16 September 2013

Ancient Pilgrim's Song: Dum Pater Familias

When the Father of all peoples, the King of the universe,
gave provinces to the authority of the apostles,
James chose to enlighten Spain.

"First among the apostles martyred in Jerusalem,
James was sanctified in holy martyrdom."

Pious Galicia sought the assistance of James,
and her glory signals the way
for those whose prayers burst forth in a song:

“To Lord and Santiago! To God and Santiago!
Be kind, be merciful, O God, deliver us.”

The whole world gives thanks to James,
the soldier of piety whose intercession
protects us and satisfies all prayers.

"First among the apostles martyred in Jerusalem,
James was sanctified in holy martyrdom."

James the miracle-worker:
Those who are in times of danger, cry out to him
Whoever hopes in him will be freed of their bonds.

"First among the apostles martyred in Jerusalem,
James was sanctified in holy martyrdom."

O Saint James, our true strength,
deliver us from our enemies,
and defend us who are devoted to you, if it pleases you.

"First among the apostles martyred in Jerusalem,
James is sanctified in holy martyrdom."

Through James’ favor, we hope for forgiveness.
And let us give to our remarkable father
the praise which we owe him.

"First among the apostles martyred in Jerusalem,
James was sanctified in holy martyrdom."


Dum pater familias, Rex universorum,
Donaret provincias ius apostolorum,
Iacobus Yspanias lux illustrat morum.

Primus ex apostolic martir Ierosolimis,
Iacobus egregio sacer est martirio.

Iacobe Gallecia, opem rogat piam,
Glebae cuius Gloria dat insignem viam,
Ut precum frequentia cantet melodiam.

Herru Santiagu,Got Santiagu,
Eultreia, esuseia, Deus adiuva nos.

Iacobo dat parium omnis mundus gratis,
Ob cuius remedium miles pietatis
Cunctorum presidium est ad vota satis.

Primus ex apostolic martir Ierosolimis,
Iacobus egregio sacer est martirio.

Iacobum miraculis que fiunt per illum.
Arctis in periculis acclamet ad illum,
Quisquis solvi vinculis sperat per illum.

Primus ex apostolic martir Ierosolimis,
Iacobus egregio sacer est martirio.

O beate Iacobe, virtus nostra vere,
Nobis hostes remove tuos et tuere
Ac devotos adhibe nos tibi placer.

Primus ex apostolic martir Ierosolimis,
Iacobus egregio sacer est martirio.

Iacobo propicio veniam speremus
Et, quas ex obsequio merito debemus
Patri tam eximio dignas laudes demus. (Amen.)

Primus ex apostolic martir Ierosolimis,
Iacobus egregio sacer est martirio.


31 August 2013

The Virtue of Truthful SIMPLICITY

--- by D. Q. McInerny, Ph.D.----
Professor of Philosophy
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary

The nineteenth century writer Henry David Thoreau, in his book Walden, now a classic of American literature, demonstrates a considerable amount of concern over what he regarded as the undue complicatedness of the society of his day. And the situation, as he saw things, was getting progressively worse. "Our way of life is frittered away by detail," was one way he put it. "Detail," as he uses it her, is to be understood negatively; he is referring to what he reckoned to be totally inconsequential matters. People's time and energy were being consumed by trivial concerns, in other words, while the really important things, which are few in number, were being neglected. Reading Thoreau on his theme, one is reminded of the comparable views expressed by the seventeenth century French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, who maintained that our lives are eaten up by "diversion," unnecessary preoccupations of various kinds, which we consciously cultivate, so that we do not have to think about the "one thing necessary," that is, God and our eternal destiny.


Thoreau's solution to the overly-complicated life, where a person is in an almost constant state of distraction, was simplicity. If our lives are weighted by excess baggage, if we are constantly "on the go" but don't have an especially clear idea of where we are going, and next to none at all of where we should be going, then it is time to jettison a lot of useless cargo. "Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life?" Thoreau asked. Then he had some specific advice to give: "I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count a half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail." Thoreau, who, it has to be said, practiced what he preached, living a plain, unencumbered life, summed up his philosophy with a one-word, righting imperative - Simplify!

Thoreau (1817-1862) lived at a time when the social conditions of the country were changing rapidly, what with industrialization, urbanization, and the advent of new technicalities of various sorts. American society was indeed becoming more complicated in any number of ways. The railroads were then just coming into their own and expanding rapidly, revolutionizing transportation, but Thoreau was not impressed, and tended to look upon technological advances in general with a jaundiced eye. He thought that what eventually happens is that, instead of we running our machines, they end up running us. "We do not ride on the railroad, " he quipped; "it rides upon us." When the telegraph lines were completed connecting North and South, one of Thoreau's fellow townsmen came to him one day all excited, explaining breathlessly that it was now possible, in a matter of seconds, for the people of Massachusetts to speak to the people of Texas. "Interesting," responded Henry David, "but what if the people of Massachusetts do not have anything to say to the people of Texas?" Instant communication over great distances is a technological wonder worth getting excited about only if we could be assured that what is being communicated instantaneously is worth being communicated. A lie that can be conveyed from New York to Tokyo in seconds remains a lie, and perhaps it becomes a more dangerous lie for the facility with which it can be disseminated.

Thoreau's concerns were not without foundation, and if he thought that the lives of people living some 175 years ago were lacking in a requisite simplicity, one can only imagine what he would have thought about our day and age. There is no doubt that the world in which we live is immensely more complicated that Thoreau's world, and to think that a more complicated world is a better world is to think naively. Today we can too easily get caught up in and be borne along by all sorts of things which, sub specie aeternitatis, "in the light of eternity," do not really matter, and thus can serve seriously to impede us from paying the kind of attention we should be paying to "the one thing necessary."

There is a very close connection between social conditions and psychological conditions, between what is going on all around us and what is going on within us. If our exterior lives are overly complicated and confused, this Is invariably because our interior lives are such. This connection, between interior and exterior, between state of soul and state of society, is something that Henry David Thoreau may have been marginally aware of, but St. Thomas Aquinas was keenly aware of it. Thoreau was concerned about the importance of simplicity, and so was St. Thomas, but, unlike Thoreau, he had a very precise notion of what the remedy was for a lack of simplicity, an that is because he had a very precise notion of simplicity itself, which he saw as a special kind of virtue.

In setting the stage for arriving at a clear understanding of simplicity, St. Thomas begins by contrasting simplicity with duplicity. One of the definitions the dictionary gives us for duplicity is "double-dealing," which fits in quite nicely with the way St. Thomas tends to think of it. A duplicitous person is just the opposite of a simple person because, as St. Thomas describes him, the duplicitous person "intends one thing and pretends another." In another place he says that the duplicitous person holds something in his heart which conflicts with his exterior behavior. He is, we might say, a walking war zone, a man burdened by debilitating internal complicatedness. Duplicity is the opposite of simplicity because duplicity is falsehood, and simplicity - here is a remarkable feature of St. Thomas's thought on this subject - is nothing else but truth. For St. Thomas, then, "the virtue of simplicity is the same as the virtue of truth."

By his conjoining simplicity and truth, St. Thomas suggests for us the only viable remedy for the spirit-draining social complicatedness which Thoreau found so worrisome, and which is still very much a part of contemporary society, but to a degree that he would not have been able to imagine. Simplicity is the solution to complicatedness, but the achieving of simplicity, the achievement of truth, must begin within. The task would involve a willingness to embrace the truth in its totality - the truth about ourselves, the truth about our relation to God, the truth about the realities of the social conditions of the world in which we live. "Simplify!" Thoreau proclaimed. To which we add, getting to the very heart of the matter- "Be truthful!" The truth, Our Lord tells us, will set us free, in every beneficial way conceivable, including releasing us from the confining bonds of the hurly-burly, distractingly complicated world of the early twenty-first century. To desire a simple society is to desire a truthful society, and such a society will only be brought about by simple, souls, truthful people.

17 June 2013

CONVERGENCE: The Dark Side of the "Connection Age"

By Adm. James Stavridis, May 31, 2013

Adm. James Stavridis was supreme allied commander at NATO from 2009 to 2013 and head of U.S. Southern Command in Miami from 2006 to 2009. He is to become dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University this summer.

I am often asked what keeps me awake at night after nearly 40 years as a Navy officer, including four years as supreme allied commander for global operations at NATO. There is no shortage of frightening issues: Iran, North Korea, the insurgency in Afghanistan, civil war in Syria, cyberthreats, chemical weapons, terrorism.

But my one-word answer may surprise: convergence.

Convergence may be thought of as the dark side of globalization. It is the merger of a wide variety of mobile human activities, each of which is individually dangerous and whose sum represents a far greater threat.

The most obvious example of this kind of convergence is narco-terrorism. Drug cartels use sophisticated trafficking routes to move huge amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. Terrorists can in effect “rent” these routes by co-opting the drug cartels through money, coercion or ideological persuasion. These organizations can then move personnel, cash or arms — possibly even a weapon of mass destruction— clandestinely to the United States.
Other globally trafficked illicit goods can also be found constantly moving on these routes: stolen and counterfeit intellectual property, illegal migrants, human slaves, laundered cash, sophisticated armaments. Meanwhile, in laboratories in North Korea, Iran and Syria, sophisticated weapons of mass destruction are in production or being researched. When global trafficking routes and weapons of mass destruction merge, the result will be catastrophic.

A special case of this kind of convergence is emerging in the cyberworld, where the greatest mismatch between the level of threat to our country (high) and our level of preparation (low) is evident. High-threat packages move through the world’s servers, fiber-optic cables and routers in the service of nations, anarchic organizations and garden-variety hackers. Trillions of dollars’ worth of cybercrime occurs each year; if the cyber-capability and the resultant cash converge with terrorist groups or pariah states such as Iran and North Korea, the potential for catastrophe is high.

So, what can be done?

- First and foremost, the United States and the international community must recognize the threat this kind of deviant globalization poses. Convergence of these mobile illicit activities can rapidly undermine global security norms. Too often the focus is on single-point threats — drugs, money laundering, human trafficking, weapons trading, production of weapons of mass destruction — while the true threat lies in their convergence. The Obama administration’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, published in 2011, is a step in the right direction.

- Second, we must recognize that it takes a network to confront another network. Networks of criminal and terrorist activities are converging. The United States needs to build its own network solutions. This means combining international, interagency, and private and public mechanisms for cooperation — or open-source security — across the spectrum of threat. Cyberthreats cannot be dealt with in isolation; combating them requires full cooperation of the private sector; linkages among the Defense, State, Commerce, Homeland Security and Justice departments; and international partners, beginning with NATO.

- Third, we must follow the money. Huge sums of cash from these trafficking activities finance terrorists and insurgents such as the Taliban, as well as corruption. The money is used to undermine fragile democracies. Efforts to upend threat financing must be fused with international initiatives, move across U.S. agency lines and have the cooperation of the private-sector institutions involved.

- Fourth, we must shape and win the narrative. Many have said there is a “war of ideas.” That is not quite the right description. Rather, the United States is a “marketplace of ideas.” Our ideas are sound: democracy, liberty, freedom of speech and religion — all the values of the Enlightenment. They have a critical role in confronting the ideological underpinnings of crime and terror. Our strategic communications efforts are an important part of keeping our networks aligned and cohesive.

- Fifth, we must sort out the balance between civilian and military activity in areas such as counter-narcotics and cyberspace. Legal complexities, such as issues of privacy and jurisdictional questions, need to be addressed. But the bottom line is that both have a role: Witness the cooperation between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Defense Department, whose interagency operations in Latin America and the Caribbean have led to the capture of narco-terrorists.

Just over a century ago, the poet Thomas Hardy wrote “The Convergence of the Twain” about the collision of the Titanic and the iceberg that sank it. “And as the smart ship grew/ In stature, grace, and hue/ In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.” There is an iceberg out there in the form of weapons of mass destruction; what is most worrisome is the convergence of such a weapon with a sophisticated global trafficking route enabled by cybercrime and the cash it generates. That is the convergence we must do all in our power to prevent.


Source: "The Dark Side of Globalization," Washington Post: Opinion