You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2010.

Last week I featured a post on eight-year old Domenic Johansson of Sweden who was forcibly removed from his parents’ loving home. It is a heartbreaking story and so that we can keep up with it, I have added a site about his plight — Friends of Domenic Johansson — to the blog roll.

Thanks to Labour, similar stories are commonplace in Britain. Although, like many of my fellow Britons, I have read about children being taken away from good parents to be turned over to the state, I had no idea what forced adoption really is.

A British businessman who lives in Monaco, Ian Josephs, is a former Conservative councillor who is championing the rights of parents to regain custody of their children from the state. (Mr Josephs also holds a Law degree from Oxford University.) Please note that these are not abusive parents but those who want the best for their children and have had them taken away after encounters with doctors or Social Services.

Mr Josephs’s website — Forced Adoption — invites parents affected by this social engineering tragedy to contact him (information listed at the link).  Some children are quietly removed from their mothers at birth.  Others after an accident requiring a trip to casualty (ER).  Social Services and the courts decide the fate of these youngsters with, at most, minimal input from the parents.  Social Services may threaten parents with a gag order, forbidding them from discussing the case.  Meanwhile, the child languishes in care and is sent either to a care home, to foster parents or is put up for adoption.

Social Services denies there are any such things as adoption targets, but something is going on which is quite murky and terribly sad.

Those familiar with British child abuse cases resulting in fatalities over the past decade will ask why those children weren’t taken from their homes instead.  Mr Josephs explains:

Well, physically injured children like Baby P, Victoria Climbié and others are not good adoption material. They are in any case avoided like the plague if there is a brutal and often drunken boyfriend or stepfather on the premises to intimidate the social workers. Such children are more often than not, callously left to die! Meanwhile social workers move on to easier targets and accuse respectable and more compliant parents (especially single mothers) of posing a “risk of emotional abuse” to their children, and even to their unborn babies! That is how the ‘SS’ work now.

Mr Josephs discusses the case of Maureen Spalek, which journalist Christopher Booker highlighted earlier this month in the Telegraph:

Mrs Spalek, the former wife of a naval officer, lost her children some years ago after one of her sons was taken to hospital with a broken leg from a bicycle accident. When she complained about the attitude of a doctor who was treating her son, social workers were called in. When she then, in turn, complained about the “hostile” attitude they had shown to her, the affair escalated to the point where her three children were taken away, on the grounds that she had “problems working with professionals” – even though it was agreed in court that she was an “excellent mother”, that the children were well-behaved and well-looked-after and that they had suffered no physical or emotional abuse. Two were adopted, one lives with their father.

In a follow-up to the story, Booker tells us of more cases of this indescribably unpleasant phenomenon:

One is that of Sarah White, repeatedly arrested for attempting to contact her “stolen children”, including an instance when she was jailed for a month for waving to her son when she unexpectedly saw him across the street. Two weeks ago, she was again held in custody for five hours, after her brother posted a YouTube video describing her plight.

Julie Cipriani is another mother arrested for waving to her child in the street and forbidden from further contact after reading out in court her daughter’s loving birthday card.

When another mother threatened with having her baby abducted recently fled to Ireland, her family were repeatedly visited by police, demanding to know her whereabouts. She is now receiving much more humane treatment from Irish social services.

The Daily Mail followed that last case closely over the last year.  A young couple (engaged to be married) from Fife in Scotland had to flee to Ireland in the latter stages of the lady’s — Kerry Robertson’s — pregnancy.  Social Services told Ms Robertson that she had mild learning difficulties.  Well, many mothers have mild learning difficulties, so why target Ms Robertson?  Fortunately, for Ms Robertson and her fiancé, Ireland’s Social Services are giving the young family the help they need.  Watch their story on YouTube in this short video (no sound needed):

Christopher Booker says that Tory (Conservative) MP Tim Meo is championing parents who have fallen into the abyss of the forced adoption spiral.  You can see a video here where he spoke on this subject in Parliament in November 2009.  Shamefully, only one or two MPs are present! 

Is it corruption, money or targets feeding this monster with taxpayers’ money?  All three?  Brian Gerrish, ‘a retired Royal Navy officer and anti-submarine warfare expert, who, together with colleagues throughout the country, has conducted detailed research into Common Purpose, a mysterious collective which seeks to by-pass the British democratic system by setting up unelected quangoes with extreme European federalist agendas’.  He says that forced adoption is part of the Fabian (socialist) plan to re-engineer society through the state and eugenics.  I pray that our new coalition government can investigate this matter urgently. Let us remember these children and their parents in our prayers, including a petition for them to be reunited. 

I leave you with a nine-minute video excerpt of a talk Gerrish gave earlier this year on the subject:

For more information:

No2Abuse: ‘Yvonne’s Story – UK Social Services Tried to Take my Granddaughter – A Families Hell’

Justice for Families Campaign Group

Brian Gerrish on Common Purpose: ‘Child Stealing by the State’ (full set of videos from aforementioned talk)

School’s out — or nearly — in the US.  Students in other countries are also looking forward to summer break in a few weeks’ time.

With the onset of warm weather in the Northern Hemisphere — Western countries, in particular — comes the season to take promising relationships that one step further.  What’s prompted this?  Partly last week’s Raquel Welch post and also the Telegraph‘s report of do-gooder UK government-funded condom distribution in parts of Africa

There is only one sure way to stop burgeoning rates of STDs and that’s abstinence.  In observing and reading about the animal world, they aren’t at it all year round;  they have mating seasons. Perhaps ours in the West is summer. Having said that, the idea that we have to be engaging in sexual congress as often as possible every week is a leftist construct.  See my posts on Georg Lukacs, the Frankfurt School and the Fabians. 

Since sexualisation of children and adults alike has become the norm over the past two generations, we are witnessing unprecedented levels of family and moral breakdown.  As I have documented, this is a design to destabilise society by destroying the family unit.   

It has been written that man, by nature, finds it difficult to be monogamous.  Maybe, although I do think this is also a leftist meme put about so that we can all claim helplessness in the face of sexual temptation and sin.  If it is true, I would posit that God gave women their more emotional natures to keep men in check.  Most women have sexual congress to bond more closely with their men.  If this is true in the West, then, surely it must be true in Uganda, where the UK’s DFID (Department for International Development) plans on distributing 45m free condoms to the 33m population.

Ironically, a commenter to the Telegraph article cited above points out that Uganda is one of the sub-Saharan countries which actively promotes abstinence and does so successfully.  It seems to me that most Africans have a good moral compass, so why do we need to spend taxpayers’ money by sending them condoms? Why not send good books instead? Has leftist social ideology permeated African countries over the past 20 years?  If so, they, too, probably think that something is ‘wrong’ with them if they aren’t seeking sexual gratification 24/7. 

Thank goodness that Uganda is unabashedly promoting family values.  The UK should back out of this condom programme and let Uganda manage its own affairs.

Coming back to the West now, an interesting PDF on condom use appeared in the Telegraph‘s comment section.  It is a British publication from the Family Education Trust entitled ‘The Condom Controversy: Safe Sex or Russian Roulette?’  It’s required reading for parents of children who are mature enough to consider having sexual intercourse.  Parents may wish to share some of the information with their children as a warning.  In short:

– Sexual relationships should be part of marriage only — they are not to be trifled with

– Condoms work within a 3% failure rate only when used consistently; sporadic or delayed use can raise failure rates as high as 14%

– Couples can contract various types of STDs (explained in the paper) with or without condoms, depending on their sexual history

Imprudent and careless sexual activity can also lead to cancers of the mouth and/or other parts of the body (cervix, fallopian tubes, anus). It can also lead to infertility. It is important for young people to realise that sex is not a game.  It carries with it serious risk when engaged in for thrills and has done for eons. 

Summer is a delightful time, full of memories to cherish for the rest of one’s life.  But too much delight can spoil a happy time.

May 30, 2010 is Trinity Sunday.  Also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, it falls on the Sunday after Pentecost.   

Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans and (many) Presbyterians celebrate this important feast day honouring the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The celebrant wears white vestments.

Before Vatican II, the feast marked the end of a three-week period in the Catholic Church when weddings were forbidden.  This time period began on the fifth Sunday after Easter — Rogation Sunday — and ended on Trinity Sunday.

Traditionally, the congregation recited the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday.  Now, this is done generally only by religious orders reciting the Divine Office and by orthodox Anglicans in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer.

Subsequent Sundays before Advent in the Church of England are numbered as being ‘after Trinity’.  This is according to the pre-Reformation Sarum Use.  Episcopalians number such Sundays as being ‘after Pentecost’.  Catholics now tend to use the term ‘Ordinary Time’, which begins the Monday after Pentecost.

Trinity Sunday has a special resonance in England, as Thomas Becket was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on this day.  It is a principal feast in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church.  St Thomas Becket’s first act as Archbishop in 1162 was to dedicate this day to the Holy Trinity.  The observance spread from England to the rest of Christendom.

Prior to that, the Church had no particular day devoted to the Holy Trinity.  The Office, which doctors of the Church instituted in response to the Arian heresy, was considered sufficient, as it was recited daily.  In fact, the ancient Micrologies record that this Sunday was designated a Dominica vacans (’empty Sunday’), with no special Office.  When petitioned to dedicate this Sunday to the Trinity, Pope Alexander II declared in the 11th century that the Creed and the Gloria Patri would suffice.  The petition arose because some bishops were already putting aside one Sunday a year to remember the Trinity.  Some used the Office which Stephen Bishop of Liege wrote in the 10th century.  Some places commemorated the Trinity the Sunday before Advent. In the 13th century, a Franciscan — John Peckham — later Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote a new Office for this feast.  Finally, a few decades afterward, Pope John XXII decreed that Trinity Sunday would be the Sunday after Pentecost, since it was on Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity became manifest to the world.

We cannot hope to ever understand the mystery of three Persons in one God.  It defies human comprehension, hence the reason why it is called a ‘mystery’.  The only ways we can try to comprehend it is through the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as worship and prayer.  David Bennett, writing for ChurchYear.net, explains:

The Son is said to be eternally begotten of the Father, while the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father through the Son. Each member of the Trinity interpenetrates one another, and each has distinct roles in creation and redemption, which is called the Divine economy. For instance, God the Father created the world through the Son and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at creation.

The Nicene definition of the Trinity developed over time, based on Scripture and Tradition. The Scriptures call the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit “God,” yet the three are also clearly distinct …

Ultimately, Trinitarianism posits a dynamic God, whose ultimate nature is beyond human conception, yet who voluntarily operates within the created world. Trinitarianism also shows a loving God that is willing to become as we are so that we may become like Him. The implications of believing in Arius’ God, a God unwilling to involve himself in our redemption, but who instead sent an angel of the highest order, did not escape the earliest Christians. As St. Athanasius was fond of saying “that which has not been assumed has not been redeemed,” meaning that unless God truly became completely human, we could not be fully redeemed, because only God Himself is capable of truly redeeming humanity; an angel does not have this ability. Thus, the Trinity is not about Greek philosophy or pointless metaphysical speculation, but about the heart of our salvation.

As with all great and wondrous divine mysteries, much more can be said.  I’ll pick up on this again next year.

(The icon pictured, by the way, is called The Holy Trinity.  St Andrei Rublev painted it — a rare Eastern Orthodox depiction of the Holy Trinity, using three angels to symbolise the Triune God.  St Andrei used ‘The Hospitality of Abraham’ as his theme.) 

For further reading:

Trinity Sunday – Wikipedia

All About Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday – Catholic Encyclopedia

Thomas Becket

The only way to learn revolution is by doing it. — Abbie Hoffman

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I have accumulated a boatload of links about protests over the past fortnight.  What a selection, some of which I shall share in this post.

You might be wondering what has gone on in the world to cause all sorts of protests within the past month.  Of course, there have been protests before that, but from the latter end of April through May, we’ve seen a plethora of gatherings take place all over the world concerning a variety of local and national issues.

When you look at the conservative Tea Parties (many in the US and one in England to date), which are well-organised, quiet affairs involving lawnchairs, homemade signs and the Stars and Stripes, they are in stark contrast to what’s been happening in parts of the US, Greece and Thailand.

Tea Partiers, who check availability with each other as well as best rates on hotel rooms, take a lot longer time to put one of their events together than those who organise violent protests.  There are reasons for this: first, many Tea Partiers work for a living; second, they will want to be able to dine and rest in relative comfort; third, they don’t really know how to organise a spontaneous protest, although they wouldn’t mind learning how.

Even if they did, though, they would still find themselves behind a desk working, planning a wedding anniversary or attending a school event.  Conversely, the person protesting on a spontaneous level has no such worries.  They can break from whatever they are doing and go with the flow.

The success of the protests in the US (about immigration), Greece and Thailand require mass organisation in a comparatively short time scale.  The people participating generally know how protests work as well as the dos and don’ts.  Whilst some are new to the game, others are seasoned ‘professionals’, or ‘rent-a-mobs’, as it were. 

Sites such as Indymedia list upcoming protests and protest news on every kind of cause imaginable.   Subsets of Indymedia include sites such as Indybay, which covers the San Francisco Bay area.  Whatever your cause is — be it global justiceanimal liberation or immigration, to name a few — you’re sure to find events to attend which are listed reasonably well in advance. 

A variety of groups and people participate in these protests.  Many protesters are anarchists.  Others feel strongly about the cause itself;  they may be socio-political activists, community organisers, students or relatives of ‘victims’ of these causes.  Some have police records, others do not.  Some are younger, others are older.  Older anarchists tend to be known to the police, so they ‘pick their battles’, participating only in more important demonstrations. 

Groups who participate frequently in protests are what are referred to as affinity groups.  Their raison d’etre is to take direct action.  Some groups are peaceful, others are violent.  Most groups are small enough so that the members know each other.  They may be squatters.  They must be able to trust one another in order to carry out the actions of the group.  They agree on a plan of action only when they have buy-in from all the members.  Otherwise, they run the risk that their grand plan falls apart.  They devise codes so that if Plan A doesn’t work, they can put Plans B or C into immediate action.

There are also a variety of hangers-on who haven’t participated before.  This is where the student crowd, even high schoolers, comes into the picture.  They get a few friends together who are looking for fun, adventure and a chance to defy authority.  The type of young people attracted depends on the activity.  A dance-in on a California freeway is likely to attract a more middle-class milieu than another type of protest would. 

Anarchists come from various affinity groups.  The idea is to create disorder but to mix it up a bit so that the groups together appear as one mob of protesters, even though many smaller groups may be involved. This is to deliberately confuse the authorities as well as the media, allowing for more subversion at a later date. One group is likely to be the target of the police and headliner for the media; the others largely go undetected.  It’s worth noting, however, that the Communist Party in Greece organised its own events at other locations away from the fray during the Athens riots in May. 

Anarchists would like to get more people involved but differ on the approach.  Some say that new recruits, even casual ones, should buy into the ideology behind anarchy.  Others say that the protest causes are more important.  After all, who has time to convince someone to become an anarchist? 

Some protests last longer than others because those participating enjoy the experience.  Everyone has a mobile telephone and can go instantly from a public square to a railway station and carry on in a neighbouring suburb.  They can create havoc at each point along the way.  

Of course, protests aren’t flashmobs; they often turn violent.  People get hurt or maimed, livelihoods may be ruined, and innocent people get caught up in these reigns of terror.  Children may even be used as human shields

Like it or not, many anarchists are intelligent and articulate.  I’ve put links below to help us better understand why people become anarchists, how they organise and what their mindset is.  Some of these have a few four-letter words interspersed in the prose, so be warned.  However, they are eloquent essays that should answer the question, ‘How does a mob form so quickly and why?’

On the non-violent side of things, Tea Partiers and Christians might pick up some legal, constructive tips below on organising their own peaceful protests. 

For further reading see:

Protest and organisation: ‘How to organise an insurrection’‘March 4: Anarchists in the student movement’, ‘Direct action‘, ‘Affinity groups

Greek protests and We are an image from the future (book featured on Glenn Beck): ‘We are an image from the future’‘We are an image from the future – US tour’‘Athens: We are an image of the future’, ‘Who’s protesting May Day 04-10’‘We are an image from the future: The Greek revolts of 2008’

France’s ‘The Coming Insurrection (also featured on Glenn Beck): ‘The coming insurrection’ (YouTube), ‘The coming insurrection’ (libcom.org), ‘Extreme left calling people to arms’‘Radicals following European playbook’ 

Blue State Digital (organises online activity for President Obama and co-ordinates campaigns for some peaceful European movements): ‘Blue State Digital takes over the world’‘Organising for hope not hate’ (UK), Twitter feeds from Blue State’s Joe Rospars and Lauren Miller, ‘The Europe Roundup’, ‘Take back Parliament’ (UK)

As part of the Churchmouse Campanologist series on leftist thought, it’s important to look at the Fabian Society, founded in London in 1884.  Pictured is their famous stained glass window.

Keep this window in mind as you read the rest of the post. The top banner says ‘Remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.’  The crest near the centre reads ‘Pray devoutly, hammer stoutly’.

Another well-recognised Fabian symbol is that of an angry turtle underneath which is a banner that reads, ‘When I strike, I strike hard’.

The Society derives its name from the Roman general Fabius, who fought lengthy battles of attrition and harrassment in order to break his enemies, most notably the formidable Hannibal. The Fabians hoped to spread clean and simple living.  They were not, however, clean-living or religious people. Among them were free thinkers and the first sexologists.  Margaret Sanger had incredible intimate encounters with the Fabians she met.  She also learned how to use non-threatening language and slow motion to push her Planned Parenthood forward.  Even the name she chose for her abortion-eugenics organisation has the whiff of the Fabians about it.

The Fabians were elitists.  They had scant regard for servants, factory workers or the poor. Their plan was to control these people through societal measures and programmes, such as eugenics. The goal, as in General Fabius’s strategy, was to break people down bit by bit and engineer their behaviour without them being conscious of it. They called this societal plan the Third Way.  If that sounds familiar, it is because former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair used it in the 1990s.  People found this term quite novel, but it was simply Fabianism. 

Fabians, of course, must have had a good laugh. After all, they founded the Labour Party (1900) a few years after they founded the world-renowned London School of Economics (LSE) in 1895.  They have had extensive input into British thought for some time. They were also instrumental in influencing in shaping the goals of the United Nations. Have a look at the Fabian Society Archive Online, hosted by … the London School of Economics.

The Third Way, mentioned in the previous paragraph, is another term for communitarianism.  Yes, when Blair was PM, there were countless articles in the international press asking if the Third Way really was communitarianism.  And, if so, how grand it would be.  It seemed as if we would all be one big global family from our neighbourhoods to faraway countries.  That’s not what it means, however.  In order to succeed, communitarianism relies on a network of local institutions — no doubt including churches — to patrol and police personal behaviour.  Everyone becomes part of a collective, whether they like it or not.  Individualism goes out the window for the greater good of society. This includes the way we raise our families, spend our leisure time and work. Work is a big part of it, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Of course, the Fabians, Tony Blair and the rest of the elites wouldn’t have to follow those rules.  We would be there to serve them. 

This six-minute video explains it nicely.  You don’t need to turn on the sound, but if you like Pink Floyd’s ‘Us and Them’, you may want to:

Of course, you may not realise how Fabianism is creeping into your life. You’re working too many hours and are too tired at the weekends to have what 20th century social commentator Thorstein Veblen called ‘idle curiosity’. Believe me, it’s no accident you’re working that long and hard.  It’s part of the plan.  You end up too tired to care.  As long as you have a bit of telly and a beer to relax you at the end of the day, that’s all you need. Fabianism, like the theories of the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci, affects not only the British, but everyone.  The turtle may move slowly, but when it strikes, it ‘strikes hard’.  By then, it may be too late to resist.

Incidentally, how many Britons are aware how much some notable MPs from all three main parties loathe the English?  Centurean2’s Weblog has done some research and uncovered newspaper links, not all of which are on the Internet.  Have a look at these quotes:

From Labour MPs:

Jack Straw (English):  ‘The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent.’

John Prescott (Welsh): ‘There is no such nationality as English.’

Gordon Brown (Scottish): ‘the Nations & Regions of Britain’ where ‘regions’ refers to England

From Conservative MPs:

David Cameron (English — current Prime Minister): ‘I’ll take on the sour Little Englanders, I’ll fight them all the way.’

William Hague (English — current Foreign Secretary): ‘English Nationalism is the most dangerous of all forms of nationalism.’

From a Liberal Democrat MP:

Charles Kennedy (Scottish): Said that breaking England up into EU Regions is good because ‘it is calling into question the idea of England itself’.

Bringing England down is akin to bringing the Catholic Church down.  It would be a fantastic victory over 50m+ people, chipping away at their heritage until the final stroke of the axe.  This is an example of Fabian tactics in action.

And then, of course, we have MPs and Lords who were avowed Marxist-Leninists before they got serious about politics.  Again, from Centurean2’s post:

Lord Peter Mandelson (former First Secretary of State and Labour Supremo) — from his BBC biography:
‘Mr Mandelson was born into a Labour family – his grandfather was a Labour Cabinet minister Herbert Morrison – but he rebelled and joined the Young Communist League after Labour supported the United States’ intervention in Vietnam. It was during this period that he attracted the well-documented attention of the MI5 intelligence service.’

Alistair Darling (outgoing Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer) — from the London Evening Standard:
‘Darling attended the University of Aberdeen and earned a Bachelor of Laws. In 1977, Darling was a supporter of the International Marxist Group, part of the Trotskyist Fourth International.’

Alan Johnson (former Labour Home Secretary) — from his New Statesman biography:
Johnson, currently Home Secretary, is quoted as saying: ‘I wasn’t a Trot,’ he insists. ‘I was more CPGB [Communist Party of Great Britain]. I did consider myself to be a Marxist – I read more chapters of Das Kapital than Harold Wilson.’

John Reid (one time Labour Minister of Defence, Home Secretary and Northern Ireland Secretary) — from a letter to the Guardian:
‘I have known John Reid as a Communist, as a member of the Scottish Labour party and now as a general in the New Labour Army. His march across this ideological battlefield has been seamless with not a hint of embarrassment. But John is an able person, one of the most able in New Labour’s high command. They put him up to deliver the message. And they are right, he is a very capable, articulate figure,’ said George Galloway, the Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin.

There are more examples at the link.  All these chaps come across beautifully on television and radio, believe me, which is why I (once again!) advise you to be very careful in researching political candidates — new and incumbent — no matter where you live.

Then, there’s what the everyday chap thinks.  A poster on Political Betting — MrJones — did a great job of summing it all up (excerpted below) when discussing the upcoming Labour Party leadership contest. Incidentally, ‘Zanu’ (as in Zanu PF) refers colloquially to ‘New Labour’, as in ‘Zanu Labour’:

There are broadly four ‘lefts’ in decreasing order of importance:

1) Nomenklatura left
The growth of the welfare state followed by all the big state offshoots over the years has created a whole caste of public sector middle class who administer and support the system ranging from BBC millionaires to quango bosses. This group’s economic self-interest is tied up in the big state and they do very well out of it …

2) Zanu left
Identity politics. Comprised of two sections.
a) Identity groups acting in the self-interest of their identity group: feminists …, gay rights activists …, ethnic minority groups … etc.

b) White Zanus who are a kind of inverted Nazi with a genocidal hatred of their own people. Obviously they don’t want to take out this hatred on their own immediate kith and kin so they work on the genocide of working class people as a substitute.

3) Union left
Old Labour. Supposedly looking after the interests of yer actual workers … Main purpose is to keep the union bosses in sun bed money. Secondary purpose defend public sector.

4) Socialist left
Myriad strandlets of ideological obsessives. Mostly exist outside Labour nowadays. Almost no significance within Labour except as an echo. Original good version was poisoned by Marxists and Fabians who ended up as the New Piggies in (1). Only way back would be to go back to libertarian, mutual aid, co-op type roots.

The Blairites represent (1).
The Brownites are more (3).
The Zanu left is now bigger than the Union left in numbers but not cash.
A lot of people are a mixture of more than one group.

[David Miliband] perceived as (1)
[Ed] Balls perceived more as (3)
[Ed Miliband] is also perceived more as (3) … Liable to take support off Balls imo (which i assume was [Lord Mandelson]’s idea but could be wrong).
[Andy] Burnham seen as (1) and liable to hurt DM i’d have thought unless he has other ideas where to position himself.
[Diane Abbott] seen more as a mixture of (2) and (4)

Finally, let us not forget the UK’s teachers, who are steeped in leftist theory and praxis (practice).  These is one quote in the same Political Betting thread cited above and a few more from another thread. Posters discuss teachers from the 1980s to the present (priceless quotes — hope they don’t mind my borrowing them):

MrJones: ‘We had a teacher who spent all his lessons teaching us about Marxism but no one took any notice because he was a hippy. More rabid lefties in schools than in the Labour party.’

Robusticus: ‘It was only years after Thatcherism that I realized that people like Heseltine and Ken Clark were supposedly ‘moderate’ Tories. When I was at school, the lefty teachers treated these people as ideological soul mates of Hitler.’

James Kelly: ‘… you might not entirely approve of the jig a teacher performed for me in the school library upon hearing that Mrs Thatcher had just resigned? In fact, the most sober political analysis I heard that whole day was from a schoolgirl who groaned and said “oh no, that means … the Tories will win the [next] election”. Tragically, spot on.’

Robusticus: ‘Teachers wearing CND badges … posters in the foyer calling for the boycott of the Murdoch papers, you name it.’

Simon: ‘My housemate, who is a newly qualified teacher (and a Tory) was asked by some of her students how she had voted. Apparently one of the other staff members had told them to ask all their teachers that question – because if they had voted Labour they would be proud and admit it – if they refused to answer it was because their teacher was an evil Tory and too ashamed to admit it. So yes, there is (even on the anecdotal level) evidence of a left-wing bias within the teaching profession.’

What more can one say?  We just need to be discerning about what we support.  We also need to have open lines of communication with our children concerning these matters.

Of all the marks of modernity that seem to mean a kind of decadence, there is none more menacing and dangerous than the exultation of small and secondary matters of conduct at the expense of very great and primary ones… If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. — G K Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles

Since my childhood a real zeal for health has become the norm in the Western world.  There used to be Features pages in newspapers, which featured decorating ideas and recipes.  Now they include the latest health ‘studies’.  I put that word in quotes, because a lot of the results are skewed to the viewpoint which the funding organisation wishes to put forward to the public.

Like many of you, I know a lot of Worried Well. (This doesn’t refer to people with serious illnesses which require medical treatment and monitoring.)  The Worried Well take their physical health so seriously that they visit the doctor regularly.  They aren’t relaxed until they’ve left with a pill to address a possible malady.  As the years go by, one pill leads to another and another until such point as they have a veritable daily cocktail of colourful tablets to take.  What they don’t realise is that Pill B corrects Pill A’s side effects.  Pill C corrects a side effect that occurs when taking Pills A and B together.  And so on.

Do many of these people believe in God?  The ones I know do not — not one.  This is their only life and what if they end up in a pine box or as a pile of ash at the end of it?  No wonder there is such a desire — heaven forbid — to be cryogenically preserved or live until 150 years of age. 

There appears to be a correlation with the decline in faith and the rise of health concerns.  In the 1970s and 1980s I used to think this was because of our advances in modern medicine.  However, I no longer believe this to be the case.  ‘There is no God, therefore I have only my own life, which I must cherish above all other things.’ This is not an entirely original thought, yet it is one which deserves wider circulation in the blogosphere.  The mainstream media (MSM) won’t be tackling it anytime soon, because most of them are unbelievers, too.  They have bought into the whole thought process.

Along with the health kick comes the penchant for exercise, which has been around since the late 1970s.  Perhaps it is also because we drive more places instead of walk that we feel the innate need to exercise.  However, instead of taking a mile-long walk, we have to go for more extreme options: jogging, running or the gym.  It used to be that only high school or college athletes had the need to belong to a gym as adults; they were macho places with punching bags or squash courts.  Now, they’re for both sexes.  To even sign up, you have to go through an evaluation of your physical fitness.  It’s all very communal and structured. 

As if health and exercise weren’t enough, we Westerners have also become more risk-averse.  ‘Well,’ some might say, ‘you don’t want to die, do you?’  Everything could kill or maim us, except for something like bungee jumping, which somehow escapes censure.  I’m still scratching my head over that one.  We are the be-all and end-all.  It’s our temporal lives which matter, because there’s nothing else afterward! 

With this risk-aversion comes the usual psychology connected with children: ‘Don’t speak to them like that, that’s so harmful to their development!’  ‘My son can’t help playing up — he’s ADD you know. You could try being more understanding.’ It’s funny that those disorders weren’t so prevalent until 40 years ago.  So, in our risk aversion, we coddle our little ones and tell them all manner of things their itching ears wish to hear.  They control the household.  But that’s okay, because our children are part of us — they have our DNA and, so, by extension, share our own selves.

Again, these are all manifestations of faithlessness.  We are so preoccupied by our own mortality that we make allowances for things we shouldn’t, idolise ourselves through health and exercise.  Worse still, we ask our legislators to ban whatever we see as curtailing our lives, regardless of whether this is actually the case.  Over the past few decades we have seen bans on driving without seatbelts, cycling without helmets, transfats and smoking in public places or cars.  

I was brought up to live and let live.  I don’t see that these Worried Well exercise fans are better people than junk food lovers or smokers.  Yet, they see themselves as better people, as if they are living some sort of saintly secular lifestyle through skinless chicken meals (it’s always chicken, which because of modern processing is one of the fattiest meats around, skin or not) and jogging.  They are the New Flagellants of secularism. (Blogger Frank Davis coined ‘New Flagellants’, by the way.) They believe they must purify their bodies not through the occasional visit to a spa or a home detox (what my grandmothers called a ‘physic’ or an ’emetic’, depending on the orifice) but a daily purge of perceived fat and toxins.  And woe betide they breathe anything in other than petrol fumes (somehow okay, but I don’t understand that, either)!   

So, we have the greatest scam since global warming or climate change or whatever it’s called this week — the smoking ban.  I’m not going to go into all the statistics here that shows that the ‘dangers’ of second-hand smoke are greatly exaggerated.  I will also not be allowing any anti-smoking comments on this blog.  What I will say is that when someone in the MSM decides to blow the doors off this one, people will begin to feel highly embarrassed as to what excess smokers are financing their own health through ever-rising tobacco taxes and higher insurance premiums. Keep in mind that many smokers will not require oxygen tanks or lung transplants. They will die of other causes. Currently, there are companies and government bodies which will not hire smokers.  Never mind that most smokers actually work whilst they’re outside taking a break.  They’re mulling over a business matter or having a work-related chat with a colleague.  However, they are demonised to the point where they have become non-people. (Hmm, where have we seen that happen before?) Politicians ignore them because it’s politically correct (or as Gordon Brown often said about so many things, ‘It’s the right thing to do’).  Housing officials discriminate against them when it comes to renting a flat.  Hotels and rental car companies impose an exhorbitant fine for smokers who violate the no smoking rule.  Restaurants are generally non-smoking in North America and Europe.  Same with taverns, cafes and pubs.  Not to mention trains and planes. And many other places, like Calabasas, California, which is an entirely non-smoking town. Oh, my!

Yet, almost every adult I knew growing up smoked.  It was the norm.  They were calm, relaxed people always up for a laugh and a kind word.  The women gave birth to strong, healthy children — those same children who, ironically, are angry non-smokers today.  There were never healthier, heavier babies in the West than when women smoked.  Although I am not advocating anyone take up smoking, remember that those tall, strapping new recipients of pensioners’ bus passes and cinema discounts had pack-a-day mothers, you can bet on it.  Dare I say it, they probably attended church regularly and could make a darn fine homemade apple pie.  And very few people then suffered infertility problems. 

Cigarette warnings are largely bunk and even more so is the science behind them. All this is mere legalism and social engineering by the left-leaning elites busy co-opting the middle class, who think (mistakenly) that some of this elite status will rub off on them.  Prohibition didn’t work in the US in the last century, but it took a long time to repeal it.  After a concerted effort by legalists in the 19th century, it was passed into law and one of the most criminal eras of American history resulted through bootlegging.  John D Rockefeller, Jr, a left-leaning elitist and legalistic Baptist (not criticising all Baptists here, only legalists), wrote in 1932:

When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.

Today, we are reacquainting ourselves with the notion that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol brings with it some health benefits. Don’t forget that it was only about a century ago that people in the Western world could actually drink water on a regular basis during the day. Before that it was ‘small’ (low-alcohol) beer or wine. 

Too much of anything can be bad for you.  But moderation in all things can lead to a happier life. 

It would be nice to think that the New Flagellants and the Worried Well could lay off people who engage in legal pastimes of which they disapprove.  But legalism is often that way.  It leads to sharpness of tongue, finger pointing and hypocrisy.  We’re all going to die someday, so why not just live and let live?

As fellow British blogger Michael Merrick of Outside In noted beneath the GK Chesterton quote at the beginning of this post:

Fox-hunting: despicable. Smoking, especially if you have children: immoral. Neglecting to recycle diligently: villainous.

And abortion will be advertised on television.

Who could be better placed to lambast the sexual revolution than glamorous screen icon Raquel Welch?

(N.B.: Please note that this post contains content near the end which may not be suitable for those of a sensitive or an impressionable disposition.)

Ms Welch, who was no stranger to skimpy on-screen costumes 40 years ago, is still a beauty today.  In a recent op-ed column for CNN — ‘It’s sex o’clock in America’ — she writes:

Margaret Sanger opened the first American family-planning clinic in 1916, and nothing would be the same again. Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values.

And as I’ve grown older over the past five decades — from 1960 to 2010 — and lived through this revolutionary period in female sexuality, I’ve seen how it has altered American society — for better or worse.

Ms Welch tells us about becoming pregnant at age 19.  Although she was married at the time (since divorced), she said it was a challenge, even though her husband looked forward to having a child.  She says:

During my pregnancy, I came to realize that this process was not about me. I was just a spectator to the metamorphosis that was happening inside my womb so that another life could be born. It came down to an act of self-sacrifice, especially for me, as a woman. But both of us were fully involved, not just for that moment, but for the rest of our lives. And it’s scary. You may think you can skirt around the issue and dodge the decision, but I’ve never known anyone who could. Jim and I had two beautiful children who’ve been an ongoing blessing to both of us …

But if I’d had a different attitude about sex, conception and responsibility, things would have been very different.

One significant, and enduring, effect of The Pill on female sexual attitudes during the 60’s, was: “Now we can have sex anytime we want, without the consequences. Hallelujah, let’s party!”

She warns:

… a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, “sexual freedom,” has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.

And she disapproves of teenagers becoming sexually active:

As a result of the example set by their elders, by the 1990s teenage sexual promiscuity — or hooking up — with multiple partners had become a common occurrence. Many of my friends who were parents of teenagers sat in stunned silence several years ago when it came to light that oral sex had become a popular practice among adolescent girls in middle schools across the country.

The 13-year-old daughter of one such friend freely admitted to performing fellatio on several boys at school on a regular basis. “Aw come on, Mom. It’s no big deal. Everyone is doing it,” she said. Apparently, since it’s not the act of intercourse, kids don’t count it as sex. Can any sane person fail to make a judgment call about that?

She calls on women to pull their socks up, saying they’re capable of so much more.

Hear, hear! 

Fornication, in all its guises, is still a sin.  If one is a baptised Catholic, one should plan on going to Confession before receiving Communion.  If one is a Protestant and a serial fornicator, one should discuss this grave matter with a minister prior to being baptised or receiving the Sacrament.  In both cases (and for both sexes), sincere repentance is strongly advised.

If you missed it earlier this year, here’s the story of an Australian teenager writing from a similar perspective.

You couldn’t make this up.

Swedish officials have split a family apart by abducting a home-schooled child because he hadn’t been vaccinated.

Seven year-old Domenic Johansson is in state care because his Christian parents did not take him for a vaccination.  Christer and Annie Johansson could lose custody of their son as a result.

LifeSiteNews (LSN) reports that the Johanssons were stopped in June 2008 when they boarded a plane to Annie’s home country of India, where the family had intended to relocate.

Whilst we associate Sweden with freedom, all is not as it seems.  LSN states:

The officials did not have a warrant nor have they charged the Johanssons with any crime. The officials seized the child because they believe home schooling is an inappropriate way to raise a child and insist the government should raise Dominic instead…

On Dec. 17 [2009] a Swedish court ruled in Johansson v. Gotland Social Services that the government was within its rights to seize the child. They cited the fact that Dominic had not been vaccinated as a reason to remove him permanently from his parents and also claimed that home-schoolers do not perform well academically and are not well socialized. The ordeal has left the child and his parents traumatized.

Even visits to young Domenic have been curtailed — including over the past Christmas holiday:

Swedish social services initially limited visitation to the child to two hours per week but now have curtailed that to one hour every fifth week and no visit at all for Christmas because the social workers will be on vacation.

Meanwhile:

Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) are joining forces as legal advisors to the family in order to persuade the Swedish government to return the seven-year-old child to his parents.

Mike Donnelly, an HSLDA attorney involved with the case, told LSN:

The Swedish government says it is exercising its authority under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child in their unnecessary break up of this family.  In addition, the Swedish Parliament is considering an essential ban on home schooling. We have heard that other home-schooling families in Sweden are having more difficulty with local officials. We fear that all home-schooling families in that country are at risk.

I’ll keep you posted should I find updates on the story. 

Germany also forbids homeschooling.  You may recall the recent case of a German family, the Romeikes, who were initially granted asylum in the United States because they ran into problems with German authorities over homeschooling. The only acceptable grounds for homeschooling in Germany is on health grounds.  Objections over curriculum or other students’ behaviour do not matter.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is appealing the decision in the Romeikes’ case.  For now, however, these good Christians are happily homeschooling their five children in Morristown, Tennessee.

Stories like these are yet more examples of leftism in action — discrimination against Christians and state control over freedom of choice in personal life.

Earlier this week when assembling the research for this post, I browsed the UK news online.

What did I find?  According to the Times (UK), the outgoing Labour government was

pursuing a “scorched earth policy” before the general election, leaving behind billions of pounds of previously hidden spending commitments.

The newly discovered Whitehall “black holes” could force even more severe public spending cuts, or higher tax rises, ministers fear.

Vince Cable, the [Liberal Democrat] business secretary, said: “I fear that a lot of bad news about the public finances has been hidden and stored up for the new government. The skeletons are starting to fall out of the cupboard.”

The new cabinet has been discovering previously unknown contracts and uncosted spending commitments left by their spendthrift predecessors.

So, not much concern from Labour for their electorate among honest, working class people — the ones they’re supposed to represent.  Dishonest.

Then I read about the Labour leadership contest, namely the two front runners, the Miliband brothers, Ed and David.  I looked up their late father Ralph.  He founded The Socialist Register and is buried near Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery.  Apparently, he became an active Marxist whilst studying in northwest London after his arrival from Poland during the Second World War.  Hmm. 

Well, news and history items such as these may elicit a non-response from the public.  Yet, they show the socialistic scope creep of our time.  Yesterday, I introduced the Frankfurt School Institute for Social Research to those who might not know about it.  Today, we look at its effects on late 20th century and early 21st century society.

First, you might wonder why we didn’t see it coming.  Participating in a 1996 panel on academic reform, the conservative thinker Gertrude Himmelfarb, Professor Emeritus at CUNY’s Graduate Center, explained:

that it slipped past those traditional academics almost unobserved until it was too late.  It occurred so ‘quietly’ that when they ‘looked up,’ postmodernism was upon them with a vengeance.  “They were surrounded by a tidal wave of faddish multicultural subjects such as radical feminism, deconstructed relativism as history and other courses” which undermine the perpetuation of Western Civilization.  Indeed, this tidal wave slipped by just as Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School had envisioned — a ‘quiet’ revolution.  A revolution that could not be resisted by force.

Those Frankfurt School luminaries who remained in the United States after the Second World War became American citizens.  In order to further their message, they took great care in using verbiage that would not offend mainstream America.  They said nothing about ‘revolution’, only ‘tolerance’ and ‘change’. 

Here are more ways in which the Frankfurt School influenced us directly or indirectly:

Popular psychology: In order to free us of our ‘hang-ups’, mass psychology took hold.  One of the most oft-heard questions of our time is ‘Have you considered therapy?’  Again, we see the Marxist preoccupation with mental disorders.

Postmodernism: Our world seems to be full of people like the postmodernist Hayden White. He discounted documented history, labelling it ‘authoritarian’:

Historical narratives…are verbal fictions, the contents of which are more invented than found … reinforce the proposition that truth and reality are primarily authoritarian weapons of our times.

And this is the crux of postmodernism: truth is authoritarian.  Hence, the relativism in which we find ourselves today: ‘My truth is just as valid as yours.’  Whose truth is the truth?  Only that of the revisionists who promote the left-wing agenda. The goal is to cut current and future generations off from the culture their ancestors knew and loved. In this way, we can be remade to think differently. So, you probably won’t be surprised to find that almost all of the people who either developed or advanced the concept of postmodernism are Marxists.  But I digress.

Family breakdown: The nuclear family is disappearing into single-parent households or morphing into a hydra of step-partners, step-grandparents, step-cousins and so forth.  Socialists like this because it means the state has more influence over what goes on at home.  Never mind the increased crime rates, lack of traditional role models, absentee parents and the like.  This is all right because state-appointed ‘experts’ can then dictate to us. 

The Frankfurt School influenced this through the ‘gender’ and ‘generation’ gaps, which never existed before in such a universally well-publicised way. Dr Gerald L Atkinson quotes the Institute for Social Research:

Even a partial breakdown of parental authority in the family might tend to increase the readiness of a coming generation to accept social change.

Women: And speaking of the gender gap, William Z Foster was a long-time General Secretary of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).  This is what he had to say about women in the home:

The so-called freedom of the American woman is a myth. Either she is a gilded butterfly bourgeois parasite or she is an oppressed slave.

‘The Russian woman is free economically, and this is the foundation of all her freedom. Every field of activity is open to her. She is to be found even in such occupations as locomotive engineer, electrical crane operator, machinist . . .  

Sex: Of sexual roles and relationships, Frankfurt’s Eric Fromm believed that:

… sex was more often tied to hatred and destruction.  Masculinity and femininity were not reflections of ‘essential’ sexual differences, as the romantics had thought.  They were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined.

Herbert Marcuse, also of the Frankfurt School, advised university students to:

Make love, not war!

Do your own thing.

If it feels good, do it.

Those of us of a certain age will remember those rallying cries from the late 1960s protests and hippiedom.  Marcuse, often quoted at the time, was the guy in the background who really made that period of modern history both memorable and shocking.

Family courts: In a review of Stephen Baskerville’s book, Taken into Custody, author Joseph A D’Agostino notes:

… what most do not know, even if they follow family issues, is that our family courts are nearly all-powerful, unaccountable star chambers that openly reject due process, traditional legal rights and the Constitution itself. Family courts are civil courts or courts of equity, not criminal courts, so most constitutional protections and procedures do not apply, even though these courts have been given tremendous power. They routinely take couples’ children away from them without trial on the flimsiest accusation of abuse from a teacher or neighbor, limit or eliminate one or both parents’ contact with their own children after divorce without any evidence of wrongdoing on the parents’ part, order parents to pay the fees of lawyers and psychotherapists they did not hire, and send parents to jail without a hearing.

Sensitivity training:  This is a psychological technique which goes under various names depending on the subject matter.  University students are often required to undergo diversity training as part of first-year orientation.  Those of a certain demographic pass the course when they feel too guilty to be alive, even when there is no real justification for that guilt.  Sensitivity training may also form part of a management training course in either the public or private sector.  Dr Atkinson says:

It is of interest to note that the ‘sensitivity training’ techniques used in our public schools over the past 30 years and which are now employed by the U.S. military to educate the troops about ‘sexual harassment’ were developed during World War II and thereafter by Kurt Lewin and his proteges.  One of them, Abraham Maslow, was a member of the Frankfurt school and the author of ‘The Art of Facilitation’ which is a manual used during such ‘sensitivity’ training.  Thereby teachers were indoctrinated not to teach but to ‘facilitate.’  This manual describes the techniques developed by Kurt Lewin and others to change a person’s world view via participation in small-group encounter sessions.

Education: Teachers aren’t there to impart knowledge but to allow and encourage the students’ self-expression and independence. Dr Atkinson notes:

Teachers were to become amateur group therapists.  The classroom became the center of self-examination, therapeutic circles where children … talked about their own subjective feelings.  This technique was designed to convince children they were the sole authority in their own lives.

Many parents perceive that state teachers and school boards place more emphasis on sex education than the three Rs.  Students are expected to sacrifice personal safety for the sake of tolerance of a minority of violent students who take over the classroom and play areas.  Dress codes and traditional norms of behaviour have disappeared.   

Music: Theodor Adorno, a primary member of the Frankfurt School, was a trained musician and keen analyst of popular culture.  He connected melodic and classical music with capitalist and bourgeois oppression, advocating what was known at the time as ‘avant garde’ art and music.  Adorno wrote:

What radical music perceives is the untransfigured suffering of man… The seismographic registration of traumatic shock becomes, at the same time, the technical structural law of music. It forbids continuity and development. Musical language is polarized according to its extreme; towards gestures of shock resembling bodily convulsions on the one hand, and on the other towards a crystalline standstill of a human being whom anxiety causes to freeze in her tracks … Modern music sees absolute oblivion as its goal. It is the surviving message of despair from the shipwrecked

Art: In the 1930s the CPUSA received instructions from Moscow on the subject of art. They advocated promoting ugly, non-representational art forms in an effort to blight aesthetics and dull our innate appreciation of beauty.  This may seem like a small detail to those who are not interested in art, but, over time, it has an important effect on the psyche. An essay, ‘Gramscian Damage‘, explains:

The explicit goal was to erode the confidence of America’s ruling class and create an ideological vacuum to be filled by Marxism-Leninism.

Adorno and his fellow Frankfurt colleagues had also picked up on the value of modern art:

This view of modern art as producing truth only through the negation of traditional aesthetic form and traditional norms of beauty because they have become ideological is characteristic of Adorno and of the Frankfurt School generally. It has been criticized by those who do not share its conception of modern society as a false totality that renders obsolete traditional conceptions and images of beauty and harmony.

And, so, as another member of the Frankfurt School’s Institute for Social Research, Max Horkheimer, said:

The Revolution won’t happen with guns, rather it will happen incrementally, year by year, generation by generation. We will gradually infiltrate their educational institutions and their political offices, transforming them slowly into Marxist entities as we move towards universal egalitarianism.

The Frankfurt School’s influence is most clearly embodied in the immediate post-War wave of Baby Boomers, who are now in their 60s.  They are the establishment figures of our institutions, whether universities, schools or churches.  Many of these people have not only children of their own but grandchildren.  They were able to have the best of all possible worlds by growing up in America.  Whilst they deride the former ‘American way of life’, many of us can only gaze wistfully into the void hoping and working for its return.

There is so much more that can be said on this topic.  We have not examined television, film, architecture or literature.  However, by now, you now know what signs to look for.  These developments were never by accident, only design.

This week we’ll look at recent news and protests worldwide.

For more reading, see:

‘What is the Frankfurt School?’  

‘The Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxism: A Primer’

‘The Communist Plan for American Women’ 

‘Children of the State’

‘Anticommunism and Modern Art’

‘Modern Art as Communist Subversion’

‘Gramscian Damage’

‘The Origins of Political Correctness’ (also features more on individual Frankfurt School members)

“And I, if I am lifted up,” Jesus said, “I will draw all men to myself.” — John 12:32

Sunday, May 23 — the feast of Pentecost — marks the end of Eastertide in the Church for 2010.

Christ has already ascended into Heaven but before doing so promised that He would send the Spirit to guide the disciples.  They would be fully equipped for their work of spreading the Good News. 

Pentecost was linked to the Jewish feast of Shavuot, celebrating the spring harvest in Israel.  Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover and commemorates the giving of the Law to Moses at Mount Sinai.  Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter and, as it recalls the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, is considered the birthday of the Church.  In Britain, the feast is traditionally referred to as Whitsunday, as the newly baptised wear white robes on this day. In some congregations the main Pentecost service may include one or more baptisms.

The liturgical colour for the day is red to denote the fire of the Holy Spirit. God, who sent His Son to free us from the bondage of death and damnation, has now transitioned the people of His kingdom from a written law to one of the Spirit.  Acts 2:1-4 describes this event.  Jesus had spoken of this whilst He was with his disciples, promising them ‘baptism by the Spirit’ (Luke 24:49, John 14-16 and Acts 1:5).     

What exactly are these gifts of the Holy Spirit?  Where are they referenced in Scripture?  Do all churches consider them special? 

Catholics as well as many Anglicans and Lutherans note that these seven gifts further the believer’s sanctification and help perfect his secular virtues. Catholic confirmands study these gifts prior to receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, at which time they receive them. This is why being confirmed carries so much importance. These gifts of the Holy Spirit are different to the charismatic gifts of the Spirit (e.g. speaking in tongues) described in 1 Corinthians 12:8-13 and the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.

Isaiah 11:2-3 enumerates these particular gifts, which St Thomas Aquinas discussed at length in his Summa Theologica.  They are as follows:

Wisdom enables us to perfect our faith by seeing God at work in His world. Wisdom is the first and highest of the gifts. It equips us in a temporal way to deal with life on Earth.  In a spiritual way we are able to see God in others and in His creation.  This allows us to perfect the charitable actions we perform.  Through wisdom, the Spirit moves our hearts to charity then acts on our minds to judge situations in a godly way.

Understanding enables us to use our reason in attaining truth.  It helps us to avoid confusion between the spiritual and the secular response in a given situation.  Understanding helps us to overcome the previous limitations of our faith.  Through it the Spirit allows us to penetrate the mysteries of faith.

Counsel helps us to reason through a situation and to avoid sin.  Through it the Holy Spirit may direct us to observing aspects and consequences of that situation (e.g. job offer, house move, pursuing a friendship). We are then able to discern whether pursuing a particular course of action is good or bad for our growth in Christ.  It also helps us to show appropriate mercy towards others.

Fortitude enables us to defend Christ and His Church in the midst of difficulty. Through it we are able to stand up for Christian principles and actions. Fortitude helps us to face and to patiently endure the suffering which accompanies persecution.     

Knowledge gives the ability to implement Wisdom (see above).  Like Counsel (also see), it enables us to handle temporal issues.  Through Knowledge, the Spirit helps us to see things the way God does.  As a result, it helps us to live our life according to God’s purpose, not our own.

Piety imbues us with a deep respect for and recognition of God and the Church.  It also gives us a desire to worship and to serve God in holiness.  We serve Him not out of duty but of true willingness and abiding love.  It enables us to serve Him and His people in a pleasing, not grudging, manner.    

Fear of the Lord enables us to appreciate the sovereignty of God.  Through it the Holy Spirit helps us to recognise the Lord’s omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.  This fear is not that which is associated with danger but akin to a ‘filial fear’, one which we feel towards a parent whom we love and do not wish to disappoint.

For those of us who were confirmed some time ago, Pentecost affords us an ideal opportunity to re-evaluate the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, to examine how well we are using them in our lives and to pray that we may use them to better effect to the glory of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.    

For further reading see:

Pentecost: the birth of the Church

Truth or Tradition – Bible Study: Is the day of Pentecost the beginning [birthday] of the Church?

‘Gifts of the Holy Spirit’

‘Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit’ (Wikipedia)

‘Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit’ (Word document)

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First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

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