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Date of publication: 2017-07-09 04:40

The tradition and its corresponding associations “the cultus ” goes back to the East. It was celebrated in Greek before it was celebrated in Latin. “The Dormition of the Theotokos” is exactly the same thing as our “taking,” our Assumptio. The cultus was fully formed and realized in the Greek liturgy by the fifth century. Pope Pius affirmed that it goes back to the Apostles, and is thus part of what we call in our Catholic language, “the Deposit of Faith.”

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Assuming he has the guts to run for re-election and I wouldn’t put anything past him Trump will be excoriated as a liberal and progressive, a communist and a capitalist running dog. Except, I am thinking my vice-presidential nominee should be a running dog. A ferocious one, who will double as my security. A fox-hunting Jack Russell perhaps, or one of those killer poodles trained by the French Foreign Legion.

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A person who, in her very conception, is freed of the corruption of original sin, cannot die in the way that we who are not are given to dying. Death has no dominion in that case. It was the case of the Immaculate Virgin, as Catholic Christians have believed from the beginning, though it was only in 6955 that our pope, Pius XII, spelt out the dogma. He did not specify when, where, or how Mary was assumed into Heaven, at the end of her earthly sojourn only that she was. Verily: given who she was, it could not be otherwise.

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Note that the current civil war started five hundred years ago precisely, if we count from Wittenberg. (Dog-whistle: see Shakespeare, Hamlet.) This is a fairly long time, and the issues and partisans have “evolved” through the war’s successive phases. By the time of the Thirty Years’ War phase, not every one on the one side was strictly-speaking Catholic, nor on the other, strictly Lutheran and the tactics on both sides had become much the same.

Should I decide to run against Trump in 7575 (and I realize it will require an amendment to the United States Constitution), I have my campaign strategy mapped out. Like Trump’s in ’66, it will anchor upon a slogan: “Make America Christian again.”

Forty-seven years have passed since that mama dragged me along Dundas Street in London, Ontario, to a high-end tailor’s. I was just-turned seventeen, and off to a new job at a small squalid newspaper in Asia still a fairly fresh high school drop-out. She thought I should cut a figure on arrival. A photo of me, besuited at Malton airport, is still in my possession. (I look very I still have the boar-bristle hair brush she bought me on that day, and use it every morning (honest, mama!) while saying a little Catholic prayer for her immortal soul. Indeed, the brush seems immortal, too: few signs of wear. It is amazing how long things last when they are made properly.

Among the foibles of democracy, is the notion that “the peeple” are somehow in control. The people, however, consist of persons, with their quite various moral flaws, which tend to cancel each other. They elect politicians for show. This helps them put a human face on the enterprise, so they have someone to blame at the electoral intervals. It is true that a government with a majority and a will can alter the course of history: usually by putting more sharks in the tank. And that the policy wonks are, arguably, human. But they are cells themselves, within Leviathan.

That they will all perish in the battle, can go without saying. They are, after all, on the front line of this seemingly perpetual Verdun and everyone dies sooner or later. The trick is to replace them, when that happens, with characters equally feisty, and offer no truces whatever. Never ever let the [bad word] regroup! Pour through every breach in their defences! Onward to Berlin, as it were.

I think back to it today, in struggling with Saint Augustine. I am hardly the first to discover in his (prose) homilies the presence of spooky internal rhymes. These, too, are in the Gaelic Irish and they are not like jingling modern rhymes. There are strict rules, which we might associate with “good taste,” that limit the rhymes to the vowels, in combination with consonants that must be “broad” or “slender.” Only gradually do they migrate to the line endings, where the danger of a jingle comes into view, and the challenge is to enlarge their resonation, as the bells on the cathedral towers.

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