Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I am struggling with the idea of “practicing the presence of God” – what can I do?

Posted on February 7th, 2011 by Father John Bartunek Q: I have had a pretty regular prayer life for a few years, and have been going to confession regularly as well, and receiving Communion frequently. In my spiritual reading, though, I keep coming across the idea of “practicing the presence of God.” This means staying aware of Jesus throughout the day’s activities, right? Well, I have been trying to do this, but can’t seem to make any progress. The end of the day comes around, and then I remember that I should have been aware of his presence. Is this something I should be worried about?

A: A beautiful question. Beautiful for two reasons: 1) If “practicing the presence of God” keeps coming up in your personal reading and reflection, you can be sure it’s because the Holy Spirit wants you to keep this on your spiritual agenda. This is how he coaches us – he puts something on our minds or hearts, and he keeps insisting on it. And if God is drawing you towards this rather advanced spiritual discipline, it means that he is already helping you grow in it. This is good stuff, altogether; 2) “Practicing the presence of God” will draw you closer to Christ than you ever dreamed possible, and that’s what it’s all about. Now onto the answer.

No, you should not be worried about your difficulty or confusion in this area, you should be excited about it: God is teaching you something new! Worry doesn’t come from God (if you mean by worrying a preoccupation that causes turbulence, doubt, and frustration in your soul). It comes from our pride, our tendency to think that we can make ourselves perfect and save the world by our own efforts. Remember, our Lord reminded us: “Do not fret about tomorrow, let tomorrow fret over its own cares. For today, today’s troubles are enough” (Matthew 6:34).

On the other hand, your instinct is right: this is a point of spiritual work that you should pay attention to at this point in your journey; this is why God has put it on your agenda. And here are some considerations that may help you do that.

What does it mean? “Practicing the presence of God” means not only staying aware of Jesus throughout the day, as you mention. That’s part of it, but not all of it. Practicing God’s presence means living every activity of the day with Jesus, by his side, sharing every experience with him. Remember in your school days, how it was always more enjoyable to do your homework together with a good friend instead of all by yourself? You didn’t have to be doing the exact same assignments, and you didn’t even have to be helping each other, but the mere fact that you together, that you were sitting in the same room, maybe at the same table, that you were in each other’s presence and could throw a couple words or looks back and forth every once awhile – that was enough to change the character of doing homework. Think of another example. How often do you go to a movie all by yourself? Not very often, most likely, unless you are a professional movie critic or some sort. You go to a movie with a good friend. And even though you don’t spend those two hours talking with your friend, sharing the experience with that other person makes the experience more valuable, fruitful, and enjoyable. This sharing of experiences – the experience of every activity of every day – with Christ, allowing him to share the experience of your life, that is the real heart of “practicing the presence of God.”

What does it yield? As we grow in this spiritual discipline, it has a major effect on our lives. We were created to “live in communion with God, in whom we find happiness” (Catechism #45). But in this fallen world, and due to our fallen nature, we tend towards a false sense of self-sufficiency. This stifles our growth as human beings. Instead of growing in wisdom, wonder, courage and all the virtues, when we live as if we were sufficient unto ourselves, we end up taking that path that eventually turns us into crotchety old men (or women), self-absorbed and self-absorbing, like black holes. Practicing the presence of God helps us maintain and deepen our communion with God even in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life in a fallen world with a fallen human nature. This is the path to holiness, God’s term for lasting happiness.

How to do it? Since everyone’s friendship with God is unique, no generic formula will suffice for developing this spiritual discipline. Nevertheless, some common principles apply to all of us.

First of all, we need to develop the basic spiritual disciplines you mention in your question: a structured and consistent daily prayer life (this doesn’t have to be as complicated as a monastic prayer life, just sincere and substantial); regular and fruitful reception of the sacraments, especially Communion and confession (this is the objective foundation of our communion with God – God’s grace is the stuff of which our friendship with Christ is made); and a reasonable, mature effort to overcome one’s selfish tendencies and to grow in virtue (spiritual reading, a program of life, and spiritual direction are a big help here, as we’ve mentioned in other posts).
Secondly, we can experiment with practical techniques that will help us form the habit of remembering that we are never alone, that Jesus is at our side, eager to share our experiences and make them fruitful and meaningful. Here is where tactics like the spiritual bouquet come into play (choosing a phrase at the end of the morning meditation that you will use as a motto for the day, to keep in mind the insights and resolutions that came up in your meditation). Here we can also get creative: using a screen-saver that will remind you of the Lord; keeping religious articles visible in key places that you will frequent during the day; programming reminders into your email calendar; praying the Angelus whenever you get into the car to go for a drive; dropping by a local shrine, chapel, or church on your way home from work, school, or shopping… Since the current of the culture in which we live flows in the direction of self-centeredness and self-absorption, we have to make a positive effort to swim against it. Practical tactics can help. But here’s a warning: these are only means to an end, so don’t be surprised if one such tactic helps you for a while but then stops “working.” When that happens, experiment with something else. I would love to hear about some of the tactics that our readers have used and found most helpful (just add them at the end of this post as a comment).
Thirdly, and most importantly, you (and all of us, really) need to ask yourself why it has been difficult for you to “practice the presence of God.” Part of the reason will simply be the superficiality and pace of our culture. Part of the reason will also be habits of self-centeredness that you haven’t yet overcome. But a deeper reason may also be at work. When you go to a dinner party with people who are important, fashionable, and popular, but who you don’t know very well, you are a bit nervous. You are worried about making the right impression. You don’t want to commit a faux pas or inadvertently offend someone. You are excited to be invited, but the excitement is mixed in with some tension. Whether things go well or ill, at the end of the night, when you get back in the car to head home, you breathe a sigh of relief; driving home with your spouse or with an old friend, you can be yourself again. At the party you were sharing experiences with people, you were living in their presence, but you didn’t have a relationship of trust with them. With your old friend, on the other hand, you never have to worry about making a good impression; you don’t have to be anxious about what they may think of you. Your relationship is solid, resilient, familiar – you can relax together. At times, the biggest obstacle to our “practicing the presence of God” is a subtle, subconscious fear about what God thinks of us. In the back of our mind, we are concerned about making the right impression in God’s eyes, and so when we are “in his presence” we put on a show; we watch carefully over every word instead of speaking simply and from the heart; we try to live up to standards that we imagine God is expecting of us; we are afraid that if we don’t meet those extra expectations, God will be displeased with us – he won’t invite us back to the next party. This mindset discourages us from living in God’s presence, because we can’t relax, we can’t be ourselves if we are trying to live up to artificial expectations.
But God is not like that. He is not watching us like a hawk, just waiting for that faux pas, just looking for something to criticize. He knows us through and through already. He truly is the only friend who is perfect and perfectly committed to us. He wants to share every moment of our life, because he is simply that interested in our lives, like the oldest friend, the one we can always count on. That is how God is. The more deeply and fully we believe that, the easier and more natural it will be to live always in his presence.

Yours in Christ, Father John Bartunek, LC, ThD

Monday, November 07, 2011


By Father Paul K. Raftery, O.P.
The Rosary, as a gift of prayer from the Mother of God, leads us to Christ in a way unique among the devotions in the Church. Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, focuses with particular attention on the special way she is active on the soul as we ponder or contemplate Jesus through the eyes of His Mother. We put ourselves under her maternal guidance and allow her to direct our hearts. "The Rosary," he says, "mystically transports us to Mary’s side as she is busy watching over the human growth of Christ in the home of Nazareth. This enables her to train us and to mold us with the same care, until Christ is ‘fully formed’ in us" (RVM 16). What is happening through this "contemplation of the face of Christ" in union with Mary, is far more than just a dry and abstract exercise of thought. The Rosary brings us, through a devoted pondering of its mysteries, into intimate union with the very Person of Jesus. Below we will discuss this form of prayer called "contemplation," and the place the Holy Father wants it to have in the lives of the faithful through praying the Holy Rosary.

Too often the false impression people have of contemplation is that it is some form of lofty mystical prayer that can be understood only by those versed in mystical theology. Moreover, there is the erroneous belief it is not something the ordinary Catholic can expect to experience; namely, that only monks and nuns, whose lives are completely dedicated to prayer, have the chance of advancing to such higher forms of prayer.

A wise and assuring guide in these matters, who has written extensively on the spiritual life, is Fr. Thomas Dubay. His book Fire Within (available from Ignatius Press) has been recommended in a previous article, and it will be used extensively here. From his experience he writes:

Over the years I have gradually come to the conclusion that one reason so many people assume that contemplation is reserved for a select few is that they imagine it to be what it is not. They presume that this type of prayer could not be for them because in a vague sort of way they consider it to be something other than it is. They equate it with oriental states of consciousness or with extraordinary phenomena such as divine messages and visions. Being active and busy and little inclined to any lingering reflection, natural or supernatural, they do not take seriously, as meant for them personally, the mystical expressions sprinkled freely throughout the Scripture and liturgical worship (Fire Within, 57).
St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics of the Church, gives us a thoroughly down to earth explanation of contemplative prayer. As Fr. Dubay describes it:

For her, contemplation is an experienced, mutual presence, "an intimate sharing between friends," a being alone with the God Who loves us. Hence, this prayer is a mutual presence of two in love, and in this case the Beloved dwells within. Actually, it is an interdwelling, a mutually experienced indwelling. She relates about herself how "a feeling of the presence of God would come upon me unexpectedly so that I could in no way doubt He was within me or I totally immersed in Him" (FW, 58).

The way this takes place in the soul, St. Teresa will emphasize, is not through any efforts of the one praying. Now there is indeed a way one can speak of contemplation as an activity of the mind and heart. A person can ponder with wonder and amazement the night sky filled with stars, and be held in a kind of delightful, prayerful state, admiring the greatness of the Creator. This is a natural form of contemplation, and genuine prayer. It has come through an exercise of the human intellect and will, considering how great the Creator of all that vast starry expanse must be. When we are filled with a sense of the greatness, the goodness, the holiness of God; when we are stirred by the beauty of nature or by a magnificent celebration of the Holy Mass, we are experiencing this natural contemplative activity of the mind.

But St. Teresa is speaking above of a state of prayer that has come through an act of God on the soul. She calls this contemplation "supernatural". Another term that spiritual writers will use for it is "infused," from the Latin word meaning to "pour in". God "pours" Himself into a soul in this higher supernatural form of contemplative prayer.

Fr. Dubay, however, goes on to say:

Even though contemplation is utterly divinely given and humanly received, and as a consequence we can do nothing to force God to grant it, yet we can and must prepare ourselves for the gift. God gives only to the extent that we efficaciously desire, that is, not merely wish something to happen but take concrete means to fit ourselves to receive it.
The gift of contemplative prayer, and the wonderful closeness to God present in the soul that takes place, with the indescribable joy this produces, is indeed for everyone as far as God is concerned. But a person must show God that he is ready for and wants this kind of direct intimate contact with Him. And this is demonstrated by living in conformity with His commandments:

Advancing communion with God does not happen in isolation from the rest of life. One’s whole behavior pattern is being transformed as the prayer deepens. So true is this that if humility, patience, temperance, chastity and love for neighbor are not growing, neither is prayer growing. Hence, contemplation is not simply a pious occupation in the chapel or in some other solitude.

The ordinary details of daily life, the choices made to love God above all things and to grow in virtue and holiness, are the necessary soil into which God plants His wonderful gift of contemplative prayer. And this is why contemplative prayer should not be understood as being just for those relatively rare souls who have the ability to live in monasteries. Monasteries are indeed an ideal setting for the contemplative life to prosper; but not by any means the only mode of life. Whether it be life in the world or life in the monastery, all have the opportunity to develop that good soil of virtue and holiness into which God "pours in . . . infuses" His gift of contemplative prayer.

Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding by many spiritual writers of how the gift of infused contemplation is given by God, Fr. Dubay observes that "it is not commonly considered to be an activity meant for plumbers as well as Poor Clares, for the married as well as for religious, for young and old" (FW, 57). In reality, it is for all Christian vocations. This is because contemplation is where prayer is supposed to lead every member of the Church, not just for an elite group. Like sanctity, contemplation is the goal for every Christian life, and will be the continuous state of prayer for everyone in heaven. Both holiness and contemplation are meant to be our future! The contemplative prayer God calls us to in this life is simply an imperfect prelude to the ultimate contemplation of the Face of God in heaven. As St. Thomas explains, using a quote from St. Augustine:

"The contemplation of God is promised us as being the goal of all our actions and the everlasting perfection of our joys." This contemplation will be perfect in the life to come, when we shall see God face to face, wherefore it will make us perfectly happy: whereas now the contemplation of the divine truth is present to us imperfectly, namely "through a glass" and "in a dark manner" (II-II, 180, 4).

In Rosarium Virginis Mariae Pope John Paul II begins in Chapter One with the call that all Christians have to a life of contemplation of Our Blessed Savior. As St. Paul has written, He came into this world to become "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15). Through Him our minds can rise to know and love God in Himself. And this pondering of God through His Incarnation cannot be considered as an optional extra for the Christian life. It is an essential part of our calling, which is meant to culminate, as we have seen, in the contemplation of God in heaven. As the Holy Father puts it:

To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendor definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ . . . (RVM 9).
Drifting away from this contemplative gaze upon the Incarnate Word is one of the great dangers of life in our modern world. The hectic pace of life, the mesmerizing power of television, cinema, and all the many forms of media we live with; the omnipresence of the market place with so many items to tantalize us into making a purchase, these can so effectively draw our gaze away from God. These can turn us from contemplatives of our eternal and glorious God into contemplatives, in a real sense, of transitory material things.

There is no shortage of examples: the young person spending hours on video games, the shopaholic browsing compulsively through store after store, the vast numbers of people in our culture spending entire days in front of the TV screen. With all these there is a profound and addictive fixing of the gaze on material things. Little do we realize how prevalent a kind of materialistic version of the contemplative life is present in our culture. We are, in this way, a very contemplative society! Unfortunately, all our loving gaze is fixed not on God but on material things.

In a culture, then, pervaded by this obsessive and disordered contemplation of materiality, Pope John Paul encourages us to return to the Rosary. Through it we must once again fix our eyes on our God made visible, the Word made flesh:

But the most important reason for strongly encouraging the practice of the Rosary is that it represents a most effective means of fostering among the faithful that commitment to the contemplation of the Christian mystery which I have proposed in the Apostolic Letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" as a genuine training in holiness (RVM 5).

It must be admitted, however, that this contemplation of the face of Christ encouraged by the Holy Father in his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary and the contemplative union of the soul with God described by St. Teresa above are not entirely the same thing. One is a meditative, loving gaze on the Savior, His life, and His work of redemption. It is for the most part an activity of the mind and heart, a natural form of contemplative prayer, arising from ourselves. This is what lies at the foundation of the Rosary, as Pope Paul VI has taught in a quote used by Pope John Paul in his Apostolic Letter:

Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: "In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words" (RVM 12).
Very much different, as has been pointed out, is the infused, supernatural contemplation described by St. Teresa, and marked by a mutual indwelling of the soul in God and God in the soul. As related in the quote above, this occurred for her in such a full and rich way that "I could in no way doubt He was within me or I totally immersed in Him." No mere imaginative exercise this, but a profound encounter with the very Person of Christ Himself present in the soul.

These two forms of contemplation, however, are not unrelated. One leads to the other and is a preparation for the other. The intense and serious prayer life of infused contemplation does not begin immediately, but (usually) only after years of persevering in meditative prayer such as the Rosary. As Fr. Dubay acknowledges:

. . . a serious prayer life does not begin with fullness. It commences humbly with small steps. Oak trees emerge from acorns, and scholars first learn the alphabet. While God is supremely free to give in a divine manner when and how He chooses, He ordinarily prepares the soul through the human mode of meditation upon His works of creation and redemption (FW 49).

Nevertheless, with souls who are dedicated to prayer, and to the constant struggle to overcome sins and failings, the greater gift of infused contemplation will come. It is in the normal course of growth in the life of the Spirit. It is simply what happens when one is faithful to prayer and striving for holiness. "Infused contemplation," Fr. Dubay writes, "is the normal, ordinary development of discursive [mentally produced] prayer. The former gradually and gently replaces the latter when reasoned thought has run its course as a method of communing with the Lord" (FW 69).

One of the special contributions of the Holy Father in Rosarium Virginis Mariae is to the understanding of the powerful influence Our Lady has on the contemplative activity of the soul while praying the Rosary. In a special way, this puts us under the maternal guidance of she who, above all others, was given over to the contemplation of His Sacred Face:

Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what He taught but of "learning Him." In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ. But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of His mystery better than His Mother (RVM 14).
We must remember that the Rosary, as the Holy Father has pointed out, brings us into a kind of union with Mary in which we see "the mysteries of the Lord’s life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord" (RVM 12). We join her in contemplating her Son and His deeds, as she did so many times herself while on earth. Mary "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Lk. 2:19). Thus, we can say that the Rosary is a form of contemplative prayer where we are receiving an extraordinary assistance from the Mother of God to ponder the Face of Christ her Son. In this she leads us, over the years, to that depth of prayer that is truly a gift from God, and a loving union with the very Person of Christ dwelling in the soul.


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Friday, October 28, 2011

Leftist Tarpley:Don’t Let Soros Hijack Occupy Wall Street

Is Occupy Wall Street the Obama/Wall Street Machine?

An Emergency Program for Anti-Wall Street Protestors: Don’t Let Soros Hijack the Movement
Webster G. Tarpley, Ph.D.
September 29, 2011
Political mass strike dynamics have been at work in the United States since the Wisconsin and Ohio mobilizations of February and March. Now, there are demonstrations in lower Manhattan and Boston specifically directed against the Wall Street banks. Another protest demonstration is scheduled for Washington, DC, starting on October 6. Good: a political challenge to Wall Street is indeed long overdue.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are skeptical in regard to Obama. There is no sizable constituency for Ron Paul, and the crackpot Austrian school of economics is hardly represented. Above all, there is a desire to break the power of Wall Street. This much is promising, but still not enough to win.

The demonstrations appear initially as leaderless groups, engaged in an organic process of discussion from which specific demands are supposed to emerge. But so far, these demonstrations have put forth no specific demands, reforms, or concrete measures whatsoever to fight Wall Street. This is a fatal political weakness. A movement that attempts to go forward with vague slogans like “Freedom” or “Abolish capitalism” is likely to become easy prey for foundation-funded operatives on the left wing of the Democratic Party.

If a movement pretends to have no leaders, then it is the corporate media, themselves controlled by Wall Street, who will choose the leaders. A few days ago, a Wall Street protester named Kelly Heresy was anointed as principal honcho by Keith Olbermann, who used to work for the hedge fund called General Electric, and who now works for Al Gore. This is no way to select leaders.

The demonstrations may appear spontaneous, but it is easy to see gatekeepers and countergangs operating in their midst, often with a frank counterinsurgency agenda. Occupy Wall Street in particular shows the heavy influence of union bureaucrats from the Service Employees International Union, as well as Acorn – both parts of the Obama machine. The goal of these operatives is to keep the focus of the protests vague and diffuse, so that no demands emerge that might be embarrassing to the Wall Street puppet Obama and his reelection campaign. Their ultimate goal is to absorb the protests as the left wing of the Obama 2012 effort. That means supporting an administration which not only refuses to fight Wall Street, but which is packed with Wall Street executives in its highest positions.

Dubious Hollywood figures like Susan Sarandon and Michael Moore are attempting to gain publicity for themselves by showing up at the demonstrations. Michael Moore, who is not very popular with the demonstrators, was instrumental in leading the antiwar and impeachment movements of the past decade back into the Democratic Party to support Obama. Journalist Matt Taibbi, another newly minted expert on the movement, is remembered for his hatchet jobs in favor of the Bush administration theory of terrorism.

The organizers of the Wall Street action say they want to imitate recent protests in other countries. Their favorite is the Tahrir Square agitation in Egypt in February. But if you go to Cairo today, veterans of those demonstrations will tell you that these efforts accomplished relatively little, and mainly had the effect of ousting an oppressive civilian government in favor of an even more oppressive military government of weak CIA puppets which is still operating under martial law, even as benighted religious fanatics gather strength. In Greece, it is true that the trade unions have mounted a dozen general strikes, but all of these have failed to oust Prime Minister Papandreou, the main enforcer of austerity cuts demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and so the brutal austerity continues. The same thing applies to Spain, where the indignados became so self-absorbed in their discussion and consensus process that they never put forward a program to save Spanish society from the bankers. In Iceland too, the anti-bank movement was never able to go beyond mere protest to advance a series of concrete measures that would allow them to contend for power, take power, and hold onto it for the public good.

The lesson of all of these situations is that, in a severe world economic depression of the kind we have today, mere protest is not enough. Desperate populations are looking for political leadership with solutions capable of solving the life or death issues facing nations today. A movement which is incapable of specifying what it intends to fight for is an immature movement which no intelligent person will take seriously.

The secret of a mass strike upsurge is that crisis conditions will propel many apolitical people into activism. This makes them vulnerable to manipulation by demagogues, including those of the extreme right. The mass strike upsurge by itself solves nothing. The question is whether any coherent group of people can intervene into the mass upsurge and push aside bankrupt and failed leaders with the kind of radical reform program that can actually get the society out of the crisis. The masses cannot discover this program on their own – they are too busy with the struggle for daily existence. College students therefore have a special responsibility to provide ideas for the benefit of the entire society. If an adequate program becomes dominant, the nation can survive. Otherwise, nothing guarantees that civilization itself will not collapse – look at the Tea Party if you don’t believe this. Soros, Koch, and the other finance capitalists have a good working understanding of how these things work, which is why they are sending in their operatives to make sure that this movement will have only the vaguest demands, or no demands at all, to fight for. Let that happen, and Wall Street will rule the day once again.

Despite what Michael Moore may think, the political power of Wall Street is considerable, and an effective attack on the bankers will demand the unified efforts of key sectors of the population. This unity must be expressed in the program itself. Students must broaden the sociological scope of the movement to include all walks of life.

In order to fight Wall Street, it is necessary for the American people to understand the basic idea of shifting the cost of the world economic depression off of the backs of working people and the poor where it is now, and onto Wall Street banks and super-rich speculators. Depressions are very expensive. Who should pay for the current depression? The bankers demand that the American people must pay. We want the bankers to pay, and we must specify how. A movement that wants to defend working people against the class warfare of the bankers has the responsibility of putting forward a program to defend middle-class and other working people. In order to win, the anti-Wall Street protests must agitate for a series of demands including the following:

1. Student Loan Amnesty. The common experience of many of the protesters is that of being crushed by an outrageous burden of high interest student loans. Today it is common for graduating seniors to carry $50,000, $75,000, or even $100,000 of debt. Add the costs of an advanced degree in teaching, law, or medicine, and the debt burden becomes astronomical. The exorbitant cost of a college education reflects the increasing immiseration of the United States over the past 40 years, as the overall standard of living has declined by two thirds or more in terms of real wages and other considerations. These debts are owed to the same zombie bankers who cashed in on the Bush bailout of 2008, and the even larger loans issued by Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve over recent years. This is a system of brutal primitive accumulation against the life chances everyone who knows that they need a college degree to be employable in the 21st century. Total students loan indebtedness is now approaching $1 trillion. This grinding debt is destroying the futures, the lives, and the hopes of college students and recent graduates.
When a debtor country like Greece is unable to pay its debts, it is normal to hear talk of a haircut for the bondholders and bankers. It is time for the Wall Street zombie banks to take a haircut on student loan debt. Most of this debt cannot be paid off, but an entire generation can be ruined by a futile attempt to pay it back.

A leading demand must therefore be a total cancellation of all outstanding student loan debt, meaning a total and immediate forgiveness of all payments of principal and interest coming from this category of borrowing. Carter granted Vietnam draft resisters an amnesty. If Obama wants to keep his job, he must deliver a student loan amnesty to save not just a single generation, but the entire future of the United States and beyond. Otherwise, dump Obama in 2012! The zombie bankers have been pampered enough. It is time for them to take a bath, so that a generation might live. This is also the best stimulus program possible.

2. Stop Foreclosures. Since students alone will never be enough to make a revolution, it is necessary to put forward additional measures to defend other parts of the population from the depredations of Wall Street. In the area of home foreclosures, the bankers have trampled on the law to seize millions of homes, some of which never had a mortgage, and many of which were current in their payments. The banks have used corrupt robo-signers, robo-cops, and robo-judges to carry out these fraudclosure thefts. The answer is to make foreclosure a federal crime, so that anyone who throws an American family out on the street will end up in Leavenworth. Again, the zombie bankers can eat the losses, which are unavoidable in any case. This is not an impossible demand: under the New Deal, the Frazier-Lemke Act stopped all foreclosures on homes, provided only that the owners could get a minimal payment plan approved by any judge in any court. With the help of popular pressure and public opinion, foreclosures virtually came to a halt. This is what we need to be demanding today.

3. Defend and fully fund the social safety net. Wall Street and Washington elites agree that the American people ought to be subjected to genocidal austerity – cuts so draconian that they will kill people. The goal is obviously to fund bigger and better bailouts of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase when they go bankrupt the next time around. Real unemployment in the United States is now about 25%, meaning that 30 million people cannot find work, and many have been looking for years. Therefore, we need to extend jobless benefits to all unemployed, including those who have been out of a job for 99 weeks and more. 46 million Americans are now surviving thanks to Food Stamps, but the reactionary Republicans are demanding savage cuts, and Obama is more than likely to cave. We also need to defend programs that specifically help children and young. These include S-CHIP, which gives health care to poor children; Head Start, which provides breakfast and preschool for poor kids; and WIC, which provides high-protein meals for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants. Older people have special problems, including that Wall Street speculators have destroyed the value of their 401(k) and IRA retirement plans. This means that Social Security pensions should be increased, and not cut, as the Republicans and Obama both want. Obama has already cut $500 billion out of Medicare, but he wants to cut it even more, and the Tea Party is eager to help him. The best healthcare would be to open Medicare to all Americans, while making the investments needed to maintain quality. Medicaid gives healthcare to poor people of any age, and these payments must be maintained.

4. Pay for healthcare and social services with a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax. When they hear demands like these, Fox news commentators will demand to know how these programs can be paid for. The answer is simple: the Tobin tax or Wall Street sales tax. Today the total financial turnover of the banksters in terms of buying, selling, and other trading comes to well over three quadrillion dollars yearly – that’s more than 3,000 trillion dollars. The rest of us pay sales tax on most purchases, often including the groceries, but Wall Street zombie bankers and hedge fund hyenas pay absolutely zero on that colossal sum. The most unfair aspect of the entire US tax system is that Wall Street pays virtually no taxes. It is time for the bankers to cough up 1% of every stock, bond, and derivatives transaction, be it program trading, high frequency trading, or computerized flash trading at the rate of one million transactions per second. The total revenue could be split between the federal government and the states, and would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps even trillions – depending on how determined the speculators are to keep up their dirty deals. There is nothing impossible about this demand: the federal government had a financial transaction tax from the time of World War I to 1967. And even today, the largely right wing governments of the European Union are about to enact their own Tobin tax. Why can’t it be done here as well?

These are immediate agitational demands that can be readily understood by any person. They can form the leading edge of a struggle to break the political power of Wall Street. In addition, a full recovery from depression and the attainment of full employment for the first time since 1945 will require the nationalization of the Federal Reserve, and the issuing of successive tranches of $1 trillion of 0%, very long-term Federal credit for the building of infrastructure, with a goal of creating 30 million new productive jobs with adequate capital investment per job.

Another essential point is that Wall Street is the biggest nest of warmongers anywhere in the world. Anyone seeking to gain influence over the anti-Wall Street movement should be willing to condemn and denounce Obama’s wanton aggression against Libya, as well as to call for an immediate pullout of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Anyone who refuses to do this should be regarded with grave suspicion.

The alternative to such concrete demands is, whether we like it or not, to remain in the orbit of Obama’s Democratic Party. Earlier this year, students, workers, and others occupied the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin in response to attacks on working people coming from the fascist governor, Walker. The resistance against Walker was betrayed first of all by the Democratic Party, which announced that it would not fight for wages and benefits, but only for trade union rights in the abstract. That is a good program for trade union bureaucrats, but not so good for working people, who bore the brunt of Walker’s austerity. A president who was on the side of the people would have gone immediately to Madison, Wisconsin to hold a town hall on the occupied grounds of the state capitol, an event that would have looked much different than the canned, pre-screened teleprompter town halls Obama likes to address. A real president would have taken Attorney General Holder and Labor Secretary Solis along to investigate the denial of civil rights and labor violations by Walker. Obama did none of these things. Rather, he damned the movement with a few words of faint praise, and cut it loose. The lesson is that the Democratic Party is more than willing to sell out mass struggles anytime it can. And it is only by having your own program of anti-Wall Street demands that you can become independent of the rotten two-party system.

Known by the company they keep...which also includes the Marxist Unions (SEIU and NLRB as examples) now infesting the USA...

Sher Zieve
-News and Commentary-
In all things, trust God
"Thou Shalt have no other gods before me"

Subject: List of Occupy Wall Street supporters From: Dave Hollenbeck
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2011 07:42:44 -0700
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
BCC: sherzieve@mywdo.com

List of Announced Supporters & Sympathizers

Communist Party USA
Sources: Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller
American Nazi Party
Sources: Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor, Sunshine State News
Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran
Sources: The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News
Lisa Fithian (Left-wing anarchist – “What do I do? I create crisis.”)
Sources: RedState.com
President Barack Obama (“We are on their side.”)
Sources: ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York
Government of North Korea
Sources: Korean Central News Agency), The Marxist-Leninist, Wall Street Journal, Times of India

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Member of Congress/Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee
Source: RealClearPolitics.com
Louis Farrakhan Jew-hating leader of Nation of Islam
Sources: video statement (starting at 8:28), Black in America, Weasel Zippers, Philadelphia Weekly
Revolutionary Communist Party
Sources: Revolutionary Communist Party, Revolution newspaper, in-person appearance

Bill Ayers Marxist/former domestic terrorist who said to Occupy Chicago, “Every revolution seems impossible in the beginning."
Sources: BigGovernment.com
David Duke Jew-hating former Grand Wizard the Ku Klux Klan
Sources:Talking Points Memo, video statement, davidduke.com
Hugo Chavez Communist ruler of Venezuela
Sources: Mother Jones, Reuters, Examiner.com
Black Panthers Organization of radical black nationalists
Sources: in-person appearance, Occupy Oakland, Oakland Tribune

Socialist Party USA
Sources: Socialist Party USA, IndyMedia, The Daily Caller

Nancy Pelosi Democratic House minority leader who said of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “God bless them.”
Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, ABC News, The Weekly Standard

Communist Party of China
Sources: People’s Daily (Communist Party organ), Reuters, chinataiwan.org, The Telegraph

Hezbollah Anti-Jewish terrorist organization
Sources: almoqawama.org, almoqawama.org (2), almoqawama.org (3), wikipedia

Stephen Lerner Militant labor activist/leading mastermind behind Occupy Wall Street - “How do we take down the stock market?”
Sources: BusinessInsider.com

International Bolshevik Tendency
Sources: bolshevik.org, Wire Magazine

Van Jones Avowed communist/former senior advisor to Obama White House – “I’ll drop the radical pose to achieve the radical ends.”
Sources: HuffingtonPost.com

Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader (D-NV)
Source: HuffingtonPost.com
International Socialist Organization
Sources: Socialist Worker, socialistworker.org, in-person appearance

Frances Fox Piven Marxist professor/honored elder stateswoman of the Democratic party – “It’s okay to use violence.”
Source: video statement

Marxist Student Union
Sources: Marxist Student Union, Big Government, marxiststudentunion.blogspot.com

September 29th, 2011

Soros army launches Wall Street assault of its own

MoveOn.org action campaign aims to rebuild U.S. financial system

(WND) - MoveOn.org is planning to launch a protest movement of its own to compliment the Occupy Wall Street momentum with the stated goal of "make[ing] Wall Street pay" and rebuilding the entire U.S. financial system.

MoveOn.org is funded by the George Soros-funded Tides Foundation. Another grantee of Tides is the Adbusters magazine, which is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

The new MoveOn.org Wall Street campaign serves as further evidence suggesting the anti-Wall Street movement is a well-planned campaign and not the spontaneous uprising its leaders claim.

WND broke the story last week that Fenton Communications, a public relations firm closely partnered with Tides, represented the anti-Wall Street march past millionaires' homes in New York two weeks ago.

Fenton also crafted the public-relations strategy of MoveOn.org, as well as a who's who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to a litany of anti-war groups.

Today, MoveOn.org is holding a planning meeting in Manhattan to discuss ways to take on Wall Street in coordination with Occupy Wall Street.

An email sent to Moveon.org's mailing list announced a "meeting for folks to come together to plan ways to Make Wall Street Pay in our own communities"

"We'll focus on specific targeted campaigns that hold the big banks accountable," continued the email.

Continued the email: "The Occupy Wall Street movement has put economic justice in the spotlight. The whole country is talking about how we can end the big banks' excessive influence and Make Wall Street Pay to rebuild the economy for everyone."

The email spelled out the new MoveOn campaign's connection to Occupy Wall Street:

"How is this connected to Occupy Wall Street? Our goal is to launch targeted local campaigns to complement the amazing work being done by brave Occupy Wall Street protesters – something MoveOn members around the country have been assking for. And we'll continue to do everything we can to support and stand in solidarity with #Occupy."

Proof! Occupy Wall Street no 'spontaneous movement'

MoveOn.org is funded by Tides, which acts like a massive clearinghouse of donations to a slew of liberal groups. Critics have alleged the center acts to obscure the ultimate sources of donations by collecting significant sums of money from a few large donors and then funneling the money to thousands of liberal causes.

Soros' Open Society Institute is a prominent Tides Center donor, giving the group $3.5 million between 2007 and 2009 alone.

The Occupy Wall Street march past millionaires' homes was first announced in a press release entitled, "Community Groups and Progressive Organizations Join Together to Plan 'Millionaires March' with Occupy Wall Street Protestors."

The release detailed how a group calling itself 99 New York was joining the Occupy Wall Street movement as a partner. The 99 organization is purportedly a coalition of unions and community organizations, such as UnitedNY, Strong Economy for All Coalition, N.Y. Communities for Change, and the Working Families Party.

It was the 99 New York group, which claims to represent the will of 99 percent of the U.S. population, that led last week's Occupy Wall Street march down the streets of New York.

The press release was sent to reporters and was also posted in various Occupy Wall Street affiliated websites, including StrongForAll.org.

The release listed contact information for 99 New York's spokesmen: Doug Forand of Red Horse Strategies, a firm that has represented scores of Democrat politicians; and Doug Gordon, senior vice president of Fenton Communications.

Gordon's Fenton email was provided on the release. Prior to joining Fenton, Gordon worked for years on Capitol Hill and in Democratic politics. He spent seven years as the top aide to Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich.

Soros, Fenton, Tides

Fenton Communications was founded in 1982 by David Fenton, an activist who served as a photographer for Bill Ayers' domestic Weather Underground terror group.

Fenton Communications works in conjunction with the Soros-funded Tides Center that funded Adbusters, which was reported to have started the concept of Occupy Wall Street.

Fenton used the Tides Center to set up Environmental Media Services in 1994. Tides reportedly originally ran EMS' daily operations.

David Fenton serves on the board of numerous Tides-funded groups, while his firm represents more than 30 Tides Center grantees, as well as Soros himself and the billionaire's Open Society Institute. Fenton helped to craft Moveon.org's attacks on Gen. David Petraeus.

An example of the close public relations relationship between Fenton and Tides is the Social Venture Network, which was established and operates as a project of the Tides Foundation, while its strategy is represented by Fenton. SVN's board has included Tides' founder Drummond Pike as well as Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink.

Another group, September Eleventh Families For Peaceful Tomorrows, is an antiwar organization founded by individuals who lost loved ones in 9-11 terrorist attacks. The group's campaign was coordinated by Fenton while the group was funded by Tides.

Also represented by Fenton is the Win Without War group, which was funded by Soros and Tides.

WND found more than 30 recent examples of Tides grantees whose strategy was coordinated by Fenton.

Fenton, Obama, Ayers ties

While David Fenton first photographed Ayers in the 1960s, he later served alongside both Ayers and Obama on the board of the Woods Fund, a Chicago nonprofit which channeled money to a slew of progressive groups, including the Tides Center and the Alinsky-style Midwest Academy training outfit. Obama served as a paid director on the Woods Fund board from 1999 to 2002.

WND recently reported Midwest's founder, Heather Booth, has been training unions on how to use the economic crisis.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an arm of Booth's Midwest Academy, is part of the Moving Wisconsin Forward movement, one of the main organizers of the major Wisconsin protests in February, as WND first reported.

Fenton's managing director, Ira Arlook, also served as director of Booth's Citizens Action.

Source: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=359233

Monday, August 22, 2011

What are the Principle Forms of Prayer?

Prayer and the First Commandment
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The most generic and fundamental definition of prayer: the conscious adoration of God. We might say it is expressed adoration. Adoration manifest. It is the communication of our minds and wills with God with whom we adore. Prayer is conversation with our adorable God. And my favorite definition, prayer is the voluntary response to the awareness of Gods’ adorable presence. We are still on our introduction. In the present meditation we plan to again ask ourselves the three basic questions: what, why, and how. What are the principle forms of prayer? Why must we pray? And then, this being a retreat, how can we improve our practice of prayer?

What are the Principle Forms of Prayer?
First then the main forms or kinds of prayer. The Church’s tradition distinguishes not just four but five principle forms of prayer. The adoration of submission, the prayer of adoration of love, the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of petition and the prayer of expiation. I found in teaching the theology of prayer it helps immediately and immensely to be clear about what we mean whatever words we use. Behind this classification is the unspoken assumption that all prayer is essential adoration as we’ve been saying. Yet we can address God in five different ways depending on the five different ways we can and should approach God.

Prayer of submissive adoration. Thus, there’s only one God. But we can approach Him, first, as our creator and Lord. And then our prayer is submissive adoration. Submissive adoration of, or shall I say to, the divine majesty. It is the humble adoration of acceptance of, and resignation to the divine will. And that is why the heart of prayer is in the will. We need to use our minds when we pray. But when we pray we are praying wit our wills. When then, our will submits to the divine will and does so consciously and willingly, we are then exercising the prayer of adoration indeed but of adoration in submitting our finite wills to the infinite will of God.

Prayer of loving adoration. We go on. We can approach God as our final destiny and then our prayer is loving adoration or the adoration of love. There is some value in distinguishing between praying to God by adoring Him and praying to God by loving Him. True whenever we adore God we are in some form or another also loving Him. But the single generic form of prayer of adoration has as we say two species. In other words, I can adore God by surrendering my will to His and I can adore God by expressing my deep love for Him and my desire to be with him.

Prayer of thanksgiving. Finally, we can approach God as our generous benefactor from whom we received and continue receiving everything we are and we possess. And then our prayer is grateful thanksgiving, or more familiarly the prayer of gratitude. I’d like to distinguish what we commonly call gratitude or the prayer of gratitude on different levels. Our prayer of gratitude begins first with what I call thanks-thinking. We must first be aware of God’s goodness to us, otherwise there cannot be gratitude. Then to be authentic gratitude our prayer should be thanks-saying to be somehow expressed in verbal form or its equivalent. Something must go out from us towards God. Then to ascend one step higher, our gratitude should be thanks-willing. We are truly grateful when we want to do something for the one who has been good to us. God being who He is, He cannot in anyway benefit. God, give him what he needs, but we had better give Him what He wants. And what does He want? He wants our will. And as we’ve been saying that’s why our will is free. We must want to give whatever He wants even though we know He doesn’t need anything. We go on. There is prayer of gratitude means thanksgiving. Not just thanks-willing. Oh, I can burst with gratitude inside of me. Oh Lord, whatever you want, I will give you. We have the opportunity of giving Him something. What happens? We freeze. Thanksgiving. And He will provide us, believe me, with plenty of opportunity for thanksgiving. You think I’m finished. Not yet. The highest form of gratitude of the prayer of gratitude for our purpose is thanks. Giving up. Letting go. Surrendering. You’ll see this at some length when we reflect on sacrifice as the highest obligation of the first commandment of the Decalogue.

Prayer of petition. We go on. The fourth formal prayer recognized by the Church where we approach God as our almighty hope form whom we expect to receive, provided we ask him, with an open heart, provided we ask him for what we need, and then our prayer is the prayer of petition. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that the prayer of petition is only one of five basic forms of prayer. Even though I dare say for most people, only God really knows, but I believe for most people most of the time, most of their prayer is Lord give me. Now what do you want?

Prayer of expiation. Finally, We can approach and should approach God as our offended Lord from whom we have sinned, either personally or collectively then ours is the prayer of expiation. We beg for God’s mercy on ourselves and others. We plead to have restored the grace we have lost through sin, and we plead to please spare the penalty of suffering which we have justly deserved. Let’s be clear. As much and as deeply as we need to pray for God’s mercy, what are we praying for? We are praying for the grace we have lost having sinned and we pray to be spared more or less of the suffering, the pain we’ve deserved for having stubbornly resisted the will of God.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Obama "[U]shering in the Time of Great Trial for the Church"

-I also believe that he is a carrier of a deadly moral virus, indeed a kind of anti-apostle spreading concepts and agendas that are not only anti-Christ but anti-human as well. In this sense he is of the spirit of Antichrist (perhaps without knowing it), and probably is one of several key figures in the world who (knowingly or unknowingly) will be instrumental in ushering in the time of great trial for the Church under its last and worst persecution, amidst the numerous other tribulations prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and letters of St Paul, St. John, and St. Peter.

StudiObrien newsletter, The U.S. ElectionSaturday, November 1, 2008 1:20 PM
From: "studiObrien" Add sender to Contacts To: undisclosed-recipients

All Saints Day, 1 November 2008

Dear Friends,

From just north of the border, we Canadians, like other people throughout the world, are observing and praying for the coming federal election in the United States of America. I would prefer to keep private my counsel about political choices, because it is not my country. However, I am receiving letters from American subscribers and visitors to my studio website asking me some rather surprising questions about Barack Obama, related to one of my novels.

During the past year I have read a number of his pronouncements, and saw the smoke and mirrors beneath the rhetoric, but couldn't understand why everyone south of the border (the other south of the border, the 49th parallel) was getting so excited about him, both pro and con. Then a few weeks ago a German friend called me immediately after Obama's speech in Berlin, to say that the presidential candidate had mesmerized the crowds, and that a commentator on German television had said: "We have just heard the next President of the United States...and the future President of the World." My friend felt that Obama bore an uncanny resemblance to the fictional character of the President in my novel Father Elijah. I have received several other letters saying the same thing and asking what I thought about it.

From my own reading of Obama's declarations and stated positions, I knew he was an ultra-liberal, a social revolutionary with visionary pretensions. But the Antichrist? No, not possible, I thought. I felt that he was too shallow a man to be the Son of Perdition, the Man of Sin, the Beast of the Book of Revelation. And I still think so. Obama is a crowd-pleaser with just the right ethos of idealistic crusader. That the crusade and the banners under which it marches are evil does not automatically prove that he is the Antichrist.

But now that I have seen the video of the Berlin speech I think there is more here than meets the eye. He is indeed a powerful manipulator of crowds, even as he appears ever so humble and wholesomely charming. I doubt that he is the long-prophesied ruler of the world, but I also believe that he is a carrier of a deadly moral virus, indeed a kind of anti-apostle spreading concepts and agendas that are not only anti-Christ but anti-human as well. In this sense he is of the spirit of Antichrist (perhaps without knowing it), and probably is one of several key figures in the world who (knowingly or unknowingly) will be instrumental in ushering in the time of great trial for the Church under its last and worst persecution, amidst the numerous other tribulations prophesied in the books of Daniel and Revelation, and letters of St Paul, St. John, and St. Peter.

Of course the mystique that has grown up around him is endlessly reinforced by the liberal media, which presents him to us as a high-minded humanist, a kind of secular messiah (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 675). Yet when all the rhetoric is boiled down to its substance, the man is advocating unlimited state-sanctioned murder, and compounds it by indulging in habitual falsehood. He is well accustomed to playing loose with the truth whenever it is expedient for him to do so; or else he is the victim of the largest memory lapses in recorded history; or perhaps he is just not careful about how he expresses things—a blurring or selectivity regarding facts for the purpose of aggrandizing his public image. There is a controversy currently raging in the (admittedly unreliable) forum of the internet, prompted by an African-American talk show host in Los Angeles who listed 39 significant details that Barack Obama claimed were facts about himself, but on fu! rther investigation were proved to be simply untrue. There has been some wild-fire debunking of the debunking, and then more counter-debunking, but it remains obvious that forthrightness and clarity are not major concerns in the Obama camp.

What are we to make of a man who has appeared out of semi-obscurity and become, nearly overnight, so very much an idol of the popular imagination? That he intends to become the most effective advocate of murder of the unborn ever seen in America should give us pause. Murder and lies are as old as the lands east of Eden, of course, but when they are charmingly packaged, proposed as reasonable and just policies (with a smile, a resonant voice, and an appealing flash of the eyes), one begins to wonder just what is afoot in the modern age. It brings to mind a passage from the first Act of Shakespeare's Hamlet:

“That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain...”

The line is from a scene where prince Hamlet has just encountered the ghost of his father, who informs his son that he was poisoned by his own brother Claudius (the "smiling, damned villain"), who after murdering him, seized the king's crown and his queen.

Barack Obama is an image-maker, creating his own myth as he goes along. This would be a sad defect in any human being, but it takes on ominous proportions in a person who may become, after November 4th, one of the most powerful figures in the world. How is it possible that such a tragic turn of events may come about, if indeed a majority of Americans choose to believe the smile and the myth? Why is it that so many people have come to believe that a mirage is reality, even destiny? Do pro-Obama voters hanker for a world figure who would heal old divisions between races and religions, thus heralding a new age for mankind? During this time of near intolerable tensions, does he appear to be the one who can reconcile Islam and Christianity, Africa and America, occident and orient, black and white, rich and poor? Do they see his racial origins as a symbolic victory over the history of racial oppression? Do they see in him the good-hearted "under-dog", the gutsy street fi! ghter who agitates for the rights of the "little guy," whose meteoric rise to a position of maximum influence represents themselves enthroned at last in the high seat of power? Is this why they ignore his every grave fault and hungrily consume his vague idealist platitudes as if these were a kind of new gospel for the third millennium? Our hero. Our visionary. Our Great Friend and spokesman in the forum of the world?

Clearly, contemporary man needs heroes. But why not choose a genuine one, why not look a little deeper and work a little harder to find a man of courage and principle, and if it helps in the historical healing process, why not a very different kind of black man, say a person like Alan Keyes, a scholar, former ambassador, experienced in different levels of government, and (it might be added) an African-American married to a woman from India. Moreover, he is a devout Catholic who believes in moral absolutes and has amply proved that he will stand firm to defend them regardless of the cost to his own career. He knows that kings and presidents cannot usurp the natural law, the moral order of the universe, without bringing down judgment upon their nations. But it need not be Keyes. It might be any number of other men and women of clear thought and clear principle. Surely there are "Ten Just Men" still out there somewhere in America. So why Obama? And why does he ! rise and rise as his mouth smiles and smiles, exuding sincerity as he speaks lies and death?

And why, most horribly, most shamefully, are so many Christians of malformed or unformed conscience supporting him? Is it because they have never been clearly instructed in the truth, never understood the foundation upon which the moral cosmos is built? Is morality for them merely another system of abstract "values" in a crowded playing field of such systems, from which one may pick and choose? In the case of Catholics, for example, have they been blinded by a diet of theological nuances and deadly little loopholes offered to them by the committees of national episcopal conferences — committees that have absolutely no authority over Catholics, yet which are widely revered as a kind of alternative Magisterium? Have they been deadened by a habitual dismissing or dissembling of the solid teaching given to them by the universal Church under Peter? Have they grown accustomed to listening to opinion shapers who tell them that certain excellent apostolic Bishops in ! America who teach the truth without compromise are merely hidebound reactionaries, moralistic extremists, contemporary manifestations of those old boogymen who still haunt the American psyche — the Chillingworths and Dimmesdales and the judges in The Scarlet Letter? And so it goes, this over-reaction to Puritanism played out over centuries, an over-reaction that breeds tragedies a thousand times worse than Salem’s. Lies compounding on lies, and it all floats on an ocean of spilled innocent blood. And who can gaze at that ocean (or be splashed by it) without coming to a radical choice: One either turns away into a deeper state of denial, or one turns heart and mind toward the splendor of Truth, and changes one's life accordingly.

Is this why many of our Catholic people have become impulse-driven impressionists? Of course, the blindness is not due to the failure of pastors alone. The Ministry of Disinformation (by which I mean most modern media) has played a major role. There is also the erosion of truth in the education systems, combined with the gradual confusion and weakening of conscience through our addiction to the "soma" drugs supplied by the entertainment industry. Other factors may be the war in Iraq, or Republican economics, or the Bush administration, or the structure of Capitalism itself, or any number of prudential questions in the sociopolitical order, all of which are presently tangled nests of moral dilemma. But why do they not see that these questions are secondary to the fundamental issue of life itself? Why would they replace one reigning oligarchy with another kind of oligarchy — moreover, one that would kill vast numbers of its own citizens?

"I call on heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live...." (Deuteronomy 30:19)

May God bless and guide you,
in Jesus our Saviour,

with prayers and fasting,

Michael O'Brien

PS: For those interested in a concise examination of the moral parameters of voting in the forthcoming election, I urge you to read an excellent article by Dr. Mark Miravalle, professor of Theology at Franciscan University, Steubenville, available at the following link:


Sunday, August 07, 2011

True Account of Survival of Jesuits in Hiroshima

Stop for a moment of silence, ask God what He want you to do next. Make this a practice. By doing this you are doing more good than reading anything here or anywhere else on the Internet.


The Jesuits who survived the Bomb

The priests who survived the atomic bomb

The remarkable survival of the Jesuit Fathers in Hiroshima has echoes in the Bible and in the story of Fatima

By Donal Anthony Foley on Thursday, 5 August 2010

This Friday, August 6, will see the Feast of the Transfiguration celebrated in the Church. It commemorates the occasion when Christ, accompanied by Peter, James, and John, went up a high mountain – traditionally identified with Mount Tabor in Galilee – and was there “transfigured” before them, so that “his face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as light” (Mt 17:2).

The Greek word for transfiguration is metemorphothe, from which we get the word “metamorphosis”. So the Transfiguration was a complete and stunning change in the appearance of Jesus, as his divinity shone through his humanity, in a way which completely overwhelmed the awestricken disciples. Its purpose was to prepare them for the reality of the crucifixion, so that having once seen – in some sense – his divinity, they would be strengthened in their faith.

August 6 is also an important date in world history: the fateful day on which the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan. On that day, a Monday, at 8.15 in the morning, an American B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, dropped its bomb “Little Boy”, which fell to a predetermined detonation height of about 1,900 feet above the city. It exploded with a blinding flash, creating a giant fireball, which vaporised practically everything and everyone within a radius of about a mile of the point of impact. It is estimated that up to 80,000 people were directly killed by the blast, and by the end of the year, that figure had climbed considerably higher, due to injuries and the effects of radiation. Over two thirds of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed.

But in the midst of this terrible carnage, something quite remarkable happened: there was a small community of Jesuit Fathers living in a presbytery near the parish church, which was situated less than a mile away from detonation point, well within the radius of total devastation. And all eight members of this community escaped virtually unscathed from the effects of the bomb. Their presbytery remained standing, while the buildings all around, virtually as far as the eye could see, were flattened.

Fr Hubert Schiffer, a German Jesuit, was one of these survivors, aged 30 at the time of the explosion, and who lived to the age of 63 in good health. In later years he travelled to speak of his experience, and this is his testimony as recorded in 1976, when all eight of the Jesuits were still alive. On August 6 1945, after saying Mass, he had just sat down to breakfast when there was a bright flash of light.

Since Hiroshima had military facilities, he assumed there must have been some sort of explosion at the harbour, but almost immediately he recounted: “A terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me [and] whirled me round and round…” He raised himself from the ground and looked around, but could see nothing in any direction. Everything had been devastated.

He had a few quite minor injuries, but nothing serious, and indeed later examinations at the hands of American army doctors and scientists showed that neither he nor his companions had suffered ill-effects from radiation damage or the bomb. Along with his fellow Jesuits, Fr Schiffer believed “that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.”

There is actually a biblical precedent for what happened to the eight Jesuits, in the book of Daniel. In Chapter 3, we read of the three young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace at the orders of Nebuchadnezzar, but who survived their ordeal and even walked around in the midst of the flames, accompanied by an angel who looked like “a son of the gods”.

After this first bombing, the Japanese government refused to surrender unconditionally, and so a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki three days later on August 9. Nagasaki had actually been the secondary target, but cloud cover over the primary target, Kokura, saved it from obliteration on the day. The supreme irony is that Nagasaki was the city where two-thirds of the Catholics in Japan were concentrated, and so after centuries of persecution they suffered this terrible blow right at the end of the war.

But in a strange parallel to what happened at Hiroshima, the Franciscan Friary established by St Maximilian Kolbe in Nagasaki before the war was likewise unaffected by the bomb which fell there. St Maximilian, who was well-known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, had decided to go against the advice he had been given to build his friary in a certain location. When the bomb was dropped, the friary was protected from the force of the bomb by an intervening mountain. So both at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can see Mary’s protective hand at work.

The apparitions at Fatima in Portugal took place in 1917, when from May to October three young children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, saw the Blessed Virgin six times, culminating in the “miracle of the sun” on October 13, when 70,000 people saw the sun spin in the sky and change colour successively, before falling to the earth in a terrifying manner. Many of those present thought it was the end of the world, but the sun reassumed its place in the sky to great cries of relief.

The essence of the Fatima message concerns conversion from sin and a return to God, and involves reparation for one’s own sins and the sins of others, as well as the offering up of one’s daily sufferings and trials. There was also a focus on prayer and the Eucharist at Fatima, and particularly the rosary, as well as the Five First Saturdays devotion, which involves Confession, Holy Communion, the rosary and meditation, for five consecutive months with the intention of making reparation to Our Lady (for more details visit Theotokos.org.uk).

It’s interesting to reflect, then, on the theme of “transfiguration” which links these various events. Christ’s face shone like the sun on Mount Tabor, and at Fatima, Our Lady worked the great miracle of the sun to convince the huge crowd which had gathered there that the message she was giving to mankind was authentic. Consider, too, that the poor people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered as man-made “suns” exploded in their midst causing horrific devastation. But at Hiroshima the eight Jesuits, who were living the message of Fatima, and particularly the daily rosary, were somehow “transfigured,” protected by God’s divine power, from the terrible effects of the bomb.

Surely there is a message here for all of us, that living the message of Fatima, in a world which grows ever more dangerous, and which is still threatened by nuclear war, is as profound a necessity for us as it was for Fr Schiffer and his companions
Posted by Social Studies Singapore at 6:58 PM

How Fables Become "Facts"

Photo courtesy of Hiroshima institute for Peace Education

A while back, I visited a webpage called WORLD ENSLAVEMENT OR PEACE: It's Up to the Pope With a title like that, one has to wonder about the folks who set up and maintain the place. It turns out that this is a Catholic site and the title article was written by “Father Nicholas Gruner and other Fatima experts."

Given that the article was put together by a group of “Fatima experts,” it seems logical to expect that the product of their expertise will be factual and accurate – well, at least as much as a fable can be. Should any reader visit the site, he will discover that the claims, prophecies and threats mentioned have been challenged by Catholics and former Catholics. Reading Gruner's responses is enlightening and entertaining.

I came upon the site while researching the August 6, 1945 bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was the first-ever use of a nuclear weapon in war. The site deals with the fanciful apparitions of Catholicism's principal deity, the Blessed Virgin Mary, at Fatima. The apocalyptic article, written in 1988, opens with dire warnings of terrible things that will happen unless people stop ignoring the message of Fatima. A short list of the causes of millions of violent deaths precedes prophecies of what will occur should Russian Communism spread across the globe. But there is a way to change what is to come, and that is by obeying “our Lady of Fatima.” And then follows a lengthy list of rules and procedures for this obedience.

“What is the point in doing all that Our Lady of Fatima asks if everyone else isn't doing it?” one might ask. “I mean if the terrible prophecies are going to happen anyway, why should I make the effort?”

Not to worry. Catholicism is, after all, a religion of compromises, adjustments and conveniences. It should be expected that Rome's supreme deity would look after her faithful followers.

For those who are concerned that the Collegial Act of Consecration will not take place in time, and nuclear war will occur, we wish to assure them that for those who have consecrated themselves to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and have lived the Message of Fatima, Our Lady will protect them even though other people around them have not done their part to fulfill Our Lady's requests to bring peace to the world. This was strikingly demonstrated when the atomic blast struck Hiroshima in August 1945.

The power of the Fatima Message was underscored for the whole world during the atomic explosion at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A German Jesuit and seven of his colleagues were living only eight blocks from the blinding center of the nuclear flash, yet all escaped while flaming death screamed all around them. To this day, all eight occupants of that building are alive and well while others living some distance away continue to die from the radiation effects of that frightful holocaust. Over the years some two hundred scientists have examined these eight survivors, trying to discover what could have spared them from incineration or the lethal storm of radiation. Speaking on TV in the United States, the German Jesuit, Father Hubert Shiffner, gave the startling answer. 'In that house the Rosary was prayed every day. In that house, we were living the Message of Fatima.' His words seemed to underline Sister Lucia's statement in 1977: Our Lady will protect all Her dear ones'. -- Nicholas Gruner and other Fatima experts, Op. cit.

Wow! Eight Jesuits living just eight blocks from the hypocenter of the nuclear blast at Hiroshima were spared from fiery destruction by their custom of praying the rosary every day. Rather makes one want to rush right out and buy a set of rosary beads, doesn't it? Not Really. I just had to find out more about this phenomenon.

One of the first stops on my virtual journey of exploration was a site operated by the Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate, where I came upon a brief Newsletter article which informs that:

…the bomb exploded eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady's Assumption in Hiroshima. Half a million people were annihilated. However, the church and four Jesuit fathers stationed there survived: Fathers Hugo Lassalle, Kleinsorge, Cieslik and Schiffer. - Fr. Paul Ruge, Fr. Schiffer of Hiroshima, © These Last Days Ministries, Inc. 1996 - 2006

“Half a million people were annihilated…” If what Ruge wrote is true, that would be another miracle. Why? Because, on August 6, 1945, when the bomb detonated 1800 feet above the center of Hiroshima, there were a lot less than half a million folks living there.

The population of Hiroshima had reached a peak of over 380,000 earlier in the war but prior to the atomic bombing the population had steadily decreased because of a systematic evacuation ordered by the Japanese government. At the time of the attack the population was approximately 255,000. This figure is based on the registered population, used by the Japanese in computing ration quantities, and the estimates of additional workers and troops who were brought into the city may not be highly accurate. – The Manhattan Engineer District, The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, June 29, 1946

The folks at Hiroshima's A-Bomb WWW Museum provide a figure for the total number of people who died due the nuclear event from the moment of the detonation until the end of the year. That figure is just 28% of Father Ruge's fantasy number. Surely this priest was not embellishing the facts.

It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year. They were citizens including students, soldiers and Koreans who worked in factories within the city. The total number of people who have died due to the bomb is estimated to be 200,000. -- Mitsuru Ohba and John Benson, Welcome to A-Bomb WWW Museum, (c) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 by A-Bomb WWW Project

Did you notice the discrepancy between the number of survivors named in Ruge's article (4) and the number provided in Gruner's account (8)? Maybe the difference is due to a typographical error in one of the articles. No doubt the confusion will be cleared up by visiting a few other sites.

When the atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, it somehow spared a building only eight blocks away from ground zero. In it were living eight Jesuits who were unharmed by the blast, heat, and radiation. – Author not identified, Jesuit Priests Survive Atomic Bomb from Ground-Zero,

In 1945 when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a small community of eight Jesuit Fathers, only eight blocks from ground zero remained unharmed (the people and the building itself) while everyone else in a radius of 1.5 Km from the centre was killed. - Dr. Stephen A. Rinehart & Dr. Richard F. Hubbell, Rosary Miracle - Safe in the Midst of Hiroshima Nuclear Blast !! (C) Feb 2000 [Hint: Look in the text box at the top of the page]

An extraordinary thing happened at Hiroshima. A small community of Jesuit Fathers lived in a church house near the parish church, situated only eight blocks from the center of the bomb blast.

This notwithstanding, when Hiroshima was destroyed by the atomic bomb, all eight members of the small Jesuit community escaped unscathed, while every other person who was within a radius of roughly one and a half kilometers from the center of the explosion died. The church house where the Jesuits lived was still standing, while the nearby church was completely destroyed. -- Mike Coppi, Power of the Rosary,

Well, there you have it. Three different Catholic sources agree (regurgitate?) that there were eight Jesuit priests at a church just eight blocks from the hypocenter of the explosion survived the blast, unharmed or only slightly injured, while everyone else within 1.5 km of the hypocenter were killed. Given that these surviving priests are at the very heart of what is claimed as a great Marian miracle, I should think the number actually spared must be significant.

One of the most amazing miracles in history occurred at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, in Hiroshima, Japan. At that time the Americans dropped the first atomic bomb, and it landed just eight city blocks from the Jesuit church of Our Lady of the Assumption. A half million people were killed instantly when the bomb hit, and homes and buildings for miles around were instantly leveled. Yet the Jesuit church and rectory as well as the four Jesuit priests inside it were undamaged and unhurt. Why? Because the priests prayed the Rosary daily. – OPUS SANCTORUM ANGELORUM, The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary
O, dear! Yet another Marian site informs that 500,000 were killed when the Hiroshima bomb detonated, though FOUR Jesuit priests, as well as their church and rectory, were “undamaged and unhurt,” or the church was destroyed and the adjoining building (rectory?) survived. Seems the goddess who protected the Jesuits also spared the at least one of the parish buildings.

I wanted to learn more about these alleged miracles, so I wrote to several folks who had mentioned the claims on their web sites. Of the few who responded, none had any first-hand information; they had merely parroted what they had read at some other web site. One priest did suggest that, since those involved were Jesuits, and one of the survivors eventually became the Superior General of the order, I might obtain authenticated information from Jesuit sources. Accordingly, I wrote to two Jesuit provinces here in the USA (New Orleans and California); neither responded. I also wrote to the Bishop of Hiroshima, who did not respond and the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, which did respond.

In my email to the Hiroshima people, I inquired about the Jesuit church and rectory located about eight blocks from the hypocenter of the bomb detonation and the people who had been in it. I added that I was curious, after looking at dozens of U.S. Army photographs taken at ground level, as to how the church and neighboring house had been able to survive the bomb without any damage at all. Following is their reply:

Dear Mr. Loeffler:

Thank you for your mail. We suppose the church you inquired may be the Methodist church of Hiroshima. The church was exposed by the atomic bombing at 900 meters from the hypocenter. And then the church received severe damage; the roof was destroyed and fired, only reinforced concrete walls remained. If you want to know more detailed information, please refer the book: “HIROSHIMA,” written by John Hersey (Alfred P. Knopf, New York, 1985). Hersey, an American journalist, was sent to Japan as a special correspondent in May, 1946. His report became the first English documentary on the atomic bombing. There was the pastor of the church, Kiyoshi Tanimoto's testimony in the report.

With best regards,

Shiobu Kikuraku (Ms.) Information Division Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum\1-2 nakajima-cho, Naka-ku Hiroshima 730-0811, JAPAN

However many Jesuits were involved, and whatever buildings were spared/destroyed, every article I came upon was quite clear as to why they were spared:

Some 200 scientists have examined the priests, trying to determine why they were unhurt. Speaking on American TV, the German Jesuit Father Hubert Shiffner gave the startling answer:

"In that house, the Rosary was prayed every day. In that house we were living the Message of Fatima," he said. – Author not identified, Op. cit.

If the allegations concerning the Jesuits and the church and/or rectory at Nobori-cho (in 1945, that was the location of the Jesuit Church of the Assumption of Our Lady) are true, that certainly would be a powerful argument for accepting Marianist claims about Fatima. Let's find out just how credible they are.

Father Schiffer, a German-born Jesuit missionary, earlier had said Mass, and now was in the rectory of the Church of Our Lady. He had recently been ordained a Catholic priest and had been sent to this quiet town because of the bombings in other cities nearby. His companions rushed down from upstairs to find him on the floor dazed and bleeding…These eight men were living only eight blocks from the blast center of the nuclear explosion! Fifty years later, scientists, doctors, and researchers are still lost for words as to why they and their rectory survived the blast with no side effects. They have been examined by over two-hundred scientists. Yet others, further from the blast, are still dying and suffering from its effects. -- Kathryn King, Living The Message,

Dr. King reports that the priest, Hubert Schiffer, was found on the floor, dazed and bleeding. That certainly suggests something other than that the priests, however many, were unharmed by the nuclear detonation. In the same article, she claims that the priests and their rectory “survived the blast with no side effects.” Am I the only person who sees the inconsistency in this claim? Let's look around a bit more. In the "documentary" book recommended by my Hiroshima correspondent, we learn that one of the priests who actually was in Hiroshima when the bomb detonated was afflicted with severe radiation sickness, appart from other injuries.

Immediately before the bomb was dropped, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge went out onto the deck of his missionary home in his underwear and began to read a magazine. A few minutes later, the bomb was dropped, and his life was changed forever...After the bomb was dropped, he offered help to any who needed it, when he was strong enough to move… Once he was given some penicillin for his numerous ailments, but promptly gave that away also…Once, when giving a sermon, Father Kleinsorge fainted, and was thereby bedridden for three months...Father Kleinsorge loved Japan and its people. After the bomb, {he became a Japanese citizen}…A little while after he became a Japanese citizen, he became very ill, and went into the Red Cross Hospital for a year, where he was diagnosed with radiation sickness. When he was released, he took up resident in Mukaihara…One day he found he could not move and lived the rest of his life as a vegetable, with Yoshiki-san {his housekeeper} changing his diapers and bathing him. He died November 17, 1977, 32 years after the bomb dropped at the age of 70. -- Dorothy Van Duyne, Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, A Character Sketch from the Novel Hiroshima

Writer John R. Hersey, well-known for his historical novels, wrote the book Van Duyne based her sketch on. Hiroshima is a collection of segments dealing with the lives of six people who were in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Van Duyne mentions that Father Kleinsorge was on the deck of his “missionary home” (the rectory of the Jesuit Church of the Assumption of Our Lady), in his underwear, when the bomb went off. This suggests that Kleinsorge was out in the open, with nothing between him and the bomb. Compare this image with Hersey's words:

When the atomic bomb was detonated, Father Kleinsorge was fortunate to be in a protected location -- John R. Hersey, Hiroshima, © 1985 reprint, Vintage Press, p. 100 (Note: Hiroshima appeared in full in the August 31, 1946 issue of New Yorker magazine.:

The priest may have been in his underwear when the bomb detonated, but apparently he was sheltered.

The Daughters of St. Paul, in Japan, maintain on which they introduced the World Peace Cathedral, seat of the Bishop of Hiroshima. The Cathedral story is now a dead link, but a few years ago I read the following there:

A Jesuit missionary, the Reverend Hugo Lassalle, was pastor of the parish at Nobori-cho located less than 1500 meters from the hypocenter of the bomb. Although wounded critically, he survived. As he turned to the task of rebuilding his church he thought of it as a monument to world peace thrusting its tower to heaven from the charred heart of Hiroshima. It would be a cathedral dedicated to the memory of the atomic bomb victims, a symbol of love and peace for all nations. – Author not named, Amor—What's Happening Today,

According to this Japanese source, the Jesuit Hugo Lassalle was “wounded critically,” which certainly does not agree with Dr. King's version. Not to worry, there is support for part of Dr. King's claims at another site:

Less than one kilometer from ground zero (point of impact) was a two story home attached to a church. The home remained intact. The church remained except for the roof which was blown away. Inside the home were eight Jesuit priests. Except for a few minor cuts and bruises these eight priests were not harmed. -- Tom Smikoski (adapted from an article by Richard Hubbell), Miracle of Hiroshima,

Smikoski informs that there were eight Jesuits in the building and that they suffered only minor cuts and bruises. The rectory “remained intact.” He writes that the church survived also, though the roof was blown away.

Richard Hubbell, another Catholic writer, writes that there were eight Jesuits at the rectory, and bemoans the fact that only four have been identified. He makes his point in a note (Shown here in red) appended to a comment made by Father Ruge:


At 2:45 a.m. on August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber took off from the island of Tinian to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. At 8:15 a.m. the bomb exploded eight city blocks from the Jesuit Church of Our Lady's Assumption in Hiroshima. Half a million people were annihilated. However, the church and four Jesuit fathers stationed there survived: Fathers Hugo Lassalle, Kleinsorge, Cieslik and Schiffer. (RH note - all other accounts state clearly that there were eight Jesuits stationed in this home not four - and it is well known that all eight survived - the author of this present article apparently only had the names of four of them, for instance Fr. Arrupe is left out of the list - and at this writing, I have not been able to find the names of the other three Jesuits. end of note.) According to the experts they "ought to be dead," being within a one-mile radius of the explosion. Nine days later on August 15, Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, U.S. forces were ordered to cease fire. – Richard Hubbell, Rosary Miracle at Hiroshima - August 6th, 1945 (Emphasis not in original)

NOTE: The untruths in Hubbell's words are self-evident. I believe it necessary to call attention to an innuendo at the close of his squib. Look at his words again: Nine days later on August 15, Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, U.S. forces were ordered to cease fire.. From these words, one might be led to believe that the end of World War II fighting on the date of the "Feast of Our Lady's Assumption" was something more than mere coincidence. There is also an obscure inference that "our Lady" had something to do with cease-fire order sent to our troops. The facts suggest something different. Three days after the Hiroshima blast, Nagasaki became the second Japanese city to be destroyed by nuclear detonation. On August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito went on the radio to inform his people of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies: Great Britain, the Soviet Union, France, and the United States. The Empire of Japan had surrendered. There was no need for our troops to continue fighting. Catholic Mary had nothing to do with our troops being ordered to cease fire. On September 2, 1945, the formal articles of surrender were signed aboard the Battleship Missouri.

A new claim: Father Pedro Arrupe, who one day would become the Jesuit Superior General, was one of the “Mystery Four” unnamed Jesuits who were with Schiffer, Kleisorge, Lasalle and Cieslik when the bomb went off. It is interesting that Hubbell should place Arrupe at the Jesuit church/rectory when the bomb went off. It is fact that Arrupe was stationed in Hiroshima, but as Master of Novitiates at the Seminary, which was located about six kilometers from the hypocenter of the detonation.

This is an excerpt from A Priest Forever by Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Father Arrupe was Superior General of the Society from May 22, 1965, until August 7, 1981. Before that, and during the time of World War II, Father was Rector of the Novitiate and Director of Novices in Japan, and was in Hiroshima during the explosion of the first atomic bomb on that city on August 6, 1945…

The atomic bomb had exploded at 8:10 AM on August 6, destroying the whole of Hiroshima, reducing it to ashes and killing at one blow 80,000 people. Our Jesuit house, even though it was badly damaged, was one of the few that remained standing. There were no windows left; all had been torn away by the violent wind caused by the explosion. We turned our house into a hospital and assembled about 200 people who were injured, in order to nurse and care for them… -- (c) New York Province, Society of Jesus[Another now dead link)

Father Arrupe was at Hiroshima when the bomb went off, at the seminary in the hills outside the city. He and his fellow Jesuits turned their seminary into a makeshift hospital where they cared for a great number of those injured by the blast and its sequelae. If the bomb had killed everyone in Hiroshima, as other writers have claimed, who were the people the Jesuits cared for and where did they come from? Also, please note that Father Arrupe, who was an eye-witness to the destruction, reports that the blast killed 80,000, not half a million as did some others. For those who may be confusing the house Arrupe mentions with the rectory at the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, be assured these are two different buildings, as will be made quite clear below.

Let's see what we have learned so far:

* The 4 or 8 Jesuit priests in the church or rectory were unharmed or suffered a few minor cuts and bruises or, some at least, were more seriously injured – at least one critically

* The church and rectory were undamaged or the church was destroyed and the rectory unharmed or the church was damaged but the rectory was not damaged.

* According to Gruner and his Fatima experts, all eight of the Jesuit priests were alive when they wrote their article, Op. cit., in 1988. However, other articles inform that Schiffer died 33 years after the detonation (1978), Kleinsorge died in 1977, Lassalle did not die until 1990. I was unable to learn when the fourth named priest died.

So far, the events at Hiroshima involving Jesuits and their church/rectory indeed do seem to be miraculous: It's a miracle that anyone can believe this stuff.

What follows is an excerpt from the eyewitness report of Jesuit priest John A. Seimes, who was in the Jesuit Seminary on the outskirts of Hiroshima when the bomb went off. It is a bit long, but makes for fascinating reading. Seimes' account should clear up the confusion concerning the names and number of Jesuits in town at the church/rectory and the damage done to both the church and the rectory:

Soon comes news that the entire city has been destroyed by the explosion and that it is on fire. What became of Father Superior and the three other Fathers who were at the center of the city at the Central Mission and Parish House? We had up to this time not given them a thought because we did not believe that the effects of the bomb encompassed the entire city. Also, we did not want to go into town except under pressure of dire necessity, because we thought that the population was greatly perturbed and that it might take revenge on any foreigners which they might consider spiteful onlookers of their misfortune, or even spies.

At about four o'clock in the afternoon, a theology student and two kindergarten children, who lived at the Parish House and adjoining buildings which had burned down, came in and said that Father Superior LaSalle and Father Schiffer had been seriously injured and that they had taken refuge in Asano Park on the river bank. It is obvious that we must bring them in since they are too weak to come here on foot.

At the far corner of the park, on the river bank itself, we at last come upon our colleagues. Father Schiffer is on the ground pale as a ghost. He has a deep incised wound behind the ear and has lost so much blood that we are concerned about his chances for survival. The Father Superior has suffered a deep wound of the lower leg. Father Cieslik and Father Kleinsorge have minor injuries but are completely exhausted.

While they are eating the food that we have brought along, they tell us of their experiences. They were in their rooms at the Parish House--it was a quarter after eight, exactly the time when we had heard the explosion in Nagatsuke--when came the intense light and immediately thereafter the sound of breaking windows, walls and furniture. They were showered with glass splinters and fragments of wreckage. Father Schiffer was buried beneath a portion of a wall and suffered a severe head injury. The Father Superior received most of the splinters in his back and lower extremity from which he bled copiously. Everything was thrown about in the rooms themselves, but the wooden framework of the house remained intact. The solidity of the structure which was the work of Brother Gropper again shone forth.

They had the same impression that we had in Nagatsuke: that the bomb had burst in their immediate vicinity. The Church, school, and all buildings in the immediate vicinity collapsed at once. Beneath the ruins of the school, the children cried for help. They were freed with great effort. Several others were also rescued from the ruins of nearby dwellings. Even the Father Superior and Father Schiffer despite their wounds, rendered aid to others and lost a great deal of blood in the process.

In the meantime, fires which had begun some distance away are raging even closer, so that it becomes obvious that everything would soon burn down. Several objects are rescued from the Parish House and were buried in a clearing in front of the Church, but certain valuables and necessities which had been kept ready in case of fire could not be found on account of the confusion which had been wrought. It is high time to flee, since the oncoming flames leave almost no way open. Fukai, the secretary of the Mission, is completely out of his mind. He does not want to leave the house and explains that he does not want to survive the destruction of his fatherland. He is completely uninjured. Father Kleinsorge drags him out of the house on his back and he is forcefully carried away.

We must proceed to our goal in the park and are forced to leave the wounded to their fate. We make our way to the place where our church stood to dig up those few belongings that we had buried yesterday. We find them intact. Everything else has been completely burned. In the ruins, we find a few molten remnants of holy vessels.

The magnitude of the disaster that befell Hiroshima on August 6th was only slowly pieced together in my mind. I lived through the catastrophe and saw it only in flashes, which only gradually were merged to give me a total picture. What actually happened simultaneously in the city as a whole is as follows: As a result of the explosion of the bomb at 8:15, almost the entire city was destroyed at a single blow. Only small outlying districts in the southern and eastern parts of the town escaped complete destruction. The bomb exploded over the center of the city. As a result of the blast, the small Japanese houses in a diameter of five kilometers, which compressed 99% of the city, collapsed or were blown up. Those who were in the houses were buried in the ruins.

Only several cases are known to me personally where individuals who did not have external burns later died. Father Kleinsorge and Father Cieslik, who were near the center of the explosion, but who did not suffer burns became quite weak some fourteen days after the explosion. Up to this time small incised wounds had healed normally, but thereafter the wounds which were still unhealed became worse and are to date (in September) still incompletely healed. The attending physician diagnosed it as leucopania. There thus seems to be some truth in the statement that the radiation had some effect on the blood. I am of the opinion, however, that their generally undernourished and weakened condition was partly responsible for these findings. It was noised about that the ruins of the city emitted deadly rays and that workers who went there to aid in the clearing died, and that the central district would be uninhabitable for some time to come. I have my doubts as to whether such talk is true and myself and others who worked in the ruined area for some hours shortly after the explosion suffered no such ill effects. -- From APPENDIX: Father John Siemes' eyewitness account, THE ATOMIC BOMBINGS OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI, by The Manhattan Engineer District, June 29, 1946. Project Gutenberg

I believe that what Seimes said above is an accurate description of actual conditions and events in Hiroshima, particularly as concerns the Jesuit church and rectory of the church of the Assumption of Our Lady and the priests present, during and shortly after the bomb detonated. As presented, it is a fascinating account of events and of the heroic humanitarianism of the Jesuit priests and novitiates. Sadly, the plain truth often is not considered sufficiently interesting for some folks. Some people choose to embellish factual accounts of historical events by adding enhancements to make them more impressive, or to provide support for some pet idea or personal agenda. In the case of the Jesuit church and priests at Hiroshima, truth has been sacrificed to enhance the claims and authority of the Catholic goddess known as Our Lady of Fatima. And that is how fables become facts.