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I’m Not Wrong, I’m Just Ahead of My Time November 9, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, cultural marxism, General Catholic, history, reading, scandals, sickness, Society, true leadership, unadulterated evil, unbelievable BS.
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Four years ago, I posted my opinion, based on quite a bit of evidence, that the United States irrevocably lost the war in Vietnam after the Kennedy administration approved, and helped instigate, the assassination of the only patriot leader of sufficient standing and capability to lead the fledgling nation of South Vietnam through a domestic insurgency and foreign invasion, Ngo Dinh Diem.  I didn’t get much flak for that post – I think it was outside most reader’s area of interest – but I was gratified to see last week that an author has written a book advancing just my point – that Diem was falsely maligned by the US press and a Kennedy administration that badly wanted a pliant stooge leading Vietnam, rather than a dedicated patriot who was vehemently opposed to seeing mass US ground troops taking over the war in his country.  Diem knew that a US takeover of the war would de-legitimize his government and be the perfect propaganda piece for the communists to convince rightly nationalist Vietnamese to oppose the southern government.  This is, to a very large extent, what happened.  US involvement post-Diem expanded massively, successive unstable puppet governments ruled the country until the ineffectual and autocratic Thieu took over, and support for the government of South Vietnam remained divided and tepid, at best.

There is a long post on the book at The Federalist, which my friend, fellow Catholic, and Vietnamese Patriot Hiep Nguyen sent me.  Some excerpts below:

That man is Ngo Dinh Diem, president of the Republic of Vietnam (better known as South Vietnam) from 1955 to 1963, his rule and life cruelly ended in a military coup tacitly supported by the U.S. government. A recent book on Diem’s life, “The Lost Mandate of Heaven: The American Betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, President of Vietnam,” by military historian Geoffrey Shaw clarifies why Americans would do well to mourn the tragic loss of a man many deemed to be Vietnam’s best chance of defeating communism……..

[Follows an interlude in which the dominant leftist narrative of Diem as a grasping, incompetent autocrat is described at length.  We’ll skip that]

……..Shaw’s biography of Diem paints a far different picture of “America’s Mandarin.” For starters, Diem was a deeply religious man, whose Catholic faith was central to every decision in his life. Often attracted to the religious life, Diem had to be constantly pushed to embrace his natural skills as an administrator and politician.

Diem had a reputation both as an ascetic scholar and a capable bureaucratic, one who seemed to perfectly fit the role of the ideal Vietnamese Confucian leader. Indeed, as Shaw shows, Ho Chi Minh admired Diem’s austerity, and likely sought to emulate it. Even at the height of his power, Diem lived meagerly, and was known to constantly give money away to any in need. He was known to rise early every day to attend Mass, and worked brutal 16-hour days………

…….The Buddhist protesters who so famously undermined Diem’s regime in the months leading up to his ouster were in fact a minority within the south, incited by Buddhist extremist leaders very likely supported by the communists. Rather than a reflection of the teetering authority of the government, the Buddhist crisis was more likely a propaganda effort to obstruct what so many contemporary accounts and historical documents suggest: Diem and his brother were incrementally winning on both the political and military fronts. [Winning, but as the author notes, incrementally, and not nearly fast enough for the nascent 24 hours news cycle-dominated American politics of the time.  Of course, the problem of instantaneous victory increased exponentially after mass American ground forces were committed, which is the very thing Diem refused to countenance.  He wanted to win the war for the long haul and build up a survivable independent nation at the same time, and had done a good enough job that the North under Nguyen Tat Thanh (Ho Chi Minh) was compelled to basically invade the South with massive ground forces to keep the Viet Cong from being crushed]

So how have we come to have such a skewed perception of Diem and his reign as president of South Vietnam? According to Shaw, two sources share the majority of the blame: an American press heavily biased against Diem, and a circle of senior government officials — led by Averell Harriman and Roger Hilsman — hell-bent on replacing him.

Correspondents from such publications as The New York Times and Washington Post, contrary to their portrayal by Burns and Novick’s television series, were often junior reporters in search of the next sexy story to burnish their credentials. Many spent most of their time in Saigon and other major cities, inevitably drawn into the circles of rumor and intrigue that represented only a segment of Vietnamese society. This created a skewed perception of Vietnamese popular opinion, which was particularly troublesome given that Diem’s efforts were focused largely on protecting and improving the lot of poor South Vietnamese farmers, who made up a majority of the population.

Throughout the Kennedy administration, the press corps published article after article condemning just about everything Diem did, while urging his removal. The media’s presentation of events on the ground were far more negative than those military assessments offered, or those of U.S. Ambassador Frederick Nolting, who supported Diem’s regime. The media’s hatchet job was so over-the-top that U.S. officials on a number of occasions complained directly to the editors of the New York Times and Washington Post[So here we have it, fake news a la the 1960s.  The author is right, most of the reporters in South Vietnam in the early 60s were very junior, and very ambitious.  They were not as intellectually and physically lazy as today’s media, but they were not nearly so well informed as they thought.  They were also heavily biased against Diem for a wide variety of reasons, but more importantly, generally had no idea what they were writing or talking about.  The intricacies of South Vietnamese politics, still confusing even 50 years after the fact, were way, way beyond them. They sought simplistic “good guy bad guy” scenarios to create narratives for the public back home, just as the media does to this day.]

……….As for Kennedy’s administration, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Averell Harriman  [A nominal Republican, but a very liberal, Rockefeller type] led a cadre of officials within the government vehemently opposed to Diem’s regime. Much of this stemmed from Harriman’s distaste for Diem’s attempts to maintain autonomy over his government, the latter often spurning U.S. directives he viewed as misguided, if not a threat to the survival of his country.

Probably the most famous example is Harriman’s support for the neutrality of neighboring Laos, a policy that allowed the communists to take over large parts of the Laotian countryside and use it to transfer fighters and materiel to communist insurgents (the notorious Vietcong) in the south. The route through Laos became known, jokingly, as the “Averell Harriman Memorial Highway.” Diem was adamant in calling this out for what it was: a direct attack on his nation’s security and viability. Harriman, a classic example of a condescending WASP bureaucrat, was widely known to despise Diem for resisting U.S. policy.

Shaw’s research shows it was Harriman who instigated and led growing support within the Kennedy administration for Diem’s removal, consistently setting the tone of cabinet discussions as explicitly anti-Diem. As would be expected, he sought to sideline those individuals — like Nolting — who offered a different, more sympathetic take……….

…………Harriman’s argument — that Diem’s persecution of Buddhists had “made it impossible for the United States to back him” — eventually won in the White House, despite a congressional fact-finding mission in late October 1963 (the month before the assassination) that concluded Washington should stick with Diem. The White House ignored the report, and a wealth of other information, and communicated to Vietnamese military coup plotters they would not oppose Diem’s removal.

The men who supported the coup surely must have known what would happen to Diem and his brother. When the two were discovered inside the Church of Saint Francis Xavier in Cholon on 2 November, soldiers acting on coup leaders’ orders secured them inside a personnel carrier, where their executioner “cut out their gallbladders while they were still alive, and then shot them.”

This was the ignominious end to an American ally, a man whom observers — Americans, French, British, Australian, and even North Vietnamese — believed (or in the case of the communists, feared) was Saigon’s best chance to preserve an independent South Vietnam.

………Ngo Dinh Diem came to power in South Vietnam through the help of the United States. Burns-Novick’s film and Karnow suggest even this was a farce, given Diem’s ultimate rejection of the planned 1956 nationwide elections, though Shaw’s careful research proves this a problematic thesis, as well. Although the communists quite expectedly called “foul” when Diem demurred on elections, Ho Chi Minh’s government had already been in direct violation of the 1954 Geneva Accords by building up their military forces and supporting communist insurgent networks in the south.

Meanwhile, in the north, the communists were busy suppressing revolts, murdering thousands of people during their unpopular and poorly contrived land reform efforts. Moreover, as Shaw argues, their flagrant violation of the Laotian neutrality agreement years later proves the communists would never have allowed a free and fair nationwide election anyway. Diem simply saw the sham for what it was.

Indeed.  Those purported elections, upon which so much of the left-wing criticism of Diem rest, was always going to be a sham. First of all, the North outnumbered the South, even after 1 million mostly Catholic North Vietnamese fled south during the brief period of UN control after the French collapse.  Secondly, with a violently repressive communist government, anyone but a leftist bonehead could predict that the North Vietnamese would vote 100% for the communist government, just as the people of the Soviet Union used to vote 100% for the single-party commie candidate in their sham elections.  Thirdly, as noted, the North had already violated the 1954 accords on numerous fronts.  Only an idiot would submit to an election under such circumstances.

And I think this is the ultimate rub – not so much for the mainline democrats of the day (1956), which were a very different crowd than the democrats of today – for the hardcore leftists in the media and academia who have always held such opprobrium for Diem.  They wanted the North to win. The North were part of the great leftist utopian machine, and thus sacred parts of the worldwide leftist revolutionary element.  Many of these people are the same ones who marched in demonstrations against the war shouting “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF (National Liberation Front – the Viet Cong) are going to win!”  Diem, an ardent Catholic and anti-communist, was the antithesis in what they wanted to see in government.  Bringing him down would go a very far way to seeing through the ultimate goal of a North Vietnamese communist victory.

I say that is the largely unstated motivation of the historians and media personalities who have blighted Diem’s name.  The government officials complicit in the plot to murder Diem were generally not of this cohort, they were simply liberally minded American incompetents horribly out of their depth and seeking to cover up their role in an unfolding catastrophe.

I think as time goes on there will be a general re-appraisal of Diem’s role and the inevitable events that followed after his death.  I think this historian Shaw (and I have not read the book) is very much on the right track.  Diem was a flawed man, as all men are, but he was by far the best leader the South Vietnamese had, and the one most likely to prevent the country from falling to communism.  It is quite possible to imagine a much different history to that still suffering nation had he not been betrayed by his erstwhile “allies.”

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A Beautiful Story on the Persecuted Catholics of Elizabethan England October 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, manhood, persecution, reading, religious, Restoration, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I just finished reading a book on the English revolt against the Church, entitled the Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism.  It’s a long book and a bit strange, containing contributions from several authors across different periods and consisting of almost as much commentary as it does the original upon which it was based – Fr. Nicolas Sander’s critique of the Tudor persecution of Catholics.  Still it’s a very worthwhile read, and an eminently timely one given the recent trend in some circles of the Church to celebrate the greatest single revolt against Church authority in history, the revolt of the myriad, multiplying, always disagreeing protestant heretics.

It is impossible to read any Catholic – or even unbiased, non-protestant – history of the so-called Reformation and not come away with the impression that the men who led and foisted this panoply of divergent sects upon the people were, to a man, the furthest possible exemplars from the original Apostles.  This is particularly true in England, where “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” is an almost laughable compendium compared to the torrents of Catholic blood spilt not over a few years, but over centuries.  Even more laughably, many promoters of modern sexular paganism and the notion of libertine democracy point to the English Reformation as the first blooming of the supposedly new ideals of liberty and freedom, when, in fact, the Tudor state under Henry VIII and Elizabeth the Sterile (and not for want of trying) was probably the first example of a modern authoritarian totalitarian state.  There were spies everywhere, liberties for “recusants” (faithful Catholics) were non-existent, new laws were made up on the fly and retroactively applied, and parliament was just a stacked body of unthinking yes men who did whatever the King or Queen demanded of them –  on pain of a wretched death if they refused to go along.  Both Henry and his illegitimate daughter Elizabeth (born from Anne Boleyn, who Sanders argues was actually Henry’s own daughter – yuck) led amazingly immoral lives, and used their hatred and fear of the Church as a vehicle to acquire absolute power for themselves.  The degree to which the state expanded and intruded into the deepest corners of conscience and privacy was unprecedented for the time, and yet, it was sold as being this great harbinger of “freedom from the tyranny of Rome,” when Rome had never dared, nor desired, to ever make such unyielding demands of the people.

The article excerpted below gives just a few examples of both how the totalitarian Tudor state persecuted Catholics, and how the Catholics of England  and abroad, under unbelievably difficult circumstances, managed to keep their faith through nearly three centuries of unprecedented, unrelenting persecution (seriously – the English persecution of Catholics made those of the Roman Empire seem modest by comparison).  You should read the whole thing, it’s not long and tells some history that is far too little known, even among Catholics:

A strange sight greeted those assembled at Tyburn one January morning in 1601. The executions of two Catholic priests – Mark Barkworth and the Jesuit, Roger Filcock – and one Catholic lay woman, Anne Line, were set to provide the day’s spectacle………..[Such executions, sometimes of single individuals, sometimes of entire groups, occurred almost monthly, and sometimes weekly, at Tyburn]

……….However, the gathered throng must have been momentarily taken aback, for Barkworth had somehow procured a Benedictine habit and was tonsured. Such an attire had not been worn in England since before Elizabeth I had ascended the throne more than 40 years earlier but there, before the mob, stood a Benedictine monk.

Any hesitation caused by such a spectacle was not enough to save Barkworth – in fact, some cruel wretch even shouldered the monk’s body weight during his hanging to ensure that he was fully conscious for the subsequent drawing and quartering. Yet Barkworth’s death marked the start of an English Benedictine presence that remains to this day.

Barkworth himself had been trained as a priest at the English College, Valladolid, but, on his way to England as a missionary, he had been received as a novice at the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria in Irache, and was told he would die a martyr, in the Benedictine habit. Many of the first wave of Englishmen to become Benedictines after the Reformation similarly entered the religious life in Spain………

……The significance of what they represented was not lost on them: as several monks testified at their martyrdoms, they were from the same order as the first missionary to England, St Augustine of Canterbury, “from whom,” as George Gervase, executed in 1608, put it, “England acknowledged that she had received the Christian faith”. [A sick sad note: toward the end of his reign, Henry VIII figured out that devotion to St. Thomas Beckett represented a threat to his false rule over the schismatical and heretical “church” of England.  After all, Beckett was martyred over his refusal to permit the self-serving Henry II to dictate policy and belief to the Church.  So, Henry had Beckett’s shrine at Canterbury trashed – and it was a major one, it’s the shrine described in The Canterbury Tales – with his bones removed from the church and burned. He had all the precious artifacts, works of art, and gifts taken from the shrine and delivered to his treasury. And he had the income from this shrine, along with many other dioceses and abbeys, diverted to his treasury.  Thus, the great leader and founder of the English church.]

Like the other missionary clergy who had been secretly entering England since the 1570s, these missionary monks brought with them the Catholic Reformation. Imbued with the zeal of a movement then sweeping Catholic Europe and, increasingly, far-flung parts of the globe from Asia to America, they were agents for the transfer of religious and intellectual ideas gaining ground in mainland Europe.

But nor were they solely about the new: they also tracked down the last surviving monk of Westminster Abbey. By the start of the 17th century, the infirm Sigebert Buckley lived under a form of house arrest. In 1607, he aggregated two of the new monks to him, thereby ensuring the continuity of the English Benedictines from the medieval period. [Heck, from the end of antiquity] As the new monastic movement grew and the monks re-founded the English Benedictine Congregation in 1619, this symbolic act took on greater significance.

It meant that the English Benedictines of the 17th century could lay claim to the old monastic properties which the Order had once enjoyed. As such, the English Benedictines throughout the period elected priors of, for example, Durham, Canterbury and Ely cathedrals, ready for the moment when England – as they believed, inevitably – returned to the Catholic faith.

This did not stop the monks forming new houses in exile, three of which remain to this day. St Gregory’s, founded at Douai in northern France in 1606, is now better known as Downside Abbey; St Laurence’s, founded in the town of Dieulouard in Lorraine in 1608, is now Ampleforth Abbey; St Edmund’s, Paris, founded in 1616, is now settled at Woolhampton, Berkshire, as Douai Abbey.

As I said, go read the rest.  Very interesting.  What a scandal protestantism represents.  It is unbelievable how men in leadership positions in the Church at all levels have chosen to forget or ignore this.  There but for the grace of God……

Flightline Friday Extra: More Than Everything You Could Possibly Want to Know about APR-25/6 September 25, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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Early in the Vietnam War, partly due to amazingly poor planning, but even more due to unbelievably onerous targeting restrictions, US tactical aircraft started racking up heavy losses to North Vietnamese Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs).  The SAM in question was the SA-2, which had been known about half a decade at that point, the SA-2 having played a role in the shoot down of Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 in 1960.

Since the rules of engagement imposed by the Johnson-McNamara Administration forbade attacks on SAM sites under construction, or even possibly under construction, for fear of “accidentally” killing any Soviet “advisors” present and thus potentially escalating the war, US airmen had to wait until positive proof that a SAM site was operational before they could attack it.  The only positive proof accepted was their being attacked by that very SAM site.  Obviously this gave enormous initiative to the enemy, and made attacking SAM sites when they were most vulnerable impossible.

Defensive measures were needed, and needed quickly.  But how to defend against a radar guided flying robot whose only purpose in life was the kill you?  Fortunately, the problem was well understood. Indeed, specialist aircraft like intelligence gathering types had been equipped with limited numbers of what were then called radar homing and warning receivers (RHAW) for years.  SAC’s big bombers also carried radar warning and electronic countermeasures (ECM) gear of varying degrees of effectiveness, but much of this was far too large and heavy to fit into a tactical aircraft.

Fortunately, a small company in northern California, Applied Technologies, Inc, later part of Litton, now part of Northrop Grumman, came rushing to the rescue, in late 1965, with their “Vector IV” product.  Consisting of 4 roughly equally spaced radio frequency receivers and some very basic analog processing equipment, Vector IV entered service as the AN/APR-25/6.  This equipment was first fitted to specialist “Wild Weasel” SAM hunter aircraft, and later, to almost every tactical aircraft in theater – certainly, every one that went up North.  It was fairly effective, but became much more so when coupled with the North American “SEE SAMS” (clever) system, which added capability to discriminate targeting and launch radar signals from regular radar tracking signals.

The equipment worked pretty well, and losses were reduced.  The seesaw battle of the electronic wizards on both defense and offense continues to this day, but, generally speaking, since the APR-25/6, the US has held the upper hand (we think/hope – we haven’t been seriously tested in 25 years).

The video below is an actual training film for USAF aircrew in APR-25/6 operation and tactics.  It gets way down into the nitty gritty, discussing import of length and intensity of strobe, billboard notifications and their meaning, and the varying sounds the equipment picks up when illuminated by various kinds of search, tracking, and fire control radars (a radar is like any other radio frequency device, and thus its signals can be interpreted as a sound).  Techniques used to spoof APR-25/6 are also discussed.  Very interesting if you are a slavishly devoted geek like me, all others will probably find it mind-numbingly boring.

I post this mostly to keep a record of this highly esoteric material since this video was posted once before but pulled because someone asserted the data therein was still classified.  Of course, it is not.

A picture of what modern radar warning receiver (today’s term) displays looks like.  Gone is the analog signal intensity reading and guessing, replaced by digitally processed symbology indicating the type of threat, distance and bearing, with priority ranking, etc:

 

Flightline Friday: Early Vietnam Helo Operations September 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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This is a really excellent video find from December 1963, featuring very tired old Piasecki H-21 “Shawnee” (aka the Flying Banana) and brand new (if more than a bit underpowered) Hueys of the UH-1A and UH-1B models.

There is some excellent footage of very rare early Huey attack model setups, including fixed forward firing M1919 .30 cal machine guns of WWII vintage mounted on the landing skids, and the first attempts at mounting rockets on the Huey design.  The UH-1B came from the factory with the XM-6 armament subsystem, which included dual M-60 machine guns on each side of the aircraft in trainable mounts.  This was a vast improvement over the fixed machine guns of the UH-1A.  Also discussed is the original US Army air assault unit in South Vietnam, the Utility Tactical Transport Company.  At this time, Hueys were used entirely as attack birds or for medevac.  The stretched UH-1D capable of carrying 9-11 troops would not enter service in Vietnam until the 1st Air Cav arrived in numbers in mid-1965.

The UH-1A was always badly underpowered*, with an armament load of fixed gun and dual 8-shot rocket stacks, they could barely manage 80-85 mph, which allowed even the lumbering H-21s to “race” ahead of them.  This problem was solved by the UH-1B, which had a more powerful engine, allowing the Hueys much better speed to escort the Shawnees, but the problem repeated itself once the UH-1D and UH-1H entered service.  The slicks were again much faster than their escorts, weighted down with heavy loads of weapons and ammo in very draggy mounts.  This problem was initially solved by late B model and then Charlie model Hueys being equipped with still more powerful engines, but was ultimately dealt with by the introduction of the AH-1 Cobra in late 1967.

There is also demonstration of early tactics among both the troop carrying and the attack helos.  It is rather amusing to watch discussion of basic tactics which were described as being so effective the VC had no response to them – well, you could say, they figured out plenty of responses as the war went along.  The very simple tactics described in this video would be replaced by ever more sophisticated ones as the war went along, but the ever-resourceful Vietnamese were almost always a match for Yankee ingenuity, finding their own responses to evolving American methods.

There is a great deal of rare footage in this video, covering a critical phase of the War in Southeast Asia as combat became more and more Americanized – just as certain elements of the US military establishment desperately wanted:

 

*- UH-1A had a little more than half the horsepower of the later H, E, L, and M models.

Multi-Part Tour through the Spanish Missions of San Antone, Part III September 13, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, religious, Society, Tradition.
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Sorry this tour got sidelined for far longer than I hoped or planned.  In late June one of my children set my work laptop down in a puddle of water (water they had been told to wipe up already!) and the fan sucked water up into the computer.  End result was a completely fried hard drive.  I had transferred all my mission pictures to the lap top some time before.

Fortunately I still had the originals on my phone, it just took me a long time to get them transferred.  I finally got around to that today, and so here is part 3 in the four part series, covering the largest of the four missions, Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Of all the four missions, aside perhaps from Mission Espada, Mission San Jose was in the worst shape when San Antonio and local historical societies got serious about restoring them in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Indeed, the entire ceiling and the east wall collapsed during a Mass held there around the turn of the 20th century.  The Mission looked like this before meaningful restoration began:

Today the Mission is quite restored, which is both bad and good – it’s great that we have something to look at, and that the church is whole enough to offer Sacraments, but the down side is that we never know whether what we are looking at is authentic or not.  Fortunately, the west walls and the facade of the church remained standing, and these contained some of the most artistically significant elements.

Today, approaching the Mission from the parking lot, this is the view one finds:

The former refectory and cells for the religious who worked this mission are gone, but the outline of the structures remains:

Mission San Jose has by far the finest stonework, hand-carved, sometimes by natives, sometimes by artisans brought from Nuevo España (Mexico) into local limestone, of all the San Antonio missions:

An arrow slit to defend the church against hostile indians.  I kid, it’s a light for a very narrow circular stairway that leads up to the bell tower.

Moving around to the front of the church, we see what is probably the most elaborately carved stone facade on any mission in North America.  That is a historical treasure, even though many of the statues and individual flourishes had to be recreated to replace damage caused by vandalism over the years.  Horribly, incredibly, almost unanimously protestant soldiers in the Texas Revolution and, even more, the Mexican-American War of 1848 (American forces used the missions as storage facilities for grain and other logistics materials), used these irreplaceable pieces of art for target practice.  There is more evidence of damage inside the church proper.

The more detail one captures, the more amazing the artistry is:

Now moving inside the church proper, this is the overall view down the nave:

Let me tell you, that reredo is a massive improvement over what existed in Mission San Jose for decades, especially after the council. Then, there were simply bare stucco walls with a moderately sized – and none too artistically significant – table altar.  This new reredo was added a few years ago, I think under the impetus of then Archbishop Jose Gomez, and really transformed the church into something far more aesthetically pleasing.

The view back towards the choir loft:

This choir loft is still accessible and used during Mass.

I don’t know when these pews were fabricated, I don’t think they are anywhere close to original to the Spanish Mission period, but as a woodworker I was impressed with their craftsmanship nonetheless.  I would hazard they are in the vicinity of 90-100 years old.

I mentioned further damage inside the church itself.  The carved sconces at the juncture where the vertical beams meet the arched ones for the ceiling had extensive damage.  Several popes and saints had their heads shot off, as seen below:

This one was relatively intact:

Some closeups of the reredo.  Very nicely done.  Not real high on the color but the design with alcoves for Saints is very Spanish.  I love this as something for local traditionally-inclined parishes to adopt if they ever have the opportunity to do a remodel along orthodox/traditional lines (sorry for the blurriness in some images.  It was super-humid that day and going from the outside to the inside caused the camera lens to keep fogging up. I tried to wipe it clean but was not always successful):

They were getting ready for Pentecost, thus, the decorations.

Nice crucifix. The crucifix and statues are definitely Spanish colonial era polychrome, but I do not know if they are original or not.  Most original art not permanently affixed (and even some that was) was lost from the four missions during their century or so of near abandonment and neglect.

To gauge how much the reredo improved things, compare with this shot from the mid-2000s:

Night and day, no?  Plus, much additional artwork was returned from this stark, iconoclastic post-conciliar wreckovation.

That artwork includes some period paintings:

I love them both, one is such a great example of Spanish Colonial Catholic art, the other, I believe, is of much more recent vintage.

OK just a few more things.  A nice statue of Our Lady, unfortunately image is a little blurry:

And then finally, in what amounts to something akin to a side chapel, though it’s really used more today like a room for exhibits of certain kinds, is what I believe is a remnant of an old high altar that was probably chopped up in the post-conciliar period:

I had to stretch through a narrow space between some kneelers and a wall to get this shot.  Otherwise it was almost entirely blocked.

Or perhaps I am wrong, and this is a post-conciliar altar that used to be in the main church and got moved into this side chapel?  My gut says, though, that with this degree of detail, this is a more ancient altar, probably not original to the 1700s, but perhaps early- or mid-19th century?  The altar stone was obviously missing, but altars of primarily wood construction were not at all unheard of, especially in colonial environs.

I could find no one to give me the history of this altar. Most people either didn’t know what it was or knew nothing of its history.

I thought I had some more pics, especially of the re-created mission palisade and living quarters for natives, but I am not finding them now.

Catholic Tradition in Prayer: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate August 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote this hymn in AD 433 for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish king Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity.  The breastplate of course references Ephesians vi:12-18, wherein St. Paul describes the various armaments we must take on (those of prayer and virtue) in order to do battle with the principalities and powers of this world.  So the name is quite apropos for the combat the great Saint of Ireland engaged in in converting a violent pagan country to the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ.

Some dispute whether the prayer really is that ancient, but at any rate it is beautiful, and since I had never come across it before reading The Gentle Traditionalist, I figured you may not be familiar with it, either.  Or maybe it’s widely known, I really don’t know.  At any rate, here it is:

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

———-End Quote————

It’s rather pretty and, I would say, quite lyrically Irish, is it not? I like it quite a bit. I hope to add this regularly to my prayer rotation.  God willing.

Perhaps this prayer might be invoked with the great evangelist Saint Patrick that the Church might be gifted with men of similar faith, devotion, and willingness to speak the truth in our own age.  The Church desperately needs some new Saints to reinvigorate the remaining faithful and begin converting the fallen away masses.

PS there are shorter versions of this prayer.  They basically are limited to the last half of the above.

Traditional Book Review: The Gentle Traditionalist by Roger Buck July 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, cultural marxism, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, paganism, Restoration, Revolution, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Kind reader skeinster, who I know and value so much in real life for her perspectives as a longtime trad and observer of trads, gave me a copy of Roger Buck’s The Gentle Traditionalist to read.  Bucks two books – The Gentle Traditionalist and Cor Jesu Sacratissimum – have attracted rave reviews from the likes of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Charles Coulombe, and Joseph Shaw.  Both books have received almost unanimous 5 star reviews on Amazon.  A few people gave it 4 stars.

I would probably have to fall into this latter camp as well, for while I appreciate the work – especially the first half – and find its lighthearted approach refreshing in a traditional Catholic tome, I felt the author missed the point on two key subjects – the “evils” of capitalism and the pernicious influence of the United States –  and glossed over the liturgical revolution in the Church and its effects a bit much.  I am no longer entirely certain that “the Mass is the Mass is the Mass” irrespective of how disordered, abusive, or downright heretical it is.  Having said that, I also know there are much more beautiful, uplifting, and reverent means of offering the Novus Ordo.  Call me a bit agnostic on this subject.

First, the good parts.  The author very skillfully exposes that the ultimate struggle ongoing in the West (and, through the Anglosphere’s overpowering influence, the world) is not one of politics, not even one of culture, but one of religion.  He adroitly reveals what has been obvious to this blog for years, but which took me other years to discover on my own – the modern left-libertine cultural-political-social agenda movement is not, as it likes to present itself, simply the natural product of a scientific inquiry and rationalist thought, but is in fact a highly organized, tightly controlled religion, and one that is inveterately hostile to it’s longtime nemesis and competitor, the Catholic Christian Faith.  Even more, the author notes that this religion – which he calls the New Secular Religion, and I, more clumsily, refer to as sexular paganism, creates enormous power and room to maneuver for itself by steadfastly denying its religious basis, even though we see the religious nature of sexular paganism exposed more and more everyday, with heresies declared, anathemas issued, and (un)holy wars proclaimed.  As author Buck notes, because it is the religion of the shapers of mass popular culture – the media, academia, virtually all corporate titans, and the vast majority of politicians – secularism literally gets away with murder.  And mass murder at that, given the ongoing genocide of abortion and the rising genocide of the old and infirm in so-called euthanasia.

All this is brilliantly conveyed and powerfully argued – but in a folksy, approachable way missing in many books related to the traditional Catholic – or, I should say, Catholic – critique of both the culture and the Church.  In fact, I found myself wishing at times this book had been available in, say, 2010 or so – it would have saved me 3 years or more of figuring this out for myself!

There author also touches on elements of Catholic history that have been deliberately glossed over, if not ignored entirely, in the propaganda machines cum education-industrial complexes in the West, and in particular in the Anglosphere.  When For Greater Glory came out in 2012, I was shocked to find how few Catholics had ever heard of the Cristiada or know that there had been a violent, bloody persecution of Catholics persist for decades literally right next door to the US.  Similar elements of Catholic reaction to the ongoing sexular pagan revolution – the Carlists, the Spanish Civil War, the War in the Vendee, various Irish uprisings against protestant English rule – receive mention.

I also found absolutely fantastic the distinction the author makes between being gentle, and being “nice.” I would be remiss in not mentioning this detail – the spiritual adviser, the “gentle traditionalist” of the book, is very much just that. I do appreciate his gentleness and think this is a great example of how to do evangelization, even proselytization, in a way that is probably very well suited to this era of easily hurt feelings and mass emasculation.  Nevertheless, Buck notes that very much of what is wrong with the culture, especially with regard to decaying moral (and ecclesiastical) norms stems from a fear of not being “nice,” which means, ever causing anyone to feel uncomfortable or have their feelings hurt.  The Gentle Traditionalist would be a terror on today’s college campuses among generation snowflake.  The author also, at least tacitly, exposed much of what is wrong within the Church herself these past several decades: the triumph of the feminized “Church of Nice” over the Church of the Apostles, Fathers, and Doctors.

Even more importantly, the author rightly notes that the original source of the New Secular Religion, as he calls it, is the protestant heresy and revolt.  How the author can then turn around and declare that protestantism merely represents an “imperfect confession” of the Faith was a bit puzzling, for protestantism is the seed bed of literally everything sexular paganism represents – rejection of authority, exaltation of human “reason” above God’s revealed Truth, tolerance (and eventual promotion of) sexual license, a wholly distorted understanding of virtue and the the nature of right piety and devotion, etc., etc.  I felt there was some unfortunate influence of the post-VII ecumenical movement, here.  But, in truth, this was a brief and unfortunate departure from the book’s fairly comprehensive attack on protestantism as the ultimate root of the assault on Christendom by the New Secular Religion (I will say, however, that I think the author also glosses over grave problems in the Orthodox Churches, as well, and the growing number of heresies stemming from those bodies, but, given what’s been emanating from Rom in the past few years and decades, who am I to judge?).

More systemic problems throughout the book are the author’s obvious lack of understanding of the United States and its people, and his wholesale attacks on capitalism.  Now, we all have baggage from our past. I quite frequently wonder the degree to which my lifelong conservatism/right wing nuttiness may be influencing my conception of the Church and Church belief.  It is probable I color various understandings on these weighty matters with my own preferences.

The author was a longtime liberal, even, it seems, a devoted member of the unchurch of sexular paganism himself.  He is also a Britisher, and seems to derive much of his understanding of both (what is represented as) capitalism and the United States from incredibly biased British media coverage (the author also seems to believe that climate change is real, caused by humans, and is largely the fault of what he calls capitalism.  But ever seen the environmental record of communist/hard socialist states?).  His numerous snide comments regarding the United States and our supposed embrace of “capitalism run riot” aside  (I really don’t think the author has much experience of the United States or Americans, and fails to note hugely important distinctions, such as the massive socialist welfare state that has existed in the US for decades, or the fact that Americans on average, and Christian Americans in particular, are far, far more generous in giving to charity than any European populace, which points up a hugely important distinction: the fact that the US has a relatively smaller welfare state than most Eurozone countries does not mean that the US is a hard-hearted, un-Christian place.  It means that many Americans would rather do their charity themselves, rather than have the government do it for them, all the while keeping a huge proportion for itself and gravely injuring civil liberties given by God in the process), the main weakness with his arguments, to me, are his constant denunciations of capitalism, or what he believes capitalism is.

Now, again, taking into account differing life experiences and preferences, when I repeatedly encounter phrases like “wage slavery,” lifted directly from Das Kapital, I take a bit of exception.

Without going into too much detail, or becoming overly critical, I would simply say that the author shares a very prevalent bias, one that is even more common in Europe in the United States, when it comes to understanding capitalism.  Capitalism is simply, at its essence, the free exchange of goods and services among private individuals at agreed upon rates.  Capitalism was not invented by Adam Smith.  It is the default economic system that has virtually always arisen among groups of men at all stages of history, whether it be based on barter, gold coins, or paper dollars.  This system has sometimes, naturally, had elements of collectivism, and at other times and places, been much more individualistic.

What we have today in the United States, and even more so in Europe (and have had for decades, even a century or more in some nations) is a capitalist-socialist hybrid, highly influenced and controlled by government, with government often picking winners and losers.  Those winners tend to be established players who already have great wealth and influence, and who, almost unanimously, adhere to the New Secular Religion.  The distortion of the free market, and government’s almost total dominance over it in many nations, is a huge factor both in the spread of the New Secular Religion and in the inability to fight back against it. In fact, many Americans, at least, view a free market as being a vital means to resist the spread of the New Secular Religion, just as many other Americans view socialistic policies as being vital to its continuing spread.  In brief, I think the historical evidence and that from the present day both strongly indicate that the New Secular Religion, as Buck calls it, is inseparable from the socialist state, and the more socialist the state, the more secularist it is, at least in the West.  (I won’t even go into the numerous mentions of the US’ lack of a government-forced single payer health care scheme, which is presently causing thousands of murders a  year in Holland and has moved Britain to ration health care to a draconian decree – no heart surgery for you if you are fat or smoke too much!  I doubt the author has any idea how terribly health services have declined, and costs increased, even with the semi-single payer Obamacare.  It’s been an unmitigated disaster for the vast majority of Americans who constitute the middle class).

At any rate, suffice it to say that we disagree on this rather substantial point.  I would also say that, politically, the New Secular Religion has always been primarily promoted by the political and economic Left, and that it is no accident that both the communist governments that have taken root, and the more socialist governments of the world, have all been profoundly anti-Christian and especially anti-Catholic. Meanwhile, capitalism happily coexisted with Catholicism from its founding up until about 150 years ago.  Distributism, which the author seems to promote (but doesn’t really flesh out to any degree), is a nice dream, but I have grave concerns that it is not simply another economic utopian fantasy that would wind up getting a whole lot of people dead, of necessity, in order to implement it.  But I won’t rehash those arguments now.

I would simply rebut with this: no economic system has lifted more people out of poverty more quickly than capitalism, even in its limited, distorted, and government-dominated form of today.  Professor Jordan Peterson claims that more people (300 million) have been lifted out of poverty in the last decade than at any time in human history, and the rate is actually increasing, with 35-40 million growing out of poverty every year now.

All of this is not unimportant.  As I noted, to me, there is far, far greater correlation between the rise of totalitarianism, religious persecution, and the advance of the “New Secular Religion” or sexular paganism,  with socialism/Leftism than there is between these terrible features of the modern world and capitalism.

Not that there are not serious problems with both capitalism and the United States. There are, and I have discussed them at length, especially regarding the latter.  Modern capitalism, with government encouragement, too often descends into usury. And the US – along with every other similar nation – is fundamentally disordered in not having Jesus Christ as its visible Head and the Catholic Faith as its state religion.

I should regroup here, and say that even with these points of disagreement, I still liked the book, I recommend it (with some caution regarding the points above), and would give it 3 1/2 to 4 stars out of 5. [On reconsideration, I would say more like 3 stars.  The anti-capitalist rants are really quite extensive and actually form a key part of the book’s argumentation, while socialism/Leftism as economic factors in the decline of Christendom (and inextricably linked with the rise of the New Secular Religion) are passed by virtually without comment. I have a serious problem with that] I will almost certainly purchase the author’s other book Cor Iesu Sacratisissimum, since it it much longer and, I believe, is supposed to explain his understanding of ecclesiology, theology, and related matters in much greater depth.

I did particularly enjoy the excerpt from The Deer’s Cry, or St. Patrick’s Breastplate, the author included.  This is an ancient Irish prayer attributed to St. Patrick, and I found it quite moving and beautiful.  I hope to find time to post that tomorrow or sometime soon.

Overall, there is much more good in the book than anything I can find fault with.  Many other readers, apparently, did not find nearly so much to be concerned over as I did, or they were willing to let those things pass by.  That’s fine.  I’m interested to know if any of you have read the book, and, if so, what you thought of it.  I went on at length in some of my criticisms, but that’s really more an indication of my inability to unpack and criticique thoughts efficiently, than it is of the amount of book that is devoted to the subjects I find less perfectly cogitated.  Really, the vast majority of the book is quite solid, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Whew, longest post I’ve done in a while.  If you’re still here, you deserve a beer or a cigarette or a gold star…..something.  How about a nice glass of Skittlebrau?

Kind of an inside joke if you haven’t read the book.

 

Kinda Neat, Kinda Flightline Friday July 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, Flightline Friday, fun, history, huh?, Latin Mass, sanctity, Society.
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So I stumbled upon this the other day:

This is the patch of the 67th Cyberspace Wing, Lackland AFB, TX.  Formerly the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, which RF-4Cs used to wake me up Every. Saturday. Morning. at 7am when I lived in Austin. Flew right over my ghetto apartment.

At any rate, Lux Ex Tenebris is, of course, a phrase that emanates from the Catholic faith, most particularly, Tenebrae during Holy Week.  Lux Ex Tenebris means “Light out of Darkness,” which is the very essence of our Blessed Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

So, on the one hand, I want to say, that’s neat.  Maybe some devout Catholic helped devise this motto?

Of course, this is not the old 67th TRW, unarmed and scared shitless unafraid, flying solo missions over hostile territory to gather photographic intelligence. No, this is the 67th Cyberspace Wing, whose mission is to “train and ready airmen to execute computer network exploitation and attack. It also executes full-spectrum Air Force network operations, training, tactics, and management.”

So maybe it does things like trying to hack into sensitive computer networks of potentially hostile great powers like Russia or China? Maybe they hack into North Korea’s missile program?

Or maybe does it ever work with the NSA in prying very deeply – to a degree that would be unbelievable to the Founders of this nation – into the personal affairs of private citizens?

Hard to tell in this day and age. And the wing is probably fortunate most people today are wholly ignorant of both Latin and the connection this phrase has to the Catholic Faith.  Otherwise, they would probably be forced to change it.

The motto dates back to the Korean War, and the unit’s activation at that time.  Maybe an early CO or DCO was a devout Catholic, and tried to sacralize the wing from its start.  Or perhaps they simply had some knowledge of Latin, though this phrase has, in the Western parlance, always had an overwhelmingly liturgical association.  Then again, the United States of 1951 was a much more Christian, much better educated nation.  If airmen from then could be magically transported to today, they would find the place unrecognizable, and be heartbroken to know that, whatever their efforts against external enemies, this nation has very nearly fallen to internal ones.

BDA from 67th TRW RF-4C, Operation Desert Storm

Archbishop Lefebvre in a White Cassock July 13, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, history, Latin Mass, priests, Tradition, true leadership.
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I posted a picture of a local priest in a white cassock, and some people had some questions about it.  I used to have the same questions.  In brief, the Church has long permitted those priests – and bishops, too – in tropical climates to wear white cassocks more acclimated to the torrid conditions.  The Fraternity of St. Peter gave permission to the priests here in Dallas to wear white cassocks in the summer months, generally June, July, and August.  They aren’t worn terribly often, but you seem them occasionally.  I think they look really smart.

At any rate, as a testimony to this long practice, here is Archbishop Lefebvre in a white cassock when he was a priest of the Holy Ghost Fathers in Africa:

Another, as a bishop:

As I said, the use extends to bishops and cardinals

You will frequently see African bishops wearing white cassocks.  In the US it’s much more rare but as I said permission can be sought and obtained in certain locales.

This rather piddling post is all I have time for today.

Leftist “anti-fascists” applaud speech entirely composed of Hitler quotes July 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, cultural marxism, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, horror, rank stupidity, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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At a “Trump impeachment” rally in impoverished, decaying, and debt-ridden Chicago, a Kekistani-type troll gave a speech composed entirely of Hitler quotes.  The speech was moderately well received, but, interestingly, the organizer of the demonstration was quite impressed and asked the speaker to come back and deliver more quotes from Mein Kampf, the Nuremberg Rallies, and other such great events in the history of culturo-political leftism:

Hilarious.  Reading these quotes, the socialist-leftist origins of National Socialism are readily apparent.  The Left has succeeded amazingly in perpetuating the lie that the Nazis were somehow a “right wing” phenomenon, and then directing attention away from the evils of the Soviet Union, Maoist China, and other unmistakably leftist hellholes, and getting most all of the West to see in Hitler history’s greatest monster (compared to Stalin, Mao, and other communists, he was a piker).  And yet his language is exactly their own.

In point of fact, the American Left and its dominance of the democrat party pose an infinitely larger threat to what remains of American liberty and freedom than Donald Trump or any other non-extreme-fringe creature of the right.  The extreme fringe has become the middle in the democrat party today.  When they imagine portents of violent repression and government-enforced ideological compliance, they are but projecting their own dreams and aspirations onto their ideological opponents, yet again.  In modern political history, the Left has killed exponentially more than the right in the pursuit of its illusory, unobtainable paradise on earth.

And yet…….and yet……it is not entirely without basis to describe the USCCB as the democrat party at prayer.  Knowing that tells you all you need to know about the state of the Church in this country.  And compared to their counterparts around the world, the US bishops lean somewhat conservative.  Thus the state of the Church today, since the sudden and open coup engineered in the mid-60s.