Sunday, March 27, 2022

Surprised by Anchovies


I have never been a fan of anchovies.  Anchovies on pizza is just sacrilegious.  The charter fishing boats  that my father would take me out on when I was a kid, that went out to the Channel Islands off the coast of California, had big tanks of live anchovies to use as bait, so I learned to think of anchovies as fish bait.

Imagine my surprise, then, to discover the splendors of colatura di alici, which is nothing other than -- fermented anchovies.   Made in Campania, Italy, it is a modern iteration of garum, prized throughout the ancient world, and the number one favorite condiment of the ancient Romans.  It does not have a strong flavor or smell of its own, but it does bring out the flavors in other things.  

Today I made a serving of macaroni and cheese from scratch, with  "springs" (rotini pasta), butter, cheese, heavy cream and beef bone broth, and mixed in some colatura.  Wow.  It was smooth, creamy and very flavorful.  No wonder my Roman ancestors consumed the stuff by the amphora-load.

So the humble anchovy is rehabilitated at Casa Anita, and has earned a place for itself in the pantry.  Although I will still never put it on pizza.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Nourishing Traditions

I am a huge fan of tradition -- starting, but not ending, with traditional Catholicism.  I believe we need to get back all good traditions that we have stupidly cast away in the name of modernity.  So, it was providential that about a month and a half ago, I stumbled across Sally Fallon on Steve Cunningham's Resistance Podcast.  Podcasts cost me more money than pretty much any other form of entertainment, because when I listen to an interview with the author of an interesting-sounding book, I inevitably end up ordering the book.  So it was in this case.  And the book of which Sally Fallon is the author, Nourishing Traditions, is gradually becoming a game-changer.

Nourishing Traditions is more than just a cookbook.  Basically, Fallon's thesis is that most of what we eat these days is garbage.  The garbage we eat is making us sick, thanks to food production and processing methods that leach out nutrients and sometimes even add in toxins into the bargain.  In some cases, the "food" itself is not even really food.  Much of what's out there is designed, not to provide good nutrition, but to stimulate our cravings so we'll buy more.  Highly nutritious foods like butter, eggs and red meat are demonized, while crap gets foisted upon us as "healthy."  If we are to recover our health, says Fallon, we need to recover the traditions of our ancestors when it comes to the selection and preparation of foods.  In addition to recipes and instructions, Nourishing Traditions is full of information about how nutrition works, various types of foods, various types of food preparation, research into traditional diets, the dietary habits of isolated societies, and where to find supplies.  Fallon has a lot to say about the benefits of raw dairy products, germinated grains, fermentation (not just for beer), organ meats, stocks and broths, and much more.  The book is not the last word on all these things, but it is wide-ranging and a very good starting point if you're looking to turn over a new leaf in your culinary habits.  

And turning over a new leaf in culinary habits is a very good thing to do.  Lots of people have discovered the merits of fasting -- The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung is another must-read -- but it seems to me that fasting is only part of the picture.  The big part is learning to prepare and eat foods that actually promote our health.  And it seems that vitamins and minerals are best gotten by way of food, rather than by relying on supplements.  After all, the food has been provided by God, Who knows how to give us exactly what we need; and we have generations of experience and tradition to guide us in how best to prepare it to get the most out of it. 

I awaited Fallon's book with baited breath.  Only tens of pages in, it made so much sense that I decided to start immediately with the low-hanging fruit -- which, in my own circumstances, turned out to be raw (unpasteurized) dairy.  Raw milk is illegal in some states, and unfortunately, it is not cheap; happily, however, it is legal in Idaho, and I have easy access to raw milk right in my own town.  I've always been lactose intolerant -- an unfortunate status for an ice cream fan -- but it turns out I can drink raw milk in moderation without too much difficulty.  I  fermented a quart of it to make whey, which is an ingredient in many of Fallon's recipes.  So far I've used whey in iced coffee (a little doesn't change the taste), to make salad dressings, and in a lentil soup recipe.   I also made a batch of beef bone broth that does very well as a base for sauces and soup.  I even add a little bone broth to hot coffee (and it also doesn't change the taste).  

And the results?  Well, I am still a fat, middle-aged broad and I still have a long way to go.  But I actually have started feeling better.  I feel like I'm getting nutrients I need, so a lot of cravings are quieting down.  My digestion seems to be improving.  I think the bone broth especially is dynamite.  My skin has begun to feel softer.  Hot coffee with some bone broth is a great way to start a busy day.  Bone broth, being jammed with good things your body needs, also allows you to go for a lot of hours without feeling hungry, and so makes it a lot easier to fast.  

So have I tossed all the contents of my pantry and my refrigerator to comply totally with the advice in Nourishing Traditions?  Nope, and I don't intend to, as that would be wildly imprudent.  This is all about building up good habits and routines, and that is best done gradually, starting first with things that are easiest and then working one's way up to harder or more involved things.  

People the world over are realizing that modernity and the ideology of the "Enlightenment" are a sham, and that we need to get back to the traditions of our ancestors, than whom it turns out we are not smarter after all -- quite the contrary.  In a world where our rulership is bent on keeping us chronically ill and selling us on the idea of feeding on dystopian, Frankenstein-like concoctions like lab-grown "meat," a very important set of traditions that we urgently need to recover is the traditions of food: its selection, its production, its preparation, its role in building up not only our bodies but our families and our communities.  Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions is an invaluable help to getting us started on the road back to the good things in life that God gave us and that we never should have left behind.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Now Waiting and Seeing

Now the consecration is done, and we wait to find out if it was really done as asked.  At this point, it is unknown how many bishops joined in.  My own bishop joined.  Cardinal Cupich joined in, so in all probability every bishop who is beholden to him also joined.  In what can only be described as a very curious thing for a bunch of "schismatics" to do, the SSPX bishops joined, though they did not use Pope Francis' text.  Bishop Fellay led the Rosary and made the act of consecration from St. Thomas Aquinas seminary in Virgina.  In his sermon, which was in English, Bishop Fellay denied the rumors that the Society's bishops had received personal invitations, but, wanting to take part, accepted the Pope's open invitation to all bishops.

I was able to tune in to the ceremonies in Rome just in time for the act of consecration.  It was rather depressing to see all the clerics -- and even the boys' choir -- in Fauci diapers.  The Pope looked up at the statue of our Lady of Fatima during the consecration with apparent devotion, which some will no doubt attribute to consummate acting skills.  Not attributable to acting skills, consummate or otherwise, was his gray complexion and obvious feebleness.  The Pope was not the picture of health.  Intrepid journalists who watched all the ceremonies and sermons associated with the consecration commented on the Lutheran theology preached by the Pope; and, of course, there are the criticisms of the flaws in the act of consecration.  Maybe some of the evidence for today's act being The Big One is that, objectively, so many errors abound in the upper echelons of the Church that if the consecration were to be delayed any longer, it would have become impossible for any Pope to find the words to do even the bare minimum.

So now we watch, and wait.  I continue to think this was probably the fulfillment of our Lady's wishes, but of course we will really only know when we see the fruits.  Let us pray that they are what we have been waiting for.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Text Is Out

Today the Vatican released the text of the forthcoming consecration.  It is a long prayer, but this is the money quote:

Therefore, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world. The “Fiat” that arose from your heart opened the doors of history to the Prince of Peace. We trust that, through your heart, peace will dawn once more. To you we consecrate the future of the whole human family, the needs and expectations of every people, the anxieties and hopes of the world.

People who previously were complaining that the Pope "only invited" the bishops of the world to join the consecration of Russia are now complaining that, in addition to Russia, the above prayer consecrates pretty much everyone to the Immaculate Heart.  This complaint is lodged on the grounds that Mary allegedly said that ONLY Russia was to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.

Let's stop and think about this for a second.  Here we have Catholics saying that it is a bad thing to consecrate everybody to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We have Catholics saying that God, and therefore our Mother, are going to be displeased because everybody is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart.  Or, put another way: we have Catholics who think that our Lord and our Lady can be offended over any person being consecrated to the Immaculate Heart.  

If the above act omitted to specifically and explicitly consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, then we would have a problem.  Clearly, however, we have (a) a consecration; (b) of Russia; (c) to the Immaculate Heart.  All the boxes are checked with the above prayer.  Our Lady specifically asked that the Pope, in union with all the world's bishops, consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.  She did not say that on no account was anyone or anything else not to be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart in addition to Russia.  The "ONLY" in "ONLY Russia" was not said by her, but is an accretion of legalists.  The act of consecration has a lot of extra verbiage in it, like most things that come out of the Vatican in our time, and seeks to take the occasion of consecrating Russia to also consecrating many other things (which, in itself, is rather praiseworthy than blameworthy).  Nevertheless, the act still contains that which was specifically requested by our Lady.  As long as Russia is named, she will not be somehow less consecrated, or continue to go unconsecrated, just because humanity is also consecrated.

Am I here saying this act of consecration is perfect?  It would certainly read somewhat differently if I had written it.  But nobody asked me to write it.  The question is not whether it is perfect, but whether it is adequate and meets the requirements given by our Lady, which are fewer than the requirements imposed by keyboard warriors in the tradosphere.  If I were evaluating this as a legal document, I would say I think it checks all the necessary boxes.  And, as I have said before, I think the Pope has effectively ordered the bishops to join him in this act.  If the Pope sends each bishop a letter advising that he intends for the consecration to be an act of the universal Church that the bishop is expected to participate in at around the same time that the Pope is going to do it -- which he has -- then it can safely be assumed that this is not optional, even if it is couched in diplomatic language.

There are Catholics out there who are getting dangerously close to rooting for March 25th to be a failure, and behaving as though God and His omniscience and omnipotence do not somehow factor into the equation or cannot supply what is humanly lacking -- which, if they are not careful, would give them two more things in common with the worldlings whose feverish activities make the consecration of Russia not a luxury, but a necessity.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

On Becoming Embittered

Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.  For he shall be like tamaric in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come: but he shall dwell in dryness in the desert in a salt land, and not inhabited.  Jeremiah 17:5-6.

St. Augustine, commenting on the above passage from Jeremiah, says that when we trust in our own selves, we are also ensnared in the chain of this curse, since we too are human.  If we trust in another person, that is the wrong kind of humility, but if we trust in ourselves, that is dangerous pride.  

A few verses later, Jeremiah says: "The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?"  When people are deprived of some crucial good for long enough, in the absence of a special and completely gratuitous grace, they'll stop wanting it and even stop regarding it as something desirable.  This is one of the disordered ways that our fallen, perverse heart copes with being subjected to evil over protracted periods.

How do I know this?  It happened to me.  When I was a kid, peace and tranquillity were rare and fleeting things in my home life.  Emotional abuse, quarrels, passive-aggressive behavior, unrelenting criticism, manipulation, constant turmoil and general negativity are a daily way of life in a family where alcoholism looms large.  I used to dream of a home life where the tranquility of order reigned, and gazed longingly and not a little enviously at families who appeared to have that blessing, like a kid gazing longingly through a store window at toys his parents can't afford to buy him.

But then, after years and years of the turmoil, there came a moment where I just stopped wishing for peace in my home.  I didn't merely give up on the possibility of getting it: I ceased wanting it altogether.  The worst thing of all is that I actually looked upon it with scorn.  I viewed everybody who had it as a bunch of saps and suckers.   I can't lay my finger on the exact moment when this change happened, but I know it happened.  I know that beforehand, things were one way in my heart, and afterward, they were another way.  If, after that point, I had been offered what I had always wanted, I would have not only turned it down but sent it off with a flea in its ear.  The long and the short of it is that I became bitter, and took it upon myself to trust only in myself and my own judgment, since it seemed clear to me that I could not trust anybody else.  It's taken a lot of years of removal from the situation -- now more than half my lifetime thus far -- and a lot of help from long-suffering friends to overcome it, and it's still an ongoing process.  Letting go and trusting in God, and not making things a hundred times harder than they have to be, is still a wrench.

Now I look upon the wasteland of social media and Catholics scorning and deriding and minutely criticizing the upcoming and long-awaited consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart, and I think I see the same thing at work.  We Catholics have been so long abused and trampled and experimented on and tyrannized over by those who were supposed to look after us as shepherds, that we have become embittered.  Now that the abuse has continued for multiple generations, we actually think that this state of affairs is normal, and we fear to have it disturbed, even while we hate it.  We see our shepherds not leading us as they should, and so we take it upon ourselves to rely on our own judgment even about the Catholic faith.  Out of our judgment comes a detailed script for how things ought to be -- like, say, the consecration of Russia -- and we expect this to be followed to the letter.  But, since what we see so far doesn't conform precisely to our script, we reject it before it even happens.  

Has Pope Francis been another Gregory the Great?  Nope; but if you delve a little into the history of the Popes, you find that he is far from the first Pope to sow confusion and error, even in matters of doctrine.  Is he the true Pope?  A moral unanimity of the cardinals and bishops think so, as well as the Church as a whole, which peacefully (if apprehensively) accepted him as the Pope upon his election.  Does it matter that he "invites" rather than "orders" the bishops of the world to join in the act of consecration?  An "invitation" is very often an "order" under the guise of diplomacy; and from a Pope as authoritarian as Francis, we can safely take "invite" to mean "do it or else."  Does it matter that both Russia and Ukraine are to be consecrated?  Surely, the consecration of Ukraine takes nothing away from the consecration of Russia, as long as Russia is specifically consecrated; besides which, Ukraine has historically been a part of and closely bound up with Russia.  Is Pope Francis motivated by selfish considerations in doing this consecration?  Maybe, but so what?  Our Lady of Fatima did not specify what internal dispositions the Pope is to have in making the consecration.  Has Pope Francis earned our skepticism?  Yes, but this can be carried much too far.

It seems like the red-pilling of the world that started in 2020 continues to the present day, as we see people even in the trad Catholic world coming out into the open with every appearance of wanting this forthcoming consecration to be a failure.  Some who claim that Francis is not the true Pope are even saying it will be a curse on humanity that will bring on a nuclear war.  What a horrible thing to even think.  It appears there are those who fear being proved wrong more even than the prospect of committing blasphemy.

What we ought to be doing is spending the rest of this week praying that the consecration finally be done as asked, and that we not become the tamaric in the desert that shall not see when good shall come.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Our Bishop Is On Board

Bishop Peter Christensen of the Diocese of Boise will join in the consecration of Russia at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise, Idaho, at roughly the same time that the Pope is making the act in Rome on the 25th inst.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

In Union with All the Bishops


So there it is.  All the bishops are to take part in the consecration on March 25th. 

For those who would pick nits about the difference between an "invitation" and an "order," it pays to recall that this particular Pope is a proven autocrat.  With him, an "invitation" is probably tantamount to an order.  For those concerned about whether Pope Francis is doing this for the "right reasons," I submit that this is none of our beeswax.  It is none of our beeswax whether the priest who offers Sunday Mass or hears our confession has mortal sins on his soul, so it can't be any of our beeswax whether the Pope is doing this for self-serving reasons.  Besides which, our Lady at Fatima did not specify the motivations or the state of mind or even the state of soul that the Pope is to have who performs the consecration.  All that matters is that he do it as asked.

If you are still worried about whether this will actually happen, then instead of complaining, go hit the Rosary beads and say fifteen decades every day through the 25th, for the specific intention that the collegial consecration finally be accomplished as asked.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Will Mary Now Put the "Holy" Back in "Holy Mother Russia"?


UPDATE 3/17/2022: The bishops' conference of the Philippines has announced that they will join in the consecration.  Also:  The bishops' conference of England and Wales has announced that they will join in the consecration.

UPDATE 3/16/2022: The Latin American bishops' conference has announced that they will join in the consecration

There has been a firestorm of negativity and cynicism on social media about the announced consecration of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that Pope Francis will perform on the 25th inst.  This is rather sad, and reflects the extreme distrust of the present authorities in Church as well as in state.  Although the cynics will not be entirely free of sin on their part, nevertheless it cannot be denied that the authorities have done all they can to earn the ill opinions, especially over the last two years.

I am among the "Fatima fundamentalists" who believe that the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary has never been done as our Lady asked.  I used to accept the party line that it was done in 1984, but my view has changed.  It's true that this and earlier consecrations were not without good effects, but what about the conversion of Russia and the period of peace that was promised?  It is a fact that the Soviet Union fell after 1984; but it is also a fact that the same interlocking directorate of pervs and psychopaths that were ruling the world then are not only still ruling the world, but are bolder than ever in their wickedness.  Is oligarchy a mark of the period of peace promised by our Lady?  Yes, Russia is more openly Orthodox; but the Orthodox communions, as such, are schismatic and not the true Church.  The idea that Orthodoxy is good enough was inadmissible before the novelties of Vatican II.  

Why is Pope Francis doing this consecration?  Russia and Ukraine are the biggest things going on in the world at the moment, number one.  Number two, it may be no more complicated than that the besieged bishops of Ukraine have asked him to do so.  When the Pope came out a few weeks ago with his decree that the muddy Traditiones custodes does not affect the FSSP and other, similar traditionalist congregations, it cannot be a coincidence that this followed on the heels of audiences with a delegation from the FSSP and the superior general of the SSPX.  Even if Pope Francis does not operate on principles, it does appear that the personal touch works on him.  It's a lot harder to say no to somebody when you're looking them in the face.  

Although many simply will not believe that Pope Francis, of all people, will actually do this consecration, I have long said that Pope Francis is precisely the man for the job.  He is ruthless enough to compel the bishops to join him in the act.  Plus, since he is the last man on earth anyone would expect to do it, God will get all the credit.  Whether Pope Francis himself believes in it or not is completely beside the point, just as the state of soul of a priest who celebrates Mass makes no difference for us in the pews: that is strictly between him and God.  Venerable Pope Pius XII used to say that he, as a man, Eugenio Pacelli, was nothing.  He understood that the office was all.  It is the Pope as such who needs to do this, and it does not matter who that is, as long as it is done as asked.

BUT: what if Pope Francis is not really the Pope?  Taylor Marshall makes a good point: if this is done as asked, with all the bishops, including Benedict Ratzinger, that solves that problem -- if the problem in fact exists.  Still, those who have made the case against Pope Francis their life's work need to beware of finding themselves actually hoping that this upcoming consecration doesn't work, lest they be proved wrong.  

Time will tell if this is actually the fulfillment of Fatima, and the long-awaited collegial consecration that our Lady did promise would in fact be done, albeit late.  Contrary to what some are saying, this is a Piece of Good News, and this consecration will be A Good Thing, even if it is not The Thing We Have Been Waiting For.  We should focus on that, leaving the rest to God, continuing with our daily Rosaries and Five First Saturdays, and not worrying about the fact that the consecration is being done by somebody we don't like.

Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Evils Come in Pairs.

This is a critical thing to remember vis-à-vis this war in Ukraine, where we are being driven by our rulership and their publicity wing, the drive-by media propaganda machine, to take sides (and, indeed, a particular side).  Evils very often come in pairs.  That way, in our zeal to stamp out one evil, we rush into the arms of the "opposing" evil.  Either way, we are doing evil, and the devil doesn't mind which side we take.

The most outstanding example of this that I can think of is the Nazis and the Communists.  Some people joined the Nazis in order to fight the Communists, and others joined the Communists in order to fight the Nazis.  But the tragedy for those who meant well is that neither of them was the good guys.  Communism and nazism are both evil.  No matter which side you fought on, your real boss was the devil.  

In terms of those who are running things, who are the good guys in the war in Ukraine? On the one side, you have a KGB colonel.  On the other side, you have a vulgar "comedian" who played the piano with his penis, and who is now using untrained civilians as cannon fodder.  And in the background, and from a safe distance, you have American politicians who, for years, have been spoiling for war with Russia, and trying to inspire a similar bloodlust in the rest of us.  Cui bono?

There are in fact times when there are no good guys, and this may be one of them.  Sometimes the only things we can know for certain are that there are innocent people caught in the middle, and that wars are a punishment for sin.