From the Pastor: Destruction of Intelligence
Let me get this straight. Democrats (and socialists, communists and the rest of the “liberal left”) are starting to brazenly, yet illegally, destroy very valuable and sometimes beautiful pieces of public and private art, which depict historical Democrat persons (like General Robert E. Lee, who, like the majority of Confederates, was a Democrat and, after the war, was a major figure in striving to unite southerners and northerners), all because they now despise the stands which the Democrats took (the Democrats were the pro-slavery party), and then they have the gall to blame the past and current Republicans (Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was leading the Union side of the war) for their own (Democrat) historic crimes and sins? A sarcastic “thank you” goes out to the “unbiased” media, for not just failing to point out the stupidity of this, but for actually perpetuating the image that Republicans are at fault for Democrat doings. If these simple truths are mentioned in the mainstream media, it is always along with the spin that those Democrats were just “Southern Democrats” and, therefore not really Democrats, because, as everyone who is anyone knows, the Southerners are a bunch of inbred misfits too ignorant to know what a “real” Democrat is. They were all just Republicans in disguise. Well, not really in disguise, for that implies some knowledge of the two party system and “those” people were really too imbecilic to comprehend such things, so, rather, they were Republicans without knowing it. This is the same exact problem with the KKK, which, though you would never know it by media accounts, actually fought against the Republican Party. Too bad the talking heads on TV news cannot operate a computer and find something like this at the History Channel website: “Founded in 1866, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks.” This lack of historical reality has gone so far that one of the worst names which someone on the “left” can call someone on the “right” (along with “racist”, “bigot” and “homophobe”) is “Nazi”. Long gone is the desire to even look at facts. Nazis were the members of the National Socialist German Workers Party, often labeled as a “far right” group, yet socialists, can in reality only be considered “far right” if the left/right continuum is a circle instead of a straight line and they have gone so far right that they are now back to the left.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am completely (or almost so) disgusted with most of what the Republican Party does today. Not what they claim to stand for, by and large, but what they actually do, which is basically leftist but not quite so left as the so-called “centrist” leftists in office today. They mostly do nothing but blow steam out of their pie holes and occasionally talk about doing great things. But play fair. Blame the Republicans for Republican crapola and blame Democrats for Democrat evils. There is plenty of blame to go around and each should get the proper credit or blame that is due them.
Anyway, back to the title of this article, the Destruction of Intelligence. A classic view of intelligence having been destroyed en masse was on display as not only did the lefties illegally (note that I am writing specifically about the illegal damaging, not the legal removal of monuments) destroy, or try to destroy, or deface, or demolish Confederate monuments and statues around the country (while vilifying anyone on the right, specifically President Trump on the national level and all Republicans, office holders and ordinary people, on the local level) as bigoted slave masters, Nazis, etc. but they didn’t know which statues and monuments were on the “to be destroyed” list. In Georgia, a monument of an angel holding an olive branch over a Confederate soldier, erected to support the post-war efforts to bring the North and South together in unity was defaced. Are leftists too stupid to desire unity? A bust of Abraham Lincoln was damaged in Illinois. Were the vandals too dense to know that he is supposed to get credit for freeing the slaves? In both Maryland and Texas, statues of Christopher Columbus were attacked. Do the hoodlums responsible lack the knowledge that he is credited with founding America? Or do they, like their puppet masters in power just really hate the United States? A statue of St. Joan of Arc was defaced in New Orleans. Were the vandals too obtuse to know that she was a Catholic hero in France, and wasn’t part of the Confederacy? Or do they simply hate Catholics, who did so much to free the slaves, too? The “asinine destruction” list could go on and on for the intelligence of the mobs has been destroyed.
It is really too bad that the majority of Confederate monuments were put up years ago when art was recognizable for what it was supposed to represent. If only the monuments were crafted by today’s contemporary “artists”, nobody would have a clue why they were erected or whom they commemorated. Talk about the destruction of intelligence...
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Men’s Holy League After One Year
One year ago, on the fourth Thursday of August, 2016, a wild idea was brought to fruition. A Catholic men’s group was formed, with twice monthly meetings broken into three parts: prayer, learning more about the Catholic Faith, and social time. It was a “wild” idea for several reasons. First, our parish, which was dedicated to the celebration of Traditional Latin Mass only one year before, strangely does not have many active parishioners living within its boundaries. Most people have to drive 45 minutes or more (one way) to attend. Getting the men to attend at 6:00 pm on a weekday was an attempt to allow them to get off work and stop by on their way home, perhaps making the distance not so much of a problem. Second, I could see no practical way of feeding them when they arrived, so the main draw for most non-liturgical functions at every church in the world was taken off the table (pun intended). They would each have to make a quick stop at a drive through before coming, which is not a very appealing thought to most adults. Third, this is a truly Catholic group of men, so large families are the norm and two nights a month, while seeming fairly inconsequential to some, would be a major commitment to most. Plus, the wives would also have to sign off on it! Fourth, an hour of prayer can be daunting, and an hour of prayers in Latin, moreso. Fifth, since everyone whom I expected to be interested would most likely be a “solid” Catholic already, I didn’t know if they would see a “Catholic class” as something necessary or of interest. Last of all the many things I could continue to list, is the social time. “Scotch and Cigars and Manly Camaraderie” was a good way of getting everyone’s attention, but would it be an effective advertising gimmick? Most guys, believe it or not, do not smoke cigars. With long drives home, the scotch would, of necessity, be very limited in quantity. And what in the world would guys talk about? All these potential drawbacks made this a very wild idea.
Yet we did it anyway. Why? Basically, because one man came to me with the idea and with the statement, “If you will teach, I will take charge of gathering emails and sending out notices.” That’s what I like to hear. Not, “Father, this is what the parish needs and you or someone else needs to do it” but rather, “Here is something I think we need to do and I am willing to do the work. If you do the priestly things, I will do the laity things.” I am terrible at organizing things. I can lead prayers, though, and I can teach the Faith. And so we gave it a shot.
The men gathered in the church to listen to the chanting of Latin Vespers. Now, I am betting that not more than two (I am being generous here) men understood the Latin chant. A few of the men might pray Vespers themselves at least fairly regularly, but the vast majority had no idea what Vespers even was. Vespers was followed by the Holy Rosary prayed in a combination of Latin and English. While I assume that every man there was familiar with the Rosary and some good portion of them probably prayed it daily, the Latin prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be) were unknown. (They are pretty good at it now, though!) The book I wanted to use was temporarily out of stock, so I switched to the universal Catechism of St. Pope Pius X. What a fortuitous happenstance! This Catechism, which, though not widely known--let alone read and believed--nowadays, makes bold declarations about what the Catholic Church truly teaches and leaves no doubt as to what is expected of the Faithful. In fact, it even outrightly states just who is and who isn’t considered “the Faithful”, something the newer Catechism dances around. (A recent example: Just who belongs to the Communion of Saints and who is excluded from that group? The new Catechism never explicitly says, leaving everyone guessing or making assumptions, many of which, though sounding “nice” and “merciful” and even “ecumenical” are downright wrong. The old Catechism declares the answer with no holds barred. And the men were shocked, for nobody has ever come right out and told them the truth this bluntly before!) To top the night off, out came the drinks and smokes. At least half the men were sure I was pulling their leg and couldn’t believe that I really had Ave Maria cigars and Glenlivet scotch waiting for them.
The “wild” idea caught on. Some men come to every meeting. Some can only make it sporadically. Some never returned. Those who come might each have their own favorite part of the night and a variety of reasons why they attend. But no matter what, they each are growing in the Faith, and the world can use some more good, holy, Catholic men right now. This Thursday is the fourth Thursday of the month. It is the one year anniversary of the men’s club. Whodathunkit? (Anyone want to try translating that Latin word?)
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Good News for Fr. Emmanuel
This week there is some good news regarding Fr. Emmanuel Ndechihiro. As you know, he came from Tanzania, Africa, four years ago to study Mathematics at St. Leo University and I was blessed to have him stay at the rectory of St. Anthony, where I was then the pastor. After he graduated with honors, I offered to have him here at Epiphany for the summer, to spend a little time before he went to Pensacola, where he will study for a Masters in Mathematics. During the time he has been here, he has been celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass (something he had practiced when we were together in San Antonio but which he never publicly celebrated before I was transferred) and, occasionally, the English Novus Ordo Mass. In many ways, it has been a blessing to have a good friend back with me, not least of which is the week’s vacation I was able to take with him being able to take the reigns for a while. During his time here we have been trying to secure housing in a Catholic rectory for him in Pensacola, a task which was made more difficult due to our St. Petersburg diocese recently “stealing” the bishop from Pensacola, leaving an administration gap of authority up there to take care of oddball things like this.
Many of you have been praying hard for an open bed to be offered (thank you!) and now we finally have a positive response. He will be staying at Nativity parish, which is very close to the University of West Florida campus. The pastor there, Fr. Patrick Foley, has been extremely welcoming and has gone out of his way to make his rectory available. It may be only temporary, as the diocese may ask Father to move to another location later in the school year, but at least everybody is working to make sure he has housing at a parish! There were only two things required of Fr. Emmanuel, things which might seem pretty insignificant to everybody reading this but which are impossible for him to obtain without your assistance:
1. He must have his own transportation. This was not a problem at St. Anthony, as we had two “parish” vehicles which he could use as needed. Nativity doesn’t have one. So he needs a car and the insurance needed to drive it. (Any insurance agents out there?)
2. He must supply his own meals. Does he have a kitchen available? Does he need to eat out every meal? Will the parishioners up there be encouraged to bring him meals? Right now we don’t have an answer to these questions. Perhaps we will by the time this bulletin gets into your hands but most likely he won’t know until he gets there. He is going to see if a meal plan is available on campus for commuter students.
Many of you have expressed interest in helping him in any way necessary. These are the things he needs. How to best assist? With your prayers, money, knowledge, and contacts. If somebody has a vehicle just sitting around because you didn’t know what to do with your aunt Irma’s car when she passed away last month, that would solve part of the first problem. Then donations would be accepted to pay for insurance, maintenance, and gas. (I have been told that donations like this would not be tax deductible.) Otherwise, knowledge of where to find a good, cheap, reliable used car would be helpful. Of course, a donation of a good, expensive, reliable new car would never be turned down, but Fr. Emmanuel would then probably be too nervous to drive it anywhere. As for the food, we are a bit too far away to set up a food chain for him. I think it took him 7 hours to get there last week when a parishioner drove him to meet with the diocesan administrator. So, once again, simple donations toward groceries or a meal plan might be the best option.
One thing that I need to make absolutely clear about all of this: Father Emmanuel is not the one asking for any assistance. He did not come here looking for handouts. He is not begging for--or expecting--donations. He is far too humble and unassuming and in no way would he want to be seen as one of those people who came to these United States or this parish or this diocese just for the personal financial “benefits”. No, this request for assistance is coming from me in response to those of you who, of your own free will, asked how to help him out. On his own, he would have found a way to survive living under a bridge, washing up in the university’s gym locker room, and fasting for forty days and forty nights (or for two school years).
Here you have the latest information. What you do with it is up to you. Please say a few prayers of thanks for Fr. Foley and the good people of Nativity!
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka
From the Pastor: Can’t Understand Latin? Hah!
The next time someone tells you that they won’t come to Epiphany because they cannot understand Latin, hand them the following as food for thought. At least with Latin, what you see is what you say! Homographs would seem to be just the thing to make anyone say, with good reason, “I will never attend an English Mass. I just cannot understand it!” I am not the author of the text below. It is just one of many similar anonymous writings I have seen over the years. But I enjoyed it anyway and I hope you will, too.
You think English is easy?
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
With prayers for your holiness and humor,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka