Tag Archives: Pope John Paul II

Papal Canonizations: A Brief Insight

This week at the Holy See in Vatican City at Rome Italy the current Pope Francis I and the Pope emeritus Benedict XVI will preside over the “raising to the glory of the altars” the names and reputations of Pope John XXIII who called the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II who traveled more than any other Pope, reigned longer than almost any other and whose life before he was Pope John Paul II made this first Polish pope very unique.

Canonization is of course always about the person. It is less about the work and career than most honors. Those things are considered but personal holiness is more considered. The life of Pope John Paul II has been masterfully written and redacted by an American scholar. You can link to the sale of George Weigel’s book here. In the case of John XXIII there is a book which is about his life and in which most of the text is written by the sainted pope himself but which probably does not meet quite the definition of autobiography under which it has been marketed all or most of my life. You can link to a copy of that book here. But it is perhaps required that i state here in this brief post that I have no doubt that both men have a great deal to say to our age by life, example and writing. Neither one is devoid of all controversy.

Pope John XXIII was a pastor in Fascist Italy and Pope John Paul II was pastor of the universal church when much of the pedophilia scandal was continuing as a crisis of discipline and truthfulness among other things. There is no doubt that both men studied morality seriously, that both men risked much for what they believed, that both men attacked antisemitism,  varied religious hatreds and many forms of intellectual blindness. There is no doubt that both men fostered cooperation to improve the lot of ordinary and not so ordinary people in suffering and crisis around the world. There is no doubt that both men sought to speak the Gospel of Christ Jesus to the modern world. So should they be canonized?

Technically, the requirement for a second verified miracle after the saint has died and is in the Beatific Vision has been wived for John XXIII and the requirement of a waiting period at the start was waived under the Santo Subito pressures around the death of Pope John Paul II.  Both men have therefore gotten a bit of a pass on the full rigors of the process.

While I will not get a chance to watch much of the process I will try to post more about it after the event. I think it will be a worthy and noble celebration. The television and radio network based in Birmingham , Alabama in the United States has extensive coverage of the event and the lives of the two men. You can link to that information here. I hope people will look at it with an appreciation of its sincerity and its greatness as an expression of a faith community. But there is also a risk in the decision to canonize a Pope which does not exist in other saints. The Pope holds authority in a real situation  where human feelings are hurt, human mistakes made and human lives upset. It seems perhaps to be too much to ask those who lost out to a Pope in Life to have him included in their liturgies after his death as a specially recognized companion of Christ. But on the other hand that is what sanctity is all about — holiness in the real world. Further as different as these popes were it is true that both sought to expose this meaning of daily sanctity to the Church and the World.

Both of these men in my opinion have been more likely to be confirmed to the glory of the altars than are either of the two living Popes who will be there. John Paul II may be faulted for not having done more to stop the murder of Jewish children in Poland by the truck loads but he did oppose the Nazis at the risk of his life, he did witness to and oppose the Communists effectively at the risk of his life and run the most honest philosophy lecture for a thousand miles in any direction. He did get shot by an Muslim on a Communist payroll. He did struggle mightily on the grandest scale as Pope for the things he believed.  Pope John XXIII made the Second Vatican Council happen and it is difficult for a  non-Catholic to imagine what was required to make that happen. I do not think this very popular Pope nor the elderly Apostle of the Longsuffering Germans  is likely to leave a record so clearly one of heroic virtue. The risk of scandal which may offset the real merits of Benedict or Francis looms larger because of what is not there in the positive column.

The two living popes are very different as are the two men raised to the honor of being recognized by the Universal Church as saints.  I have written a good bit about Pope Francis in the posts linked at the lower potion of this post. I feel I have largely covered this great American-Italian-Argentine-Jesuit breakthrough in those linked posts  although not in this post itself. So I feel I can leave aside a brief biography of Francis but can be  less sparing about Pope Benedict.

Josef Ratzinger, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was the second consecutive Patriarch of Rome, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff and Successor to the Throne of St. Peter who has not been an Italian and he has now been suceeded by the first in a while who is both Italian and not Italian as well as an American and an Argentine. His role in making Popes from outside Italy alone is very important to the health of the Church that (without saying the Italians are not a great people and without saying that Bishops ought mostly to come from their own lands or related lands) and is a very good thing. It would probably be good if about half of all Popes were Italian over time but I would not want to see dozens of Popes in a row who were not Italian so everyone must do the best they can and perhaps the current Pope is an elegant solution.

Benedict is saddled with some responsibility for being part of the German theological establishment some of that is good and some is not. I have views differing from those held in the Church’s halls of power about some of the merits of these Germans. Josef Ratzinger is also a German who fought in the regular nonpolitical part of the German forces doing his duty in World War II and is a very accomplished scholar. However, the service to any state headed by Adolf Hitler and his lunatics is a blemish on the Papacy. But the Papacy has had many blemishes — nonetheless I do not lay all the blame on him personally but I do hold it against him. He seems to indicate in his public life that he remembers the insanity of Nazi political religion and although his experience was more ambiguous than he admits he will work to see that the liturgy and practice of the Church draws forth a milieu such as produced Mozart, the Bach family and the Gothic Cathedrals. The Pope he is will be remembered in the context of the German he is and it will be hard to find a route to canonization in all probability.

Like  John Paul II he did try to reach out to the Jews. There are problems in doing so that are real and he never looked to skilled at it. But in addition he has more to explain and  offset. If he could  have said anything kind and honest to the Jews in the way of professional advice that acknowledged some continuity of Hebrew liturgy  and have had  it well received he would advise them to invest in their worship and liturgy to reach and surpass the heights of the Temple’s musical past. That was a route, perhaps a concert shared together in the gardens, Perhaps more Hebrew in the newer forms of the Latin Mass. For those who judge such matter not so officially there is a great deal to offset in service to the Third Reich. But there is a vast set of problems regarding discussions of the period. Certainly the NAZI regime had more justification for panic and insecurity and rage than we in the USA are usually willing to teach our children, Nor is it unreasonable that we have a cast to our view of things. But Dolan, Law and Hannan  were never serious contenders for the Papacy and this man was  and is Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI had at once upon election to contend with a very broad spectrum of issues and demands and  brought to bear his talents as a writer, thinker and organizer as well as his prodigious mental capacities. He has written about Jesus Christ in a very compelling way and has sought to bring the Christ of Faith, the Jesus of History and the Jesus Christ of Cultural developments into a proper and good focus centered around the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. This is certainly a worthy goal and it fits in the larger context of a body of work. He specifically struggles with that German Teutonic impulse towards the struggle of the spiritual and the State which has always been pronounced but which which has been agonizingly dysfunctional since the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But in all the heroism of his struggle he does not lay out the offsetting values that erase the sins and scandals of his time from memory.

Pope Francis is on a honeymoon with the whole world right now and is a formidable pastor. I love that he brings Jesuit skills to bear. But there will be scandals form his past in Argentina. When they emerge I doubt I will be as critical as many. I know how hard it is to look good in horrific situations. But he was a fixer, mover and shaker struggling day in and out in a country in a long and bloody turmoil. Eventually someone will present evidence that something he did or did not do contributed to the death or ruin of an innocent person.  I am drowning in self respect and the same could be said of my life. It is just impossible in my view to come out of some situations unblemished. But all the adulation now will make it harder to take whether it comes before or after his death.  I hope and tend to think he has risked himself to help those in trouble.

I am going to try to write a little something about the canonization of two recent popes and the ceremony at which two popes will be present. Here is  a post discussing some of the early reactions to the papal reign of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio — Pope Francis.  Here and here are posts I put up about the transition when Pope Benedict resigned and before Pope Francis was elected.  So far as it goes there is no doubt that the papacy has been a serious and sustained interest in this blog. There is also no doubt that if a major scandal breaks regarding Pope Benedict or Pope Francis that there will be people remembering having read things here that they never read extolling these men. I have done little extolling.

However, this is a great day for the Papacy. It is a glorious celebration and I am proud to see the Church reaching out to past and future. But it is a risky time for the church and a good time to be a bit self-critical. My own views are written and published in this blog at length.  I respectfully look to Rome form where I stand as myself.

After Grandparents a Footnote or a Note

Even those who are not Catholics can probably remember images of Pope John Paul II in his last infirmities. Here was the great man of youth camping trips, skiing and an underground Catholic Church in Nazi Poland and a resisting Church in the Soviet block. Here was the man whose physical vigor had been the bright framing highlight mixed with the verbal paint of his answer made when a member of the curia in the early days asked if he did not think it “unseemly for a Pope to ski ?”     The still relatively young Pope had said: “It is unseemly for a Pope to ski badly.” He did not ski badly and he was very much the Pope.

George Weigel who wrote Witness to Hope came to Lafayette to speak about another book.

George Weigel who wrote Witness to Hope came to Lafayette to speak about another book.

Pope John Paul II is due to be canonized soon and this weekend I watched the video Witness to Hope  which is based on the book by George Weigel and tacks the entire biographical arc of Karol Wotija known to many as John Paul the Great.  Many can remember the shouts by the Italian crowd of “Santo Subito” as this old man’ s death was announced. People wanted him quickly made an official saint.  It has been pretty quick by Church standards. This is different than the cultus that sometimes springs up for a young martyr who has died giving witness to Christ. Not the act of dying quickly and bravely but of enduring long gives rise to faith and veneration.

This is a note largely written during the last hours of the fourth of April, 2014. April Fourth is the birthday of one of my earliest girlfriends and and we are still enough in touch that I messaged her with a celebratory greeting. I can think back on that unbelievably young era of life every April fourth. l am not so much thinking about that period nor about those lost in youth as I am about the twilight years. My nephew Anthony Joseph Summers has his third birthday party tomorrow. That is another reason to think of youth and innocence. But again this note is about something else.

I spent much of the day today and yesterday with my cousin Ivan Berling who is in his eighties. We went to visit my father in the hospital today. My father is in his seventies and has had many health problems lately. He has cardiovascular problems, cancer and gout among other things.  I suppose that trend of thinking about the later years of life also relates to the coming canonization of the Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. These were two men who kept serving God, the Christian Church and humanity until the very end of their earthly lives. These were long lives. Pops whose funeral caused the visit left us many reminders of a long and eventful life. There was little about his 91 odd years that did not speak of experience and fullness more than innocence and absence. My cousin and I had our visit framed by his life this weekend.

My grandfather CBG Sr. Pops blesses a great grandchild on his 90th birthday!

My grandfather CBG Sr. Pops blesses a great grandchild on his 90th birthday!

 

So my cousin Ivan and I have just come from  another funeral of an elder in the relatively small world of one’s close  family and friends. But of course our circles only overlap they are not the same and he was not at Gammie’s funeral or Nannee’s funeral as I would name these two events. In September of 2013, my great aunt Lottie Lucia Miller Massey, the former Mrs. Charles William Massie II  died . She was the last of three siblings and represented a closing off of one set of connections to the past through Laura Marie Broussard and her husband Dr. Preston Joseph Miller. Then last Monday my last grandparent died — Cecil B Gremillion Sr.  My vigorous but somewhat elderly cousin Ivan Berling did not attend my great aunts funeral and talked to me of several people he had lost lately whom I did not even know who were in the same stage of life.

Gammie presided over family gathering with my grandfather and namesake and after him for a long time.

Gammie presided over family gathering with my grandfather and namesake and after him for a long time.

Nannee as I called her was the second of three children of the late Dr. Preston Joseph Miller and Laura Broussard Miller and the last surviving of the three. She did not get into this blog before this note although I wrote about her on Facebook. Two of those who sent me condolences on my maternal grandfather were her niece Dolly Brandt and her grandson Charles William Massie IV soon to be ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church. She is survived still by my correspondents and by one of their fathers her son Charles William Massie III and his brother Christian Chadwick Massey (Chad Massie) and sister Catherine Massie and her grandchildren born to Chad and his wife Tricia Dwyer Massie. The webs of family connections extend in all sorts of ways in my life.  In my post about Pops I listed many of his descendants and not all but in Nannee’s shorter list I got closer to a fully complete list. Nannee is still survived by her daughter Laura Lucia Massie Hayes Roberts and her grandchildren through Laura both Paul Hayes and his daughter Patricia with his former wife Elizabeth and two children with his wife Stacey Thorne Hayes as well as Laura-Lucia Hayes Carothers I am not sure in Laura Lucia has children.

Nannee was a fascinating woman in many ways and I remember her fondly enough. Pops was a man who made his way with some college credits from what is now the University of Louisiana and an officer’s commission. But he was a staunch LSU sports fan. Nanee was not so much compelled by sports but she was an alumna of Louisiana State University and a long term supporter of various educational causes along with other interests in her life. Nanee was also different from Pops in some other ways. Whereas he attended military officer’s training programs and earned some licenses that required courses she made her life mostly in education. My Gammie, Beverly Miller Summers was a teacher for a while but Nannee for much of a life.  She was a public school teacher and a devout Roman Catholic who lived that faith at a time when her divorce was unusual in small town environments of Catholic Acadiana and south Louisiana. She adjusted well to the tensions that exist between Church and State in our society.

Like Gammie who died two years and a bit ago she was descended from Joseph Broussard “dit Beausoleil” through her mother she never knew or remembered very well – who died in her childhood she was always deeply attached to her father until his death. He was also as a physician and part owner of a hospital the very essence of commitment to education around here. Today visiting my father in the hospital I was reminded as I always am his side of the family’s commitment to the legal and medical professions. There were plenty of doctors and lawyer’s in Pop’s life but I think of technical and business acumen when I think of his set. He and his brother-in-law Walter Hollier who died a while back were both bombardier instructors. That was education too I suppose but the feel and pace were different than law, medicine or public schools. Their stories were not all that common but they did leave an impression on my when they were told. My mother led the organization of her father’s funeral and wake which was held at a facility and chapel administered by Family Missions Company. She had also helped a lot with Gammie’s wake and funeral and none of the faults and much of the success of that venture was hers.  As this comes out she has said good bye to her guest Ivan Berling Sr. and has been in the hospital with my father.  You can see her understanding of the surgery and its immediate aftermath here. It is worth remembering her father died on Monday and she bore the largest part of the responsibility for all arrangements Tuesday and Wednesday. Dad was in the hospital on Friday morning. He also had a prep meeting on Thursday. Mom is no kid herself and has diabetes. But she keeps on ticking.

It was a bit trying to see my father wheeled into his room in the hospital in a bed where Cousin Ivan and I were waiting for him with a helium balloon and a humorous card. I certainly hope he is alright and we prayed with him. But he is not just  “my father” even in my mind. His life in my mind involves fifty yerars of history together. Seeing my father always is near enough to something to do with land. There is not much else that can be said about that in a short note. But now and at almost all other times if he were not sick he and I would have something to discuss regarding lands even if it is just this house lot. Pops or Cecil Gremillion Sr. Still has in his estate a few parcels of land to deal with and always had a lot of dealings with land. Lottie Lucia Massie who died in September held land, mineral interests, financial interests and family concerns which occupied much of her time before and after her retirement from teaching. Mrs. Massie or Nannee was known to some as devoted to a long process of caring for her home, garden and surrounds for many years in a large sun bonnet or hat along one of the principal streets in Abbeville. But that period of home care was long in the past and there are many things that need doing on the estates of all those I have lsot in recent years from my extended family and I am having problems preventing my work here on my father’s home lawns and such. These are more likely to be issues when people full in years are threatened by death or taken from us than when the very young decease and often have fewer possessions.

So, Pops had a really decent send-off and his death was marked in a suitable way.  I have no idea what will happen to those of us yet to go but I remember other recent funerals as well. Lottie Lucia Massie’s funeral was memorable enough.  Much of the family and the great majority of my great-aunt’s direct descendants were gathered for the parts of the marking of her passing which I attended. The Mass was very suitable in the church she loved.The readings were read by her grandson studying for the priesthood and all but one of of all not so numerous grandchildren brought up the offertory gifts.The sermon/eulogy and music were well suited to the occasion as well. I suppose more immediate family and some of their friends and other relations may have continued the memorial in other ways. I was with a group of nine mourners remembering her at a dinner and three more were dining near us. We drank her favorite drink in her memory and much was remembered that went unsaid. I did not do as much in relation to either the death of Nannee or Pops as I did with relation Gammie’s death.

I wondered then if my grandmother’s death and burial will be the event that moves me from one sense of personal relative hell to a new one. I care about many people, patterns and institutions located here in the United States. I also feel that most of the problems and evils of this country are present elsewhere as well. However, I am not a very happy person and never have been. I do remember as history, from story and from experience the faults and foibles of the older generations that are passing on.  While I have done much to help and honor some in those generations I have never been blindly adoring. When Gammie died two years ago I wondered if maybe her passing  would be the event that helped or harassed me move geographically to a place where I would not have to participate in destroying almost everything I think is worth a damn just to survive. This blog is full of words and other expressions showing my discontent that  is no secret. When the older ones pass on is forced to recognize that there were promises in one’s own life made to their generation that have not been fulfilled. These are not usually explicit but are implied in many ways.

The passing of these markers of earlier generations and the struggle of my father to extend his life make me more conscious of the shortcomings of our time. Because I do feel that self-destruction has become the establishment position in the USA. My grandfather who just died was a more comfortable and uncomplicated patriot in the things he chose to say about the American Union’s future and state of being. My own time in this life grows notably shorter and my strength has receded plenty already in many ways from visual acuity to optimism itself.

I have never felt free in the way some people do nor been the slave some people are but I do feel that as an American my life is so unfree and the bitterness of the false freedom ideology as it plays out in countless lies and misrepresentations does damage to our future that is so vast that it does trouble me often. Looking back on a life far from perfect here and abroad  maybe I hope for a situation which will inspire me to go and live out however many days I may have left in peace. These days of peace were not so peaceful nor would future ones be. But I feel the lost potential of this country more as I see our ancestors of the World War Two Generation leave us. Death makes it clear that their era is over.

 

Soon it will be Holy Week and while Gammie was buried nearer Easter and I am past her death anniversary and not at Palm Sunday this is an unusual year. I am not more prepared for Easter than usual but it falls later in the calendar year than usual. I can remember Gammies funeral vividly where I was a pall bearer with other men in the family. At my niece Anika’s  beautiful reading at Pop’s funeral and the readings of many other relatives I remember that I was similarly moved and touched by the Mass of Christian Burial for Gammie where my nephew Anika’s brother Soren who read a petition for Pop’s funeral read a reading for Gammie’s. I also remember how beautifully my first cousins once removed Dolly and Ainsley read the readings. The music and words and prayers were more than nice then.

I did not spend as much time with Pop’s wake and funeral as with Gammie’s similar events. In my life Gammie’s funeral was less than an ideal kind of closure.  The final walk made for her as pallbearer in which I felt that almost everything was done to make me drop the coffin except to trip me and physically knock it out of my hands it seemed like a suitable culmination of my life’s time with Gammie.  At the time I posted on Facebook about a  nearly engineered coffin spill-a-thon which somehow managed to be a decorous burial or the other egregious affronts to the little protocols that could make life more tolerable all I know is that there is not much to set against the bad feelings as I move on with my life. It seemed to contrast so much with the many times Gammie precisely organized events. but really she was not perfect there and her resources were limited.

For Pops I wore his favorite green to the wake and my only good suit to the funeral. For Gammie I did some shopping to prepare for the funeral — socks and a pair of black shoes that did not have badly worn soles.For recent funerals I have had those things.  My first cousin who is not related to Gammie was in jail when she died but was at Pop’s wake and funeral.   I remember that after Gammie’s funeral I also went by to visit that first cousin in the parish (county elsewhere) jail. He has ended up there  a few times and when out could not go to his original home at Kisinoaks as my grandfather with whom he had lived most of his life at Kisinaoks had come to  live with his black helper and her man in a house he rented for both them and himself while his family home where my cousin lived was supposedly being sold. After Gammie’s funeral my cousin was not available to be visited and so I simply put some money in the electronic kiosk and confirmed that he was being held there.  But at Pop’s wake and funeral we hardly spoke although he was available for conversation.

 

I van and I toured the Abbeville Library built in 2003, the Louisiana Military Hall of Fame and Museum and the Palmetto Island State Park. Each said something about what is good, worthy and honorable in this country and place. I do respect the efforts embodied in each of these institutions although I have a complicated view of each of them. And I also say that each is beautiful to me. My cousin Ivan was brought up to date on his hometown. I was happy to play tour guide as he lives out of state. He used to know the area but needs an occasional refresher to keep up now. Although I feel frustrated and oppressed in some ways I am not idle. I am also very aware that there is a lot going on in my own life and family. I cannot imagine that feeling worse about it than this rainy week in Lent seems to call for is appropriate. But it is real enough anyway.  I am putting down some words about what is going on in my life.

As I have written my father has had an angiogram and has had a stent placed as a result of the imaging and testing that was done. This angioplasty has caused him to be admitted and held over night for observation. I visited him in the hospital  in Lafayette and am waiting to find out when he will get home.  He should be out this  morning. I am not sure what his next few years will be like or what role I will play. But I do know that these days will matter not only to me but ot my nieces and nephews.

There will then be other work to be done in two weeks. I hope all of this goes well.

sometimes write on this Facebook Timeline (mostly when it was a profile) as though nobody is going to read and sort of warn anyone who does that this is the nature of a particular note. I have never done that more emphatically than here in this note. I loved my grandmother and it would take pages just to list the good things about her. Yet, much more than most deaths of those I cared about, her death has me filled with bad feelings and even bad memories. I think perhaps in part I feel that the tings I admired most about her may never be well known and are already mostly forgotten. Many of the other qwualites I liked about her color memories made overly simple by those who cherished or else may be seen as debunked by faults known t those who did not admire her. Her deth brings a finality to a lot a business which will forever be marked “unfinished” at least in my earthly human experience.

 

 

 

My grandmother Beverly Miller Summers and I spent a great deal of time together.  We knew each other extraordinarily well and we had quite a few enjoyable times together.  We were not really all that much alike in most of the terms by which most people would measure people being alike. We did not have mostly the same vices or virtues. We did not have an infinite trust in one another. Much of what bound us together was sharing in work which most people would find odd and esoteric and many would not recognize as legitimately being work.  So much time spent is now safely locked in the past sealed with deaths twenty years apart of Chief Justice and Mrs. Frank Wynerth Summers.  In her death his death is somehow completed for me. Although Christians recognize death as ending a marriage there is something of the “two become one” which that faith and others cannot help but feel as well. They survive in their descendants but they also end their tenure in my life as the couple is gathered beside one another in death’s rest.

 

On Friday, March 30, 2012, I buried my grandmother.  It marked many important turning points in my life at the same time. I have always realized that in the end, the middle and the start my life was going to be troubled.  There was a time when I hoped it might also seem worthwhile. However, that is a past chapter. Perhaps I will find a bleak and meager kind of peace somewhere for a few years. I may well be glad to leave behind the long struggle in this tortured version of American democracy which we both discussed in agreement and disagreement for so many years. Gammie has secured a resting place in death and her struggles had gotten smaller and more personal in recent years.

 

 

My grandmother’s death closed many chapters for me. She was a complex person and we had a complex relationship. In the wake and funeral I had a chance to put behind me some of the totality of a part of life which will not come again. I think my whole life I have been amazed at how horrible almost everything is and I still often feel that way. Nonetheless, there are millions of things to apprecite and value even in a world where one finds billions of places to attach the lable “horrible” and “mind-bogglingly horrible”. My grandmother had a complicated relationship with the church and with her Christian faith. She was more knowledgeable about faith than many who knew her would think.

 

A few, or perhaps more, who knew Gammie knew things about her that  they might find far from the higher and better view of her which I have propounded to some degree. In many cases this would be because they are almost completely mindless idiots. However, in other cases it is becuse of legtimate confusion or misunderstanding.  I know Gammie was affected by the range of moral forces in this world from most holy to most evil. I know she herself played many roles in the world’s moral drama. My life was often hellish in a completely different way from the hellishness of her life. Sometimes, one or both of us had a heavenly life. Was one thing real and the other not? I can’t give a total answer, but do believe both side of life were real.  In the mix of it all was the usual very earthly existence.

 

 

 

I have a great deal of misery and bitterness that I could wallow in when I think about the family life in which somehow Gammie and I were both involved. In many ways it is possible to see our relationship as an exhausting and soul-crushing burden and waste of time. Yet, I am proud of the years we shared. They were not perfect and I always knew they would come with a price. One of our weaknesses in relating to eachother was that we did not have sutained direct confrontations about anything. She was very far from approving of all I did and frankly that was mutual and yet we just never spoke angrily about things for more than a few minutes. Often we related as if we had no significant concerns besides just visiting. I could list many thing she did for me and many things I did for her btu we never had an established sort of framework of support. She and I both were aware of compromises the other had made which we ourselves would not have made. Oddly enough, despite being my grandmother and almost half a century older than I  she was  very close friend. I think I was less near the top of her list of friends and yet I think we both were surprised for decades that we were in fact mostlt often friends. I do not think it was a friendship anyone else could really understand. I was often polite and deferential but really it was one of the most peer-like relationships of my life.  As I look across the vast crap plain of life in my time I am not ashamed of what we tried at various times to do in the hellhole of circumstance. We both might have been better served in many to spend much less time together I can see objectively. I have so many reasons to regret the whole thing and she doubtless would as well if we ever would have chosen to look at things in that way.. Yet it would take books to merely list all the things we did together. Many of those things were objectively worthy things to do in life. Maybe, I will be free to move out of the web of previously shared misery in which I have become embedded. I am proud that I have the integrity of my rage and bitterness when nothing else would be proper.  But I do not think rage and bitterness are good states of being.

 

Gammie I like to think is resting in peace. PauPau’s body beside hers is also reposed in calm of death and they are near each other. I am not reposed in this moment.  I am tired and restless at the same time. If the grace of Lent is not entirely wasted on me then perhaps I will come to see the beauty of ending life well. I think it is very possible she found an increasing and holy peace in the end that she had not often found accessible. Perhaps, I will be so blessed as to know it when my own end comes.

 

Novus Ordo Seclorum

Novus Ordo Seclorum: My Views on a New World Order
This was first published by me on Facebook on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:43am. Like my first blog here it came late in a long series of notes. I have reproduced it here with no improvements or changes whatsoever. Here it appears without tone or context and crtainly a bit the worse for wear. This is a bit of bloviation on the ideas I believe are important for human survival and prosperity over time.
 
If some of you were inclined to consider me a megalomaniac but just were not quite sure then this ought to help you feel confident in that assertion. This is my boldest note in this series. I ask nobody for anything in it but obviously it would require something of almost everyone alive. It is not the most ambitious thing ever published but it is close. I think in some ways it is also faithful to my American heritage especially.

The currency of the United States of America has a seal on it. The seal shows a pyramid which does not reach its zenith. At the place where the very top of the pyramid should be there is a small space to indicate flying or floating and the an eye in a triangle that fits the profile of the pyramid. Besides these graphic portrayals there are words which form part of the seal. Those words are “Novus Ordo Seclorum”, the Latin phrase translates as New Order of the Ages. The Founding Fathers of the United States believed and hoped that they were setting up a New World Order. To some remarkably high degree they succeeded. This my own view on the Novus Ordo Seclorum which I would devise from the vantage point of 2009.

I am closing in on the June 1 anniversary of my first Facebook note. I think I will try to lay out my own views of the world’s future and my own plans for a New World Order. When Osama Bin Laden lays out his views of the future the world knows that he has done a lot and and ended many lives and has fanatical followers around the world. When President George Herbert Walker Bush spoke of the New World Order and his vision for it the speeches were credible because he was the Chief Executive Officer of the world’s largest military and financial combination and a Nation with trade relations with and citizens from almost the whole world. When Stalin or Hitler or Lenin spoke of world change they were able to provide friends and enemies with similar reasons to believe listening to them mattered. When I am about to do it it will mostly seem arrogant and perhaps a bit delusional. The Realpolitik analysis is that I am not a lawyer or the holder of some well-known public office. The Realpolitik analysis is that if one were to stretch the total number of dangerous armed men in the world who might have a speedy response to my call to arms it would fall somewhere very far short of a division. The Realpolitik analysis is that unlike Popes Paul VI and John Paul II or even the Dhalai Lama I am not the titular head of all or a large part of a major religion. However, in the spirit of getting things off my chest this year I will discuss the ideas that I have had for quite some time and how they relate to the possibilities of a future for the world and for nations and peoples that certainly will not simply evolve. Therefore although it may do no more than provide definite grounds for certifying me as a megalomaniac or convicting me of some crime or other I will write down here the basic views I have as clearly as I can which have guided a sort minimal political activity of my own and some associates over several years.

The same side of the same Great Seal of the United States that appears on the same currency not only says “Novus Ordo Seclorum”. Rather, above the pyramid but not directly above its peak are the words “Annuit Coeptis”. That means “He (She or It) has favored our undertakings” and it is known that the designers intended the He or It to be either God or Divine Providence. That more or less Masonic quotation is very much in keeping with the spirit of true Judaism or Christianity. We do what we believe to beright in keeping with the Divine Will and he may bless our undertakings. We do not do nothing and hope to be rescued.

I am setting out these things in this venue as I have not yet ever set them outs so publicly. I have a five point plan in a sense although each point breaks down into a very complex outline. I think that if this plan is followed we will have many chances to make a huge mess out of our species an both our civilization (singular) and our civilizations (plural). If we do many tragedies and bad things will happen that would never happen if we did not do it. But we will have a chance for a future worthy of animals, plants and especially humans. We will have a future in which it is possible to hope that faith and idealism need not move towards becoming an ever more perverse joke.

I. The Great Israel Treaties
II. The Reform of the United Nations
III. The Human Habitat Expansion Treaty
IV. Formation of the Great Formal Federations.

Before I get really breaking down and laying out my plan I could ask the rhetorical question, why have a plan? Are to rephrase it, has being a collective clueless idiot served the human race well up untill this point? By my rephrasing you may guess that I feel and believe the answer to be “no”. But I will try to set forth some reasons for this position later on.

1. Since about 1100 AD there have been no large suitable new lands or even realtively large new lnds to open up to human settlement. In my view this really began a new era of human history. It seems to me that this really matters a great deal more than is ever calculated by anyone with power and influence. We, as a species, have a real need to colonize seamounts, the craters on the Moon and Mars and submarine coastal flats. Whether or not we do those things will significantly affect our chances for survival as a species and will help determine in countless ways the quality of that survival if we do survive.

2. Indefinite population growth is essential for healthy and worthwhile human development. There is no doubt that we can not plan for that if we do not maximize recycling in a different way then ever conceived, colonize space and colonize the underwater environment.

3.We must strengthen ancient and vital elements of civilization like the nation, the state, the nation-state, the family and the military tradition. To do these things will require aggressive proactive planning and action which will offset trends of change in the last two centuries especially. We must do this without halting the engines of change which are vital for renewing and organizing the economies and growth into the future.

4. I and some number of other people must either devote ourselves to reforms like these or else choose some far less savory course of action. For some of us there is profound personal dissatisfaction with the world as it is. There can be no real lasting adjustment to the status quo and therefore, while alive we must struggle.

I want to go through my plan in brief here. I fully acknowledge that there are few if any elements that will be fully explained and disclosed in this note. Especialy, My own role in such a future plan is de-emphasized here compared to some other drafts. I am not sure why exactly that is the case. Perhaps because I am largely just a trapped and semi-tortured captive of circumstance disclosing secrets after a long silence. Perhaps because there are no long-term possibilities fo living out my life to a natural span which are not profoundly unattractive and so I do not give the proverbial rat’s ass. Perhaps it is becuse the ideas matter to me and so I am introducing them into the stream of geo polical dialog. More than likely all the reasons delineated in the previous sentence play a part.

I. I suggest that reparations be paid for the Holocaust ny many parties which beneiftted or inherited from beneficiaries. I suggest that a large part of these funds bepaid to purchase the Sinai from Egypt and then a separate portion be set up as a development fund. This fund would also include a fund for concessions to be paid for in which those paying in to the fund would be preferred. This Sinai would be a State of a greater Federal Great Israel. The other States would be the Principal State of the Republic of Israel, the Capital Sate of Jerusalem, and the State of Palestine. The Republic would receive slightly more land than it yielded to form the Capital State of Jerusalem in the from of five state military reservations in the Sinai. Palestine would receive a conceesion the size of Gaza which would be one of three districts in that federal state. The remainder of Sinai would be composed of several federalized districts and it would form the fourth and last state.

II. I would like to see the UN Charter and operations reformed in a number of ways.
First, I would propose that Permanent Members of the Security Council be given the titles Founding Permanent Members of the Security Council and they alone would continue to have individual vetoes. However, I further propose that a handul of countries be sent a confidential invitation based on their ecnomy, population, military capacity and cultural dominance with the understanding that no more than 5 more Permanent Members will be admitted to the Security Council ( nominees I would include would be Japan, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and Saudi Arabia). The price for admission would be 10 billion US Dollars, cession of 50 square kilometers of their own land as a permanent UN posession and diplomatic and military reservation. These funds would be placed in an endowed Security Council fund able to provide operational funds for humanitarian programs of the Security Council.
Second, I propose that their be a founding auction when the Human Habitat Expansion Treaty (which I am going to discuss next) is made. I propose that the funds from auctioning off micro-state rights go into a permanent endowed fund to become the base of operations for the United Nations Space Authority. This would be the agency governing UN reservations on the Moon and Mars.
Third, I propose that the Vatican City be admitted as a full member and a number of other entities be granted membership as highest level of observer currently enjoyed by the Vatican.
Fourth, I propose a global house as a second chamber to our world government. This is the least likely change and the hardest to justify. I will not discuss it at length here but will discuss it again a bit in context as I discuss the formation of the Great Federations as the last section of this Note.

III. The Human Habitat Expansion Treaty is possibly the very most important of of aspects of my plan for the human future. This is really the challenge on which humanity will either open the path to a new future or else fail to do so. The other three aspects greatly affect the likely success and vibrancy of this part of the plan. I also think they have other important contributions to make to the human future but this is an entirely different level of importance.

The Human Habitat Expansion Treaty would make available for development in an effective way the surfaces of the Moon and Mars as well as many of the seamounts throughout the world. TheFormation of the great federations would modify the exact nature of the HHET compared to a world in which there is no such formation of Federations. But the the basic concept will be the same either way.

First, Free Access to Space will be preserved as the legal doctrine governing all orbits, asteroids, gas giant planets and minor moons. A few heavenly bodies would be placed into a provisional status. However, The surfaces of Mars and the Moon would be divided by legal right. About 10% would be permanently reserved under the direct control of the United Nations Space Authority. About 10% would be reserved for entities that are neither the United Nations nor a Nation State, about half of this auctioned off to the highest bidder for the creation of 50 colonial microstates on Mars and the Moon with the UN Space Authority holding the proceeds in a trust fund bearing interest for support of its programs. Each nation would receive one or two cessions on each sphere of about equal size if they are two. The amount of land received would be determined based on a four part analysis:
1. 20% of the whole surface would be divided equally among all nations without any difference.
2. 20% of the whole surface would be divided by all nations proportionate to their share of the world’s total wealth and economic output.
3. 20% of the whole surface would be divided by all nations proprtionate to their share of the world’s population.
4. 20% of the whole surface would be divided by all nations based on a score from a formula awarding points for their contribution to space, spacefaring capacity and capacity to currently plan and execute space colonization.
These national grants should each include a crater of varying quality which can be developed as Crater Cap Colony. These lands should border on the UN reserves on at least on small side and should be made withnatural borders from surveys and unique shapes where possible. Having said all this within those rubrics they should be squared or rectilinear where possible.

Seamount Colonies should also be discussed in the HHET but I willl merely state that here. The Waterford habs and fields radiating from a series of small artificial island mad of inert waste surrounding an umbilicus of air and electricity and elevators. A small port, solar and wind plant on the top of each Island would join fish processing and recreational facilities These busy surface areas would have no permanent residences however all of which would be underwater. There would be a small submarine port at the bottom of each island.

IV. The formation of the Great Federations (of no more than Six and no less than Four with Five as the ideal) would form a Security Council for the other new global house of the UN and would be observers in the other currently existing international house. These Federations would sign the HHET. They would also receive a grant on the Moon and Mars. The goal would be for 95% or more of all the world’s nations to join a formally recognized federation. This would be a huge constituional project. Doing the wrong thing would be worse than doing nothing. But such a goal is a vital part of optimizing the other goals. However, while I have written at great length about such federations in notes of my own this is not the time to go public with details.

Should all this impossibility become reality then I think we have to hope fro about a hundred years of relative peace. The reforms would increase the likelihood that our descendants will blast eachother aprt in figthers orbiting Jupiter. They would increase the chance of warriors starving out cities on Mars. However, they would decresase the prospect of Erth’s total ruin and the obliteration of humanity.
I am very serious about all of this. I say that not at all sure that I will be able to work on making any of it happen. So I have now exposed my major delusions of grandeur and am able to face the end of this annual cycle of Facebook Notes with peace. This new order of the ages would be an undertaking that could shape and channel human energies for at least 1000 years as for as its design goes. Our species has reached the age where we must take some real responsibility for the future of our descendants.