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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday Meditation: The Bell Tolls for Ireland and for Western Civilization

In 1624 John Donne wrote a short book of meditations titled Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions. At the time he was dean of St. Paul's, a prestigious position in the Church of England. The meditations were inspired by a long period of illness with spotted fever when he lay in his sickbed and listened to the funeral bells ringing at a nearby church. He made this observation in Meditation XVII:
The Church is Catholike, universall, so are all her Actions; All that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns mee, for that child is thereby connected to that Head which is my Head too, and engraffed into that body, whereof I am a member … All mankinde is of one Author, and is one volume; when one Man dies, one Chapter is not torne out of the booke, but translated into a better language. [Unusual spellings are from the original.]
From there follows a poem that contains two very famous lines: "No man is an island." and "For whom the bell tolls."

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Today we hear the funeral bell ringing for Ireland. A country steeped in the Catholics faith through the missionary teaching of St. Patrick, has embraced the worst and most vile sacrament of Satan, abortion. In what I can only describe as a eulogy for dead Ireland, Pangur Bán wrote today at The Catholic Thing:
Ireland was the last major champion of a fundamental law that commanded and taught the common good according to reason, the last bargaining chip that denizens of the long-corrupted West might use to negotiate with the Lord, as Abraham did when he begged mercy for Sodom if a few righteous could be found there.

This moment also bears comparison with the fall of Rome, a process that proceeded over centuries but saw a critical milestone in the Visigoth sack of the city in 410, which prompted St. Augustine to write City of God and would shape the landscape into which, a century later, St. Benedict would introduce the monasticism that the Irish would take up, cultivate, and extend.
Rome had seen corruption and had suffered setbacks and sieges long before the sack. But the sack itself was the decisive end of Roman order. It was the “final beginning” of the disorder from which the monks of Ireland would, with painful effort, prayer, and penance, help draw a new order, not out of direct intention but simply by seeking God.
The celebrations over the "YES" vote reminds me of the Israelites orgy in the desert as they danced around the golden calf. But note as you view the scene, the faithful Israelites who refused to join the festivities of abomination. Out of the collapse of Rome came the Benedictine glory of monastic life. What glory will God bring from this latest moral calamity? There will be one for sure because where sin abounds, God's grace abounds even more. Our response to evil must always be to embrace the faith more closely and to serve God more zealously. We may be in the "final beginning" of the end times. Our Lady of Life, pray for us.


  1. Not all is lost.

  2. Thank you so much for the link, DB. The situation in Russia is certainly a sign of hope.

  3. According to the US Census, in 1800, American women had an average of 7 live births.

    In 1900, the average woman had an average of 3.5 live births.

    Abortion was birth control in those days even though it gradually became illegal.
    There was some information about the rhythm method, but it was illegal to teach or send this information in the mail. There were some different birth control methods, but they were not highly effective like we have now.

    Doctors in the 19th C. estimate that there were 2 million abortions a year. Today, we have about 1 million, even though our population is huge.

    Were all these women who had all these babies and all these abortions criminals?

    Were all the doctors and midwives who delivered all those babies and performed all those abortions criminals?

    Russia has an extremely high abortion rate, though it is lower than it used to be because effective birth control is becoming more available. Still, women there have abortions all the time like it used to be here many years ago.

    Stalin outlawed abortion, but women still got abortions.

    In countries where all women have access to modern birth control and sex education the abortion rate is low, even when abortion is legal.

  4. According to the US Census, in 1800, the average American woman had 7 live births. This was the highest birth rate in the world.

    In 1900, the average American woman had 3.5 live births.

    In those days, birth control was abortion. There was some contraception, but it was outlawed like abortion was outlawed.

    Still, women got abortions from the family doctor or midwife.

    Women had babies and abortions. Doctors delivered babies and performed abortions.

  5. Back up your statements, Snapple. Where's the data? And don't give me a bunch of garbage from Planned Parenthood who has made billions on the abortion industry by murdering babies and selling their body parts.

    Studies show that sex ed and abortion lead to MORE sexual activity and MORE abortion. Abortion and chemical contraception also lead to more suicide and cancer. Here is some solid data that disputes your claims. Even the CDC (a politically correct pro-abortion entity) admits that birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy increase the risk of breast cancer. They use round-about language like this: "Avoid exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer (carcinogens) and chemicals that interfere with the normal function of the body." but that clearly implicates all the drugs and chemicals used for "birth control" including abortifacients.

    Even if you were right, so what? Does the fact that doctors give patients lethal drugs or dehydrate them to death justify it? Abortion kills a little person in the womb who is being recognized more and more by the technology of ultrasound as clearly identified as a baby. Even in the very early stages, the child's DNA identifies him or her as a member of the human family -- not a monkey, a carrot, or a watermelon.

    No matter how many people are directly involved in killing the baby it's still wrong. And while the law can make it not a "criminal act" just like killing jews in the Third Reich was not a criminal act, those involved will be judged by God for a sin against the innocent that cries to heaven for justice. There may be no justice for the little ones in this life, but you can be sure that God will right every wrong in the next and unrepentant murderers will find themselves in a very hot place which they choose for themselves.

  6. Eccles had a great comment on the 25th: "I have nothing but contempt for those who are not pro-life, and they can rot in hell. And probably will."

  7. Methinks Snapple is a troll, and a not very honest one. Have been in the pro-life movement since 1970 and never heard of Snapple's "statistics."