Saturday, 19 March 2016

Scapegoating of Cardinal Pell


While reading Peter Westmore’s “I accuse A Travesty of justice” I couldn’t help but think of the “scapegoat phenomenon.”  This is the phenomenon where a victim will be chosen or indeed a substitute is chosen to atone for sins in lieu for the sins of the real sinners, and this victim will be seen to expiate and have atoned for the “sins” of the others. We have Jesus as the most perfect “scapegoat”

It is an interesting phenomenon because we in our enlightened society would be scandalized to think that we would use or have a “scapegoat” mentality or even think of punishing anyone other than the guilty party, but the reality is that we have recently been made privy to this phenomenon. The media in all its forms has clearly shown that someone has to “pay” for the “sins” of those offending and molesting priests of long ago.

The media in all its forms (print/visual/social) which we know even supported the victims and their supporters to travel all the way to Rome, to confront Cardinal Pell as he gave his evidence, together with Counsel for the Commission, who seemed intent on breaking down the voluntary witness (Pell) showed an intensity of fury against the witness (Pell) that one would have thought that it was he himself who was responsible for all the criminal acts committed.  That he was the criminal. That it was he who had committed all the offending acts.

 As I watched Counsel for the commission, Ms Gail Furness SC I kept being reminded of the Old Testament priest who laid his hands on the chosen “goat” and placed all the sins of the community on its head and then sent the goat out into the desert to die and so all sins of the community were expiated. (Hence scapegoat).  Is this what Ms Furness was trying to do?   Lay all past sexual abuse sins by sinful priests e.g.  Frs Risdale, Searson, Day and others laid on the head of Card. Pell and he was to take the fall for them? Goodness?  What a scalp!

 As we watched the proceedings being telecast from Rome it became obvious that truth was not the goal, but a side issue of this Royal Commission, and that the presumption guilt rather than the presumption of innocence was that which was to be proven.  The presumption of guilt overhung the whole proceedings like an unpleasant damp overcast Melbourne day, and even from thousands kilometres felt intolerable.

 Mr Peter McClellan QC Chairman of the Royal Commission also appeared to make no effort to temper the belligerence of his counsel (Furness) who was intent on proving the guilt of the Cardinal. Of showing him to be a liar and a non-caring person. From the beginning, Counsel for the commission (Furness) set out to find him guilty at least of knowing what was happening and doing nothing about it.  This was difficult to watch as the palpable hostility made it possible for anyone of goodwill to see that there was a long list of other individuals closer to the perpetrators who may have noted or seen something happening and more likely to do something about  it but it was Pell who was to be the fall guy.  Why?
Because apart from the scapegoat phenomenon in Australia we have a healthy “tall poppy syndrome” alive and well.  We will honour overseas guests and their accomplishments but our own we tend to demean. Our own must wander over the waters and then there is sense that something isn’t quite right.  

The scapegoating phenomenon can be found in all manner of situations where it seems like an injustice has been committed and no reparation done.  The “sin” has not supposedly been atoned
for and so sinner/s appear to have escaped punishment.  A “scapegoat” is chosen because of some link or association and for no other reason the denunciation, humiliation, persecution and removal from the community begins in earnest and persists until the “scapegoat” is finished, that is, dead.

 Whilst scapegoating is not a preferred term but a more modern term “witch-hunt” was used in the Pell experience I would suggest scapegoating is a more apt description because of the wave of hatred against the Cardinal and the Catholic Church,   which was incited by all forms of media and media personalities and which was also clearly demonstrated in the conduct of the members of the Royal Commission itself.

The anti-Pell saga played out before the eyes of the world and was done with the sole purpose of bringing down Cardinal Pell, to make him pay. To humiliate him, to embarrass him and the Church and to call into question his position at the Vatican.    
Someone had to pay for the sins of Ridsdale, Searson, Day, Ryan, and all the other other offending priests and the bigger the scalp the better the prize.



Sunday, 31 January 2016

Abortion and Violence

Victoria’s Royal Commission’s Inquiry into Domestic
Violence is very important and timely and this societal
violence needs to be stopped. Far too many children are
being murdered. Too many women. Too many men. There
is too much violence. Everywhere we turn there is one
more murder. One more stabbing. One more violent
assault. The home, the suburbs, the streets, schools, are
now a war zone.

We live in a society that is so comfortable we have it so
easy. So why so much violence? And always I go back to
loss of respect for life.
Yes indeed we have it easy. We have all the commodities
but at the cost of respect for another and above all for life.

Slowly respect for life has been eroded and this loss of
respect began with the loss of respect for the life of the
tiniest infant.

Those who cannot defend themselves. Abortion has
become “normal.” Abortion means killing another. A little
one and if we can kill a little one then as Mother Teresa
would say “if a mother can kill her own child what is left for
me to kill you and you to kill me, there is nothing between.”

Over one generation we have gone from abortion for
difficulties to abortion on demand to abortion to full term,
to infanticide. In less than 30 years. We are talking legal

death of birthed babies!!! (allowing aborted babies born
alive to die without assistance).We are talking about mothers
 taking their viable babies knowing that they would be
killed in a cruel way. We are talking about fathers taking
their sons or daughters to be killed intentionally.

And then we ask the Royal Commissioners to investigate
domestic/family violence. I wonder if the Commissioners
would ever think that an abortion could be the very start of
violence between previously happy couples.

 I wonder if the Commissioners would consider that the violence
experienced by a child in an abortion is a similar or
replicated version of violence committed during murder of
an adult. Or do they think it’s different?

We now know that there are psychological sequelae to
abortion. The woman experiences life long after effects
whilst the male is also affected but differently, generally
through his sense of impotence in the matter.

For the male who is affected it is often the sense of helplessness
at being unable to do anything to protect his child and this anger is
then turned inwards to self‐punish, by you guessed it, fighting, aggression.

Prior to the birth of the baby the father has absolutely no
rights in respect of the child. He cannot do anything to
protect the life of his child and if the mother of that child
does not want to keep, or give birth to that child then there
is no one who can prevent the abortion from happening.

No‐one, including the state, because the state has
purchased into the argument by legislating that the life of
that new individual whilst in utero is a nonentity, and
therefore dependent upon the whim of the host body.

Legislation has not decreed that the relationship between
woman and infant is symbiotic but at the same time the
infant is independent and deserving of the utmost respect.
It has in fact decreed that the life or death of that infant is
dependent upon the vagaries of the stronger of the two parties.
The violence we are daily fed through all forms of media is
symptomatic of the “just below the surface” violence within
the community. There is a tension, which must be released
and will not evaporate without leaving in its wake a disaster.

Just as we see a tension beneath the psychology of some
men and women after abortion. A tension which explodes
into violence. Both self‐harming and other harming

Perhaps an explanation (mine) of the response to abortion
may shed some light on this episode. Since the onset of the
culture of the “pill” and “me‐ism” (sexual revolution) the
woman has progressively taken control of her fertility and
her body. And indeed to be able to understand her body
and to guard and protect her body as inviolate is a good thing.

However, this is not what has happened. The woman has
demanded control over her body in as far as her fertility is
concerned, and has removed from her husband/partner
any rights and responsibility towards an act which has
esulted in a conception.

This, whilst ostensibly “good” as far as some men and
women are concerned, has ultimately failed all.
Today, whether he chooses or not, a man can walk away
from his responsibility towards a child he has engendered.

Conversely should he choose not to walk away from the
responsibility it can be forcibly wrenched from him so that
he cannot do anything to change the situation.

The removal of responsibility has not spelled equal rights,
as has been suggested, but indeed unequal suffering. The
woman suffers lifelong anguish. Yes it’s real. It happens
even for those who blithely believe that it hasn’t affected
them. The man suffers loss of something of his essence, of
his fatherhood, of his fathering. Of his manhood. He forgets
how to be man.

For the woman, in her very being there is a rupture unlike
any other. There is a grief quite unlike any other. The kind
of wrenching grief which is the result of guilt. The kind of
grief which is the result of the intent behind the loss. The
kind of grief which says, powerlessness, hopelessness,
utter despair. That is the kind of grief which abortion
leaves in its wake and is the legacy for the woman and man
(either short term or long term) who have acceded to the
abortion experience.
For the state and nation which has decreed that the killing
of its future citizens is lawful, there is to be other losses
which cannot ever be recouped. For this state or nation the
beginning of its end is in sight. Citizens begin their life as
zygotes, embryos, foetuses, babies, young ones,
adolescents, youth, and mature citizens.

A nation to be successful, progressive, depends on its citizens.
A nation needs to be able to sustain itself and to replace itself.
The birth of each child in every nation should be a celebration
and an acknowledgement that a future is assured because
our children are born. Abortion says otherwise. It says
death. And again as Mother Teresa would say “it is the
greatest destroyer of peace.”

Friday, 13 November 2015

My Brother's Keeper

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? (Genesis 4:10)


Dear friends as we sat in silence and waited for those members in parliament to see if they would vote in favour of their littlest brothers and sisters who would otherwise be condemned to death without even one person being able to offer a last moment of reprieve or even to stand there and wait whilst they died, the words “am I my brother’s keeper kept echoing loudly in my head “this thought came strongly into my heart. I share it with you because I think the words are appropriate and relevant for these days.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Asks Cain of God (Gn 4:10)

This original question remained suspended and unanswered for innumerable thousands

of years until it was answered by Jesus’ own resounding YES on the cross. No greater love hath he that he lay down his life for his friend

“No greater love hath he that he lay down his life for his friend” (Jn 15:13) or perhaps even lay down his life for his littlest brother/sister. This is what has been asked of those who answered the question “am I my brother’s keeper”

Jesus on the Cross died in place of his brother or sister and

in doing so answered the question “am I my brother’s

keeper”“   Yes. Yes.  shouts Jesus. “I died so my brother doesn’t die”

Yes, yes answered Jesus we are our brother’s keeper. This

is the response of love in answer to that ancient question of anti-love.

Today the new place of anti-love, the new place of violence, abortion demands a new response to. "Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes” answers Jesus and is willingly sacrificed.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Yes we respond by doing all we can to save our littlest brother or sister.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Yes, when we all mourn for the littlest one who is unjustly killed and its mother and father cannot mourn for it.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes” we answer when we refuse to accept the death of our littlest infants.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes, I am my brother’s keeper and his load which becomes too heavy I will help him carry”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes I am my brother’s keeper, I care that he dies unknown unrecognised, unloved. I care for him.”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes” I am my brother’s keeper, I mourn for every child who dies unloved, unwanted, uncherished.”

Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes” I am my brother’s keeper, I bleed because he is shredded and bleeds and dies.”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes I am my brother’s keeper, his death is unjust and his voice cries out

for justice and is in pain.”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes I am my brother’s keeper I will not stand by and watch while my

brother is killed and incinerated like something worthless. He is my greatest

treasure. My brother’s unjust death washes the ground with his blood. This has been done before. Sacred blood.”

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“Yes I am my brother’s keeper I will

not stand by and watch a child be abused, ill-treated, enslaved, killed.”

“Yes I am my brother’s keeper. I am diminished when my littlest brother or sister is wantonly killed.

Yes truly I am my brother’s keeper.”

Jesus responded to this question “am I my brother’s keeper?” when His own blood fell to the ground in droplets. He responded “I will redeem you and restore honour to you because you are my brother. I am your keeper. Your will not be alone.”  

Monday, 19 October 2015

Life Written In Tears-Abortion


Anne what exactly do you do?  This question is either answered swiftly as “grief counsellor” or “post abortion grief counsellor” depending on location or even questioner because it really does make a difference. The difference is that it may take hours or it may even lead to long discussions about prolife or prochoice issues on abortion and I don’t always want to engage in this discussion.

In my work I deal with what is called disenfranchised grief.  The kind of grief which is not supposed to occur because elective abortion is considered a choice for the termination to be made.  While there are different views surrounding difficult issues like abortion, the grief which follows is caught up in word games of political correctness.

Abortion, which is touted as only  a minor procedure, readily available, a woman’s right, a “non-event”  in fact does create dissonance both internally and societal.   Abortion grief is   “disenfranchised” (Doka, 1989) because whilst abortion is globally available, legal, and funded it is still not spoken about.  It is still placed in the woman’s peccadillo history.   A woman who miscarries is supported in her grief because she is seen as having “lost” the baby.  It was out of her control.  A woman who aborts has little if any support because she is seen as having chosen to terminate the life of her “foetus”. Her pregnancy was not considered endangered she chose the outcome.  Disenfranchisement comes from invalidation of her very real pain and sense of loss.  More painful than miscarriage because the woman sees herself as the instrument of her decision.

Because abortion grief counselling is still in its early stages of development and in many cases this type of grief still not even accepted, and therefore “best method” counselling still in the process of discovery, the rigid adherence to one particular approach I believe would be unsuitable because many things have to be taken into account.  E.g. counsellor’s own ideas about abortion and life matters which in cases may colour counselling and outcomes, even detrimentally.    
Abortion grief is not normal grief, I believe it is a complicated type of grief. Depression always follows, especially where the abortion decision is made under duress or fear.  Abortion grief is exacerbated through the need to remain silent and therefore no support network present.

My role, (and the role of any really good abortion grief counsellor) which I have developed over nearly 20 years through counselling, study, reading,  prayer, is to facilitate the grieving process which at times has been suppressed for many  years.  Perhaps the best way to explain what I do is to say that I actively give the woman grieving for an aborted child the permission to openly mourn and weep and to acknowledge the humanity of her child and the reality of the child’s death.   I honour, in the person grieving, her belief that her baby was of inestimable value.  I help her temporarily reconnect with her baby by helping her name the child, establish some history, establish a permanent name memorial where wanted,  and in due course bid the child goodbye with a goodbye ceremony.

When an abortion or miscarriage occurs there is usually the beginning of a story, small middle but no usual ending to the story, a baby.  This interrupted ending leaves the spiritual and psychological incomplete. This special grief counsellor helps to complete as much as possible the story. We support the process of grief, which has remained exposed and raw and help close the story for both mother and child in a beautiful manner as it should be.

As human beings we have a need to construct language, signs, symbols by which we attach meaning, and meaning for the human being is very important. If we can make sense or make meaning of something even very difficult, then we can cope with all manner of pain.  

 In this work of collecting of abortion tears, “meaning” is important because the loss through the abortion has proven to be traumatic.  “Meaning” is important because the result (of the abortion) has not brought to the woman her expected outcome, that is, freedom from difficulties, but instead has introduced a new dimension of difficulty and pain,  one which she had not anticipated. In this area of work “meaning” over the loss is attached to her own set of moral standards.  Meaning is found in the “meaning” of these standards for her.  All serious losses have “meaning” attached to them because assumptive worlds are disturbed by these losses. Her world of her normal has been shaken and nothing seems will be the same ever again.

 Emotionally relocating the aborted child into a spiritual (heavenly) realm is very healing for a mother who has at times lived with nightmares or even imaginings of her “dismembered” and hurting baby. To a mother who pre abortion did not look to internet for abortion images but now is drawn to them like a moth to a light,   to see the baby “whole” and well and beautiful and with God brings peace to her heart.  Releasing the child willingly to God.  Saying a conscious if tearful goodbye in the hope of a joyful future re union.  This is painful but also most healing.  It is an long journey to this place but in the area of abortion, relocating the infant into the arms of God and understanding love and forgiveness and reunion assists in the healing process. The therapist must also understand these to act as a special guide.   There will be future grief, yes, as with other types of losses, but it will be grief, and not despair.

 Continuing bonds with lost loved ones enables the relationship to be maintained, not as it might have been but in a new and different dimension.  When dealing with love and loss, it is unthinkable that physical absence would diminish the attachment or the bond.
Where there is deep mourning, anguished grief there is also found deep and unswerving love and this is the dimension, love, which does not die.  Love changes its dimension but continues.

 To forget and move on has a dimension of “use” inscribed within it.  To remember achingly has a dimension of “love “and “forever” inscribed within it.  To remember means that all that the baby was and was meant to be was not left behind but will be carried forward into the future, and into eternity because its history was written with Mum’s shed tears.

















Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Exclusion Zones

Recently in our state of Victoria a Bill has been introduced in our Parliament to enforce exclusion zones around abortion clinics.  This Bill introduced by the Sex Party’s Ms Fiona Patten (not surprising) seeks to remove from around the abortion clinic members of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants who pray daily and offer help to those entering the clinic if they wish to receive the help.  Many babies have been saved because these people have been there through summer and winter and year round and offer a hand to those who may have just needed someone to walk with them through a difficult time in this crisis pregnancy. 

They have at times sent women to me and I have spoken to them and helped them to decide against abortion and I know that there are 20 little ones running around because of help I personally have given.  One of the little ones is my very precious God son. So those helped are very real.

Imagine the wickedness which would try and prevent peaceful offers of help or presence outside this house of death.   

 You know the thing that has amazed me most of all through this is the lies that have been told about the “protestors” or as we know them the Helpers.  The media play right into the hands and do the bidding of the abortion clinic. Why?  Why is it important for the media to be so biased? 
Even in news services why speak about “protestors” in the negative tone who “have been there for 20 years” the reporters imply that they harass and call out “vile” names to those going into the clinic.

 On the day that the Bill was introduced the Lord Mayor Mr Doyle was on radio and was asked about the group and he called the “helpers” “vile” 7 times in the space of 2 minutes. I was driving and unable to do much but I am of the opinion that he should be visited and his opinion clarified about what is and who is and is not “vile.”  I felt deeply wounded as he called these holy people “vile” and I really understood how friends of Jesus must have felt.

                                       March for the Babies

 Date October Saturday 10th 2015 1pm at Treasury Gardens, Melbourne.  Meet at the corner of Spring Street and Wellington Parade .  East Melbourne

 Show your support by wearing pink and or blue
This is the 7th annual march for the babies a peaceful rally to defend the rights of the unborn babies and their mums.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Fruit of the Garden


God gave the command “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you must not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die” (Gen 2:16-17)

Throughout study of Biblical exegesis much has been written about the above quotation.  Many thoughts and  ideas posited as to the meaning of the fruits of the garden and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the “midst” of the garden.

 Perhaps the understanding can be taken literally.  It is a tree which stands in the middle of creation.  This tree bears a different type of fruit a fruit which when eaten urges deeper knowledge. However, I would suggest that the meaning of this tree and its fruit is many many levels deeper than first level meaning.

This of course is an opinion but an opinion born of deep thought. Of light bulb moments.

If it is possible to take that “man” (humans) have been in existence for an indeterminate eons then it begins to make more sense. 

That human beings slowly evolved from crass, primitive creatures to modern highly evolved ones is generally accepted.  That human beings were not always the morally, ethically, technically, spiritually informed creatures is also accepted, so stepping from this understanding we might have a look at the tree and the fruits found in the “midst” of the garden.

Traditional thinking has the “fruit” of the tree in the midst of the garden to be an apple. Of course this is an allegory. The origins of this thought stems from the word “malum” meaning “evil” and “mela   meaning “apple”   put together and hence the “apple” usually portrayed as the “fruit” which brought evil into the world.

Perhaps we may just leave this understanding at least for the time being and maybe lets look at other possibilities.

Perhaps a good place to start investigation might be Gen 9 and God’s covenant with Noah. At the beginning of Genesis 9 we find God blessing Noah and his family and bidding them to be “fruitful and multiply and fill the face of the earth “(9:1)  At this place too we see God appointing the  “human” governor over all the created order including the animal kingdom and all types of flora.  All created matter is to be under the dominion of “man” and for the use of man including the use of it for food.  

However, there is a specification and that specification gives us a first clue what “fruit” in the midst of the garden might be and the possibility of what the “garden” might allude to.

“Everything that moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.  But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the life blood of man,   By man shall his blood be shed:   For in the image of God has God made man” (Gn 9. 1-6).

 The evolution of human beings from very primitive type hominid is generally accepted by all communities except perhaps the very fundamentalist believers whose view of creation is that it is very very infantile in age.  However, if together with science and church belief we can accept that creation of the human being is at least several hundred thousand years old, then it might be possible to envisage a very primitive human species quite unlike the human person who has been ‘spiritualised” with its encounter and connection with Yahweh God.

The human being as we refer to man/woman in the fullest sense of our understanding is an enigma.  At some point in time a change occurred which raised the previous hominid to a much more ascetic level than the previous form.  This new ascetic level being the encounter with God and God breathing His breath of life and thus changing forever that species’ constitution from one of the perishable into the imperishable. It introduced a divine element renewing a previous rudimentary creature into a creature of magnificence in the image and likeness of God.  It is this new “man” which is capable of entering into the domain of God which up until this stage has been habited by God in His triune family and the angels who had not revolted against God.  Added to this with the new “man” it would be possible to see new creation enter into the realms of heaven.










Saturday, 14 February 2015

Hidden Pain, An Insight into Childhood Sexual Abuse

Hidden Pain is about memories which are hidden and cannot be spoken about.  It is a book about shame, pain, sorrow, and lives which have gone wrong both for victims, families and perpetrators'. 
Sexual abuse of children especially in family is common in all communities, in all societies and yet it is still one of those taboos which may not be spoken.  It is something which cannot be spoken about because it is so awful, so inappropriate that it cannot be discussed especially in such an "advanced" society as ours.  And yet discussed it must be because the children are crying to be heard and pleading to helped.

The book is available through
Freedom Publishing
35 Whitehorse Road,
Balwyn  Victoria   3103   Australia

Or perhaps even from myself as author,

Anne Lastman
PO Box 6094
Vermont South 3133
Victoria     Australia.

The RRP is $A30 (inc. ph)
 Overseas     $A30 + pp

The Unique Creation

each one of us has a unique beginning, the moment of conception…when the information carried by the sperm and by the ovum have encountered each other, then a new human being is defined by its own personal and human constitution is entirely spelled out.  The information which is inside the first cell obviously tells this cell all the tricks of the trade to build himself as the individual this cell is already… to build that particular individual which we will later call Margaret or Paul or Peter, its already there, but it’s so small we cannot see it… it’s what life is, the formula is there…if you allow the formula to be expanded by itself, just giving shelter and nurture, then you have the development of the full person.

Quote from Prof Jerome Le Lejeune, MD., PhD, Prof of Genetics at the University of Paris and Sorbonne

Imagine each individual having its own instruction to build itself. The instructions which tell it to be Peter, Paul, Margaret, Mary etc., and yet we as a society deprive these unique individuals of the life which rightly belongs to them.  What a travesty of justice and what silent weeping of the Angels who do not get to experience such a great honour of being able to create Paul, Peter, Mary or Margaret.  This honour is given only to the human person and the human person despises it.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Joseph Man of Silence


In his apostolic exhortation “Guardian of the Redeemer” the Holy Father JPII says of St Joseph, “I wish to offer for your consideration, dear brothers and sisters, some reflections concerning him into whose custody God entrusted his most precious treasures. I gladly fulfil this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Saviour whom he served in such an exemplary way.”

I think the most beautiful words in the above quote are “into whose custody God entrusted His most precious of treasures”  For indeed God must have honoured and prepared St Joseph from all eternity for the task of being “Guardian of the Redeemer:”

The most interesting aspect of the Joseph story is his silence.  Not a word is uttered by him in any of the Gospels.  However, whilst silence dominates his person from the description of the Gospel writers, his life and guardianship roles are illuminated by vigilance, compassion, love, and action.  Indeed all the characteristics of God the Eternal Father.

 St Joseph whilst venerated by the church remains an enigma. He remains courteously waiting to be called to action just as surely as he did when he was involved in the life story of Jesus and Mary.

The present slow and insidious disintegration of the family and society is made more grotesquely disfigured by the decline, disdain, loss of respect and attack on God the Father and fatherhood in general.  In this atmosphere of confusion and suffering we need a strong focus.  We need a strong human male to silently but courageously show the way out of the quagmire of decline and death.  That man is St Joseph, husband, father and saint.

 Just as St Joseph was called by God to serve the person and mission of Jesus directly “through the exercise of his fatherhood” (Guardian of the Redeemer) so too his co-operation and help will be necessary if we are to defeat the demons of this day.

Whenever God wishes to do something new with humanity, He usually prefigures the event in a most astonishing way.  Jesus was prefigured by Isaac, Moses, David, et. al.  Mary was prefigured by Esther, Hannah, and the mother of the reigning king, so too St Joseph was prefigured by his own namesake Joseph, son of Jacob (Gn. 39-50) in the Old Testament.

Joseph the favourite son of Jacob was betrayed by his own and finally ascended to the highest position in the land of Egypt. His guardianship of the granaries ensured the wellbeing of the people of the land and especially the wellbeing of his own family most especially those who had forsaken him.

“Go to Joseph and do what he tells you” (Gen 42:55) says the Pharaoh to the Egyptians.  Joseph is in charge of the grain for the bread. Joseph is in control of life sustaining elements.  New Testament Joseph is also placed in charge but not of earthly grain but the most sublime living bread, the “bread that comes down from heaven” (Jn 6:32-40) “the bread of life” (Jn 6:35).

 The ancient patriarch Joseph was saved and then hidden from his kinsmen to fulfil a future need.  God disguised him for the purpose of saving His people who were covenanted to Himself.  The Joseph of Nazareth was also a screen but this time he hid the reality of the Virgin birth and the Virgin mother and her child.  In this role as husband of Mary, her miraculous pregnancy and the birth of the child.  Jesus remained hidden from the adversary and society until the appointed time.

 Perhaps today as we struggle under the weight of personal and societal sin, it is again the “opportune time” to call again on St Joseph to help us regain the meaning of family, fatherhood and service in love.  Indeed the role of St Joseph was to serve the Redeemer as “father” and the Redeemer’s mother as “spouse” and together completely fulfil the will and plan of God.

Meditating on the infancy narratives it’s very clear that St Joseph held the authority over the household in Nazareth.  It was Joseph who officially name the child Jesus (Mt 1:24) It was Joseph who was asked by the angel to “arise and take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt” (Mt 2:13). It was Joseph who was told to take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel” (Mt 2:30) And Joseph also who shared with Mary the great anxiety at the loss of the child (Lk 2:48) and finally we are clearly told that Jesus “went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them” (Lk2:51.  The role of Joseph as guardian of the Redeemer and spouse of the Redeemer’s mother, surely entitles him to be venerated and called upon to be protector of the family and patron of fatherhood.

“Our prayers and the very person of Joseph have renewed significance for the church in our day in the light of the third millennium.  This just man, who bore within himself the entire heritage of the Old Covenant, was also brought into the beginning of the new and eternal covenant in Jesus Christ.  May he show us the paths of his saving covenant as we stand at the threshold of the next millennium, in which there must be a continuation and further redevelopment of the “fullness of time” that belongs to the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word.  May St Joseph obtain for the Church and for the world as well as for each of us the blessing of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit” (Guardian of the Redeemer p36.).

Further, as we enter into this new 21st millennium, may we meditate not only the fatherhood of God, the Sonship of Jesus Christ, and the Virginal Motherhood of Mary of Nazareth, but also on the earthly fatherhood of St Joseph.  Both the Eternal Father and earthly father of Jesus Fathered him well, and loved the child they individually and completely fathered (Jesus) and both of these fathers love the siblings of Jesus, humanity.  In fact so much so that the Universal church has appointed St Joseph as Guardian of the Household of God. Guardian and protector of the “Bride” of Christ the church.  The Protection of his son’s bride has been given to Joseph just as surely as the care and protection of the young child was given to him, until the fullness of time.


Sunday, 25 January 2015

Invisible Holocausts


At the dawn of the new millennium, as we face more and more threats both to the human person and to society, we can and must take stock of the situation and the state of the human person especially in the emotional stakes.  Where do we find the human person?  Is the human person happier in our very advanced society or have we traded in one set of circumstances for another.
An overview of our world would certainly show that irrespective of our advancements in technology, and our understanding of human mind and human body, at the emotional level we have not progressed.  Indeed I would even suggest that we have regressed.  We have wounded our psyche or spirit and it’s grieving.
A daily diet of pain and loss brought into households via all media is the both “manmade” and natural disasters.  Since the beginning of the new millennium (2001) the world has been held captive with daily horrors, new sufferings previously unknown enshrouding it with grief.  It seems that one disaster is cleared a new one overwhelms us.  September the 11th, Bali bombings, London bombings, Indonesia bombings, Tsunami, hurricane, Beslan, Iraqi war, the Middle East war, the new form of terrorism and barbarism of new terror campaigns by extremists.

 “How did we get to this point?”

“How did we miss the signs?”

“How can ordinary people do this to other ordinary people?”

These questions can be answered in many ways.

There are those who would insist that we missed the signs because we have become desensitized to suffering due to the non stop visual diet of violence on screens.  Most of present society has grown up with onscreen violence, shooting, death, torture, destruction.  So much so that today there is confusion between “real” and “reel” violence.
Some would say that as a society we have evolved to a stage where the human person is no longer seen as inviolable and divinely made, but a bunch of cells, but not more important than any other creature and quite disposable lawfully.  Those that would say this continue to proclaim that disposing of a human being in its genesis and end stage is a right and must be retained as a right.   Somehow this makes sense if the human person is no more than a bunch of cells because bunches of cells do little to activate an emotional response.  So it has become necessary to de humanize and to remove imagery from the human consciousness.  When this is accomplished then then all things become possible.
Indeed some would even say that the human creature, unlike the beast is not in danger of extinction. Where the animal creature needs legal protection against the so called human predator in order for the species to survive, the human person can be legally disposed because it is believed and is seen as overpopulating and polluting the environment and therefore better to be culled. (Imagine,  a child to be culled!). 

 It’s interesting this thought because the environment was created to sustain the human, but now the human must be terminated in order not to disturb the ecological balance. Yes we have reached the stage of calling good evil and evil good.
A bird’s eye view of the past fifty five years will allow us to see that enormous transformation which has taken place has occurred
Perhaps the sixties can be seen as the water shed of much radical change and the question must be asked, why?  The answer is made up of many possibilities.  A weakened humanity as a result of two major world wars in one generation. Korean War. Vietnam War. Civil wars. Localized wars.  Intense migration and displacement.  The community feature of life missing because of migration. All these contributed to the change.
 An interesting aspect of the years in question was that for the first time in history wars were not only fought on the battlefields where the so called enemies fought, but were brought into the home and lounge rooms of nations.  The cruelty of war was brought before the eyes and heart of populations rather than being left on the battlefront.  The cruelty of war was presented daily as a diet, which slowly desensitized to pain.  The major wars, combined with the incessant rumors of war combined with the beginnings of tumult at home served to slowly change the understanding about war.  The enemy had a face.  The enemy could be seen dead.  “Our” boys faired well and they “killed” the other.  Prior to these wars, battlegrounds were battlegrounds where killing took place but for those at home it could only be imagined rather than visual.  Indeed it was for the honour of protecting those at home and this was a noble ideal.
 News and television services did much to change our society.  The arrival of television; the sexual revolution brought about by the contraceptive pill, the explicit imagery of Vietnam War and other war casualties all contributed to change.   Indeed even movies contributed to the “kill the enemy” thinking. The constant seeing of men and women being killed before one’s eyes under the guise of movies and “it’s not real” served to cajole the rest of the human beings into believing that those being killed were the enemy and deserving of such a fate.  Slowly the notion of killing the other became more and more a part of the daily diet of incoming information being fed to the viewing and listening public and normalized.   
 The Second World War with its unparalleled brutality, Vietnam War with its screened cruelty was quickly followed by a revolution at home.  Perhaps this surfaced because of the images of horror.  Perhaps it surfaced because cruelty was portrayed as something inevitable.  Whatever it was, the imagery caused pain both to those experiencing it and psychological pain to those viewing it.  And of course to alleviate the pain and forget, then the drug and substance abuse culture, which had previously been unheard of, slowly arose.  With a “fix” the pain was not so bad.  If life was so cheap then it became important to live life to the “full” that is, to experience all manner of excitement.  
The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed us that it is easy to decimate whole populations.  Live and let live.  Love and let love.  Sex and more sex. And of course to assist those who wanted to live a life free from any constraints, the contraceptive devices, pill and all other measures became the response.    
Perhaps the images of death brought home so clearly and visually brought a sense of terror and finality to those who were not part of the warring milieu.  Perhaps those at home were more affected than those on the battlefield, because those at home were powerless to do anything to save the loved ones or even unloved ones.  Whatever the ultimate cause, it could be said that the changes were too many and too fast and the response to the changes were equally drastic and devastating.
The ground was cultivated, and made ready to plant.  It was tilled and prepared to plant and indeed when a soil is prepared and a seed is planted then of course the seed will germinate and sprout and grow.  The soil was planted with different seeds and encouraged to grow.  I am reminded of the biblical passages of the Wheat and the darnel both grew together and the Lord encouraged allowing both to grow parallel. Not to pull out the darnel for fear of pulling out wheat also.  It is the parallel growth, which has now, appears to have reached a time of needing to pull out one or the other or both the wheat and the darnel.

Since the sexual revolution of the sixties facilitated by the introduction of the contraceptive pill and encouraged by a population of dissenters who had been prepared for this moment, the role of woman also changed.  Woman was no longer to be the “supposed” downtrodden partner whose value was measured by her role of wife and mother home worker, but she herself was encouraged to be “other” than what she had been.  The new contraceptive mentality served to loosen what some females in the sisterhood decreed as enslaving bonds and free her to be something “other.”  The loosening meant that she no longer was to subject herself to the demands of home, husband and children and family.  Nurturer, partner and silent commander.  The loosening meant that there was a new hat to be worn.  A foreign hat.  It was not to be a beret or scarf but a war helmet.  It was to be khakis rather than a skirt.   It was to be as a so-called equal in all things of the man rather than his so called subservient chattel.

As a result of this new woman society was introduced to a new holocaust.

The past wars had been visible holocausts. That is, holocausts of lives sacrificed when sent to war to fight for ideals and family.  The new holocaust has been an invisible one where the victims would be offered for the new ideals of hedonism, me ism, consumerism, all the new isms of a new society. And this new idol has been demanding especially of woman.  It has demanded most from her.  It demands daily global sacrifice of only innocence.  This new idol demands babies and the pace of their mothers. This new idol demands nothing short of infants who have not even been born. Abortion.  

First, the visible holocaust on battle fields and now an invisible holocaust. Abortion.  

Those who went to war on battlefields were told that ideals were the reward

And in the invisible holocaust, abortion, the ideals espoused, that is women’s rights, freedom to choose, etc. are also quoted as the ideal to be embraced. The loss and grief for woman always the target of holocausts because woman has always had to stand by and watch the child of her womb be sacrificed whether as a young man or unborn or even as drug afflicted child who has slithered into a nether world because of some grief.
And so the grief experienced by those who viewed the wars on screen and were unable to assist followed by a new silent grief for the invisible holocaust permeates society. A societal grief now blankets the human beings.  A grief which is acted out in horror activity of lifestyles, drugs, self-destructive behaviours, and an nihilistic ideals. 

The advancements of societal achievements have not improved the life of the human person but indeed those who are permitted to be born then become mourning society. Mourning for its scapegoat losses.