Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice

The longest day has arrived. Here are some pictures of sunsets and sunrises.


Trump and the Invasion of the West

As the Trump administration tries to fix a mess created by bad laws passed during previous administrations, we remember that maintaining a border is the right of every country, along with the duty to protect its citizens. It is a matter of the rule of law. My mother and grandmother are Hispanic; three of my grandparents and both of my parents were legal immigrants. They made sacrifices in order to obey the law and become citizens through the proper channels.

The migrant crisis is fraught with complications which add to the suffering of the innocent. What about all the children who arrived without parents? From Big League Politics:
 Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Monday that 10,000 of the 12,000 children detained at the border came to the border without parents with him, smacking down the mainstream media narrative that the Trump administration is tearing many families apart out of callous disregard for illegal immigrants. The illegal immigrant child-detention program that was criticized during the Obama administration is a policy that President Donald Trump is trying to end, pressuring Democrats to get on board with an immigration bill that funds his Wall and creates merit-based immigration among other policy planks. (Read more.)
The border patrol agents, whom the liberal media are comparing to Nazis, are trying to protect the children from human trafficking:
San Diego’s chief Border Patrol agent Rodney Scott said Monday that the Border Patrol separates children from the adults they are with if there are concerns that the kids are being human-trafficked. Scott revealed that oftentimes traffickers “recycle” children in order to get illegal alien grown-ups over the Southern border into the United States. “OOPS! A media outlet slipped & printed the truth today!,” Ann Coulter declared, showing people that the media is not being forthright and truthful when reporting on the supposed border separation program. (Read more.)
And from ICE:
The Washington Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), in collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Operation Predator, participated in Operation Broken Heart from March 1 through May 31. The operation identified individuals using peer-to-peer networks to share child pornography. During the operation, the Washington ICAC Task Force conducted 51 investigations involving peer-to-peer networks and made 47 arrests. HSI, as part of the task force, conducted 11 search and seizure warrants; made six federal arrests, four state arrests, and one state arrest pending military charges; and identified/rescued one minor victim. The Washington ICAC Task Force also made 67 presentations to educate the public about child exploitation investigations, reaching nearly 4,000 people. (Read more.)
Although President Trump is resolved to keep families together, the isssues at the border remain formidable. From Breitbart:
President Donald Trump reminded critics of his tough immigration policy on Monday that criminals were using children to cross the Southern border. “Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” Trump wrote on Twitter. (Read more.)
 Also from Breitbart:
Border Patrol agents rescued a woman traveling with three children not her own after they became stranded in the middle of the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. Officials told Breitbart Texas the children traveling with the woman were unaccompanied minors. The woman was also crossing with another and her two children. Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents battled strong currents and high water to rescue seven illegal immigrants left stranded in the middle of the Rio Grande River, Breitbart Texas reported. Agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Border Patrol station came across a group of illegal immigrants on June 12 who were abandoned on a small island in the middle of the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. They found two adults and five juveniles who became stranded, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Border Patrol officials indicated the two women put the minors in dangerous conditions while attempting to cross the border illegally. “The individuals were trying to cross and make their way into the United States,” officials said in a written statement. “However, unusually swift and strong currents proved too much for the group.” Officials did not say if the group was traveling with a human smuggler at the time. (Read more.)
From The Hill:
 As House Republicans prepare to meet Thursday to discuss various options on immigration reform, they should remember one of the things that makes America such an attractive place for immigrants from all over the world, which is our dedication to the rule of law, and the shared commitment to the belief that what makes the rule of law work is our determination to apply the law equally, without fear or favor. Seen in that light, it is odd, to say the least, that some Republicans in Congress would “solve” the “immigration problem” by advocating for “solutions” that take our current failure to enforce the laws on the books and, instead of reversing course and enforcing them, find ways to change the law to legalize breaking of the law. (Read more.)
From PJB:
Consider. Since 2016, some 110,000 children have entered the U.S. illegally and been released, along with 200,000 Central American families caught sneaking across the border. Reflecting its frustration, the White House press office declared: "We can't deport them, we can't separate them, we can't detain them, we can't prosecute them. What (the Democrats) want is a radical open-border policy that lets everyone out into the interior of this country with virtually no documentation whatsoever." Where many Americans see illegal intruders, Democrats see future voters. And with 11,000 kids of illegal immigrants in custody and 250 more arriving every day, we could have 30,000 in custody by summer's end. (Read more.)

Jane Austen and the Mysteries of Udolpho

From Regency History:
Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey, is painted as a very ordinary girl, with a very ordinary life, who has read rather a large number of novels. She becomes totally engrossed in The Mysteries of Udolpho and eagerly discusses it with her friend, Isabella Thorpe:
“But, my dearest Catherine, what have you been doing with yourself all this morning? Have you gone on with Udolpho?”
“Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the black veil.”
“Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is behind the black veil for the world! Are you not wild to know?”
“Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? – But do not tell me – I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina’s skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it, I assure you; if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.” (1)
There are times when the book grips Catherine’s imagination so much that it seems more exciting than reality:
“I do not pretend to say that I was not very much pleased with him; but while I have Udolpho to read, I feel as if nobody could make me miserable. Oh! the dreadful black veil! My dear Isabella, I am sure there must be Laurentina’s skeleton behind it.” (1)
If you want to find out what was behind the black veil, scan to the end of my plot summary of The Mysteries of Udolpho. (Read more.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Real Marie-Antoinette

HERE is a conversation I had with author Genevieve Kineke about the book Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars. Share

Three-Parent Babies

From Through Catholic Lenses:
First of all, three-parent children involve procreation outside of a loving marital act which is the moral way to make babies. Every baby deserves to be the fruit of an act of parental love. Second, this inevitably kills half the babies created while they are still one-day-old embryos and puts other embryos at high risk of death.

 Also, children have a right to know their parents. Any use of donor eggs means that someone they don’t know is a parent. Children also have a right to two parents but this procedure makes them the product of three parents. However, there is a new issue regarding modifying genes in heritable ways. We all inherit our mother’s mitochondrial DNA so mixing it with different nuclear DNA creates a range of issues. Will it create health issues down the road? What will the result be a few generations down the road from the passing on of this combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA? (Read more.)

Norbert McAuliffe

From Aleteia:
On May 19, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized the heroic virtues of Br. Norbert McAuliffe, an American missionary in Africa. This declaration is a vital part McAuliffe’s cause for canonization, granting him the title of “venerable,” the next step before being beatified. McAuliffe was born in 1886 in Manhattan, New York, and eventually joined the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a relatively new religious congregation at the time. The congregation was founded by in 1821 by Fr. André Coindre in France and by the time of his death was beginning to spread around the world. According to their website, “Father Coindre had envisioned a community of brothers trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools.” Furthermore, their Rule of Life explains, “Our love for our brothers and the young people in our care radiates from the love Jesus has for us. Our dedication to others, marked by respect, kindness, and concern, will be a sign to them of the compassion of Christ.”

The congregation is primarily made up of religious brothers, with only a few members being ordained priests. Initially McAuliffe served as a director of their house in Metuchen, New Jersey, for about six years before being sent as a missionary to Africa. He was sent to Gulu, Uganda, where he established the congregation’s first mission there. The country at the time was under British rule and the people were receptive to McAuliffe’s missionary activities. He remained there for 20 years until his death on July 3, 1959 at the age of 72. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The King's Touch

I knew the French and English monarchs prayed over those afflicted with scrofula but I did not know it was done in Scotland. When Charles I was crowned King of Scots in June, 1633, he continued the ancient ceremony. From The Scotsman:
Charles had already been crown by the English in 1626, this was the first coronation in Scotland since that of King James VI in 1567, and more notably, the first time an adult had been crowned as our monarch since that of James IV in 1458, who was 15, not an adult? Okay let’s go further back to King James I, he was 30, happy now? The abbey of Scone, traditional place of coronations up to 1424, had been destroyed, and for this occasion the ceremonial was located in the remains of Holyrood abbey, which had seen the coronation of King James II in 1437.

All that remained of the abbey was the nave, the remainder of the church having been demolished in 1570, and the structure was now restored for the occasion. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood Palace in 1600 by David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, and created Duke of Albany, the traditional title of the second son of the King of Scotland.


While researching this I found an article about Charles and the “laying on of hands” a ceremony he performed while at Holyrood, a practice said to have been performed by all the Stewart monarchs but discontinued by the Hanoverian’s. Bonnie Prince Charlie though is said to have performed it during the 45. (Read more.) 
This is of particular interest to me since Louis XVI was a direct descendant of Charles I. King Louis treasured the ancient healing ceremony and celebrated it several times a year, not just at his coronation, as described in my book. Share

#MeToo for Every Woman

From Vatican News:
“Dear Asia, Meryl, Sharon, Uma, and all of you who have called the world’s attention to the scandal of the violence endured by women in the West”. So begins the appeal, an open letter written by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need. It appeared as a one-page, full color ad in a recent Italian edition of Vanity Fair. The letter goes on to say that thanks to the #MeToo initiative backed by these four celebrities, public opinion has been sensitized regarding the horror of rape, and other forms of sexual assault endured by women. The Pontifical Foundation then states that they have been helping persecuted Christians in every corner of the globe for over 70 years. In addition, the letter says, they “denounce the violation of the freedom of whatever faith”.

“We would like to introduce Rebecca, Dalal, and Sr Meena”....These are three of the faces of women who are persecuted because of their religious persuasion. Behind these faces tens of thousands of others remain hidden. “They are persecuted and assaulted without every receiving the slightest solidarity or visibility through social media or through other news outlets.”


Rebecca is a 28-year-old Christian who lives in Nigeria and was kidnapped by Boko Haram. “…they raped me, held me prisoner for 2 years. They killed one of my children and sold me as a slave…”.


Dala is now 21 years old and lives in Iraq. She experienced violence at the hands of Isis. “…I was 17 years old when I was kidnapped and sold as a sex slave to 9 different men within 9 months. My mother and sister are still being held prisoners by Isis”. (Read more.)