Friday, January 27, 2006


Canadian voters had three parties to choose from: Way Way Whacked-Out Pinko Left, Imperious Incoherent Venally-Rotted-Out Euro-Left, and Too-Timid-To-Be-Neo-Con Check-Your-Religion-at-the-Door Moderate Left.

Moderation won. Sort of.

It’s a minority government – Conservatives 40.3%, Liberals 33.4%, Bloc Québècois 16.6%, New Democratic Party 9.4%, the other thirteen* ( ! ) parties, 0%.

* such colourful bodies as the Marijuana Party, Communist Party (the official one—the NDP is their “mainstream” stand-in), Green Party, Christian Heritage Party (not the white supremacist skin-heads such a moniker might indicate in Britain, but run for your lives anyway), Libertarians, Marxist-Leninists, and other entities represented by initials standing for God-only-knows-what.

The small-c conservatives of Canada have gone through years of party-affiliation contortions trying to find one banner under which to gather the preponderance of the country which is fed up with the large-L Liberal ruling class. There have been stubborn honorary godfathers, like Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservatives (a “red Tory” mid-leftist boob whose refusal to make a graceful exit ground his party into ignominious dust) and Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party (who hung on longer than he should have, but deserves most of the credit for striking out from the beaten path and giving western Canada the beginnings of a political voice).

After some false starts (Stockwell Day—a decent man, but not the right one), and some minor blood-letting (getting Peter MacKay to step aside—an experience he found painful, but not nearly so bad as watching his then-squeeze Belinda Strumpet Stronach desert not only him but his party for a plum job in the Liberal cabinet, in the final attempt by now-defunctis Prime Minister Paul Martin to bribe stave off the fall of his government), the Conservative Party of Canada found a name, a leader, and some feet to stand on, and now, with considerable help from the greed, corruption, Anti-Americanism, and complete mental meltdown of Martin’s Liberals, Stephen Harper is poised to move into 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, and try and sort out the mess which is Canada.

I myself am not Canadian, despite having lived here for nearly 65% of my life-- though I now consider myself to have achieved honorary citizenship recently, when I had to wait 2 ½ months for an MRI, and another 3 weeks for the results, through which I discovered that I have ripped cartilage and a totally torn off ligament in my right knee, and that treatment is not recommended. And for this kind of service my husband pays over 40% of his income in taxes. Harper has his work cut out for him.

So CONGRATULATIONS, Canada, on a stimulating exercise in that finest of democratic traditions, VOTING THE SCOUNDRELS OUT! And for that 60% of the country who didn’t vote for it, stand by and get ready to discover that you have nothing to FEAR (despite the Liberal propaganda) from a Conservative government. You might even have a touching reunion with some of your own money and get to spend it on your kids.

[Nota Bene: Could there be any more hopeful sign for the new Prime Minister than that Al Gore already feels threatened by him? Ooh-rah! You remember Al Gore-- that pudgy, flame-spewing failed Presidential candidate who has been living on the planet Spite-nik for the past five years plotting his revenge-- while collecting revenues from his stock in Occidental Petroleum....]

Raymond [J.] de Souza (that’s Canada’s broad-smiling journalist/economist/priest of Goan extraction, not Australia’s sandy-haired lay Catholic apologist/radio host with the Brazilian brogue) got two columns in the January 26 National Post, on two not totally unrelated subjects.

His take on the Canadian election was the view from his native Alberta and the position western Canada has now achieved in being the home-base of the new Prime Minister. In the process he offered some brilliantly-phrased reassurances for those of both the left and right who are viewing the Conservative victory with varying degrees of trepidation, but especially those “social conservatives” who are alarmed that Harper and his colleagues have, on the whole, been unwilling to come out with guns blazing to take on the most contentious moral issues in Canadian society: abortion, the definition of marriage, medical ethics.

Fr. De Souza sums up what we can all expect in the short term: “the range of what is discussable will change…” and “preventing things from getting worse is itself no small accomplishment…” These may appear to be pretty tame as political ambitions go, but the fact is (as Paul Martin would say, endlessly), even these simple changes represent a kind of revolution some of us had begun to doubt we would see in our lifetime. ¿¡Viva la revolución!, eh?

Fr. De Souza’s second entry in Thursday’s paper has to do with the first Encyclical Letter by Pope Benedict XVI, called by its opening phrase Deus Caritas Est, or “God is Love”. The article is a good summary of the text, and de Souza alludes only briefly to the fact that there are a great many people for whom it might come as a surprise that this Pope actually understands about God being love— because they have so long cultivated the utterly false impression of Josef Cardinal Ratzinger as, not to put too fine a point on it, a cold-hearted hard-ass.

I’ve never seen him in the flesh myself, though apparently that was never too difficult for those who frequented Rome, for it was his habit to walk alone between his apartment and the Vatican offices, and to give friendly greeting to anyone who recognized him. But I am at least toe-deep enough in the Church establishment to know, or have met, many people with first-hand experience of both this Pope and his predecessor—enough to know that, for those who’ve had a “close encounter,” Papa Ratzi will eventually be known as much for his sweet nature as his orthodoxy. No surprises here.

Next to Fr. de Souza’s column was the usual bucket of journalistic cold water, the latest outpourings from His Lutheran-ness, Leader of the Disloyal Opposition, Fr. Hans Küng, the Tootling Tutor from Tübingen, crabby heretic and thorn in the flesh of Holy Mother Church. In a spasm of magnanimity Küng praised the theme of his former faculty colleague’s first Encyclical, but added his customary caveat, to the effect that the Pope would do well to follow this promising sign by violating everything he stands for and being completely untrue to both his Church and himself.

Specifically, Fr. Küng recommends that Pope Benedict show his “love” for Catholics who have rejected the Church’s consistent teaching on contraception, the indissolubility of marriage, and priestly celibacy by changing the teachings to accommodate the rejectors. Yeah, like that’ll happen, in this eon or any other.

You don’t show your love for people by lying to them. You don’t fulfill your responsibility towards God’s children by letting them run wild and never insisting that they mustn’t play with moral matches lest they get fourth-degree burns on their precious souls.

What kind of Holy Father would a Pope be, and what kind of Divine Father would God be, if neither one of them gave us boundaries, or the belief that we are capable living up to what is asked of us? Pope John Paul II, of happy memory, never failed in either of these responsibilities, especially toward the young—he asked everything of them, never condescending, always believing in their capacity for self-mastery. Fr. Küng continues to project his own moral flaccidity on the rest of us, and presses the Church to fall into line. I think not.


For the sheer pleasure of reading a beautifully-written piece about character, brotherly love, and the sweetness of memory, have a look at columnist Charles Krauthammer's eulogy for his late brother, Marcel, whose untimely death from cancer occurred on January 17. One is rarely so moved by the story of a stranger. Requiescat in pace.