Charlie's Blog: April 2018


St. Alphonsus Liguori on the Advantages of Tribulations

Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him:
Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another?

IN tribulations God enriches his beloved souls with the greatest graces. Behold, St. John in his chains comes to the knowledge of the works of Jesus Christ: ” When John had heard in prison the works of Christ." Great indeed are the advantages of tribulations. The Lord sends them to us, not because he wishes our misfortune, but because he desires our welfare. Hence, when they come upon us we must embrace them with thanksgiving, and must not only resign ourselves to the divine will, but must also rejoice that God treats us as he treated his Son Jesus Christ, whose life, upon this earth was always full of tribulation. I shall now show, in the first point, the advantages we derive from tribulations; and in the second, I shall point out the manner in which we ought to bear them.

First Point. On the great advantages we derive from tribulations.

1. "What doth he know that had not been tried? A man that hath much experience shall think of many things, and he that hath learned many things shall show forth understanding." (Eccl. xxxiv. 9.) They who live in prosperity, and have no experience of adversity, know nothing of the state of their souls. In the first place, tribulation opens the eyes which prosperity had kept shut. St. Paul remained blind after Jesus Christ appeared to him, and, during his blindness, he perceived the errors in which he lived. During his imprisonment in Babylon, King Manasses had recourse to God, was convinced of the malice of his sins, and did penance for them. "And after that he was in distress he prayed to the Lord his God, and did penance exceedingly before the God of his fathers." (2 Paral. xxxiii. 12.) The prodigal, when he found himself under the necessity of feeding swine, and afflicted with hunger, exclaimed: ”I will arise and go to my father." (Luke xv. 18.)

Secondly, tribulation takes from our hearts all affections to earthly things. When a mother wishes to wean her infant she puts gall on the paps, to excite his disgust, and induce him to take better food. God treats us in a similar manner: to detach us from temporal goods, he mingles them with gall, that by tasting its bitterness, we may conceive a dislike for them, and place our affections on the things of Heaven. ”God," says St. Augustine, ”mingles bitterness with earthly pleasures, that we may seek another felicity, whose sweetness does not deceive." (Ser. xxix., de Verb. Dom.)

Thirdly, they who live in prosperity are molested by many temptations of pride , of vainglory; of desires of acquiring greater wealth, great honours, and greater pleasures. Tribulations free us from these temptations, and make us humble and content in the state in which the Lord has placed us. Hence the Apostle says: ”We are chastised by the Lord that we may not be condemned with this world." (1 Cor. xi. 32.)

2. Fourthly, by tribulation we atone for the sins we have committed much better than by voluntary works of penance. "Be assured," says St. Augustine, "that God is a physician, and that tribulation is a salutary medicine." Oh! how great is the efficacy of tribulation in healing the wounds caused by our sins! Hence, the same saint rebukes the sinner who complains of God for sending him tribulations. ”Why," he says, ”do you complain? What you suffer is a remedy, not a punishment." (In Ps. lv.) Job called those happy men whom God corrects by tribulation; because he heals them with the very hands with which he strikes and wounds them. "Blessed is the man whom God correcteth. . . . For he woundeth and cureth. He striketh, and his hand shall heal." (Job v. 17, 18.) Hence, St. Paul gloried in his tribulations: ”Gloriamur in tribulationibus." (Rom. v. 3.)

3. Fifthly, by convincing us that God alone is able and willing to relieve us in our miseries, tribulations remind us of him, and compel us to have recourse to his mercy. ”In their affliction they will rise early to me." (Osee vi. 1.) Hence, addressing the afflicted, the Lord said: ”Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you." (Matt. xi. 28.) Hence he is called”a helper in troubles." (Ps. xlv. 1 .) “When," says David," he slew them, then they sought him, and they returned." (Ps. lxxvii. 34.) When the Jews were afflicted, and were slain by their enemies, they remembered the Lord, and returned to him.

4. Sixthly, tribulations enable us to acquire great merits before God, by giving us opportunities of exercising the virtues of humility, of patience, and of resignation to the divine will. The venerable John d’Avila used to say, that a single blessed be God: in adversity, is worth more than a thousand acts in prosperity. ”Take away," says St. Ambrose, ”the contests of the martyrs, and you have taken away their crowns." (In Luc., c. iv.) Oh! what a treasure of merit is acquired by patiently bearing insults, poverty, and sickness! Insults from men were the great objects of the desires of the saints, who sought to be despised for the love of Jesus Christ, and thus to be made like unto him.

5. How great is the merit gained by bearing with the inconvenience of poverty. ”My God and my all," says St. Francis of Assisium: in expressing this sentiment, he enjoyed more of true riches than all the princes of the Earth. How truly has St. Teresa said, that”the less we have here, the more we shall enjoy hereafter." Oh! how happy is the man who can say from his heart: My Jesus, thou alone art sufficient for me! If, says St. Chrysostom, you esteem yourself unhappy because you are poor, you are indeed miserable and deserving of tears; not because you are poor, but because, being poor, you do not embrace your poverty, and esteem yourself happy."“Sane dignus es lachrymis ob hoc, quod miserum te extimas, non ideo quod pauper es." (Serm, ii., Epis. ad Phil.)

6. By bearing patiently with the pains of sickness, a great, and perhaps the greater, part of the crown which is prepared for us in Heaven is completed. The sick sometimes complain that in sickness they can do nothing; but they err; for, in their infirmities they can do all things, by accepting their sufferings with peace and resignation. ”The Cross of Christ," says St. Chrysostom, ”is the key of Paradise." (Com. in Luc. de vir.)

7. St. Francis de Sales used to say . ”To suffer constantly for Jesus is the science of the saints; we shall thus soon become saints." It is by sufferings that God proves his servants, and finds them worthy of himself. ”Deus tentavit es, et invenit eos dignos se." (Wis. iii. 5) "Whom," says St. Paul, "the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." (Heb. xii. 6.) Hence, Jesus Christ once said to St. Teresa: ”Be assured that the souls dearest to my Father are those who suffer the greatest afflictions." Hence Job said: ”If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil ?" (Job. ii. 10.) If we have gladly received from God the goods of this Earth, why should we not receive more cheerfully tribulations, which are far more useful to us than worldly prosperity? St. Gregory informs us that, as flame fanned by the wind increases, so the soul is made perfect when she is oppressed by tribulations. ”Ignis flatu premitur, ut crescat." (Ep. xxv.)

8. To holy souls the most severe afflictions are the temptations by which the Devil impels them to offend God: but they who bear these temptations with patience, and banish them by turning to God for help, shall acquire great merit. ”And," says St. Paul, ”God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will also make issue with the temptation that you may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. x. 13.) God permits us to be molested by temptations, that, by banishing them, we may gain greater merit. ”Blessed," says the Lord, ”are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. ”(Matt. v. 5.) They are blessed, because, according to the Apostle, our tribulations are momentary and very light, compared with the greatness of the glory which they shall obtain for us for eternity in Heaven. ”For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory” (1 Cor. iv. 17.)

9. It is necessary, then, says St. Chrysostom, to bear tribulations in peace; for, if you accept them with resignation, you shall gain great merit; but if you submit to them with reluctance, you shall increase, instead of diminishing, your misery”Si vero ægre feras, neque calamitatum minorem facies, et majorem reddes procellam” (Hom. Ixiv., ad Pop.) If we wish to be saved, we must submit to trials. ”Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts xiv. 21.) A great servant of God used to say, that Paradise is the place of the poor, of the persecuted, of the humble and afflicted. Hence St. Paul says: "Patience is necessary for you, that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise." (Heb. x. 36.) Speaking of the tribulations of the saints, St. Cyprian asks”What are they to the servants of God, whom Paradise invites ?" (Ep, ad Demetr.) Is it much for those to whom the eternal goods of Heaven are promised, to embrace the short afflictions of this life?

10. In fine, the scourges of Heaven are sent not for our injury, but for our good. ”Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord, with which, like servants, we are chastised, have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction." (Judith viii. 27.)”God," says St. Augustine, ”is angry when he does not scourge the sinner." (In Ps. Ixxxix.) When we see a sinner in tribulation in this life, we may infer that God wishes to have mercy on him in the next, and that he exchanges eternal for temporal chastisement. But miserable the sinner whom the Lord does not punish in this life! For those whom he does not chastise here, he treasures up his wrath, and for them he reserves eternal chastisement.

11. ”Why," asks the Prophet Jeremiah, ”doth the way of the wicked prosper?” (xii. 1.) Why, Lord, do sinners prosper? To this the same prophet answers: ”Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice, and prepare them for the day of slaughter." (Tb. v. 3.) As on the day of sacrifice the sheep intended for slaughter are gathered together, so the impious, as victims of divine wrath, are destined to eternal death. "Destine them," says Du Hamel, in his commentary on this passage, "as victims of thy anger on the day of sacrifice."

12. When, then, God sends us tribulations, let us say with Job: "I have sinned, and indeed I have offended, and I have not received what I have deserved." (Job xxxiii. 27.) O Lord, my sins merit far greater chastisement than that which thou hast inflicted on me. We should even pray with St. Augustine, ”Burn cut spare not in this life, that thou mayest spare for eternity." How frightful is the chastisement of the sinner of whom the Lord says: “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice." (Is. xxvi. 10.) Let us abstain from chastising the impious: as long as they remain in this life they will continue to live in sin, and shall thus be punished with eternal torments. On this passage St. Bernard says: "Misericordiam hanc nolo, super omnem iram miseratio ista." (Serin, xlii., in Cant.) Lord, I do not wish for such mercy, which is a chastisement that surpasses all chastisements.

13. The man whom the Lord afflicts in this life has a certain proof that he is dear to God. ”And," said the angel to Tobias, ”because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptations should prove thee." (Tob. xii. 13.) Hence, St. James pronounces blessed the man who is afflicted: because after he shall have been proved by tribulation, he will receive the crown of life." (Jam. i. 12.)

14. He who wishes to share in the glory of the saints, must suffer in this life as the saints have suffered. None of the saints has been esteemed or treated well by the world all of them have been despised and persecuted. In them have been verified the words of the Apostle: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. iii. 12.) Hence St. Augustine said, that they who are unwilling to suffer persecutions, have not as yet begun to be Christians. “Si putas non habere persecutiones, nondum cæpisti esse Christianus." (In Ps. Iv.) "When we are in tribulation, let us be satisfied with the consolation of knowing that the Lord is then near us and in our company. ”The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart." (Ps. xxxiii. 19.)”I am with him in tribulation." (Ps. xc. 15.)

Second Point. On the manner in which we should bear tribulations.

15. He who suffers tribulations in this world should, in the first place, abandon sin, and endeavour to recover the grace of God; for as long as he remains in sin, the merit of all his sufferings is lost. ”If," says St. Paul, ”I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) If you suffered all the torments of the martyrs; or bore to be burned alive, and were not in the state of grace, it would profit you nothing.

16. But, to those who can suffer with God, and with resignation for God’s sake, all the tribulations shall be a source of comfort and gladness. ”Your sorrow shall be turned into joy." (John xvi. 20.) Hence, after having been insulted and beaten by the Jews, the apostles departed from the council full of joy, because they had been maltreated for the love of Jesus Christ. ”And they indeed went from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus." (Acts v. 41.) Hence, when God visits us with any tribulations, we must say with Jesus Christ: ”The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?" (John xviii. 11.) It is necessary to know that every tribulation, though it may come from men, is sent to us by God.

17. When we are surrounded on all sides with tribulations, and know not what to do, we must turn to God, who alone can console us. Thus King Josaphat, in his distress, said to the Lord: "As we know not what to do, we can only turn our eyes to thee." (2 Par. xx. 12.) Thus David also in his tribulation had recourse to God, and God consoled him: "In my trouble I cried to the Lord, and he heard me." (Ps. cxix. 1.) We should turn to God, and pray to him, and never cease to pray till he hears us. ”As the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until he have mercy on us." (Ps. cxxii. 2.) We must keep our eyes continually raised to God, and must continue to implore his aid, until he is moved to compassion for our miseries. We must have great confidence in the heart of Jesus Christ, and ought not to imitate certain persons, who instantly lose courage because they do not feel that they are heard as soon as they begin to pray. To them may be applied the words of the Saviour to St. Peter: "O thou of little faith! why didst thou doubt?" (Matt. xiv. 31.) When the favours which we ask are spiritual, or can be profitable to our souls, we should be certain of being heard, provided we persevere in prayer, and do not lose confidence. ”All things whatsoever you ask when ye pray, believe that you shall receive, and they shall come unto you." (Mark xi. 24.) In tribulations, then, we should never cease to hope with confidence that the divine mercy will console us; and if our afflictions continue, we must say with Job: ”Although he should kill me, I will trust in him." (xiii. 15.)

18. Souls of little faith, instead of turning to God in their tribulations, have recourse to human means, and thus provoke God’s anger, and remain in their miseries. “Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it." (Ps. cxxvi. 1.) On this passage St. Augustine writes: "Ipse ædificat, ipse intellectum aperit, ipse ad finem applicat sensum vestrum: et tamen laboramus et nos tanquam operarii, sed nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem," etc. All good all help must come from the Lord. Without him creatures can give us no assistance.

19. Of this the Lord complains by the mouth of his prophet: ”Is not," he says, ”the Lord in Sion? . . .Why then have they provoked me to wrath with their idols. . . Is there no balm in Galaad? or is there no physician there? Why then is not the wound of the daughter of my people closed?" (Jer. viii. 19, 22.) Am I not in Sion? Why then do men provoke me to anger by recurring to creatures, which they convert into idols by placing in them all their hopes? Do they seek a remedy for their miseries? Why do they not seek it in Galaad, a mountain full of balsamic ointments, which signify the divine mercy? There they can find the physician and the remedy of all their evils. Why then, says the Lord, do your wounds remain open? Why are they not healed? It is because you have recourse not to me, but to creatures, and because you confide in them, and not in me.

20. In another place the Lord says: "Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a late ward springing land? Why then have my people said: We are revolted; we will come to thee no more ?. .But my people have forgotten me days without number." (Jer. ii. 31, 32.) God complains, and says: ”Why, my children, do you say that you will have recourse to me no more? Am I become to you a barren land, which gives no fruit, or gives it too late? Is it for this reason that you have so long forgotten me? By these words he manifests to us his desire that we pray to him, in order that he may be able to give us his graces; and he also gives us to understand that when we pray to him, he is not slow, but instantly begins to assist us.

21. The Lord, says David, is not asleep when we turn to his goodness, and ask the graces which are profitable to our souls: he hears us immediately, because he is anxious for our welfare. "Behold, he shall neither slumber nor sleep that keepeth Israel." (Ps. cxx. 4.) When we pray for temporal favours, St. Bernard says that God”will give what we ask, or something more useful." He will grant us the grace which we desire, whenever it is profitable to our souls; or he will give us a more useful grace, such as the grace to resign ourselves to the divine will, and to suffer with patience our tribulations, which shall merit a great increase of glory in Heaven.


Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 62

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

It was inevitable that there would be a push to try and legalize weed in the Palmetto State. This would be a total mistake. I suspect that a red state like South Carolina will reject such a thing, and I am counting on it. I will definitely vote against it if it is ever put to a referendum. And why do I feel this way? Marijuana is used to treat a lot of medical conditions such as glaucoma, chronic pain, and nausea from chemtotherapy and radiation. But the number one medical condition medical marijuana is used to treat is the condition called "not being high." In short, it is a joke.

You're not allowed to drink alcohol in public, but cops look the other way if your bottle is in a brown paper bag. Similarly, people tolerate weed if it is "medical." But we all know better. It is de facto legalization. Even the people pushing for medical marijuana know this. Let's just do ourselves a favor and not kid ourselves on this. And we definitely need to not demonize legalization foes as being against sick people.

The reality is that marijuana is a drug for stoners and losers. Colorado has already gone down this road, and Coloradans are feeling the regret of their stupid decision to legalize this crap. Crime has gone up in Colorado since legalization. The state has become a crap magnet for potheads and homeless people. And the state has become a growing ground for weed to be exported to states where it remains illegal. I suspect that if the referendum was held again that the people of Colorado would vote to make weed illegal once more.

I am not a drug warrior. I think the War on Drugs has been a disaster. But I do not favor legalization either. I favor decriminlization where marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punished by a fine and mandated drug treatment. I think it should be treated like drunk driving and not like capital murder. The point of this policy is to keep the stigma on it much like we keep a stigma on tobacco or alcohol.

Marijuana use should not be encouraged. And one look at opiod abuse shows the dangers of legalization. Weed carries no risk of killing anyone, but it does make people become layabout losers. That's enough to keep it illegal.


Alfie Evans is dead. The British NHS saw to that despite the opportunity for Alfie to be treated in Italy. His parents fought to save him much like Charlie Gard's parents did. But the NHS and the British courts fought to see him die. Let that sink in.

These tragedies are the inevitable result of socialized medicine. Judgments of life and death are made on purely utilitarian grounds, and the most utilitarian reason will be budgets and money. Gentle Reader, understand something. It costs no money to let someone die. Consequently, death will always be the most utilitarian option. Why even have hospitals?

As a conservative, I definitely believe in free market healthcare. Socialized medicine is death, but I think even the most progressive of people believe that a person should at a minimum be allowed to leave a hospital and refuse care and opt for their own. But I am a fool for believing this. These are the same people responsible for the death of millions in abortion and the champions of euthanasia. The only time these evil bastards are for life is when they defend murderers from being executed.

As a Catholic, I can say that the Roman Catholic Church should just shut up about cases like Alfie Evans. Once upon a time, the Church ran hospitals and were a real blessing to families like the family of Alfie Evans. But then, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church decided that they would lobby for socialized medicine beside the Marxists and abdicate its long venerable traditions of charitable healthcare. What Catholic hospitals remain have sold out or elected to sell out to profit seeking healthcare corporations. Consequently, the Catholic Church wants to lecture corporations and governments about a job that it refuses to do but was commanded to do by our Lord.


Once upon a time, NBC had this show on Saturday night that was actually funny. This show spawned the careers of comedy legends and quite a few hit movies. The show has had its highs and lows over its four decades, but it is now in some sort of permanent trough of garbage masquerading as comedy. I find the show utterly unwatchable. I catch a clip once in awhile that has been shared with me, and none of the clips are funny. Then, there is Alec Bladwin and his disgraceful impersonation of Donald Trump. It takes a special kind of stupidity to make yourself look more ridiculous than the person you are mocking, and Alec Baldwin has that special kind of stupidity.

SNL needs to end. I am not a proponent of euthanasia, but I will make this singular exception and say that Saturday Night Live is in desperate need of a mercy killing. The reason a show like SNL has lasted through its down periods is mostly because of scheduling. Saturday night at 11:30 is a graveyard for network programming, and SNL faces virtually no competition in that slot. Similar shows on other networks which were better did not last nearly as long because of unforgiving time slots and competition. But SNL is so bad now that a late night infomercial is more pleasant to watch in comparison.

The secret to comedy is to show the world and the people in it as being worse than they are in actuality. This requires a belief in normative standards of goodness and morality that your fallible characters fail to achieve. Without these, you have no comedy. SNL has succumbed to its own nihilism. The result is that you have an actor like Alec Baldwin who is personally more flawed than the man he mocks. If you doubt this, here's a refresher. As for the rest of the SNL cast, they are a collection of talentless hacks not worth the union minimum they pay actors in NYC. SNL is so bad now that another show could just make a running gag out of how bad SNL is now.

Saturday Night Live should be retitled as Saturday Night Dead. This show makes roadkill seem refreshing because it stinks so badly now. Bill Murray is spinning in his grave right now except the guy isn't dead yet. That's how bad this show is now. NBC needs to pull the plug on this one.


I don't know if South Carolina drivers are the worst in the USA, but I do believe they are the stupidest. There is not a single day that I don't see a wreck of one kind or another. The most baffling of these accidents are the one vehicle accidents where people run off the road. The weather will be perfect, yet you see these idiots with their cars in the ditch or mangled in the cables in the median. What's the story here? That's easy. You see, the drivers in SC can't spend a moment not glued to their smartphones, and SCHP never polices these idiots texting while driving. So often, I look in my rearview mirror to see the back of someone's smartphone. The Apple logo has become synonymous with "idiot driver" for me. They need to start writing tickets for this crap. Then, it will stop.


The best penance is to have patience with the sorrows God permits. A very good penance is to dedicate oneself to fulfill the duties of everyday with exactitude and to study and work with all our strength.

If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all.

We must speak to them with our hands by giving, before we try to speak to them with our lips.

If then a practical end must be assigned to a University course, I say it is that of training good members of society... It is the education which gives a man a clear, conscious view of their own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought to detect what is sophistical and to discard what is irrelevant.

Even in a world that's being shipwrecked, remain brave and strong.


--No one can accuse Emmanuel Macron of marrying a trophy wife.

--The only thing more disgusting than ritual child sacrifice are the millions of unborn children killed in abortion over the last four decades. When will this country's divine retribution come?

--Peace between North and South Korea and an end to tyranny would be an awesome thing. And does Donald trump deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for this? Absolutely. But he won't get it. I pray daily for an end to the tyranny in North Korea.

--Kanye West escaped the Democrat plantation. Now, they will send out the dogs to find him. He'll be hanging from a tree tomorrow. Black people aren't allowed to be Republican or think for themselves.

--Diamond and Silk left the Democrat plantation sometime ago, and there was an attempted lynching of these ladies in Congress especially by black Democrats. These ladies are heroes. As for their detractors, they are slime and a disgrace.

--I thought Paul Ryan was a terrible House Speaker, but I applaud this move. Is anything more damnable than a homophile Jesuit priest?

--It's sad that the new American dream is a job with the federal government. Bernie Sanders knows what this pathetic country wants now. Sad times.

--Does Bill Cosby deserve prison? Probably. The problem is that these women sat on their allegations for a really long time. The result is they look more like desperate losers out for a payday than real victims. The wider #MeToo movement suffers from this perception and may have shot itself in the foot with recent allegations against Tom Brokaw. The quickest escape for these men may be to declare bankruptcy.



SOC 32

Manifest plainness,
Embrace simplicity,
Reduce selfishness,
Have few desires.

When I have been away from the blog for awhile, I find these SOC posts are a great way to get back in the blogging groove. It hearkens back to the days in high school when one of my English teachers would have us free write in some journals. It is a good exercise in the same way that fingerpainting is a great first leap into making art. Kids should feel free to make a mess of it as they discover their creativity. In the same way, I think people would learn to write better if they could be given the space to write badly. The SOC posts are the space I give myself to write badly.

What is on my mind? The thing that occupies my mind the most these days is a recent convert to Catholicism who has gone from being a Backsliding Baptist to becoming a Cafeteria Catholic. A backslider is the name we would give to someone back in my days as a Southern Baptist for someone who got saved by watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV or answering the altar call at church then getting baptized. This person gave his heart to Jesus but ends up giving it back to the world a few months later as he returns to drinking and whoring and not going to church on Sundays. Sometimes, the backslider would feel regret over the backsliding, and he would rededicate his life to Christ at a future altar call maybe when the local church had a revival. This is virtually identical to the way Catholics go to confession and the Sacrament of Reconciliation before returning to Mass. In this way, Southern Baptists reinvent what already exists in Catholicism.

I am fond of Baptists especially the faithful ones that never miss church and endeavor mightily to live for Jesus. I truly believe the Lord reaps where He did not sow, and many of these Protestants are more faithful in their ignorance than many Roman Catholics in their full knowledge of the apostolic faith. The Jews had a saying about being "circumcised in your heart." It amounts to the same thing. You either love the Lord, or you don't. I think having correct doctrine and being in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church matters greatly. Once you know the truth about the Catholic Church, you have a duty to get in it and stay in it. But by the same token, I don't see how anyone in friendship with the Lord can ever be lost. God knows those who love Him and are sincerely ignorant versus those who do not love Him and persist in willful ignorance.

Before my conversion, I was sincerely ignorant. I didn't know. When I found out, I fixed it by becoming a Roman Catholic. I was denied the knowledge because of having the misfortune of being born Protestant and having two parents who didn't give a damn about religion. I have no hope in their conversion and salvation despite many prayers for them. But I know God in His providence was looking out for me because I appreciate dearly what others have received so generously and easily and regard as nothing. It's the difference between someone born poor and someone born rich. I consider it one of the great calamities of life to be born rich. It's not how you start but how you finish that matters. Rich kids usually don't finish well. Likewise, cradle Catholics are generally a sorry bunch. If you doubt this, look no further than your typical Catholic Democrat politician who never let his religion interfere with his politics or his adulteries. Let me say for the record that Jack Kennedy and his entire family have been a disgrace to Catholicism.

You have real Catholics, and you have fake Catholics. A Cafeteria Catholic is a fake Catholic and is no different than a Protestant. In fact, the Cafeteria Catholic is worse than a Protestant because most Protestants can claim ignorance. Cafeteria Catholics know better but choose which teachings they will follow and which ones they won't. The biggest ignored teachings involve artificial contraception, abortion, fornication, masturbation, sodomy, and divorce and remarriage. As our Lady said at Fatima, more people go to Hell for sexual sins than for any other.

Our born again Cafeteria Catholic has decided that he can ignore what the Church teaches concerning masturbation, pornography, and fornication. Things like this should be discussed the first day in RCIA, but the Catholic Church soft pedals the truth in all its catechesis. Priests never mention these things in their homilies. Now, we have a pope who thinks adherence to these teachings is "Pelagian." It is a real mindblower for me.

I go really easy on sinners, but I have no mercy for heretics. It is one thing to get burned. It is quite another to lock the exit door of the movie theater and toss in a Molotov cocktail. It infuriates me to see the truth watered down, hidden, or denied. Not only do you damn yourself with these actions, but you attempt to damn others as well. This is wickedness at a high level.

Dolce and Gabbana are famous for their fashions but also famous for being out of the closet sodomites. They live wicked lifestyles. But I actually like them and respect them because they oppose gay marriage and adoption of children by gay couples. They are sinners, but they refuse to deny the truth. This truth is Catholic truth. God bless them. I have more respect for these honest sinners than I do for many of the wicked priests and prelates like Father James Martin who deny the truth or twist it.

In the day-to-day, there are really only two heresies. The first heresy is that there is no sin. The second heresy is that there is no forgiveness. There are other heresies like Arianism or Docetism or Albigensianism. But most people don't know what any of these things are about. But we all know people who sin boldly and don't think they sin. Then, there are those who are more Catholic than the pope who create new sins to add to the list of the ones that we already know and keep an attendance record in their heads of who shows up to Mass each week.

I follow two simple rules. The first is to be a saint. The second is to never claim to be a saint. I am a sinner. Others may tell you that I'm a saint, but I know better. My wife knows better. My confessor knows better. May I never forget the wretchedness from which I came. May it always humble me and remind me that without Christ I am nothing.

Pride always lurks nearby. Pride is what brought down Lucifer. The greatest antidote to pride I know is the Jesus Prayer. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. What an awesome prayer. It is practiced in the East among the Orthodox, and they recite it on their chokti or prayer ropes. I don't own a chotki, but I use my rosary beads to count the prayers. I've also started to include the Jesus prayer after the Fatima prayer when I do my rosary for the day.

The reason the Jesus Prayer is so humbling is because it comes from the story in the Bible of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee bragged about his righteousness while the tax collector lamented his sin and asked for forgiveness. The tax collector left justified while the Pharisee did not.

I find myself caught between the Sinless and the Merciless. The Sinless are those who deny sin and deny the need for forgiveness. The Merciless deny forgiveness and spend more time tending to the sins of others than tending to their own. The Sinless are nothing new and are quite common in this antinomian age. But I am surprised when I stumble across one of the Merciless. I will share a story of what I mean.

A certain fellow thought it foolish that the offering envelopes at our parish had check boxes for amounts less than $50. Now, I don't know of a single parish that would turn down even the pennies offered by children at Mass. But this fellow's declaration was meant to tell two things. The first was that he always gave $50 or more in his weekly offering. That would be a minimum of $2600 a year to the Church. It was also a way to deride all those who gave less. He was the proud Pharisee looking down his nose at all those inferior Catholics who gave less.

People like this are not my people. I admired this fellow until I discovered this about him. Now, I see him as a warning to myself to not become like him. It is amazing how sin can find its way in even in people who are otherwise holy and devout. The Black Angels have a song called "Sniper at the Gates of Heaven." I don't know what the song is about because the lyrics are ambiguous. But the title always paints a picture in my head. I think of demonic snipers always having you in the crosshairs of temptation. Just when you think you've gotten somewhere, they drop you with a single bullet like a deer at the step of the front door.

I know of no saint that ever admitted to being one. It is one thing to be justified. It is another thing to be self-justified. That is what the two basic heresies have in common. They deny justification by denying sin and forgiveness. All saints declare that they are forgiven sinners. I am no saint, but I am a forgiven sinner. I sin. God forgives. If I forget either of those two facts, I am damned.

I would like to write a truly epic SOC post, so I will switch topics to a familiar one. I was goofing around on social media when I read a story about a business that decided to ditch social media. That's the irony of social media. Even social media will tell you that you need to get off of social media. It's like when the education lottery has a gambling addiction warning.

This business was in the UK and decided to delete all of its social media accounts especially Facebook and Instagram. The point of being on social media was to promote the business. When they got off social media, they found their productivity went up which was better for the business than all that social media promotion. There is a lesson there, and I am learning it.

I go back and forth on the issue of self-promotion. Right now, there is this hot shot real estate guy who has ads all over the city and on the radio. I assume his business is awesome because he says so. But it would not surprise me if he went bankrupt tomorrow in disgrace probably because he blew all his profits on advertising. This time last year, I never even heard of the guy. Now, he may be legit. He may not. But I can say that he is not the type of the guy to let his work speak for itself.

Should you let your work speak for itself? Here's a nice quotation on the matter from Matshona Dhliwayo:
Let your work speak for itself:
If poor, it will remain silent.
If average, it will whisper.
If good, it will talk.
If great, it will shout.
If genius, it will sing.
This is wisdom. Yet, if you Google this topic, there are countless others who will tell you that you won't get far in life without promoting yourself. You have to sell yourself. You have to be your own hype man.

I have been on both sides of this issue. I think it pays to advertise, but there is a difference between putting a sign out in front of your business versus fertilizing the airways and cyberspace with your sales pitch. One wants to inform while the other tries to persuade. I think the persuasion path is verboten. People should be able to make informed decisions. The hype men seek for people to make misinformed decisions.

I went to the real estate guy's website for more information about him. I got this garbage about core values that I thought was too good not to share:
We hold all of our team members accountable to embrace the following core values:
CRUSH IT:  We are committed to excellence and embrace change
COMMUNICATION:  We seek to understand and communicate clearly
RESPECT:  We respect the thoughts and time of those around us
INTEGRITY:  We always choose to do the right thing and operate professionally
LEADERSHIP:  We seek to edify, motivate and inspire others
HUMBLE:  We are grateful and check our ego's at the door
OWN IT:  We are accountable and are accountable for our actions
WELL BALANCED:  With our commitments and our temperaments
PROACTIVE:  We innovate and constantly improve
UNITY:  We have fun, encourage and celebrate the journey TOGETHER!
I can't read garbage like this without suppressing my gag reflex. I encounter stuff like this all the time in the business world. It is corporatespeak. This is the stuff of mission statements and motivational posters. I hate this stuff.

When I do any self-promotion, I do it with a certain bit of irony. For instance, I would never say THE BEST BLOG ON THE INTERNET! I would say something like ONLY THE SECOND WORST BLOG ON THE INTERNET! I like self-deprecating jokes like that. But I am reminded of this advice from Saint Josemaria on false humility:
Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you.
Even self-deprecation can be a form of pride. When I first read this, it stung a bit because it is a strategy I have used for years. I saw it as humility, but I know better now. This path is simply beating people to the punch. The better way is to let people talk bad about you and bear it with equanimity.

True humility is to be indifferent about your status and reputation. Basically, you need to let your work speak for itself. You need not add or subtract from it. Let others promote it if they find value in it.

After reading about the business that deleted its social media presence, I decided that I should delete my own social media presence. On balance, I can say that on a purely personal level that your life would be better off without social media. I am working up a dedicated blog post on the topic, so I will save my fire for that one. But you will have more time for the things that truly matter if you get off of Facebook and Twitter.

For me, the question was a political one. How can you make a difference without being on social media? The obvious answer would be to create a blog like this one and use it. I have never had the ambivalence and doublemindedness about blogging that I have had about social media. Social media promises the power to make change in the world, but I see it as a false promise now. Social media is like the Ring of Power from Lord of the Rings. The Ring seems like it could be a powerful force for good, but it ends up enslaving you. Social media does the same thing.

The fight matters and should be fought. You just can't use the Ring of Power. It all boils down to time horizons. The temptation to use the Ring of Power comes from the fact that it seems quick and easy. Why work hard to make a well-crafted blog post when you can just repost a silly meme on Facebook?

Blogging about the important things is way more work than merely tweeting about them. Yet, the weight of that work lasts longer and achieves more in the long term than a mere sentence on some social media platform. The bottom line is that social media eats up my time, and I end up writing nothing.

When you blog, you write something that feels permanent. The writing works for you after that as people discover it. You don't have to write it again. You build up a body of work, and it remains there like some megalithic structure. Tweets and Facebook posts are not like that. They are ephemeral and short-lived which is why people feel the constant need to be on social media. Social media has all the substance of cotton candy. When substance does hit social media, it comes as a link to a blog or website.

Social media is a mechanism for hype. It seems easy, but it demands your constant time and attention. Blogging takes longer, but it actually eats up less time. That is very ironic.

Returning to the business that abandoned Facebook, I think it is important that a business have a website. There is nothing wrong with informing people about your business. That information is a form of service. I think commercials can do the same thing when they inform the public. I like those sorts of commercials better than hype commercials that appeal to appetites or emotions.

Social media can't really inform or educate. This is because of its inherent brevity. In terms of politics and religion and the fight for right, social media can only yield a pyrrhic victory. Donald Trump is an example of this as both he and his supporters tend to have not done any reading whatsoever and have no abiding political philosophy like true conservatives have.

I think I am finally at an end to my issues with social media. It is easy to focus on the negatives of social media, but I contemplated the positives of social media to discover that they were empty. It is like knowing that hamburgers are bad for you, but you can't give them up until you discover that your favorite burger joint is using horse meat for beef. When you get to that point, disgust takes you much further than careful reflection.

I think the larger world is becoming disgusted with social media. There is already backlash against Facebook with people like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak electing to delete their pages on Facebook. They found the horse meat in the burgers. In this case, it is the fact that Facebook sells you to third parties even without your consent.

It is hard for me to generate much outrage over Facebook because I escaped that platform years ago. And that, folks, is the quickest fix to that problem. Do a permanent delete of your Facebook account. It can be done because I did it. Just Google it and get it done.


SOC 31

The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.

Recently, I tried to start a new blog that I called "Internet Apostolate." It was the latest incarnation of an idea that I have had and tried a few times of creating a sort of Catholic Drudge Report. Of course, these sorts of sites already exist. Here are four of them:
New Advent 
Big Pulpit 
Canon 212 
I like the sites, but they are all different in their special ways. Pewsitter and Canon 212 totally rip off Drudge which I think is great. But IA was a bit different. It was more like the internet equivalent of an automat where you could check out the main content or serve yourself from the buffet of links in the sidebars. The problem with this idea is that it is too ambitious. Basically, the blog is prone to crashing. It became so annoying to me that I ended the project. In short, it was a failure. But I learned a few things from the failure.

The first thing I learned is that Matt Drudge puts in a lot of work on his site. Yes, he doesn't write the content, but he certainly has to spend many hours reading that content and finding what is worth your time to read. As a working man, I could not pull off the same feat which is why I went with an automat idea. But I appreciate what these sites require. I just don't have the resources to give to a project like this.

The second thing I learned is that the fear of robots and self-driving cars and self-serve shops and restaurants is overblown. People's capacities can be expanded, but they can't be replaced. Tractors replaced field hands. Now, they want to replace the guy on the tractor with some AI tractor drone. This might happen, but a human being will still have to keep that thing running back in the office the way they do with drone aircraft. And people still want a human face. Companies want to dehumanize everything, but it is the customer and not the corporation that has the last word on things.

The third thing I learned is the value of brutalist website design. To make IA work, I went with text and no pictures. My wife described the look of the site as "word vomit." But I liked the word vomit because it was all about the information and nothing else. Drudge and Craigslist are brutalist sites, and I think they are awesome. I hate websites that are too fancy and have all sorts of things moving around and popping up.

There is beauty here if you know how to find it.

The brutalist webpage aesthetic informs what I do here at the C-blog. I try and keep it simple. But starkness has its place. I think brutalist architecture is awful for a building, but it is perfectly fine for a factory. I would definitely like to create another brutalist webpage in the future for some other project. I just have no idea what other project I would like to do.

I am not happy about the failure of IA, but I have to admit that my Twitter account does the best job of spreading information that I discover while reading the internets. It is convenient, and my readers can check out my feed on my blog which is the easiest way around any shadowbans. I post all day long on Twitter, and it takes no time at all. The IA site was labor intensive involving a lot of cutting and pasting.

I think I am at my max when it comes to my online presence. The C-Blog is my all purpose blog allowing me to write on anything and everything. It is my landing page on the internet. It allows me the greatest avenue for expression. And the only thing I don't post here is fiction which I reserve for my fiction blog which I need to get back to. That project is a casualty of my time poverty.

The issue of time poverty brings me to the basket of frustrations. This is my name for the collection of nagging issues that frustrate me and have frustrated me for the last couple of years. I never actually listed them until now which is why I use the term "basket" instead of lists. I will pull them at random out of the basket and make a list now.

1. Social media is evil and/or a waste of time.

This frustration has been touched on more times than I count here at the C-Blog. Most of the frustration is generated after reading some news story about the latest crap with social media. Right now, Facebook is the big story as it is revealed how evil that Zuckerberg really is as he mines and sells personal info including eavesdropping on people and collecting data on people that don't even have Facebook accounts. I permanently deleted my Facebook account a long time ago, and I am totally happy about that decision. Because of this, I am half out and half in when it comes to social media. I have a Twitter account and a GAB account. They have their own drawbacks but not like Facebook. Twitter is like weed while Facebook is heroin. Just like heroin, there is virtually no benefit from being on Facebook.

As someone who has gone back and forth, I can say without qualification that your personal life will improve dramatically if you get off social media. You will have more time for important things. Your mood will improve. It is total win. So, why am I drawn back to social media? That is simple--politics.

Social media especially Twitter and GAB are political battlegrounds. You can hunker down at home, but you can hear the gunfire and cannons from afar. There is a fight going down, and you are doing nothing. Part of me wishes that I would get a permanent ban from Twitter, so I could rest easy knowing I had fought and become a casualty. But I am able to fight. Is it worth the fight?

The resolution to this frustration can probably be found in answering the real question behind it. Is it worth it to be engaged in politics? Plato has the answer to that question:

You have to take an interest in politics. If you don't, politics will inevitably take an interest in you, and you will find yourself waking up in North Korea. This is why I do social media and write this blog. My impact is small, but I am doing my part. It is also why I got off my butt and joined the NRA recently. I realized I was doing very little to defend the Second Amendment. Now, I am doing all I can.

I do not believe in withdrawal from the political realm into quietism. Such a path offers the promise of a peaceful existence, but this promise is false. Sure, there are people who follow this path, but this luxury was fought and won for them by others. They can disengage because others engaged. There is a place for this sort of thing, but I think it belongs to priests and religious called to a certain state of life.

Is social media a good way to fight? I think so. Trump was elected largely because of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. This is why those outlets now try to censor conservative voters, Trump supporters, and devout Christians. If speaking up made no difference, they wouldn't expend so much effort to try and silence you. As such, I am going to use social media until they kick me off which might be today. Until then, I fight.

2. The Roman Catholic Church is a battleground, too.

Like it or not, the same political divide that exists in the world also exists inside the Roman Catholic Church. The difference is that the Church is not a democracy. Despite this, you have liberals and conservatives inside the Church. The liberals or modernists are evil. The conservatives or traditionalists are good. What should I do about this fight?

This is a more frustrating thing because it is the Church. Right now, a modernist pope sits on the Chair of Peter. Catholics are faithful to the pope. But what do they do when the pope is not faithful to Catholicism? This is quite a calamity.

At the most basic level, I pray about the situation, and I share information about the crisis on social media and on my blog. I do the same thing that I do with politics. I fight in that regard, and I think it is worth it. But the Church is now governed by the inferiors. I can pray and preach. That's it. I suppose this frustration resolves itself because it is in God's hands and not mine. I just have to remain faithful.

3. Buying a house.

I've saved up quite a bit of dough with the wife, but we still haven't found a house we want to call home. The goal has been to get a place in the country where we can homestead. There are plenty of houses if you're willing to finance and live in the burbs. We want to live in the sticks and pay cash. Those two requirements are the source of the frustration. We are getting to the point that if interest rates rose a bit then the earnings on our savings would cover our rent. I have this weird theory that when people earn more from interest than rent on property then a great deal of property will become ridiculously cheap. It is all up to the Federal Reserve.

4. Parish life.

I struggle with wanting to do something in terms of my parish, the Knights of Columbus, and all that. I don't do much of anything because the bulk of what my parish does is geared to the schedules of retirees. Naturally, the parish is like rotten fruit now. I am never going to retire, and I despise able bodied retirees for their end-of-life vacations. Yet, they have time while I don't. And they use their time to kvetch about the lack of participation from people who work for a living. I am not making this up.

That is the list of my frustrations. They aren't that big of a deal. The frustration is in deciding what my course of action should be in these endeavors. I think 1 and 2 are fairly settled for me. 3 is a wait-and-see thing as I believe the Federal Reserve is to blame for my housing woes. As for 4, that is simply a neverending hot mess for me.