Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Church Under Attack

The world hates the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church will not shift on its moral teaching.  It will not bend to the popular view, but rather remain faithful to what is right. Nor will the Church renounce Christ or his teaching, even when threatened with death..

Scantily clad, noisey activists of the feminist group 'Femen' invaded a conference at a university in Brussels. During the conference, demonstrators threw water on the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard.  Bishop Leonard did not react and ignored the women. At the end of the demonstration, the archbishop kissed an image of the Virgin Mary before leaving the room.

Femen was Born in Ukraine and with subsidiaries in several countries (including Brazil and nations with a Muslim majority), the group was often often campaigning for the rights of women and minorities. One of their banners is the defense of gay marriage.

The bishops lack of reaction to these women, and his humility in the face of irresponsible anger, achieved a greater statement of faith and assertion of Catholic belief than anything the activists could have achieved.  The aggression toward the Church in the world of today is a reflection of the ongoing aggression that has existed since its birth two thousand years ago.  If anyone should be protesting for rights, Catholics should.

If you think that the Catholic Church of today has not suffered martyrdom like the early church, then its time to wake up. The Mexican revolution in the 1920s introduced widespread persecution of Catholics. Missionaries were expelled from the country, Catholic seminaries and schools were closed, and the Church was forbidden to own property. Priests and laymen were told to denounce Jesus and their faith in public; if they refused, they faced not just punishment but torture and death. For more information on the Mexican martyrs  Click Here

These were not the only martyrs of the twentieth century.  The Nazis also martyred Christians of various denominations, especially Catholic Clergy and laymen at the Dachau concentration camp.  More information, Click Here

The kind of anger and hate expressed by the feminists that attacked Bishop Leonard, like the persecution of Mexican Catholics and German Catholics faithful to the Church, is a rejection of truth and reason out of fear.  It is still not popular to be truly Christian.

For more about the ebooks of Karin Ficke Cook Click Here.  Okay, so I'm advertising my wife's ebooks!  She worked hard writing them and they don't cost a lot.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gospel: John 18:1-19:42

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?"
5 They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.
6 When he said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
8 Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go."
9 This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, "Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one."
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus.
11 Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?"
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.
13 First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year.
14 It was Ca'iaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus,
16 while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
17 The maid who kept the door said to Peter, "Are not you also one of this man's disciples?" He said, "I am not."
18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly.
21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said."
22 When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"
23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
24 Annas then sent him bound to Ca'iaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, "Are not you also one of his disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"
27 Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Ca'iaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover.
29 So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this man?"
30 They answered him, "If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over."
31 Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."
32 This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.
33 Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."
37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."
38 Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him.
39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?"
40 They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barab'bas!" Now Barab'bas was a robber.
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.
2 And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe;
3 they came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands.
4 Pilate went out again, and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him."
5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him."
7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God."
8 When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid;
9 he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer.
10 Pilate therefore said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?"
11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin."
12 Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar."
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gab'batha.
14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
15 They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar."
16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
17 So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol'gotha.
18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.
19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
20 Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
21 The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, "Do not write, `The King of the Jews,' but, `This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"
22 Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom;
24 so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfil the scripture, "They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
25 So the soldiers did this. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag'dalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
27 Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst."
29 A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth.
30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;
33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
35 He who saw it has borne witness -- his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth -- that you also may believe.
36 For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of him shall be broken."
37 And again another scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they have pierced."
38 After this Joseph of Arimathe'a, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body.
39 Nicode'mus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds' weight.
40 They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid.
42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Back on-line

Toothless in Oldham

As charming as I can be with the 'young ladies', I'm very conscious of my almost toothless smile.  What's his face may be Sleepless in Seattle (or whatever) but muggins here is Toothless in Oldham, while trying to settle in to his new abode.  Naturally I ditched my 'Dongle' that had the speed of road-kill and got a line in from Tesco of all places for about two or three quid more than the Dongle charges - plus I got a phone line in with it (Tommyfield Market supplied the phone for eight quid).

I'm now back online and one of the first things I did (beside get rid of a ton of spam email) was update the Home page on our web site:

I should mention that another bonus of having DSL rather than a Dongle is being able to use my camera with built in mic to chat with Karin.  With the Road Kill, sorry Dongle, I had my screen freezing up and all kinds of problems while using the camera, but none of that now.

Since my arrival I've certainly been kept busy here in the United Kingdom and I expect to be kept way or another.  To all those who have helped over the days, weeks and months I offer a heartfelt thank you.  Bit by bit I'm tying up loose ends, with one or two major ones to go and hopefully I can focus on getting Karin over.  One last point, I owe God a good deal of thanks. So, Thanks be to God.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Family McKenna

My late mother was born Olive Agnes McKenna, and I grew up surrounded by McKenna Grandparents, Uncles and Cousins so naturally I became interested in the McKenna Clan, given that over the years I’d learned one particular truth: if a McKenna was your friend, he or she would be your best friend in the whole world, but make an enemy of a McKenna and you could very well find yourself waking up in the Intensive Care Unit wondering how the hell you got there!

My mother’s a case point.  My brother and I gave her money at different times during the week, because she was always running out of money.  We had not a clue what she was spending it on.  On her way into town she would give the bus driver a mint along with her fare, at the Co-op check out she gave the girl on the till a mint.  Each day she attended Mass at St. Patrick’s church in Oldham and after Mass sometimes led the rosary.  On the day of her funeral an elderly man approached me and reminded me that she attended daily Mass and led the rosary, he then said that when he happened to mention that his pension was not enough to cover his heating bill, she gave him the money to pay it.  That solved the mystery of what she was doing with her money.  On another occasion she was with the family doctor and another man from St. Michael’s church collecting signatures for a pro-life petition.  They were approached by a group of pro-abortion women ranting and raving, one of them wearing a sticker on her lapel reading ‘Kill Kill Kill’.  The McKenna blood kicked in and my mother grabbed hold of the woman, ripped the sticker from her lapel and tried thrusting it into her mouth while shouting, “Eat your words, eat your words!”  The shocked pro-abortionists ran off and people began to queue to sign the petition.

During World War I (that’s one not two), my grandfather was a stretcher bearer on the front lines.  While he was away at war, my grandmother received a dreaded telegram that said granddad was missing believed killed. She should have known better, granddad was a McKenna.  After grieving for him the war came to an end and shortly after there was a knock on the door, my grandmother went to answer it screamed and fell to the floor in a dead faint!  The family rushed to see what the fuss was about and there on the doorstep was my grandfather.  He had been captured and taken prisoner of war, then released at the end of the war.

Likewise my uncles survived World War II (yep two), the Germans didn’t survive Uncle Jim who stopped a German tank by ramming it with a tram. The Japanese had a difficult time with my Uncle Bill, a Chindit operating behind enemy lines in Burma. My Uncle Len was among the British soldiers that relieved Bergen Belsen.  Jim, by the way went through the whole war from beginning to end, yet survived.

I naturally became curious about the McKenna Clan, so I did a little research.  My first surprise was to discover that the Clan (with different Irish spellings), originates from Truagh, Co. Monaghan and were known as the Lords of Truagh, or the ruling family of the Barony.  The McKenna’s were described as swordsmen, or Celtic warriors while the head of the Clan would be referred to as a ‘king’.  Well that explains a lot.
Obviously a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the middle ages when in 1436 Neill Mac Owen O’Neill was slain in his own house by the clan MacKenna of Truagh. He must have really pissed off the McKenna Clan! Given this history I’m inclined to believe that certain tendencies to respond to violence with greater violence, is genetically inherited.

On the other side of the coin is McKenna Castle (or Ardo House, Ardmore, Co. Waterford which is rich in history).  Yes, you read that right CASTLE as in a big building made of stone. McKenna Castle was known throughout Europe for its parties, attracting Lords, Ladies, socialites and celebrities from every corner of Europe and was the first building in the whole of Ireland to have electric lighting.

The tenure of the McKennas seemed to have initiated a period of refurbishment and prosperity at Ardo.  Frances Curry talks in 1895 "of the scrupulously white washed walls, gleaming brilliantly in the sun".  In fact, those years from the 1860's to the 1920's seem to have been the heyday of Ardo House.  The photographs of the early 20th century show a delightful family home, well looked after as were the splendid out-offices of the adjoining farm.  It exuded an air of prosperity and contentment.
The late Deug Connell (later to become owner of the place) spoke of a big ball given in Ardo (probably in the early part of the century) when the whole avenue beginning at the approach near his house, was lighted up with lanterns.  That must have been the same one of which Mrs Pollock spoke, her daughter, Mrs Dowson told of her father and mother bringing up cold sweets (refrigeration would have been a problem in those days), dancing all night and walking home at dawn.  Mrs Dowson also spoke of going on one occasion with her father to visit Sir Joseph who was sitting up in bed wearing his tall hat.  He died on 15th August 1906.  He had re-married and the second Lady McKenna died in July 1907.  Both were buried in a vault in an adjoining field with a large stone angel on guard.  Now the place is covered with briars.  The lady had been noted for her dedication to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the family was always resentful of the fact that this society got most of the McKenna money and the place was not viable.
Sir Joseph McKenna had ten children six girls and four boys from his first marriage.  One of his daughters married a grandson of Daniel O'Connell.  Another daughter Magdalen Mary aged 13 is buried in the Ardmore graveyard, as also is Kathleen Elizabeth McKenna wife of Joseph (who inherited the place) in 1918. Members of the family lived there for some years before going to England, Madeline who later became Mrs Collis was one of them.
For a period in 1920-21 it was let during the summer to the committee of Coláiste Deuglán, so her father Joseph McKenna had vacated the house by then.  There was no caretaker and the place was looted, eventually sold and deprived of its roof, so the final period of its desolation began.

So, my family are a fun lot when you are friendly with them but bloody downright dangerous if you’re not.

Hey! Don't forget Karin's ebooks. Ta! Click Here

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Robin Hood, Real or Legend?

Sorry Hollywood, but for who was king during the time of Robin Hood we have to rule out the earlier Plantagenet kings, especially Richard I (who never actually returned to England), and of course King John. 

Some Historians favour Henry III (No that’s third not eighth), because there was noted in court rolls a Robert (Hobbehod) Hod of Yorkshire was a fugitive in 1225-6. However, there are other candidates for the bandit of legend. For example, Records show a man named Robin Hood lived in Wakefield, Yorkshire in the 13th and 14th centuries. Please note the dates!

In the earliest ballad of the ‘Guest of Robin Hood’ the king’s name is given as Edward, but is this Edward I or ‘Longshanks’?  There is some suggestion that the legend of Robin Hood in the ‘Guest’ mirrors William Wallace, or at least uses some of the Wallace legend.  Evidence to support this theory is at best sketchy.


Edward II (1307-1327) is a better bet, even if he was a bit on the gay side and married to Isabella (the She-Wolf of France), who’s lover Roger Mortimer invaded England – but this is another story.  Anyway, it was around this time that a man named Robyn Hood is recorded as a porter in the king's service, but he buggered off after a year (can’t blame him).  This is also included in the ballad of the ‘Guest’ in which Robin is pardoned by the king and goes to work for him, but there is additional evidence to support the king being Edward II.


Records show that in June 1323, a Little John was part of a group who made off with deer in Yorkshire.  Note the date.  Also according to legend, Little John or ‘John Little’ as he was also known, was pardoned and lived out his days in Hathersage, Derbyshire.  His grave can be found in the churchyard of St. Michael, with the original medieval gravestone just inside the entrance to the church that had once contained his cap and bow.  Although there are other candidates for this position, this is the most likely.


While there was an outlaw named Friar Tuck (real name Robert Stafford), he did not live around the time of any of the Robin Hoods contesting the title of legendary outlaw – he never knew the sod. Sorry ladies, Maid Marian is myth.  Much the Millar’s Son and Will Scarlet are probably real people. William Scarlet was one of many who received a pardon in 1318, once again note the date. While there are others with similar names, this is adding to the circumstantial evidence that supports the ballad of the ‘Guest’.


Robin’s grave is claimed to be near the site of Kirklees Priory, near Mirfield in West Yorkshire.  While the Priory gatehouse still stands and is part of a working farm and private property, the grave itself is difficult to find. The owner of the property once told me that she does not believe Robin to be buried there.  Nevertheless, a group from Nottingham did arrange to visit the site on an annual basis. Is Robin, fact or fiction? Who knows?


Don't forget Karin's books:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Northwoods Forest Mystery

This is Karin’s first book, originally published by Publish America but now converted and re-worked as an ebook.

Karin traveled to Bemidji, Minnesota to get some background for the story.  Her father ran a travel agency for whom she worked, she also worked for AAA Travel Agency and consequently visited many places around the world, most especially Europe including my home town of Oldham and together we also visited Ireland.  Karin was able to draw on much of this experience while her characters were a mix of real characters she either knew or had met over the years.  Some of the character mix from an age long gone.

The ebook is the fictional account of a crime committed in 1883 in a logging camp close to Bemidji. One hundred and twenty years later, the mystery is solved by the descendants of the unjustly accused man, Caleb White Bear, whose life and heritage were ruined by lies and greed.  It is also the contemporary love story of Shauna McGuire, a young widow who, with her son Conor, begins a new life in modern Bemidji, following the death of her husband.

Click below for the link:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Abortion: For the Love of God.

If I love God, I love the Image of God and the Image of God is every human being; this means loving human life, respecting human life and being for human life.  Science informs us that human life begins at fertilization, so the human life in the womb must be loved and respected.  It must be given value for the value that is given to human life justifies all values and gives them purpose and meaning.

Does this refer to person-hood? No it does not.  Any suggestion that a human life in the womb or after birth is not a person and therefore can be terminated is pure nonsense.  It is an argument that overlooks the obvious: in the womb there is an individual and distinct human being, determined by its unique genetic makeup and possessing a soul that is also a spirit.  The right to life applies to the human being and no one has any right to deny this most basic of all rights.  To claim otherwise is to claim the right to be judge, jury and executioner of another human being who has committed no offense, while denying the human being’s right to life.

Arguments about a woman’s right to choose concern themselves with a woman’s desire for material benefits, pleasures and selfish requirements.  The lack of such does not place a woman in harms way, nor threaten her life.  All they do is make demands on her living standards and require a degree of commitment to the life of a human being.  The father of the infant also has obligations to both the mother and child he has created with her.  The termination of a child is therefore the result of a selfish desire to escape the consequences of one’s actions.

Abortion is not inspired by the Creator of life but rather by the creator of death.  It is an evil born within the evil desires of a beast who seeks the destruction of humanity; his desire is to fill Hell with those souls who have strayed far from the Creator and who, inspired by materialism, turn their face from God.