Thursday, December 19, 2019

USCCB: Psst, we're Masons...but don't tell Michael or Steve.

Two days ago, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) tweeted this:

See the header picture for the full image.

Did the USCCB actually just tweet out a Masonic symbol?

Judging from the replies, many Catholics had no doubt: 

On his non veni pacem blog Mark Docherty published some actual Masonic images to dramatize the similarities. Take a look again at the image above. Now look at these:  

I said "many" Twitter Catholics had no doubt what was going on. But, in fact, among those who replied to the USCCB's tweet, it wasn't many but all. There are currently 73 Replies to the tweet. Every one of them, in expressions ranging from anger to humor to incredulity, agreed that the symbol is Masonic.

Every. Single. One.

As far as I can see, no one is defending the USCCB on this, at least in that Twitter stream. The closest a few have come is to say something like, okay we know you're not really Masons but why are you being so stupid as to make people think that you are?

Or, rather, one account did defend the tweet - their own:

See, even though every single person who commented though it was a Masonic symbol, it's actually just a benign representation of the trinity and God's omnipresence.

It's also an oil lamp:

Sorry for the confusion.

Are the members of the USCCB Freemasons? Let's stipulate that they're not. Rather, let's assume that they are exactly what they appear to be - a group of vaguely apostate aging homosexuals who when they're not reminiscing about their faster romantic lives back in the day do a bit of caring about immigrants and the poor.

They wouldn't know a Mason from a Mason jar.

But then why are they trying to look like Masons? Why would any non-Mason want to do that?

Or if they really are Masons, Isn't part of the point that one tries to hide it? It's a conspiracy, after all.

It's as if they want people to know.

Maybe the stars are right.

But here's one final detail:

73 out of 73 tweet replies were negative. The USCCB left its tweet up and left the replies up. Except, sort of, for one. They actually hid one of them.

When I saw this, I wondered. What tweet could be so bad that they would want to hide it? I assumed it was filled with profanity or it called them poofters or whatever.


They want you to know but they don't.

They want you to know but on their terms. The don't want the story getting into the, as it were, wrong hands.

They want to control the narrative.

So this is how the fiendishly clever social media people at the USCCB attempted to control the narrative.

And that's why they're paid the big bucks. 

Here is what they hid:

Psst, we're Masons. But don't tell Michael or Steve.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Best Short Explanation for Why the USS Liberty Conspiracy Theory is Off-Base

The USS Liberty after being attacked by Israeli warplanes

The blogger behind A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics has written a neat little summary of the issues surrounding the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. It is contained within a larger piece discussing the anti-Israeli views of some traditionalist Catholics and other members of the anti-establishment right.

I first encountered USS Liberty conspiracy people on the left. Since anti-Israel and outright anti-semitic views now largely emanate from the left, this was not surprising. But it's also not surprising to learn that some of them can be now be found among nationalists, America Firsters, hard-core Trumpers, "groypers" and the like.

I suppose I'm in some ways a nationalist and America Firster, but I also believe that there's no better way to put America First than to often put Israel first, at least among our allies. It's prudential as well as just.

That's right, justice isn't only for Catholics.

No, Israel didn't deliberately or intentionally attack the USS Liberty. It's a silly and more and more often malicious conspiracy theory. What follows is one of the best short explanations as to why the theory is off-base.
The attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, is one of those incidents in history that has attracted far more attention and controversy than it has any right to. A US surveillance ship in international waters was attacked by Isreali fighter aircraft on the 4th day of the Six Day War. Israeli aircraft were constantly traversing this region of the Mediterranean going to and from targets in Egypt, whose military they obliterated in the course of a few days. The USS Liberty was in the area under NSA orders to gather intelligence on both sides, but particularly the Egyptians, who used mostly Soviet hardware. The ship was strafed and torpedoed repeatedly, with 34 men killed, 171 wounded, and the ship almost sunk. 
Israel quickly apologized for the attack and paid some degree of compensation, but ever since, many people, including a number of the Liberty’s survivors, have claimed that the vessel was deliberately attacked by Israel, for what reason is never quite made clear, or makes much sense. The US was at that time Israel’s largest and just about only ally. How Israel would benefit from this attack is also far from clear. 
But, some survivors and those who feel the attack was deliberately made claim, Israel had to know it was a US ship! It was flying an American flag! Israel had been notified of the ship’s presence! Unfortunately, the notification of the ship’s presence never made it to the Israeli Air Force and the squadron involved in the attack. False reports of Egyptian ships shelling Israeli units in Sinai caused alarm in Israel’s chain of command. Aircraft were dispatched to investigate. They found the Liberty, and attacked. 
But still, the flag! They should have known it was a US ship! Also, the Liberty was a converted freighter, which looks nothing like a warship. They should have, they must have known. 
This is where a little knowledge of military history enters in. In fact, misidentification of ships by aircraft is a constant, severe, and ongoing problem. Air force pilots are rarely well trained in ship identification. Even naval aviation pilots often make severe mistakes. How severe? A few examples: 
  1. British pilots attacked US ships in several of the Malta convoys during WWII in the same region – the Mediterranean. 
  2. US pilots at Coral Sea, the Eastern Solomons, Santa Cruz, and the Philippine Sea constantly misreported attacks. The Japanese did the same in all these battles, and more. The Japs sank USS Neosho, an 8000 ton oiler, at the Coral Sea, and thought they had sunk the USS Lexington, a 40,000 ton, 900 foot long aircraft carrier (they did, later). US pilots reported sinking battleships and aircraft carriers when they had actually slightly damaged a freighter or a destroyer. US pilots attacked US ships. German pilots attacked Italian ships. This kind of thing happened all the time. There were literally dozens of such incidents. 
  3. At the invasion of Sicily, Allied warplanes attacked allied ships of the invasion fleet right off the coast, in spite being briefed that is exactly where they would be! 
And these were largely aircraft piloted by very experienced men who were experts in identifying ships! It goes to show how incredibly difficult it is to ID a ship from a fast moving aircraft. And fast moving is very relative. Those mistakes in WWII were made by men flying aircraft at perhaps 250 kts. A jet fighter will be going twice that speed, making identification all the more difficult. During the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident, Vice Admiral and later Vice Presidential candidate James Stockdale came within an ace of unloading his ordinance on a US destroyer, mistaking it for a North Vietnamese PT boat, which is about 1/6th the size of a destroyer. 
The same applies to the torpedo boats which attacked the Liberty. While not as common as aircraft friendly fire attacks on ships, in the fog of war instances of “blue on blue” or accidental attacks by surface ships are still quite frequent. During WWII, the motor torpedo boats – PT boats in US parlance – were a frequent source of accidental, US-on-US attacks. One particularly famous incident was during the 2nd Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, when the US’ best battleship admiral in history, Willis Augustus Lee, had to make an emergency, plain-language, unencrypted call to the nearby PT boat squadron base to keep them from attacking his ships. And that, too, was a close run thing. Now, most of these same side surface ship attacks occurred at night, when visibility is of course much worse, but they have been known to happen at day. So, what happened with the Liberty is not all that surprising. 
And I think that’s one of the reasons this has become such a persistent conspiracy theory, one maintained, to a large degree, by some of the Liberty’s survivors. If I’m right, their suffering and the deaths of their friends were the result of an accident, and thus devoid of meaning. That’s a hard thing to take. It’s too much for some people. So, instead of accepting this likelihood, they have created a mythos that the attack was deliberate.
Read the rest of the piece, where the blogger more generally discusses the phenomenon of anti-Israeli sentiment among some on the right, here.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Cupich Weighs in on Pachamama "Vandalism" - "I learned a great deal from the Lakota people."

R to L: Cardinal Cupich (then Bishop of Rapid City),
Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg and Crazy Horse 

This article appeared Wednesday in Chicago Catholic, the biweekly newspaper of the Chicago Archdiocese. Other than inserting the fun picture, above, and noting that in his article, Cupich never once actually uses the word "Pachamama", I'm just going to leave it here without comment. 
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich 
Inculturation: A two-way street 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 
During last month’s Synod for the Amazon held in Rome, an incident occurred that outraged many people. Early one morning, two people removed from the Church of St. Mary in Traspontina statues that were used in the opening ceremonies of the synod — and threw them into the Tiber River. 
The artwork from the Amazon region depicted a pregnant woman, a symbol of motherhood and the sacredness of life, that represents for indigenous peoples the bond humanity has with our “mother earth,” much as St. Francis of Assisi portrayed in his Canticle of the Creatures. As a further act of contempt, those responsible posted a video online showing them leaving the church with the statues and tossing them into the river. The public celebration of this act was done in the name of defending Catholic tradition and doctrine, as the perpetrators claimed the statues were pagan idols and had no place in a Catholic Church. 
Let’s admit that the statutes originate from a religious culture that is pre-Christian or considered “pagan.” What is the church’s approach as it engages such cultures? From the early days of the church, Christians believed that the seeds of faith have been planted in the hearts of all human beings, even before the Word of God is proclaimed. As such, the early church welcomed people of every culture, realizing that both the cultures and the church are enhanced in coming to know God. 
A 1994 document issued by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, “Inculturation and the Roman Liturgy,” speaks of the double movement of “inculturation.” On the one hand, the spiritual qualities and gifts proper to each people are brought to fruition in a way that “strengthens these qualities, perfects them and restores them in Christ” (Gaudium et Spes, 58). “On the other hand,” the text continues, “the church assimilates these values when they are compatible with the Gospel, ‘to deepen understanding of Christ’s message and give it more effective expression in the liturgy and in the many different aspects of the life of the community of believers’ (Gaudium et Spes, 58). This double movement in the work of inculturation thus expresses one of the component elements of the mystery of the incarnation.” 
The newly canonized St. John Henry Newman reminded Christians in the 19th century to approach other cultures, even if they are non-Christian, with humility. In his 1878 “Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine,” he noted that the church has always adopted pagan elements in its traditions and especially its liturgical rites: 
“The use of temples, and these dedicated to particular saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees, incense, lamps and candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water, asylums; holy days and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the east, images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison, are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by their adoption into the church.” 
I was pleased that a Vatican spokesman cited this passage in response to the vandalism in Rome. 
The starting point for coming to a proper understanding of inculturation in our tradition, then, is the humble recognition that, as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets and in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.” God has revealed himself in human living, in an incarnational way, and the fullness of the Incarnate God is the person of Jesus. 
During my years serving as the bishop in western South Dakota, I learned a great deal from the Lakota people. For instance, they helped me to better understand Catholic teaching on the communion of saints. The Lakota have a rich tradition of honoring their ancestors. The curtain between time and eternity is much thinner for them, which has much to say to us Christians who live in a Western culture where the sense of the eternal or life beyond this world is losing meaning. 
Our tradition and my own experiences have taught me that our approach to other cultures always must be done with humility, but also curiosity, always open to how God’s self-revelation can be better understood in the double movement inculturation implies. At the heart of our tradition of inculturation is the fundamental belief that God desires the salvation of all he has created. A recent passage we read in our liturgy from the Book of Wisdom testifies to this belief in praising God with these words: “You have mercy on all because you love all things that are.”

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Mary Cain is a Fragile Flower

American track athlete, Mary Cain, in a recent New York Times "Equal Play" video

See the end of this post for the text of today's recent New York Times "Opinion" piece by Mary Cain. Click the link to the NYT site to view the video.

Mary Cain, 23, is an elite American runner who started winning national races while still a teenager. After graduating high-school she joined Nike's famed Oregon Project under world-renowned runner and coach Alberto Salazar.

While with the Oregon Project Cain had a number of good races, but many felt that she hadn't lived quite up to her potential; her personal best times all date from 2013 or 2014.

It is not unusual for teenage athletes to fail to live up to their potential. Elite distance running for both men and women is incredibly competitive, and athletes of any age gain or fall back relative to their peers for a variety of reasons.

But Mary Cain now alleges that it was the Oregon Project that was responsible.

This of course may very well be true. Even the best coaches or training regimes may not be right for everyone. While Salazar and the Project had a number of apparent successes, training world champions Galen Rupp and Mo Farah, among others, they also have had their share of disappointments or "failures" including Mary Cain.

The Oregon Project was recently forced to shut down amidst blood-doping allegations, and Salazar has been suspended from coaching for four-years. Salazar and other principles have denied the charges.

Salazar may be guilty of involvement in blood-doping. Or not. But as a younger athlete he was a hero - arguably the greatest runner the United States ever produced. See an earlier post I wrote about his extraordinary story - When a Catholic Gutted it Out to Win the Most Exciting Boston Marathon in History.

Now Cain is alleging that she was physically and emotionally abused by the coaching techniques of Salazar and others with the Project. She was "weight-shamed" and an extreme emphasis on being thin led her to break five bones. She became emotionally distressed due to the abusive atmosphere and began "cutting" herself. Salazar, she claims, was indifferent to her distress. She told her parents and they urged her to take the next plane home. And so on.

She also claims that the Project was tailored to men and the requirements of men's bodies and was indifferent to the different requirements of women to the point of being physically destructive.

Salazar has denied most of her specific allegations.

I have absolutely no idea whether those claims are true. I certainly wouldn't be surprised to learn that they are at least half-true. Nike's Oregon Project, even before the recent scandal, had a reputation for being incredibly intense, with elite athletes living and eating together in a quasi-artificial and high-pressure environment. Nike and Salazar wanted to win. Many of their athletes did win and win big.

Nike (and perhaps even Salazar) may not exactly have had the overall "wellness" of their athletes in mind. Or not. Again, I have no idea.

But one thing I can be fairly certain of is that Nike or Salazar would not have intentionally trained its male or female athletes (each of whom they spent a great deal of money on) in a way calculated to destroy their ability to successfully compete. That's just common sense. Of course, they may well have simply erred or misjudged the best training methods for one or more of their runners. It happens, though, again, keep in mind that the entire point of the project (with its high monetary costs) was geared towards winning.

But here's the point. Elite coaches for elite athletes always make extraordinary physical demands. Depending on the sport, some of these demands may even be "damaging" in to the emotional or even long-term physical health of their athletes.

Also, some coaches are bastards.

Whether that's "right" or "wrong" is not the point.

Men, and more and more recently, women have been experiencing all of this since competitive sports were invented. But in most cases for, unless one was living in a communist country, there was always a sort of solution: If you don't like your coach, if you feel that he or she is not right for you for whatever reason, find another one. At the extreme, if you're on a team or whatever and switching coaches is not an option, then stop competing.

I'm not trying to sound like a tough guy, here. Bad or bastard coaches have ruined careers, as well as other things. I'm against this.

Or you might just have a non-bad or non-bastard coach who is not right for you.

And of course, illegal drugs, blood-doping and other sorts of cheating have been a scourge in many sports (though in fairness, it's very often the athletes themselves, not the coaches, that drive this).

Also, of course, I'm talking about adult athletes, not children.

Mary Cain, an adult, albeit a young one, chose to stay with the Oregon Project for years, even when it was allegedly prescribing for her illegal and physically damaging drugs. It didn't work out for her, competitively and (she now alleges) emotionally or physically. But now, at the precise point that Salazar and the Oregon Project have been cast, rightly or wrongly, as the bad guys, she's jumping on the bandwagon.

They harassed me. They abused me. It's sexist. It's their fault.

They weight-shamed me.

I'm a "strong woman" say some who are not.

But of course the vast majority of elite female athletes are strong women.

Brigid Kosgei, who in the most recent Chicago Marathon beat the 16-year standing women's marathon record by 81 seconds, is a strong woman.

Emma Bates, the 1st-place American (4th-place overall) in that same race is a strong woman. With a time of 2:25:27 she would have beaten the male winner of the 1948 Olympic Marathon by 7 minutes.

Manuela Schaer won the female wheelchair category in 1:41:08. She would have beaten the top men's wheelchair time just a few years ago. She is a strong Swiss woman.   

Mary Cain is a fragile flower.

From the New York Times, 10/7/19:
I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike 
Mary Cain’s male coaches were convinced she had to get “thinner, and thinner, and thinner.” Then her body started breaking down. 
By Mary Cain 
Mary Cain became, in 2013, the youngest American track and field athlete to make a World Championships team. 
“Equal Play” is an Opinion video series showcasing the insurgent athletes who are dragging women’s sports into the 21st century. The article below is by Lindsay Crouse. 
At 17, Mary Cain was already a record-breaking phenom: the fastest girl in a generation, and the youngest American track and field athlete to make a World Championships team. In 2013, she was signed by the best track team in the world, Nike’s Oregon Project, run by its star coach Alberto Salazar. 
Then everything collapsed. Her fall was just as spectacular as her rise, and she shares that story for the first time in the Video Op-Ed above. 
Instead of becoming a symbol of girls’ unlimited potential in sports, Cain became yet another standout young athlete who got beaten down by a win-at-all-costs culture. Girls like Cain become damaged goods and fade away. We rarely hear what happened to them. We move on. 
The problem is so common it affected the only other female athlete featured in the last Nike video ad Cain appeared in, the figure skater Gracie Gold. When the ad came out in 2014, like Cain, Gold was a prodigy considered talented enough to win a gold medal at the next Olympics. And, like Cain, Gold got caught in a system where she was compelled to become thinner and thinner. Gold developed disordered eating to the point of imagining taking her life. 
Nike has come under fire in recent months for doping charges involving Salazar. He is now banned from the sport for four years, and his elite Nike team has been dismantled. In October, Nike’s chief executive resigned. (In an email, Salazar denied many of Cain’s claims, and said he had supported her health and welfare. Nike did not respond to a request for comment.) 
The culture that created Salazar remains. 
Kara Goucher, an Olympic distance runner who trained with the same program under Salazar until 2011, said she experienced a similar environment, with teammates weighed in front of one another. 
“When you’re training in a program like this, you’re constantly reminded how lucky you are to be there, how anyone would want to be there, and it’s this weird feeling of, ‘Well, then, I can’t leave it. Who am I without it?’” Goucher said. “When someone proposes something you don’t want to do, whether it’s weight loss or drugs, you wonder, ‘Is this what it takes? Maybe it is, and I don’t want to have regrets.’ Your careers are so short. You are desperate. You want to capitalize on your career, but you’re not sure at what cost.” 
She said that after being cooked meager meals by an assistant coach, she often had to eat more in the privacy of her condo room, nervous he would hear her open the wrappers of the energy bars she had there. 
A big part of this problem is that women and girls are being forced to meet athletic standards that are based on how men and boys develop. If you try to make a girl fit a boy’s development timeline, her body is at risk of breaking down. That is what happened to Cain. 
After months of dieting and frustration, Cain found herself choosing between training with the best team in the world, or potentially developing osteoporosis or even infertility. She lost her period for three years and broke five bones. She went from being a once-in-a-generation Olympic hopeful to having suicidal thoughts. 
“America loves a good child prodigy story, and business is ready and waiting to exploit that story, especially when it comes to girls,” said Lauren Fleshman, who ran for Nike until 2012. “When you have these kinds of good girls, girls who are good at following directions to the point of excelling, you’ll find a system that’s happy to take them. And it’s rife with abuse.” 
We don’t typically hear from the casualties of these systems — the girls who tried to make their way in this system until their bodies broke down and they left the sport. It’s easier to focus on bright new stars, while forgetting about those who faded away. We fetishize the rising athletes, but we don’t protect them. 
And if they fail to pull off what we expect them to, we abandon them. 
Mary Cain is 23, and her story certainly isn’t over. By speaking out, she’s making sure of that.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

British Blogger for Counter-Jihad Website Fahrenheit211 Arrested By "Hate Crime and Hate Speech" Police - Door Battered in, Computer and Other Items Confiscated

UPDATE: The Twitter account for Fahrenheit211 has been suspended. I have no idea when this occurred.

Who/what is Fahrenheit211?

It's a British blog/website that is anti-PC, pro-free-speech and anti-Jihad.

If I may say so, it's a bit like Mahound's Paradise, except that it's much more professionally presented and the author isn't a Catholic (he seems to be a quasi-secular Jew).

Two weeks ago, six police officers from London Mayor Sadiq Khan's "Hate Crime and Hate Speech" unit battered down the door of the blogger's home, confiscated computer equipment and phones, handcuffed him in front of his young son and took him away in a police van.

Since by his own account the blogger lives 150 miles from London, it's unclear to me how this particular police unit had the authority to do this. But I'm not an expert on British legal jurisdiction.

Some of the blogger's own account of these events will be presented at the bottom of this post (reprinted from Jihad Watch) but I wanted first to give a flavor of the site from its own About section. Apologies if the explanation for very name of the site has a PG rating:
Welcome to fahrenheit 211 – the temperature at which I believe piss boils...
I’m a centre right, reasonably free thinking person with interests in theology and politics expressed in an eclectic and often poorly spelt manner...
Not racist but has a profound distrust and dislike of political correctness and the use of speech codes in order shut down debates...
Concerned with the growth of Radical Islam.
Concerned about the infiltration of institutions by the leftists and their fellow travellers...
Definitely anti Labour, sometimes anti Tory and often anti Lib Dem...
Reluctant Monarchist (it’s better than the alternatives -President Clegg anyone?)
I’m a supporter of British Troops and believe that they are treated scandalously by all governments. I wouldn’t want the military to run the country though. Democracy although imperfect is better than that. To paraphrase Churchill it’s the least worst option.
I’m a supporter of liberal (in the classic sense of the word not the left-wing appropriation of the word) religious causes and although I admire those who have the personal strength to follow strict personal religious rules I know that it’s not for everyone and these extra rules shouldn’t be applied to everyone...
I’m a great supporter of the State of Israel and I admire it’s people and the way it manages itself. It is not perfect (what nation is). It is however the only working functional democracy in the Middle East and therefore needs to be supported...
Although I have spiritual beliefs of my own I am an equal opportunities attacker of all religions including my own...I don’t gratuitously take the piss out of people’s faith but on the other hand I don’t really care if your offended at reasonable criticism of the way that you follow your particular sky pixie, as far as I’m concerned taking the piss out of Islam is justified.
I ALWAYS however take the piss out of Lefties.
I don’t trust local govt and believe it needs radical reform including making it do LESS.
I don’t trust those who mindlessly promote expansionist religious ideas (Mostly this concerns Islam but Christians do it too but in different ways however a Christian is less likely these days...
I believe in low taxation and personal freedom and responsibility.
I don’t encourage violence but non violent self-defence in the first instance is to me morally acceptable. In challenging things like expansionist religions or dodgy politicos or whatever I would always advise that people take the peaceful legal road...
Why this Blog exists
Because: ’I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore’.
Moderation policy basically there isn’t one but I will delete stuff that is gratuitously libellous, is porn is spam, is rabid conspiracy theorist rubbish, or which has links to the David Icke or Alex Jones sites or posts that I take a random dislike to although I will try to explain why I dislike a particular post or comment...
Islamists, Hitler worshippers (sometimes coming in the same package with certain Islamists sadly) tin foil hatters and similar loons can expect their textual frothing rubbish to be either deleted or seriously ripped to shreds...
And so on.

In other words, with his riffs against Alex Jones, etc. he appears to be a sort of moderate "mad as hell" person.

That works for me, I'm adding him to my blog roll. If you have non-Catholic blogs on yours, I ask you to also consider it. It's the least you can do for a jailbird.

I half-like Alex Jones, but still.

Here is the Fahrenheit211 Homepage (Big Ad-Brother knows I smoke cigars):

And here is his account of the recent unpleasant events:
Before I begin this piece I would like to ask readers NOT to contact any of the individuals named in this article. This is because to do so could be construed as ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’ and that is in British law an offence. I respectfully request that you the reader do nothing that could be seen as ‘perverting justice’. As an aside, the information that I am sharing is not that much different from what Count Dankula shared when he was arrested for a bullshit ‘hate speech’ crime, so I do not believe that any of the information that I’m sharing is privileged in any way or that sharing it constitutes any offense.
And so the story begins…
On Tuesday the 22nd October, at approximately 07:15, whilst I was getting my four year old child ready for school, there was a rather aggressive knock at my front door. I opened the door and found a whole bunch of police officers who wanted me to come out and ‘talk to them’. Knowing what the modern day British police are like in too many cases, which is thuggish and dishonest, I shut the door in their faces. The police do not turn up mob handed merely to have ‘a chat’. Instead I picked up the handset for my entryphone, which is remotely recorded, and spoke to the officer’s via that method.
I politely requested that they state the reason why they were at my front door and they said ‘we just want to talk’ and ‘you must come outside to speak’. They refused my request that I would speak to them via the window and insisted that I come out. Whilst this was going on I was watching what was happening on CCTV, the footage of which is now secured off site. I could see at least six police officers swarming around my front garden and to my back garden to which they had gained access. There were I observed, four officers in the front and two in the back.
The officer who appeared to be leading this mob of officers, kept saying ‘we want you to come outside so we can talk to you’. Of course I refused. This is because I know from other cases of a similar nature where the police have said this that this is a ruse to gain entry to a property so that they can later say that the occupier ‘invited’ them in. The lead officer, whom I later found out was PC Choudhury of Sidcup who is attached to Sadiq Khan’s ‘hate crime and hate speech’ unit, became ever more threatening and aggressive in his tone and refused to state exactly why he and the rest of the officers were there. He and the other officers kept shouting through the door that if I did not open the door then they would break it down. Because I did not want my son exposed to what the police were obviously going to do I sent him upstairs with my wife.
After about five minutes or so of these officers banging on the front door and issuing threats to break it down and officers menacingly patrolling my back garden, an officer, who at this point I cannot positively identify, brought up what looked like a battering ram. The officers were shouting through the door ‘we are going to break the door down now’.
As the officers said they would, they smashed the lock on my front door causing approximately £100 worth of damage. At least three officers, one of whom was PC Choudhury, rushed into the house and into the kitchen at the back of the house. PC Choudhury then cautioned me, arrested me for ‘Malicious communication and racial and religious hatred’ and put me in handcuffs. They guided me out into the front garden where they searched me and then put me in the back of a police van and took me to the local police station. Whilst I was being searched in the front garden my son escaped from his Mum and ran downstairs to the front door and say his daddy being searched and taken away by police. If I recall correctly I turned to my son and said to him ‘don’t worry, it will be all right, daddy loves you’. He’s been asking me ‘are the policemen going to come back again?’ I will never forgive or forget the trauma that these officers put my child through.
Before I was put in the police van I noticed that a considerable amount of police resources had been put into this arrest and there were at least two police cars present along with the van. I found out later that PC Choudhury and his Met Police civilian assistant, had traveled up the night before, distance of 150 miles and had stayed, at the taxpayers expense, in one of my city’s poshest hotels at a roughly estimated cost including meals of at least £150 per night. It’s good to know that Sadiq Khan’s ‘hate crime and hate speech’ unit is spending Londoners’ money so sensibly isn’t it? Maybe the Met has run out of real crime? Do I need a sarcasm sign here, no I don’t think so.
The police then searched my property and took away all my IT equipment including phones in order to examine them to see if they were related to the ‘offence’ that I had been arrested for. They also took my wife’s computer which is more than little annoying as she needs this machine for her work.
When we got to the police station I was booked in under the catch all and increasingly misused ‘malicious communication and racial and religious hatred’ acts, searched again and put in a cell. The custody sergeant, who incidentally said that I was one of the most polite detainees he had had in a long time, furnished me with paper copies of my rights whilst detained and a requested copy of the Bible, which I used in the cell to meditate upon Psalm 35, a psalm that was appropriate for this situation. I was removed from the cell, photographed, fingerprinted and had DNA taken. I was put back in the cell to await questioning and the arrival of the duty solicitor.
Before questioning by PC Choudhury I consulted with the duty solicitor, who luckily turned out to be far better than many who perform this function, and I told him that I was not going to answer any questions that the police put to me, as is my right. I also gave the police a written statement that I was merely exercising my right to speak freely. I was offered food but I refused on the grounds that the food is unlikely to be Kosher but I was offered and accepted hot drinks as there’s not much you can do to instant coffee that would make this item not Kosher, or Treyf.
Eventually I was brought, along with my solicitor, to an interview room for questioning under caution. I gave the officer my pre-prepared statement about speaking freely and the interview commenced. Of course I answered nearly all questions with ‘no comment’ and refused also to identify the vast majority of the items that the police alleged that they had removed from my home. The police also claimed that they had in possession written correspondence that they believed was between me and others who have challenged both Islam and ‘hate speech’ laws and certain organizations.
Although I did not answer any questions, the questions themselves gave me an inkling into what the arrest was all about. From what I could gather both Mr Mughal, who is the founder of the Tell Mama organisation and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan had complained about memes mocking them that the police allege they saw on the Fahrenheit211 website. They also asked me about an allegation made by Mr Mughal that I questioned the narrative surrounding the ‘punish a Muslim day’ case in which doubt was cast on the idea that this was the work of an organised group and rather, as it turned out, the work of a lone and deranged nutcase. The police asked me if I was an ‘Islamophobe’ to which I replied ‘no comment’. They also asked me to disclose my passcodes for the machines that they claimed they had seized to which I replied ‘no comment’
Incidentally, if you want further information about some of the criticisms that have been levelled against the Tell Mama organisation and those involved in it along with the sad state of freedom of speech in the UK, then I can highly recommend that you read Nick Monroe’s article ‘Escape from Big Mother” It is an article that makes for illuminating and indeed frightening reading, especially for those who live in nations that, unlike the UK, have a greater respect for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It should encourage those in places like the USA to hold on tight to their First Amendment, because without it the average citizen may suddenly find that there are a whole load of subjects that they may wish to discuss that are now ‘forbidden’.
I got the distinct impression that the police were trying to get me to make their job of prosecuting me for ‘hate speech’ easy by having me answer questions. This, knowing the parlous state of UK police forces, was not something that I was prepared to do. Basically, the Met are trying to prosecute me for memes and for criticism of those groups who are in receipt of vast amounts of public money, resources to which I and others do not consider them entitled to have.
After discovering that I was not going to answer any of the police’s questions, I was released at present without charge on unconditional bail pending investigation. I suspect that this case will go the way of many other similar cases of ‘malicious communication’ and ‘hate speech’ where the long drawn out process of investigation is the punishment or part of the punishment and also a way of intimidating those who engage in ‘wrongthink’.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many people who have contacted me both privately and publicly to offer their support and those associates who have contacted various online ‘influencers’ in order to gain publicity not just for my case but also to support the cause of free speech in general. I have been truly heartened by those who have voiced their support and especially to those in the United States who are encouraging a letter writing campaign aimed at the British Embassy in Washington DC. I would also like to thank those (you know who you are) who have given me facilities to work ‘off site’ which is why I’m able to continue writing.
This case is likely to run and run, a bit like the West End play ‘The Mousetrap’, although hopefully not as long as that particular production. I have also been questioned by another government entity that has the misfortune to share initials with a security organisation that was operating in Germany between 1933 and 1945. This I believe is standard practise when a person who is arrested has children. But I have told this organisation the truth. That is that I am a centre rightist Jewish conservative who believes in equality between races, equality between men and women between different sexualities, along with civic nationalism, British values and who is not a member of any extreme party or political grouping. The last party that I was a member of was the Conservative Party who in no way could be called ‘extreme’ by any reasonable person.
This incident will not discourage me from standing up not just for the idea of freedom of speech, which includes freedom of speech for those with whom I vehemently disagree. I am also not discouraged in my view that ‘hate speech’ legislation has no place in a society that considers itself to be free as not only do ‘hate speech’ laws have a chilling effect on a citizen or subject’s speech, but also because they create a two tier system where one group is given virtually carte blanche to say what they want but others do not have this right. If I’m not fighting here, I will be fighting this fight elsewhere and I would encourage others to peacefully and politely protest against both the removal of free speech rights for Britons, but also the damaging and all too easily abused categories of ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ legislation. In these matters we should be treated as equals no matter what our skin colour or belief system, something that the plethora of ‘hate crime’ legislation does not do. I’m going to fight this case as hard as I possibly can, as it’s not just my fight, but the same fight as everyone who wants freedom of speech and the repeal of the increasingly hated ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ laws.

Monday, November 4, 2019

"This blasphemy! This parody of Mary! This Antichrist!" Canon Hugo Valdemar, 15-Year Spokesman for the Mexico City Archdiocese, Publicly Burns Pachamama Figures in Reparation Ceremony

Fr. Hugo Valdemar Romero, one of the most famous priests in Mexico, a current Canon of the Cathedral in Mexico City and the Spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico (Mexico City) for 15 years, publicly burned three cardboard Pachamama figures in a public ceremony, yesterday.

This video, with commentary in Spanish, shows the event:

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida has explained and translated some of Canon Valdemar's appropriately strong strong words:
Fr. Hugo explains the following: “The most blessed Virgin [Mary] of Guadalupe, as we know, is a young woman who is pregnant. She has Jesus in her womb whom is to give birth to the new continent (the new world). She says that she comes to grant her love to all the inhabitants of this entire continent (not just Mexico). She is pregnant and carries Jesus who will bring us the Gospel and drive away the darkness of idolatry and the devil.” Then, Fr. Hugo, taking the statue of Pachamama say: “A friend exorcist says that this idol (Pachamama) is actually the figure of the antichrist; is a blasphemy and parody of Mary. Pachamama is pregnant but carries the antichrist to give birth to him in the masonic church: to destroy the sacraments which is to return to idolatry and superstition. So, this antichrist who is to give birth to a church with an amazonian face is an abomination, it is a contradiction to church doctrine, which is the dynamic into which these idolaters want to enter into now. So, in sign of repugnance to the offenses that they made to the most blessed virgin Mary in Rome, in her church of Transpontina, we, as a protest and as a sign of reparation, burn this satanic idol of the Pachamama”, in an article published today, which also discusses recent statements by Cardinal Gerhard Müller and the "Pachamama dunker" Alexander Tschugguel, gives more background on Valdemar and his recent ceremony of atonement in which the Pachamama figures were burnt (google translation of text by Giuseppe Nardi):
In Mexico City, Pachamama images were burnt last Sunday in front of a central church in the presence of the church's rector, Hugo Valdemar, and an exorcism was prayed for. By offering atonement, God was asked to be forgiven for the sacrileges that were "committed in Rome" in the previous weeks, as stated in the report of a faithful present who was published by InfoVaticana. 
A month ago, hardly anyone knew the idol Pachamama outside of some Indio groups and neo-norse circles. Through the organizers of the Catholic Amazon Synod , he became known worldwide. Hugo Valdemar is a canon at the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mexico City. He and the faithful gathered for the Atonement thought that the Pachamama figures in the Vatican Gardens could make their first appearance in the presence of Pope Francis on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. The idols made to Rome were triggers for a polemic, not least by Protestant free churches, which accuse the Catholics "idolatry" whose end is not yet foreseeable. 
Not a few Catholics were irritated and annoyed by the attempt of the synod organizers and the Vatican media to deny or disguise the pagan presence and the idolatrous background of Pachamama activism. In Latin America, you know exactly what you are talking about, because every day the church is fighting against forms of idolatry and superstition. 
Canon Valdemar was 15 years under Cardinal Norberto Rivera spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City. He is one of the most famous priests in Mexico. Above all, he is an excellent expert on the pre-Christian, pagan religions of Central America and knows about the great efforts of the missionaries, especially the Franciscans, to eliminate idolatry without any ifs or buts. 
Last Sunday, the canon referred to Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is "like a great exorcism, which protects America from idolatry and prepares the way to meet their son Jesus Christ". Many believers called in recent days because of the confusion publicly and privately the sky. 
It is "unbearable" what happened on "crazy things" in the month of October in Rome and was also experienced remotely by Catholics in America and Mexico, the report says: 
"We have the impression that we are experiencing a kind of collective obsession that drives people crazy and darkens their consciousness." 
The atonement with the burning of the pachamama figures was for the actions that took place during the Amazon Synod in Rome, but also for the Pachamama prayer of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Pachamama songs in the Cathedral of Lima. As for Mexico City, Pope Francis also installed a new archbishop in Lima to initiate a change of course for the local church. 
In Mexico City, three depictions of Pachamama were burned. Canon Valdemar expressed the hope that the atonement and action might be a model for others. God does not tolerate frivolous dealings with His things, let alone as regards idolatry that violates the First Commandment.

"Hello, my name is Alexander Tschugguel and I am the guy who threw the Pachamama idols into the River Tiber"

UPDATE: Taylor Marshall has a long video interview with Mr. Tschugguel, here, and there is a shorter one from LifeSiteNews, here. KathNet has a short text interview, here.

A few hours ago, in a third video released on the YouTube channel of "Michael Del Bufalo," one of the until now anonymous "Pachamama dunkers" revealed his identity.

His name is Alexander Tschugguel and he is from Vienna, Austria.

Yes, this real-life Catholic action hero actually has an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent.

Mr. Tschugguel, 26, may not be a household name or social media star among international Catholics but he is a somewhat well-known Catholic activist in Austria who, among other things, organized the recent March fürs Leben (March for Life) in Vienna. He has a Facebook page and a Twitter account where he has now identified himself as the anti-Pachamama culprit.

In an interview with Taylor Marshall, Tschugguel revealed that he knows traditionalist Bp. Athanasius Schneider fairly well. He was married by him and had earlier traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan at his invitation.     

In the wake of the synod, he has apparently launched the St. Boniface Institute, linked to from "Michael Del Bufalo" and his Twitter account.

Here is its Mission and Description:
The St. Boniface Institute was founded to give Catholic laity the possibility to speak out. No to paganism in the Church! No to the globalist agenda in the Church! No to the ongoing destruction from within! From the heart of Europe, we want to fight for the restoration of our wonderful Catholic culture and traditions, for a church that follows our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! 
The purpose of the association, whose activities are not profit-seeking, is to promote the Catholic tradition in Austria and throughout the European Union, to represent the interests of the Catholic laity in public discourse, and to assist in all matters relating to the activities of Catholic lay people to be. Especially by the holding of public events, the regular publication of writings, videos and sound recordings and the operation of a homepage, the association wants to draw attention to the interests of the Catholic laity. The association strives for good international networking with similar initiatives and associations in order to achieve its goals better.
The video is quite fun. Among other things we learn that when he and his YouTube confederate or confederates traveled to Santa Maria in Transpontina for their secret mission they had initially found it locked. At the precise moment they finished praying the Rosary it was opened.

Mr. Tschugguel explains that he wanted to initially remain anonymous so attention would be focused on the action and not on the identity of the "perpetrators." I think he was precisely right.

As many would now agree, the heroic action of Tschugguel and his friends, followed by Francis's unexpected and bizarre reaction to it - fishing the wooden carvings out of the Tiber with the help of the police, admitting they were representations of Pachamama and then enthroning Pachamama or an offering to her in the form of a ceremonial bowl on the altar of St. Peter's during the Synod's final Mass at St. Peter's formed the climactic and unambiguous final scene of what may go down in history as the beginning of the end of the Francis antipapacy.

Here is the video. A full transcript follows.

Hello, my name is Alexander Tschugguel and I am the guy who threw the Pachamama idles into the River Tiber.
Why did I do that?
You have to know I followed very closely what was happening in Rome surrounding the Amazon Synod, and I had the idea in my mind that I should get more information in Rome itself. So I traveled to Rome at the beginning of the Synod to attend a few conferences which were held to get closer information on all the different issues of the Amazon Synod
Around those conferences I visited the church Santa Maria in Transpontina, which is right between Castel Sant'Angelo and the Basilica of St. Peter. In this church there were two side chapels prepared for visitors of the Amazon Synod. So there were volunteers standing around, and within the chapels you saw different symbols of the Amazonian culture and the Amazonian area, and with this, you've those symbols [that] were statues of so-called Pachamamas.
The volunteers there explained us that these are signs of fertility and of Mother Earth and of integral ecology and everything, and when we talked a little bit longer with them they even explained us that the Synod is not about something religious it's more about politics. And I had lots of questions to them. I even talked to them about if the people in the Amazon get baptized from the missionaries, and they told me no, they normally not, because it's not part of their culture and so on.
So I was very upset. I went inside the church another time with a friend who is able to speak Portuguese to get even more information, and after all the visits and everything I heard, for me it was totally clear: this is against the First Commandment. It is something wrong. it is a Fertility goddess, Mother Earth, and the First Commandment - I am the Lord your God you shall not have other gods beside me, you shall not bow down to any graven image. And then I saw the video of them bowing down to this particularly graven image in the Vatican gardens.
I traveled back to Austria and really tried to think over and over over, is this, is this good, is this good. And then I came to the conclusion, together with friends of mine, we should do that, we should go to Rome, we should get the statues out of the church. They do not belong in a Catholic Church. They should be outside of the church.
So we traveled there. And in the early morning, two weeks ago, now, we stood up and went to the church Santa Maria in Transpontina. We heard it opens at 6:30 a.m. but apparently it was not opened. So we walked around a little bit, prayed a rosary as we sat down on the bench next to the church, prayed the rosary and when the last Hail Mary was spoken, the church doors were opened.
So we just went inside. I looked at both of the chapel's to see where the Pachamamas are now standing, then went inside the chapels and tried to get as many pagan things out of it as possible, so I was able to grab five Pachamama statues. Then we went outside of the church, went to the Castel Sant'Angelo, and next to the Castel Angelo there's bridge, the so-called Angels Bridge, and from the Angels Bridge we threw them one by one into the River Tiber.
It was a great success. We didn't really understood it in this second, but an hour later and two hours later and three hours later we really we really understood that this had a great impact on the Catholic world and on the Synod, because now everybody was seeing what happens in the Synod. They now try to inform themselves, what are these Pachamamas, what is it directly, what do they stand for, and they also - that that's not Catholic.
So we got tons of support and fantastic people prayed for us I think millions of rosaries by now, and I'm so glad and I'm so happy that this happened because you know without praying for each other nothing works.
And and so we decided we don't want to hide. I want to go out to public and tell them because I don't want them to think it was a coward action. We didn't go out earlier because we wanted the action itself being the main point at the discussion, so we wanted the people to talk about what happened and not who did it. But now, two weeks later, one week after the end of the Amazon Synod, we are ready, we want to face them, we want to show them there are some laymen, there are some laymen, we stand up and we don't longer accept things like that happening in the Catholic Church.
We were from Austria from Vienna and are now currently back in Vienna in our wonderful city and ready for for more action and for more work on it. So just subscribe to this channel on YouTube and then you will get another video within the next few hours and/or days where we will explain a little bit more about our thoughts we had about on the Synod. Till then, Godspeed, God bless you all and thank you for all your support.