She Brought HIM To Us
Now Leads Us To Him
Hymns have been on my mind a bit lately as readers would have noticed.When I was a school child - Yes they had schools back then! -one of my favourite hymns contained words I always thought strange - then :

"              Oh purest of Creatures, Sweet Mother Sweet Maid;

The one spotless womb wherein Jesus was laid.
Dark night hath come down on us, Mother, and we
Look out for thy shining, Sweet Star of the Sea. (repeat)
Deep night hath come down on this rough-spoken world,
And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled;
And the tempest-tossed Church--all her eyes are on thee;
They look to thy shining, Sweet Star of the Sea. (repeat) "

You have already spotted them? Yes : " And the banners of darkness are boldly unfurled" !

OK...It was the 1950s...didn't this kid recall anything about the Nazis, Imperial Japan, the Chinese communists, the Russians? Sure he did. But in his mind we had won the titanic World War II(as our Grandfathers and Fathers had WW I) and we would inevitably beat these Communists! So  what is all this "banners of Darkness?"

The darkness of the 1940s
The darkness of the 1960s
Oh well, I just went on singing , everything was OK in suburban Australia as far as boy Tony could see. The years went by and things just kept getting better. Australia was politically stable throughout the 23 yrs Prime Ministership of Sir Robert Menzies, our bumbling but nice ally General Eisenhower become President of the USA had been replaced by handsome, modest and Catholic President John F. Kennedy and even though our beloved Pope for all of my life Pope Pius XII had died, he had been replaced by Pope John XXIII who was loved by even the Media.

What could go wrong? A wonderful new vista opened up to greet my 20s!

Good Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council in late 1962 and there was an almost palpable sense of excitement and promise.Few thought it odd that this was a Council not called to refute error as in the past but to open the church to the rapidly evolving world which rose among the  ruins human and material of World War I, The Great Depression and World War II.

But the Father of Lies was not only at work, he was in Overdrive!

In late 1963 President John F.Kennedy was assassinated. The free world reeled. He was replaced by President Lyndon B. Johnson a master conniving politician who set about ramping up a war in Vietnam which was to spill over into Laos and Cambodia.

The promise of the Council was largely nobbled by a group of dissident North European prelates who briefed the World's media gathered in Rome. Each day they told the Media what the Council had discussed and done(their version) and the Media lapped it up ! Sensational stories poured out - no more celibacy- no more Latin - women Priests - contraception would be OK'd - lay power and on and on. Back in the real world Catholics took it all in. Many assumed it was all true. Most were scandalised. By the time the Council documents came out, they got little attention because everybody "knew" what they said - after all it had been in the papers! But of course none of what "had been in the papers " was borne out in the Council documents .In the interim the Novus Ordo Mass was introduced with brutal rigidity in most places(" We did not handle that well" - Archbishop Francis Rush of Brisbane was later to confirm to me.)And Mass attendances plummeted in the following years from 60% to 16% and lower.And in almost every place vocations shrivelled, whilst a flood of Priests and Religious abandoned their sacred roles.

In 1968 the Father of Lies had another surprise for the World : student riots in Paris went viral throughout Europe and for many months madness flooded the streets of major cities and paralysed many Universities. Just like some movie version of diabolical possession it seemed wholly unaccountable and totally irrational. It was greatly de-stabilising to more than traffic and education, and seemed to produce an intellectual fever that would accept nothing that had gone before.

A little earlier , in late 1967 he had prompted the hippy movement in America to explode especially in San Francisco and here with flowers long hair,drugs and sex, natural and unnatural he created a new kind of social earthquake.

Through the 60s - which one popular song referred to as " the sick,sick, sixties" and into the 70s and 80s a great deal of evil was being done. But it tended after a time, to be unnoticed.But its symptoms were apparent in some ways. Indeed tens of thousands of Priests and Religious reneged on their vows and left their places in the Church,and on 29th June, 1972 poor Pope Paul VI was to bewail the fact that it was as if "from some fissure the smoke of Satan entered the Temple of God".

Truer words were rarely spoken - but , although dissent began to flourish, what many of the dissenters were up to was yet to be revealed.

The battle-lines were being drawn, but most still would not or could not see, that a battle had been joined - a battle for the Soul of the Church and the Salvation of the World. But some few did.And of course the Holy Spirit knew it all -totally - and began to reveal the Divine response.

The Conclave following Paul VI's death in 1978 would not elect Karol Wojtyla but chose the man seated opposite him in the Conclave the holy and gentle Cardinal Albino Luciani who chose the name John Paul I. Now this was odd, since in normal usage he would not become " I" until there was a " II". But he privately told his Irish Secretary that he "would not be here" long and that he should be called "I" because of his successor who had sat opposite him in the Conclave. This remark  remained cryptic until after the Pope's death after only 33 days in the Chair of Peter. Then his former Secretary came to have responsibility for the documents relating to the Conclave and checked the seating plan to find out who was seated opposite Cardinal Luciani. None other than Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who in due course was elected and took the name " John Paul II".Obviously in the unsettling circumstances of the shock death of the Pope of 33 days, the Cardinals were now keen to  seize upon the strength, holiness and intellectual brilliance of " the man from a far country." God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform".

Choosing as his right hand man as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope John Paul II heroically embarked upon the task of steadying the Barque of Peter giving heart to her officers and men , beginning the repairs to the sails and rigging and getting her back on course.For twenty six and a half years his Pontificate was a wonder to behold : prodigious teaching documents, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, travelling round the globe preaching Jesus Christ and strengthening the brethren, recovering from a vile assassination attempt and forgiving the would-be assassin, in the later years fighting cruel and debilitating illness with heroism that was absolute self- sacrifice. He was human and not immune from one or two silly mistakes but everyone of us could see in him a Saint.

In time the Conclave following his death was to swiftly elect his right hand man of 25 long years, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as his successor and he took the name Benedict XVI. It was his destiny to take the helm of the Barque of Saint Peter just as :

" The banners of darkness are boldly unfurled".

And as, in so many of the Father of Lies' works, it seemed to spring out of nowhere. But it was not so, he had been at work for decades in dark corners.

By 2002 the American Press was having an anti-Church field day with stories of clerical sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s in most cases. Hammering the idea of pedophilia - they ignored the fact that 85% of the cases were in fact homosexual - they went for the jugular and rejoiced in stories of multi-million dollar pay-outs, whilst the American Dioceses went into hysterical panic mode and put themselves in the hands of lawyers . Usually though, they neglected to allow the merely accused Priest have the benefit of lawyers .Every accused Priest was       "of course" guilty and payments were made without evidence, corroboration or delay! A healthy trade in false allegations grew up and "no success , no fee" lawyers made a killing.

When in 2009-2010 Pope Benedict announced a Year for Priests to help Priests deepen their spirituality , the Father of Lies moved his minions to absolutely demonic activity. No lie or distortion was left unused, and abuse cases dating back 50 years were trawled through to see if they might be of some perverse use.

But now those " banners of darkness" were beginning to be boldly raised.

In country after country the demands for legal abortion, legal euthanasia, legal homosexuality and legal same sex "marriage" began to be raised and in increasing numbers of cases, they were being granted.

In 2008 ( and again in 2012) Barack Hussein Obama was elected President of the United States succeeding the Texan George W. Bush whose speeches were not infrequently salted with Catholic language such as " the culture of Life". 

Not so Mr Obama, not so. Coming out of the ancient corruption of the Chicago Democratic Party - which has been legendary- he is a longtime time advocate of Abortion, and has voted for leaving babies born alive out of an abortion, to die untended. He has voted for late term "partial birth Abortion"(the sickening process of which I will not repeat here.) He has gone on to attack the Catholic Church and the rights of Catholics by seeking to compel Catholic Institutions to effectively support financially, abortion and contraception. And most recently he has attacked the existence of Catholic schools in Northern Ireland. 

We will not go into his political performance in the United States in detail, save to say that it is replete with abuse of process, and extraordinary claims of the right to kill citizens in "certain cases" without judicial encumbrance. Well, once you take on the killing of the unborn in the millions, the born have no right to feel safe it seems.


Those "banners of darkness" are now very often Rainbow coloured within Western Countries as the Green Movement is subverted by, and in fact has become, really a facade for the Homosexual Movement, with its demands for legalised Homosexual Activity and invented "rights" including same sex "marriage", and of course the whole contraception, abortion and euthanasia agenda.

We surely see the work of the Father Of Lies in the mindless acceptance of the newly- politically correct Homosexual Agenda. Logic is of no avail as many are held in thrall by the idea of "rights" which are created out of the revenge of conscience experienced by the 3% of the population actively homosexual. Suspend logic , and anything goes. Of course if "we" can let homosexuals "do their thing" why, "we" can do whatever "we" want.

And here is the nub of the matter -  the denial of the existence of objective morality. " Community standards" are the new measure - I wonder what they were in Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, ancient pre-Christian Rome ?Who will be safe if this continues? What must Jewish people fear? Perhaps what  Catholics ought also fear! Where will it all end?

But as if to prove his fury, Satan has unleashed yet another , perhaps the ultimate "Banner of Darkness" the flag of Daesh the so-called "Islamic State" 

The DAESH Flag
Under this diabolical banner, the most horrendous Mohammedan crimes of mass murder, mutilation, beheading, abduction, stoning and more have become the scourge of many parts of the world. As yet it is not clear how it will end.

Back to my hymn , thank God:

" And the tempest tossed Church, all her eyes are on thee,
   They look to thy shining sweet Star of the Sea"

and ultimately to thy Son to Whom you always lead us dear Mother.


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