A Week Ago We Went to the Pacific Ocean…..

And all I caught was a terrific summer cold. My immune system is still in combat mode. But that’s life. A cold is a great reminder of our tremendous olfactory faculties.

It was a great trip to this same campsite on the Northern California coast where I’ve been going for nearly 30 years. We were blessed to have Fr. A with us for one night. We enjoyed some great beer, and as a slight alternative to traditional camping cuisine, the first night I made New England Clam Chowder, with fresh clams, and sourdough bread, which is a big favorite in our family.

Proper Quartermaster Provisioning

Proper Quartermaster Provisioning

The Hike

The Hike

The Vista

The Vista

"Beach Art" - Unknown

“Beach Art” – Unknown

Tidepools

Tidepools

IMG_2014 2

Preparations under way for Holy Mass

Preparations under way for Holy Mass

Huzzah to Bishop-Elect Robert Barron…..

The only downside to his appointment as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the vacancy created at Mundelein Seminary. Bishop-elect Barron is one of the very few “celebrity” priests who I really, tremendously admire. His video series, Catholicism, is one of the masterpieces of the New Evangelization. He will be (I expect) a Courageous Bishop. Pray for him!

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.34.08 PM

In Case You’ve Been Hiding Under a Rock…..

Planned Parenthood must be reeling over the “investigative videos” from the Center for Medical Progress that show two of their abortionist admins engaged in the trade of human body parts. If you could stream closed-circuit video from the security cameras of Hell itself,  you’d likely find a lot of stuff less depraved that this.

But for the record, by posting this I do not condone or accept the dishonesty involved in procuring this footage. Lying has consequences, even when it is employed to achieve certain laudable ends. Only time will tell the consequences here, but you can bet that Planned Parenthood won’t let it be forgotten; in fact, it’s the only defense they have. A fruit of the poisonous tree.

Regarding truth-telling, the Eighth Commandments forbids “bearing false witness”. Speaking affirmatively, we as Catholics are called to bear witness to the Truth, and the Church teaches that “In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. ‘Full of grace and truth,’ he came as the ‘light of the world,’ he is the Truth.” (CCC 2466).

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.02.24 PM

Review: BaoFeng UV-5R+

I read somewhere that the Chinese government started electronics company BaoFeng to sell radios and electronics at prices at or near cost solely to disrupt sales for Japanese makers.

51VC0e3tGjLI’ve had the BaoFeng UV-5R+ for a couple of years now, and while I’ve fiddled with it a bit, I’ve never had occasion to really use it for anything. I just added it to my modest collection of items for when/if the SHTF.

This weekend we went camping, and the boys have a pair of inexpensive MidLand radios, with 21 channels. But the BaoFeng doesn’t do just walkie bands, it also does shortwave (you can even connect a more powerful antenna) and FM bands, and the menu system (while a bit clunky now that we’re all accustomed to using smart phones) offers a wide array of options and features. I’ve used it to scan LEO/fire/emergency bands, and I’ve managed to tune some shortwave frequencies too.

I googled the manual for the boys’ Midland radios so I could tune the frequencies for the channels, and voila, my BaoFeng is a glorified walkie talkie, with better range and reception. Mrs. Q took the kids down to the beach, while we’re a mile or two up the shore fishing, and we’re still in touch. The rechargeable battery lasted the entire weekend without a charge, and the radio includes an LED lamp (solid, or blinking) that provided another light source for getting around in the dark.

The boys loved using call signs and talking in code, and since we also had to take two cars to schlep all of our stuff (and the two dogs) it was great to communicate back and forth and coordinate things like bathroom stops.

Overall, it’s a well-built, sturdy little unit, and a bargain at the current price. My grandfather was a career radio operator for the selective service, and I loved going into his radio room and playing with his CB. I was lucky, because no other grandkids got to even sit down there. He would never have believed that the day would come that a person could purchase a digital shortwave TRANSMITTER for less than $31 from a Chinese company.

I still remember the way it smelled when his radio equipment was warm and running, with the dust and hot vacuum tubes. I was never allowed to touch the HAM stuff, but I loved watching him get on the radio and rattle of callsigns and tap out Morse code faster than the Western Union. Remember the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars? Those radio transmissions sounded eerily similar to what would come through on his radios, with the slightly strident vocal distortion. The sound engineer for LucasFilm must have run the dialogue through a HAM radio. 

I can imagine that with a few UV-5R+’s (or similar, there are a range of different units) in our community, we’d have a backup method for communicating if phone/cell networks ever go down.

Leaders of this Age: Where are your Successors? And Finally, who cares?

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of History. Those who remain under her shelter are Obstinate Fools, who prefer their Hate to the promises of the Age.

This narrative — along with evermore strident charges of bigotry ennobled by the mantle of constitutionality — is widely expected to deliver the silence of remaining dissent, or at the very least a new calm to the “marketplace of ideas”.

The Crucifix, along with the triregnum and crossed keys, are nothing more than anachronistic flags of another (hateful, hypocritical) confederacy. It is promised that whatever follows is so that all this hate can be swallowed up by rainbows. Then (and only then) will true peace prevail.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

It matters not, say the benevolent, that never before in the history of human civilization has there been a definition for marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Take note: it is entirely possible, simple fools, to recast objective and fundamental reality. In fact, this is required so that #LoveWins.

Can we be very surprised by any of this? After all, it was Pontius Pilate who asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” and by this expression he showed himself to be a partaker in the same invincible ignorance suffered today. It was Pilate who first personified the notion that Truth is fungible, unascertainable, or relative.

Aggravating such ignorance is that the Question is never in earnest, but rather (mostly) rhetorical, offered as terms of surrender to one’s fallen nature. It is almost as though the worst offenders know their own idiocy, but are already too burned (or burdened) by acedia to do anything other than submit to the demands of the crowd. We might even feel justified in righteous indignation — because it is all so dumb, but that too is part of the Mystery of the freedom God gives us.

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Do not be tempted to forget that the Word is yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our Lord says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake” — He is, at this moment in history, speaking to us. Do not discount the supreme Gift of such a blessing! Rich is the reward for those blessed by the Lord!

In Fr. Robert Barron’s book Catholicism, he quotes the late Francis Cardinal George concerning the appearance of the cardinals on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica in April of 2005 following the announcement of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. According to Barron, “the news cameras caught the remarkably pensive expression on the face” of Cardinal George, and when reporters asked him later what he was thinking, George responded:

“I was gazing over toward the Circus Maximus, toward the Palatine Hill where the Roman Emperors once resided and reigned and looked down upon the persecution of Christians, and I thought, ‘Where are their successors? Where is the successor of Caesar Augustus? Where is the successor of Marcus Aurelius? And finally, who cares? But if you want to see the successor of Peter, he is right next to me, smiling and waving at the crowds.’ “

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

Joyfully walking with Jesus means that we can follow the Cardinal’s example and accept that many will call us bigots, and worse. They will tell us we hate whilst spewing their own invective. Spit on our priests. Troll our blogs. Vandalize our churches. Disrupt our liturgies. Remove us from secular public life. We can and must love those who do these things. We can and must forgive them as Jesus forgives us. Everything to follow has already happened countless times before — and He told us not to worry about it. 

Meanwhile, to the Leaders of this Age, where are your successors, and finally, who cares?

Quartermaster of the Barque turned 2 Years Old Yesterday…..

14586634820_151eda79f3_oAnd I missed it! What was I doing, and how did I forget?

Thank you for your readership! In the past two years, there have been 688 posts (not including this one), nearly 300,000 individual visitors and we’re approaching a half million page views. By hits, the all-time most popular post remains this one.

Articles from Quartermaster of the Barque have appeared in National Catholic RegisterNewAdvent.org, BigPulpit.com, Pewsitter.com, CatholicCrossing.com, Aleteia.org, SpiritDaily.com, Spirit-Digest.com, and others. Thank you to the individuals who devote countless hours to maintaining those sites, which truly are a great gift to all of us.

Also a big thanks to Mark Shea (Catholic and Enjoying It!) for letting me shill for Quartermaster of the Barque, over and over and over and again and over and again and again and again. In the high-stakes dog-eat-dog world of Catholic blogging, he’s a generous guy to let others ride on his coattails, especially because writing, blogging and speaking is how he makes his living, meaning that when Mark is sharing his platform, he’s also sharing his daily bread.

To honor the “auspicious occasion”, I re-post the first blog on Quartermaster of the Barque, concerning the SCOTUS decision in United States v. Windsor, which overturned DOMA. It remains timely.


Regarding the SCOTUS Decisions on Gay Marriage (originally posted June 29, 2015)

Marriage has fallen, and with it, we see the near end of Christendom. Christians shouldn’t blame gay people for redefining marriage. The redefinition began long before the idea of “gay marriage” ever took hold. It didn’t happen just this week, or last month, or last year, or even a decade ago. It happened (inter alia):
  1. When Christians embraced no-fault divorce.
  2. At the seventh Lambeth Conference when artificial contraceptives were approved by the Anglican communion under certain circumstances.
  3. When Christians embraced Griswold v. Connecticut.
  4. When pro-life Christians fell into consequentialism and supported abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
  5. Whenever Christians made use of IVF, had a selective abortion, or supported embryonic stem cell research.
  6. Every time a Christian engaged in sexual activity outside marriage.
  7. Every time a Christian remarried after divorce.
  8. Every time a Christian used artificial contraception.

Christians who oppose the redefinition of marriage MUST stop with the focus on labels, and strategy, and “winning the war”. We’ve lost. It’s over.

What’s the difference between a contracepting, divorced and remarried straight couple and a SSA “married” couple? Almost nothing. [6/30/15 NOTE: By “almost nothing”, I mean that the principal difference is simply that same-sex activity is contrary to nature and the Natural Law. Therefore, qualitatively speaking, there is a difference. The “almost nothing” does matter, but it does not (IMO) justify discriminating in a particular way against SSA individuals]. The fact that one sin is more visible than another is not a valid basis for keeping the focus on the visible sin while ignoring the other less visible (and potentially personal) sins. Upping the harsh rhetoric makes ignoring this fact easier than admitting the actual reason for the failure. If we feel comfortable condemning same-sex marriage but we would not tell a friend or family member that it’s wrong to get married for a third time, then we need to shut up. It’s hypocrisy and it’s killing our “message”.

It’s time to save our souls by living as Christians, loving one another, caring for the least of these, speaking the truth in charity when prompted by the Holy Spirit. It’s time to actually live marriage so that our words match our examples. It’s time to stop expecting the civil law to privilege a concept that we fail to uphold in our own actions. The expectation that we should have it both ways is part of what has led to this failure.

My prayer is not to be the guy who tells people that gay marriage is wrong, but to be the father and husband who — by his hospitality and love — shows people what marriage actually is. If we can’t give them an example, we might as well describe color to the blind.

A Round-Up of Articles I’ve been Meaning to Blog About

Things have been a little extra frenetic lately, and I haven’t had a chance to cover some of these items that I found of interest:

Apple’s co-founder: We’re all going to be robots’ pets one day – From Fortune Magazine. Somehow, the Woz isn’t too worried about it.

Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head ‘getting closer’ – From The Independent (UK). For a millennia-long schism, “getting closer” could still mean decades (or centuries) before actual movement.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 1.11.41 PMSpaceships That Could Eat Star Destroyers for Breakfast – From Slate.com; someone took every sci-fi ship from every television and movie series and drew them to scale in one giant diagram. So you can see how the various incarnations of the U.S.S. Enterprise would look in a confrontation against say, the Battlestar Galactica.

From Shea’s Blog, The Prophet GKC on the Culture of Polymorphous Perversity – In case you were thinking that there is something novel or surprising about recent events:

“THE next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back… The roots of the new heresy, God knows, are as deep as nature itself, whose flower is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life. I say that the man who cannot see this cannot see the signs of the times; cannot see even the skysigns in the street that are the new sort of signs in heaven. The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan — but most of what was in Broadway is already in Piccadilly.” ~G.K. Chesterton: “G.K.’s Weekly,” June 19, 1926.

“The reign of God has really begun; but we know now who God is.”

“Mother,” said the girl, “let me tell you again. Do you not understand that all which Jesus Christ promised has come true, though in another way? The reign of God has really begun; but we know now who God is. You said just now you wanted the Forgiveness of Sins; well, you have that; we all have it, because there is no such thing as sin. There is only Crime. And, then Communion. You used to believe that that made you a partaker of God; well, we are all partakers of God, because we are human beings.” – Lord of the World, Benson, R.H. (1907).

It will be but a footnote that the Court which delivered today’s decision concerning marriage also, in previous generations, declared that no Black person, whether slave or free, could ever be a citizen of the United States (Dred Scott), or that “separate but equal” discrimination was constitutional (Plessy v. Ferguson). We Catholics know that Roe v. Wade and its progeny also belongs in this category, while others view the Right to Abortion as part of the New Enlightenment.

14765607092_f6e3d419d2_oInasmuch as prior times were capable of bringing about flawed determinations of law, the cultural and social apex from which we now perch has deigned in its benevolence to deliver the Infallible. Humanity, we are told, is finally in its Wisdom.

Today’s decision will be lauded by the mainstream and the fliers of flags of rainbow-colored irony. Brilliantly uncatechized turncoat “catholics,” inhaling the same vapors and bedazzled by their millstones, will blush with embarrassment over the welcome given them. Meanwhile, the Faithful will be treated like the must caught in the wine press.  The Church will speak of the rights and dignity of children, only to be pilloried with memes about pedophilia and hypocrisy.

Truly, as far as social secular order is concerned, there is no longer sin, only crime. And there is no longer morality, only legality. What follows is yet to be seen, although there is prophecy, and precedent. Rome fell when, for all its decadence and hedonism, it did not attempt to redefine the nature of marriage.

We have been outflanked. What could not be foreseen until a short while ago is demonstrable proof for the overwhelming Force at work. Benson saw only euthanasia but not abortion, and he left marriage and stable natural families intact at the End. Arguably it was assumed that these institutions were so sacrosanct that they required no active defense.

But now that such assumption is erased from the page, there is no need for further pretension. A crowd of voices demands a quickening of the movement to appease the craven. All need for patience is mooted. The careful gradualism that delivered us here has finally served its purpose:

These Justices [delivering the Majority Opinion of the Court] know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution. – Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Scalia, J., dissenting.

Benson puts the meaning of this in perspective:

“Therefore, this new decree was as logical as [the antichrist] Himself — it was a judicial act on the part of an united world against a tiny majority that threatened the principle of life and faith: and it was to be carried out with supreme mercy; there was no revenge or passion or partisan spirit in it from the beginning to end; no more than a man is revengeful or passionate when he amputates a diseased limb…”

God help us, and dear friends, He will. He is doing so at this very moment, but we are called to be Faithful even if our suffering is in sight. As Benson would say, the time for self-regarding is passed. What will come at last to each of us who hold sight of God and His Commandments is “…that superb tranquility, possible only when the senses are physically awake, with which God, perhaps once in a lifetime, rewards the aspiring trustful soul — that point of complete rest in the heart of the Fount of all existence with which one day He will reward eternally the spirits of His children.”

FullSizeRender 18As for intercession, let’s remember that St. Thomas More was martyred for his solidarity with us in this very same fight. It is our privilege to don this hair shirt with him. He continues to pray for us in Heaven and that God’s will be done. Let us follow his example, and pray as he did, pro rege, or rather pro res publica, even when king and country turn from the Truth. After all, we are all — in some fashion — converts, and no matter what “law” is enacted, Holy Church teaches that we are always free to choose the good.

Laudato Si': Surprise! They Don’t Get It

The Editors of the National Review, et al., don’t get Pope Francis’ encyclical. There is much accusation that Francis employs a simplistic approach to economic matters — a “pot calling the kettle black” scenario if ever there were one — since the writers are guilty of doing the very same thing (i.e., asserting without basis that the surest way for developing countries to improve living conditions is to increase their economies).

The Invisible Hand is an economic theory. It is not, in practice, infallible, any more than any other theory can be infallible. Something even greater than economic theory is the anthropological reality that people act chiefly out of self-interest. Christianity is the only true remedy to this reality.

It is not a given to state that the market is “self-correcting” and therefore any and all regulation is superfluous. Rather, that particular argument is a red herring now that we have examples of how unrestrained capitalism (read consumerism) AND communism — at their respective extreme polarities — are both capable of enslavement. Self-correction is not the same as “self-preservation”.

While there are now thousands of billionaires, there are billions of nothingaires. But stop counting. What resonates clearly in this encyclical, and what is desperately needed to respond to threats of a New Economic World Order, is that humanity is at the center of creation, and any economic or political system that intentionally violates the rights and dignity of even a single human being is not fully tenable in its current form.

Universal recognition of this clearly-defined principle (which is not at all novel when viewed through the lens of Church teaching) would actually solve the problem, in which case, no need for any other “Power” or “Authority”, and therefore no need for scary music or harsh lighting to emphasize the point. “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

There’s far more at stake than global warming. The “science” on that issue can be easily set aside for now. What about (a) pesticides harming people (and honeybees!), (b) hormones in municipal water supplies, (c) devastations to animal populations, (d) people living atop landfills, (e) “food” being sold, primarily to the poor, that isn’t really food, and (f) toxic pollutants in the air that people breathe? Are these not important to life and health?

Humans are chiefly responsible for these symptoms, even if climate itself is a far more tenuous connection. We are reminded by Pope Francis that to “fill the earth and subdue it” is not license to destroy and ruin for posterity. We are stewards, not masters.