Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Do You Know God?

It was a question put to me by an atheist chap in the Tavern last evening. We get all sorts in here. "So", he asked, "this God of yours, do you know Him?"

It is not often I am asked personal questions. Perhaps it was time to give a little of that history.

"Know Him ? ", I said. " Why only a few years ago now, he boxed my ears and knocked me off my horse".

"No. I mean, do you Know Him?", he said. Perhaps he thought I was kidding him.

"Like I know you, Sir, but you have not knocked me over, so I know Him better".

I had had enough, frankly. Not with this customer, for whom I pulled a pint of His grace and handed it to him as I told my tale: but with Him Himself. My Supplier. 

Actually, not with Him, but with what He had put me through. 

Atheistic folk do not even approach the issue of faulting God, so they are in a better position than I was at that time. They simply ignore His very existence. 

I didn't. 

For quite some years I had been in pain and despair. The wound - gained in an unKnightly fashion - would not heal.  Appeals had not been successful. A quick despatch would have been welcome but none of my retainers were willing to do the deed. So I decided to go to see Himself, personally, and to take the whole shebang and hand it all back.

I packed the lot - everything I had and was, all experiences, failures, successes, pain, disappointments, achievements, betrayals, heartaches and so on - in my saddlebags and set off on my trusty steed which had carried me for many a year. 

I knew where to find the bridge twix this world of woe, this vale of tears, and that next, less material one where woes were banished.

That fine steed found his way - I barely knew which way was up by this time - and was half way across the dark river, over the cold stone bridge to the deep forest on the other side, when, whack ! I can still feel it.  I can still feel me hitting the floor.

I had been unhorsed before, indeed many a time, but never by such an Almighty opponent.

I never saw my steed again. I was taking him as a gift anyway, and my saddlebags, packed with 'everything' I had been, plus a special gift. A rather presumtuous one. Small.  My Supplier took the lot. 

Well almost all. He didn't take that small gift as it was 'inappropriate', not suitable or proper in the circumstances. It was 'forgiveness'.

I was actually grateful, you see, for the good bits. For being allowed to be and to be in this wonderful creation. But the bad bits, I didn't like at all.  I could not, would not understand why I had to suffer from such an awful wound.  I was a king !! It should not happen to a King. I was 'special'. That was His fault, so I thought. But as it was all His doing and His rules and I had actually benefitted in some small part, I wanted to forgive Him. My forgiveness.

I would take His judgement, cuz, well, it was His bizzo, innit?

Instead he returned my piddling forgiveness with a much larger one of the same of His own.

"You are a cheeky bugger, Amfortas", said a small, light voice. "And a bit thick. But He likes you. In fact He Loves you, and there are things you have yet to do. Including earning that proper, real, forgiveness for daring to offer your piddling, self-pitying one !" 

 I felt a kiss. Well, I think it was. I was quite dazed at that moment.

So, I was sent back.

I never saw that horse again.

He sent me to this place, the Tavern.

I have no worries: no pain: no wound. No despair.

Apart from that little has changed.

So, do I know God?  I have felt His hand on my ear. He opened it.

I have a thick ear though. And a job.

Pax. The drinks are on Him.

Monday, September 18, 2017

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It is an old phrase and a tad cynical, but for all that it is all so often true. No good deed goes unpunished. Old indeed: 2000 years at least. A  Good chap can feed 5000 people, cure the sick, raise folk from the dead and even help His mates haul in a boatload of fish: and there will be some sick sod who will denounce Him and demand 150 lbs of flesh. 

And it can happen to you, even if you simply try to give help and a hand to the sick, lame and lazy and you do not have much else in terms of powers.

CherryPie brought in some information about a good man who has been 'doing time' for a very long time, through the viciousness of a 'poor soul' and the deliberate hounding of a wicked one.  It is unlikely that you have heard of him. I had not. But his tale is topical. He is a Priest.  Such men are prime targets for the false accusations of the sick of mind and heart and soul, and while anyone can find fault with sexual pest priests, most of whom are homosexual, they are a tiny proportion amongst generally very good men who try hard.
Stone Walls do not a Prison make,
Nor Iron bars a Cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an Hermitage.
If I have freedom in my Love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
Enjoy such Liberty.
But stone walls are real and do make prisons. Iron bars, cages too. We were told of one man,  Father Gordon MacRae. A tale of horror. His case has been pressed by Bill Donohue.

His troubles began in 1983. Father Gordon MacRae was working at a clinic for drug-addicted youths in New Hampshire when a 14-year-old told his psychotherapist that the priest had kissed him; there was nothing to the story, so nothing came of it. Three years later, when the young man was expelled from a Catholic high school for carrying a weapon, he started telling his counselor how MacRae had fondled him. It turns out that the adolescent was quite busy at the time making accusations: he said two male teachers also molested him. An investigation into all of these cases was made, and they were all dismissed. 
No one has covered this story better than Dorothy Rabinowitz, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. 
MacRae’s accuser, Thomas Grover, has a history of theft, drugs, and violence. More than anyone else, he is responsible for the ordeal that MacRae has endured. He provided not a single witness, even though the alleged offenses took place in populated areas; the places were so busy that it is unlikely that no one would notice if something were awry. 
Moreover, Grover was coached by professionals, people more interested in getting a priest than justice. 
His attorney put him in touch with a counselor who came in quite handy. She stood at the back of the courtroom during Grover’s testimony, away from the sight of the jury, instructing him when to feign crying. On cue, he cried loudly, often at some length. 
Ten years after the first charges against MacRae were tossed, the same man, Grover, resurfaced with new accusations. The preposterous nature of the charges meant they would go nowhere, but as fate would have it, they would nonetheless play a role in helping to bolster a criminal charge against MacRae one year later.
It wasn’t over for MacRae, not by a long shot. In 1988, a teenager at a hospital that treats drug abusers told the priest about sexual encounters he allegedly had at the hospital and then exposed himself. MacRae, taking no chances, reported this to his superiors. While they believed him, they nonetheless suspended him pending an investigation. 
But the effect that this incident had on a local detective was not sanguine. In fact, he proved to be a zealot who made it his duty to get all the goods on MacRae, even to the point of making some details up.
The detective went on a tear interrogating nearly two dozen boys whom MacRae had counseled—looking for dirt—but he came up empty. Then MacRae met a teenager who worked for the detective in a “family-owned business,” and whose mother worked for the police. The young man said MacRae had molested him after the priest turned him down for a loan of $75; the same teenager was accusing others of abuse. Under considerable pressure to end this ordeal—MacRae had no legal counsel and was interrogated for four-and-a-half hours—he signed a statement saying he had endangered the welfare of a minor. 
The detective, who wanted more, said, “though no actual molestation took place, there are various levels of abuse.” It must be noted that the accuser refused to speak to an FBI investigator about what happened, and his own brother said the whole thing was “a fraud for money.” 
It is not a matter of opinion to say the detective was obsessed with MacRae: the evidence convinced independent observers that he was. For example, when the priest received letters claiming he had abused a male youth, little did he know that 
the detective had authored the letters for the accuser. 
Also, it was learned subsequently that a witness signed a statement saying the detective had given him cash, offering “a large sum of money” to make a false claim against MacRae.
Word on the street was that the Catholic Church was writing checks (sic)
to get accusations of priestly abuse off its desk, a process that kept feeding the next frenzy.

MacRae was caught up in it, and his superiors were ever quick to clear themselves. 
Before the trial, MacRae had twice been offered a plea deal, but he turned them down. 
Midway through the trial, he was offered another opportunity. It sounded reasonable: plead guilty and the sentence is one to three years; refuse and risk spending decades in prison. 
He refused for a third time. 
The trial moved forward and he was found guilty. The sentence was obscene: it was thirty times what the state had offered in the plea bargain. 
On September 23, 1994, MacRae was shackled and led out of Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, New Hampshire. He had been convicted by a jury of sexual assaults that allegedly happened nearly twelve years earlier. 
The 41-year-old priest was sentenced to a prison term of 
33 1/2 to 67 years.
 MacRae arrived in prison on September 23, 1994. He did not know it at the time, but it was the Feast of Saint Padre Pio, himself the subject of false allegations of sexual abuse. A dozen guards in riot gear surrounded him, forcing him to stand naked in the middle of them for an hour while they laughed at him. 
“For the first three nights while locked alone in a cell with nothing—naked and with no bedding but a bare concrete slab—tiers of prisoners stomped their feet in unison chanting, ‘Kill the Priest’ for hours on end into the night. It was maddening.” 
Prayer allowed him to persevere. “I lifted the cross willingly—though perhaps then more like Simon of Cyrene than like Christ—but I lifted it. 
The Lawyers always get a cut
 When the trial was over, and Grover got a check for over $195,000 from the Diocese of Manchester, he photographed himself with $30,000 in cash. He bragged to his buddies, with bags of cash in his hands, that he had succeeded in “putting it over on the church.” That was in March 1997. In August, he took his former wife with him to Arizona where he blew it on alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, and other vices. In a three-day gambling spree, he went through $70,000 and he even had a Nevada casino hunting him down for another $50,000.
MacRae says he is innocent. So do those who have looked into his case. “I did not commit these crimes,” MacRae says. “In fact, no one did.” Pointedly, he maintains that he wasn’t the one on trial. “The priesthood itself was on trial. No evidence whatsoever was introduced to support the claims. My accuser committed a $200,000 fraud, the amount in settlement he received from my diocese.”  
December 23, 2006, MacRae calculated that he had been a priest for 4,125 days before he was sent to prison. He then tallied the number of days he had been in prison and came to the realization that on the very next day he would be a priest in prison longer than in freedom. “For the first time in 4,125 days in prison, I sobbed uncontrollably at this realization. I was losing myself.”
New evidence has been placed on record in order to have the good Priest's sentence overturned. These startling new discoveries are largely the result of the thorough work conducted over three years by veteran investigator James M. Abbott. Abbott served in the FBI for over a quarter of a century in numerous capacities.

Newly released signed statements in a recent court motion contend that the primary accuser, Thomas Grover, 
made up the accusations to extract money from the Church.
Grover's former stepson: "On several occasions, Grover told me that he had never been molested by MacRae."
Grover's former wife: Grover is a "compulsive liar" and a "manipulator" who "can tell a lie and stick to it 'til its end." Most notably, Grover "never stated one word of abuse by [MacRae]."
 Grover’s former wife, who acknowledges that he “never stated one word of abuse by [MacRae],” knew early on in their marriage that something was wrong. She had two daughters when they met, and both were frightened of him from the start. They saw him as a “sick individual who was obsessed with sex and teenage girls”; thus did they label him a “creep” and a “pervert.” They recall that he was “constantly eying” and groping them. When they woke up in the middle of the night, they would sometimes find him in their room, between their beds, staring at them.
The former wife and stepson testify that Grover bragged how he was going to set up MacRae and “get even with the church.” What was said is worth repeating at length:
“Grover would laugh and joke about this scheme and after the criminal trial and civil cash award he would again state how he had succeeded in this plot to get cash from the church. On several occasions, Grover told me that he had never been molested by MacRae…[and] stated to me that there were other allegations, made by other people against MacRae and [he] jumped on and piggy-backed onto these allegations for the money.”
Former friend of Grover and accuser who recanted: I knew "full well that it was [all] bogus … I did not want to lie or make up stories."
Former drug and alcohol counselor for Grover: Accuser Grover claimed abuse "by so many disparate people that his credibility in the [counseling] program was seriously in doubt"; Grover seemed like "he was going for some kind of sexual abuse victim world record." Plus, aggressive New Hampshire detectives applied "coercion, intimidation, veiled and more forward threats" and "threats of arrest" upon the counselor to try to extract a false incrimination of MacRae from her.
Courtroom spectators during Fr. MacRae's 1994 trial: A therapist hired by Grover's contingency lawyer used hand signals from the back of the courtroom to coach Grover on the witness stand.
Veteran FBI detective, after three-year private investigation: "I discovered no evidence of MacRae having committed the crimes charged, or any other crimes."
 It was also recently disclosed that the detective who had earlier hounded MacRae was guilty of badgering witnesses, misrepresenting what they said, offering inaccurate reports, and even collaborating with Grover’s civil lawyer. No wonder that another detective, a former FBI investigator, exonerated MacRae. “During the entirety of my three-year investigation of this matter,” James M. Abbott said, “I discovered no evidence of MacRae having committed the crimes charged, or any other crimes.”
Plus: A lengthy criminal rap sheet of accuser Grover reveals numerous arrests, before and after trial: multiple forgeries, multiple thefts, multiple burglaries, and assault on a police officer (after breaking his future ex-wife's nose). The jury at the trial never heard any of this.
Then there are the recent declarations from Debra Collett, who is Thomas Grover's former drug and alcohol counselor. After spending much time with Grover, Ms. Collett found Grover to be sorely lacking in integrity.
According to Collett, Grover claimed to be molested "by so many disparate people that his credibility in the [counseling] program was seriously in doubt." It seemed "he was going for some kind of sexual abuse victim world record."
Most notably, Ms. Collett indicates that she was a victim of intimidating and corrupt detective work.
In the course of trying to nab Fr. MacRae, Detective James McLaughlin and another detective interviewed Collett. They desperately wanted Collett to corroborate Grover's claims, but she could not give them what they wanted. Collet has said:
"Neither [detective] presented as an investigator looking for what information I had to contribute, but rather presented as each having made up their mind and sought to substantiate their belief in Gordon MacRae's guilt … I was uncomfortable with [the other detective's] repeated stopping and starting of his tape recorder when he did not agree with my answer to his questions and his repeated statements that he wanted to put [MacRae] where he belonged behind bars … I confronted [the other detective] about his statements and his stopping and starting the recording of my statement, his attitude and his treatment of me which seemed to me to include coercion, intimidation, veiled and more forward threats as well as being disrespectful. At that point and in later dealings, I was overtly threatened concerning my reluctance to continue to subject myself to their tactics, with threats of arrest
"My overall experience personally in interacting with the detectives was one of being bullied, there being an attitude of verbalized animosity, anger and preconception of guilt regarding Gordon MacRae. They presented as argumentative, manipulative and threatening via use of police power in an attempt to get me to say what they wanted to hear."
Collett's statements are indeed disturbing.
The work continues.

Too many senior people are implicated, from detectives, through Lawyers to the Judge. The District Attorney too. They close ranks: they hold the power. 

A finding that the good Father is innocent would cost reputation and a vast amount of compensation.

Bishops would be in the firing line too.

The Church has paid out $ Billions to false accusers. It is all so easy.

Pray for  my Supplier's Justice. Pray for Fr MacRae.

Drink up, because man's justice is all too often flawed.

We are told to be charitable, but there is danger in giving charity to the wicked - and drug addicts are eyes-wide-open sorts - who are apt to bite the hand that reaches out to help them.

Be charitable anyway, but keep a hand on your sword.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Never, in the Field of Human Conflict,.....

Lest we forget. The day after 15 Sept 1940 the skies were quiet.

15 Sept 1940  was a day of heavy and sustained fighting and the Germans suffered their highest losses since 18 August. It was obvious to both sides that German tactics had failed and the Luftwaffe had not gained the air supremacy they needed for an invasion. Fighting continued for another few weeks, but the action on 15 September was seen as an overwhelming and decisive defeat for the Luftwaffe. 

For this reason, this date is celebrated in the United Kingdom as Battle of Britain Day.

RIP, all who gave their lives in The most decisive battle of the 20C


Guarding your Tongue.... and Fingers

A pub can be a rowdy place and this Tavern is no exception. Any day or evening I can expect loud voices, discordant tones and the occasional bit of temporary damage to my carpets. And I do not take kindly to people telling me how to run it. But that does happen: as it did today. 

Some tell me I talk too much even though most of what happens here is others doing the talking. People come in from all over with tales to tell, points of view to express and really quite interesting and informative experiences.  And I provide a sporadic commentary.  And for all it is difficult to find that..... 
Interior Quiet in the Digital Age

I like most people. I even like those with whom I disagree on this point or that. We are all sinners on the road, apart from me, of course, who is a sinner at a rest-stop on the road. And boy oh boy do I get into some seriously sinful situations just by being here. 

Here, of course, is the entire world of the mind and soul, and while the soul is a major specific of the purpose of this Tavern, it is located in the Vale of Tears we call the Human Condition. I cannot get away from that until my Supplier decides to call me up for some cleansing Ales He has in His own place above the top of the tallest mountain. C'mon the day ! 

But, to the conduct of the Tavern, its book-keeping and Ale serving; my mopping in the Crypt and my pulling of pints, a visitor whose face was hidden under a hood (a Monk, perhaps. I know quite a few, but not this one) had some things to say about 'management'. I was cut out for a Warrior life and here I am, tending a Pub !

Social Media and Personal Relations
The social networks are valuable if they foster truly human communication. A few notes on the virtuous use of the new technologies.
What should we do to attain eternal life? Saint Luke’s gospel contains this question put to Jesus by a doctor of the Law. Our Lord invites him to focus on what the Scriptures say about the commandment of love for God and neighbor. But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus. “And who is my neighbor?” The Master responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan, which can help us to widen the scope of our personal relations, as Jesus did for that doctor of the Law, so as to include all men and women from every background.

To be sincerely close to people around us is a teaching that has special relevance for our culture, permeated as it is by communication technology. 

Pope Francis refers to the story of the Good Samaritan to point out how these new tools have to lead to an authentic encounter among persons, and become a means to practice charity with others. 
“It is not enough to be passers-by on the digital highways, simply ‘connected’: connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness.”
Nowadays the times when we interact with parents, friends and colleagues are multiplying. Thanks to new technology the frequency of communication is growing; we can talk to someone who perhaps lives thousands of miles away, as well as share photos and video clips about what we are doing right now. Faced with this reality, we can ask ourselves what we can do to make this not just an exchange of information but a means to establish authentic human relationships, with a Christian meaning.
{Key note...} Identity on social media. 
The virtue of sincerity is essential in social relations. “Men cannot live together if there is no mutual trust, if they do not express the truth,Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us. For order to be preserved in a community, those who are part of it need to speak the truth. Otherwise it would be difficult, for example, to undertake projects together or to trust a leader.
Personally (here I am commenting again. Heck, I pull pints and listen but I do occasionally drop a word to the listeners around. That's you), I am wary of the use of the word 'Community'. This is a pub with a flowing river of customers, only some of whom congregate sufficiently often together to have that descriptive word.  Most of the world does not have 'community'.
This sincerity embraces not only external facts (for example, the price of a product or the results of a raffle), but also the identity of the persons themselves: who they are, what position they occupy in society, what their life history is, etc.
For our social relations to be enriching and lasting, we need to present ourselves in the digital world in a way that is coherent with what we are.
"Ahhha" some might exclaim. "And just who are you really, old and venerable Tavern -Keeper, with your armour, sword, claims to Kingship and a towel ?" To which I reply, my friends know me.
This means that the identity, or profile, that we create on social media should reflect our true way of being and acting.
Listen to the Monk ! I am who I am. I serve He who said, "I Am who Am". Different, see. I am a Knight. Twice. A sinner many times. A Warrior desiring the company of Saints and Heroes.
Thus those we meet online can have the assurance that the data we share corresponds to the life that we live, and that we won’t use these means for purposes we would be ashamed of in the “real” world.
The reality of our social condition entails that as our relationships grow and mature, in the family or among friends, sincerity takes on a special importance. We seek to communicate not just external facts, 
but also what is taking place in our interior world: 
our likes and dislikes, our emotions and opinions. Revealing ourselves with simplicity becomes essential, without hiding our true identity. 
In the current context this effort often involves making use of the means that the new technologies offer: a text message, a post on social media, an email. 
We should not forget that, whenever we share news or opinions with others, we are also making ourselves known. 
As Pope Benedict said with regard to the social networks: "the people involved in them must make an effort to be authentic since, in these spaces, it is not only ideas and information that are shared, but ultimately our very selves."
{Pay attention to } Protecting human relations
In the digital world, besides the sincerity that leads us to not hide our true identity, we need the prudence required to have a good grasp of who will actually be reached by our efforts to keep in contact with others. 
The public that will view what we place on the Internet will not always be the same. Sometimes we are addressing ourselves to family members, sometimes to friends or acquaintances, members of a group, etc. At the same time, we realize that what we send can be shared, and eventually reach a much wider public than we had initially intended (it is a common practice now to forward messages and photos to third parties).
At times this is exactly what we want to achieve, for example, when seeking to spread good news or an initiative that others might like to support. However when we send material with personal content, excessive spreading is not always a good idea. This material also often remains available on the web and could be accessed later when the context that made it understandable may have changed.
To set and control limits of what is private and what is public on the web can be quite difficult. 
The providers of this service seem to be ever more aware of this need, and it is good to keep informed about possible technical solutions. But this doesn’t eliminate our personal responsibility in the material we send out, for example, photos or remarks about a specific topic. A phrase that when someone is speaking would be readily understood as a joke (through the tone of voice, facial expression, etc.) can seem impertinent or rude on the Internet. A hastily written message could lead others to waste their time, or give a wrong impression of our relationship with another person, and without wanting to, could create confusion.
The new technologies, and social media in particular, lead the user to play an active role in creating and providing material. Therefore we need to be particularly prudent when sharing more personal and intimate information, whether about oneself or others. It is not just a matter of controlling information. Rather this need is closely tied to the sense of modesty that leads us to want to protect our own intimacy and that of others, protecting personal or family data that, if made know to others, could provoke curiosity or vanity.
Before sending out something that involves other people, it is good to ask ourselves if they would be pleased to see their names mentioned in this context, or if rather they would prefer that certain events or situations not appear on the web.
{What of } An authentic dialogue
“The development of social networks calls for commitment: people are engaged in building relationships and making friends, in looking for answers to their questions and being entertained, but also in finding intellectual stimulation and sharing knowledge and know-how.” 
The social media foster dialogue and frequently make it richer, by adding images and relevant quotes. They also enable people from very different cultures and places to interact. This possibility places before us the challenge of establishing a fruitful dialogue that preserves the capacity for reflection when the speed of communication seems to demand an immediate answer. Without wanting to, we can diminish the dialogue by not being ready to wait and consider the matter more calmly.
I have been told quite often by customers here that being able to hear what someone else has said is their main enjoyment here. They would not have known the speaker or what he/she had said otherwise. I hope they take the time, too, to mull over what was said as they hunker over their pints in the corner. 
Saint James teaches us that controlling our tongue is an act of true charity, and that failing to do so can cause incalculable damage.
I am not sure if what I say causes 'incalculable damage' but I do know that I often have to 'take it back' and offer apologies from time to time.  If I have 'damaged' anyone, I am truely sorry. Unless they deserved a sound whacking, that is. 
The tongue is a little member and boasts of great things.
Keyboard fingers, too !!  
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And Saint Josemaria asks: “Do you know what damage you may cause by throwing stones with your eyes blindfold? Neither do you know the harm you may cause—and at times it is very great—by letting drop uncharitable remarks that to you seem trifling, because your eyes are blinded by thoughtlessness or passion.”
To the Confessional. You know who I mean !! 
If a spoken comment can have such unforeseen consequences, how much more care is needed in digital communication, where words can be spread with unimaginable speed? 
“The social media thus need the commitment of all who are conscious of the value of dialogue, reasoned debate and logical argumentation; of people who strive to cultivate forms of discourse and expression which appeal to the noblest aspirations of those engaged in the communication process.” 
We will give authentic Christian witness if we try to practice special refinement, always being positive and respectful on the Internet.
{Then we have} Friendship and apostolate on the Internet
It is only natural that those who have received the gift of the faith want to spread it with respect and refinement to those they interact with in the digital world. “We have to conquer for Christ every noble human value,” and striving to spread the Gospel by all the means at our disposal is a consequence of being a Christian. But to transmit the Christian message effectively it is good to know the specifics about the means we are using and the relationships that are formed there. Charity requires much more than just sending spiritual messages to a list of contacts; we need to take a real interest in the persons themselves and try to help each one, both within and outside the Internet.
Those who are well prepared, also technically, can find ways to transmit the faith effectively by digital means. However, it is good to be aware of the real impact these means can have, and avoid investing energy that could be better employed in other initiatives of greater apostolic impact. 
Simple and effective means to influence society are within everyone’s reach, such as sharing a piece of news or a good article, or writing a note to the author of a publication. Thus, taking into account our own personal circumstances, we will learn how to employ the new technologies correctly and virtuously, in a way proper to a Christian in the middle of the world.
The new technologies are a new channel for developing friendships. The social media can help further what Saint Josemaria called the “apostolate of friendship and confidence.”
Here, a quite personal note. When we get to know someone on social media - someone we have never met and sat with - we can nevertheless develop a love for that person which is as strong and defensible as any. A case in point: This aging Knight has a very personal and reciprocated affection, love, and friendship with one Lady in particular, akin to a Father-Daughter love. It was she, indeed, who reached a hand down into a dark cellar to help me reach the light in the bar.  A true charity. A true lady. A true Christian. We all need a hand at one time or circumsatnce or another.  My Supplier worked through her.
“Through your personal contact, through you loyal and true friendship, you create in others a hunger for God and you help them to discover new horizons.”
The Internet can be a means to come in contact again with an old friend or to stay in contact with someone who has moved. However we know that personal friendships are forged mainly in the real world. And we can never overlook the fact that personal apostolate counts primarily on direct contact: “the Gospel tells us constantly to run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction.”
The sincere desire to pass on the treasure of the faith will spur Christians to go out to encounter others with an authentic personal apostolate that makes use of all the available means, including those in the digital world.
That Monk gave me much to think about. There is a place, though, for the Hermit: for that man who has seen too much; met too many already.  And for the Knight who has suffered many a wound and broken limb, and needs his rest. It behoves him to be cautious and keep to his side of the bartop. 

Drink up, my lovelies.

This old Knight loves long and wide, but for all that is just a man, a sinner. I am a long way from perfection and any advice from a Monk is welcome.


Thursday, September 14, 2017


So, our Masters in Government have taken the silk gloves off to reveal the knuckle-dusters beneath.  Say anything about same sex marriage that might upset some snowflake or worse some lefty loony that wants to trip on a kerbstone and claim she was run over by a rabid Christian driving full speed into a crowd of peaceful 'yes' voters passing by a Church, and the Police, with guns on hips and tasers at hand will come along with more than an enquiring 'Ello, 'ello, 'ello'.

Ahead of the 'postal vote' that is currently engaging the nation, we have some new, improved, all-singing, all-dancing legislation framed in such a manner as to entrap the unwary and intimidate the wary. You can catch up with it here >>>>
Free speech and vilification in the marriage law postal survey

Being as the Gummunt from Prime Minister down has already declared which side it favours, it is not hard to see which side the law will be aimed at. The offensive, screetching, in ya face lies and calumnies of the pro pervert mob will be seen as a justifiable reaction to those awful folk who clearly must be just pretending to be nice, rational, concerned  Christian parents. 

They are really Fascists !!, innit?

We are all used to various means of intimidation, from the playground tough-kid and sneaky kidette through the company 'manageress' who can have you fired for a 'look', right up to the Uniformed arms of the PTB. In between we have the media who can sometimes be more subtle but often let slip the mask. They 'persuade', selectively reporting and opining. The leftist media can be quite vicious.

Heck, who am I to deride. I am not above a bit of judicious intimidation m'self. If a customer is misbehaving and about to soil my carpets, I take my sword from beneath the counter and place it in clear sight on the bar top. It is a warning!

Being as customers here come with all shades of opinion and background I remind some that I have a motto elsewhere that says, 

"If you meet a feminist on the road, offer kindness, 
but keep your hand on your sword".

That goes, increasingly, for more than just feminists. There are many misguided folk out there, poor sods, who need pity and kindness, and a pint of Good Ale direct from my Supplier, but are nevertheless dangerous.

But our circles of friends and colleagues, widening by the day to include people we communicate with in other nations and are most unlikely to ever meet in the flesh, provide subtle and not - so - subtle pressures to 'conform' too. 

A man is known by the company he keeps.

We are wiseing up though.  We shall not be made timid. Several people joined the conversation in the Tavern with different perspectives. 

Elizabeth Ames kicked it off, and she was joined by an old friend whose face I had not seen around for a while: KellyMac. Lizzy pointed out that even some on the left are getting tired of all the thuggery they are called upon to provide, while Kelly gave an object lesson in the swinging, floating loony leftists whose mind is up for grabs.
Liberals sick of the alt-left are taking 'the red pill'
The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.”   
People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.
You might say that those who take the red pill have been “triggered.” But instead of seeking out “safe spaces,” they’re doing the opposite, posting monologues throwing off the shackles of political correctness.
Their videos can feature the kind of subversiveness that was once a hallmark of the left—before the movement lost its sense of humor.
Candace Owens, a charismatic young African American, posts commentaries on her YouTube channel whose titles seem expressly designed to make PC heads explode.  
A sample: “I Don't Care About Charlottesville, the KKK, or White Supremacy.” The commentary calls out liberal fearmongering over white supremacists. “I mean there are, what, 6,000 Klansmen left in our nation. You want me to actually process that as a legitimate fear every day when I wake up?” 
Not insignificantly, her video got nearly 500,000 views and overwhelmingly enthusiastic comments. (“you rock, girl!” “this woman is awesome.”)
A later episode about Black Lives Matter got nearly 700,000 views and had the distinction of being briefly taken down by YouTube. Unapologetic, Owens responded with a follow-up commentary — “What YouTube and Facebook REALLY Think of Black People.”
She declared, “There was only one version of a black person that these platforms are willing to help propel towards fame and notoriety—and that is an angry black victim.”  Owens calls her channel “Red Pill Black.” It invites viewers: 
“Sick of the alt-left. Welcome, I prescribe red pills.”
The term “taking the red pill” derives from the movie "The Matrix," the trippy sci-fi classic. Morpheus, the resistance leader played by Laurence Fishburne offers Neo, the movie’s hero played by Keanu Reeves, a choice: He can take the blue pill and remain in the repressive artificial world known as the Matrix where “you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” Or he can take the red pill and tumble down the “rabbit hole” where he will come to realize that everything about his life was a lie.
The left’s intensifying war on free speech has produced a surge of red pill videos. Some take Owens’ in-your-face approach. Others are meandering, hipster confessionals delivered with the wordy earnestness of characters in a Duplass brothers movie.
In his YouTube Channel, Dissent Report, a young, one-time “Bernie Sanders supporting progressive Democrat” admits from behind large sunglasses that he’s made “a pretty hard turn to the right.”
He took the red pill after seeing friends “moving …towards an authoritarian sort of Progressivism.”  He explains, 
They were just standing up for a divisive brand of politics that would tolerate no dissent whatsoever.”
Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has largely dismissed the red pill phenomenon. Coverage has mainly stressed the connection to men’s rights activists —the Red Pill forum on Reddit and the documentary, “The Red Pill,” are both about men’s rights. This narrow focus, however, misses the larger story.
Those who have been “red pilled” may start out questioning feminism. But that’s often just the beginning.
A red pill blogger who calls himself “Pat Riarchy” (“also known as the patriarchy”) recalls that his journey down the rabbit hole began when a Facebook friend derisively called him a “cis male.” He came to recognize that, “it's been one narrative pretty much.”  He concluded, “I have my own objective view…I didn't want a bigger government. I realized I didn't like the universal healthcare plan…I realized I didn't really have an issue with guns.” Several books and discussions later, he emerged as a libertarian.
Red pill bloggers are increasingly characterizing PC culture as a first step on a slippery slope towards authoritarian socialism.
One who articulates this best is Dave Rubin, a married gay man and former left liberal whose show, The Rubin Report, has explored the red pill phenomenon.
In his commentary, “The left is no longer liberal”, he explained his own disillusionment with the “regressive left,” whose “backward ideology” of identity politics “puts the collective ahead of the individual. It loves all of its minority groups to behave as a monolith.
In Oz, the Left was once 'liberal' but now the Liberals are more left than right. 
So if you're a true individual—meaning you don't subscribe to the ideas that the groupthink has attributed to you based on those immutable characteristics—you must be cast out.”  Rubin calls this mindset “the biggest threat to freedom and Western civilization that exists today.”
One of his recent guests was Cassie Jaye, producer of the The Red Pill” documentary, which chronicled her personal journey away from feminism.
Jaye had intended to make a feminist film about the men’s rights movement. But her perspective began to change upon interviewing activists, who were anything but the angry women-bashers so often portrayed by the mainstream media. Instead they were men—and also women—concerned about issues such as unfair child custody laws, pregnancy fraud, and even domestic violence.  It turned out that men are also victims of domestic abuse perpetrated by women with surprising frequency.
Jaye’s film met with immediate resistance from radical feminists, who trolled her online while she was fundraising for the film. Her documentary has been largely ignored by most of the mainstream media. But it has had widespread impact on the Internet.
Laci Green, one of YouTube’s best known personalities whose left-leaning videos about sex and gender have an immense following, posted “Taking The Red Pill?”
Green’s relatively tame confession of discomfort with feminists who shut down opposing views, as well as the revelation that she was dating an anti-SJW YouTuber, enraged her fans. They waged an online campaign against her and reportedly “doxxed” her — published her personal information on the internet.
Many who proclaim themselves “red pilled” express a yearning for traditional values. “Pat Riarchy” wants to see a return to an era where comedians can “attack everyone,” not just Trump. 
“PC culture is going down,” 
he says. “A lot of people want this to stop.” Kirsten Lauryn, a 20-something hipster sitting amidst empty church pews, worries that,  “A lot of our society has drawn away from religion as an important way of instilling values.” She observes, “The pendulum is swinging back to a more traditional lifestyle. I see this with my generation Generation Z.”
The media has very likely ignored red pilling for the same reason it underestimated support for Donald Trump: An entrenched establishment always resists disrupters, especially those who reject its worldview.
That said, red pill bloggers are not necessarily Trump supporters—in many cases, quite the reverse. What they do share, however, is their questioning of mainstream media tropes.  
Not all their videos would pass muster with Reagan conservatives or even libertarians. But, taken together, they give hope to those worried about the future of capitalism and free speech in America.
It is easy to dismiss 'echo chambers', especially in the 'social media'. They reinforce attitudes, without a doubt, but going from one to another can cause problems too. Taking a Red Pill still needs people around who can pick you up when you slide. And that cuts both ways.

KellyMac had bumped into some strange folk on social media too. She told us: 
I believe feminism accepts no opposing viewpoints, and relies on brainwashing to recruit their soldiers. 

They need as many recruits as possible to “fight the good fight”, or the movement will die out. More and more people are waking up and walking away from the feminist horde. 

I don't know what it will look like, but I hope the movement dies out, or at least is relegated to the paranoid fringe of society. 

I believe it will, but I just hope it will happen in time for me to see it.
For the time being, though, it's frighteningly easy to win people to their (feminism's) “side”. 
They are masters of manipulation. 
They find people who want to be accepted, and then play on those feelings to entice them to the "right side". If you believe, think, and speak correctly, you're in!
Case in point: I came across this essay by one John McDermott, sociologist, staff writer for MEL.
 I Was a Men’s Rights Activist
One man’s journey from misogyny to feminism
 I've never heard of that website, but it appears to be very anti-man. The gist of the article is that Mr. McDermott started out as a feminist and then, while he was working at a local bookstore to try to earn some tuition money, he ran across a copy of Spreading Misandry, by Paul Nathanson and Catherine Young. 
This is when he changed his way of thinking about the world and became MRA:

“I bought it hook, line and sinker. I was studying political science at the time, so I had never thought about social processes like misogyny and sexism. It was revelatory. The book talked about how pop culture demonized straight, white men because they’re the only demographic left that it’s acceptable to make fun of.
“The chapter that stood out the most was about how men are portrayed as these bumbling oafs on television, especially sitcoms. Their wives, meanwhile, are these enlightened women who have to endure their idiot husbands. Pop culture conveyed men as court jesters, the fools. The women were the empowered ones, the voices of reason. Home Improvement, with Tim Allen speaking in grunts, was the primary example.”
He started bringing up some the points the book was making to his co-workers in the bookstore, and in class. 
In response, he was met with “stern silence”
He talks about how confused he was in that period of his life. He was getting all these mixed messages and didn't know where he stood on any of it. He talks about how he “was especially susceptible to something like men's rights”. 
He goes into a lot more detail about the process of “taking the blinders off”, so to speak, but this kind of summarizes it:
“Men are socialized to be stoic, rational beings. The only emotions we’re allowed are anger and joy, and in a precious few instances, we’re allowed to cry — like if our sports team loses. As an MRA, I always believed it was women and feminism putting men in this box. But these feminist texts (Masculinities and The Men and the Boys by Raewyn Connell )not only validated the crisis of masculinity, they pointed out men are the biggest policers of masculinity. Men beat each other down for being “girly,” for liking sewing or baking, for crying. For being “faggots.” “You gotta man up.” “You can’t be a pussy, right?”
MRAs and feminists were acknowledging the same problems, but the MRAs weren’t locating the right cause. The feminists pointed out, “No, actually this is rooted in the same patriarchal institutions that are harming women.” It was subtle but profound.”
In other words, men are their own worst enemies in the patriarchy. The path back to feminism was subtle, but effective: 
“My transformation didn’t happen overnight, though. There wasn’t really an “Aha!” moment, but more of a progression. I had to deconstruct all the MRA beliefs I had internalized. My classmates shuddered every time I opened my mouth. I would write these pro-men’s rights arguments that I thought made sense, but my instructors would say, “This is a tautology.””
I had to look up tautology. Here is the definition from 
1. needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman”.
2. An instance of such repetition.
3. Logic.
1. A compound propositional form all of whose instances are true, as “A or not A”.
2. an instance of such a form, at “This candidate will win or will not win.”
I'm not sure exactly what they meant, but my interpretation is that MRA arguments are repetitive, and feminists are tired of hearing them. After all, feminism is about men's rights. Just toe the line, McDermott.
Slowly, slowly, his eyes were opened and he was rescued from that whiny, entitled, MRA stuff by feminism. 
Whew! That was a close one! 
He's now a sociology PH.D candidate at the University of Victoria, or, at least he was as of April 2016. 
To get back to the “Home Improvement” analogy:
“Looking back, I realize Home Improvement was actually reproducing 1950s gender dynamics. It was about a ridiculously successful man who had his own TV show, was his own boss and took over the entire garage so he could spend all his free time fixing up old cars. His wife, however, was relegated to the domestic sphere, and even though she had a job, it was always incidental to her role as a mother and wife.”
It's the poor wife who holds everything together. After all, that was her job. We couldn't expect a MAN to do it, could we? He was too busy running the patriarchy and keeping women oppressed. She could have a job and reach for her dreams or whatever, but all of those things came behind her primary purpose – to provide a clean house and a home-cooked meal for her family. 

He  eventually looked at the men's rights movement as a kind of cult, and he was a prime recruit. 

To let Mr. McDermott tell it:
“Later, I discovered I suffer from clinical depression. There’s lot of literature on how socially extremist groups — such as men’s rights or white supremacy — exploit young men whose lives are in turmoil, their beliefs in conflict. Spreading Misandry was a recruitment piece and I was an easy target.”
His closing paragraphs nicely summarize his conclusions:
”Every time I look back at the men’s rights movement, all I see is negativity, rage, hate, bitterness and fear. But I don’t feel ashamed of my time in it. I don’t even know that I regret it, because without it, I might not have ended up where I am now. It turned me on to the study of men, and eventually to feminism.
I’ve been dating the same woman since 2004, and, oh god, I must’ve gotten on her nerves back then.”
There we have it. He's come full circle and is now safely back in his role of defying the patriarchy, and defending those poor females who are its victims. And he's even apologetic about what he's put his long-suffering, patient girlfriend through. 
Feminism is efficient in its manipulation. 
They are experts at finding the chink in your armor and prying it open, until you see everything through their distorted blinders, even the very arguments that support the legitimacy of the men's rights movement. 
It's subtle, they way they go about it, but that's why it's so successful.
Yep, he nearly escaped but the tentacles of his peers dragged him back into his proper pod. He didn't have the skill or knowledge. He was unable to resist the pressures from his peers.  Still, he was studying sociology, poor sod.

Such folk are easy to intimidate. A glass of Margaret Mead and they are anybody's.

It behoves us to examine the 'isshooos' and weigh the arguements. It is well to look at history and tradition, at cultures and failures of cultures. It is also a very good idea to look at the people who hold particular views.

'Tis often the case that what is on the outside reflects what is on the inside. 

Drink up. Look at the bottom of the tankard.

Get a refil.