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Never Again War

by David Oatney on July 28, 2014

Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916In his Sunday Angelus message yesterday, Pope Francis reminded the pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square near the end of his message that today, July 28th, marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. It is easy for us to look back on the Great War and call it, as the Holy Father did, a great catastrophe. It was that, most certainly, but the First World War had such an impact on the world in which we live that a century to the day that it began we are still living very directly with the effects of that apocalyptic conflict, and I do not use that word lightly. In two previous posts here at Life At 25, I’ve pointed out that Catholic Christians are supposed to be a people of peace who work for peace and pray for peace. Pope Benedict XV, who was Pope during World War I, tried in vain to get the warring powers to come to the negotiating table. The conflict only came to an end, history tells us, when the German High Command came to the conclusion that they simply did not have the manpower and the resources to continue fighting and needed to seek an armistice. The other thing that we also know in the light of history is that the Allied Powers were in a similar situation, and were also thinking of an armistice. Winston Churchill, then the British Minister of Munitions, asked in a government memorandum what everyone else was thinking in those days. “Do the means of beating the German Armies in the West in 1919 exist?…We still have the time…Have we the willpower…” The “War to End All Wars” neither ended wars nor solved any of the major issues over which it was fought. It did manage to leave such a mark on the world that we continue to deal with the unresolved issues of that conflict in the Middle East, the Balkans, and in Ireland even today (though thankfully because of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements, less so in the latter than in the others).  [click to continue reading…]


The People of the Nazarene

by David Oatney on July 24, 2014

NFresh off of the previous Lord of the World post here at Life At 25 about the novel from 1907 that details with a stunning amount of accuracy the kind of world we might live in today, as well as telling the story of a great and terrible persecution of Christians until the end of all things, we have a very real story of serious persecution of Christians in the Middle East, If you don’t know what this Arabic character is, it is the letter nūn, and it was written on the homes of Christians in Mosul and surrounding communities in Iraq when the forces of ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) took control of that area. ISIL has declared the establishment of a new caliphate, over which their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is Caliph. That may seem like silly bluster to our modern ears, but caliphates have not only existed before, but when followed through upon, Islamic caliphates historically tend to be powerful and long-lasting, usually because the Christian world has either been too preoccupied or too divided to deal with the expansionist tendencies of Islamic caliphates. One way that we can know that this new caliphate means business is that the letter nūn was specifically placed on the doors of Christians (to signify “Nazarene”), not unlike what was done to Jews in Nazi Germany. According to the traditional practices of caliphates, the Christians were reportedly given three choices: Convert to Islam, pay the Jizya tax (a traditional tax applied to non-Muslim “people of the Book”) in order to avoid a forced conversion, or leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs. At least one source that I’ve read claims that the Jizya that ISIL is charging Christians is the equivalent of around $250, which most of us could come up with, but is a lofty amount of money for many people in that part of the world.  [click to continue reading…]


Reflecting On ‘Lord of the World’

by David Oatney on July 20, 2014

Monsignor_R._H._Benson_in_Oct._1912,_Aged_40In the last couple of days, I’ve finished the classic Catholic novel Lord of the World, which was mentioned in this space a few days ago. It isn’t intended for this entry to be a review of the book, largely because an actual review might deter some Life At 25 readers from reading it, and it is a book that I would heartily recommend a devout and thinking reader should carefully read. In doing so, however, the reader should be aware that the book characterizes a future that was imagined in 1907, and so World War I, World War II, the rise of a Russo-centric Soviet Communism, the Cold War, and the Soviet collapse were all things that had not happened. That’s important to understand, because Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, who wrote Lord of the World, imagined a Western Europe dominated by Communists and Marxism. That merely shows that Benson had read The Manifesto of the Communist Party quite thoroughly, because Marx and Engels envisioned their “workers’ revolution”as being something that would likely be a Western European phenomenon. The idea that Russia, a country that was largely agrarian and rural outside of it’s major cities, would be the birthplace of the first Communist state would likely have seemed strange to them. They imagined a Marxist West, and so, in the beginning of this book, did Monsignor Benson. [click to continue reading…]


Diocese of Knoxville

A Brief Reflection On Jeff Emitt’s Entry Into Eternal Life

by David Oatney July 16, 2014

In the wee hours of this morning I happened to see a Facebook post from Bishop Stika that he had been at the hospital visiting Jeff Emitt, a seminarian of the Diocese of Knoxville, and that Jeff was in his final hours, and that he would likely “return to the Father” within a very short […]

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Pope Francis

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

by David Oatney July 14, 2014

Pope Francis asked that pilgrims assembled in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus yesterday take a few moments and pray for peace in the Holy Land, a place where there seems to be no peace to be had, merely a whole lot of suffering for a lot of people on all sides, who in […]

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Pray Prayers of Thanks

by David Oatney July 10, 2014

Each day, Catholic clergy, religious men and women, and laypeople from all over the world pray the Liturgy of the Hours. These powerful prayers, rooted in the psalms and in Sacred Scripture, move according to the rhythms of the Church’s ecclesiastical year and invite us to bring our petitions to God. I often find when […]

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Catholic Blogs

What You Won’t See On This Blog

by David Oatney July 9, 2014

In the last day or so someone commented on a recent post here at Life At 25, specifically the post which I happened to write on the situation in Oklahoma City, where a Satanic “Black Mass” is currently scheduled to be celebrated on September 21st. I wrote about the reaction of Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley, […]

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis Asks Forgiveness On Behalf of the Church

by David Oatney July 8, 2014

Pope Francis met yesterday with just a few of the many victims of the clerical sex abuse scandal in the Vatican at private audiences in his residence at the St. Martha House. Yesterday, some of the came from Ireland, Great Britain, and Germany-three men and three women. These meetings needed to happen, because the victims of […]

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The Devil and Oklahoma City

by David Oatney July 5, 2014

Not more than a month and a half after students at the Harvard University Extension attempted to sponsor a “Black Mass” wherein the Adversary would be worshiped, an event which was canceled after a massive outcry from the Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Boston, it has emerged from Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City […]

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Standing Earnestly For the Faith

by David Oatney June 30, 2014

Today the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which was formerly called Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, in which it ruled through the well-written majority opinion of Justice Samuel Alito that Hobby Lobby, while being compelled under the Affordable Care Act to offer insurance coverage to its […]

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Go and Live the Paschal Mystery

by David Oatney June 27, 2014

At the end of the Easter season,  the Church celebrates a series of feasts beginning with Pentecost, and moving into Ordinary Time with Trinity Sunday and then the feast of Corpus Christi (the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) the following week. After that, today is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, […]

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