathedral and profaned the Holy Eucharist in 1989, their actions were embraced and praised by Democrats. Their leader, Larry Kramer, became a liberal hero.

I agree with you when you describe such people as an absurd faction, but Democrats deify them. They write government policy now. They're mainstream liberal Democrats.

That's the company you keep, Steve. Show me who your friend are and I'll show you who you are. That's what my grandmother told me.

Steve said...

The aryan nation and other white supremacist groups do publically demonstration, but you make a valid distinction between them and this Argentinean group in their absence of government endorsement.

“That's the company you keep, Steve.”
Your assumption of me is dead wrong. I’m center-right in my political alignment. I identify with the conservative ideal more than the liberal ideal. Simply because I challenge some of your sources and conclusions and haven’t declared Obama a Communist, fascist, Marxist, socialist, Nazi, Muslim born in Kenya who hates America and everything it stands for, isn’t your cue to lump in with the worst of the liberal movement. I’ve voted Republican, Democrat and third party and, sure as God makes green apples, I’ll vote for all three again before my days are done.

Who is among this cavalcade of Democrats now running out country who “embrace and praise” the ACT UP attack on St. Patrick’s? This passage from Wikipedia is the only substantial reference I could find regarding a response to the incident. “As a result of the St. Patrick's Cathedral action, ACT-UP was publicly condemned by Mayor Edward Koch and some media for what they viewed as militancy and disrespect. ACT UP's account of the event notes that "The news media choose to focus on, and distort, a single Catholic demonstrator's personal protest involving a communion wafer." However, the Cathedral protest was criticized as "stupid and wrong-headed" by others in the LGBT community, while one ACT UP leader denounced the protest as an "utter failure" and a "selfish, macho thing.”

You take the worst of the Democratic party and graft it onto the entire liberal effort. Who are all of these liberal voters who “deify” (to make a god of; rank among the gods) the protestors who disrupted that mass? I’m sure some people supported them – every cause has active and passive support – but were the supporters just from the same absurd faction that birthed the protestors themselves? Do you have any idea what percentage of the voting public they represented? Where the protestors and their supporters one percent of liberal voters, 20 percent, 75 percent, or did they enjoy unanimous, categorical approval from the entire Democratic party? How much of the liberal initiative in this country do they speak for?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing you support an end to Affirmative Action? The aryan nation does also. Can we safely align you two?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Members of ACT UP are part of the Democrat establishment. Google Larry Kramer and you'll see he's an integral part of the Hollywood/media/Democrat complex.

Read some of the glowing articles about them in the New York Times over the past 25 years.

They've written federal and state AIDS policies and control the spending of billions in AIDS research, education in our public schools, and alleged control of the disease.

ACT UP is not a fringe group. They're very mainstream in Democrat circles. The Aryan Nation isn't nearly equivalent among Republicans.

Anonymous said...

How ironic, and extremely sad that all the hate groups mentioned above pale in comparison to israel. Not even close. Well, if you choose to see what's really going on that is.
It is an apartheid state. Period.
Operating the largest open air prison on earth.
Routinely ridicule and intimidate Christians.
Target Palestinian children, women, etc.
And on and on

Yet, you'll argue for it! And not give a hoot when we send billions, BILLIONS, to them every year! uhm, is that even legal?

Imagine tom, imagine, if congress was chock full of dual Russian citizens, or Iraqi, or Cuban, etc.

The worst though, and please explain this to me, is why were Israelis caught celebrating on 9/11 across the river in jersey? They taped the planes hitting the towers. Uhm....and danced in celebration.....

Bu hey, keep arguing about those other "hate groups". Nothing to see here but a nation of poor and displaced "chosen" people.....

Anonymous said...

What ever you do don't demand change! Keep voting for corproate stooges! It's working real well! Who wants real freedom anyway? Ya know, the way it was before the financial takeover? Don't think for yourselves whatever you do. Keep playing the role of democrat or republican. Very effective isn't it?

"Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that. Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources."

Tom McLaughlin said...

It was Palestinians in East Jerusalem who danced on September 11th. See here:

When I was over there in 2009, I stayed in a Palestinian Hotel, Seven Arches. We could see the Temple Mount out front, but we were strongly advised by the owners that it wasn't safe for Americans to make the short walk over there.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the dancing israeli's were Palestinian? Sorry, but no, they weren't. My guess--- you have never even heard of this very real news story. They were in a van. The van was painted with planes flying into towers. People witnessed them dancing and filming, celebrating, as the towers fell. There is police audio and I terview s with officers who actaully arrested them. So.....the fact you have been to that sh@& hole doesn't mean a thing in context. Nothing. The facts: as the New York Times reported-- et al, five Israelis were seen celebrating the towers being hit, they admitted to taping it. People called 911 to report them. Have fun researching.....

A Mossad "surveillance team" made quite a public spectacle of themselves on 9-11.

The men set up cameras by the Hudson River and trained them on the twin towers.
Police received several calls from angry New Jersey residents claiming "middle-eastern" men with a white van were videotaping the disaster with shouts of joy and mockery. (HA'ARETZ 9/17/01)

"They were like happy, you know … They didn't look shocked to me" said a witness.

[T]hey were seen by New Jersey residents on Sept. 11 making fun of the World Trade Center ruins and going to extreme lengths to photograph themselves in front of the wreckage. (AP and GI)
Witnesses saw them jumping for joy in Liberty State Park after the initial impact. Later on, other witnesses saw them celebrating on a roof in Weehawken, and still more witnesses later saw them celebrating with high fives in a Jersey City parking lot. (Yediot America 11/2/01)

The FBI sent out an alert to area cops, reading: "Vehicle possibly related to New York terrorist attack . . . Three individuals with van were seen celebrating after initial impact and subsequent explosion." (New York Post)

Two of the "Five Dancing Israelies"
According to ABCNEWS sources, Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home. While the former detainees refused to answer ABCNEWS' questions about their detention and what they were doing on Sept. 11, several of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.
Said one of the men, "Our purpose was to document the event."

On the day of the 9-11 attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attacks would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: "It's very good……. Well, it's not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)"

ALL DOCUMMETED FACT TOM. NOT SOME VIDEO OF "Muslims" HALF WAY ACROSS THE WORLD. ( that video you linked could have been shot literally anytime and any place. No comparison. At all.)

Anonymous said...


According to ABCNEWS sources, Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home. While the former detainees refused to answer ABCNEWS' questions about their detention and what they were doing on Sept. 11, several of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.
Said one of the men, "Our purpose was to document the event."


Anonymous said...


According to the police report, one of the men said they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan "during the incident" — referring to the World Trade Center attack. Sivan Kurzberg, the driver, said, "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem."
The case was turned over to the FBI's Foreign Counterintelligence Section because the FBI believed Urban Moving Systems was a “cover for an Israeli intelligence operation,” ABC reported.
While the FBI searched the company’s Weehawken, N.J., offices, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives, the owner of the company, Dominic Suter, was allowed to flee the country. When FBI agents tried to interview Suter a second time they discovered that he had cleared out of his New Jersey home and fled to Israel.
When ABC reporters visited Urban Moving Systems, “it looked as if it had been shut down in a big hurry. Cell phones were lying around; office phones were still connected; and the property of dozens of clients remained in the warehouse.”
The Israelis had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, for overstaying their tourist visas and working in the United States illegally. Two weeks after their arrest, an immigration judge ordered them to be deported, however, FBI and CIA officials in Washington put a hold on the case, according to ABC.
The five men were held in detention for more than two months. Some of them were placed in solitary confinement for 40 days and given as many as seven lie-detector tests. One of them, Paul Kurzberg, refused to take a lie-detector test for 10 weeks and then failed it, according to his lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Anything to say regarding the above posts and the "dancing Israelis".

Silence isn't helping us at all. Neither is putting ones head in the sand. The events of 9/11 demand that we find the truth. And by your silence I take it you a.) believe the 9/11 commision report to be fact and b.) more than likely try to discredit anything that challenges that point of view as "conspiracy".

Facts are facts. These Israelis were arrested, then let go. Their statements speak volumes.

You don't find this curious at all?

Tom McLaughlin said...

I hadn't known of that incident until I read your links. When one said something like "Now our enemies are your enemies," I think I understood their reason. It doesn't excuse what they did, but it's a reason.

Israel is in a constant state of war and has been since 1948. They've been invaded three times by surrounding Muslim, Arab countries. They're rocketed nearly every day from Gaza. Hezbollah is massed to their north. Iran threatens to wipe them off the map and is close to getting a nuke.

Again, it doesn't excuse the dancing, but this may help you understand. But no, I don't think conspiracy. It happened as we heard.

There is a conspiracy of sorts to separate terrorism and Islam in the American public mind. Both Bush and Obama have done that, but especially Obama.

Anonymous said...

Tom gets his butt whipped again!

Anonymous said...

That doesn't answer or address the issue tom. At all.

And what they said when the cops caught them was obviously meant to be a distraction. Not an excuse.

"According to ABCNEWS sources, Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal — and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home. While the former detainees refused to answer ABCNEWS' questions about their detention and what they were doing on Sept. 11, several of the detainees discussed their experience in America on an Israeli talk show after their return home.
Said one of the men, "Our purpose was to document the event."



(Again, to believe the 9/11 commissions report is to admit you believe the biggest conspiracy theory as it relates to the events of 9/11. That report is full of non sense, lies, and out right fantasy. At least you admit to being a conspiracy theorist.)

Anonymous said...

And as far as the "oh poor israel" sentiment goes...well it simply doesn't fly anymore. You realize this bs "Iran wants nukes" non sense has been around for decades! Decades! The same story!!
And doesn't israel not only have nukes but a state of the art military? with jets and tanks not home made rockets? And these settlements? Oh and a few billion American tax dollars?
Yeah, I'd be hurling rocks and anything else I could at these oppressors and thieves and liars..

And how about operating the largest open air prison in the world? Dual citiznes in our congress!?

Just read "Goliath" by max blumenthal. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

"Our purpose was to document the event."

Ah, who cares about what really happened on 9/11 anyway. I certianly don't want to know the truth or rock the boat. Ill accept the 9/11 commision report. No matter it's the biggest conspiracy theory out there. Bar none.

Go back to sleep America. Turn on your tv and argue over the two party agenda we give you. Ignore that drone we dropped on a wedding in Yemen. Go shopping. Go shopping. Big brother loves you...

And ignore those Israeli's who were videotaping the towers being hit and collapsing while celebrating.
Doesn't mean a thing..

Steve said...

This is a great article about the feasibility and likelihood of an Iranian nuclear device and Mid-East dynamics in general.